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Monday, April 22, 2024

Air Design Rise 5 S ---- (Ram-TRX) ---- :-)

The Rise 5 is an AirDesign high EN-B glider for 2024/26.

Airdesign inserted new winglets on the Rise 5. 
I flew the Rise 5 S (72-92) from 87 to 92 all up. It flies great at 88!  
Launching the Rise 5 is a non-issue at all. It has easy inflation, rises smoothly, and waits for the pilot overhead in a moderate breeze. 
In the air with an Advance Impress 4 and later on an NK Arrow. 
The brake travel is short direct and precise as, after the 10 cm gap, only +10 cm is needed in most conditions to immediately steer the glider into cores. The pressure is moderate to slightly firm after 15 cm of travel. The Rise 5 is an agile glider in turns that lets you core the tiniest of thermals, with a good degree of pleasure feel.  

Flying the Rise 5, I noticed an uncommon feature for the B category. I was writing the test 6 days ago but stopped and preferred to fly it even more, to be sure of what about I’m going to write afterward. 
As I was saying...There’s something very special underneath that glider that differs from 90% of the competitors. let me explain:

The Rise 5 has a slightly faster trim speed of +2 km/h than a brand-new Rush 6 for example with the same loadings for both. Inside thermals, the Rise 5 clings into thermals sliding through very efficiently with an incredibly efficient climb rate! Carves the air like on rails with efficiency, which is noticeable! 
In turbulence, in smooth, or strong climbs, the Rise 5 climbs very well for a high B glider. 

Some high B gliders will pitch slightly or slow a bit before entering thermals. The Rise 5 quality of entering the lift is excellent and resembles the upper C or D class gliders! It moves efficiently through the lift and never gets pinned facing the lift. Even if you fly it at 88 all up and not at the max (92), it will still be fast at trim and great at surfing the airmass! 
Even when pulling on the brakes to steer it, the Rise 5 still wants to reach that thermal and carve it efficiently like the C or D class gliders!  The turning radius could be made tight and the Rise 5 stays glued to the updraft in a somehow perfect coring characteristics. It resembles the Maestro 2 thermal characteristics, which I liked very much, but with more than 50 % overall comfort!  
 I am talking here about the quality of entering the rising air mass which is excellent under the Rise 5. That specific way of climbing (with benefits) is very interesting.  
All that with very high comfort for the B class, as the Rise 5 resembles the Mentor 7 in comfort and agility, with more brake connectivity and a linear feel on the brakes for the Rise 5.

Saying that I found out that even in the harshest of conditions, the Rise 5 is a gentle teddy bear to fly! So smooth and relaxing, I was thinking that some A-class gliders could have more movements… So how did Air Design manage to give the Rise 5 a slightly higher trim speed with that outstanding climb rate and comfort?  

Flying it at 88 is excellent in all conditions. The Rise 5 keeps its structure homogeneity in turbulence. Now at 90 for the strong days could also be a good option. 

Now the gliding part:
We did lots of glides with a new Rush 6 MS at 92 all up in the company of a Kangri X S at 96 all up, and a Davinci Funky 2 S at 95 all up.  We did practically 2 days of glide and testing. 
The Rush 6 had to push slightly the speed travel to reach my trim speed on the Rise 5 at 88-89 all up. Doing those glides together and repeatedly showed us a clear idea about its potential. 
Gliding in lift lines and turbulent air under the Rise 5 gives its pilot that plus, in float-ability with efficient climb and surfing. The Rise 5 seems to show its glide in moving air rather than in calm air. 

Big ears are easy to make, stable, efficient, and quite usable in all conditions. Wingovers are quite surprisingly high, and the Rise 5 showed me a playful character for such a smooth glider.  
Speed over trim is around 13 km/h. The first bar has a moderate pressure and slightly more on the second bar. 
The C steering while in turbulence is very efficient, and easy to use, with moderate pressure to keep the Rise 5 on track while on the speed bar.  

Fast trim speed, smooth flying characteristics, homogenous structure, very efficient digging through the airmass for a high B, agile and playful, while keeping the pilot ‘super' relaxed.  
The Rise 5 in one word:  Ram TRX  :-)  

Thursday, April 18, 2024

DaVinci Funky 2 S

Davinci Funky 2

The Funky 2 is Davinci high performance EN-B. It is constructed with a 3-line concept and unsheathed lines everywhere. The Funky 2 has lots of features with a special leading-edge look, including the smart Nose Plus. I’ll let you see all the Funky 2 specs here: 

Launching the Funky2 even without wind is straightforward without any hard points. A smooth take-off with no wind. In strong windy takeoff, the Funky 2 with the right input felt very smooth and gentle.
Turning the Funky 2 is a real pleasure! The turning radius can be made very tight coring the tiniest of thermals. 
For a high-B, the Funky 2 brake travel can be described as short to moderate in length and pressure, with a nice linear feel through the turn. 
A kind of hydraulic smooth turn I can say!  Very satisfying and pleasurable to fly.  
On one day, at the soaring site, the wind blew around 30…32 km/h, and after flying the Mullet 18 a bit, I tried to play with the Funky 2 at mid-weight with a seated harness, launching from the beach exactly at 0 sea level, just to see how it will cope with such winds. 
To my surprise I could easily lift off from the beach getting higher, with efficient forward flying for a B glider, touch the sand, and go high again, playing for more than an hour was satisfying and rewarding with that nice authority on the brakes.  I had a blast under the Funky 2 playful character. 
Now in XC mode.
I flew the Funky 2 in different aerology and took my time test flying it. I can confirm the easy and forgiving behavior of that Funky 2. It felt much easier to fly than the Kangri-X I am also currently test-flying
It is more comfortable to fly than the Rush 6 /also.  Maybe it is slightly more alive than the Mentor 7 with a ‘gentleman’ feedback :-)! 
The Funky 2 is a smooth glider to fly and lets you concentrate on your flying instead of looking at the glider.  
Climb rate: 
Inside the High B category, I found the Funky 2 to have quite a very good and competitive climb rate in all conditions. In weak air, the Funky 2 is quite competitive as it can be slowed inside any weak lift and could easily stay in that lift with a positive vario.  The Funky 2 can easily grab thermals without losing the climb and can compete efficiently with good High B climbers.
In punchy and stronger cores, the Funky 2 like most B-class gliders slows slightly before entry, then it goes in, quite nicely and efficiently inside the core. Flying The S at 95 would make it even better in those strong conditions, without losing its float ability in weak air.  
The overall movements in roll are quite in the middle of the B class. The pitch is nearly absent, for the high B category as the Funky 2 can be described as a comfortable glider to fly.
The R&D added a light touch of smooth spices giving the pilot a nice turn and pleasurable handling.  
Gliding with the Funky 2 in moderate boiling air seems to give the pilot a nice glide through that moving airmass.  We flew against a brand new Rush 6 size MS loaded at 92 all up. I think, despite having a 3 line concept, the glide is amazingly good for the Funky 2. We tried four glides, in a headwind, backwind, and tricky air, and the result was very good placing it among the 5 best gliding high B machines. I also added a new B chart (spider type) for the picky pilots :-). 
The C riser system has a moderate and smooth feel and lets you control the pitch or the glider movements while on bar. Similar to other good 2.5 or 3-line high B gliders.  The speed over trim is +13 km/h over trim taken at 800 ASL. 
Ears with outside A’s are stable, very easy to induce, and efficient for descent. 
The DaVinci Funky 2 surprised me with its complete and highly usable package of performance and pleasurable handling. A must to try near the max weight, to give you that taste of surfing the air. 


Thursday, April 4, 2024

AirDesign Volt 5 S


I’m not the only one who is noticing, I think...! Something is interesting at AIR-DESIGN. 

A cooler approach toward the pilots with their marketing ads and cool videos, funny and unique. They seem to cook magical recipes on their private planet.
All this shows highly creative teamwork. 
For example: They released the first certified 2 liner C category (Volt4) in Feb -2022 
They now released three new gliders B-C-D at the same time!!!  including the  Rise 4 EN-B (1st B glider with the new fashionable winglets)  and the 2nd generation of a 2-liner C glider the Volt 5! And last is the Hero 2 as a 2-liner D class. 
Indeed on a different planet! :-) 

This test is about the Volt 5.
which is built with light Dominico double-coated 25 g/m2 fabric. The S size weighs around 3.75 kg. 
I flew the Volt 5 (80-92) from 87 to 92 all up. I think 90 is ideal in all conditions. 
Take-off is straightforward, no shooting forward. Very easy to launch. 

Flying the Volt 5 S with NK Arrow harness and later on the Advance Impress4 harness. 
From 90 to 92 all up, the Volt 5 has a neutral pitch when entering thermals. The reactions are smooth for a 2 liner C glider. The roll movements are also very well-balanced. Probably slightly more roll than the Volt 4 but still super comfy to fly.  The roll movements are less than the Photon, and the Trango X.  My C comparison is updated. The feel of structure homogeneity under it is between an Artik-R and Bonanza 3. 
The first turn in thermals showed me a very nice coordinated handling!  In strong turbulent air, it moves a bit more in itself (structure) like the Artik-R/Trango-X.  
The brake pressure is on the moderate to slightly firm side (more pressure than Photon) but with short travel to give you a lovely direct and linear reaction, that can quickly initiate a turn.  
Coring thermals is a pleasure under the VOLT 5 as I could readjust the turning radius efficiently inside a core to get the best out of a lift with the possibility of tight narrow turns. Lovely handling! 

When flying the Volt 5 at 87 in strong windy conditions, the handling remains nice, with direct handling, but a bit slower to react, and also the reactivity to turn the glider in those strong conditions. 
Later, I found out that at 90 all up, it would be a sharp tool for nice XC days yet very efficient even in the weakest thermals.

In very weak air, the Volt 5 has the ability to catch those tiny thermals, and with its direct handling, it would help a lot to stay in the core waiting for another thermal.
In this respect, the Volt 5 joins the best 2-liner C’s for the climb rate efficiency.

The speed bar pressure is on the moderate side. Not too light nor too heavy. While holding the speed bar, the B handles are efficient in keeping the glider on track. Top speed over trim is around +15-16 km/h

Doing some glides next to a loaded Photon MS sometimes in a headwind and in lift lines, showed us that the Volt 5 is a fierce competitor! 
In those glides, the Volt 5 showed an efficient profile while surfing the airmass. Next to the Photon, at trim speed and even at half the speed bar, it copes quite similarly to the Photon with the lift areas without losing the glide.  
We were surprised by its gliding efficiency.  The B steering has moderate pressure and it is efficient in keeping the Volt 5 angle in accelerated mode. 

Wingovers need slightly more application to build higher inversions. I think it seems to soften the turns which is a good sign of self-balance after collapse, I think…

AirDesign surprised me with the Volt 5! A truly competitive EN-C in climb and glide, while being comfortable, and smooth to fly. The handling and turning abilities deliver a pleasurable feel. 
An interesting 2-liner EN-C for test flying if you are looking inside that category.