Paramania has tweaked its popular Action series to come up with the Action GTR, a speedy reflex wing optimized for competition. It has some really cool innovations in the riser system that will appeal to competition pilots and others that will be appreciated by everyone. The most obvious and significant innovation is in the riser system (see below).
I flew the GTR several times on a Top 80 powered Miniplane at sea level with a clip-in weight of about (130 + 50 + 5) 185 lbs. This wing is really too big for my small weight but, alas, it’s the smallest I could get my hands on. I did some filming with it while following Eric Dufour around a cloverleaf as well as a dedicated review flight.
There is an 18 M version of this wing that would be more appropriate to my weight. If I can get my hands on it, I’ll add that to the review.
Handling (-): The handling feels heavier than other reflex wings, especially at full fast, but is plenty effective. Tip steering is especially useful but requires a fair amount of pull force. It uses a bungee system that seems to limit effectiveness slightly but I see why they do it because you can quickly get to the system when needing it for quick turns — maybe quicker than with a toggle. But for me, to have the desired range, I had to go out beyond the bungee portion and pull from the line. Heavier pilots may not need to do that so much since it will be more effective with less travel for them.
Steering using the tips is most effective on full speedbar and I had no collapses while doing so, even while flying through my own wake during cloverleaf-type flying. Very solid if a a bit heavy. My arms knew that I’d been putting this wing through its paces.
Like all reflex wings it seems, there’s the problem that you’re not supposed to use the brakes while fully accelerated. Yet, when you’re going to kick the center stick on a cloverleaf, in a downward gust you may have to use brakes unless you’re super quick on speedbar. I’m not that good. Many pilots seem to use the brakes anyway which adds somewhat to risk.
Inflation (-): There was wind during each of my tests but it seemed to come up easily.
Risers: (-): Four riser system.
Probably the most significant development is the “PK system” which essentially puts some amount of trimmer control in the speedbar. You pull the trimmers to full slow, hook up a sister clip, then let the trimmers all the way out. Now the last half of trimmer travel is really just “armed” — held by the PK line that’s connected through the speedbar. You’ll only get full fast trim when the speedbar is pushed out. That makes speedbar use more effective which is exactly what pylon racers want. Coming into a turn you release the speedbar and pull brakes, keep up full power, then, as you roll out, go back on full speedbar to convert the turn energy into speed. This sort of technology may very well be the future for pylon racers.
Another innovation that I liked was infinitely adjustable brake pulley positions. Many wings only have two. I fly different machines from high to low hook-ins and this wing has an easily adjustable brake pulley positioning system. Small thing, I realize, but very handy and quickly adjustable.
Efficiency (-): Very good efficiency but it was way too turbulent for any sink rate testing.
Speed (-): The PK system (see Risers description above) was hooked up for these tests. I suspect that they’ll improve on the speedbar acceleration even more, given the PK system, but in my tests speedbar seemed to provide roughly the same acceleration as other reflex wings. One advantage of the system is that pilots can choose some of where they want the speed to come from — the speedbar or trimmer system. I should have done a trimmer-out speed test withOUT the PK hooked up.
Wind run 1, upwind = 16 mph, downwind = 36 mph, windspeed (36-16)/2 = 10 mph, airspeed = 26 mph.
Wind run 2, upwind = 14 mph, downwind = 35 mph, windspeed (35-14)/2 = 10.5 mph, airspeed = 24.5 mph. We’ll call it 25 mph.
Slow trim = 11 mph, Fast trim = 16 mph, airspeed = 30 mph. Trim adds 5 mph.
Fast trim = 13 mph, with speedbar = 19 mph, airspeed = 36 mph. Speedbar adds 6 mph.
Slow trim = 26 mph, Fast Trim 31 mph, Fast Trim with Speedbar = 37 mph.
A note on accuracy. It was sufficiently turbulent that the error must be assumed to be +/- 1 mph. Sadly, that’s quite significant. I would strongly urge pilots who are considering these wings to *NOT* base their decision on a couple mph. I’m not. The reason I put in my upwind/downwind readings is to show how two different runs yielded different speeds by 1. 5 mph. I would welcome other pilots who have this same wing in a 20m to take their own readings and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Construction (-): Very good quality.
Certification & Safety (-): No certification at the size I flew.
Overall (-): The GTR meets its mission with innovative solutions and will be a great contender in the right hands. I’m thrilled to see their innovation and look forward to where it will lead.