Thursday, March 16, 2017

NOVA Phantom

NOVA Phantom

I have waited more than 6 months to receive the S size. The 99 cell low aspect ratio glider from NOVA has indeed a very complicated internal structure. This process of construction is delicate and takes lots of time to be completed. The price of the Phantom is high…Twice to three times more expensive than a conventional low B glider. The fabric used is light for most of the delicate parts. 
Lets find out if the high price and the complicated construction will give its user the required benefits …

Launching the Phantom is similar to any B glider with a fast rise above the pilots head. 
I flew the glider from 95 to 98 all up. 
The Phantom has a different feel than any low or high B glider. The construction gave me the impression of flying under a higher rated glider in the feel of the airmass but with a huge passive safety like any low B glider. Weird feeling, but on the positive side of things.
The brake pressure is moderate, probably lighter than the Mentor 4, but very short in precision ability. If the brakes are pulled a bit far, the Phantom reacts like a low B glider with good passive safety. The brake fan gave me a short, precise, fairly agile, turning ability. 
With the Phantom nose ‘cool searching’ tendency and its precise turning ability, i could imagine myself on a higher aspect ratio glider, but the high dampened feel under the Phantom woke me up to reality. No matter what the conditions throws at you, the Phantom overall movements above the pilots head are very limited, giving you the feel of a ‘Rolls Royce’ of the sky ! Really like that ! It needs a bit active piloting, but much less than a Mentor 4 and slightly similar to an Ion 4. 
The difference in feel between the Ion 4 and the Phantom is that the Phantom has a smoother but compact profile, a better handling ability, and of course, an impressive increase in a totally easy to use performance through the whole speed range!  

In weak (0.5m/s) , the pitch is nearly absent as the Phantom slows down a bit before entry at trim, without any pitch movement whatsoever.  This is why some pilots reported a difficulty in climb in very weak stuff. 
The climb commence slowly in weak thermals, and will be very efficient and much faster in moderate thermals (+1.5m/s, or +3m/s ) versus other B gliders.  
For example, flying the Phantom is weak thermals versus the Mentor 4 (four) S similarly loaded, showed similar climb ratio. In moderate thermals the Phantom climbs slightly better ! 
Flying the same Phantom S with a Mentor 5 S also similarly loaded, showed that in weak stuff the Mentor 5 or a Chili 4 is floatier. In strong moderate to strong thermals ,the Phantom structure will help in a more coherent feel and very efficient climbs very close to any high end B glider.   

Considering that the Mentor 4 has impressive performance that could match some high C gliders, and as i always reference it in my glide comparison, even with other high end gliders, i took it to compare with the Phantom.
Gliding with a Mentor 4 S in calm air, both loaded at 95 all up, showed a similar glide angle. It is in moving conditions that things gets a bit different.

Gliding with the Mentor 4 in moderate to steady lift lines, will give the Phantom a higher chance even at +10 km/h over trim with a more forgiving ,steady, racy profile for the Phantom for sure ! 
The Phantom is faster at top speed by +1 km/h than a Mentor 4 S, or the Mentor 5 S similarly loaded ! With very close glide ratio at speed ! Really impressive !  The Mentor 5 has the edge in longer glides in moving conditions.
For instance, gliding next to a Mentor 5 (five) S in weak lift lines, will give the Mentor 5 the upper hand over the Phantom. The Mentor 5 is a floaty wing. 
After many glide attempts in moving air, (Video soon) with a Mentor 5, the Phantom is always haunting  :-) not far away.

Ears are easy to induce, efficient, and reopen quickly. Induced asymmetrics and frontals are super easy to recover. 

Conclusion: The Phantom has a low aspect ratio of 5.19 ! (3.82 projected! ) IMPRESSIVE !
It behaves like any low B glider. The handling, the feel under it and the way to turn the glider is excellent for the category. Low B pilots can fly the Phantom easily. The performance is indeed on the top shelf of the High B category. Good pilots downgrading to the Phantom will find on one side, a comfortable ride, and on the other, top performance in the B category. It doesn’t resemble a Ferrari, nor a Porsche . 
Its a Rolls Royce with a 500 HP engine!  Rolls Royces are expensive, but you get well served ! 

UP Summit XC 4


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sharing thoughts.

Dear Fellow pilots, 
I need to share some thoughts about my tests on this blog. 
I have been flying for a long time, and my country offers some frequent flying conditions. With more than 5000 hours, I stopped logging years ago ...
I have flown more than 221 different glider till now...
I’m 52 now. But i still don’t believe it, though i used the calculator many times, but i think its a conspiracy…My eyes still see 30  :-) 
This is a completely FREE blog. No ads. Its a self sponsored blog.  Free service . 
I own a large business, that keeps my family and I, well supported, and my head full of problems to be solved on a daily basis. 
This blog is just to ‘escape’ for a glimpse. To enter my own “Boy’s box” 
Birds cannot change wings, but we are privileged to do so ! 
My dream is to exchange wings, and now I’m living this dream.
I purchase every glider from my own money. Every glider is held at customs and it’s really a tough time releasing one…
I test fly the glider with joy like a boy reaching for an ice cream or a chocolate bar. I still love chocolate  ;-)  A lot…
Then i sell the gliders on this blog, and buy new ones and so on. Sometimes i get some Euros, sometimes i loose some Euros, especially from those “reference” gliders which i keep for a time in order to compare with the newcomers. 
So it means if a glider is so good, i’ll lose money to keep it, but I’ll gain pleasure in flying it which is the MOST important  !
When a glider meets medium criteria, it has to be written exactly as i felt, in my personal humble opinion.  
To be crystal clear: My balance for this operation is purchasing 8-13 new releases by year.   
I don’t have any relation or business whatsoever with any manufacturer but a deep respect for all their R&D team who tries their best to deliver outstanding flying machines ! 
The tests are made with the most precise way, i know how. They represent “humbly” my own PERSONAL FEEL. And I’ll try as much as i can to deliver the closest feel in written words. 
Please bear in mind that: “Different sizes, and different load could lead in a different feel “
If any pilot or manufacturer, would feel offended or misguided from reading those tests, i sincerely apologize.  
If any of you feels happy reading them and watching the videos, then let us fly together on Aladdin’s magic carpets :-)  !!!  

Don’t take them too seriously also…Every pilot has a different feel for his own flying machine :-)
Don’t buy any glider before a test flight if you can ! 
The purpose is to have fun !  
Fly safe !


Sunday, February 5, 2017

GIN Explorer S

GIN Explorer 

After the Carrera plus , here’s GIN new light B glider with an aspect ratio of 6.1 
Take off is super easy as the glider inflates quickly with no overshooting. 
Flying the Explorer S (75-95) at 94 all up with an X-rated 6 harness. 
The brake pressure are similar to the C+ ones ,and the explorer can be steered with only 10 cm of brakes travel in moderate thermals. The response is shorter than the C+ with (more or less) same agility. And with much more brake dampened behavior.(less sharp) 
The thermals are felt by the risers. Nothing comes through the brakes . The Explorer feels like a solid ,dampened ,comfortable to fly mid B glider. I know that the AR is 6.1 but it doesn’t feel at all … 

Flying next to a loaded Rook 2 seems to show a slight 0.5 km/h faster trim for the Explorer with probably a very slight edge in glide performance at trim. At full bar the Explorer S at 94 all up, has around 8- 9 km/h speed over trim taken at 1500 ASL. The glide at full bar seems close to the Rook 2 with also a slight edge… 
Another example, is that flying a Chili 4 with it’s edge in overall performance, feels more demanding to fly than the Explorer in turbulent conditions. 

The overall performance of the Explorer is quite nice for an easy B glider. The Carrera plus overall performance is slightly higher but with more pilot workout. The Explorer felt much easier, safer, and more comfortable. Flying the Explorer at full speed is very usable. I have tried to pull 10 cm one A riser at full speed and the Explorer leading edge didn’t collapse. So the margin at full speed is fully usable even in turbulence, with the ability to steer the glider efficiently while on bar, with the C risers in moderate turbulence. 
Big ears are very efficient, stable. They reopen by a slight brake amount. 

Conclusion: Let’s keep the original Carrera and the Carrera plus, aside. Their glide performance and especially their climb rate is ‘legendary’ ! 
The explorer could be the most easy to fly 6.1 aspect ratio B glider ! The overall performance are very good for the category, but not comparable with it’s bigger sisters. In my humble opinion, i believe that the Explorer is aimed for a wider variety of B pilots and i think any B pilot coming to the mid, high B category will be welcomed on the Explorer. 
A light, quite maneuverable, easy to fly and to pack, a ‘cool’ companion for adventure flying with good overall performance. That’s the Explorer ! 



After receiving some emails from professionals in this sport and friends , asking me about the Explorer test i have written earlier. 
And since dear friends and fellow pilots pointed that the test was made with an “L” size Rook 2  size which goes to 115 kg, and that the Explorer was an S size that goes to 95, i found that they have a logical point there, assuming that they still haven’t flown the glider yet, or see it fly. 
Taking their request respectively, and on it’s positive side, It came also to my mind to check the Rook 2 L which has around 90 hours, and the knots on the A’s B’s and C’s are still factory tuned. After checking with 777, This L size must have the C’s released after 50 hours in order to maintain the performance it was aimed for. I’ll do it this week and hopefully, looking for the performance benefits it will deliver as it was originally designed to do so. 

After the request for a video, I tried to fly the Explorer more accurately again, but now with a Carrera plus size S flown slightly for a season, and my usual mentor 4 S size . 
We made sure that all the pilots carried ballast and some without, to reach equally the weight of 96 all up ! 

Like i said earlier, the Explorer is a super easy and fun glider to fly ! The glide performance is really nice for an easy 6.1 aspect ratio B glider. 
Induced asymmetric are easily maintained without any rotations if counter steered. And induced frontals are hard to pull, a slight altitude loss but with quick opening.

Climb rate is superb if the thermals are not influenced by any wind or valley breeze, I could say that the Explorer is a floater. In head wind or facing the valley breeze, the original Carrera, and  the ‘loaded’ Carrera plus (to avoid its pitch back) seems slightly floatier in entering those cores. But that’s super precise and picky …and won’t matter to most. 

To be even more precise : The Explorer felt loosing slightly some speed in entering those thermals, while the C+ pitch back but floats upward. 
That doesn’t mean that the Explorer doesn’t climb…On the contrary, Its still an excellent climber !  
Now please consider that even the new Bolero 5 have an edge in climbing in weak cores versus some other high end B’s !! I’m not joking here…That’s true. It’s really efficient in climb, but i’m writing my tests not only in one encountered soft thermal without turbulence and wind that could affect some gliders more than others…

The glide at trim and accelerated is very close or similar… But you can easily fly the Explorer S at 93 all up, while to be competitive in head wind glides, the Carrera plus S must be flown at + 95 …or 97…still with a very efficient climb.

The pluses on the Explorer is the cool easy to handle glider in rough air ! Flying it in strong days could be quite fun and easier than the C+. 
The other plus : It seems that the Explorer doesn’t loose heights after leaving thermals, much better than the Carrera plus in that manner.  
Can i say a little minus?  :-)    I wished for a slightly higher top speed .

Kindly remember that test flying wings is not doable ‘only’ with glider side by side flying, but it’s a completely different approach involving feel-able impressions of efficiency, a glider can deliver in difficult, weak or strong moving conditions, given for any sensible pilot who already have the ability to test fly plenty of them before purchase. 

Now flying either the C+ and Explorer, performance in XC flying will be very close,  and the differences are mainly on the pilots skills. So may be i should have said in the earlier test : “Glide is closely comparable to the C +” which could be a more apprehensive and better politically write up.
Again, IMHO, the Explorer is a successful, light, easy to fly, XC glider, and i liked it’s nice handling, good climb, and glide. But can we please agree on one thing ? even GIN admits it…its not a boomerang    :-) 

Since a video is highly requested. Here it is… Enjoy

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

UP Trango X-race SM

UP trango X-Race SM   (The hidden beauty)

After flying practically every Trango, here’s the X-Race, the newest Trango version in its light material construction. 

The Trango X-race has a new and beautifully engineered shark nose ! Semi circular, small opening cells, with a complete unsheathed line construction. I actually never seen this kind of lines before. The lower A’s and B’s are heavily coated and feels like a plastic wire ! Of course, this new technology will surely prevent the aging process ! My friend tells me it looks like the kite lines. 
I flew that glider at 97 all up and the next day at 94 all up. I felt that the optimum weight under the SM goes around 95.
Launching the X-race is really easy and without any hanging back at all. In strong wind, the brakes are needed to stop it from surging forward. 
Before the first flight, i remembered the Trango XC3 and thought that the X-Race could bear some of its genes. It doesn’t !
The X-Race felt completely different.
Once airborne, i could sense a more compact and homogenous feel under the X-Race. This glider moves as a whole. It seems that UP did an extensive work on it’s internal structure. Because the yaw and wobbling of the XC3 in turbulent air is no more present. Instead, there’s a new feeling of a coherent, solid, compact feel under the X-race !
It resemble a bit the coherent feel of the Trango XC2(two) but with an increase in comfort and control over both the xc2 and xc3. 
The SM i received had a super short brake travel, which was probably wrongly set, because just one cm of brake pull after the pulley, activated the trailing edge. So i re-adjusted the brakes by allowing a 10 cm clearance after the pulley or the trailing edge response.

Now it was perfect ! The X-race has a moderate pressure. It’s a bit more hard then the xc3 and a bit less than the xc2 and the LM6. The thermals are felt through the brakes which is excellent for a racing machine ! The brake travel is short, linear, responsive .
The X-race with it’s 6.9 aspect ratio is an agile glider in coring thermals ! The compact feel coupled with a coherent structure and a swift, direct brake response, makes circling thermals, efficient and a real pleasure ! I could say it is more agile when circling in turbulent air than the LM6, and the Trango XC3. 

This good handling is integrated in a climbing beast ! The X-race climb showed me a superb climb rate in weak and in strong thermals. The X-race enters the thermal without pitching forward or back. It has the ability to "surf the rising airmass” ! That’s the best way to describe it, as it felt exactly like that !

Each time a thermal is caught, the X-race jumps upward like a spring with a compact feel ! 
Doing some glides in moving air showed an ability to float and move forward giving its pilot a superb glide in racing conditions at trim and at bar!  
Pushing the first bar showed a medium foot pressure and a very flat polar as it seems that the speed increases without the feeling of loosing altitude. The second bar is a bit hard to push on my X-rated 6, and the glide at top speed which is 13 km/h over trim is very competitive with a solid leading edge !  IMHO, i believe that the X-race matches the performance of the today’s best ,3 liner D gliders !

The C steering is a bit hard to pull ! At top speed the pressure is slightly less on your hands as at trim, but still a bit hard to pull. Pulling the C ball has a limiter. Controlling the glider with the C balls is efficient in moderate conditions and the profile remains clean. You can easily pull the C ball all the way when thermalling brakeless, with no event, but i found it climbs best with a little brake pressure.

Ears with outers A’s are stable. Big ears with outers A’s are little un-stable. 
While on bar, pulling the two connected outer B lines are stable and efficient.
Wing overs are easily done on the X-race with a playful character. 360’s also are quick to enter and easy to get out.
Pulling the brakes beyond the hip upon top landing, should be carefully mastered as the X-race doesn't accept to fly very slow with very low pulled brakes. But easy for good pilots to feel.

Conclusion: UP designer and the R&D team has done an amazing job with the X-race ! 
A swift handling, a solid feel, a rocket climber and impressive floater, a relatively easy to manage (high-end C) certified glider.
I believe that the Trango X-race with it’s 6.9 aspect ratio, has the highest score for the overall package of (performance/comfort/handling) in today’s C category. 

Very well sorted flying machine !  :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SKYWALK Chili 4 S and XS

SKYWALK Chili 4   (The powerful package) 
Yes …..They were a bit late to arrive !
 Two SKYWALK gliders with an EN-B certification. One is the S size (85-105) and the other the XS size (75-95)  Both are the new CHILI 4 as a high-end B glider which will replace the floatable Chili 3 !
Lets see what SKYWALK did with the Chili 4 who took quite a while in development. I was very curious to see what are the benefits on the B category and i was keen to see if SKYWALK did manage to keep the excellent climb of the Chili 3.
Looking closely at the glider showed a trendy approach with a shark nose, a  pure 3 line configuration, with very small minimalistic and finely tuned line width ! Some lower lines are sheathed and the higher ones are unsheathed. Putting all the lines on one hand, feels indeed very small, it looks smaller than the Mentor 4 ones.
Launching the Chili 4 XS at 92 all up is an easy task with no delay or shooting forward. A simple glider to inflate.
In the air…and already smiling… The brake pressure is exactly to my liking. Not as hard as the Mentor 4 one, nor as soft as the Rush 4 one. It has a moderate pressure with immediate short response. I could put the glider exactly where i wanted with a linear travel !  It isn’t as agile as the Tequila 4, but close enough! I can say that the Tequila has a playful handling, as it dives on quite playfully when you pull hard. 
The Chili 4 has a Joyful efficient handling. It doesn’t dive but has a “flat” corkscrew ability  :-)  !
The pilot can steer it with a much more flat performance turn ! At my all up weight, i was able to core the inside of any thermal. The agility ressembles the Rush 4 or the Swift 4 which are excellent handling gliders.  
With it’s short, linear, responsive and agile character, SKYWALK managed to fix the old Chili 3 handling problem for good !
I’m going to write now a bit about the brand new S size (80-105) flown at 100 all up versus the Mentor 4 S (80-100) flown at 95 all up. (This Mentor 4 S has only around 50 hours) And still in a very good shape and wasn’t flown beside testing and comparing in XC conditions.  Both sizes are flown 5 kg less than the top certified weight.
Gliding along the Chili 4 S with the Mentor 4 S showed a similar trim speed. Probably the Chili 4 S has a 0.25 km/h faster. Comparing the trim speed of the Chili 4 S at 100 all up and a Cayenne 5 S at 100 all up will give the Cayenne 5 a little more speed at trim . (Just for infos only) 
The top speed of both the Mentor 4 S and the Chili 4 S loaded as mentioned above has the same top speed with a slight 1 km/h more for the Chili 4 S.
What are you waiting for ?  ;-)  The glide ? .. or the climb rate ?  :-)   Lets see…
The climb rate in weak and difficult conditions gave me the impression that the CHILI 3 DNA is inserted deeply into the CHILI 4 ! 
But i think it’s much, much better…The Chili 3 was pitching back a bit before entering. The CHILI 4 has a super stable pitch entry ! I was flying for the last months the Zeno, and when the Chili 4 arrived, to be honest i was worried that i have to loose some flying days testing it…as i thought it will have this B feeling in thermal searching and performance feel  !
  I was wrong! The ability of the CHILI 4 to (slide, sniff, surf) the airmass is amazing, just like flying a higher rated glider. When all is calm above your head, you could hear the vario…Bip, bip, bip… It gives the impression to grab every bubble without the leading edge pitch and movements.
It doesn’t attack and search forward, but it climbs slowly and peacefully.  
Flew with my Mentor 4 S near the Chili 4 S, and i felt this edge in float ability as if my friend was flying his Cayenne 5 S ! Each time the thermals weakens the CHILI 4 floats better.
For sure it’s an efficient climber and here again SKYWALK has managed to keep the excellent climb of the Chili 3. 

The glide in calm air at trim and accelerated at full speed is very ,very, close to the Mentor 4 …but… 
In all the testing I have done before on the Mentor 4 and other gliders, I was always certain that if any glider could beat the Mentor 4 in glide it would be pretty awesome! 
especially in moving air !  
For example, I was pretty close to the Cayenne 5 S which eventually had the edge in overall conditions. 
Lots of pilots nowadays still ask about the glide in moving conditions… Well IMHO, it’s the BEST way to see the ability of gliders to surf the airmass efficiently…and it’s not done on a single glide where one can get a lift and other will loose it, it’s done on frequent glides, felt and seen, frequently on tip to tip glide comparisons. 
Doing those glides against the CHILI 4 S was obvious to the eye that the edge was now on the CHILI 4 side !!! 
In overall conditions, the efficiency of the CHILI 4 was tested, felt, and validated, to let me conclude that the CHILI 4 with it’s narrow edge is now the benchmark for the high-end B gliders. 
The problem for SKYWALK now is to create a more competitive Cayenne ! 
Flying in some moderate turbulence, the tips flutters a bit without any consequences. The CHILI 4 moves in turbulent air like any high-B glider.It’s not a super comfortable glider nor a difficult one to manage. It ressembles the Iota, Mentor 4 ability to control. 
Big ears are stable with and without accelerator. They open immediately without touching the brakes. 
If you pull two lines on each side, for much bigger ears, it will be un-stable (a bit). I must find something…  :-) 

Pulling one riser and holding it, doesn’t get a high sink rate and it requires a good weight shift and a little brake control to keep it straight. But so easy to handle for a high B.
Induced frontals are hard to pull in. It’s like the feeling of a two liner. Heavy pull is needed to collapse it. The reopening is average to good.
At full speed, the Chili 4 has around 13-14 km/h over trim and the leading edge still feels solid as pulling the riser doesn’t quickly collapse it.
360’s are efficient and the glider stays quite some turns to exit, so braking a bit the opposite side helps a lot.
Conclusion: What can i do when i feel satisfied with a tested glider beside a large smile ? I’ll happily write about it for you to experience my findings ! 
The CHILI 4 with it’s technical line configuration, need a good B pilot to master it efficiently, like any high end B glider and a careful approach to prepare in bad launching areas, with stones and roots. I found it best to fly the S at 101-103 all up and the XS at 91- 93 all up with no worry about the climb in weak.
Apart from that, the CHILI 4 gave me the sensation of a pleasurable flying machine with nothing but ’top’ overall performance, efficient and agile handling, amazing climb and gliding performance!
All that with a 5.65 AR (4.2 AR Projected) !   A very powerful package ! 
I’m very sure that some serious manufacturers are also aiming for excellence. For now the CHILI 4 has strongly earned its place among the best. Lets see what the future brings.
Beside doing competitions with speed tasks, I always wonder why we always look for higher aspect ratio gliders when a low AR good B can offer us tremendous amount of performance, swift handling, good passive safety, pleasurable feel and a deep happy satisfaction !   
Happy landings  :-) ! 

Friday, December 30, 2016


Comfortable, cold feeling, turbulence is felt, very sharp turns, need a very good pilot ;-)



Merry Christmas and happy new year 2017  :-) 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chosen gliders in their respective categories (UPDATE) 25/01/2017

Those gliders below will be kept for future comparison as i believe that in overall conditions they gave me the best balance between performance, efficiency, handling, climbing having the edge in their respective categories. 
It doesn't mean that they could suit every pilot need ! Every glider has it's own characteristics and every pilot has their own feel and requirement. You can find their characteristics in the B,C, comparison charts.
May everyone have safe and smiling flights  :-)  

EN-B Low aspect ratio gliders = NOVA Ion 4
EN-B with lower aspect ratio than 6 = SKYWALK CHili 4 
EN-B with higher aspect ratio than 6 = GIN Carrera Plus 
EN-C Moderate aspect ratio = SKYWALK Cayenne 5 
EN-C HIgh aspect ratio = UP Trango X-Race 
EN-D = OZONE Zeno 


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

EN-B comparison UPDATE Inserting the Chili 4 XS, Explorer S .

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-Supair Leaf M @ 90 (very comfortable) = AD Rise 2 M = Atlas X-Alps S = Ion 4 S @ 96 = Buzz Z5 SM @95 = Hook 3 25 = UP Kibo SM @ 92 = Epsilon 8 25 @ 95
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 =U-Cruise M @ 97
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 = Nevada 2 S @ 88 = Chili 4 XS @ 92 = Explorer S @ 95. 
4-Tequila 4 = Rush 4 = Windtech Bali = Skywalk Aruba 3 S = Sky Apollo M = Mentor 4 XS light
5-Blacklight SM = Nevada = Sky Atis 4 = Comet 2 S= Swing Mistral 7 S = 
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 = Chili 4 XS @ 92 = Explorer S @ 95.
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 = Mentor 4 XS light = Supair Leaf M @ 90
3-Mentor 3 S @ 95 = AD Rise 2 M = Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101 = U-Cruise @ 97
= Atlas S @ 90 = Hook 3 = Base M @ 90 = Rise 2 S Superlight @ 90 = Iota 26 @ 95 = Windtech Bali @ 95 = Sky Apollo M @ 92 = Nevada 2 S @ 88 = Epsilon 8 25
4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S @ 88 = Ion 3 S @ 95 = Ikuma 25 = UP Kibo SM @ 92
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 = Mentor 4 XS light = Supair Leaf M = Chili 4 XS @ 92 = Explorer S @ 95.

2-Nevada 1= 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 =U-Cruise M @ 97

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

4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S = Ion 3 S =Epsilon 8 25 @ 95 = Nevada 2 S @ 88
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 = Chili 4 XS @ 92 = Explorer S @ 95.

2- Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Nyos M @ 98 (Differences between 1-2 are insignificant ! )
2b- Sprint 3 M @ 101= U-Cruise M @ 97

3-Mentor 3 S = Chili 3 S = Ion 4 S @ 95 = Sky Apollo M @ 93 = Nevada 2 S @ 88

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

5-Nevada 1 26 (must be loaded at 100 ) = Windtech Bali = Hook 3 = Tequila 4 SM = Mentor 2 S = Arriba 3 S = Buzz Z5 SM @ 92 = Epsilon 8 25 @ 95

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 = Supair Leaf M @ 90 = 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 = Supair Leaf M @ 90 = Chili 4 XS @ 92 =Explorer S @ 95 = Ion 4 S @ 96.

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 = Epsilon 8 = Nevada 2 S = U-Cruise 25 

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.

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) .

Supair Leaf M (@90 all up) * 3.9
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
Epsilon 8 25 (@95 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 M (@97 all up)*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
Nevada 2 S (@88 all up) *5.6
Mentor 4 S ( @ 95 all up) *5.6
Chili 4 XS @92 *5.6 
Arriba 3 S at 92 all up *5.6
Mentor 4 XS light * 5.7
Sky Apollo M @ 92 *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
Explorer S @ 95 *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 all 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
Skywalk Spice XS (@90 all up) *10.8
Skywalk Cayenne 5 XS (90 all up) *11
Sol Lotus one (@ 98 all up) *11
UP Trango Race SM (07 all up) *11.5 
Ozone Mantra 6 SM (@94 all up) *12
Gradient XC 5 26 (@96allup) *12
Ozone LM6 SM (@95 all up) *12.2
Gin Gto 2 S size (@94 all up) *12.5
Skywalk Poison X-Alps *12.5
Triton 2 in S size (@ 96 all up) *12.5 (M size could be different) !
Niviuk Peak 4 23 (98all up) *12.5
Niviuk Peak 4 21 (@86all up) *13
Niviuk IP6 26 (@98 all up) *13.5
Ozone Zeno MS (@98 all up) *13.5 
Ozone R-10 S (@ 98 all up) *15.0

The Leaf is impressively comfortable and agile.I was hping for better glide but it's super cool !
The Epsilon 8 has good performance for a low B. It's comfortable with noce handling.
The U-Cruise has a high degree of comfort.The performance is really good , and a high trim speed.Agile, feels like a solid tough structure!
The Nevada 2 has less brake travel than the 1, the perfpormance is nice and the climb is moderate to fair.
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 Ikuma is a comfortable glider with nice handling. The overall performance is is in the mid of the High B category.
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 homogenous 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.
The Chili 4 has lots of performance. An excellent B glider with moderate aspect ratio.
The Explorer with it’s 6.1 AR, is a light, soft, easy to use, and great companion for XC use  

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!



Friday, October 21, 2016



The Zeno is the new 2 liner from OZONE.
OZONE wanted to introduce to the market a 2 liner design , which they claim it’s easier to fly than their Enzo 2 and close enough to their superb Mantra 6.
In fact i still have an LM6 in MS size. It suits my all up weight without ballast.
I have also a Peak 4 in size 23 (85-105) for my future comparisons which proved to be a very nice and gentle D glider for Xc and competition use.

The Zeno has 6 lines per side, and it’s a pure 2 liner. Of course all lines are unsheathed and have different width. It looks very optimized for performance. Such a wing deserves a more detailed description when testing it. Lets see…

Launching the Zeno is super easy for a 2 liner. Slightly easier to inflate than the Peak 4. In strong wind, it needs a dab on the brakes to control it overhead. The take off is immediate.
I did some 360’s and wing overs ,just to get it well tensioned in order to settle down to its designed configuration.
To my surprise, coming off the 360’s couldn’t be easier ! It seems that the Zeno dissipate it’s energy on the last turn. No surprises ! Clean exit.
Wing overs are super high and real fun to make.

I have flown for the past month, the easy King S with it’s lovely handling, the LM6 magical overall glider, the energetic Poison X-Alps XS with its sharp handling, and the relatively smooth, and agile Peak 4 23 for a 2 liner design, just to be able to quickly place the Zeno among those D’s in terms of feeling, responsiveness and brake precision inside rough or smooth thermals.
All testings were done on the same X-rated 6 harness with the same chest strap width for all.(±47 cm)

I flew the Zeno MS from 93 to 98 all up to find out finally that in XC mode, 93-95 is a very nice weight, and for competition, 97-98 all up could be quite ok for the whole solidity and compact feel of the design which will feel more taught overhead.
Here’s my small and humble opinion upon this glider.

At first, I don’t think that the overall comfort is similar to the M6 or the LM6 MS when flown in turbulent strong conditions. The Zeno needs more active piloting in turbulent cores. Taking into consideration that the way a 2 liner can be steered through turbulence differ a lot from 3 line gliders.
Applying brakes on pitches, doesn’t really work good on the Zeno as it could work slightly more on the Peak 4 which is a 2 liner also.
The Zeno needs a much more gentle approach. Letting the glider go in, with just a feel on the brakes is super efficient on the Zeno. Too much brakes in turbulent conditions will deform the profile and the energy stored in the Zeno will induce yaw movements.
In turbulent air, I found out also that the Zeno needs slightly more active piloting than the Peak 4 23 i have over here flown at 99 all up. 

In (moderate conditions), the Zeno has indeed the comfort of the LM6 or the Peak 4. It feels like a taught compact structure, with a leading edge so stable without any pitch. The maneuverability is really nice for this 2 liner in those moderate conditions. But in rough air it gave me a much more active workout ! Nothing difficult for a (regular) D pilot to master.

For example a pilot coming from after a good flying season on an IP6 in different conditions will be welcomed aboard the Zeno.
The Zeno pitch behavior is toward a neutral feel in moderate weak thermals, but surely a more pronounced one in strong cores with a pull inside the thermals.

The pressure on the brakes of the Zeno are slightly lighter than the LM6, but still more pressure feel on the brakes than the Peak 4 23 loaded at 99 all up.
The turning ability of the Zeno at 95 and at 98 all up felt the same as the M6 (Only in moderate conditions) .
In turbulent cores, and even if loaded at 98, the Zeno will have slight less authority on the brakes as the M6, LM6 have in those conditions.

The LM6 is more agile and can core more tightly some thermals in overall conditions.

The climb rate of the Zeno is impressive in surges. When everything is homogenous strong or weak, it climbs as the Peak 4, but when you hit the core the Zeno springs up faster !

Doing some glides near a Peak 4 23 loaded at 99 all up. The Zeno MS at 95 all up showed me that the Peak 4 23 has a slight faster trim speed. Of course no one is buying those two gliders to fly them at trim speed for sure !
It’s just for your information ! And the glide efficiency at trim is slightly on the Zeno side. 
Now at first bar, the matter of glide became more serious on the Zeno especially into wind transitions in active air ! For sure we are in a different world …At second bar, the speed is impressive with a superior glide angle. The speed over trim loaded at 95 all up, is around + 22 km/h taken at 800 ASL.
The speed bar is delicate to use in turbulent conditions. Especially the top speed ! It takes time to adapt to it …
This is the fastest D certified glider i have ever flown.

The use of the bar on the Peak 4 23 is easier and as the pitch control.
Flying in smooth air won’t show you any differences when comparing gliders. Or even in head wind smooth air like soaring high cliffs for example. Many good pilots already know that.
The differences are very little and sometimes useless.
It’s in active air where a special glider can actually shine. It’s no secret why the Enzo 2’s are winning competitions…

The ability for the Zeno to surf the (active air) is really impressive ! It’s like it doesn’t want to get down. Comparing it with other gliders in those conditions, will give the Zeno this slight cruising efficiency. It just goes on and on on glides getting those tiny lifts on the way…Advanced pilots will understand what i mean.
The constant vario sound seems endless with those glides. This is for sure a very efficient glider in active air (for the keen D pilots)

That doesn’t mean that the Peak 4 23 is far behind. It is still a beautiful, easy 2 liner with nice performance ! But the Zeno will actually have the upper hand in long glides especially on bar with a slightly higher piloting level at speed for the Zeno !

Big ears with the outside A’s are stable if moderately pulled. With bar -2.5 could be reached…
Big ears with outside B’s are doable, more stable for sure and reopen quicker. The second option could be better if you don’t want knots on the extremities like on the M6 when ears are induced for a long time.

Conclusion: The Zeno has for sure the highest-end gliding performance (especially on bar), among all present D’s. That’s a fact.
Another fact is that in my personal view, it needs a “good D pilot” to master it efficiently in all conditions. For competition use, that’s some winning tool !
For XC, fun, safety, and multi-use, the LM6 still works magic ! ;-)
So, if you want to break records, win competitions, want to have the best glide angle on a (D glider) for the moment, and above all, you have the skills to master the Zeno, then close your eyes, take a deep breath, release the OOOMMMMM sound, then quickly go order one :-)
But it seems many of you already did  :-)


Hi, Here’s a little feedback for the Zeno S (75-90) 
I have been flying two Zeno’s in the same day, in the same condition in order to compare. (landing, swapping, take off again...and so on...) 
One is the S (75-90) at 88 all up, and comparing it to the MS (80-100) at 98 all up. Both 2 kg under max. 

The Zeno S with same loadings, has a lighter brake pressure, a slightly more alive feel, and a more agile turn. The climb rate is superb even loaded. The tiniest thermal can be converted to climb. I don’t think there’s any difference ,or advantage for the MS. In turbulent conditions, the Zeno S needs slightly more active piloting over the MS similarly loaded. 
Just a small remark, i think the Zeno MS loaded from 98 till 100 is easier and have a more compact feel, to handle than lightly loaded at 95. The difference is big. The authority under it with ± 3 kg is feel-able. 
The Zeno S at 88 doesn’t give you the feel of a loaded one, like the feeling under the MS at 98. So flying it at 90 seems a superb choice. 
The agility of the S size in narrow thermals could give it the upper hand in those particular conditions, as it seems more agile to “tight” core those narrow weak thermals. 
The bar on the S size has the same pressure feel as the MS. Applying it many times, i felt that +5 km over trim the float ability was at its best. 
IMHO, i think that they both have quite similar performance in all conditions. The S size is really nice ... 
Hope it helped a bit…