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Friday, June 30, 2023

NOVA Mentor 7 S / 80-105


Please note again… that tests will always differ with other sizes. At first, if flown with seatless harnesses, or must I say a completely different harness. Also if the same sizes are flown at different loads, lighter loads will get the weakest climb but will be penalized in control in heavy air or pushing through a heavy airmass. Bigger sizes have more gliding performance and also better climb in weak conditions.  In my small tests, I always state the size, the total flying weight, and afterward IMHO, the optimum weight I found in that particular glider.

NOVA Mentor 7 S  /  80-105 

After my test flight of the Light Mentor 7 in XS size, I decided to get the bigger size in a normal and sturdy cloth.

NOVA uses my favorite cloth on this version which is on the top surface a mix of Skytex 38 Universal 38g/m², and Skytex 40 Eazyfly 40g/m² and on the lower surface the Skytex 40 Eazyfly 40g/m². They have indeed a different crispy feel of their own.  

Having flown all the Mentors for the very first editions, my head was stuck on that idea to fly at the top, but…

After my test on the light XS, and NOVA's recommendation to fly it near the middleweight, I have decided to fly the S size which goes to 105 weight extended at 96, 97.  Later, I found that this is indeed the sweet spot in the Mentor 7 series.  There seem to be nowadays more and more new creations that are quite nice to fly at the middle range, like the PHI Maestro 2 for example that could be flown less than 6 kg from the top easily. Now the Mentor 7 S has its sweet spot less than 10 kg from the top!. You could, of course, fly it easily near the top when you need speed on generous days for winning competitions. 

Launching the normal Mentor 7 is as easy as the light version. It inflates quite well, without any hard points, and the take is immediate. 

As you probably read my notice at the top of the test, different sizes and different loads, and also lighter materials may give another feel… And sometimes they differ a lot! 

I can say that I am very lucky to fly as many gliders to experience those small and sometimes big changes and feel those differences. 

The Mentor 7 S at 97 feels slightly more subtle and sweeter to fly than the XS 75-95 light, even when flying it at 87.  The movements are very similar to the light XS ones but with a touch of some nicer spices!  It is the most comfortable high B glider to fly in rowdy air, but not dull to fly!   It gives slightly more feel to interpret calmly the airmass than the light version. For me the small added spices probably came from the harder cloth and the bigger size…made the glider incredibly balanced and nicer to fly for the pilot underneath it. 

Even the brake inputs are crispier than the light version, they are as short to react and very direct a bit more precise than the XS size.  I was happily flying it in thermals. The Mentor 7 S doesn’t communicate as much as the Maestro 2.  All the movements are calmer and more gentle.  It is possible That you can drink sometimes a cup of coffee while coring without spilling it! And you will see yourself higher at the same time…

In weak thermals climbing next to my reference high B, I think the Mentor 7 S climbs as well and never loses that small weak thermal. It floats nicely. 

The pitch is nearly absent and the roll is very dampened. It just climbs without bumping in thermals. A smoother glider in turbulence with very high efficiency!  At 97 all up, I sensed a moderate trim speed versus the Maestro 2 but without any consequences for efficient gliding through the air. When I felt that I needed to push the speed bar, the glide was impressive! 

And I always found myself quite competitive in the high B class, and even with the class above but with a touch slower! 

While doing this test, even my head never stopped asking me that question: If a pilot is not competing in the C class, why would he be flying anything else?  And then came answers…Perhaps more agility? brake feel? price? more feedback? design and color? brand oriented? Lots of possible parameters to consider…. one thing is for sure: The very high (comfort and performance package)  found on the Mentor 7 is very rare.

Pushing on the speed bar has moderate pressure on the X-rated6, and I saw 15 km/h over trim at 800 ASL.  The glide at max speed is as efficient as my reference in the high B category.   The C steering has a moderate pressure and it is an efficient tool to control the already stable M7 above your head in turbulent air while on the speed bar.  

Ears with outer B’s is easy and efficient and reopens quickly.  

Some pilots will ask me about the performance differences with the 2 liners C category.  It comes always about the pilot skills. 

Example 1 in a regular XC flight:  Pilot A with lots of experience on the Mentor 7 versus a good pilot B with moderate experience on the new 2-liner C’s.   My answer would be: Pilot A would ‘probably’ fly further.

Example 2 in competition: Same pilot A with lots of experience on the Mentor 7 versus a good pilot B with moderate experience on the new 2 liner C’s. My answer would be that if pilot A can hold the speed bar +35 % of the time over pilot B, then there’s perhaps a tie possibility…

It is just to give you a little idea. 


This regular version of the mentor 7 in S size felt quite good. 

Climb and glide are excellent, and handling, agility, and brake coordination are quite acceptable. Comfort is very high without being too dull and sometimes quite appreciated in high turbulence. The top speed is good and usable in active air.  The Mentor 7 S… ( Bentley of the sky) 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

FLOW XC racer 2 S size

Please note again… that tests will always differ with other sizes. At first, if flown with seatless harnesses, or must I say a completely different harness. Also if the same sizes are flown at different loads, lighter loads will get the weakest climb but will be penalized in control in heavy air or pushing through a heavy airmass. Bigger sizes have more gliding performance and also better climb in weak conditions.  In my small tests, I always state the size, the total flying weight, and afterward IMHO, the optimum weight I found in that particular glider. 

FLOW XC racer 2  S 75-95 

The latest 2-liner EN-D from FLOW for 2023-24…arrived to replace the old XC Racer 1. 

I have over here the S size which goes from 80-95 and I flew it from 92 to 94, 95 all up. The optimum weight for all conditions seems at the end of its weight range, 94, 95. 

The construction is pretty nice, with all plastic rods from top to bottom. 

The thing with almost all 2 liners, is when having plastic rods all along the glider, the wind will flip the trailing edge at the takeoff. 

Launching the Xc Racer 2 with all its plastic rods and complex structure, is fairly easy for that class. I think it resembles the Zeno 2 in that matter. No hard point, just a steady pull, and the takeover is immediate.

In the air, I was surprised but the high level of brake authority and agility of that EN-D glider. I think the XC Racer 2 is the most agile of all the tested 2 liners so far.

The brake travel is short with only 10…15 cm to steer the glider in all conditions! and the brake pressure is moderate and with a nice linear feel, it turns really quickly in thermals for a 7 AR glider and I felt that it is more agile even than some new C 2 liners!   A real pleasure to fly it and I am very satisfied by this excellent feel and turning abilities!  

Even if conditions were rough, the authority on the brakes let you re-direct the glider inside a turbulent core! A real pleasure underneath that glider! 

I flew next to my friend on a Zeno 2 MS @ 96 all up, and also with another friend on his Boom 12 size M that needs slightly a re-trim because it seems slightly slow at trim.  We flew together for about 4 hours in difficult air and sometimes turbulent cores.  After a while, I can say that the internal and whole structure of the XC Racer 2 felt very solid, and in those ugly conditions, it retained its homogeneity.  The level of overall comfort is slightly better than the Zeno 2, just because the brakes give the active and keen pilot a much better authority to re-adjust it swiftly over his head and for me, this is a feature that gives the good pilot a higher safety feel.  

 Climbing next to those excellent gliders, the Boom 12 in M size of course had a clear climbing easiness, then came the Zeno 2 which bites more aggressively the rising airmass, especially on windy days.  

The XC Racer 2 has a neutral pitch before hitting a climb, then when inside it, it surges promptly through it, as it shows you where the strongest core is. 

It is slower to enter but still climbs quite well due to the handling capabilities that enable it to place accurately inside a very small core.   

At the end of the day, the climb in very weak thermals that are less than 1 m/s, is moderate for that size flown at 95 all up.  

Gliding with a speed bar smoothens the glider reactions a bit, and the B controls with a moderate pressure and efficient feel, can control the overall movements while keeping your foot locked on the bar. 

The overall movements in nasty air make the XC Racer 2 move a lot from other pilots' perspectives flying next to it. They said that the tips move a lot in those rowdy air, while the Zeno 2 move more as a whole block. But underneath the XC Racer 2, I felt it was quite comfortable to fly.   Flying in those tough conditions, and passing by some Lee side turbulent areas, the B12 suffered from a large asymmetric that my friend handled very well. The XC racer 2 just a few meters away made excessive span movements without any collapse and sensed an overall solid structure under the XC racer 2.

We made lots of glides altogether, and I think at trim, half bar, and full bar, both the XC Racer 2 and the Zeno 2 are very close, even at full speed! I think the XC Racer 2 has a very high top speed which tops near 63 km/h and still with a very competitive glide angle and still a solid leading edge. 

Ears with A’s are stable, they reopen with pilot intervention, ears with outer B’s are efficient, and reopen quickly. A lot of energy is present while doing wingovers! like an acro glider with steroids!  

The stall point is far and feelable. The XC Racer 2 can be slowed quite well even loaded.


A real piece of a machine with lots of pleasurable handling! The overall performance is on top of that category. 

The XC Racer 2 is such a beauty and awaits your invitation to take her on long XCs and competitions. 

Saturday, June 3, 2023

BGD Lynx 2 M

BGD Lynx 2 M

The new light EN-C glider from BGD is now released to replace the first Lynx which had a 6.75 aspect ratio.  Now BGD reduced that aspect ratio to 6.2 on their new Lynx 2 with a moderately light construction for durability, and the M size weights around 4 kg with a 2.5 line configuration setup.

BGD  stated that a pure 2-line configuration set up needs more supporting rods in the sail, leading to a larger pack volume as the LYNX 2 is easy to pack down and super small for hiking and racing.

The Lynx 2 is made from a mix of the excellent Porcher Skytex, Classic II 27g/m², and 32g/m².  I’ll let you see all the multiple glider details following that link:

Launching: I flew the Lynx 2 from 91 to 95. It flies very well at 90, but if you need more cutting through and faster glider response related to the surrounding airmass, then 94 could be great! 

In nil wind, the light glider rises smoothly and evenly without any hard point whatsoever. In the stronger breeze, it’s is a delight to launch it, as it felt very easy in that matter.  

Once airborne, brake travel offers a high authority for the pilot. It means that I could core the smallest thermal easily. The brake pressure is on the moderate side and resembles in length, and pressure the BGD Tala but with more agility and authority!  If you compare it to the Cure 2 M, The brake travel is close but the Lynx 2 M is more prompt to get a 360 in thermals.  

Comparing it to an Alpina 4 MS, the brakes have similar overall pressure feel, but higher agility on the Lynx 2. 

In weak thermals, flat turns could be made and the Lynx has a very efficient climb. I flew with the Skywalk Mint in multiple conditions and saw that the Lynx 2 was always near in weak and stronger thermals. Of course, my C comparison is updated for the tiny and sometimes ‘useless’ details for many…But at least that’s my personal opinion written on that chart. 

Gliding next to the latest 2-liners C class gliders, we were really surprised by the very good glide of the 2.5-line Lynx 2! You will not miss anything on performance with that setup flying next to an AD VOLT 4, a SOL LT2, and even next to the Mint! If there’s a difference, it is negligible and a good-faired harness will make up for it on long runs.


In turbulent conditions, the Lynx 2 has a moderate roll movement but I felt that it stays always above your head, as if it is saying: ‘I’ve got you covered’  That’s the feeling I got under it. A high passive safety feels for the C class. It moves on narrow angles and it isn’t a very dampened or boring glider to fly. You feel every thermal, but at the same time, it gives you that high safety impression by staying above your head all the time without high excessive movements.

The C riser controls the angle of attack while on the bar quite well, for gliders in the 2.5-line setup. Much like the TrangoX. Stepping on the speed bar has a moderate pressure, and gave me around 16 km/h over trim. 

Playing around doing wingovers is fun on the Lynx 2. Ears are stable, they reopen quickly. 


With its 6.2 aspect ratio, the Lynx 2 is a light, agile, easy to launch, small to pack, pleasurable to fly glider with plenty of performance. IMHO, for that specific wide group of pilots wanting a balanced glider for all-terrain use, it is definitely a good companion for a hike and fly or XC.