Wednesday, April 26, 2023
NIVIUK PEAK 6 22
Having flown practically all Peaks! 1-2-3-4-5, and Icepeak 6, here’s the 6th version with 7 aspect ratio.
The leading edge holds a moderate shark nose, and as usual, the construction, to the smallest details is excellent on this Peak 6.
I flew the Peak 6 at 94 and 97. I think around 95..96 is an optimum weight in all conditions for glider reactions through the airmass. If you want a more faster glider through the air, 98…99 could be great.
Launching the Peak 6 is very straightforward, without any delay. The rise is homogenous, and moderate without any hard points. No shooting forward with little brake control, and even with windy take off the pilot has the authority of control. Overall very easy launch for that 7 aspect ratio 2 liner D.
In the air, the biggest difference between the Peak 5 and the Peak 6 is the shorter, more responsive brake travel even in turbulent air. The Peak 6 has a moderate to slightly hard brake pressure than the Peak 5 and the Artik-R. The authority on the brakes in turbulent conditions is very good under the Peak6 giving the pilot complete control. Smooth turns can be made with good agility for that class. It could be as quick to turn as the Artik-R if you open the chest strap to 50 cm on the Arrow harness. This authority of the brakes gives the pilot swift control for any movements under the Peak 6.
Immediately after taking off, I could feel the high comfort under the Peak 6! This glider has perhaps the double comfort found on the Peak 5! And more comfortable to fly than the Zeno1-2, Magus XC, Peak 3, Peak5, and Icepeak 6. I think the Peak 6 has the DNA of the Peak 4 and matches its comfort with an even more solid, homogenous structure. When flying it in strong air I felt that this whole structure didn’t lose its homogeneity and was kept as a block above my head. Even if the Artik-R stretches a bit and wobbles in heavy air, the Peak 6 felt more coherent! Of course, the pilot level is another step from the Artik-R but just to precise that solid feel.
The roll movements are also much more dampened than the Peak 5, Zeno2, and resembles surprisingly the Peak 4 ones. I found out that flying it with the Arrow enhanced the turning ability, and the roll is very controllable.
The Peak 6 pitch behavior is also neutral. It doesn’t shoot forward in moderate thermals. Just perhaps it slows and sometimes bumps a bit before entry, but still enters slowly the climb and moves upward. I found that the best way to dig through is at first to load it at the top (98) and to trust it, by releasing the brakes as much as it would be possible. That will help a faster entry. I also noticed that flying it at the very top end 98 will help reduce the bump feel. Overall, the Peak 6 is a really comfortable glider to fly for a 7 aspect ratio 2 liner in the D class.
Loading it at 98 will get this structure to be even more indestructible, and it could be a nice tool for achieving local competitions or getting the most in your strong XC days.
In weak conditions, even at 96 all up, I felt that the Peak 6 climb well, and I could squeeze it in a very narrow small core. Opening the chest strap at 50 cm on the Arrow harness helped a lot by making it very agile in turns.
The glide at trim and accelerated is excellent, for the category, with a very taught leading edge even at full bar. I could get 18-19 km/h over trim. The B controls are quite a big step in usability over the Peak 5! I could control the glider with a moderate pull, while on bar. The pressure on the B steering is moderate and very usable. Forget about the Peak 5 controls and feel…The Peak 6 is a completely changed glider.
I flew next to a Zeno 2 the same size and loaded in windy and strong turbulent air. While the racing genes of the Zeno 2 felt more dynamic and surged through the air more aggressively going forward, especially on windy days, the Peak 6 while having a very close glide, and climb, is aimed more toward a calmer efficient cross-country use. It surfs the air calmly and moves forward with slower reactions.
In normal conditions, without too much wind, the Peak 6 feels and handles like a slightly lower-rated glider, but with D-class performance. For pilots aiming for 100 % cross-country use, the Peak 6 will deliver with less energy management.
Stepping on the bar on long, lift lines while B steering felt easy and controllable with a very good glide angle. The pressure on the B controls are moderate with swift input. Ears with outer A’s are stable and reopen with pilot assistance. Ears with Outer B’s are also doable, easy, stable, and reopen quickly. Getting wing over on the Peak 6 lets you feel that energy! After two turns they became really high. The exit is easy as the 360 ones. The Peak 6 felt very homogenous.
After test flying the Peak 6, I think NIVIUK wanted to revive the Peak 4 success by creating a comfortable, easy, confidence-inspiring, EN-D 2 liner. I think pilots upgrading from the Artik 6 with 2 full seasons in strong air, could be a logical move toward an easy, but much more performant EN-D glider.
Sunday, April 23, 2023
In this video, you can see four new 2-line EN-C in the air. My videos are purely for fun. This is just my personal opinion. Iy will give you probably a small idea about the gliders. And you the pilot can choose after your test flight. It is a long video, but if you have time, grab a beer, a snack..or a pizza! sitting comfortably on your preferred chair, I really hope you enjoy it, especially if there's bad weather outside! If not..go fly !!!
Friday, April 21, 2023
OZONE PHOTON ML
Writing plain reviews, empty of small details, will not satisfy any more aware pilots out there, especially for those 2 liner C classes. That’s why, I will take time to explain every detail to the advanced pilots. It could be boring sometimes, but I really cannot write reviews as I’m doing a low B glider test…
The new EN-C 2 liner from OZONE is already since 20 days in ML size. I am still waiting for the MS size to arrive hopefully next week.
I have flown the ML size for some hours, from 100 all up to 104 all up, which is the maximum of ballast I wanted to carry.
To begin with the construction, the PHOTON has exactly the same construction and details as the Zeno 2. In fact, if you see both gliders next to each other(pic attached) you cannot see the differences apart from the slightly wider shape of the Photon as its aspect ratio is 6.5 compared to 7.0 for the Zeno 2.
The shape of the leading edge with the position openings is exactly the same as well the risers. For sure some internal structures and width or other things could differ, but the plain eyes cannot see those differences apart from the wider cord.
Flying the Photon ML / X-Rated 6 at 100 and later at 104 all up, gave me a large idea and feel that I will share with you.
The launching of the Photon in nil wind doesn’t need any for the C pilot. I usually don’t comment a lot about the launch of its normal, unless I see a hard point or something that requires a lot of effort in stronger air, but the Photon with its semi-light construction is easy to launch close enough to the Alpina 4.
In strong breeze over 25 km/h, the PHOTON ML behaved quite gently for a C pilot and I didn’t find any dynamic reactions. Overall, easy to launch in all conditions.
I had at the same time as the PHOTON testing, I had over here, the NK Artik-R, SOL LT2, GIN Bonanza 3, and UP Trango-X. (All one size smaller) 75-95—100. This was for me a great way to give you more precise feedback especially since all were flown on the same harness but added some ballast for the Photon ML. Later I will mention the differences between the PHOTON MS and ML in handling, reactivity, and feel. Now I only have the ML.
One day it was windy, turbulent, and quite generous in thermals. So It was a good informative day to get a bigger idea of what to expect from the PHOTON ML. I was flying it at 102 all up.
First thermal the Photon ML didn’t have any pitch back or front at all. Felt like it was a calm glider in that matter and enters the lift with ease without any complicated pitch movements.
The roll movements are also very comfortable similar like the Delta in MS size to be precise. Not really far from the Alpina 4, MS feedback If I remember correctly. Please consider that smaller sizes feedback is slightly more sensitive than larger ones. So I think the PHOTON ML has probably 10 % more feedback than the Alpina 4 MS, which is really comfortable to fly!
In all turbulence, the PHOTON ML felt quite tamed.
Now to give you a clearer explanation of what I felt, I will let you imagine flying an 18 sqm acro glider for a while, not smaller ;-) and then switch to your regular C glider…Or perhaps…smoking a certain weed ;-) Everything looks slow around you. That is the slow-motion feel I got when I flew the PHOTON ML at 102 in relation to the airmass.
It will fly OK at 100, but you will miss the point.
Please consider that OZONE made the Photon for a purpose. And that purpose is not limited to a small local flight. It will surely perform very well…But IMHO, the PHOTON is a very well-engineered design carefully made for glide efficiency and you the pilot must ‘help’ extract those performances by loading it at 104-105 so that this special structure will show you its hidden magical efficiency to cut through and move forward like a top end 2 liner C ! You cannot perform on a race car with a semi deflated wheel! :-) That's the best way to describe it.
Even in climbing mode, the Photon needs to move forward faster in the rising airmass. The climb rate of the PHOTON ML at 104 is still very good. In a weak climb, if it is flown at 100, it needs more time to get through but has no problem getting efficiently high. It’s just time and patience that are needed.
For example, next to a Zeno 2 MS at 95, for one hour in thermals, I was always slower to dig through and the Zeno 2 was always two steps ahead higher, and in front. We tried again and again with the same results. For sure the Zeno 2 is another category, but just to tell you how it will behave at 100. At 104 things got a lot better, I was able to ‘have’ a little more chance to keep up, especially in those long glides with lifts in between as the loaded Photon was moving forward better, especially at half or even at the full bar! And that is the strong point of that glider when you are using the speed system. It moves forward through the lift and guts! While other gliders could get pinned or slowed.
I also did lots of glides with all the new 2 liner C’s and saw that the ML size has a slight upper hand, in transitions, at full bar, but this gap was larger in difficult conditions, as the PHOTON ML was gliding on rails with a solid one-piece homogenous structure. I will hopefully try with a loaded Photon MS size as soon as it is available.
The B steering has a moderate feel, very efficiently usable. While on bar, I was completely at ease and quite efficient to keep the glider stable with the B controls. I will update my C comparison for all the details after I fly the MS size.
The PHOTON ML even at 104 could be considered as having moderate agility. The trailing edge reacts after 10 cm of gap. The brake travel is a bit long, But that glider flies at best, hands up and doing that, it could be steered with less and less brake input. So getting used to it, I could steer it with only 15 cm with weight shift after the gap without braking the outer side. It turns flat and narrow sometimes.
To get the first wing over you must insist on a weight shift.
Ears with outer A’s are stable on the ML size at 102 and reopen with little pilot assistance. Ears with outer B’s are stable and reopen quickly. A good way to get down.
I will try the MS size, which I am used to flying from 90 to 95 which could be more dynamic a bit. But for now, these are my humble thoughts on the PHOTON ML.
The PHOTON ML is a very calm, easy, stable, and homogenous 2-liner C. The overall performance in glide is very good for that category. Much better than the Mantra 7especially at the speed bar and also racing upwind. That ML size was way easier to fly than my Light Mantra 7 MS, and closer to the Alpina 4 with probably around +10 % max more pilot control.
Will write my impressions on the MS when it will arrive.
Friday, April 14, 2023
In 2016, UP launched the Trango X-Race, with a 7 aspect ratio. If you have already read my test, then you would probably know that I fell in love with the handling, and overall performance at the time.
Many EN-C gliders have emerged since then, but I can assure you not one has satisfied my spoiled and picky nature for breaking authority and handling. Yep…That’s me…
Until PHI got the Maestro 2 as an EN-B size 21 and flew at 95 all up, to find a slightly similar feel and I was really happy to fly it and still, just to feel that handling taste.
Now UP has released the 2023 Trango-X in the EN-C category, and my only concern even in my dreams was: “Please I really hope that they didn’t change that brake authority and feel…”
It was indeed in my mind all the time! Believe me! :-)
And there it was…I opened the box, the Trango-X in SM size 85-100.The Risers… Franta’s configuration (Frantisek Pavlousek ‘designer’)…Since he left Axis a long time ago. At that time I had a Venus 1 and 2 and the RX version. The risers configuration always had the B risers longer than the A, and C risers or D at the time. The Venus 2 S size in 2009 was for me a favorite.
It was gliding much better than very well-known brands at the time, and few pilots tasted that, unfortunately…
Now came the 2 line era! The Trango-X has been released with a hybrid option 2.5 Lines.
If you are that special pilot who is looking only for a pure 2-liner C glider and just reading this test for fun…Then you are completely mistaken my friend!
Read further down to see what the surprise UP has prepared for you!
UP uses a mix of the excellent Porcher Skytex 32 Universal and Porcher Skytex 27 Classic II on top and bottom, with a mix of Edelrid 8000U-090/070/050/230/190/120 (Aramid unsheathed) / Liros DC60 /120/100 (Dyneema unsheathed).
The construction and details are really good with a total weight of 4.5 kg in a semi-light build.
As you see in the picture the leading edge has a pointed shark nose and small openings.
UP opted for a 2.5-line riser setup.
Launching the Trango -X with no wind is very straightforward and very easy to lift with no hard point. In the stronger breeze, no shooting forward with a little brake.
I flew the Trango-X from 93 to 97 and it flies really well at 93 without the feel of less load. At 97 it's also perfect in strong air!
Still on my beloved X-rated 6 XL. First turn….A WIDE smile on my face !!! YEEEPEEEEEEEEEEE !!! UP didn’t fail me by the delivered brake authority and feel !! The brake pressure is on the moderate side, with 10 cm to steer the glider and from 10 to 20 cm a super ‘linear’ input very precise to put the Trango-X ‘as you wish’ option!
That’s what I’m talking about! A really nice steering glider gives good authority for the pilot even in strong air, and a very pleasurable one.
The feedback has a slightly mixed feel that comes from the brakes 30 % and 70% from the glider. The perfect blend!
Behavior in strong air:
The Trango-X is easier to fly than its predecessor the Trango race, needing less than 30 % pilot input that was required by the older version.
It needs around 10 % more active pilot control than the Artik-R. But that spicy and balanced feel under it will be cherished by the educated pilots that would fly it!
The roll movements are on the moderate side, delivering exactly what a pilot must feel. The pitch has a slight and smooth pitch forward.
In surfing that airmass the Trango-X doesn’t have a pitch back at all, nor a neutral pitch. Just a very slight forward pitch into the airmass! A delightful feel when flying through the air!
The climb rate in strong thermals is really good. I flew with my friends on the Artik-R 23, and we were inseparable in weak and in strong thermals. Just to let you know that the Artik -R climb is really good, and probably just slightly more efficient in climb rate than the Photon, in weak air. Yes, there was also an Ozone Photon ML flying near all the time…As I was also test-flying the Photon with Trango-X, Artik-R, LT2, and Bonanza 3. at the same time.
Alternating gliders convinced me that the Trango-X climbs superbly well!
That feel of the Trango-X leading edge that pulls you gently into the thermal without any pitch-back back is a delight! You can feel that efficiency in surfing the air. When you fly a pleasurable glider, that urge to find thermals just to get the ‘pleasure of the turn’! Now you know that I’m hooked ;-) …
Ok, that’s it…I’ll stop.
Let's talk about the surprise! I mean the glide…
One day, there was a strong north headwind with a really high cloud base for the day. It was the time to test the ability of the Tango-X versus the other pure 2-line competitors!
While my friends on a Bonanza 3 S flown at 94, Artik-R 21 flown at 94, and Photon ML flown at 102 all up, were flying also near.
We decided to go on a glide facing the wind, at trim and then at the half bar and later on full bar… The glides were repeated 3 days in a row to be sure before I write anything. After all, this is a 2.5-line configuration glider and anything written should be very accurate, at least for my personal peace of mind.
What would you think of the outcome?
After many glides wing tip to wing tip, the Trango-X with the 2.5 line configuration is nothing but excellent right next to the top ones of that EN-C category …believe it or not.
At half bar, it is also very competitive. The C riser controls work well in controlling the glider movements. They have a moderate to hard feel and are quite usable. The pressure is harder than the Artik-R ones or the Photon.
At full bar, the Trango-X has 18+ km/h over the trim with an incredibly good glide angle! The speed bar is heavy on the second bar. The leading edge is still solid at full bar.The details will be published on my 2-liner C comparisons, for tiny details. But prepare to see it very close to the top ones!
Ears can be done with outside A’s and reopen without pilot intervention, or with outer B’s which opens quicker. Both are efficient to get down.
Wingovers on the Trango-X can become very high after two turns! Showing its playful behavior.
The Trango-X has an excellent and efficient glide through a moving airmass and converts any lift to climb without slowing, bumping, or losing the glide. Sometimes it is difficult to describe that feeling, but I can say that the UP TRANGO-X surfs the air with an efficient ‘attitude’ … It likes to fly.
UP has created a 2.5-line EN-C glider that can easily compete in climb and glide flawlessly, against all the current 2 liners I am currently test flying.
All that with delightful and pleasurable handling.
It would be a shame if at least you can test fly that glider if it suits your pilot needs! Don’t let it slip your ‘list’ like that old 2009 Venus 2 did to many!
I found out that the optimum weight for that glider is around 95…96.
Happy testing !! :-)
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Dustoftheuniverse: Felipe, Can you please tell us about FLOW's new releases?
Felipe Flow Para: 1- This year alone we have released 5 new gliders. Cosmos 2, Panorama 2, XCRacer2, Cosmos Power2, and RPM2 - we are just about to release the 6th, on the Mullet.
It's the biggest glider release we have done since our conception.
We finally have a factory we can work with and not hold us back. We had many problems in the past with the manufacturing facility in Thailand. The owner was really making our life hard.
Now we can do everything we want with the proper support, so we will be keen to release exciting products in the future.
Can you please elaborate on each glider?
Felipe Flow Para: 2 - The cosmos 2 is based on the Cosmos 1 but we improved a lot of things.it is a low and basic B for new pilots and cools to use. We already improved the handling, so the handling is more direct,.version 1 had long brakes, but the Cosmos 2 is very responsive and more fun to fun, more direct, and requires less brake travel to thermal.
We used the same risers as the Freedom 2 ones, so pilots can practice rear riser steering, and it's more solid on the bar, so the new airfoils are a bit more collapse resistant.Cosmos 2 is a big improvement to Cosmos 1
The Cosmos Power2 is a completely different glider from the Cosmos 2 while having the same name, but the power is a dedicated PPG wing that has a dedicated airfoil and a different Arc, and a different line plan.
The Medium is an intermediate glider for the new pilots and the smaller sizes are for advanced pilots because we have 19 with higher wing loading for more experienced pilots this glider versus the older version, we improved the top speed with a new airfoil, even though you pull the A lines the glider doesn’t collapse and it is extremely collapse resistant, and extremely pitch stable,. It gives good efficiency at a low angle of attack. It's like a reflex airfoil but extremely efficient. The same applies to the RPM 2 but with a higher aspect ratio with further back attachment points in the full-speed configuration when you have trim open and full-speed engaged, basically, all the load is on the A lines, and it is almost impossible to collapse it.
.And lastly, we have one final glider we are about the releases and that’s the Mullet and that’s a glider that can change the angle of attack just by moving your hands up and down. It flies the same as you fly a hang glider. Here in Australia, we have lots of coastal sites, and traditionally the glider flies in the morning and hang-gliders fly in the afternoon as the wind increases, so the hang-gliders can do amazing dives, the paragliders are just watching, and everything changed with the mini wings, but now also everything changed with this new concept/technology. There are lots of manufacturers that have one in the market already, our is similar, so the difference is the feel, and we use the same airfoil that the PPG has as described above. You can pull the A lines but you couldn’t collapse the glider. When hands up the glider dive, and you need an extremely collapse-resistant airfoil that can tolerate negative angles without a collapse. We understand that pilots would fly that glider inland on strong wind days, but we are confident that on this glider we can push in thermic components, and it flies the same as it flies on the coast. You can dive and convert energy back to height. It is an incredible experience to fly like that, and it is a game changer. Once you fly a glider like that in strong id, you can’t fly anything else again, cause it’s way more fun to fly gliders like that compared to mini wings or normal paraglide
Dustoftheuniverse: What about the XC -Racer 2?
Felipe Flow Para: 3 - The XCRacer2 is definitely easier to fly. Nice turning and handling into thermals, one can use more brake input and be more in control and feel more comfortable when conditions are turbulent. Somewhat the brake input is more precise and intuitive, one can definitely notice it offers more refined handling. Also at speed, the glider feels more solid. rear riser steering has similar pressure and feels to version one.
It obviously has better performance and glide at speed and higher top-end speed in comparison to the previous version.
During our competition season here our pilots noticed that for was easy to stay on top of the gaggle waiting for the start gate, so it is a good sign the glider climbs well and offers good "float-ability"
Dustoftheuniverse: Did you name your next C, 2-liner? Any release dates?
The EN-C 2 liner has two names and we still didn’t decide on what name we are going to go XC yet … The glider is basically finished and we just finishing all the paperwork. We have just released 6 new gliders this year, so we have lots of things to catch up on, including manuals, marketing photos, certification paperwork… there are a lot of things before...
We started the 2 liners EN-C in 2019. So we have quite a few prototypes and we just have the final version. It is good that we have some extra time because we fixed the airfoil for the XC racer2 and I’m using the same airfoil for the EN-C 2 liner which is an incredible airfoil with similarities to the PPG glider that doesn’t collapse on the tips as it shows a strong airfoil.
Dustoftheuniverse: Anything to add for the panorama 2 characteristics versus the first version? Two sizes?
Felipe Flow Para: The main feedback we had on the Panorama1 was that it had excellent launch inflation and landing, but it could be more dynamic and fun in the air.
We believe we kept good qualities of launching and landing but improved the handling in the air, it's now more fun and exciting for the pilot to fly... The feel is of a solo wing.
Also, we managed to certify with a weight range of 90-220kgs for the size 41. So now many professional tandem pilots only need one size to fly with kids and light passengers as it is now certified at 90kgs
We are now using more Skytex38 on top surface without compromising the overall weight of the glider which remains similar to the previous version, an incredibly light yet durable tandem at 6.8kgs