Aviation has finally done it regarding inflation ease—a big deal for
paramotor pilots launching in calm conditions. They've built a wing that
is easy to inflate and fun to fly. The 26.6 m˛ flat, 23.6 m˛ projected wing that I
flew is their small size. The test was done at sea level using a Blackhawk
172 with weight shift having an in-flight weight of 230 lbs.
Wing loading, at 230 lbs all up weight, was
8.7 lbs/m˛ flat or 9.8
Handling (5): Normal brake pressures
gave a pleasing and expected response. It's not quite as sporty as the
MacPara Muse but close. At this level, it's a wing most pilots can learn
on and enjoy wearing it out.
It had one unusual characteristic that I've
seen on a few motor/wing combinations—a slight oscillation at cruise and
climb. The wing would wander back and forth slowly, at the wing's pendular
period, interacting with the motor in such a way as to keep the
oscillation going but never diverging (getting worse). It was easy to stop
with brake input and even weight shift. It has happened on a few other
glider/motor combinations and is the 2nd glider I've tested to do with my
motor. The other was an acro glider. In all likelihood it was just a
strange interaction with my particular motor.
Inflation (7): Easy. Comes up quickly
with a light breeze and has minimal hang-back tendency. Kiting is great.
It's low aspect ratio, like many other beginner-type wings, allows brakes
alone to recover an off-center wing without sidestepping.
I was told this one uses lighter weight
fabric and so doesn't come with the same warranty as other Apco gliders.
But it's the same weight fabric used my the MacPara's which is partly why
they inflate so nicely. Apco has also added additional stiffening on the
front of the leading edge stiffeners which may help.
Efficiency (3): My perception is that
this wing is similar to the muse and is somewhat slow. I'll have the speed
results up shortly. Fuel burn per hour will be average, fuel burn per mile
will be higher, like the MacPara Muse.
Speed (3): Tested in-flight weight (me+motor+wing)
of 230 lbs. Trim speed was Avg speed=22.4 mph, trimmers out=26.4 mph,
trimmers out & speedbar full=28.7 mph.
Construction (5): It's lighter weight
so it's probably built with about the same stoutness as the MacPara line.
Certainly it's plenty strong and Apco is one of the oldest paraglider
builders in the world. Riser spread as tested 20.5".
It comes with sand-proof magnetic brake
holders. So iron laced sand, like what is common on some California
beaches doesn't clog them up. Anyone who's struggled with magnetic holders
filled with such sand will appreciate the improvement. The risers also
have two loops depending on whether you have high attachments or low.
Certification & Safety (10): The
one that I flew had no certification sticker but Arnon Lufi, who is
representing Apco, assured me that it earned DHV 1 ratings. Like most
motor wings, it was probably certified without paramotor risers
even though the paramotor model comes with motor risers. The only
difference is usually that motor risers are shorter and have
Overall (5): Good beginner wing.
Comparable to others in this class and a good buy for students. Make sure
to get it with the lightweight fabric. It sounds like they may be making
two different versions and the heavier fabric would make it more sluggish