The key to life is not accumulation. It's contribution. Hands that serve help more than the lips that pray.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Niviuk Ikuma 3 size 24/ range 75-95

Niviuk Ikuma 3  size 24/ range 75-95

I have already flown the first and second versions of the Ikuma. Here’s the flight test of the Ikuma 3 in size 24 (75-95), flown from 88 to 94 all up.
 The Ikuma 3 is built with a mix of Dominico cloth, with Liros and Edlerid lines. 
The visual construction and little details are impeccable on that glider. There’s something apart from the building quality and small details. 
At 4.5 kg the Ikuma 3 is a semi-light glider. 

Launching the Ikuma 3 even in no wind conditions, rises smoothly and evenly. The Ikuma 3 rises effortlessly in more windy take-offs and stays above the pilot's head with a little brake.

I flew the Ikuma 3 with my Arrow L size. First rising air, I weight-shifted a little, and I pulled  10 cm of brake travel, and the Ikuma 3 quickly got me that perfect turning radius! 
I was already smiling from the first turn! Sometimes, when I test fly a new glider, I worry a bit that it may not satisfy my picky demanding, and handling criteria…But this time that beautiful feel and maneuverability under that Ikuma 3 saved the day!   
With moderate brake pressure and a nice linear feel throughout the brake range, the Ikuma 3 will surely deliver a large smile on pilots' faces. 
The Ikuma 3 even at 88 all up, can core thermals very narrow staying in the core very easily. The combination of the Arrow/Ikuma 3 while weightshifting and brake pulling is nothing but excellent!   In a more strong thermals, and flying it at 93 all up, the handling is even better! and coring is even more satisfying! A piece of pure pleasure while thermal flying. 

I flew it 92 all up in some very weak air, the Ikuma 3 has outstanding potential in weak lift! It hovers and stays in that weak lift, waiting for it to become stronger. It is very difficult to bomb out flying the Ikuma 3 unless you have been unlucky, and there’s nothing left to turn! I think after a while it could have the efficiency of the Swift 6 in that area…I will update my B comparison later after more hours of comparison. But it surely can float! 
The Ikuma 3 doesn’t dive in turns in normal braking. And unless you lower your hands the turns are flat inside the core. But once you dig that brake down properly, you will have a playful glider to fly in the air! A real high B toy! Wingovers are super high like loops if you want from the second turn!  
The main thing I personally like about a glider is when the R&D team manages to give the pilot supreme authority on the brakes if he decides to turn it flat or immediately go into play mode. That exceptional feature is easily managed under the Ikuma 3. 
Yes…It seems that I like that feel under it ;-). So no more writing about the handling… :-)

The pitch is neutral and hands up all the way the Ikuma 3 enters the airmass slowly but efficiently. It clings to the thermal and climbs effortlessly. It feels like it guides you into the thermal. It doesn’t reject the rising airmass but seems to slide and cling to it slowly. All you need to do is let it fly, keeping the minimum of brake pressure. It floats nicely into the rising air mass. 

For the past 4 months, I have been test-flying many 2-liners C’s and D’s with a couple of new high B’s. When switching from a 2 liner to any high B, the feel of less speed and dynamic movements are strikingly more obvious. The high B’s are created to give you performance but with slower speeds and reactions when going XC. 
The Ikuma 3 as a high B falls in that category. It is a soft XC glider with top-end gliding performance to match the best ones in that high B category. I will surely update my B comparison later on for the little details. But It is already confirmed to have a very nice gliding power.  
If you want to go XC efficiently on any glider, you should load that glider at the top end. Many will still ask me why…It is because the faster you enter the airmass the more efficiently you move forward. 
And going XC is to move forward ;-) 

Some manufacturers have their own political decisions to certify gliders +5 kg from the recommended flying weight. It doesn't mean that the extended weight range is optimal for XC. Sometimes when conditions are really strong, they are okay, but after a bit…they will struggle in the weak. We don’t want to land... So a balanced glider for XC is when flying it at the recommended weight range stated by the manufacturer.

The Maestro 2 could be ideal at 75 % of the flying range, and also the same goes for the Mentor 7 as recommended. They are both superb high B’s.  
If you want a fast XC mode flying the Ikuma 3 size 24 (75-95) in strong Alpine air!  Go for 94-95 all up.  
In normal flying, the Ikuma 3-24 will stay very maneuverable and dynamic in turns at mid-weight, but the same-size Swift 6 will be a bit boaty at mid-weight. 
The excellent Swift 6 MS (75-95), is better to be loaded right on top at 95 in XC mode. 

The Ikuma 3 felt slightly easier to fly than the Ikuma 2. It felt a bit softer. The speed bar pressure is moderate even at full travel. The speed gain over the trim speed is around 13 km/h taken at 800m/ ASL.   
When pushing on the speed bar, the C riser steering with moderate pressure and easy handling, is efficient in keeping the cool Ikuma 3 on track. 
Big ears with outer A’s are super efficient like a few other B’s. 
With a speed bar and big ears, -5 m/s could easily be reached! They open without any intervention, or perhaps a very slight pressure on the brakes if they are very big. 
The Ikuma 3 seems very friendly and lets you make really big ears. Of course, like any other glider don’t pull too much to let the left and right tip touch! You could induce a stall under any glider.  

Even after many testing years, some gliders even in the high B category, still give me those happy flying vibes! 
The Ikuma 3 is one of them.  A very comfortable high B with pleasurable handling and top-end performance for the category. 
It is very clear, that flying the Ikuma 3 will firstly touch the sensitive handling pilots by delivering a high amount of pleasure feel. All that with very good brake authority. 
Pilots have different feel, and different requirements, but I can assure you test flying the Ikuma 3 won’t keep you indifferent!  

Happy flights.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Mac Para Verve 23

Mac Para Verve 23 

This year I attended the Coupe Icare with my family and did some interviews with manufacturers as best as I could. Mac Para had a glider for me that I returned with me to test fly. 
The Verve is Mac Para new 2 liner EN-C glider. 
The Verve has semi-light cloth and the size 23 weighs around 4.00 kg for a weight range of 84-97. 
The shape in the air looks cool. The Verve has winglets on both sides. 

Launching the Verve 23 at 94 all up is very straightforward, without any hard points. It is easy to launch and the take-off is quick. 
In the air, the brake pressure is on the moderate/light side.  
As I’m a picky person concerning brake authority and agility...
The Verve has slightly longer brake travel than the Elan 3, with a bit less sharp control. All the feedback comes from the risers, not the brakes. The roll and overall movements are present without being disturbing. Just like on the Scala 2.
Saying that the brake authority on the Verve is quite present with a moderate and acceptable agility in thermals. The sharp brake reactions and dynamics found on the Elan 3 are much tamer on the Verve. Perhaps for many pilots, it's a plus, as it would feel more easy to use! but for my personal picky taste, I felt that the Elan 3 brake pressure and overall, felt a bit more connected to my own way of flying.  
My friend on the Verve who is used to his Boom 12 size M said that the brake authority was fine for him and the Verve agility was quite ok for his own preference.  

Flying the Verve 23 at 96 in the very weak and broken lift needs a high concentration to stay in that lift, as the Verve didn’t feel like a floater in those tiny, weak thermals.  
When thermals and conditions are very homogenous, above 1 m/s, the Verve climbs well, and the difference between the other 2 liner C’s are negligible. 

In more disorganized thermals, the Verve needs slightly more time to get itself in a 'ready to climb' mode.  I flew the Verve for hours, then gave it to my friend, and I took a Photon MS, the same size at 94 all up.  This way alternating gliders, each one of us will feel and see much better the differences. 
In moderate turbulence and a bit weak multi-core thermals, the Photon could be turned narrower into the core, gaining quick heights, but my skilled friend is not far away on the Verve and catching up once the thermals get cleaner.  Just a bit more time to get hooked on that light lift. 
The Overall movements under the Verve are quite similar to the Elan 3 and not more demanding. My 2 liner C comparison is updated for more details if needed. 

The strong point of that Verve is the glide at trim and at full bar compared to the Photon in calm air or in smooth transitions! 
 I think the Verve is a competitive glider in gliding mode and could match the Photon at the trim and at the full bar!  The full speed is also similar on both gliders I have over here!    
Ears are doable with outer B’s. The B riser steering has moderate pressure and it is quite efficient to control the Verve when speeding on the bar! 

The Verve felt like an easier Elan 3, with better performances. I’ve heard that the certification got a high number of B’s…which could cheer up some pilots, especially those coming to that category of 2-liners after their full season on a 3-liner C.  So Macpara enthusiasts looking for a racing glider got their Christmas present! Happy flights!