I’ve recently been lucky enough to do some extended test flights both with and without a paramotor on the Sprint Evo from Gin. The Sprint Evo is Gin’s high-end EN-B/LTF 1-2 glider. The glider was released in the spring of 2011 as a higher performance (and lighter weight) alternative to the original Sprint.
I first noticed this glider in June of 2011, after the results of the Rat Race in Woodrat had come out. I heard second hand that Jeffrey Farrell had come 75 points shy of first place on it in the sport class primarily dominated by high end EN-C gliders. A quick look at the results of that race http://flyxc.org/files/sprint_
So when I finally got my hands on one of them, I decided to test it out to see if the “fun factor” was there; as gliders with that high of performance are usually “all business”. In paramotoring, a high glide ratio can be nice but in my opinion comes secondary to things like safety, handling, ease of launch etc.
For my flights, I got the pleasure of testing out three different sizes, both in free-flight and paramotoring in all sorts of conditions. Here’s the technical data on me and what I flew:
All up weight paramotoring: 130kg
Sizes tested XXS, S, and M (21.87m2, 25.0m2, 27.0m2)
Unpacking and inspection reveals the detail, design and “finish” that goes into these gliders. The quality of materials used is top-notch for certain. The glider comes with thin kevlar paragliding style risers as standard, but is available with motor risers (with trim tabs) for no additional charge. The paragliding risers are equipped with split A’s and magnetic keepers on the brake toggles. It is a true 4-riser setup with unsheathed cascade lines, which Gin claims gives better stability in wild conditions than a hybrid 3-liner system that is becoming popular in the EN-B category.
The canopy itself has a lot of new technology invested in it, and seems to pay off in many ways. The leading edge is shaped by Gin’s new “rigifoil-T” construction, which is a form of flexible plastic reinforcements that shape the front of the wing. Construction of this type cuts down on the amount of mylar used to shape the cells, which provides a more sturdy architecture and lighter weight. Gin additionally added partial reinforcements to the trailing edge in between cell dividers, which gives the wing a cleaner, more efficient profile. The result is a glider that inflates incredibly easily in little to no wind, and retains it’s shape when unloaded (kiting, collapsing, etc.) One other thing that is noteworthy, is that the Sprint Evo uses the same Brake Gathering System found on many XC gliders. However, it uses this along the entire trailing edge vs. just using the outer two or three lines.
For my first paramotor flight, I flew the XXS at the Great Salt Lake (5000′) in nearly no wind. It was a confined area taking off from a gravel parking lot, and I was relying on the estimated 9-9.3 glide ratio to get me off the ground in a hurry. The glider came up with very little effort, and a short takeoff was no problem at all. Corrections on the ground were easy, and the glider started building lift at a pretty low speed.
I spent about 30 minutes flying this tiny little wing (way overloaded) and had one of the best paramotor flights I’ve ever had! The handling is direct and quick, brake pressure is progressive and makes perfect sense. It turns on a dime thanks to the brake gathering system and modest aspect ratio (5.3), but glides like something approaching a 6.0! This makes for a really fun experience for a pilot who likes to carve low. One of the most unique things about the glider that I found was discovered while doing ground spirals. I would dive into a spiral at about 60′ and build energy up with throttle, then round out around 10′ off the ground all the way until bleeding off the energy then climbing out. With your typical paramotor wing with an 8:1 glide, this means you end up doing a 360 and then running out of juice so you climb out on heading. With the Evo, I was holding the glider in the spiral full throttle for 2-3 rotations without losing that energy or altitude. I flew through my motor wake numerous times, and though the wing is dynamic it is incredibly solid!
Wingovers and asymmetric spirals really are fun, and forgiving. Usually with a glider that performs as well as this you have to be perfect on timing, but the Evo just does not care. It goes where you point it, builds energy if you want it to, bleeds it when you want.
I pulled a few asymmetric collapses, and it recovered as advertised. With the high wing loading the recoveries were extremely quick. The glider appears very pitch stable, I worked in some pretty gnarly brake/throttle induced pitch oscillations as well. With the glider way out front, it stayed solid throughout.
After fooling around I brought it in for a few touch and go’s. I basically had to set up my final as though I were flying an EN-C type glider. Meaning, you’re probably going to underestimate the glide and overshoot a couple times. When it came to the flare, the glider carries energy really well so it was a matter of applying an inch of brake to arrest the descent at zero altitude, then just waiting for it to stop. The flare is long, glide is long; and that’s a good thing because this glider is fast!
One more thing I wanted to comment on is the profile of the glider. It is the cleanest that I’ve ever seen, which I’m sure contributes to the overall efficiency of the wing. When the glider is inflated, it looks like it’s sealed and pressurized.
To summarize, it seems like the Sprint Evo is an excellent combination between performance and handling or “fun factor”. With a higher glide comes shorter takeoffs, greater fuel efficiency, less noise, longer distance, and easier landings. Yet when it’s time to throw down this wing is totally up for the task.
For some more info as well as in flight footage, check out the following video by Gin:
Here’s a link to the Gin website, which has tons of info including test reports on all sizes: