Monday, January 28, 2013

NOVA Mentor 3 S

NOVA Mentor 3 S 

NOVA Mentor 3
In my flying career there were some special gliders, and I always think about those flying moments under them. In 94 the Airwave Xmx 28,The Airwave Magic 1, Axis Venus 2 S, and the Nova Mentor 2.
I was impatiently waiting for the new model and was curious if any improvement could be made.
Having flown the Mentor 2 S for the last 2 years and keeping it as a reference for new tested gliders, and as many pilots noticed that it is still very competitive… the different feelings when flying the Mentor 3 S were immediately noticed.

I was very curious with that question to Hannes Papesh the designer in Saint Hilaire about the possibility of a Mentor 2 improvement.

Then The Mentor 3 came. Construction of the leading edge is different, with probably a lighter cloth and special 3D construction with some thin vertical Mylar reinforcement.

Launching the Mentor 3 S is very easy but have to be stopped in strong wind to keep it from surging.
Easy for a B.

Trim speed is the same as the M2,if the loadings are the same ! At max weight an M3 is faster by one 1 km/h than another M3 at 94 all up. The same goes for the M2.

In the air:
The Mentor 3 felt more stable above my head and little smoother in movements. The pitch control is more pronounced on the Mentor 3 keeping the pilot less busy than the Mentor 2,but still it’s a busy glider in the high end B category, requiring good skills, like all the new ones Blacklight SM ,Nevada 26 .

The handling got milder with a little longer brake travel and still precise. For my tasting the M2 S was superb, but for long flights the M3 S has now less steering power.

The climb rate of the M3 resembles the M2 one , very efficient, and I have to say that the M3 needs less control input to climb efficiently as the M2 needs more pilot control.

Gliding next to the M2 in calm conditions could have a very slight advantage to the M3 S.

Gliding in head wind and rougher conditions favor just a little more the M3, because of its calm pitch behavior.

Conclusion: In this very competitive category, the Mentor 3 S is a little friendlier Mentor 2 S, with some little improvements in rough air.

The key for efficient glide into wind is to load the M3 S at max. It will be faster by 1 km/h than the current B’s also loaded at max and with the ability to cut through in head wind glides and stays leveled above the pilot’s head without pitch movements for efficient glides.
The climb rate at that loading is still very good! And Still very competitive climb rate with the new B’s and a bit more efficient in climb in headwind conditions as it has the tendency to go forward and up in thermals.

But the gap, which existed in the Mentor 2 era, is now very small between all new generations B’s in terms of pure glide. The differences are about 0.2/0.3 L/D if numbers are still required…
It is now up to the pilot to get the best of each day.


Please leave the glide numbers at home on a piece of paper as they don’t mean anything in moving air !
When flying, you will leave behind all your magazines, pc, and those precious glide numbers….
In the air there’s a single word, which rules. ‘Efficiency’= Cut ,climb ,dig in and move forward !
That’s why comp gliders fly better. In the current B category the character of the gliders are now toward that philosophy of efficiency, and that what makes them very interesting.

As the Mentor 2 was a very efficient glider in the B category, here is the mentor 3, another efficient glider with just a bit easier to handle.
If flown at max weight the Mentor 3 will surely mark some interesting “numbers” on the OLC competition board.


More pictures on dustoftheuniverse group on facebook:


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tests at

How the tests are made at

Many pilots, and professionals have over the time asked me about the testing I make in my blog and how it is possible to get an assessment on gliders.
In this special area I am flying there is really some special conditions that allowed me to understand better the gliders I am testing.
Surely I will ‘not’ write a complete report in a normal and easy XC flight.
For me a glider is tested in: ‘Strong conditions’ and ‘Difficult conditions’, and that’s exactly what my flying spots frequently offer.
‘Strong conditions’ will enable me to understand better the cohesion of a glider in strong, punchy lifts and the ability of the glider to be controlled in these situations. After one flight in strong conditions will give a quick idea of the glider. But that’s not even 5 % of the tests! In strong conditions all gliders including speed gliders will climb to base eventually.
But the most important to me for evaluating a glider is the ‘Difficult conditions’ tests…
I mean in difficult conditions to test fly a glider:
1-Against a sea breeze on low altitude with very weak thermals .The better glider will always move forward and dig in that weak thermal rather than bumping into it and staying in a stationary flight.
 Sometimes when I say that a glider is reluctant to enter some thermals, I don’t mean in strong thermals…I mean when encountering a weak thermal and having that head wind or sea breeze, the glider in question doesn’t really dig forward enough to climb. Some will need more time to creep forward and climb, others will enter better that air mass if this sea breeze doesn’t exist. And to get a conclusion for that, my friend with whom I fly for 20 years and know well his skills, will be next to me with a glider known for its qualities, and I will be with the new testing glider.
For many flights side by side, we both could see clearly the differences in gliders who can be more fluid and efficient in those conditions.
2- In the lee side, with broken thermals and sudden lifts, especially slightly at ridge level, where the breeze from the other side is mixed with the lee thermals, here the ability to maneuver the glider is critical, as the lee side produces some turbulence and the thermals will be disoriented, and that will surely make the handling of a glider highly affected. In those conditions flying also side-by-side and exchanging some comments  “If possible sometimes” ;-)  about the feeling of the glider and its ability to turn inside that turbulent core.
3- The glide comparison:
In calm air many pilots are still looking for that glide number on paper.
That’s completely wrong. We all are flying the gliders in moving air, and that number is meaningless.
That’s why I do those glides in real flights next to my friend on another reference glider side by side with the videos that you are viewing.
But the conclusion for the B ,C.or D comparisons are the one to look at ,because those are made after many flights in
-Head wind glides
-Long turbulent glides
-With or without accelerator
The results are seen more clearly, and sometimes it could change a bit if I sensed some flaws…
Manufacturers need to produce gliders that sells…They seek and hope to get always positive feedback from mags or individuals which is normal! But sometimes it won’t be the case.
Not all the gliders in one cat could have the best performances or the best handling!!
A few can cope with the negative. It is a big business after all, but in order to be totally free I am buying the gliders for testing, and also writing whatever I feel under a glider.
On the other side, Manufacturers have their reputation to look at. I don’t think anyone will release a single piece of equipment with their brand name unless they are 100 % sure of its quality.

A small word for lesser lines:
The recently tested gliders having lesser main lines or attachment points lacks of cohesion in ‘very strong and turbulent air’. Some B gliders are still manageable but the pilot under them won’t have the complete authority of control in those conditions. Still better cohesion for the ones having 3A’s 3B’s ……
A small word for tested gliders in the B,C,D category.
The certification is just an idea. It won’t tell anything about the safety of the glider. Looking at the certification videos will give a 50 % idea of the situation. But remember, you are flying the glider in a moving environment that will put the glider in different angles to the horizon. The collapses encountered at that angle will be a bit different than on the certification videos.
The best is to read and listen to the manufactures recommendations and of course your trusty instructor.
Flying the gliders in normal conditions won’t get any results as all of us will eventually get low, or stuck in a valley breeze in the lee side…and in those tricky conditions the glider we fly matters a lot, because it will help us continue our flight or ended sooner.

My tests will be more precise to describe the difference between gliders because I believe that the best glider is the one that delivers each pilot the fun he requires.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mac Para EDEN 5 26

Mac Para EDEN 5 ! (The hidden Treasure ! )

The last gliders I flew from Mac Para were the Magus XC2 and the Marvel. Both were on the edge of performance in their category especially the climb rate!
Now Santa Claus brought to my hands this December new Eden 5 size 26(80-95), which I will fly at 91 all up weight and I am just taking some photos preparing myself for a long and amazing flight….

Launching this glider is as simple as it gets. The light materials in the leading edge do contribute to that easy forgiving launching.

In the air I felt immediately at ease and comfortable. The EDEN 5 inspires complete confidence in the air telling you to relax and enjoy your XC flight.

First turn into a thermal showed a light to medium brake travel with a very nice agility for the B category!
The Mac Para team has tuned the brake response and the agility of the glider in a high tech way! Meaning that ‘even’ a low end B pilot will get a forgiving brake travel, and the more experienced B pilot will sing and smile while turning with an efficient, agile, and beautiful turn radius. To combine those qualities in a single glider is something ‘very rare’ until now.

Turning in the air with another new B glider that has already a reputation for excellent climb rate, I found the EDEN 5 to be very close or even better sometimes! The leading edge doesn’t move much …It just enter the thermals and climb, and I could sense that by the beeping of the vario ! Just to tell you how the pitch movement is neutral. NO hanging back or pitching forward. And it is not a dull glider also. Just the necessary information’s.

I can confirm that the climb rate is on the ‘top’ of the category for the moment!

Trim speed at ‘91 all up’ on the 26 showed a 38.5 km/h. The accelerator at full bar will get you at 48.5 km/h at 1000 ASL. Next time I’ll fly it at 95…

This day was exceptional, with nice cloud base and long glides that enabled me to do some wing tip comparison with the best ‘B’ of the moment! That was tested recently on my blog.
Despite being just a bit slow on trim on the EDEN 5, I used the bar, which is light and easy to use, but short, to compensate the fully loaded other ‘B’ glider I am following, and to my surprise and after some several 8 km glides, I can see that the EDEN 5 was always very competitive! The glides were the same!

Pulling the accelerator at full bar in some turbulence showed a tough leading edge, without any nasty surprises.

The day has ended, and I was still flying that amazing and relaxing piece of art!

Big ears are stable and easy to use. A descent rate of -3m/s is showed with the accelerator. They open by themselves.

With the EDEN 5, Mac Para has created their masterpiece in the B category.
Some B gliders that have a superb climb rate, and the EDEN 5 has the same .
Other B gliders that have excellent glide, and the EDEN 5 also has the same .
But to combine all those features in an easy, agile, and relaxing wing that could be also an entry to the B category is the real hidden force behind the EDEN 5.
The Mac logo ‘fly in peace’ should be printed on the EDEN 5 Wink . Pilots who want to get an upgrade for their low end B’s will be nicely welcomed on board the high end EDEN 5!
Yes I talked too much …That’s because I found a hidden treasure!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

NOVA Ion 2 XS LIGHT 70-90

NOVA Ion 2 Light XS 70-90

Two years ago, I test flew the Ion 1, a low end B glider which was in fact a very tamed glider intended for talented beginner pilots.

I heard that the light version of the new Ion 2 has something special, and I was keen to test fly it to discover that special glider…

The Ion 2 XS light has arrived, and after some long rainy days, I finally flew it for a 3-day free flight…

With the Genie Lite equipped with a light rescue and the 4.5 kg Ion 2 Light, a light breakfast ? and 88 all up .

Launching that glider is super easy...

In the air the Ion 2 XS light has a more ‘spicy’ feeling than the old ion 1. It is not as dampened as the Ion 1 was. The first contact with a thermal is felt by a little pitch back from the glider.

The brakes have a medium pressure like the M2 Small and are also surprisingly very direct ! This glider can be turned with precision and on the spot inside the thermal ! That’s a new characteristic never seen before on a low B glider !
An educated pilot will surely appreciate that superb handling feature !

The climb rate of the Ion 2 XS loaded at top is still good ! Of course it has to be steered gently and carefully to let the glider flat. Other wise the actual wing load of 88 under the XS will let this agile glider dive….But I like that turn feeling !

The biggest surprise is yet to come with the ION 2 (Light) glide angle !

At trim speed and in ‘calm air’ I can confirm that the Ion 2 light has a very close glide angle as the Mentor 2 S ! Unbelievable. But true.

At 40 % of the travel bar which has medium to light pressure, the Ion 2 XS retain its impressive glide angle for a low EN-B . At full travel the speed increases nicely but the glide deteriorates quickly compared to a mentor 2 S. But that’s more than enough for that type of gliders!

In head wind glides the high end EN-B Mentor 2 S has of course much better racing ability upwind.

Having only 2 A lines, the ears on this glider are big, stable and have a nice descent rate.

Conclusion: A talented low EN-B pilot who searches for a light wing will fall in love with the Ion 2 light for its excellent handling, superb performance, enough speed and overall safety margin in the low end EN-B category! 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012



6 months ago I have tested the Aspen 4 .I still remember its ease of use and comfortable ride for a C glider.
Now came the NEVADA EN-B glider ,size 26 (85-100)

With 5 km wind the glider need a steady pull as it doesn’t get above your head very fast.

In the air:
At first I was on the NEVADA 26 at 95 all up and my friend Moni flew the Mentor 2 S at 96 all up.

Immediately after take off I could feel the floating ability of the NEVADA ! The climb rate in thermals is nothing but perfect! This glider doesn’t pitch forward nor back, it just climbs!

Coring thermals with the NEVADA needs a long pilot input to begin its turn. I cannot say that it has a direct and precise brake travel, like the M 2 but its fairly ok.

This glider does compensate in its floating ability and climb rate in the thermals!

Flying in different conditions and knowing that the NEVADA is aimed at high-end B pilots, I could say that it is similar to the Blacklight in comfort.
Trim speed is around 39 km/h and top speed at 98 all up could match the M2 S at 95 all up + 1 km for the M 2 , with the same glide angle or very slightly better + 0.1 for the NEVADA !

Flying the NEVADA will give more chances of low saves and better floating ability on long glides.

Big ears are stable and an efficient descent method.
The speed system is fairly light.
Flying the NEVADA with my friend on the M2 and switching gliders afterward showed that even when I am used to my M2, I was always trying hard to catch the NEVADA as it floats easily and quickly upward.
To handle the NEVADA in rough air, I think it is better to be at top weight, and it won’t loose anything in its ‘brilliant’ climb rate.

From the recent high-end ‘B’ gliders I flew, I can confirm that:

The NEVADA has the ‘best’ climb rate until now.
It has also ‘one’ of the best glide angle.
It’s comfortable enough for the high end ‘B’ pilot

I would have liked a shorter and more direct handling, but the whole performance/comfort /climb package the NEVADA offers is nothing but outstanding!

If you are one of those high-end ‘B’ pilot wanting to be near the ‘troposphere’  ;-) don’t let this glider slip away without having a test flight.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saint Hilaire (Coupe Icare)

Some videos and pictures from Saint Hilaire Cheers,


Some pictures :


Thursday, August 23, 2012


Dear all ,
I just updated the EN-C comparison inserting the VOLT (see further posts below) 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Air Design VOLT SM


Air Design  VOLT
After flying the PURE and the RISE ,I was waiting for AD new C glider. And here it is The SM size 80-95 .
I flew the glider at 94 all up, as the VOLT has to be flown at top weight to be able to control it in all conditions. At 90 all up in strong conditions it kept telling me that she likes to be heavily loaded. I understood.

I flew the glider in different conditions from turbulent to weak. I can say that the VOLT is fairly comfortable for a regular ‘C’ glider. It is more comfortable than the C 4, and a bit less comfortable than the Delta.

When entering a thermal it slows a bit, doesn’t pitch back much. Sometimes when loosing the thermal it pitches a bit forward.

The VOLT has an overall average to good climb rate in the C category, much like the C 4 and the Delta.

I could describe the overall handling as average. The SM size flown at 94 showed a calm turn, and I could not say it is an agile glider .It needs a bit more time to be placed easily and quickly inside those small cores. Once it is inside it can core easily .It is definitely more agile than the PURE and easier to handle.

The trim speed at 94 all up is a bit less than 40 km/h. Accelerated at max,it is around 55 km/h.

Gliding next to a Passion SM loaded at 102 ‘in calm air’, showed similar glide ratio at trim.
At first bar the VOLT may have a slight advantage. At second bar the speed and glide are very close!

As everyone knows many manufacturers are putting some high aspect gliders in the ‘C’ category High aspect ratio gliders will eventually climb better and has a better floatability into wind transitions.

Gliding in moving head wind conditions I prefer to compare the VOLT to similar aspect ratio ‘C’ gliders like the Artik 3 25 and the Cayenne 4 S. The VOLT showed exactly similar glide as the Artik 3 at trim and a bit better than the C4 at second bar .

Big ears could be made with the outer ‘A’s or the outer ‘B’s. Descent rates are around -2.5 m/s with the speed bar.

Wing over’s could be largely built as the energy of the glider is clearly present.

I wished it had a more aggressive bite and thermal entry rather than being slowed a bit. And also a more direct handling as I am a handling freak ;-)  .

But with its superb glide angle and overall behavior if loaded at top, the VOLT will lead many happy pilots to long XC flights as it sits well in the ‘C’ category.
Pilots coming to the ‘C’ category will need a very small time to adapt.
In that time of ‘C’s being targeted as ‘D’s and ‘D’s being certified as ‘C’s….The VOLT is a classic ‘C’ glider with the performance of today’s pilots requirements.

Friday, July 20, 2012


The very long waited IP6 23 came finally and I was able to fly it in variable conditions from weak to turbulent at 98 all up recommended by NIVIUK.

If I want to compare it with the old ‘D’s, the IP6 is a bit difficult to launch it overall.

In flight:
Comparing this glider also to the old ‘D’s, Peak 2,M4, O8… ,the IP6 feels more dynamic and alive.
It feels like the glider has lots of energy.
The handling and ability to steer the glider in “moderate conditions” is outstanding. Very responsive, soft and linear brake travel enables its pilot to experience not less than perfection.

Flying all the new ‘C’s and old generation ‘D’s I could immediately feel that I am under something very different and special. A glider from outer space .The climb is twice better. I could float endlessly and the flying feels ‘light’, as it opens new doors to very long xc flights.
Gliding with the IP 6 is a memorable experience. It will illuminate the pilot to the fact that numbers on paper are pure illusion.
Encountering a light lift on long glides, the IP6 will inhale that lift and float endlessly to the horizon ;-)

In small turbulent cores and moving conditions, the IP 6 will remind its pilot that it’s a pure breaded horse very different from the old ‘D’ category. It has lots of energy that it will need some time to settle and controlled for the pilot to steer it into the core. The brakes became less powerful to adjust to the energy of the glider.

But in those nasty conditions the IP 6 never felt soft and I didn’t have any collapses or even felt that it will collapse. The structure felt very strong.

The accelerator is smooth and at first bar the wing speed increases significantly with practically no loss of gliding power! At second bar a speed over 63 could be reached easily.

Big ears are possible with the B3, but after applying half bar and reaching the lines at the highest possible. The pressure is high, and I wasn’t able to get less than -2m/s at ¾ of the bar. They reopen very quickly on release.

360’s are a delight, as the handling will enable the pilot to let the IP6 dive. Lots of power !

Competition pilots will never mind all what’s written here. Their goal is to win and the IP 6 is already here to confirm that.
My conclusion is for C or D pilots who are thinking about getting themselves an upgrade.
I will be clear and fair. IMHO The IP 6 is the competition glider of the moment that will clearly win PWC events in the hands of those professional pilots who are searching for winning. That’s the main purpose behind its creation ….
Old ‘D’s are a big step behind in performance and overall ease of use.

I have sent the glider now and I am still thinking of that unimaginable piece of art! Those memorable moments under it…I felt that I was really “flying”

But since I am not into competitions with lots of responsibilities towards myself and others, and rather prefer a more relaxing and common wing for everyday use, I will wait to test fly that new NIVIUK peak 2 (replacement) and I am sure that the designer will have some more tricks under his sleeves ;-) .



Sunday, July 8, 2012


“ESCAPE” a new brand, motivated people, new ideas, and new possibilities.
Laying the glider on the floor showed impeccable details and construction. Plastic inserts on the leading edge, no Mylar reinforcements on the cells like all the new generation designs. All the lines are unsheathed, a true 3 liner, looks very slick and sporty.
A new innovation for that class is the WTS (Wing Torsion System) Two lines each side connected to the stabilo edge of the wing that let the pilot steer the wing in accelerated mode or at trim if they wish without touching the brakes, when they pull the small handles located each side.

In the air:
The weight range for the 25 is quite large (85-110)  But the designer Pierre-Yves Allois ,recommends to fly the 25 at 97 all up practically in all conditions. Above that weight you will gain in speed and penetration but will loose in weak thermals.

Launching the glider is a non-event for the category. It even launches with 1 km/h wind easily as the glider feels very light and steady above your head.
First thermal and the turning abilities are average to good, similar to an M4.The brakes have medium pressure .A bit more than the M4.
I flew the glider in few occasions, first time the conditions were turbulent below an inversion. Strangely the glider seems stable and comfortable for the ‘D’ category.
I steady moderate thermals the glider climbs very well and you can steer it precisely inside the core. In disorder weak thermals it needs a bit more skill to re-adjust the turn radius and place the wing wherever you want.
In very weak thermals below 0.2 m/s I found the Smax to be less efficient .It feels that the nose is entering but the vario doesn’t beep.
Now the strong point of the Smax SR is its glide at trim. My own feeling tells me that this glider has better glide than the old ‘D’s !
Its performance is a step below the IP6 that I have also to test fly in parallel.
ESCAPE stated that this glider is for the regular ‘D’ pilot. Indeed, the Smax SR is easier to handle in turbulent conditions. It will give its pilot more time to react under it. I think it is similar to the M4 in comfortable behavior.
Applying the bar is easy and the pressure is a bit more than the M4 but still light enough. Big ears have medium stability, and with the speed bar the sink rate is around 2.5 m/s .

The (WTS)
I have tried the WTS at trim and accelerated. Inducing the small red handle at trim I could easily turn the wing 360 degrees on a large radius. Nice…
In accelerated mode it is better to let the brakes on your wrists and try to pull the red handles with no brake pressure. (Elbows must be a bit higher)
In that configuration the WTS woks more efficiently but needs some time to adapt…and have the feeling to trust the wing …
Playing with the wing speed limits, the Smax SR showed an incredible distance between low and high trim speed ,that enabled me to play around in high wind top landing.
In nil wind landings, it is better to keep the Smax SR with a bit of speed before braking it to land.

Excellent glide and a comfortable ride. That’s the Smax SR.If you are an experienced pilot whose aim is the ‘D’ category, and don’t want to go for extreme machines, a test fly of the Smax SR is a must.


Friday, July 6, 2012

U-Turn Blacklight SM

U-Turn Blacklight
In 2010 a successful manufacturer made an impressive EN-B wing that can out glide some higher rated gliders.
Since then, many manufacturers worked hardly on something to beat it…
Last month, I had a U-Turn Passion EN-C to test fly it. I was very impressed by the total package this glider offers, especially its capacity to absorb turbulence for its 6.85 ar to keep its passenger quite comfortable. I was eager to find out what U-Turn will bring to the market in the B segment especially that they claim for the new Blacklight a glide of 10 !

The test:
Like the Passion the Blacklight SM is quite light with its ± 4.5 kg! Plastic inserts at the leading edge and inside the glider are (a la mode) these days ;-) as with all the gliders. Each thin riser hold 7 lines + the brake line.

Launching is easy for the category wherever in light or in strong breeze.

In the air:
The first impression after the first turn is that the Blacklight has one of the best handling a B glider could have!
Describing the handling of the Blacklight is like eating my favorite ice cream with caramel, vanilla and chunks of delicious brownies. The excellent taste will let you sometimes tighten your eyebrows ;-) and that’s exactly how you will feel inside a thermal with the Blacklight .
Flying against the best B’s of the moment, the Blacklight showed an excellent climb especially in weak thermals even loaded at max!
Being targeted for the high end B pilot, the Blacklight is fairly comfortable in the air. It surely moves in turbulence but it is easily manageable inside the hot B category.

On long glides (more than 10 km) in relatively smooth conditions against a Mentor 2 S, the Blacklight showed similar glide may be 0.1 L/D better than M2 and same at full speed with may be less than 1 km top end speed for the BL .
The advantage of the Blacklight is when racing in lift lines by its ability to float better and climb easier as some higher rated gliders do.

The accelerator is smooth and light. Big ears are stable and reopen with a touch on the brakes.

With the Blacklight U-Turn has made a new serious challenger in the B category. It has marvelous handling, brilliant climb rate that will manage low saves easily, very good performances coupled with a fairly comfortable glider in the ‘hot B’ segment making the Blacklight a sure success.

Blacklight S size on video !  Even more beautiful ....!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

UP Trango XC 2 S/M

UP Trango XC 2 S/M 80-95
Swept wings,6.8 A/R glider, thin risers, unsheathed lines everywhere, aggressive look, nylon rods on the edge and more in the back, beautiful design .That’s the Trango XC 2 S/M EN-C ,lying on the take off and ready to be airborne.
I flew the glider with the Genie Lite harness size M, with a total weight of 90 kg all up.

Pulling the inside A’s ,and the glider rises quickly without any delay. In strong breeze, it is better to stop it a bit at 75 % of the rise.
The conditions of the day were first turbulent and punchy with very small cores with an easterly wind above take off. All you need to get an uncomfortable flight, and to understand better the glider I am testing.

In the air:
I cannot say that the XC 2 is a dampened glider like the ‘C’s I was testing before. Immediately after take off the XC 2 showed a more “performance” behavior in the air, as I may say that reminded me of the old ‘D’s.
I remembered reading at the UP website that the glider is intended for D pilots not wanting to go to that class at the moment but with a ‘C’ rating for safety.
That’s exactly what the XC2 feel like in the air.
Flying the Trango XC 2,feels like a samurai solders slicing and fighting with his Katana!
Going forward “very efficiently” in an XC flight, the Trango XC 2 is the key to success. No thermal will make the XC 2 reluctant to enter it.
Going forward is the name and XC is the game  J !!
The Trango XC 2 feels very pressurized, and it feels like a solid, complete wing above your head .Its coherent and moves as a whole .It needs precise input to dissipate its energy and put it on track.

In the thermals:
The strongest point and very noticeable of the Trango XC 2 is its brilliant climb rate!  And that is a direct statement after flying nearly all the new ‘C’s even with some high aspect ratio ones…
Encountering a sudden lift or a small bubble, punchy thermals, the Trango XC 2 is the queen!  it will climb like a spring!
Immediately visible to the eye, and there’s a difference.
In very weak “smooth” stuff <0.3 m/s the glider must be lightly loaded at mid or a bit less to be as efficient.

Surprisingly, the Trango XC 2 with its 6.8 AR is very agile. In “homogenous” thermals it’s a delight to turn! Very narrow and efficient. Just a dab on the inside break releasing completely the outside, the wing feels like a speed glider going up !!   ;-)
In a more turbulent “non-homogenous” core, it needs a more precise input to control the energy of the glider and re-put it on its path. But it is much easier that some ‘D’s.
I can describe the brake travel as short, precise with average pressure.

Gliding with the best ‘C’s of the moment, the Trango XC 2 is well placed on the top. Gliding in calm air the difference is negligible, but when gliding on a ridge with lifts and going into wind, the Trango XC2 may have the upper hand.
The speed bar is relatively light and pulling it at the max, the glider remains very stable with speed near 56 km/h at 2500 ASL and loaded at max but with an impressive glide angle!
(Video soon)

Big ears are stable and easily doable. Coupled with the accelerator the descent rates are around 4 m/s.

A new generation of UP gliders is born!
Frantisek Pavlousek designs and glider behavior is strongly implemented in the Trango XC 2! Like the Venus 2 was, efficient and dynamic.
The Trango XC 2, with its superb climb and fast reactions will be a performant tool in the competitions.
It has indeed a ‘C’ rating but it’s not for everyone!
It needs a good pilot to fly it, but I can assure you that the feeling under it is a pure joy to the educated pilot wishing to fly a high end ‘C’.
You can drive your Ferrari or your Bmw ! Everyone has a choice.

The Trango XC 2 is now the glider to beat in the ‘C’ category in terms of “climb and efficiency”.
UPDATE:The XC2 SM size with a total weight of 90 all up has a low full speed of 53 km/h at sea level .If you are loaded at max and you fly at + 2000 m altitude then it is a bit better....


Friday, May 18, 2012


U-Turn Passion
After receiving so many e-mails about the 6.85 AR Passion, and especially that some were praising its calm reaction in turbulence, I was very curious to get one.
Did contact U-turn and purchased the SM size.
And here it is after a long wait…
I have flown in the earlier days many designs made by the U-turn designer Ernst Strobl, when he was designing for UP and later with Airea.
They were indeed very special !

The Passion has a very clean, neat and sophisticated construction to the smallest detail. The SM size is very light even having rods on the leading edge.
All the lines are unsheathed.
In nil wind, the wing comes up smoothly all the way. In strong wind it needs to let go a bit at 75 % of the rise and control it with the brakes as the take off is immediate at 100 on the SM  ;-)

In the air:
We had some funny turbulent and windy days with some being a bit annoying!
It was good opportunities to test fly the gliders, in order to understand their potential. The SKW C4, the GRT A 4, the NK A3 normal lines and the Passion were on the menu. I think I have been lucky by those gliders, which were tamed a bit beside the race version of the A3.
But I never thought that the Passion would be that comfortable in those conditions. For that I flew in the same air, the Cayenne 4 and then landed and took the Passion. To my surprise, the Passion showed a very comfortable glider with an aspect ratio of 6.85!
I think this achievement is incredible!
The Passion moves in a polite manner, without strange movements or surges.
It is definitely not a detuned ‘D’ glider. It sits well in the ‘C’ category.

In the thermals:
Encountering homogenous thermals I found the glider to be agile, especially if you assist the turn with weight shift. The pressures on the brakes were medium to light.
In disorganized thermals the Passion still turn smoothly without strange movements .In those particular conditions it needs a refine piloting to place it without delay wherever you want. Have to respect its high aspect ratio a bit  ;-)  

Now the strongest point of the Passion is its climb rate ! It is a ‘spring’ ;-) You will find yourself quickly on top of the gaggle in a relaxed manner.
Big ears are easy to induce. They are stable and reopen by a dab on the brakes.

After many glides with similar gliders in the ‘C’ category, the Passion sits with the top contenders, with the ability to float slightly in head wind glides. The pressure on the bar is light and at first bar I couldn’t notice any change of the sink rate ! It is definitely a very good racing contender in the sport segment.

In the last three months I had to test fly four very nice ‘C’ gliders.
I never believed that the 6.85 AR Passion would be as comfortable to fly as the others. But it does…
U-Turn has made a glider accessible for the pilot competing in the sport class, or the keen pilot flying it XC.
The package glide, climb, handling, accessibility is superb !
Now the future is clearer for me, and challenging for the contenders of the same category as the race for the ‘C’ category replacing the old ‘D’ has began.

But to make a smooth glider with a high aspect ratio that behave like the Passion is an achievement by itself !
Congratulation U-turn !