Davinci Duet review

Credits to testfly.ru

Construction has a very distinctive DaVinci touch: it’s sobre but of decent quality and even with a certain blend of ambition and originality. Definitely this glider is not a subtle ultralight but rather a solid workhorse. The risers made of 22mm wide vebbing, metal connector, 4-liner with thick sheated bottom lines… The canopy is made of regular (not ultralight)Dokdo and Skytex cloth but the glider weight is however below expected due to well-optimized construction. The leading edge has huge intakes which have no mylar reinforcements but are always wife open due to relatively thick plastic rods spreading around 30 centimeters chordwise on both upper and lower surfaces, promising easy inflation and takeoff. The intakes have a pleasantly rounded shape giving certain flashbacks to Advance Bibetas, but the wing shape and the overall design are original with absolutely no doubt. The wingtip sections have small round valves made of ripstop — maybe for better aerodynamics, maybe just for letting the garbage go out of the wing by itself.


Takeoff and ground handling. Good takeoff is crucial for tandems, and Duet did really shine in this test! Duet is amongst the best at the takeoff compared to other tandems i know. Even with the lightest wind the Duet goes to flight position in a gentle and calm manner and keeps overhead with minimal effort. It’s even possible to bring it overhead applying no A-risers at all, a simple body drag is enough! Amazing for a big guy of 42 square meters!


Reaction to brakes. Amongst the best again! After some short flights Duet easily kept the honorable second place in my personal rating of maneuverability for tandems, preceded only by the outstanding Sup’Ait Sora (which has only a very small advantage in brake reactions). The brakes are light, it’s like handling a solo wing up to 160-180 kgs of total flight weight. Amazingly, the brakes have almost no slack, the reaction to brake input begins from the very first centimeters of brake travel. The total brake travel is typical for biplaces, very long compared to colo wings.

This glider likes to turn rather flat, however entering the turn is unexpectedly fast. The turn radius can be easily adjusted by brake input, there’s plenty of brake efficiency if you need to tighten the turn. Being a bit harsh on brakes may even result in almost-twist; this effect is rather typical for solo wings with high brake efficiency.

The bank changes occur in a calmer manner. You may force Duet to make a big bank, but this demands some time and some efforts since Duet is very well dampened. The big wingowers are however possible if you insist enough. I found the wingovers to be the most pleasant at 180 kg of total flight weight — the brakes are still not too heavy but the reaction to brakes is well present. With heavier passengers (up to 220 kg of total flight weight) Duet moves faster on bank, but the brake efforts are less comfortable.


Pitch dampening is really impressive. Apparently Duet is one of the most pitch-dampened biplaces i’ve tried. High pitch stability is well appreciable even at the takeoff: Duet easily “stucks” above the pilot and demands only very minor corrections. Once airborne, it’s also not too easy to build a big pitch, the glider always tends to keep it normal position above the pilot giving extra comfort for both pilot and passenger. It’s interesting that, despite of high dampening, the Duet gives enough feedback in the slightly moving air of the before-spring. The brakes feedback is very well marked, the same for the airspeed changes. Entering the first spring bubbles produces gentle crunches and crackles of cloth, the pitch and banks feedback being very moderate. The risers feedback is well present but will not scare the passengers.

Landing. No problem throughout the whole weight range and even slightly above. The long brakes pull kills the speed very efficiently, making possible a zero-speed landing even in no wind (however this trick demands some training).


Concolusion. It appears that DaVinci made a nice biplace glider intended mainly for commercial use. Perfect takeoff, good landing, high pitch and bank dampening are perfectly suiting the demands of a typical commercial tandem flyer. The reactions to brakes are impressive, it appears that Duet is amongst the most brake-sensible biplaces. There’s no limitation in use scenarios, the Duet can be flown in “pedagogic XC” mode or just to give some fun for your friends.  It’s also pleasant to mark that Duet is a well-elaborated and thouroghly developped wing which, for sure, will build a good reputation for DaVinci.

Strong points

  • Perfect takeoff in no wind conditions

  • Good landing behaviour

  • Very high brakes efficiency

Weak points

  • Not present

Special thanks to Rinat Sabitov and DaVinci Gliders for offering the glider for test flying!

Foto: I. Tarasova, A. Tarasov

Davinci Classic Review

Hi guys, I thought it worth to put together a small review of this wing. I am the Davinci importer for the UK, but nevertheless, I would not want to claim BS and have angry customers afterwards, so the review will be as accurate as possible. I have been flying since 2008 and got through an odd series of wings, from Apco Presta    to Delta 2. First thing about flying a new wing is how “at home” you feel beneath it. With Classic, everything seemed right, and I felt that there are no hidden “surprises” waiting for the first opportunity to bite me by the arse.
So, without further introduction, here is my review.
The South Korean manufacturer teamed up with Flow Paragliders and come up with a beautiful designed 3.5 liner (the upper C’s splits in C’s and D’s) with AR 5.11 and and a number of 50 open cells with 10 closed ones. There are 4 sizes available covering a range from 60 Kg to 120Kg all up. All sizes are EN-B certified. Risers have good quality pulleys, and the brakes have swivels installed. The material for the canopy is the PU coated 39g/m2 ripstop fabric from Dominico Textile Co. That has been used for both upper and lower surfaces.
Ground handling:
The Classic is sporting a shark nose, that makes it wants to fly with any opportunity, therefore, the second part of the rise must receive a tad on the brakes to keep it nicely above you. The wing is standard when it comes with the weight – the tested M size is 5.8kg. Despite of the normal weight, it feels light, as it can catch every blow and become active. You can keep it on the ground with the leading edge inflated combined either with brakes, or if the wind is stronger, with the C risers. When decided to fly, usually just a release of the brakes or rear risers combined with a step backwards is enough to have the wing rising progressively. Moving with the wing above the head in any direction is easy, climbing the hill using the wing as a kite, as well. It just sits in the position you put it, obviously using the correct inputs.
Take off:
Take off is normally a non-event, as the lift is produced at very low speeds. The pilot is lifted from the first steps, and no surge or descend occurs after few meters of flying. I have seen this odd behaviour with other wings, and I have developed the good habit to remain out of the harness until I was well ahead of the slope. With Classic I looked a bit dumb, as the wing just continues to fly maintaining the same internal pressure. The speed is picking up, but the lift increase is not ruining the trajectory of the wing, nor the angle of attack. Very nicely predictable.
I was expecting a very long brake travel being a mid B and all, but the Classic is able to pick up the smallest impulses. I am normally flying with half of a wrap, and keep the thumbs pressed to the brake line for a better feeling. The steering behaviour is linear, you get as much as you ask for. One thing to mention is the end of the brake travel. I have been in very narrow thermals several times and I had to almost completely release the outer brake whilst braking heavily the inner one. You rich a final point where the brake simply “stops” being so hard to go further. However, the pressure in the wing is not jeopardized, no spinning signs, nothing. You just reached the end of the brake travel, but you are still doing fine. The wing is turning fast, it is banking a bit, and stays like that for as much as you want it to. I find it better to control the turn by playing with the outer brake, and keep the inner one on same position, that made it very easy to center the thermal core.
I was flying with a Mipfly ONE GPS vario, as I wanted to test this instrument as well. The thermal assistant on the vario shows you where you had the strongest lift and makes finding the core very easy. But this chase for the biggest bubble on the screen must be possible only if you can change the direction fast and safe. The Classic is not banking hard backwards when it hits a strong lift, and with minimal input you can keep it above your head. Also, I was able to chase the core, without thinking too much about the wing. It was just doing whatever I need it to do. Entering the thermal as said before is easy, the wing is not pushed away, neither sucked in the thermal (like the Delta) but just behaving well and listening to your commands. Easy to turn either flat or banked, a perfect balance across the range. I had a massive lee side thermal behind Twin Peaks after a 1h of hopeless scratching and I was able to test just how “alive” the wing is. Despite the strong air, the wing was in complete control all the time. I had no collapses, although I found myself braking down to my… rear for several times. Exiting the thermal is again easy, the wing is not surging forward too much and the height loss is minimal. I was able to grab the rear risers and position myself for transition in the harness right after the exit. That brings us to the transition behaviour…
Testing this wing in Algo was a good decision, as the days were crapp. 😊 . Well, not as bad as it sounds, but there was not a single cloud on the sky for the whole period (one week). In those conditions, finding the lift line for transitions is crucial. Also, not finding it and encountering sink, is also a matter of being able to get out of it as fast as possible and with minimal height loss. I had both, good lift lines and massive sink. I was accelerating the wing throughout the whole range, and even when I was at 100% on bar, I haven’t noticed a very bad glide. The theory that say to stay below 50% bar on this wing class can be pushed a bit further with Classic. I will say even at 70% the GR is not degrading massively. All in all, I was among the first to reach the next thermal all the time, and I was very fast on transitions arriving with very good height. The crowd I was flying with was very mixed, from pure beginners under A’s to hot shots with D’s. All those days, I was part of the first gaggle and leaving together, the D’s had an obvious advantage, but here we also talk about very good pilots. As for the C’s, they were not able to create a noticeable difference, since from one thermal to another we were constantly close, leaving them in the same time.
Big ears are easy to induce and they come out by themselves without pumping. Vertical speed increase with approx 2m/s. It is possible to perform wingovers with the Classic, although the amplitude of them is subject to the pilot ability to weightshift. I was quite tight snugged in the harness so I could do some wingovers, but not as high as I could have with a more permissive harness. Spirals are easy, the wing is “convinced” that this is what you want after a complete 360, although if coming from wingovers, one can proceed with spirals quicker. The height loss is considerable, so this manoeuvre has to be performed with a good clearance from the ground. The Classic is exiting the spiral with just the inner brake releasing, and the surge that follows is not something that can stall the wing. A smoother exit will work better rather than an abrupt brake release, that being a good advice for any wing we fly with.
For landing a good double wrap is recommended as is quite hard to get the energy out of the wing. Flaring is a dream, and one can stop the Classic almost completely with plenty of pressure left in the wing. With the proper combination of speed and flare, the landing is beautiful and very safe.
This wing, although it is not good to learn how to fly on it, it is perfect for the fresh ambitious pilots who wants to start the XC path, but do not want to sacrifice the passive safety for this. The Classic is an active wing, which is flown best with active piloting, as this will get the most out of it. It is a wing that will put you safely on the ground, with a big smile on your face. I personally love it, therefore I am selling my Delta 2 and will happily fly from now on the Classic (my 1 year old daughter might have influenced the decision as well, but all in all, I do not feel that I make a big sacrifice on the fun nor on the performance).
Thank you and fly safe.
Here is a short film of one of my flights, please excuse the sound track… 😊


Gepostet von Cătălin Benea am Montag, 20. Mai 2019

Davinci Rhythm review

Davinci Rhythm: born to land

DaVinci is a brand new Korean paragliding brand. Let’s try their glider for school and accuracy: the Rhythm.


When the first time you pick up a product of a company just entering the market – there is always some concern about the quality of the workmanship. But in the case of Rhythm you can relax. Yes, the design looks rather modest – it’s not Advance or Gin. But there is not the slightest claim to the quality of cut and tailoring. It was not possible to find the hand made markings on the wing – it means that the cut is very likely to be made by plotter, which is confirmed by very neat cut lines. Stitches and seals are also quite neat. I won’t be surprised if it will turn out that Rhythm came out from under the same sewing machines, on which the legendary Gin are sewn. In any case, DaVinci’s technologists and production workers honestly earn their rice with soy sauce, there’s nothing to complain about.

Only the risers could deserve some improvement. No, they are all right – but they are of a very simple make, without any frills, just like the second-third echelon brands do. The webbing is pretty wide (22 mm), the quality of Brummel hooks is very average, the pulleys of speed system have no bearings… The only sign of certain ambition of the Korean manufacturer are the decorative stripes with the manufacturer’s logo and accurate brakes with swivels. The line set is surprisingly minimalist: A2A’1B4C3. A three-row, which, in principle, is not necessary for the entry-level wing. The choice of materials does not disappoint: the thick and durable Dokdo cloth, thick sheated lines. It can be clearly seen that Rhythm is a workhorse, not a competition-winning “gun” . The same can be said for the shape of the wing. Modest, neat, low aspect ratio, large cell openings. The coloring, for my taste, is a bit lurid – but it’s rather a question of personal perception.

Take-off and ground handling

Classics! The Rhythm behaves exactly as it should behave. Inflation and rise up to the flight position is a leisurely, but very reliable. There is no need to “pull out” the wing with A-risers or, conversely, “slow down” it, preventing the overshoot. It is enough to somehow pull something – and after a couple of seconds, Rhythm will always be in flight position. Unfortunately, the weather did not allow me to practice ground handling with all my heart, but I had to master the wing in quite “combat” conditions – when starting from a limited area in a oblique gusty wind or almost at complete calm. And Rhythm did not disappoint, always safely and confidently going into flight position.


We are talking about the very fact that there is the entry level, “novice” wing, so everything is fine. And in some cases – even not bad. In a direct flight at trim speed, the Rhythm does not noticeably lose to the almost-training Ozone Buzz Z5 – provided that you arm yourself with a cocoon and try to fly as gently as possible. But any turn maneuver leads to a clear and very noticeable increase in the sink rate and drop of the glide. This is partly due to the shape of the Rhythm’s polar curve. Like the much older wings, the trim regime and the minimum sink regime for Rhythm are quite noticeably spaced – at least several kilometers per hour and not less than 20 centimeters of the stroke of the brakes. Therefore, when you are climbing in thermals, you have to “slow down” the device quite strongly, and attempts to work in thermals with small strokes of the brake do not lead to anything good. Similar behavior is typical for speed gliders and mini-wings, but Rhythm’s speeds are noticeably smaller, which greatly simplifies the flying.

Flight at bar

The Rhythm has a speed bar and it works. In practice, this is all that a pilot needs to know about the speed system of our examine. In fact, there’s a serious drop in glide from the very first centimeters of the speed bar travel which practically does not allow using the accelerator differently than to accelerate an already fast approach to the ground. Well, or just to train the accelerated flight. More precisely, Rhythm is good for getting used to some of the characteristic effects that arise in accelerated flight, for example, to a slight increase in the sharpness of the wing movements along the roll and pitch. I could not measure the speed increase – in every flight I did not have enough time for reliable averaging, the altitude was wasted too quickly. On subjective sensations, the speed gain is quite normal for EN A, something about 10 km/h. Interestingly, while flying at bar, the glider is perfectly controlled by the rear rows, not at all worse than the gliders by a pair of classes above.


Here everything becomes interesting. On the one hand, for small moves the brakes (within 5-10 cm) Rhythm does not react almost in any way, which, in principle, is normal and even good for an entry level wing. On the other hand, if you pretend to be a newbie and start pushing the brakes really hard – then Rhythm appears quite sane and even something pleasantly manageable. In combination with the above-mentioned features of the polar curve all this means that for thermalling on the Rhythm you need the good old style of piloting that arose long before the modern “do not prevent the wing from flying”. Rhythm needs help to soar, and it should be a very vigorous help. Weight to the maximum on one side of the harness, both brakes to the carabiners, the inner hand another 10-15 centimeters down – and the Rhythm reveals a quite decent, compact thermal turn. On such strongly clamped brakes, the Rhythm responds to the extra brake input quite well, allowing a fairly quick change in the radius of the spiral and the intensity of rotation. Even more interesting is the fact that at very large brake strokes (about 70-80%) the Rhythm does not become too sharp and does not tend to go into parachuting, but simply loses the glide. Perfect for precision landing!

The behavior of Rhythm at low speeds is generally worthy of taking out in a separate chapter. It seems that this glider was created primarily for flying at low speeds. For a long time I have not met a paraglider with such a sane, simple and understandable behavior in the left part of the polar. It is quite possible to stall the Rhythm – the full course of the brake is very large, but does not go beyond the physiological capabilities of a typical pilot. This applies both to the brake travel, and the brake loading near the stall. Somewhere after 50% of the brake stroke, the drop in glide becomes very noticeable, and further the glide smoothly decreases without the appearance of vibrations, local stalls on the part of the span and other effects characteristic for wings with higher a/r. Even on the 70-80% of the brakes Rhythm is simply flying – very slowly, calmly, with very low glide, while maintaining a sane handling. Even at large strokes the control does not become too sharp, the glider forgives even quite noticeable piloting errors, but it is surprisingly easy to control the glide angle. It’s also easy to correct the errors in the course and roll – the effectiveness of the highly clamped brakes is enough for that. As a result, you can safely go to the target with a height excess of a couple of meters – at the end of the approach this excess height can easily be removed by strongly clamped brakes, and you just go down in a smooth, quiet manner. The high dampening of the Rhythm very much helps when landing on accuracy in the bumpy air which tends to bring down the Rhythm from the trajectory given by the pilot.

Comfort and feedback

It’s not a glider, it’s rather a kind of a tank! It is clear that a glider with such a modest a.r. simply can not be sharp and uncomfortable – but Rhythm also has long rods in the leading edge, which provide this product of the Korean manufacturer with remarkable resistance to collapses. It is interesting that Rhythm very willingly rustles and crunches with cloth, warning about changes in loads to different parts of the wing – but all these rustling and crunching in practice means almost nothing to the pilot, because getting a real, “combat” collapse on the Rhythm is almost impossible. At dangerously small angles of attack, the rods willingly take a load on themselves, and Rhythm with honor comes out of tense situations. Rustling and crunching are not so useful, from my point of view, to search and center the thermals. Rhythm’s feedback is expressed primarily by changes in airspeed and a slightly less changes in loads on the hands. The harness gives very little useful information. As well as it is typical to a wing with low a.r., the Rhythm is absolutely not inclined “to wave with ears”, behaves very “monolithic” even in strong enough turbulence. Roll and pitch damping is at a high level even for the EN A level, although there are some special features. Falling out of the thermal, the Rhythm is inclined to suddenly “shoot” forward with an external half-wing, and it is desirable to slightly hold it with an external brake. But you can not do this – it still will not collapse.

Dynamics and energy retention

Normal average level for the school-training-accuracy wing. Having well tried and clearly knowing what and how to do, the pilot can quite achieve from the Rhythm wingovers and energetic spirals – but if you do not ask the wing about it very clearly and persistently, it will try hard to protect the pilot from sudden changes in the trajectory and unpleasant movements on roll and pitch.

Asymmetric collapse

Perfect! It’s not easy to provoke a collapse due to relatively high load on A riser. The collapse goes around 20-25% chordwise, and sturdy rods in the leading edge prevent the collapse from going further. In fact the typical collapse cannot fully develop, the half-wing remains partially inflated and reopens instantly after releasing the A riser. The trajectory deviation and surge are almost inexistent. The similar collapse and opening behavior is typical for well-known Cayenne5 from Skywalk.

Pre-stall during thermalling

Perfect. In general the entry level wings rarely have a pre-stall regime, but Rhythm has it, maybe because it is half entry-level, half accuracy wing. The regime develops in a smooth and predictable manner, the pilot has a couple of seconds to recognize the situation and to correct it. The surge angle during recovery is around mere 20 degrees, and it’s easy to conserve the thermal spiral during recovery and after.


The Rhythm is a very specific glider for a narrow range of application: entry-level school flights and accuracy. But when used as implied the Rhythm really excels. High dampening and calm reactions to turbulence and pilot input are good for beginners, and the brilliant ability to nicely controllable low-speed flight with very low glide is just what you need to win an accuracy competition. When you try to soar or to make some XC, the Rhythm shines much less. Even in EN A category, there are wings with better overall performance. But i’m happy to conclude that this Rhythm is so user-friendly that it can be used from the very first flight. The Rhythm strangely has lots in common with mini-wings: low a.r., specific polar curve, amazingly compact and nice turn at high brakes travel… but with much less speed compared to mini-wings which makes the Rhythm much, much safer. Okay, it’s hard to fly far with Rhythm, however You may land almost everywhere with minimal risk.


  • High passive safety
  • Calm and friendly behavior
  • High resistance to collapses
  • Unexpectedly good ability to turn at low speed
  • Very low glide at low speed, perfectly controllable low speed flight


  • Modest overall performance

I would like to express my gratitude to Rinat Sabitov (Russian DaVinci dealer) and to DaVinci Gliders for offering the Rhythm for testing.

Text: A.Tarasov / testfly.ru, R.Sabitov

Foto: I. Tarasova, A.Tarasov

Davinci X-Chord review

Hello to all eagles out there! 🙂

I’d like to share with you the XCHORD test report by Alexei at “Test Fly ” – http://testfly.ru/

Had a rest day with the conditions being too weak for good flying. So here are my first impressions on XChord:

The take-off

Take-off and ground handling is very specific, mostly due to monstrous plastic rods running almost 100% chord wise. In moderate and strong wind conditions the glider needs almost no pull on A risers, stepping back and firmly applying weight is enough to bring the glider overhead. During its rise the XChord demands special control on roll, it easily sweeps on one side if the initial pull was not perfectly symmetrical, and it’s not so easy to counter the roll if it appears. The inflation takes some time, especially for the rear part of glider which tremors amply during inflation (this effect also occurs with Enzo 3). Due to the relatively long inflation process the glider reveals no sudden surges on pitch, coming up smoothly and steadily. The overall performance level seems to be at least on par with Zeno, maybe even better. But the performance (however at the very very top of its class!) is definitely not the strongest point of XChord.

The flying

This glider tries to redefine the performance-to-accessibility rate for top EN D, and I see very few possible competition for XChord on this specific criterion. It’s truly amazing to have the performance level of Zeno with more accessibility and less headache. The first difference: pitch dynamics and energy retention. The XChord is rather active on pitch, rocking back and forward even in relatively calm air, but all these pitches are limited both in amplitude and speed. The Zeno moves much faster on pitch; XChord is more dampened but grabs more energy on each pitch, impressively converting speed to height and vice versa. Imagine that you have the main lines 1-2 meters longer than they are in fact, the feeling would be very similar. This “calm power” demands a specific way of glider control: short but well-dozed inputs in precise moments of time instead of almost-constant “thrill” needed for gliders with less pitch dampening. In fact the XChord demands less attention than Zeno but the relatively slow conversions of speed to height and back are not very favourable for proximity flying near a slope. You just need some time to grasp the rhythm of pitch and to make the brake inputs a bit in advance (compared to Zeno). The second difference: glider feedback. The feedback which XChord gives to his pilot is more “classic”, more explicit, and much easier to read and understand than the Ozone-style feedback. The glider reactions to turbulence are calmer, less nervous but more pronounced compared to Zeno. The airspeed changes have an impressive amplitude, the glider tends to gain lots of speed coming out from thermal cores. The speed loss while entering the cores is also very well marked, but fortunately there’s no that strange effect well familiar to Zeno owners when the glider keeps the higher angle of attack and low speed for some time with no obvious reason. The XChord recovers from occasionally occurring high AOA in a fast and well predictable manner. The changes in load on main carabiners and the speed and brakes feedback while thermalling are very impressive: this glider has lots of power which needs a careful control! It’s interesting that, despite of that “high power” feeling, the “snaking” and “wobbling” span wise effects are at their normal level for a top EN D wing, the XChord is not more “wobbly” or “snaky” than Zeno. The brakes feedback is very bright and well present, easy to decode, the typical brake charge being on par with Zeno.

The thermalling

It’s difficult to say is XChord generally prone to be thrown off the thermal cores or to be sucked inside. In strong and narrow cores it’s more possible that XChord will be thrown off; in weak but wide lifts the XChord seems to find the right way himself, demanding almost no assistance from the pilot. The overall behaviour while thermalling is somewhat between Zeno and the famous Icepeak 6 which, I think, still remains the easiest top-level 2-liner. XChord is more demanding that Icepeak 6 but easier and more “user-friendly” that Zeno. Personally I needed around 20-30 minutes of thermalling with XChord to build some initial confidence and to feel myself more or less comfortable; with Zeno, I’ve got the similar feeling after 10 or maybe 20 hours of airtime! The third difference: the turn. For Zeno, the turn behaviour (especially in thermals) is one of the weakest points. Keeping the Zeno in narrow cores is always a heavy job demanding lots of brake input and very ample weight shift. With XChord it’s much easier. The brakes efficiency is higher (compared to Zeno), but the glider especially “likes” the weight shift which is also very, very efficient. In fact, the marked brake input is rarely needed, and in general you may easily keep the XChord in a nice thermal spiral with reasonable bank angle using the moderate weight shift and small amount of brake input. Could not find if XChord “likes” the flat or the steep spiral: it’s easy to make both of them!

The fun

The wingovers are very nice, mainly due to high brake efficiency. It’s better being precise on weight shift during the wingover because the glider easily gains lots of airspeed, and even a small error may lead to unpleasant effects like being thrown somewhere and losing the control over the situation. The steep spirals come in easily. Didn’t force the glider to go down at really high speed, the sink rates around 10 m/s are okay.

The landing

XChord’s landing behaviour and low speed flying has some peculiarities. The brake travel is reasonably long, efficiently killing the glide at speeds near the stall limit, but the brake loads have almost no increase near the stall point. Playing with the glider close to the stall limit reveals that it’s not easy to feel the glider entering the stall; the visual control becomes very important during these games. The drop of the glide near the stall point is very pleasant for top landings in windy conditions, but the risk of occasionally getting into stall is relatively high (Zeno is easier near the stall), so to be practiced with extra care.

The floatability

XChord appears to be a great floater, rivalling the Zeno again. Flying at my favourite spot in weak conditions revealed the possibility of taking thermals and ridge lift really low. XChord easily gains height even in small lifts, partially due to nice floatability, partially because of efficient and simple thermal turn. Had no Zeno near me to compare but think that XChord could have a small advantage. Did a short XC today (around 30 km). The weather was among the strongest possible here: strong wind gusts, thermals up to +5 m/s (10 sec average). It was interesting to try XChord in relatively strong conditions. For sure it’s easier than Zeno. The gliders needs less control and gives more comfort.

The recovery

Had one ear collapse (a couple of sections, nothing to care about) and countered a bigger collapse (~50%) at trim speed. It was much more interesting: the leading edge broke at ~10% chord wise but it occurred with both brakes already pulled, so the collapse did not fully develop, and the glider recovered instantly. Didn’t see any tendency to cravat (which is a common problem for Zenos coming out of factory trim).

Final thoughts

Riding a strong thermal was funny 😉 much easier than with Zeno. The glider wasn’t thrown away, and it was easy to keep it near the core. Of course there was a lot of wobbling and some snaking but I had plenty of control efficiency to keep the glider where I need and to conserve the bank angle I want. Maybe still not the level of Icepeak 6 or Icepeak 7 Pro (which has fantastic thermal turn) but much, much better than Zeno. Did another flight in the afternoon with the primary aim to measure speeds. I have a Flymaster TAS probe which is a very precise and fair instrument. My Flymaster NAV indicates the IAS (instrumental airspeed) which does not depend on height and pressure. The results are strictly on par with Zeno: 34-36 km/h trim speed, 46-48 km/h at first bar, 57-58 km/h full speed. Don’t be perplexed by these relatively low speeds: IAS is the speed you could obtain flying at 0 m above the sea level at +15 degrees Celsius. The true airspeed (TAS) which depends on height and temperature was 5-7 km/h higher. Doing my measures I suddenly realised that something strange is happening with my glide. It was better than I expected! Could fly 4 km against 17-20 km/h wind and get back to the take-off with lots of height remaining. Still had no comp wing near me to compare but think that XChord may have better glide at high speeds than Zeno. The first bar is highly usable even in moderate turbulence, the glider appears to behave even a bit more comfortable than at trim speed. Didn’t fly a lot on second bar, need more airtime to explore the question.

Note from the manufacturer:

One of our test glider is at the Free Aero Magazine test team. They are having a test with M size our demo XChord. We should see the report in the near future.