Having surprised the market with the "performance" BGD Tala, Goldsmith stays true to himself. Minimalist wing design, but lightweight materials on the edge of compromise between durability and the virtues of lightweight construction are applied only on the lower surface of the wing. Of course, there is the signature "three-dimensional" cut of the leading edge, designed to improve the shape and flow of this most critical part of the wing. Though this technology in the Wasp has a strange result: in the photo you can clearly see the kink in the area of 15% chord, right where the wing surface should be the smoothest. But come on, it's almost a training machine, it's forgivable. What could be the ambitions of a wing with the elongation less than 5, thick profile and wide sections? Well, except in terms of safety. Generally speaking, already on the ground the Wasp looks simple and friendly, and in flight this impression is more likely to be confirmed than vice versa. Interestingly, the Wasp comes with two sets of ends. the "non-motorized" ends are mounted "by default" on the machine - wide, very well made, with all the frills and trinkets that the motorized ends are supposed to have. The motor ends have two hitch points, a minus-trimmer, and limited gas pedal travel. The daggers are traditional for BGD, simple but comfortable.
Launch, wing work on the ground
We meet each other by the outfit - we see each other off by the flight behavior on takeoff. And this is where the Wasp shows itself in all its glory. The takeoff can be treated as a prototype, it's that simple and straightforward. Light wing is confidently overhead even if you load the body and the front rows just a little bit. No tendency to overtake - the glider stays firmly overhead and stays there even if the wind is not quite fair at the start. Mistakes at the start? What does it matter what the pilot pulled, we take off anyway! The "ear to ground" test is turning into entertainment - everything is so simple, clear and undemanding to a pilot. The takeoff is expectedly small - the machine takes the load not so sharply and dynamically as more advanced wings, but still quickly takes the pilot off the slope, probably, mainly because of the sufficiently large wing area.
Goldsmith's product just has to be different. That's one way of looking at it. On the other hand the Wasp is sort of positioned as a training machine for the most safety-conscious pilots. And it looks like there's not much room for improvement in terms of creating a special character of the wing - safety first of all! But Goldsmith has managed to do it his way.
Flying ability. Unexpectedly good for such a simple machine with engine specificity. Of course, we shouldn't expect any miracles from the Wasp, but it is enough to not only fly it, but even to go small routes. The hardest thing was to evaluate the glide of our test. It seems that even a little bumping has a strong effect on the Wasp, causing it to noticeably lose speed and glide. But if the air is more or less quiet at the transitions, it turns out that the Wasp can fly comparable to something like Advance Sigma 6. Pretty decent result for such a modest wing! The sink rate is pretty nice too, but it can be explained by the large area of the wing rather than the aerodynamics. In thermalspiral the Wasp starts to "bunch" noticeably only at rolls over 30-35 degrees, which is a good result for a nearly training wing, too. Top speed - who cares about top speed in this class of glider? The gain at full gas pedal is about 10 km/h, it suits for a countryside. For mountainous terrain, too, however, if there is no strong wind and serious "downwinds".
Maneuverability. One more strong point of our figurant. Small but clever! The attempts to soar in thermals with "training-motor" wings often turn out to be not very successful, not only because of intrinsic to such gliders high sink rate, but also because of lack of maneuverability, which is also typical to this class of machines. But Vosp breaks this stereotype nicely. The response to the brakes is fast and clear, the device is even able to "follow the hand" without any delays or complicated transitions. The sensitivity of the brakes is high for this class of equipment - of course, in this respect Vosp loses to the "intermediates" for non-motor flight, but it significantly exceeds the "training-motor" wings of the previous generation. In the narrow, strong and difficult mountain thermals of Tenerife the machine impressed me pleasantly. From cranking out narrow, powerful kernels to "surviving" against the terrain, the Wasp can do it all! During several days of flying in this style I never felt the wing restricts my maneuverability, and in Tenerife this is worth a lot! The brake force is well chosen - it doesn't tire the pilot, and at the same time the combination of hand-load and precision allows Vosop to ignore quite a few significant errors in piloting. Weight response is also better than average for its class. Even with a classic geometry suspension with normal sensitivity, Wosp is perfectly responsive to the weight work.
Comfort and Informativeness. This is where the peculiarity of the Wasp shows itself in its entirety. It is quite difficult to describe it. In really strong weather the Wasp behaves as if it has some mysterious rigid core that is almost not affected by chattering, while the construction surrounding this core, on the contrary, behaves quite softly. The Wasp is often and eagerly waving its "ears", crunching the fabric, playing with the lines, and in very serious weather there are regularly small - 5-7 section - collapses of the "ears". But the centerline (or more precisely, part of it from 20-25% of the chord and beyond) behaves as if it were cast in concrete, no less. No parasitic movement, as if it were part of some other wing! Once I've got especially strong "fighting" set-up of about 70-75% of wingspan - but even in this unpleasant situation the main thing was to wait for the centroplane to open. And if it's open, then you don't have to pay attention what happens with "ears", because all parasitic wing movements are limited only by "ears". It is difficult to estimate the comfort. I would like to put two separate estimates: "A plus" to the center wing and "B minus" to the "ears". If you average over the whole wing, you get a confident "good". But the Wasp is very informative, with all these subtle changes in the ears transmitted to the hull and brakes. The information value of pitch and speed changes in the Wasp is less pronounced, but it is enough for learning to hover in streams.
Dynamics and power capacity. Somewhat above average for a training wing. Fortunately, this does not create any problems, because the Wasp makes all movements smoothly and unhurriedly. But it is desirable to remember that the device is capable, for example, to turn a powerful overdrive into a "slide" and try to pilot without excessive roughness and aggression - then everything will be fine.
Dangerous flight modes
Perfect! In spite of the presence of wires in the leading edge, Vospr behaves as "softer" machines of previous generations. The leading edge is not heavily loaded, causing the folding to be easy. Folding proceeds gently and unhurriedly - this applies to both entry and exit. The opening is gradual, with a wave from the centerplane to the "ear. The plane does not tend to move abruptly in roll and pitch. Heading deviation is approximately 45 degrees on average, roll amplitude - about 30 degrees, loss of altitude - 5-10 meters. In general, this is the behavior of EN A-certified aircraft.
Excellent! Though the glider tends to lose enough speed on the 'frontal stall', further wing movements are smooth and smooth and the opening is fast enough, as well as the subsequent speed increase. The amplitude of direct roll is not more than 30 degrees, the loss of altitude is up to 10 meters, which is again characteristic of the EN A class.
Breakout from the thermal spiral
Excellent with minus. I'm surprised that such a simple machine can trigger this mode at all. The Wasp frankly resists the pilot's odd behavior - it increases the load on your hands, tries to go in a tight turn even if you make minor mistakes in brake force dosage and in general warns you not to do that. I had to give it a minus for the insufficient, in my opinion, drop of the load on the inner hand at the moment of the start of the underrun. The mode develops unhurriedly, the pilot has at least a second to realize and correct his mistake. Exit is with a short, small amplitude oblique roll and a smooth speed gain. The probability of remaining in the thermal spiral is 50 percent, much depends on the pilot's experience.
Flying with paramotor
No problem. This is how a paraglider should behave. There is practically no need to work with your body to extend the wing, it's not that easy to break the leading edge with the leading rows. When ascending only by A-risers the glider reaches the flight position calmly and smoothly, does not tend to fly over the pilot, it is accurately fixed above his head. Re-entry with the engine is no problem either.
The first thing to check with the Wasp is the stability of the wing and whether or not there is any wobble or flutter in all normal flight conditions. The Wasp has no problem with this! I was flying it at maximum angles of attack, from full throttle down to full throttle on compressed brakes. At minimum angles of attack, with or without the engine, the Wasp is smooth, without pitching, and the leading edge maintains its perfect shape. And only with a rare combination of quite a lot of throttle and fully depressed gas pedal, you can sometimes observe a barely noticeable trembling of the lower edge of the air intake in several sections near the centerplane. But this is already in the area of unreasonable picking - most likely, even with an increase in the specific load the effect will disappear. What is much more important is that the Vospr in the whole range of modes has not even a hint of roll and "wiggling of the ears". The flight with the engine is smooth, comfortable and calm, the engine does not distract the pilot, allowing him to concentrate on the selection of the flight mode, on the throttle and control, i.e. on the flight itself. Flying a Vospe with a motor is quite intuitive even for an inexperienced motor pilot (of which I include myself). It takes about a minute to get used to the wing's throttle response and once you get the hang of it, Vospr allows you to shave grass or make nice turns with a moderate bank at a constant altitude. When flying with the motor the Wasp reacts quite calmly to the brakes, but without any noticeable lag. What is also noticeable is that the brake travel, which is needed for turns with a bank of up to 45 degrees, is relatively short. You can fly Vospe with a motor and normal, not paramotoric free ends in a suspension with not too high hitching points - a trifle, but pleasant. Overall, the Vospr shows exactly the behavior that you would expect from a good "training-motor" wing: it is simple, clear and intuitive.
Thanks to the high efficiency of the brakes even with a loaded engine it is possible to get down to a very low tail speed. The touch down is soft. The Wasp is quite capable of forgiving typical student landing mistakes. The verdict is the same: simple, clear, and intuitive.
The BGD technique is always a special character, something different from the market standards. And even such a modest-looking machine as the Wasp is quite a Goldsmith's creation. Low elongation, very high passive safety, enough comfort when flying in turbulence - and at the same time surprisingly good for such a wing flying ability and very, very nice maneuverability. The performance of the Wasp is so good that in mountain conditions I can make quite good routes, which would have been unbelievable a few years ago for a glider with less than 5 tip length. And the maneuverability of this wing is a bit out of the ordinary for training equipment. And at the same time, the Wasp does not charge its pilot in the form of reduced passive safety (which, alas, is so typical of many and many modern vehicles). It also doesn't feel the limitations of the allrounder, which usually doesn't shine in free flight or under a motor. Wosp is good enough in both cases. What is the profile of an owner of such a machine? In my opinion, the Vosp is almost an ideal choice for the beginner pilot who hasn't yet decided whether he is more interested in motor or free-flying. With no obvious disadvantages in either motor or free flight, Vosp allows you to learn and understand the difference between the two types of flying simultaneously, combining seemingly almost incompatible things. Is it a training machine with routing capabilities - or an intermediate, suitable for training and flying well with a motor? In the case of the Vospom it is difficult to give a clear answer to this question - it is a really versatile machine. The minimum flight time required is from scratch!
- Well tuned maneuverability
- In its class - good flight characteristics
- High passive safety
- Suitable for "greenfield" training
- Not noticed
Thank you to Sergey Shelenkov for the offer of the paraglider for the tests.