Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SKYWALK Cayenne 4 S


SKYWALK Cayenne 4 S

Introduction:
Last year I flew the Poison 3 from SKYWALK. It was a serene, solid and easy “D” glider.
Months had passed and I noticed that a young guy who worked at NOVA for the development of the Mentor 2 (which I liked the flying qualities), moved to SKYWALK.
I was intrigued to find out what Alex HΓΆllwarth would develop at SKYWALK !
When the first rumors about the Cayenne 4 appeared I immediately ordered one. Paid for it a bit more than I expected, waited 45 days for it to arrive. It took 17 days of custom clearance, and to collect it, we waited from 7 Am ! Until 1 PM !
Does it worth that entire wait?

The glider is very light .Red plastic rod on the leading edge, like the ones on the M2.The construction is nothing less than ideal ! Top notch equipment.
Every riser has only 7 lines! with only 2 A’’s

Launching the glider is a non-event and easy for that class of gliders.

The brakes were a bit long, and were adjusted by -4 cm. First thermal, first turn………
Light and progressive brake travel, very nice coordinated handling…A jewel !
I could circle for hours without getting my hands tired. A bliss .

The conditions of the day were pretty nasty and turbulent as described by my flying friends later on.
Strangely, in this air, the glider was very comfortable to fly.
The glider in those nasty conditions surely moves, but its movements do not disturb the pilot. It is not twitchy in the air. I can describe the feeling under it as “very comfortable” for a “C” glider.
The turns are a pure joy if accompanied with weight shift.
The trim speed is high near 40 km/h.
The glide performance showed that the Cayenne 4 is among the “top” leaders of the “C” category.

The accelerator is smooth and the glide at that angle is still amazing!
Big ears are easy to induce and are an efficient way to descend. They need just a dab to open them.

Conclusion:
I don’t know how they did it…..
If your aim is the “C’ category .A Cayenne 4 test flight is a must …More than a thousand words.
I LOVE it ☺

Flew the S size 80-100 at 94 all up. 


https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/SKYWALKCayenne4



 










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Saturday, March 17, 2012

NIVIUK Artic 3 (RACE version)


Some feedback.
The Artik 3 Race has some more raw feeling under it than the normal Artik 3.But that's fairly fine.
The Race lines also added some strong character to the Artik 3 especially in those small disorganized thermals ,it became a bit energetic on its own by imposing its path and won't let the pilot quickly put it where he wants, like the normal version. It is still very agile in "homogenous" weak or strong thermal.

This week was very windy and rainy weather .We couldn't fly . Today I just came from a soaring site near my house that i know very much.
The wind "down" at the beach was around + 30 km/h !! In this site i have flown over the years many gliders in bad or windy weather and i know it by heart .

I can confirm that the Race version loaded at top is the fastest at trim i flew here ...I had the feeling i could soar with "nearly" a speed wing Wink .
This glider cuts and goes forward even in gusts !!!
I am pretty interested by the future comments of pilots flying the 25 Race version at + 94 all up. Smile

https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/NIVIUKArtic3RACE


 

GRADIENT Aspen 4


GRADIENT Aspen 4
When GRADIENT first released the Aspen 4 ,with minimum line configuration ,my eyes opened wide, and I was concerned about the stability and how they could manage that. The first Aspen 1 was fast, quite alive but it had a very nice crispy handling.
Now I have in my hands the Aspen 4 to fly. Here’s what I found:

Launching this glider in nil wind require a gentle but steady pull for the first 80 % .The Launching is a non-event.

Immediately after take off the feeling of security and comfort is present .It is like you are riding exactly in a big smooth American car.

The Aspen 4 flown at 100 all up in turbulent conditions showed a very homogenous character. Strangely, I could see the risers moving, but I was not feeling strongly the roll movements without being dull at all.
It is indeed a new sensation for me!
It is like the carabineers are working like shock absorbents, but actually it is the internal structure of the wind that does all the hard work.

What streaked me also is that when conditions were shaky and turbulent inside an inversion and when I was finding it a bit hard to turn some agile gliders inside spaghetti thermals J, the Aspen 4 was still very maneuverable and could be placed whenever I wanted regardless of the conditions.
It is one of the strongest points of the Aspen 4!

After some glides with some new “C’s”, I can confirm that the Aspen 4 is among the top performers.
To talk about pure performance is always hard, but the Aspen 4 has a very usable one.
The accelerator is soft and very easy to pull. Second bar has an impressive glide among the best, with a high stability and friendly user.

I flew the glider in some weak and strong thermals, next to some “C’s” to conclude that the glider is not reluctant to any thermal. In fact it slide comfortably in, and climb without delay.

Big ears are “BIG” because of only two lines on the “A’s” Using the second bar with big ears is very efficient with decent rates over -5m/s, depending on how much lines you pull.

Conclusion:
GRADIENT have now a new hidden weapon inside those Aspens, with this efficient internal structure.
Pilots moving from high-end “B’s” to the “C” category will immediately feel at home under the Aspen 4.
My opinion about that glider is very positive because it has everything without the lacks of anything. As I stated before, performance alone cannot make a good glider.
On board of the Aspen 4 a pilot can have a very good glide, a very competitive climb, a superb handling, a comfortable ride, with big ears as a very efficient descent method.
It has everything to make a pilot smile after a long XC flight.




https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/GRADIENTAspen4


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Monday, March 12, 2012

UPDATE EN-D comparisons.


Launching:
1- Omega 8 25@94 = Magus XC2 = Poison 3 S @ 94 =Mantra 4 ML /MS (Very easy even in no wind)
2- GTO M & GTO Small
3- AD-Pure -Venus 2 M& S
4- Peak 2

A- Climb with a head wind (>15 km/h)
1- Mantra 4 ML @ 103 – AD-PURE M/S @ 93
2- Mantra M/S @ 93 - GTO M @ 103, Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
3- PEAK 2 24 @ 60 % of the load range
4- Omega 8 25 =POISON 3 S @ 95 = VENUS 3 M @ 104
5-. Venus 2 M @ 103

B- Climb > 2m/s without head wind
1-Mantra 4 ML @ 100= Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
2- AD-PURE M/S @ 93 = Mantra 4 M/S @ 93
3- GTO M @103
4- PEAK 2 24 & POISON 3 S
5-Venus 2 M =Omega 8 25
6- Venus 3 M

C- Climb in weak thermals (< 0.3m/s)
1-Mantra 4 ML @ 98 (lightly loaded)= Magus XC 2  25  @  96 ( very efficient)
2- GTO M @ 103 = Peak 2 24 @ 90 lightly loaded = Venus 2 M @104 (loaded) =
3- POISON 3 S (close difference)
4- Mantra 4 ML @ 103 (loaded) ! = Mantra 4 M/S @ 93 (loaded) AD-Pure M/S @ 93
5- Venus 3 M @ 103
6- Omega 8 25 @ 94

Glide at trim:
1- Mantra 4 ML @ 100
2- AD-Pure M/S @ 93= Magus XC 2  25  @  96
3- Mantra 4 M/S @ 93
4- GTO M
5- Peak 2 (very close to GTO M)
6- Poison 3 S @ 94 =Omega 8 25 @ 94
7- Venus 3 M @ 103

Glide at first bar:
1-Mantra 4 ML @100 = AD-Pure M/S @ 93
2-Mantra 4 M/S @ 93 = Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
3- GTO M @103
4-Peak 2 24 @102
5-Poison 3 S @ 94=Omega 8 25 @ 94 (very close)
6-Venus 3 M @ 103

Handling in still air:
1-Omega 8 25 (A delight!)
2-Poison 3 S
= Magus XC 2 25 @ 96
3-Peak 2 24 (crispy and linear)=Venus 3 M
4-Mantra 4 MS @ 93
5-Mantra 4 ML @ 100 (Turns with a little delay)
6-AD-Pure M/S @ 93 (precise)
7- GTO M @ 103 (Turns with a little more delay)
They could be very close with a big difference between the O8 and the GTO M.

Handling and maneuverability in average conditions "with thermals":
1- Omega 8 25 @ 94 =Mantra 4 ML@ 100=Mantra 4 M/S @ 93= Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
2-AD-Pure M/S @ 93
3-Mantra R-10.3 S @ 98
4-EVO-X 24/ Peak 2 24/Poison 3/ Venus 3 M
5-GTO M

Now the most important is the “handling in rough air”, and I mean is that some gliders when encountering multiple cores and punchy turbulent thermals, will react to their own, because their inside pressure is more stronger than the controls and the brake inputs the pilot are inducing. The pilot below will be a passenger for a while till the glider settles in. The more time it will take, the worse sensations you will passively feel. And that’s not good.
Some in those same conditions will be more reactive to the brake inputs, the pilot underneath is inducing and could place them wherever he wants despite the rough conditions. And that’s good efficient handling.
It is always much better being the pilot underneath a wing rather being a passenger even though for a short period.

Handling in rough air:
1-Omega 8 25 @ 94  =  Magus XC 2 25  @ 96
2-Poison 3 S @ 94= AD-Pure M/S @ 95
3-Peak 2 24 @ 98 =Mantra 4 ML @100 =Venus 3 M= Mantra M/S @ 95
4-GTO M @ 103
5-GTO S @ 94

Comfort: (movements under the glider in turbulent conditions)
1- Poison 3 @ 96 (Unbelievable for an EN-D !! )  = Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
2- AD-Pure M/S @ 93 (very close to Poison 3)
3-Mantra M/S @ 93= mantra 4 ML @ 103
4- Peak 2-24 9/10 (very dampened, very close)
5- GTO M & Omega 8 25 @ 94 8.8/10
6- Venus 2 M 8.5 /10
7- Venus 2 Small 8/10
8-Venus 3 M
9- GTO Small 4/10

Easiness in flight: (In average conditions, where the pilot would be able to understand better the glider movements)
1-Poison 3= Mantra 4 ML= Mantra 4 M/S @ 95  = Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
2- Peak 2 24=AD-Pure M/S @ 95
3-GTO M
4-Omega 8 25
5-EVO-X 24
6-Venus 3 M
7-Mantra R-10.3

Stable ears in turbulent conditions !
1-Omega 8 25 = Skywalk Poison 3 =Mantra 4 ML =Mantra 4 M/S @ 95 (Stable) = Magus  XC 2  25
2- EVO-X 24 (Stable)=Venus 3 M Stable
3-GTO M (a little unstable)
4-Peak 2 24 (Not stable)
5-AD-Pure @ 95 (Not stable)
6- Mantra R-10.3 (Not stable)
 

Landing and maneuver approaches to top land.
1-Poison 3=Mantra 4 ML= AD-Pure M/S @ 93 = Magus XC 2  25 @ 96
2-Omega 8 25 = Venus 2 M & S=Mantra 4 M/S 2 93
3-Peak 2= Venus 3 M
4- GTO M
5- GTO S



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MAC PARA MARVEL EN-C

Mac Para Marvel
And finally it arrived.
As with all Mac Para gliders this Marvel also made by Gin factory has an excellent finish.
The Marvel has an aspect ratio of 6.5 for the EN-C certification, and laying it on the ground shows clearly its sporty look.

Launching the Marvel with 10 km/h wind require a light but steady pull on the risers to get the glider above your head. So I think it could be a plus in strong wind.

In the air:
Getting next to similar EN-C gliders gave me immediately the feeling of an excellent climb rate, especially in weak conditions. That’s the strong point of the Marvel.
The turns are flat with a nice handling .It isn’t the most agile EN-C, but I think that was pretty enough to enjoy my flight.

In turbulent and nasty conditions the Marvel require active piloting to keep it over my head. The 6.5 Aspect ratio is present. Nothing out of the ordinary for an EN-C, but I will rate it as a high end EN-C in terms of control.

Performance:
Gliding next to some recent C’s and some 2011 top D’s, I can confirm that the Marvel is up there with the leaders in the recent C category, for efficient gliding, whether it is in headwind glides or in calm air.
The designer Mr Peter Recek has a small tip to get those Marvel pilots a better squeeze for their glide. Here it is:
We have managed nice glide increase by bending the C straps of 2-3 cm (on Marvel and Magus XC2) when flying accelerated 25-50%. With this shortening the speed is a bit decreased but the glide increases significantly.

I have tried that.
In calm or moderate air the glide feels like it has improved.
In “turbulent, shaky headwind glides”, it needs more practice to keep it leveled with the C risers, and as Peter said it was a bit slower.

Big ears are small, not really too efficient, and the glider felt a bit loosing “slightly” its homogeneity with a decrease in speed. They do not open by themselves and need a gentle long pull from each side at the time.

Conclusion:
The Marvel with its 6.5 aspect ratio feels and looks sporty like you are on an EN-D glider but with a passive safety of the EN-C certification.
Climbs are superb, and could be easily the best in the C category!
Its glide and surfing character will take you whenever you want, with no excuse or any blame for the glider.
It is the high end “C” glider you can train on to hit safely the D class.











Tuesday, February 21, 2012

MAcPara MAGUS XC 2

Mac Para Magus XC 2

The MAGUS XC 2 was already available in may 2011 to order, but I wasn’t able to get any Mac Para glider.
Now I have one to test fly.
The construction of the XC2 is superb. This glider is manufactured in GIN factory. In fact, putting the Boom GTO and the Magus XC 2 close on the ground, shows an identical sail finish.
There’s some Mylar on the leading edge and some plastic reinforcements.
Launching this glider with 6.8 AR is relatively easy for that category, and I didn’t find any thing unusual about it, but finding myself quickly airborne even in light wind take off.
I flew the XC 2 25 (82-100) at 97 all up, in some weak and other turbulent conditions, and here’s what I found:
The XC 2 move as a bloc above my head and it can be a bit disconcerting at first, because of the easiness of flight!
I thought a 6.8 AR will have to be a bit more twitchy! But it is not.
The feeling of comfort under the XC 2 reminds me of the Omega 8, which is smooth and predictable.
It does have some roll movements without being overmanageable or annoying.Just as it should to make the most out of the conditions.

The handling is nice but not too agile like some EN-C gliders .I think it has a very nice and coordinated handling for a 6.8 EN-D glider.
The glider feel taught in the middle more than the extremities, so that the pressure for inducing big ears is very light and the ears stays in place and needs a dab on each side to get them open.

Performance:
As with every glider this is the best part that the pilots will read with open eyes ;-)
After flying with some recent gliders in the same category, I found the Magus XC2 to be very competitive and the 10-figure number on L/D is manageable. The strong point of the XC 2 is its climb rate.
I can put this glider in the box of the special ones. Let me explain:
There are some gliders who doesn’t have the best glide ratio or the best climb rate on paper, but these gliders are always compensating for those numbers standing by their pilots …
I mean if I am going XC with some 12 L/D glider and encounter a low point with turbulent and difficult small thermal without the possibility to get the most out of it, I might land.
But the XC2 is among those gliders that really do compensate for pilot errors or thermal disorder, and stays level waiting to get up high again.
Eventually all gliders will land but my feeling is that with the XC2, the chances are just a bit better, especially in disorganized thermal activity.

Gliding at 50 % of the bar travel is easy with a relatively soft speed system, and at 100% the glide remain impressive with a pressurized taught feel !


Among the recent EN-D’s I have tested (8) ,the Magus XC 2 is indeed a special glider with balanced behavior !
It will be my favorite as the Omega 8 is.

Conclusion:
The Magus XC 2 is an amazing glider for EN-D pilots, or even talented pilots coming from the EN-C category, will find a glider that can help them achieve their goals in a smooth way.







Test report soon.

 https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/MacParaMagusXC2







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Friday, February 3, 2012

Air Design RISE


AD RISE
40 long days of non-stop rain and snow finally came to an end giving us a break for 3 sunny days.
The RISE has unsheathed lines on the upper cascades and regular on the lower part. AD designed the RISE to have top performance in the EN-B segment, and is intended for XC flying.

Launching:
Pulling on the A’s, the glider comes steady above my head without a surge and I found the take off to be very easy.

In the air:
Having flown many EN-B’s before, I found that the RISE M like to be a bit loaded at 75 % of the weight range to feel it better. I was flying the M size at 102 all up.
I cannot describe The RISE as an agile glider but the turns in the thermals are easy to induce with a moderate brake pressure.
The pitch back movement of the glider in entering the thermals is dampened but does exist a bit.

I found the climb rate in weak thermals to be a bit less the Mentor 2 but average to well.
Climb rate in strong thermals are good.

Gliding into wind with a Mentor 2 at trim and accelerated showed a “nearly” close performance, with a much comforting ride under the RISE.
The accelerator on the RISE is smooth on my Impress 2 and I could push it easily all the way with a very good glide angle!
The RISE could be slowed a bit better than the M 2 for a narrow and tight landing.

Conclusion:
Air Design has created a nice high end EN-B glider which is intended for experienced pilots who want the safety of an EN-B glider + the top end performance in that category.
With those new performing EN-B’s long XC’s are now possible with a good level of security and passive safety.











Thursday, December 29, 2011

WINDTECH HONEY



Construction: The glider is made like all new generation gliders, with light cloth and plastic red bendable rods on the leading edge like the ones used on the new NOVA wings.
Flying the M size 90-110 at 100 all up.
Launching the glider in every condition is very natural and easy ,without any hanging back or shooting forward. As easy as it gets !
Just after take off, the glider showed a spicy but polite roll behavior.
First thermal and turning this glider is quite nice for the EN-A category.
Its agile handling surprised me!
It can be steered easily even at the mid weight, and climbs are average to good. The accelerator is smooth and can be pushed easily, but its travel is short and limited to pass the EN-A cat.
Big ears are easy and non-event.
Conclusion: I found the HONEY to be targeted for talented beginners who wants to get nice handling and feedback, with an EN-A safety ! 



Saturday, November 26, 2011

NIVIUK ARTIC 3

NIVIUK Artic 3
 

One of my favorite gliders at the time was the Artic 2,which I flew for a year .I appreciated its efficiency in the air and it’s beautiful handling. I was waiting for the Artic 3 to see what the designer has been cooking. And finally it arrived!

The glider has no Mylar like on the Artic 2. Instead light panels with plastic reinforcements on the edge of the cell like all the new generation gliders.

Take off is easy, as it rises smoothly above your head.

Immediately after take off, the Artic 3 shows a high trim speed, around 40 km/h, with a certain sense of security.
After some glide tests with some modern EN-C’s I can put the Artic 3 at the “TOP” of the EN-C gliders I have tested until this day, no question about it, especially at first bar.
The Artic 3 is a fast glider at second bar with a very competitive glide! And it seems to have also the fastest top speed.

Precise, linear, short, medium to hard brake pressure, reacts on weight shift and exceptionally beautiful, is what I can describe the handling of the Artic 3.
It has the tendency to turn flat and efficient. Lowering the brakes for a quick turn, the Artic 3 responds beautifully and when released, the glider quickly leveled to stay flat.

Even loaded at max on the 25, the Artic 3 will help you make low saves without loosing that weak thermal, by its ability to search forward without excessive pitch and roll, and that quality enable the Artic 3 to float better.

Big ears are made with the B3 lines, and they look funny, and applying the bar can achieve -3.5 m/s.

Conclusion: NIVIUK made an excellent job by creating a superb, very performing and balanced glider in the EN-C category .I think I am going to keep that one…

 


https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/NIVIUKArtic3
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Monday, November 14, 2011

AIRCROSS U-Cross


Air Cross “U-Cross”

Unpacking the black and green glider on the take off is a scene to watch.
Magnificent work is done on the canopy with strings,ribs,cells,openings …a complicated work looking like an inside of a Swiss watch !
A true workmanship…
I thought I was going to the moon inside the NASA space shuttle ;-)
Regular lines are installed on the lower part and unsheathed on top.
Taking off with no wind would imply a steady pull with no releasing until it’s overhead, like its older brother the U-sport.
First thermal, and a medium brake pressure much like the NOVA Factor 2, which I thought i would never find a more agile glider, because it wouldn’t be usable! But I did.
The U-Cross has even more agility than the Factor 2 !!
Flying the U-Cross “efficiently” in thermals would require a refined skill in touching the brakes, as it is important to keep the powerful glider overhead for better coring!
The designer made such a superb work inside the canopy leading to a very pressurized and powerful
glider. And this will undoubtedly ensure that you won’t get a blow out easily if the glider stays over your head.
I could describe the U-Cross inside the EN-C Cat, where the OZONE Delta feels like a happy long haired cool dude with his pants lower than usual, with bent knees, hang loose mode in a “Rasta man”  way ;-)  !
The U-Cross feels more like an energetic 20 year old with big muscles, just popping out the gym, nose up, with a Red Bull drink in his hand, looking right and left in a fraction of a second and walking with his feet nearly touching the ground, just like a spring no matter if there’s no one to watch ;-) !

Going on a series of 360’s on the U-Cross has to be done surely before eating ;-)
And after some steep turns, it is ok to open your mouth in a rectangular shape and shout to your “Mamma”  :-)
The Guys who love that feeling will surely exchange their bed pillow with the U-Cross ;-)

Loaded at 95 on the S size, the climb rate in weak conditions is average.
The performance is inside the EN-C Cat much like the UP XC2 or the GIN tribe M ,or the DELTA M, with a faster trim speed.

Meeting the EN-C certification puts the U-Cross in a short speed travel that will enable it when fully deployed to increase at ±10 km/h, with a fairly good glide.
Big ears are stable, and reopen quickly.





https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/AircrossUCross



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Monday, October 17, 2011

ADVANCE IMPRESS 3 M


ADVANCE IMPRESS 3

My main harness for the past 2 years was the Impress 2+, which was very comfortable for my taste. Then came the Impress 3 M .
1.81 m and 73 kg inside the M size.

The construction of the harness and details are ‘impeccable”. It is very rare to find between harnesses such a jewel in terms of “finessing”  ;-) !
The harness impresses you to the level of handling it with respect. Swiss precision! ;-)

In the air:
In order to feel better the harness, I did make a flight in the Impress 2 + and the Sigma 8 25 @ 93,and then landed at the take off in the same conditions and switched to the Impress 3 M @ 90 all up.

Immediately after take I felt more roll movements than the Imp 2+ has. May be I am a bit skinny inside the M size.
Conditions of the day were like small 3m/s bullet thermals with 10 m “radius”. “Frequent on our sites”.
It was an exceptional day for trying to put the glider in its path using the harness.

My flying was long adapted to a seat board, and used to have a support point inside the Imp 2 when weight shifting, and that, wasn’t available in the Impress 3 as it doesn’t have one.
I think that time is needed to adapt to that feeling that I didn’t get used to it yet after 5 hours. It could be my stubborn head to adapt …


But I felt that “it rolls a bit quicker than I could weight shift to counter steer”.
Nothing out of the ordinary for that level of race harnesses, but just a bit more roll than the Impress 2 +.

The strong points of this harness are its superb comfort in the air by supporting the back and the hips + the light feel of carrying it on the take off.


The pluses:
A comfortable feeling, with nice back and hips support.
Lighter than Impress 2 by -3 kg.
A superb product with excellence in details and construction.

The minuses:
Has more roll in the thermals than the Impress 2. (I am 1.81m and 73 kg) May be a bit skinny inside the M that does explain the roll.
Doesn't have a "support point" when you weight shift (no seat board edge) like the Impress 2, but it needs time to adapt to its weight shift characteristics.
More feedback:
Flying inside the harness i thought I'd make a small modification for skinny people, to limit the "slack" roll i was feeling.
After receiving some e-mails of pilots that found a similar feeling in roll movement,here's a photo of the modification that i don't recommend to make before contacting the pros at ADVANCE to be on the safe side. But it worked fine for me.
A small strap on each side about ± 16 cm (see pic) would suffice but i did install the trims to see at what point it will erase the roll excess.
I found that just a bit of pressure would be enough. No need to pull them hard. Just a slight pressure.

https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/ADVANCEIMPRESS3M#5664862914670979250
 

https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/ADVANCEIMPRESS3M#5664867032364545746




 

And i did install the neoprene cover on the chest strap to prevent the inside hard webbing's to hurt the chest on take offs when leaning forward.



...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NOVA Factor 2




NOVA FACTOR 2

Launching this glider is very easy, in strong or in weak wind.
In the air the glider has very close handling as the Mentor 2 S, very nice to steer ,and i could place it easily wherever I want inside the core.
I felt that the factor 2 S has a tiny less trim speed than the Mentor 2 S. When the conditions were smooth and consistent I found that the factor 2 S at 95 has a very nice climb, a bit better than the Mentor 2 S at 95.
Flying the glider in relatively turbulent conditions, mixed with head wind and light to medium thermal activity <2m/s, I was hoping to get much better biting into wind versus the Mentor 2 S and that would enable the glider to climb headwind.

In those particular not homogenous thermals and conditions, my friend with the Mentor 2 M, loaded at 103 was able to climb away several times. It could be that I am not yet familiarized with the new wing, but it did happened many times that day.

When the thermals got stronger but “smoother” the Factor 2 will keep its path in the thermal and have a good climb.

On glides in smooth conditions I found a ± 0.3 L/D better than the Mentor S.
The glides did get better “in smooth conditions” at bar.

The factor 2 S could have a very good glide at bar, but it stays in the “top” EN-C category only.
Flying with a Mantra 4 M, in head wind glides with some thermal activity showed a better glide for the M4 which is of course, still the best in the EN-D category.


Big ears are relatively stable, sometimes one side will flap.

The Factor 2 S has a very flat polar, and landing in narrow places require a bit of training.


The pluses:
Handling (superb)
Ease of use
Glide

What I was hoping:
Better climb rate in turbulent conditions
Bigger step in efficiency in difficult conditions over the mentor 2 S, which still is a revelation…


https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/NOVAFACTOR2





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN531pfho9E





Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ADVANCE Sigma 8 25

ADVANCE SIGMA 8

The glider arrived to my doorsteps and in the truck for the take off. Having tried nearly all the Sigma’s, I was waiting for the 8th version.
 



Launching in high wind is relatively easy and I didn’t found and pitch forward. In nil wind the glider has a small 
tendency to stay a bit behind.

I flew the glider in 4 different harnesses. An impress 2,an impress 3, an ADVANCE lightness, and an Sup’air Evo XC2.

First flights on the Impress 2 at 93 showed a very gentle and comforting glider. It felt like I wasn’t on a hot EN-C glider. The pitching inside the thermals is nearly absent, and the roll movements are a superb balance between efficiency and superb comfort.
Describing the handling, it is definitely not playful as the Sigma 4,surely not dull as the Sigma 5, just a bit less than the Sigma 7,but I definitely could describe it better as the most “mature” handling a Sigma can have.I don't know if that's good or not for a Sigma.

Switching to the Lightness with 86 all up, (not adjustable chest strap at 50cm) with punchy turbulent conditions on the lee side, I was sometimes uncomfortable, and couldn’t get the glider to react to my commands promptly as I was re-adjusting myself inside the harness…I forgot how dramatically a harness can alter a glider behavior. But the soft Sigma 8 was always above my head with no collapses, waiting for me passively to re-adjust my seating.

Now flying it with the EVO XC2 at 90 all up, the Sigma 8 has the feeling of being a bit more stable than the impress2.
-Impress3... (to be continued)

Flying next to my friend Rony with his Delta L at 103 all up , showed a same glide or -0.1 (smaller size) for the Sigma 8, and with a little less trim speed of 0.5 km/h for the Sigma .

Flying in “homogenous steady >2 m/s thermals, the Sigma showed a nice climb rate similar to the Delta. But on the weaker ones <0.5 m/s the pitching back of the Sigma 8 forbid it to dig in those small thermals especially when there’s a light headwind. It feels that it is moving a bit upward but the vario wouldn’t bip. Otherwise in calm air and weak thermals it is still efficient even loaded.

Big ears are stable. Using the accelerator feels a bit harder than the Sigma 7 but has a relatively good glide.

Conclusion: The strong point of the Sigma 8 is its friendly behavior. Easier and much mellower than the 7, it could be easily a first EN-C glider for moving into the category.
The pluses:
Easy to handle
Comfortable
Doable big ears
Friendly user


I would have liked (Personal):
Much more biting in the weak thermals
Prompt ,more direct and funnier handling. 



UPDATE: After more hours :
It seems that after extensive flying on the Sigma 8 in different conditions,i am beginning to like it even more.
In turbulent conditions , smooth conditions, head wind glides , low saves, ....Big success in the category .
I can confirm that it's a very strong contender having a superb balance in its  "flying characteristics" as a superb package in the EN-C category.

Each time i fly this glider ,i understand more the R&D behind it.





https://picasaweb.google.com/110040226962521480605/ADVANCESigma8


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljMdNcmQr7E


Another video will be posted shortly.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

GIN TRIBE

GIN TRIBE
After test flying the EVO Sprint ,the TRIBE came and I flew it in different conditions ,to get an idea about what’s behind that concept.
It is a simple 4 liner, just like the Sprint Evo.
Launching the glider doesn’t require any special technique.
After some time spent on the DELTA, UP XC2, Sprint Evo and the Mentor 2, I was quite relaxed flying the TRIBE. It resembles the XC2 and the DELTA in comfort, and accessibility, but the Tribe is a bit more maneuverable only inside tight cores. It feels like you can stop the glider inside the thermal and turn on a dime.
Where the DELTA has a longer brake response, the XC2 and the TRIBE is a bit shorter to feel.
It is not a super agile glider, but ok, a bit less than the Mentor 2.You can turn the glider very flat, and can bank it easily when lowering the brakes.
The brake travel is a bit longer than the Mentor 2, which is more direct to input, but when the TRIBE settle in a turn the radius is even shorter then the Mentor 2.

Flying the Mentor 2 and the Tribe in the same conditions reveals a much more relaxed ride under the TRIBE, which is an EN-C.
When entering the thermals the TRIBE pitches back a bit, before entering, much like the DELTA.
Big ears are stable with a bit span moving but usable easily at full bar.

The glide is similar to the UP XC2, and the glider is slower at trim than a Mentor 2 at the same loadings.
Using the accelerator is smooth and at first bar the glider gain some 4 km and have a good glide. At second bar the glide deteriorate a bit comparing to Mentor 2.

The TRIBE has an efficient climb rate, and it is nice to be able to core those small thermals in slow motion.

Accurate landings are a delight as you can slow the glider for small landing areas.

Conclusion: GIN made an easy glider in the EN-C category. With its brilliant climb rate and superb handling, those looking for those characteristics will cherish it.
EN-B pilots looking to upgrade will find in the TRIBE a soft comfortable ride especially if they were on a hot EN-B .
https://picasaweb.google.com/Ziad.bassil/GINTRIBE

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

M4-O8-Peak2-Venus3-GtoM&S-AD-Pure-Mantra S/M -Venus2

Launching:
1- Omega 8 25@94 = Poison 3 S @ 94 =Mantra 4 ML /MS (Very easy even in no wind)
2- GTO M & GTO Small
3- AD-Pure -Venus 2 M& S
4- Peak 2


A- Climb with a head wind (>15 km/h)
1- Mantra 4 ML @ 103 – AD-PURE M/S @ 93
2- Mantra M/S @ 93 - GTO M @ 103,
3- PEAK 2 24 @ 60 % of the load range
4- Omega 8 25 =POISON 3 S @ 95 = VENUS 3 M @ 104
5-. Venus 2 M @ 103


B- Climb > 2m/s without head wind
1-Mantra 4 ML @ 100
2- AD-PURE M/S @ 93 = Mantra 4 M/S @ 93
3- GTO M @103
4- PEAK 2 24 & POISON 3 S
5-Venus 2 M =Omega 8 25
6- Venus 3 M

C- Climb in weak thermals (< 0.3m/s)
1-Mantra 4 ML @ 98 (lightly loaded)
2- GTO M @ 103 = Peak 2 24 @ 90 lightly loaded = Venus 2 M @104 (loaded) =
3- POISON 3 S (close difference)
4- Mantra 4 ML @ 103 (loaded) ! = Mantra 4 M/S @ 93 (loaded) AD-Pure M/S @ 93
5- Venus 3 M @ 103
6- Omega 8 25 @ 94




Glide at trim:
1- Mantra 4 ML @ 100
2- AD-Pure M/S @ 93
3- Mantra 4 M/S @ 93
4- GTO M
5- Peak 2 (very close to GTO M)
6- Poison 3 S @ 94 =Omega 8 25 @ 94
7- Venus 3 M @ 103


Glide at first bar:
1-Mantra 4 ML @100 = AD-Pure M/S @ 93
2-Mantra 4 M/S @ 93
3- GTO M @103
4-Peak 2 24 @102
5-Poison 3 S @ 94=Omega 8 25 @ 94 (very close)
6-Venus 3 M @ 103


Handling in still air:
1-Omega 8 25 (A delight!)
2-Poison 3 S (A bit slow but linear)
3-Peak 2 24 (crispy and linear)=Venus 3 M
4-Mantra 4 MS @ 93
5-Mantra 4 ML @ 100 (Turns with a little delay)
6-AD-Pure M/S @ 93 (precise)
7- GTO M @ 103 (Turns with a little more delay)

They could be very close with a big difference between the O8 and the GTO M.

Handling and maneuverability in average conditions "with thermals":

1- Omega 8 25 @ 94 =Mantra 4 ML@ 100=Mantra 4 M/S @ 93
2-AD-Pure M/S @ 93
3-Mantra R-10.3 S @ 98
4-EVO-X 24/ Peak 2 24/Poison 3/ Venus 3 M
5-GTO M



Now the most important is the “handling in rough air”, and I mean is that some gliders when encountering multiple cores and punchy turbulent thermals, will react to their own, because their inside pressure is more stronger than the controls and the brake inputs the pilot are inducing. The pilot below will be a passenger for a while till the glider settles in. The more time it will take, the worse sensations you will passively feel. And that’s not good.

Some in those same conditions will be more reactive to the brake inputs, the pilot underneath is inducing and could place them wherever he wants despite the rough conditions. And that’s good efficient handling.
It is always much better being the pilot underneath a wing rather being a passenger even though for a short period.

Handling in rough air:
1-Omega 8 25 @ 94
2-Poison 3 S @ 94= AD-Pure M/S @ 95
3-Peak 2 24 @ 98 =Mantra 4 ML @100 =Venus 3 M= Mantra M/S @ 95
4-GTO M @ 103
5-GTO S @ 94


Comfort: (movements under the glider in turbulent conditions)

1- Poison 3 @ 96 (Unbelievable for an EN-D !! )
2- AD-Pure M/S @ 93 (very close to Poison 3)
3-Mantra M/S @ 93= mantra 4 ML @ 103
4- Peak 2-24 9/10 (very dampened, very close)
5- GTO M & Omega 8 25 @ 94 8.8/10
6- Venus 2 M 8.5 /10
7- Venus 2 Small 8/10
8-Venus 3 M
9- GTO Small 4/10

Easiness in flight: (In average conditions, where the pilot would be able to understand better the glider movements)

1-Poison 3= Mantra 4 ML= Mantra 4 M/S @ 95
2- Peak 2 24=AD-Pure M/S @ 95
3-GTO M
4-Omega 8 25
5-EVO-X 24
6-Venus 3 M
7-Mantra R-10.3

Stable ears in turbulent conditions !

1-Omega 8 25 = Skywalk Poison 3 =Mantra 4 ML =Mantra 4 M/S @ 95 (Stable)
2- EVO-X 24 (Stable)=Venus 3 M Stable
3-GTO M (a little unstable)
4-Peak 2 24 (Not stable)
5-AD-Pure @ 95 (Not stable)
6- Mantra R-10.3 (Not stable)


Landing and maneuver approaches to top land.

1-Poison 3=Mantra 4 ML= AD-Pure M/S @ 93
2-Omega 8 25 = Venus 2 M & S=Mantra 4 M/S 2 93
3-Peak 2= Venus 3 M
4- GTO M
5- GTO S


Conclusion:
Inserting the AD PURE M/S and the OZONE M4 M/S hasn’t been easy. Every day flying and exchanging those glider in the same conditions, was the only way to feel the difference. Then came the performance flights. My friend Moni flew an ADVANCE lightness with the PURE to be able to fly at 93 all up, and I flew the M4 with the impress 2 harness at 93 all up. This way with the same sizes and the same loadings, conclusions were seen much better.

Those comparison flights were made in turbulent and moving conditions that enabled us to see how the gliders cope with the current conditions.
I have to say that at the same loadings the Pure is a half km faster at trim than the M4 .

In average conditions the M4 felt like more of a floater,comparing to the PURE at the same loadings, but still the differences were negligible because it couldn't separate the gliders apart the whole flights even when the conditions got weakened.

My own feeling when flying side by side and when there’s some head wind and strong punchy thermals, I saw the Pure get that spring upward climbs edge. Like I described it before, it climbs quickly and settles above your head and feels like time has stopped, waiting for the pilot to act.
The M4 needs a bit more time to settle above the pilot head, but still climbs brilliantly and has a comfortable feeling.

That characteristic of the PURE is shown in glides at trim, and especially when we flew both of them at first bar. The M 4 M/S hold the bar better and feels softer, but the Pure when settled have an amazing headwind glide.
They both could be equal in those glides, but my friend on the PURE was always ahead cutting through …For a race to goal, the Pure is a very competitive glider, and we both agree that it’s a very serious competitor.


Some pictures at : https://picasaweb.google.com/Ziad.bassil/OZONEMantraSM4VSAIRDESIGNPureSM


Cheers,
Ziad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

AD Gliders PURE S/M




AD Gliders PURE :

Introduction: AD gliders is a new brand created by designer and world champion Stephan Stieglair with Martin Gostner ,after moving from UP, to create their own dreams and designs.

I have flew almost all Stieglair designs ,from the old series of Kantega’s ,Summit’s,Trango’s,Targa’s…The feeling under those creations are unique, as it is difficult to miss it.

Today the PURE S/M arrived and I am already airborne at 94 all up with an impress 2 +…

Launching: Pulling the A’s the glider rises slowly at first 75 % then a dab on the brake is needed to stop it above my head.

In the air: I was immediately at home under this wing, as the dampened feeling of the UP Trango 3 was there. It seems that the designer succeeded also to insert his famous "shock absorbents" inside this 6.8 aspect ratio wing ! …
Turbulence is sensed but with comfort, giving the pilot enough time to cope with the conditions. Brakes are precise, as I could immediately and under some turbulence put the glider where I want .It is not the most agile EN-D wing, but the brakes and the overall feeling of comfort allowed me to handle it much better, as it doesn’t need too much time to settle above my head in turbulent thermals.

It seems that when pulling a bit on the brakes in turbulent conditions, the glider behave like the time has stopped for a while and stands still for a second, allowing the pilot more time to think how to react under it…
The turns are flat, even with weight shift and brakes. The brake pressure is medium and it reminds me of the Trango 3 .
Inside the thermals the wing really turns toward the core !,and the agility is more pronounced enabling me to turn very tight..I liked that feeling a lot.

Big ears are unstable in turbulence, especially when the accelerator is pulled. I didn’t find them usable for even a good sink rate. Even the 360’s has to be pulled with some G’s to achieve -10 m/s .

Climb rate: At my wing loading the climbs in moderate thermals are still very good .Time is needed to evaluated more versus the competition, which I will but later ,in order to be sure after some more flights with it. But it seemed very good so far among the best.

The trim speed is high and I think around 40 km/h .As for the gliding performance I sensed that it has very good ability in head wind .I will post some videos soon with some recent EN-D wings…

Some pics: https://picasaweb.google.com/Ziad.bassil/AirDesignPURE?authkey=Gv1sRgCJnE-abf6dL-RQ


Have to mention also the excellent construction and workmanship ,with nice small details,like the adjustable soft edges brakes.
Nylon rods are inserted in the leading edge ,without the use of Mylars stiffeners,just on the last 8 cells on the sides.
It all you would expect from a super clean and modern EN-D glider .


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzmkIPoYfjM





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