This blog is dedicated for testing recent paragliders and flying gear. Ziad Bassil is flying since 23 years, he is always in a rush to try new gliders as the feeling i get in exchanging wings is for me a unique experience.
My favorite Venus at the time was a Venus 2 RX, size Small. It was indeed a superb glider. Then I tried once the Venus 3 and didn’t blend in.
This is the new Venus SC for 2019.
The launching behavior is quite easy with an easy pull and the Venus comes up without any hard point. The takeoff is immediate.
I flew the Venus SC from 90 to 92 to discover that it's really nice at that weight.
The climb in weak thermals is super nice and is similar to the Best C’s. Going on glide with a Q-Light S showed me a little faster trim speed for the Venus SC with an impressive glide angle that also puts the Venus SC on top of the C category.
Despite the aspect ratio of 6.6, the turning behavior in thermals is exquisite. Good authority on the brakes and good agility. Could be similar in agility as the Artik 5 for example, with lighter brakes and also precise travel. But the piloting level under it needs a slightly more pilot workload than an Artik 5. It moves a bit in turbulence and work by itself a bit in a small yaw and roll movement.
The C steering control must be handled with care. The C is not attached to the B riser but offers a fair authority to stop small surges.
Ears are stable and need a slight pump to reopen.
Conclusion: Axis has made their masterpiece in creating the Venus SC! Glide and climb are among the best ones in the Category. In turbulent and active air it needs a good C pilot.
But I’m that pilot would make long and efficient XC flights.
I asked MacPara to purchase that glider like usual. Then I got an email that a demo glider was already sent, and I have to return it afterward!
After lots of delays at our customs office…like usual, the Eden 7 was released. Mac Para wanted the glider back for the Kossen exhibition, but I only flew it once and felt something different and I emailed Macpara that I must purchase that glider as I need more time on it, there was something very interesting! but they replied that they are sorry… and they prefer to get the glider back! I kept the glider for another 3 flying days and…(to be continued…**)
The Eden 7 is MacPara 2019 high B glider. With an aspect ratio of 6, good mix of thin sheathed unsheathed lines, nice risers with C steering ability, the Eden 7 is a beautiful looking glider with a racy look.
Launching the Eden 7 is super easy for a high B glider. The take off is immediate.
I flew the Eden 7 24 from 85 to 91 all up to discover the best spot at 87 all up. The Eden 7 was flown with a Delight 3 harness and compared with other B or C gliders flying the same harness.
I flew that glider in mixed conditions from weak to turbulent. Despite the aspect ratio of 6, I never felt it was more demanding to fly than any 5.4 aspect ratio B gliders. In fact, i can say that it seems quite easier to fly than most High B gliders with a lower aspect ratio. The movements of the Eden 7 in turbulent air are not really dynamic for the 6 aspect ratio glider.
I’m not saying that it resembles the low B category. It needs a high B pilot, but the Eden 7 felt like a very well balanced high B glider that works well in itself.
There weren’t any unnecessary movements coming from the glider. Just good, well-balanced feedback, that was exactly needed for the high B category. The Eden 7 feels like an educational high B with the exact amount of “relaxed” feedback for the XC pilot.
The authority on the brakes at 87 all up is simply ”amazing”. It is not the most agile high B glider but still very satisfying agility with a short brake travel, precise to place it inside any core, direct to swiftly engage a turn without delay, moderate pressure that kept my hands quite comfortable all the flight.
Those characteristics of handling and brake authority on the Eden 7 quickly won my heart!
I never regretted test flying that EN-B in those good and rare flyable days this year.
I would describe the overall feedback as “polite”. Exactly what should be felt under an XC machine for long flights.
Loading the Eden 7 at 87 all up is very efficient even in weak thermals. This high B is definitely a floater within its category.
In strong cores it also climbs ‘super’ well as the Eden 7 surfs the air forward like a very good high B, and it’s even very competitive with the class above in climb and glide.
Surfing a difficult airmass for a high B is a blessing, as some will bump and pitch back. Not on the Eden 7, as it never kept from surprising me in that matter. It does surf forward and climb like “higher rated gliders”.
The Eden 7 glide at bar similar to the best B’s in that big category with an edge! The edge was found on top speed! It is quite fast for the category, and very usable.
On my Eden 7 size 24 similarly loaded as a Mentor 6 same size (70-90), I was around +1 km/h faster at top speed!
Its also faster than an Alpina 3 S and the glide at trim and at bar was over my expectations, to say the least!
While pushing the bar, the C steering is hard to pull, with a fair efficiency in turbulence.
The trim speed is similar to the Mentor 6, and the Eden 7 has around 15..16 km/h over trim taken at 1000 ASL.
I also flew next to higher rated gliders, just to see the potential of the Eden 7, and I can totally confirm my earlier comments that put the Eden 7 on the highest level!
The ears are stable to a certain pull and reopen fast. Induced asymmetries and holding the A risers down are easy to counter steer with no big loss of altitude.
Frontals make a slight horseshoe but reopen quickly. Wing overs are nice, without any excess of dynamic and energy!
I already updated my B category.
In this large EN-B category, many manufacturers are really making huge progress to deliver us quite interesting gliders, and it's becoming silly to always write positive reviews, but i surely recommend test flying that one! No dull feel under it, rather than an educational one. It’s like flying a calm higher rated glider with an impressive performance package.
The Eden 7 in size 24 is a high B glider but an easy one to fly for the experienced B pilots, with superb handling and brake authority.
It has a relatively calm and balanced behavior. The overall package of performance is efficient and very usable!
For a high B pilot looking for an excellent creation, the Eden 7 fulfills every need and check every box. It would be very interesting to test flying one at its optimum load.
**- Now to continue my story with Mac Para…I insisted to keep that glider. And I paid for it just because I couldn’t return back such a beautiful piece of a flying machine! and I also needed to keep it as a testing reference for this summer!
The Vision is U-Turn high B with an aspect ratio of 6 and relatively light construction. The S size weights around 4.6 kg. Taking off is super easy without any hard point. The Vision rises smoothly and stays above the pilots head.
I flew the Vision S at 94 all up. The brake travel has moderate travel, and pressure with very good agility. The Vision can be steered very tightly in small cores. Despite the 6 aspect ratio, the Vision is super far from the earlier Carrera from Gin for the extra comfort and smooth behavior in the air for the Vision. The moments in turbulence are very comfortable and I really asked myself many times if really the Vision has a 6 aspect ratio! The overall movements in turbulent air are quite tame and showed me a super balanced glider. Some gliders with 5.5 aspect ratio that I have earlier tested, needed more pilot input in strong air. The Vision has surprised me by its mellow reactions. The pitch stability on the Vision is very high as it cuts smoothly into the airmass.
Inducing some asymmetries and frontals seems surprising to behave like a lower grade glider. The Vision cuts through the air like an efficient high B glider and the speed bar is very usable in turbulence. The C steering is efficient on the Vision for a 3 liner. Staying at bar, the C steering can control almost any pitch movements in 75 % turbulent air. One of the most efficient 3 line B glider, for control ability on the C’s. The glide at trim and at max speed are like the very best you can find on a high B. Gliding in a headwind or against the valley breeze is efficient on the Vision, especially at bar.
The climb rate in weak thermal at 94 all up, is nice and relatively ok. The climb in strong thermals is smooth and rewarding by its comfort. The top speed is around 12 km/h over trim, taken at 2500 ASL. Big ears are stable and efficient. They reopen very quickly.
Conclusion: A very well balanced high B glider. The impressive ratio of comfort, efficiency, and glide at speed. The Vision can be considered as an agile glider, and I think it could be the first high B glider with an aspect ratio of 6 that behaves and feels like a mid-B, even after collapses. The Vision overall performance package can easily challenge some mid-C gliders in XC conditions at trim and at bar. A must try in order to feel the high overall ratio of “comfort and performance”.
I'll update my B comparison soon, and a video hopefully next week. Cheers, Ziad
And here is the new Mentor 6 in XS size flown at 88 all up.
The launching is simple, easy and very forgiving due mainly to the light materials used on this glider. It’s not completely a light glider, but NOVA used some light cloth on some parts on it.
Immediately after taking off and touching the brakes, I looked high up to see if it’s really a NOVA Mentor? Yes, it was…I was completely shocked to see that big switch from the older series! Finally, something new concerning the handling and agility to talk about! :-)
The brake pressure is toward the light side and moderates after 15 cm. The authority on the brakes and precision made me smile from ear to ear! ( It’s the first NOVA wing after the Mentor 2 that has a relatively short, precise, linear, and direct brake response worthy of delivering pure pleasure for the handling seeker! Finally, a Mentor that has a very nice, super quick and short turning radius.
I could really core the tiniest thermal available with infinite precision. I liked very much the authority on the brakes of that glider.
In weak thermals, the Mentor 6 even loaded is a revelation! After some hours comparing and comparing it to different top B gliders in the climb, I could definitely say that this latest Mentor 6 XS could be very difficult to over climb! I think that this one will stay on top of the stack period.
The Mentor 6 nose pulls you smoothly inside the core, and searches for the best lift! It is difficult to miss a thermal with that glider.
The Mentor 6 XS communicates well the airmass and needs a high B pilot to master it in turbulent and strong air. Nothing more than a high B.
I’ll update my B comparison to place it accurately among others, but I need more time and also the S size (80-100) will eventually arrive in a couple weeks.
The tips, however, flap in turbulent air without any consequences. They do flap, because probably they are happy flying, like the ears of a puppy when you come home:-).
The midsection is very solid and I sensed that even at 90 all up the M6 XS will be even better inside the turbulent airmass.
The trim speed is good, and I could say fast for the category. Slightly faster than Swift 5 and Cumeo SM similarly loaded. The top speed is around 15 km/h over trim and very usable.
The C risers control is hard to pull after test flying the light pull on the Mantra7 but could stop some moderate surges while keeping your foot on bar.
The glide at trim and even at the full bar is also similar to the best high B’s with very good top-end speed for the high B category. (See B comparison chart)
For an efficient glide into the wind, the Mentor 6 needs to be loaded at the top for better results. It’s quite efficient for the B class. It does in fact surf forward without any useless pitch.
To sum it up, IMHO, this is by far the ‘best’ Mentor ever produced.
Ears and big ears are very stable and very efficient. With the bar, I could get -4…5..m/s!
Inducing some asymmetries and holing the A’s will result in a 90 degrees turn max, counter steering and staying straight is easy.
Conclusion: Superb agility, impressive climb rate, top gliding power, good top speed for a B!
Highly recommended for the high B pilots who thought that the older Mentor series were a bit boring to fly.
Lovely, piece of a flying machine. The Mentor 6 is pleasurable to fly XC machine by excellence!
PHI is a new brand founded by Mr Hannes Papesh. The team behind PHI has some of the most experienced pilots like Mike Kung for instance, who’s in charge for testing and fine tuning the gliders. Hannes Papesh, is a legend when it comes to designing gliders. His favorite class is the B class. I still remember the beautiful Mentor 2 S size at the time, as it was delivering a spice feel with very competitive performance that was close to some C or even D gliders at the time ! It was a special dynamic glider with competitive spirit. Will Hannes be able to manage the new Maestro ? Lets see…
The Maestro 21 75-95 arrived. It has 2 lines per side on the A’s, 3 on the B’s 2 on the C’s. Very minimalistic, thin line configuration. There are lots of cells, and looking at it reminds me of the Phantom. All that package scream for performance.
The finish details and construction are excellent !
In my past testing, i learned that gliders that has fewer lines and especially 2 lines per side, are likely to be flown slightly on the far end of their weight range in order to put a load on all the structure and keep it well homogenous in rough air. I found out that the sweet spot in overall conditions of the Maestro 21 is around 92, 93 all up. In moderate conditions, flying it at 90 or slightly below could be quite efficient also.
At 93 all up with an X-rated 6 harness, the launching of the Maestro 21 is super easy and well behaved, without any forward surge or hanging back.
After being airborne i immediately felt and understood the DNA inside this Maestro !
Let’s begin with the brake pressure that feels ‘perfect’. Not hard at all, nor too light ! For my personal feel, its just ‘perfect’ The response on the brakes are immediate ! i could steer the Maestro inside the core with 10 cm of travel in a linear brake response especially for a B !! The Maestro with its short brake travel, reacts immediately and carve inside the thermals in a tight radius, with a high degree of precision, that is rare to find on a high B glider ! Pure pleasure for the pros !! Going lower on the brakes is forgiving, but it’s not needed while coring, as around 15 cm max will let you core the meanest of thermals !
The day was special. It was windy and a bit turbulent at times. I was also surrounded by my expert flying friends, each one on their respective gliders. XC-Tracer small(2liner) , Klimber S, and a Swift 5 MS. All pilots are very well experienced. We did managed all-together, to make some small XC’s and to compare our little toys. ..Yes…i mentioned a 2 liner, and a D glider also…Just keep cool… No sudden conclusions ;-) I’m just spicing the write up a bit ;-) …
I also flew with a friend on the excellent Swift 5 MS, *my reference* for the B cat, (same size) and exactly same load ! (93) as the Maestro 21.
After 4 hours of extensive flying, with the whole group, i can flawlessly confirm the excellent climbing abilities of the Maestro 21 ! This glider behaves and deliver exactly like a competition glider with D certificate in its climbing properties.
Why is that??? Just because the Maestro surges forward in a climb, without any pitch back at all. I mean it moves forward very quickly in climbing mode. In windy and challenging conditions or facing the valley breeze, the Maestro will deliver climbing excellence ! Those characteristics are super rare to be found on a B glider !
Letting it fly forward is super rewarding while climbing. I can confirm that it climbs very close “to say the least and keep you cool… :-) “ as the higher certified gliders.
I will comment later on accessibility, but i have to mention that keeping it flying is very rewarding, but swift and fine controls on the brakes are needed to keep it leveled. Just like flying some high rated gliders. A delight !
Now comes the gliding part.
I have to be clear that the top three B’s for 2019, have a very close gliding power as the C’s. For example, gliding with the Swift 5 against an Artik 5 showed me that the only difference is finding the next thermal !!
Even in difficult conditions, flying either glider, a pilot can only make a difference, with the extra 2 km on the top end of a C and the feel of a higher aspect ratio glider which also helps in marginal conditions.
Doing some long glides with the Maestro 21 at trim and at full bar showed me a super competitive glide angle similar to the best reference B, putting the Maestro on the top regarding gliding power.
It’s gliding in moving air and difficult conditions that the Maestro could be quite rewarding.
Now comes the accessibility part.
The Maestro is definitely ‘not’ your first B glider. Not even after one small season on your first low B glider… The Maestro has some super fine qualities, and delivers impressive and valuable information for the keen pilot. It takes an experienced pilot to appreciate it, and to use it at its full potential.
Talking for the B category, the Maestro is like a Samurai sword if you know what i mean. It can cut swiftly and cleanly, if you seek it or know how to use it.
Pilots flying some C’s and even D’s wanting a great weapon for XC with B certification, will cherish the Maestro feel and qualities.
Pilots flying high B gliders for two seasons, will find in the B certified Maestro, the educative feedback that will allow them to understand and fly later higher rated gliders.
Big ears are stable, very efficient as only 1 line is left on the A’s, and they open without pilot intervention.
Wing overs are quickly very high. The Maestro has good energy, and the structure if well loaded is compact and homogenous.
Full speed is 13 km/h over trim taken at 1000 ASL. Trim speed is similar to the Rush 5, Swift 5.
Conclusion: The best impressions you get is immediately after landing. Right ?
This is one of the fewest times, I enjoy test flying a B glider. It’s not like driving a 8 cylinder family car. It’s like driving an “everyday” Sports car ! Comfortable enough but pleasurable to drive.
Today’s top high B gliders delivers impressive performance, and it’s a blessing for many pilots to get those performances for free…But some, commented getting bored when flying B gliders, probably because of their very comfortable and dampening behavior on all axes. Pilots who feels too much dampening under a certain glider eventually seeks the higher classes.
Every pilot has a different level of experience, and totally different taste regarding gliders.
The Maestro has a complete package of top overall performance, agile feel of a dynamic but “balanced” high B glider.
Flying pleasure awaits you with spices for the refined gastronomist ! :-)
For those flying qualities, test flying it is a must.
The launch behavior is better than the Buzz Z5. The glider does not pitch forward on take off.
First turn felt a mellower Buzz. This version seems easier to manage than the Z5. The climb rate in weak and strong is very good. Climbing next to a Rush 5 shows me a very competitive climbing behavior.
The agility is good for the low B category. Overall it seems more friendly user with less movements inside the thermals than the Z5.
Doing some glides in moving air, showed me that the glide angle is of course not similar to the Rush 5..but still competitive enough for the low B category.
ears are stable, top speed is fully usable. The glide angle at full speed seems more efficient than the Z5. At full speed the glide remain quite interesting.
Conclusion: A stable, mellow, easy to fly low B glider for the majority of low airtime pilots. More than enough glide and climb for that category. The Z6 is a more ‘friendly user’ glider than the Z5 with the glide at speed improved.