At Beach Blast this year I flew a bunch of different motors, but also a bunch of wings. I didn’t take notes or pictures, and I haven’t deeply studied any of these wings. These are my impressions of the wings I remember:
- Dudek Hadron XX 22:
- There are a lot of controls on the risers, which is something I love about Dudek wings. There are trimmers, wingtip steering toggles, “2D Steering” in the brake toggles, a speed system and flaps. I was advised to leave the flaps in the “out” position during the whole flight for safety reasons (maybe there’s such thing as too much control over a wing’s shape?). All in all, it was a magical wing in many ways- it was fast, but efficient. It had an energetic landing like other Dudek reflex wings with their trimmers partially out. The weirdest part of the flight was while I was trimmers full-out, looking at the wing as I pulled the tip steering toggles: the wing barely appeared to deform, but I was changing direction.
- Dudek Nucleon XX 20:
- This wing felt like my old overloaded Synthesis 25- extremely solid and fast, except that the controls weren’t as heavy. I forgot to hook up the speed system when I launched, so I didn’t fly it full fast. Nevertheless, I felt my head dragging through the air when I turned to look to the side on trimmers full out. It was hard to gauge the wing’s efficiency, as I wasn’t flying my own motor. It may be my next wing (choosing is hard… I have 6 wings in my closet right now).
- Paramania GTX 24:
- Not as fast as I was expecting; I probably should have flown a smaller size. Despite its size, this wing was easy to swing around in the sky, and it felt rock solid the whole time. I haven’t studied the wing profile, but I suspect it’s quite reflexed- launching took some running, even with the beach breeze.
- Ozone Sirocco 19:
- I flew this one with the Air Conception Ultra 130, and I had more than enough power to launch with ease, leading me to think the Sirocco is a pretty efficient wing. It was fun, too! I didn’t go to wild on it, and I didn’t hook up a speed bar, but it reminded me of my MacPara Chronos 23 only faster. It dipped into turns and felt intuitive as to when it would come out of oscillations.
- Velocity Nitro 18:
- Michael Mixer generously allowed me to fly his Nitro 18, and my impression was that it was a very sporty and responsive wing. At launch it came up over my head quickly and with a little checking of the brakes stayed there, feeling quite light. Top speed, without a speed bar (I didn’t hook one up), was satisfying. I was on a Blackhawk Talon 175, which is really different than my own motor, so I didn’t get a good feel for the efficiency of this wing. The fabric was very crispy and light-feeling. Mike Robinson explained the unusual shape of the wing to me (it’s got a flat middle section). The center of the wing is more pitch-positive than the wingtips, giving the center section greater stability with the wingtips flying like efficient, classical wings. Control pressure was light, and this wing was agile.
- Air Design UFO 16:
- Whoa. This thing actually flies, and it felt much more solid than I expected! It’s a bottomless glider with only a few enclosed cells to give it shape. You can’t get sand in this wing! Beyond that, it weighs around 3 pounds, and it flies slower and with more docility than I expected from a 16 square meter wing. This could be owing to its bean-shaped aspect ratio. My 180 lb self and a 45 lb Top 80 were able to launch with ease. Climb rate was adequate with this setup. The motor-off landing was totally unlike the other wings– there was no flare… none that I could feel. I typically drag my feet on landing, but not with this one. Instead of rounding out as I pulled brakes near the ground, the wing just continued flying on its linear glide path; just slower.
Those are my impressions– completely unscientific and anecdotal, but combined with others’ impressions you might get a full picture of any one of these wings.