8.29 / 10

UP Trango X-Race: The Non-Ghost Racer

It's not the first year that UP has confidently held the leadership in the top EN C wings segment. The Trango X-Race is another attempt to hold on to that leadership.


For the sake of originality I will begin my acquaintance with the wing with... concertina. I don't know if it came with the device or was purchased separately, but the impression is pleasant. The design is not too fancy, but a little different, simple and comfortable. We open the zipper and...

Yes, this wing definitely needs some careful treatment! The trendy nowadays lightweight fabric slightly shines through with ripstop veins even under the cloudy Yutz sky. Under the direct sunlight the X-Race is almost transparent - so thin articles of Skytex are used on about 60-70% of the wing area. More or less unladen fabric (38 g/m2) is expectedly used only for the "forehead", which turned out to be white in the tested "Tranga" - probably this is another hint on the urgent need to treat this wing with care. I prepare the X-Race for the first flight into the Yutz speaker, examining the construction at the same time. There are not many external differences from the already familiar Trango XC3. Slightly changed the shape of the wing, getting fashionably bent upward tips of the "ears". Slightly different scheme of ties inside the wing. We are not surprised by the scant amount of unstitched slings on all tiers, but we are surprised by the loose ends with an unexpectedly long B-row that rolls over its own connector. All in all, the same but different.

Launch, wing work on the ground

My introduction to X-Race started on a slope in quite a dense wind. From the first seconds I was surprised with the Tranga and it was a very, very pleasant surprise. What, it really is an EN D in the smallest size S? ;) Everything is somehow suspiciously simple. The ascent is linear, calm, without any slippage or flying over the head. The X-Race is not fixed "over your head" as it is with the Mantra M6 - it almost always wiggles its "ears" a little, but at the same time it stays in the flight position very steadily. The lifting technique does not matter! Seriously. After playing with all sorts of leads through the "cobra" and behind the central slings of the A-risers (I had no problems with either of them), I was brazen enough to do this and, defiantly throwing the brakes, I took the machine up with the body only. And "Tranga" rose without any problems! We've reached the point where even machines with an extension of about 7 are beginning to show almost "after school" behavior. Hints of sports orientation of the experimental and EN D label, however, are present. The "Tranga" has very sensitive brakes and performs all commands accurately, quickly and literally, not giving the pilot the right to make a mistake in control. Tranga also likes to tie up the tips of its "ears" in funny "nano-ties," about 10 by 10 centimeters in size. However, these "ties" look funny only until you try to open them, which is very difficult. The most reasonable variant is to put the wing on the ground and easily make up the hang loop by lifting the wing and then putting it back on the ground with the claws. I notice that if you have a sloppy start in difficult Trang conditions you don't mind making a bigger tie - but such ties are, oddly enough, noticeably easier to untie. That's probably the end of the starting difficulties. The effectiveness of the brackets and weight work is very great already on the ground, and, again, the behavior of the Trangi turns out to be surprisingly simple and predictable. Moving from one launch to another, I was able to go overhead 200 meters with the Tranga without any difficulty - and it's not the pilot, but the machine.


Appropriateness and appropriateness and appropriateness again! It's amazing how simple, understandable and friendly a modern device with a very serious sport ambition can be if it's called Trango X-Race. Perhaps, it is the simplest and least demanding to the pilot in the cohort of modern top three-riders I know. Peculiarities and oddities, of course, are also present - but about them below.

Flying ability. I'd like to cross out this word at once and put in its place the word "vapidity", which means little. Because "Tranga" first of all impresses with its ability to soar. Tight, compact thermal turn with very little sinking even on serious rolls allows to "ride" both weak evening bubbles and furious powerful torrent in the middle of the day. It would be very interesting to compare the Tranga on steam with serious two-rowers like the Ozone Zeno. The two-row ones (especially the Ozone ones) are not very maneuverable, but they are great for "popping up", so they steam very well in general. The Tranga, on the other hand, has moderate floatability by EN D class standards, but excellent thermal pitching. I think that in wide thermals irrespective of their structure the advantage will be unambiguously with two-row - but narrow and strong streams give the "Tranga" a serious chance to convincingly get away from two-row competitors.

A separate, important and difficult question is the speed increase on the gas pedal. Trango XC2 did not shine in this respect, Trango XC3 was noticeably better. What about the X-Race? Gas pedal of this wing is arranged rather complicated - there's a plastic ball of Overdrive system which disconnects one of the blocks on about 50% of gas pedal move. But even so, the legs stroke is quite large, and the force on the gas pedal at the end of its considerable stroke turns out to be very serious. That is why it is not easy to squeeze the full speed out of "Tranga": it is necessary to press the gas pedal with a great effort, and to make sure that the blocks fairly converge. The first attempts to measure speed showed that X-Race adds not so much - about 8 km/h at the first 50% of gas pedal travel (where the load on legs is insignificant, because overdrive is not switched on), and this result remained stable during the whole test-drive. But we had to repeat many times the attempts to achieve maximum speed from "Tranga". It is not only that after 50 % of travel the overdrive is engaged - so it also appeared that at high speeds "Tranga" is very sensitive literally to each millimeter of gas pedal travel. In the first attempts to reach the maximum speed the result turned out very pale - only about 10... 12 km/h, and it was impossible to "accelerate" X-Race up to higher speeds. Close examination of such modes showed that the gas pedal wasn't pressed down by some unfortunate 5 mm. But it turned out, that this very millimeters are necessary for "Tranga" to develop its full speed. As a result, we managed to squeeze 15 km/h out of "Tranga" on utmost gas pedal's stroke and insignificant overlap of blocks. Yes, not a class record, but a very decent figure for a machine with an extension of about 7 and a fair EN C certification. Trango XC3 gives out about the same, but significantly worse rear-end handling. But the Trango's aerodynamic quality in the right side of the polar is outstanding. To be honest, in the EN C segment it is hard to find at least one serious competitor to this wing for "glide" at high speeds. Perhaps the Skywalk Cayenne 5 could be at least some competition to this wing - but that has to be tested in parallel flights.

Maneuverability. Definitely the strongest point of the Trangi! By the standards of the EN C class the Trangi is not too sensitive to control, but it is much more than average. As it should be with an elongation of about 7, the Tranga makes a turn or changes roll with some delays and transients, but both are hardly perceptible to the pilot. Everything happens quickly, clearly, understandably and predictably. I think, that a pilot, adequate to "Tranga", will understand its turn in 10 minutes, if not even less. X-Race reminds very nicely another one, earlier "Tranga" of XC2 model, which for a long time (until the appearance of already mentioned above Skywalk Cayenne 5) was for me the standard of maneuverability in the EN C class. The X-Race is great at "following the hand", clearly keeping the set roll and radius of the spiral. Roll to roll is more like a vingo, it's that quick. Speaking of vingovers, this is a delight! Excellent, but not too much controllability, so you can roll the plane to 120 degrees without too much effort and without too many risks, with just one or two moves. I quickly found myself thinking that this "Tranga" constantly provokes me to make a wing-over or a sharp turn. If you compare X-Race with wings of EN D class - the reference for many pilots Ozone Mantra M6 loses much to Tranga in terms of maneuverability. Even quite successful and modern Sky Country Space doesn't shine with its maneuverability. Probably, only Skywalk Poison X-Alps 2017 will be able to noticeably surpass the "Tranga" on a turn, but until I try it, I will not venture to say for sure. And in the EN C class the X-Race has probably only one competitor in terms of maneuverability: Skywalk Cayenne 5.

Separate mention is worthy of control of the rear rows in the flight on the gas pedal (and, however, without it). In Trango XC3 it was useless to work with rear rows - and by efficiency, and by the feeling of feedback from the wing, and by the load on the arms it looked like C-rows were attached not to the wing flying overhead, but to a concrete wall. But feedback from pilots (including the very not unknown Zhenya Gryaznov, who once flew the Trango XC3) was taken into account - and the very tricky loose ends with which the Trango X-Race is equipped were born.

Trick number one: the B-row in balancing mode rises above the A- and C-rows by at least 5 centimeters. It looks very strange, because an unspoken standard which has been worked out for decades states that the connectors should be on the same horizontal line when in balancing mode. Trangi's B-row is floating. If you pull the balls on the C-rows, the B-rows will also retract at a 1:2 ratio. The idea is nice and correct - this kinematics of the ends does not deform the wing profile at all, i.e. in theory, the plane with such ends should be controlled by the back rows as a two-row machine - without any noticeable increase in drag. But that is in theory. In practice - hooray! - Trango X-Race, unlike Trango XC3, really controls rear rows. But forces on them are in a range from "very big" to "obscenely big". It is not a concrete wall, as Trango XC3 has, but it is possible to squeeze, and that is good. However, there is no magic ease and simplicity of work with back rows, peculiar to "two-row" models. It is almost useless to pull the back rows on yourself - the reaction of the device to this movement is somewhere on the verge of perception. A sane reaction to pulling the back rows down begins to appear with effort on each hand in the area of about five kilograms. I'm not kidding. Perhaps the considerable friction on the rolling B-row affects it. But any way you slice it - but as for working loadings on back rows in gas pedal flight, Trango X-Race is ahead of the whole planet. At least if you compare it to other machines with at least some rear-row control.

Comfort. There is more information than comfort - but, strangely enough, there is quite a lot of comfort for such ambitious product. Comfort is expressed, first of all, in the monolithic Tranga, unexpected for a lengthening of about 7: it was surprisingly difficult to make this wing flap its "ears". Again, I will intentionally compare the Tranga with some EN Ds. The already mentioned above Sky Country Space likes to "flap its ears" on and off occasion, and even the reference Mantra M6 behaves noticeably more nervously. By the standards of EN C class the comfort of the X-Race is surprisingly high. The impressive resistance to folding makes a weighty contribution to the general feeling of comfort. I tried many times to drive the "Tranga" to the turn of the leading edge, roughly leaving powerful wing-overs - the slides and offloading turned out impressive, but the machine never wanted to fold. Our "Tranga" reacts very calmly to the slight bumping and "droppings" of the paragliders flying by - of course, the wing makes some movements, sometimes even quite sharp, but after some fraction of a second the sailplanein some fractions of a second the machine flies again as if nothing had happened, without any noticeable roll in pitch or, all the more so, without leaving the planned trajectory. In roll, the vehicle tends to wiggle a little more, but these movements are more informative than uncomfortable. In a more serious bump, the situation changes somewhat, and powerful load changes at the free ends, perceived as elastic but powerful shocks to the suspension, come to the fore. But we should give "Tranga" its due - despite the power of such strikes, they do not lead to anything criminal (except that the machine begins to "wag its ears" a little), and the energy of each strike is somehow very cleverly, quickly and smoothly dissipated, spreading over the whole wing.

Informativeness. "Tranga doesn't tend to make unnecessary, uninformative movements - in this respect it's close to Delta Three, which also doesn't distract its pilot over nothing. But oddly enough, the X-Race doesn't bombard its pilot with the same avalanche of information as the less-extended Delta 3. Despite its class-leading elongation, the X-Race has little or no tendency to "snake play", remaining "monolithic" even with fairly noticeable roll and pitch motions. The leading edge, despite the absence of an appreciable "shark nose", is quite rigid and is unloaded very rarely (it's not the BGD Cure that tends to crunch and rustle with its "forehead" at the slightest changes in streamline). But airspeed of "Tranga" - as it usually happens with long, but calm machines - tends to change in a very wide range, and it happens quite smoothly and very understandably. When you are close to the stream, the boat clearly accelerates, and when you enter the bubble, it accelerates fast, but without sharpness and reduces speed within small limits. Brake informativeness is slightly above the class average, they are very comfortable in terms of load. Free end informativeness - at the expected normal level or even slightly higher. When the weather is relatively calm, the load on the carabiners "walks" insignificantly, without the shocks and sharp unloads typical of more serious equipment; in stronger weather the machine can openly "hit" the suspension, but this does not threaten anything dangerous. Trangi's roll is also very informative - it changes easily and willingly depending on the behavior of the air around the wing. In general, there is more than enough information to search and process the flow, but the wing does not overload the pilot with excessive feedback and the need for thoughtful filtering of incoming data. The behavior of the Trangi in turbulence can be called classic, I am pleased to repeat that the device behaves simply and understandably, almost without the need to get used to it.

Dynamics and power capacity. For summer 2017 the record values of these parameters in EN C class are shown by Ozone Delta 3 with elongation only 6 - so it is surprising that the "Tranga" with elongation about 7 appears to be a quieter, less "energy-consuming" wing. Perhaps our test subject is even slightly less dynamic than the fresh Gradient Aspen 6. Still, the dynamics and energy capacity of the Trangi are slightly above the EN C class average. Mutual transitions of height and speed occur with a certain noble smoothness, without staggering sharpness - which does not cancel the need to control the machine, because without control you can get "shot" a couple of dozen meters up or, conversely, a very powerful overclocking. It is my pleasure to reiterate that even rough piloting usually does not result in collapses. The pre-swoop is very long and, like almost any maneuver on this wonderful wing, very easy to control.

Dangerous modes of flight

Asymmetric Composition

Good by EN C class standards, close to the benchmark for EN D. Breaking through the front row before folding is not too physically demanding, the size of the fold is easily set by the depth and vigor of the A-row retraction. Folding instantly makes "Tranga" roll to about 40-45 degrees, and only then develops full-fledged oblique roll of considerable amplitude for EN C - up to about 60 degrees. With full passivity of the pilot the plane opens surprisingly smoothly, but unhurriedly, having time to turn 90 degrees and lose 15-20 meters of altitude. The slightest intervention of the pilot in the form of transferring weight to the uncomplicated side or giving the brake from the same side speeds up the unfolding by several times.

Asymmetric collapse at 50% of gas pedal travel

Good. This does not change the pattern, but it makes everything faster and more dynamic.

Frontal folding

Great! Breaking the entire front edge is relatively difficult. The folding develops up to about 30% of the chord, after which the unit abruptly loses speed and goes backwards. In some fractions of a second a very energetic, but surprisingly small amplitude (about 30 degrees or less) straight roll follows, during which the whole vehicle unfolds with a characteristic "parachute" sound and a bang on the loose ends. Loss of altitude in the mode - about 10 meters or even less (depends on the depth of folding).

Rapid Descent Modes


Good with minus. Efficiency is not high - the descent increases by 1...1.5 m/s. Folded "ears" are stable in a rather narrow range of hand travel. A slight error leads to the drone going wild and swinging mightily in roll. at the same time "ears" try to open, tearing out the slings from hands. When you release the slings, the "ears" open on their own, sometimes you may need a little help with the brakes. Horizontal speed on the "ears" changes insignificantly.

gas pedal "ears"

Slightly more efficient and a little better stability. Rated Good.


When UP introduced the now legendary Trango XC2 to the market, it created a furore and redefined the limits of what was possible in the EN C class. After such a resounding success, UP's main task was to carefully preserve the positive traits of the Trango's character. In principle, you could have stopped there - but UP went further, raising the speed and slightly sacrificing maneuverability when creating the Trango XC3. The biggest complaints of the "third Trango" were connected with management of back rows - to be exact, with almost full inefficiency of such management. It is logical that the new X-Race has acquired some very special design of the ends, allowing more or less control of the machine with the rear rows (not really a delight, but the Trango XC3 in this respect was quite bad). Also logical enough are the retention of a very pleasant, moderately lively character, improved controllability of the brakes, and a commendable passive safety for such a long wing. In terms of aggregate merits Trango X-Race continues worthily the tradition of Trango XC2 / Trango XC3, in some respects expectantly surpassing these machines. The purpose of the new "Trango" has not changed - it is still the apparatus for winning prizes in the series-class at serious competitions. And practice confirms it convincingly - there are almost no strong competitors to the X-Race in its very specific segment and probably won't appear until the end of 2017. And also the X-Race is just a very pleasant machine, classic, clear and predictable in its behavior. It's almost an ideal tool for various mountain (and maybe even high-altitude) adventures - very flyable, nimble and very safe for its capabilities.

And still - what wings can compete with the X-Race? Perhaps only the Skywalk Cayenne 5 can do that in the EN C class. The machine is slightly different ideology, radically maneuverable, radically responsive, a little more demanding to the pilot and in total showing similar results on competitive routes. With some strain we can make the now fashionable BGD Cure a competitor of the X-Race - but it loses noticeably to the "Tranga" in the right part of the polar.

And, finally, the requirements for the pilot. Numerous warm words written above about comfort and predictable behavior of "Trango" should not blunt reader's alertness - all "Trangs" starting from XC2 have confidently occupied the top of EN C class, and Trango X-Race even has EN D certification in one of the sizes. And so the entry threshold is quite high - I think at least 150 hours of total flight time, of which at least 50 would be good to do no more than six months before deciding to buy an X-Race.

Pros of

  • Very pleasant, understandable and predictable character
  • Close to the EN C class maximum integral flight performance
  • Very good climbing in thermals
  • High passive safety


  • Still low (though improved compared with Trango XC3) rear row controllability

My thanks to Alexey Nosov and Daria Krasnova for providing us with a glider for testing and assistance in organization of the test-drive.

Photo: I. Shingarev, A. Tarasov