Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Thursday, October 20, 2016


ADVANCE Epsilon 8

As always, opening an ADVANCE wing is a nice experience since the quality of construction and materials are really nice .

The Epsilon 8 is ADVANCE low B glider. All lines are sheathed with strong line construction ! 
I’ve seen many gliders and that low B seems having an indestructible construction. It is obvious that ADVANCE wanted a glider that will last for a long time without even thinking going out of trim ! It’s a surely well built glider !

Launching the Epsilon 8 is super easy and a non event …No shooting forward for sure, no hang back…It just wait above the pilots head.

I flew the Epsilon 8 from 90 to 95. This handling on this glider is fine tuned for a wide variety of tastes ! You can turn it pulling 5 cm and it turns smoothly and you can turn it with 30 cm pull with the same smooth dynamism ! Excellent ! 
The pressure on the brakes are moderate, much like the Ion 4 ones. The overall agility for a low B is nice and well balanced !
Low B pilots can easily fly it, and a more advanced pilot can place it with little input in thermals. It has a surprisingly precise brake response. 
The overall movements in roll and pitch in strong turbulent cores (+7m/s) are super smooth and easy to understand with a glider that is smiling at you like a nice polite butler ! The Epsilon 8 doesn’t have a pitch back or forward before entering thermals .It has a very well balanced behavior. Newbies will adore !

The climb rate in weak conditions is efficient. The information is very smoothly given by the brakes and slightly by the risers. 
Going on a glide on the Epsilon 8 at trim and at full bar puts it among the top 5 of the low B gliders. Very easy to keep the bar fully accelerated.
Ears are super stable, easy, and reopen quickly. Landing the Epsilon 8 is a non event with a good flair. 

Conclusion: The Epsilon 8 has everything a low B pilot wishes. From a nice handling to a comfortable ride in turbulence and a good glide angle to begin cross country safely. It’s strong construction will ensure a long use.


Gradient Nevada 2 S  (70-90) 

The Nevada 2 is the new high end B glider from Gradient. 
2 lines per side on the A’s and three row of lines with similar configuration as the Aspen 4.

I flew the S size from 85 to 90 in different conditions from weak to strong.
Launching the Nevada 2 is easy for a high B glider. 
After some flights i found the best weight under it in overall conditions is around 88 all up.

The roll movements are present on the Nevada 2 S in turbulent conditions, slightly more than the Rush 4. 
In strong turbulent cores, a keen high B pilot could easily manage it.The improvement in brake travel is now enhanced over its predecessor the Nevada 1 with a relatively moderate to short brake travel, a soft pressure (like the Rush4) and a nice agility in turns. 
Before entering thermals, with no brakes applied, the Nevada 2 S at 90 all up slows a bit ,pitch slightly back and then climb away.  
The climb in weak is still very good even loaded comparable with the BGD Base. 
The glide at trim and accelerated is good for the high B category ! It could be placed among the top five in terms of glide efficiency !
Big ears are stable and a good way to get down. 

Conclusion: The Nevada 2 S has everything to be quite competitive and pleasant to fly for a high B glider. It needs active piloting in turbulent conditions. The glide especially accelerated is very nice for the category.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

ADVANCE Interview ( Valery Chapuis) 
1-Ziad: Can you tell us please about ADVANCE new products for 2017 ? 

- Valery Chapuis: BIBETA 6, SUCCESS 4, SIGMA 10, Companion SQR 220. Other products are not decided yet. 
Please have a look at our homepage. http://www.advance.ch/en/home/news-pages/success-4-safe-and-comfortable-no-compromise/ , we’ll publish soon a complete information. 

2- What can you tell the pilots about the new Sigma? What do they have to expect? 
- Valery Chapuis: middle C wing with a very high level of performance (more than our OMEGA 9 photos from the beginning of this year) with a vey predictable behavior. With all the existing technology. 

Any D glider for the future ? … 
- Valery Chapuis : Maybe a OMEGA 9 end of next year. We are making new 3 and 2 liners photos. 

3-Ziad: The Iota is a high B with a very high ratio of : top performance / comfortable behavior with a moderate aspect ratio ! Now it seems the Sigma 9 follow that same path . A concept for the middle C pilots as you mentioned. Could you please elaborate on this ? With an approximate idea for the aspect ratio ?  

-Valery Chapuis: The Sigma 10 will be a middle C wing, I mean a real C wing, not a low D, not a high B. A normal sport wing pilot can easily fly a Sigma 10, the wing is very intuitive and predictable. 

4-Ziad: What about handling versus the Sigma 9 ? 

Valery Chapuis: Still very responsive but a little bit less direct than the 9, we were not far from a freestyle behavior, depending on the pilot weight of course. 

5-Ziad: Will it have unsheathed lines like the Iota ? 
- Yes, like the Iota and like the Sigma 9 as it is a wing aimed for performance and cross country flights. 

6- Ziad: Also its nice to see 5 sizes ! Very interesting ! Can you please elaborate on that decision ?  
- Valery Chapuis: 5 sizes will give more choice to the pilots and more possibilities to find the right size. 

6-Ziad: What's a 3D panel shaping ? and what does it do ? 
Valery Chapuis: The 3D shapping helps the leading edge to be more resistant as it reduces the elasticity of the fabric, that gives a better behaviour to the wing. 

7- Ziad: Who are the people behind this design ? In R&D and testing? 

Valery Chapuis: It is as usual our complete R&D Team. Silas Bosco and Hannes Papesh remain the computer designers and the test pilots with Kare Eisenhut as responsible make the wing as we decided in the design manifest. 

8- Ziad:Will it be there an impress 3 replacement in the near future ? 

Valery Chapuis: Yes we discussed already about a Impress 4 but we dont have yet a timing. 

9- Ziad: What's the difference between the Beta 5 and 6 ? 

Valery Chapuis: The 6 benefits of all the technology and knowledge we could acquire during the past 4 years after we made the Beta 5. A complet product presentation will be published next week in our homepage, please have a look it is really interesting. 

10-Ziad: Anything you want to add? 

Valery Chapuis: I’d like to add a big hello to all the pilots and don’t forget that you are not alone in your life, your family is expecting that you go back home tonight, then fly safely and always land happy. 

Ziad: Thank you very much ! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

SKYWALK Poison X-Alps XS !

SKYWALK Poison X-Alps XS (65-90)
The Poison X-Alps is SKYWALK light EN-D wing. This glider is the fruit of the wing used in the last X-alps race, trimmed and tuned to meet the requirements of the D pilots.
The Poison X-alps is a 7 aspect ratio glider with three risers and a shark nose. A small piece of wood attached on the C riser, is connected to act also on the B riser for a possibility to control the glider pitch when accelerated. All lines are unsheathed.

Launching the 7 aspect ratio Poison is an easy task with the light cloth. Quickly overhead, a slight damp on the brakes to keep it overhead and the take off is immediate.
I must state that different sizes behaves very differently. For instance when the Ozone LM6 size S has a slight pitch forward, The LM6 size SM has a neutral pitch, The normal M6 size SM has a slight pitch back ! I was flying the Poison X-Alps size XS from 84 to 90 all up. The M size could have other feel under it ... i just have the XS size.

I found after some hours flying the XS size, that 5 kilos below top is optimum as the balance of climb and speed is great ! I didn’t notice an increase or decrease in trim speed flying it from 85 to 90...But the climb at 85 all up is superb !
Also flying it 5 kg below top, decreases slightly its dynamism and smoothen up the movements in active air. Much like the Cayenne 5. No need to fly it at top weight.
I flew that glider in some turbulent air alternating flights with the LM6 SM. The Poison X-alps has a more dynamic feel under it. The roll movements are more pronounced over the LM6 with a lovely slight pitch forward that pulls you into the thermal.

All that is coupled with a precise, linear, short, direct brake response which i adore on board this beautiful machine !
The Poison X-Alps feels more taught in the air than the LM6 ( it feels like a solid, dynamic, compact piece) The information given by the Poison X-alps XS is spectacular ! A good pilot will feel everything in the brakes and also in the harness with the possibility to place it exactly
where he wants inside any turbulent thermal ! It needs more piloting than the LM6 in turbulent air and feels slightly more dynamic.

The LM6 is for sure a superb machine. But if i’m going to explain the difference between them and especially in ‘feel’ without talking about performance yet, i would say that, If the LM6 SM loaded at top feels like a Porsche. The Poison X-Alps XS at 85, feel like a Porsche GT2. Everything is fine tuned for slightly more precision, slightly more dynamism, slightly more race feel, slightly more steering pleasure !

Going on some glide on the Poison X-Alps XS at 85 all up with an LM6 S at top weight and an LM6 SM also at top weight showed me that the Poison X-Alps XS has a +1 km/h faster trim speed. At top speed, the Poison X-Alps XS has +16 km/h over it’s trim taken at 800m ASL.
As for the glide angle at trim and accelerated i would say that they pretty close. My 'personal' feel is a slight efficiency in head wind glides for the Poison X-Alps especially above trim,+ 47 km/h.

The Poison X-Alps XS at 85 all up is a very good climber in weak conditions. And for sure when the thermal streghten, it will shoot upward without any delay ! Overall it’s an efficient climber.
The speed system has a moderate pressure .The glide is superb ! Bumps are felt when accelerating in turbulent air and the pitch is controlled by pulling on the C riser which is slightly on the heavy side and could control quite some moderate turbulence. But not as much as a 2 liner does. For example, the Peak 4 'B steering' is much softer and more efficient. But of course its a 2 liner ! I felt that controlling the pitch with the C riser on the Poison X-Alps has to be firm and at the same time sensitive and precise in order to keep the glider levelled above.
360’s are super easy and feels quite nice with a very clean exit. Big ears are stable and doable with at the external B riser kit.

Conclusion: Test flying the Poison X-alps XS for "my personal taste” was an exceptional experience for a D glider yet ! The handling and the way it turns, feels and cut through the air, is superb !
It’s a slightly dynamic and talkative wing for sure in turbulence, but very well pressurised and has a homogenous feel for a 7 AR, top performer D glider ! The brake authority and responsiveness is among it’s
strongest points !
I loved the way it pulls into the thermal ! It sniffs and go through with a positive vario.
The authority on the brakes, usability and feel are exceptional on this XS size ! I’m sure that many keen pilots wouldn’t be indifferent after a test flight !  :-)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

U-Turn Blacklight 2 S

U-Turn Blacklight 2 S

4 years ago, i test flew the Blacklight 1. The strong point was the excellent climb rate even in super weak conditions. Glide was very good, into wind glide was moderate, and the Blacklight 1 kept its pilot quite busy in very strong conditions having an aspect ratio of 5.8 flat at the time !

U-turn offers the Blacklight 2 in late 2016, with a moderate aspect ratio of 5.6 flat.
The 11 lines per side are a bit thick and sheathed . The upper ones directly to the canopy are unsheathed .
3 lines per side with 3 thin up to date risers and 3.5 line configuration.

A nice shark nose construction with semi circular openings. A very nicely and tough looking construction on that glider !

I flew the S from 87 to 90 all up. The launch behavior is easy without any surges or hang back. The take off is immediate.

The brake travel and pressure are moderate to slightly firm resembling the Eden 6 one.
The maneuverability in coring thermals is really nice.The Blacklight 2 can be turned very narrow into the core. It doesn’t really dive into the turn if applied smoothly. The Blacklight 2 has a very well balanced and pleasurable handling. The same size on the Blacklight one has a lighter feel on the brakes, and slightly more dynamic in terms of turning ability and surely in turbulent conditions, where the Blacklight 2 is much more comfortable than its predecessor.
I felt that the shark nose on the Blacklight 2 is much more efficient than the BL 1 in biting forward the thermals. The Blacklight 2 in size S however, (Other sizes could have different feel) have a slight pitch back upon entry but at my loadings it quickly goes forward again and through the airmass.

I flew the Blacklight 2 in turbulent conditions, and i could sense a middle B in terms of dynamic reactions. It doesn’t feel like a high B nor as a soft low B.  I think it sits in the middle of this huge category in terms of piloting.

Doing some glide comparison with high and low B’s puts the Blacklight 2 size S at 90 all up in the first middle* of this large category. The second part holds the high B’s with Mentor 4, Iota..etc..

The climb rate however even loaded at top, is excellent on the Blacklight 2 ! This glider could be inserted in the second part of the B category for it’s superb climbing ability. I was always climbing very quickly among other nice climbing gliders.

The top speed on the S at 90 all up is 9 ~ 10 km/h over trim speed which i forgot to mention that it’s quite nice around +39 km/h ! taken at 1000 ASL .
Big ears are super easy efficient and reopen immediately on release.

It is clear to the eye that U-Turn decided to deliver a new Blacklight with a different philosophy. The Blacklight 2 is more comfortable to fly than the first version .The gene of the bL1 in climb rate is present on the second version. The thick lines seems to be installed for durability rather than thinner more delicate or unsheathed thin ones…The efficiency for the Blacklight 2 into wind is slightly enhanced over the Blacklight 1.
Lets hope U-Turn will consider a race version with thinner unsheathed lines for some B enthusiasts…

Thursday, September 29, 2016

U-Turn (Ernst Strobl) Interview

Mr Ernst Strobl is the chief designer and founder of U-Turn and has been designing gliders and was a competition pilot since the first paragliders emerged !

Ziad: Hi Ernst, can i ask you a few questions regarding U-Turn new gliders for 2017 ?

[Ernst: ] Hello Ziad,
For 2017 we have:
Motor Glider:
- PYLO , competition motor race glider.
(Technical Data and video attached below )
- PROGRESS , intermediate motor glider, technical Data in the email. Very easy start and landing, good performance and efficiency with engine! Awesome handling :-) . The glider is make for right after the School…
- Close to finish is a small Tandem Hike and Fly, 120-175kg Start weight, EN/LTF-B, 4,85kg. We don’t have a name in the moment :-(
A good name for that wing… ? :-)  , yesterday we have past Shock & Load test with DHV.

Ziad: Sure ! I hope we will also get some pretty names from the guys on the forum !  :-)
What can you tell us please about the Blacklight 2 ?

[Ernst: ] Long story… a lot of prototypes, finally we decide to go for a middle EN-B with the flying characteristic.
We have done a parallel testing with an high B, aspect ratio 6.0 and the middle B with 5.65. Finally the performance of the high B was not that much more in comparison with the flying characteristic to the Mid. B … so we decide for the more easy flying!
But we have get a lot of knowledge with shark nose… so this was our base for the next step… :- ) …

Ziad: Any new gliders in the C category?
If so, can you please elaborate a bit on what to expect ? High aspect ratio C? or moderate C for B pilots upgrading?

[Ernst: ] Finally the final sample we plan to use for certification is in production.. In 3 weeks I can tell you more.
Passion 2 project, Certification High-C, aspect ratio 6.8, Performance Top of the C range and will go deeply in the D-Performance… the results of our tests so far
  ;-) …

Ziad: What’s your opinion about having lots of cells for a glider in the low B category. Ex: NOVA Phantom.

[Ernst: ] The glider have a good flying characteristic, easy to start, very good performance in this segment, for me the handling can be better… Personally I’m not sure if this is the way… this concept works only with the very light material, we know all how expensive the material is and how long it will stay stable… so what is when the glider is 2-3 years old, how much the pilots will pay for this used gliders… so it can be a big lost in 2-3 years, very hard to say how the market will act on those concepts.

Ziad: You have been designing wings for a very long time. Do you think there’s lots of potential for improving safety and performance? Are we waiting for better materials? Cloth?lines? or new concepts?

[Ernst: ] my competition glider from 1994 have the same performance as an Emotion 3, EN-A, So I think it will go continues forward with performance and safety, a part will be new materials, new concepts, the race is still not at the end… as you can see in the latest development in the competition scene… Impressive to see what Ozone is doing there.

Ziad: Thank you Ernst !!



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

NOVA Interview (Philippe Medicus) R&D department

A few questions for Philippe medicus head of NOVA R&D department .

1-Ziad: Do you consider the new concept of the Phantom an open gate for future glider designs?
Philippe Medicus: I don't think, that the Phantom is going to stay the only wing of its kind.

2- Ziad: What are the benefits of this concept on higher aspect ratio gliders? + 6, 7, 8 AR?
Philippe Medicus: Current competition wings have a similar cell count already.
Adding the complex internal structure of the Phantom would decrease weight and increase dimensional stability.
But compared to the advantage of the concept in the "Low-B Class", the benefit would be a lot smaller.

3- Ziad: Does implementing this concept will increase the speed, the stability, or only the performance?
Philippe Medicus: The concept does not increase the collapse resistance, but the dimensional stability benefits a lot. So the wing stays closer to its intended shape, which increases performance.
A high performance glider tends to gain more speed when pushing the speed-bar with a certain travel, than a wing with less performance.
So it's no coincidence, that the Phantom is a faster than an Ion4 on bar.

4- Ziad: NOVA enthusiast will be able to see a new Mentor 5 with this concept? Any dates?
Philippe Medicus: Currently we are not developing an other wing with this concept. So the Mentor 5 won't be a "Phantom-type" wing.
Sorry - no dates yet, but certainly not this year.

5- Ziad: Will it have an impact on the handling ? Turning ability?
Philippe Medicus: It does have an impact on the handling: The Phantom handles more precisely than any other Low-B glider we have flown. And - to a certain extend - the performance of a wing directly affects the handling. When a glider converts speed into height well, pilots say that you can "feel the performance". That's what the Phantom does more than other low AR wings.

6- Ziad: Could they also see a new Triton “C” with lots of cells? 
Philippe Medicus: We haven't decided yet.

7- Ziad: What do you see in future glider design?
Philippe Medicus: Detailed predictions of the future turn out to be false most of the time. :)
So I won't bother you with any guesses.

8- Ziad: The Bion 1 was almost indestructible! Can you please describe the new Bion 2?
And what will motivate the professionals to fly the Bion 2?
Philippe Medicus: The Bion2 has a lighter bottom sail than the Bion1, which won’t affect the longevity unless landing on a tree... The Bion2 will be just as durable as the Bion1.
Easy take off, easy handling, and good flaring ability for landing, longevity.
Further more it's quite fast with open trimmers and has a lot more performance than Bion1.

9- Ziad: One more question please. Can you describe the new Bion 2? The Bion 1 was a very tough tandem wing, almost indestructible !
Why would the professionals be interested in buying the Bion 2 ?

Philippe Medicus: The Bion2 has a lighter bottom sail than the Bion1, which doesn't affect the longevity. (Except you damage the bottom sail, by landing in a tree)
But besides such an incident, the Bion2 will be just as durable as the Bion1.

> Why would the professionals be interested in buying the Bion 2 ?
Easy take off, easy handling, and good flaring ability for landing. And of course the longevity. Further more it's quite fast with open trimmers and has a lot more performance than Bion1.

Thank you Philippe !

Monday, September 19, 2016

OZONE (Luc Armant) interview

Questionnaire for OZONE R&D designer and Team pilot Luc Armant.

1-Ziad : A new concept of gliders with many cells is emerging with low and high aspect ratio. What are your thoughts about this concept? Especially on moderate aspect ratio gliders ?

Luc Armant: The idea from Nova of proposing a glider for richer intermediate pilot is making fully sense. Any other serious mechanical sport industry is having such product. I have no idea what size is that market for paragliders. High cell number concept: for sure things are not simple like the higher the better. Zeno versus Enzo2 is a nice example showing that not only cell number count (78 vs 101). Not enough cells is not good and too much is not good too, even for performances. What we have experimented is that there is an optimum number of cell for a given design, and that optimum can be very different from one design to another.

2-Ziad : Almost every pilot is talking about the Zeno… The Manual is clear. Since you have flown both now, many pilots would like to know the difference in flying demands and feeling compared to the M6 and the Enzo 2. Can you also elaborate on brake response and dynamism?

Luc Armant: Flying demand and comfort is much closer to M6 than Enzo2. I still find that the M6 is a good wing, relatively safe, performant and without bugs, but the Zeno has more character, is more pleasurable, more exciting to fly. All that is without talking about the gain in performances.
Gliding on the side of an M6 or any other END wing, gives you an extra blast. Brake pressure is much lighter than M6. That’s my favorite brake pressure, and you kind of feel the thermal through your fingers a bit like on the Delta2. It can answer fast to roll input and turn in tiny radius with still nice climbing efficiency.

3- Ziad : Now that the Zeno is finished, any news on the Delta 3 project?

Luc Armant: No news yet, apart from the fact we are still working on that project, amongst other projects. But for sure the longest project ever in ozone !

4-Ziad : I know you already answered the following question but just to answer some pilots questions…Will OZONE see an advantage of building a high cell count on a Delta 3 for example? Or a Rush 5 ?

Luc Armant: Ozone will not see an advantage of building D3 or R5 with more cells than optimum for their design.
We try to build product with only necessary stuff.
It does not mean than the Delta3 will have 20 cells only !!!

5- Ziad: Some pilots said that the M6 and Enzo tendency to cravat are high after a collapse ,So did you make any re-arrangement for the Zeno design ,not to have cravats? or may be less...
Any comments?

Luc Armant: I’m not sure about that comment. And I would need to know what sort of cravat they are talking about. Pilots use the word cravats for many different things.
After collapses, sometimes the M6 or the Enzo2 does a small wing tip knot that you can remove by pulling the stabilo line.
I did not make special arrangement but the Zeno is not cravatting easily. For that reason we decided to remove the stabilo line.
Like on any wing, depending on the air and your piloting, you can have a collapse going to the front (sideways air flow), resulting in the collapsed part of the wing blocked by the air flow in front of the lines. But in that case usually two or three deep asymmetric pumping is enough.

 6- Ziad: Anything you want to add concerning the future of glider design?

Luc Armant: Like always, I can only talk about present and past. The future is still to be created.

Ziad :Thank you Luc !


Thursday, September 8, 2016



The Leaf (nice name for a paraglider ! ) is the first Supair certified as a B glider and intended for a larger group in this segment.
The take off is super easy for a B with no hang back or shooting forward.

I flew the Leaf in different conditions from weak to rough conditions and i have now a solid idea about it’s behavior.

In rough turbulent thermals the Leaf resembles the low B category gliders ex: Ion 4 by the comfort it delivers and ease of use.
Inside the thermals, the Leaf S (75-95) loaded at 92 is a real pleasure ! The brakes have moderate pressure similar to the M4 or the Ion 4. A little more pressure than the Swift or the Rush 4.

The brakes are linear, precise and direct, delivering a superb maneuverability!
I could place the Leaf exactly where i wanted even in the roughest of air. The Leaf reacts like an extension of the pilot arm. I re-discovered flying pleasure on board this colored ‘toy’ !

Climbing with reference gliders showed me an impressive climb rate ! I could easily stay near the excellent Swift 4 ! and in rough air i could out-climb easily many high end gliders. For sure the climbing ability of the Leaf puts it right among the top gliders in the mixed B category .

The speed system is easy to push with a moderate pressure, less than the Mentor 4, a bit harder than the Swift 4 pressure. The top speed of the Leaf is around 10 km/h over trim .

Doing lots of glide i noticed a nice trim speed in calm air for the Leaf slightly more than the Rush 4 . The glide however puts the Leaf in the first part of the mixed B category .

Big ears are stable, efficient and reopen by themselves.

I enjoyed every second flying the Leaf. It was nice to feel like a ‘leaf’ again  :-) .
The climb rate and the handling will draw smiles bigger than the pilots faces !  :-)
The Leaf is a moderate B glider just in the middle of this huge B category. It is not a very low boring B nor a lively high B. It’s a balanced well behaved mid B.
The Leaf glide angle will share the first part of this B category.
I think the Leaf with its sheathed lines all over was created not to drag race the top B contenders with a knife between the teeth…. but to deliver comfort, ease of use, excellent climbing, pleasure and a lovely handling.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Skywalk Spice XS

After test flying the Cayenne 5 here’s the light version, the Spice.
I flew the Spice at 91 all up with a woody valley rated 6 .

The material used on the Spice is quite delicate resembling the LM6 cloth. Thin rises with a complete set of unsheathed lines.

The Spice with its light cloth is easier and faster to launch than the C5 especially in low wind take offs.

I have flown the Spice in multiple sites from difficult and turbulent conditions to average thermals with the company of the Cayenne 5 which let me to draw accurate conclusions on behaviour and performance.

The brake pressure on the Spice is moderate to light, less than the LM6 pressure and close enough to the C5 XS but with a slightly less direct feel.

The Spice is for sure an agile glider, that gave me some flying pleasure.
May be just only 5 % less than the C5 XS in direct feel and agility for the same loadings !
Flying it in turbulence gave me the impression that it has a slightly more neutral pitch or slightly pitch back sometimes than the C5 XS i had earlier for the test.

I would say that the Spice in XS size is slightly more comfortable than the C5 in XS size for the same loadings in moderate thermals.
That doesn’t mean that it’s an entry C glider. The Spice still needs more active piloting than the Alpina 2 in strong conditions.

The climb rate of the Spice XS loaded at 91 compared to the C5 S loaded at 99 is quite close.

In very weak climb (0.5 m/s ) the C5 S will have the edge in surfing upward those tiny lifts.

At trim speed the Spice XS (75-95) flown at 91 is slightly slower (-0.25 km/h) than a Cayenne 5 S (85-105) at 99 all up.

The glide at trim and accelerated is very close to the C5 which puts the Spice also as one of the best C performer for the light category.

The speed bar has a moderate to light pressure. The ability to control the pitch with the C risers is efficient in moderate turbulence.

Very small ears are stable but not efficient. Big ears are unstable. Pulling the B3, is stable. It gave me -2.5 m/s with full bar and the reopening is super fast.
Pulling the C3 with a slight bar is little more delicate and has also the same efficiency as pulling the B3’s.

Wing overs are super big and a joy to make.A playful glider for sure !

The Spice has a low stall speed and it’s efficient to top land accurately in narrow spaces. It stalls below the hip with a small warning sign which is easy to avoid for the keen C pilot.

The top speed with pulleys overlapping, over a 1 km run is 10 km/h over trim on the Spice XS size at 91 all up at 1000 ASL.

Conclusion: I had a fun time test flying the Spice. The agility and the energy are good for the C category coupled with top performance. The feel under it is slightly mellower than the C5 XS in moderate thermals. In strong thermals and turbulence it needs the same level of piloting as the C5 XS with a similar behaviour.
My only regret is the pitch back upon entering thermals on the Spice which wasn’t felt on the excellent Cayenne 5 XS or S i have flown…For sure it feels differently tuned !
I’m sure that many pilots will appreciate the overall feel and potential of this light, top performant C machine.


AD Pure 3 SM

AD Pure 3

I flew the Pure 3 from 90 to 95 all up.
Launching the Pure 3 needs a steady and pressured pull to reach overhead. The lift is immediate.

In the air the brake pressure is on the moderate to hard side and i couldn’t say that the pure 3 is an agile glider but ok. It has less agility and more firm brake pressure than the Peak 4 23 i have here as reference.

In turbulent conditions, the Pure 3 feels more as a block and moves as a whole structure than the Peak 4 does, but needs slightly more active piloting. The climb rate in weak and strong however is very good on the Pure 3, as the glider spring up very quickly inside thermals. Could be one of the best in climbing.

Gliding overall performance seems moderate to ok, for a 2 liner D glider
(if loaded at top) .

At 93 all up the trim speed resembles the LM6 one.
At full bar i could see an increase of 13 km/h at 600 ASL. I think 96, 97 would give better results.
Gliding on the Pure 3 with bar and controlling it with the B riser is very efficient in moderate turbulence. In strong turbulence, a more pilot adaptation is needed to keep the glider overhead as the B riser pull has a stop limiter. But it’s really efficient in moderate stuff !

Big ears are stable ! Efficient and reopen quickly.
Conclusion: My last flown D gliders this year were the King S , LM6 MS, Peak 4 23. The Pure 3 felt that it needs slightly more active piloting than those three only in some quite turbulent conditions. The agility is moderate to low compared to those three above which lead me to think that it needs more pilot adaptation (getting use to it) to control it better.
 In moderate turbulence, it felt more as a block overhead. I think this glider needs some “exoceat” “XR7”  Type harness and a good pilot pushing along good lift lines.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Air Cross U-Cruise M

 Air cross ( U-Cruise M )

My last glider from Air cross was the U cross EN-C glider.
The U-Cruise is their new 5.6 aspect ratio intermediate B glider.
I flew the M size (75-100) from 94 to 98 all up.
I felt that 95-97 could be an efficient option in all conditions.

The U-cruise features a shark nose, thin unsheathed lines on top and regular covered ppsl lines on the bottom like the ones on the modern gliders like the M4, Rook 2…with a 3.5 line configuration.

The risers are thin and sporty, the speed lengths on the risers on the M size I’m testing is more than 15 cm long !
The overall construction is really nice, with plenty of details like the leading edge with the little half moon openings to the stabilo's of the U-cruise which  holds a complete rod to make it stiff in the air.

Launching the U-Cruise is smooth in weak or even in strong air for a B pilot.

First thermal and first tun showed an average pressure on the brakes which is slightly more than a Sprint 3 but with a more agile turn that could resemble the M4 one. Strong input on the brakes does get you in big wing overs and you will experience high energy coming from the glider.

The U-Cruise has the same excellent comfort in the air as the Nyos from Swing. It gives a more solid feel than the Iota or even the Mentor 4 ! I felt that the glider is extremely pressurized ! As it felt like an indestructible rock solid structure above my head ! Some pilot wouldn’t like but some will…I just saw today the certification report of the M with plenty of A’s, that confirmed my flying feel.
In entering thermals the U-Cruise has a slight tendency to bounce slightly back. But as I said the Roll and the pitch movements are dampened for an intermediate B glider.

Flying the U-Cruise in strong air does in fact give the (high-end B)  pilot a high degree of comfort ! This pressurized, tough structure does in fact dilute the feeling in weak conditions, and the pilot underneath must open his complete senses to feel those tiny bits of thermals as they are completely erased by the U-Cruise, that led me to feel that it’s not really a floater rather than a cruiser…

Flying next to a reference high-end B gliders, showed me that the gliding power are good on-board the U-Cruise which could place it exactly between the Base from BGD and the Sprint 3 from GIN.
The U-Cruise is “slightly” faster at trim speed over a Mentor 4 or a sprint 3 similarly loaded !
The top speed of the U-Cruise I have for testing is really fast…I think I could see for many times 16 km/h over its fast trim of 40 km/h taken at 1000 ASL. I think this is a fast one !
Big ears are a very good way to get down ! they are very efficient and reopen quickly by themselves.
Wing overs are super high, and they need a special attention for pilots who are not use to throw them around.

Conclusion: Again this is my personal opinion after test flying the recent B glider available and I am sure that each pilot will find his own preference after his test flight.
-The U-Cruise has an interesting fast structure for the pilots who likes a feel of a (Turbo Rhino) design :-) structure over a nimble agile small Gazelle like the Rush 4 for example. The comfort over the Rush is enhanced and also the glide and speed ! But the sensitivity and efficiency in small and very weak conditions goes toward the Rush.
In Alpine conditions I can imagine many pilots on the U-Cruise getting some serious XC distances with the extra comfort this glider delivers. The overall usability and especially the top speed are really good for the B category.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

UPDATE with the U-Cruise.

UPDATE with the U-Cross .

Info’s: In this race for performance, the recent 2015/2016 gliders are having very thin line set up. Whether on a B, C, or D glider, I have found that those gliders from different manufacturer does in fact change slightly (Still with a large safety margin, within the permitted stretch tolerance with no required adjustment) …They just settle to a certain configuration...Some after 20 hours, and some after 100 hours…But they do change slightly…That’s why flying them again and again will in fact change their characteristic slightly, and this will show on marginal conditions, especially in weak conditions, or in strong head wind conditions.
The best I can do....

Most easy to fly in difficult conditions (most comfortable) :

1-AD Rise 2 M = Atlas X-Alps S = Ion 4 S @ 96 = Buzz Z5 SM @95 = Hook 3 25 = UP Kibo SM @ 92 = U-Cruise @ 96
2-Sprint EVO= Eden 5 = Advance E7 26 = Kantega XC2= Ion 3 S = Atlas S= Infinity4 S = Swift 4 SM = AD Rise 2 S Superlight = Skyman Cross country S
3-Rush 3 = Mentor 3 S = Summit XC 3 S = Iota 26 = Triple Seven Rook 2 SM = Carrera Plus S = Base M = Swing Nyos M @ 98 = Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Mentor 4 S @ 96 = Ikuma 25 = GIN Sprint 3 M @ 101 .
4-Tequila 4 = Rush 4 = Windtech Bali = Skywalk Aruba 3 S = Sky Apollo M
5-SM-Blacklight = Nevada = Sky Atis 4 = Comet 2 S= Swing Mistral 7 S =Mentor 4 Light XS
6-Mentor 2 = Lightning S
7-Chili 3
8-Carrera S, M

Climb rate in very weak conditions (float-ability)

1-Carrera Plus S @ 91 = Chili 3 S @ 98 = Infinity 4 S@ 90 = UP Kantega XC2 S @ 90 = U-Turn Blacklight SM @ 98 = Atlas X-Alps S @ 92 & M @ 102 = Swift SM @ 90 = Skyman Cross country S @ 88 = Mentor 4 XS Light

2-Nevada = Rush 4 SM @ 90 = Mentor 2 S (Still Efficient) = Tequila 4 SM = Ion 4 S @ 95 = Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Buzz Z5 SM @88 = Eden 5 = Carrera S, M =Triple Seven Rook 2 SM = Lightning S @90 = Arriba 3 S @ 92 = Mentor 4 S @ 94
3-Mentor 3 S @ 95 = AD Rise 2 M = Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101
= Atlas S @ 90 = Hook 3 = Base M @ 90 = Rise 2 S Superlight @ 90 = Iota 26 @ 95 = Windtech Bali @ 95 = Sky Apollo M @ 92

4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S @ 88 = Ion 3 S @ 95 = Ikuma 25 = UP Kibo SM @ 92 =U-Cruise @ 96

5- Sky Atis 4 = Advance E 7 26 = Swing M7 S @ 92 = Swing Nyos M @ 98

Climb rate in OVERALL conditions for XC flying (difficult ,weak, or strong) .
“Relatively moving conditions”

1-Carrera Plus S @ 94 = Chili 3 S @ 98 = Carrera S, M = Swift SM @ 92 = Mentor 4 S @ 97

2-Nevada = Triple Seven Rook 2 SM @ 93 = U-Turn Blacklight SM= Rush 4 SM = Mentor 2 S (Still Efficient) = Mentor 3 S ( it is very dampened) = Tequila 4 SM = AD Rise 2 M = Atlas S = Base M = Rise 2 S Superlight = Atlas X-Alps S & M = Ion 4 S @ 95 = Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Buzz Z5 SM @ 92 = Skyman Cross Country S = Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101 = Sky Apollo M = Arriba 3 S @ 92 = Mentor 4 XS Light

3-Iota 26 = Windtech Bali = NK Ikuma 25 = Swing Nyos M @ 98 = Up Kibo SM = U-Cruise @ 96

4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S = Ion 3 S
5-Hook 3 = Eden 5 = Sky Atis 4= Advance E 7 26 = UP Kantega XC2 S = Infinity 4 S = Swing M7 S = Lightning S @90 (These gliders have a superb climb in calm conditions away from the valley breeze. Differences are very small .Its up to the pilot !)

Glide in “OVERALL” conditions (upwind, downwind, racing in difficult conditions) Or “efficiency” ! Done in active air.

1-Carrera S, M = Mentor 4 S = Iota 26 = Carrera Plus = Rook 2 SM = Mentor 4 XS Light 

2- Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Nyos M @ 98 = Sprint 3 M @ 101

3-Mentor 3 S = Chili 3 S = Ion 4 S @ 95
= U-Cruise @ 96

4-Rush 4 = AD Rise 2 = Swift 4 SM = Ikuma 25 = Skyman Cross country S = UP Kibo SM @ 92
= Sky Apollo M @ 93

5-Nevada 26 (must be loaded at 100 ) = Windtech Bali = Hook 3 = Tequila 4 SM = Mentor 2 S = Arriba 3 S = Buzz Z5 SM @ 92

6-Blacklight SM (loaded) = Ion 3 S = Sky Atis 4 M = Swing Mistral 7 S = Atlas X-Alps =AD Rise 2 S Superlight = UP Summit XC3 S size (M&L could be different) = Atlas X-Alps S =UP Summit XC3 S.

7-BGD Base M = UP kantega XC2 S = Rush 3 M = AD Rise 1 = Infinity 4 S = Eden 5 = Comet 2 S = Atlas S = Advance E7 26 ( The differences are small with ± half a point in L/D max, in “relatively moderate conditions” . (Racing in stronger conditions will show bigger differences)

Fun feel : “pleasure to fly, “agile” and higher overall fun feeling” IMHO

1-Tequila 4 S @ + 91 kg = Arriba 3 @ 90 all up

2- Buzz Z5 SM @ 90 = Base M @ + 91 kg / Infinity 4 S @ + 89 Kg = Swift 4 @ + 91 Kg / Atlas S / Sky Atis 4 M @ + 95 Kg / Swing Mistral 7 @ +92 Kg / Mentor 2 S @ +95 Kg / Comet 2 S @ + 93 Kg / =UP Kibo SM @ 93 = Sky Apollo M @ 92 = Mentor 4 XS Light

3- Rush 4 @ + 91 Kg / Carrera S @ + 92 kg / Blacklight S @ +91 Kg / Blacklight SM @ + 100 Kg / UP Kantega XC2 @ + 95 Kg / Mentor 3 & 4 S @ +95 Kg / Advance Iota @ + 96 Kg / Wintech Bali M @ + 97 Kg / Chili 3 @ + 100 Kg / AD Rise 2 S superlight @ + 89 Kg =Triple Seven Rook 2 SM @ 97 = Nyos 26 @ 99 = Ikuma 25 = Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Skyman Cross country S @ 88 = Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101 = Nova Ion 4 S at 96 all up.

4- Rise 2 M @ + 103 Kg / Nevada 26 @ + 100 Kg / Ion 3 S @ + 97 Kg / Hook 3 M @ + 97 Kg /UP Summit XC3 @ + 93 kg / AD Rise 1 @ + 95 Kg = Atlas X-Alps S & M = U-Cruise .

Most demanding glider in "strong conditions" (1-10) '10' being most demanding for a high end B ‘: ( Please bear in mind the 'size' and the 'wing loading' ! )
* Some C’s and D’s were included to inform pilots about their demanding behavior (Forum request) .

Advance E7 26 (@93 all up) * 3.9
GIN Atlas X-Alps ( S @ 94 all up) *3.9
AD Rise 2 M (@98all up) *4

UP Kibo SM @ 92 *4
Skyman cross country S @  88  *4
Eden 5 (@ 95 all up) *4
Hook 3 (@97 all up) *4
Buzz Z5 SM @ 92 *4
Nova Ion 4 S @ 95  *4
BGD Base M (@90all up) *4.5
Rush 3 M (@102 all up) *4.5
Sprint Evo ( @ 98 all up ) *4.5
Nova Ion 3 S (@ 95 all up) *5.0
U-Turn Infinity 4 S (@ 90all up) *5.0
Gin Atlas S (@ 92 all up ) * 5.0
UP Kantega Xc2 S (@ 90 all up)*5.0

Air Cross U-Cruise 26 @ 96  *5.3 
AD Rise 1 (@ 102 all up) *5.5
Windtech Bali (@95 all up) *5.5
Swift 4 SM (@ 92 all up) *5.5
Triple Seven Rook 2 SM ( at 97) *5.5
Eden 6 26 @ 96 *5.5
Nyos M @ 98 *5.5
Iota 26 ( @ 95 all up) *5.5

Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101 *5.5
Blacklight SM (@100 all up)*5.5
Sky Atis 4 M (@93 all up) *5.5
Nevada 26 (@ 100 all up ) *5.5
Mentor 3 S ( @97 all up) *5.5
Tequila 4 SM (@92 all up) *5.5
Ikuma 25 @ 94  * 5.6
Mentor 4 S ( @ 95 all up) *5.6
Arriba 3 S at 92 all up *5.6

 Sky Apollo M @ 92 *5.7
Nova Mentor 4 XS light *5.7
Axis Comet 2 S (@90 all up 5.8
UP Summit XC3 @ 93 all up. 6.0
GIN Carrera plus S @ 94 all up *6.0
Swing M7 S (@90all up) *6.0
Rush 4 SM (@93 all up) *6.0
Blacklight S ( @ 90 all up) *6.5
Lightning S @ (90 all up) 6.5
Mentor 2 S (@ 95 all up) *6.5
Chili 3 S (@ 98all up) *7.0
Carrera S, M 8.0

C & D gliders:
This grade is to say how busy a glider is, in strong conditions, or the one that’s more difficult to manage, comparing to the B category.

Since this is a very delicate comparison , i must point out that the glider that has quicker authority on the brakes like the Triton 2 will enable a good pilot to keep it swiftly overhead. Some doesn’t have that quick response and in strong conditions they won’t keep the pilot as busy, but he will be the ‘passenger’ for a short lapse of time …
The grade doesn’t indicate the one that recovers easier or harder !!Only that keep you busier ! Most will have easier recovery than the higher graded !

Mac Elan M (@98all up) *7
Swing Nexus (@94 all up) *7.0
Up Summit XC 3 S (@94 all up) *7.5
Mac Elan light 24 (@90 al up) *7.5
Advance Sigma 9 25 (@91 all up) *7.5
Niviuk Artik 4 25 (@91 all up) *8.5
Ozone Alpina 2 SM (@92 all up) * 8.5
Delta 2 SM size (@ 92 all up) *9
777 Queen M (@ 101 all up) *9
BGD Cure (@ 93 all up) *9.3
Aspen 5 26 (@98all up) *10
Skyman CrossAlps S (@90 all up) *10.5
Sol Lotus one (@ 98 all up) *11
Ozone Mantra 6 SM (@94 all up) *12
Gin Gto 2 S size (@94 all up) *12,5
Triton 2 in S size (@ 96 all up) *12.5 (M size could be different) !
Niviuk IP6 26 (@98 all up) *13.5
Ozone R-10 S (@ 98 all up) *15.0

The Eden 5 has less top speed of 3-4 km than the others.
The Hook 3 is very comfortable to fly with a very interesting glide angle. The climb in smooth conditions is fair.
The Mentor 3 is much easier than the Mentor 2, and its efficiency is in those turbulent glides where it will have less pitch movements and little better glide.
The Mentor 4 has better glide than the Mentor 3 but with lesser climb “only” in weak conditions.
The Mentor 4 XS light felt differently trimmed than the S size. The fun feel is high and the performance is excellent !

The Ikuma is a comfortable glider with nice handling. The overall performance is is in the mid of the High B category.
The U-Cruise is a comfortable glider in thermals, but wait until you try wing overs...Too high for  B :-) 

The Iota has a very good glide similar to the Mentor 4, It has a nice climb similar to the Mentor “3”.
The Chili 3 S “still” has the best climb rate and a very nice handling in homogeneous conditions. But with a very long brake travel.
The Advance E7 26 is the most confidence inspiring rock solid glider of the cat. It reminded me of the low B cat in comfort.
The BGD Base is a confidence inspiring, solid glider. The climb and handling are very good.
The Atis 4 has a bit roll movement and need some active piloting in the high end B’s.
It has a fast trim speed, much like the M3 and Chili 3. Long brake travel are needed to let the glider respond in turbulent conditions.
The UP Kantega XC2 S is a very nice wing to fly .It has nice handling and also superb climb overall being also very accessible.
The Swing M7 S is a delight to fly. It dives a bit into turns. It is fast enough for a B, and has enough performance. Not really a floater but a nice glider overall.
The Rush 4 has a very good glide . It is an overall good, very solid B glider, but its trim speed is around 38 km/h and especially the top speed which is low for the cat around 51 km/h .
The fastest are Mentor 3, XC3, Mistral 7…But it is around 55 km/h max.
The AD rise 2 M has the BEST ratio Performance/Comfort in flight !
The Tequila 4 SM is like a precious gem ! combining agility/performance/accessibility!
The Infinity 4 has a very light and nice turning behavior! It has a low trim speed , and the climb rate even loaded is outstanding!
The Comet 2 S give a nice feeling under it. It has a very nice handling .
The Windtech Bali has a respected glide angle. It needs slightly active piloting in big air.
The Atlas S has everything to make its pilot very happy,with a good feeling of passive safety. The X-Alps version of the Atlas has more performance overall, especially in climb.
The Arriba is slightly more dynamic than the Tequila 4 and a pleasurable glider to fly.
The Rook 2 is a well-balanced high performance B glider, with nice handling and efficiency.
The Nyos is very comfortable, made for strong conditions.The gliding performance is very good !
The Eden 6 26 is a very balanced all round B glider toward performance flying, and respecting a pleasant pleasurable feel !
The Buzz Z5 has an upgrade over the Z4 in performance while retaining the comfort. The brake pressure and feel in thermals is really nice!
The Cross country is a light glider with pleasurable handling, and comfortable behavior.

The UP Kibo is an accessible B glider with a comfortable ride.

The Sky Apollo is a pleasure to fly.

The Gin Sprint 3 M performance /comfort ratio is very good.

Conclusion: The Carrera has now two very serious competitors, the M4 and the Iota in pure gliding power. The Carrera still climbs better “in real conditions” than any B in this table.
The Carrera plus climb is even better than the original version only in weak and moderate conditions. The more the headwind, the original version cut forward more efficiently.
The AD Rise 2 is very comfortable to fly with a superb glide for the high B category.
The Rush 4 like the Swift 4 has nearly the glide of the Mentor 3 but with lesser speed. It's an overall efficient glider in difficult conditions where it could cut through turbulence and have a very solid and compact feel coupled with a direct handling.
The Mentor 4 has now the best glide in difficult conditions among the similar aspect ratio B’s very close to the Iota and the Rook 2. The climb in very weak conditions still favors the Mentor 3 S similarly loaded.
The Atlas X-Alps is an easy “all rounder” with very good performance especially in weak climbs and low saves.
I’m certain that a good pilot can break an XC record with ANY of those superb B gliders from above!
Please pick the one that will make you feel happy under it ….The rest is up to you!


Monday, June 13, 2016

UP Kibo SM


After test flying the Summit XC3 and the Trango XC3, here’s the Kibo test flight in SM size .

The Kibo has a 5.7 aspect ratio and has a B rating. UP created the Kibo for B pilots in mind and should be easier to fly than the Summit XC3.

Launching the Kibo is super easy and smooth . No shooting forward or hanging back. Just a steady climb to rest above the pilots head.

I flew the Kibo SM (75-95) at 93 all up as i felt it is a good load on this size. The trim speed isn’t very high, just near 38 km/h as average for the B category.

I flew this glider in different conditions from weak ones to some turbulent air in our Cedars Mountain range. I could quickly confirm a very comfortable glider. The Kibo is a compact smooth easy to fly B machine.
No matter what you throw on the Kibo, the B pilot underneath is very well taken care after !! Or should i say the pilot under the Kibo feels like a VIP on tour !

The handling on the Kibo is exquisite ! The glider reacts to a moderate brake travel and pressure feel, coupled with a very nice coordinated turn and precise inputs !
I can describe it as a “politely” agile glider  :-)  ! 

Doing some performance comparisons with the recent B+ beasts puts the Kibo overall performance in the first half of the B category in glide and climb.

The speed is around 10 km over trim at my loads taken at 700 ASL with a relatively moderate pressure, and a stable glider with usable speed.

Big ears are very easy to induce, very stable, efficient, and fast on opening.

Induced frontal collapses and even some big asymmetric collapses are a non event and it felt strangely like on an A glider …The reopening are very fast and smooth.
I didn't feel like I’m on a 5.7 aspect ratio glider at all !
It seems that UP has done a marvelous job with the internal structure of the Kibo ! I wished this structure was implemented on the 7:0 aspect ratio Trango XC3 which gave me some “Kung Fu” hours in turbulence. So the gap in comfort between the Kibo and the Trango XC3 is like a 4 category cooler !  :-)

Conclusion: This glider gives its pilot an impressive comfort zone! Coupled with a very good handling ! Pilots upgrading on the Kibo from any lower category will find a very friendly B machine. The overall performance are within the B category, and will surely deliver a good pilot, some nice XC flying days.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ozone LM 6

Ozone L M 6 SM

Among the gliders in the D class, the Mantra 6 remains till date a very competitive, efficient and reliable XC machine.
Launching the Light version is slightly easier due to the light fabrics. It shows a very steady pull in light winds.
The difference between the normal M6 and the LM6 SM, flying them at 95 all up are:
I found that the brake pressure is slightly heavier on the LM6 over the normal version with a slightly improved turning ability for the LM6.
The slight back pitch movement on the M6 seems to dissipate on the LM6 where I could sense neutral pitch behavior and I think that contributed slightly to a better into wind performance.
In turbulence the roll movements are slightly more pronounced on the LM6 by a very small amount.
The LM6 seems very solid and manageable in strong conditions like the M6. The speed bar pressure is very similar and usable efficiently in moving air with a taught and solid glider.
Conclusion: Flying the LM6, feels having a very slight edge over the normal M6 in moving air performance. The LM6 overall performance is quite close to the best recent D’s, and any pilot flying it won’t have any disadvantage in performance, with a light glider to carry along.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

GIN Sprint 3 M

GIN Sprint 3  M

Test flying wings is the most difficult thing to do…Not only by flying them…But by typing the letters…

GIN, for all of us flying pilots, is one of the top leaders in paragliding industry. With the state of the art Boomerang 10, what should we expect when he releases a 2016 B+ glider? knowing that there are lots of very good new B+ gliders…
Please answer…
 a normal B+ with average performance and handling ? 
or a contender for the top places in speed, efficiency and glide?
Lets see…
After the amazing Carrera + , GIN has introduced the Sprint 3 to the market with a moderate aspect ratio but targeted as a B+ which logically has to compete with what the current B+ gliders of today has to offer.
Here’s what i found flying the Sprint 3 M from 98, 101, till 103 all up .
Launching the Sprint 3 is an easy task, especially with the light cloth. It climbs steadily and solid.
Flying he Sprint 3 M at 101 feels fine in moderate conditions. I sensed that 103 and above could be its best aspect for XC flying in strong conditions.
At 101 the Sprint 3 M has a moderate to slightly more pressure after 40 cm of brake travel. 
The glider can be steered with 25 cm after the 10 cm slack. I cannot say that the Sprint 3 M is a super agile glider, that you can swiftly adjust in turbulent conditions, but “fair enough” with an efficient turning radius in weak stuff ! 
It is “slightly” less agile than, the normal Atlas S, Mentor4 S, Iota 26, Apollo M, Kibo S…i was testing at the same time.
Not to say it’s not agile…It has a moderate agility to be precise.
 The Carrera plus S and M has a slightly more dynamic turn with a narrow radius and a slightly lighter brake feel toward the end.
In average thermals, the Sprint 3 M has an average to good climb rate that could place it “close enough” to the good ones…
The Sprint 3 M can be steered with precision and little input with average agility in moderate thermals. In strong cores, applying little more brake input, do get the Sprint 3 in a good turn with a good climbing ability if loaded beyond 100 to get that compact feel !
The comfort is high under the Sprint 3 M, which is very good for the category ! Slightly more comfortable than the M4 and Iota . It is for sure much easier to fly than Carrera plus, and not really more difficult to handle over the Atlas…which could be a very good step for a pilot looking to upgrade.

Gliding with my reference glider the Mentor 4 S showed a very good glide angle at trim for the Sprint 3 which place it better than Rush 4, Summit XC3, Apollo… placing it close enough… to the Eden 6, but not as good as the Mentor 4, Iota one which still is a reference in glide and efficiency.
What surprised me is the limited speed travel (very short) . The Sprint 3 M at 101 has only a 7-8 km/h speed over trim ! Taken at 700m ASL.
Big ears are easy and stable .They reopen fast. Induced asymmetric collapses are a non event, and quite easy to counter steer. Induced frontal collapses reopen quickly after less than 2 sec. 

The Carrera plus has already marked the paragliding world of today .Of course it was targeted for the C pilot but it’s incredible climbing efficiency and gliding power at trim and especially at 45 km/h did out-perform or at least match top current C’s but also with a B rating… That’s an “achievement of usable performance”

What about the Sprint 3 M ? Many will like the comfortable feel, and the glide. It is logical and certain that a good pilot can achieve great XC flights on the Sprint 3 M…No doubt about that !
Sometimes being the benchmark really hurts …If the Mentor 5 of tomorrow or the Chili 4 that will come won’t offer more efficiency or at least more fun or ease to fly…than their predecessors then they will be totally unacceptable.
In this case the Sprint 3 is much better than the Sprint evo by a very large margin…not to compare…
But i would have dreamed for a super B+ especially coming from GIN that i’m certain, that just a little more time on it, would have been largely beneficial… 

What i was hoping for the Sprint 3 M was:
-At least a top gliding machine, but i’ll say ok. It’s good enough !  
-A more fun handling, with nimble brake response…remember the Sprint evo ! A delight  !!! 
-Little bit more top speed ! Above 50 km/h please…
-A more efficient ‘feel’ for the B+ 

This test is my personal opinion. Please try, test and fly the Sprint 3 , because it remains close to the 5 leaders in the B + gliders in comfort, efficiency, and climb.  
GIN is working on a new machine in a different category as far as i know…Lets hope it would out-dream us by the accessibility/performance/efficiency ratio …And i hope that the R&D will take their full time as, IMHO, the Carrera + still holds the “title” for comfort/efficiency/performance/rating !