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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

PHI Maestro 2 - 21

Maestro 2 21 

There Maestro 2 from PHI is their latest high EN-B glider which replaces the first Maestro. In this test, I will try to write the multiple differences in comfort, performance, and handling with the Maestro1, Rush 6, Chili 5, Avid, and some other B’s also, and I will include some Ds and a comparison with a 2 liner D! 

Many would ask why should he compare a high B to the latest 2-liner D’s. As the differences could be irrelevant!  

My answer is well stated below in this test and I hope you enjoy reading it.

The Maestro 2 has a real aspect ratio of 5.6  and 4.1 projected. That’s quite good for keeping a good passive safety. The glider is made from Porcher/ Skytex 32-27 which is one of the best materials today. The construction and details are very neat. 76 cells on this high B, reminded me of the Nova Phantom design. The Maestro 2 is equipped with very nice and efficient RO7 risers.

The lines however are minimalistic and really thin for a high B.

No loops on the B’s or C’s…PHI most probably has made a wonderful job with those few lines. Time will tell when any change of trim will occur. My test is for a brand new Maestro 2!  

Taking off in nil wind is very easy and straightforward without any delay of hard points. In fact, it is one of the easiest high B’s to inflate. In more than 25 km wind, it inflates quite fast without overshooting after an average control. 

Flying the Maestro 2:

First turn, and first smile! This is a PHI!  The Maestro 1, and the Allegro had a nice and direct feel. The Maestro 2 kept that beautiful feel on the brakes with a direct, agile, and linear response throughout the range!

The brake pressure has a moderate pressure until 30 cm after the 10 cm gap and it becomes slightly hard, which you probably won’t reach, as, in all my flying in strong air, you barely reach that point only in strong surges. The brakes are not tiring in turbulence when your hands are a bit low to control the glider! The pressure is less than the Chili 5 ones, slightly similar to the Rush 6 but much more linear, and similar to the Avid that I’ll review shortly. The turning behavior is really good! I could place the Maestro2 in any core even in turbulent air. The Maestro 2 brakes give the pilot the authority of command which I really appreciate! 

The Rush 6 is an agile glider also, but if you pull, it turns. The Maestro 2 has a more linear and progressive pull, as you can feel every centimeter on the brakes! My weak point toward handling has been hit :-) 

The agility of the Maestro 2 in coring is close to the Chili 5 but with more authority inside a core and less pressure.  Gentle but agile turns can be made without the glider diving in. I could control the turning radius by the outside brakes. A delight! 

In fact, I think the Maestro 2 brake feel and handling are the most beautiful found in today’s high B gliders!

It reminded me of the UP Trango Xrace with an excellent brake feel, as there’s a bit of feedback coming from the brakes also for the Maestro 2. 


Going on glide under the Maestro 2:

Many pilots have told me to keep it simple…without too many explanations, just because lots of pilots wouldn’t understand the little details. But I can’t…I must be specific when it comes to (usable performance).

The first Maestro impressed me by the way it cuts through the air and moves forward. I still remember every wind glide I made and the feeling of efficiency. The Maestro 2 is even better in that matter! 

The nose is always up! As it searches for the thermals in front.

I flew the Maestro 2 in some turbulent, nasty air, sometimes at + 3000 m ASL, and sometimes at 800 ASL with lots of inversions, wind, and turbulence that made me write this test with a clear conscience, that the Maestro 2 internal structure and cohesion is really tough! In those headwind conditions, the Maestro 2 nose always searches forward! That’s really an amazing feature for a high B !! category. 

Flying the Maestro 2 -21 at 94 all up gave me a feeling of a fast glider. It is like I’m flying a high-rated glider in the way it moves forward, but of course, with the comfort of the B category.   

I think PHI designed gliders to be flown at mid-weight which I did later at 90 all up and that didn’t alter its characteristics by getting through the airmass.

The Maestro 2 is a comfortable glider to fly!  In very strong and windy air, I have pushed around quite a lot, without a tip fluttering! It is very solid and still remains above the pilot's head. 

The Maestro 2 is also not dull to fly at all! The informative feedback without being too demanding is excellent. I think it is easier to fly than the Maestro 1, and also easier to fly than a brand new Rush 6.  The Chili 5 and the Gin Avid are tamer but both lack that beautiful feel cutting through the airmass!

The B comparison chart is updated for details if needed. 

I read on social media and perhaps some of you also did, that Hannes (the designer) told pilots to compare the Maestro 2 glide to a 2-liner! Well, that did awaken my bad habits ;-) of getting the wing tip performance comparison.

But first, I must explain that glides' wing tip to tip in still air is always very different from the same glides in moving air. Just because glider X is able to cut better inside that airmass and move forward. The other bumps into the same airmass and lose its glide. 

At first, doing some glides ( similar loads and sizes) with a newly trimmed Rush 6,(reference) showed a faster top speed for the Maestro 2 by 1 km.  

The quality of air penetration of the Rush 6 is now well known to many which is excellent! and can in some cases with moderate conditions glide next to higher-rated D’s. 

The (Still new) Maestro 2 has even for my personal feelings, and tastes a ‘better’ gliding through the airmass as it cuts forward without slowing down! 

On another day, in some booming conditions, I just saw my friend on his Trango X-race SM,  with a 6.9 aspect ratio glider in front of me by 100m and at the same level, and I followed him quickly on the bar for a glide on the same line path! But…On my right, 10 meters apart was a Zeno 2 S size :-) that was also going with us on a glide. (Video soon) 

After 4 km, while pushing sometimes the full bar, I reached the Tango X-race but with a +50 m for the Maestro 2! 

Thanking my friend later for that glide he was very impressed by the Maestro 2 glide angle. 

Now, where is the Zeno 2 :-)? 

Of course, you are not waiting to see the results. are you? c’mon….

The Zeno 2 S was fully loaded and super…super fast even on the half bar!  He took a different line, 30 m to the right, and arrived +300 meters ahead with around 50 meters lower. I think the Zeolite GT could be more reachable than the Zeno as a 2 liner.

Later I followed the Zeno 2 S to see more differences as I’m always curious. Following the Zeno 2, S was very hard as I was at full bar all the time to keep up. Once the conditions turn from moderate to challenging with a windy glide, the Zeno 2 is from another level. Once the air is moderate to calm, with no wind component, the Maestro 2 can keep up for the flight.  

Doing some glides * In calm air * ( similar loads and sizes) with a newly trimmed Rush 6, showed a faster top speed for the Maestro 2 by 1 km. The glide is the same.

Doing glides in moving air with both gliders showed me that the Maestro 2 surges forward more to enter the same air mass. 

*Your head is spinning…Lots of explanation…* :-)  

Of course, the high aspect 2 liners have a much more efficient gliding through a turbulent or a moving air mass. They cut through easily and climb upward more powerfully. But “only in still air” the Maestro 2 could keep up on 60%  bar while a Zeno 2 S is at 25 %  with a very close glide angle. 

This is only to say that the bigger differences between both will be more present in a more moving airmass facing a valley breeze ..etc…

Now doing glides with a Mantra 7 which is an EN-D glider, the Maestro 2 could keep up quite competitively thought the whole flight if the conditions.  

In very weak lift and same load (-0.5 m|s) the float ability of the Mantra 7, Trango X-race, and Alpina 4, will prevail over the Maestro 2.  

If loaded at the top, the climb rate in very weak conditions is slightly similar to the Rush 6.  Flying it at mid-weight enhances it.

I think after 30 hours, the Maestro 2 lines will settle…And I think things could be even better in very weak. Wait and see…

Full bar delivers around +16 km/h over the trim speed, which is more than enough on this machine. 

In turbulent conditions, the RO7 risers, and C control are very efficient! I could easily keep the glider overhead while on bar in turbulence. The pressure is moderate and quite satisfying. 

Ears are stable. They stick even on the bar! Cool...Efficient getting down with the accelerator. They reopen quickly with pilot assistance.

The pressure on the first bar is moderate, the second is slightly hard on my X-rated6. 

On full bar with pulleys overlapping, the leading edge seems still solid! 


Now comes Shakespeare ;-)…

One of my favorite movies is (Avatar). If you have seen it, you know what’s a * toruk makto*

With its high-performance capability, and very pleasurable (performance handling) IMHO, I consider the Maestro 2 my *toruk makto* for the B category. 


I think there would be some reported cases of high sensible handling pilots running away with the demo glider after landing!  :-)