The histories of DaVinci and Flow companies are closely connected from their beginning. The first product ranges from both brands were developped in close collaboration, the differences between glider models were mainly in naming and color schemes. But in 2019 the game has changed: being still in collaboration, each brand now follows its own way. The Funky (high EN B) is the first child of this approach. So let's see what is the modern EN B vision from Jihun Lee, DaVinci owner and designer...
Takeoff and groundhandling
Weight shift efficiency
Rear risers control
Speed system effort
Speed system travel
Soaring and sink rate
Sink rate in straight flight
Sink rate in spiral
Comfort and feedback
Dynamics and energy retention
Dangerous flight regimes
Perfect! And classical. The load on A riser is high, got some almost-collapses until pulling the A riser plenty. If enough effort is applied to A riser, the collapse occurs at last, goind moderately deep chordwise and instantly inducing some roll. The rocking back is very limited in amplitude. The opening is smooth and gradual, perfectly complying the EN B requirements. The course deviation is generally around 60 degrees, the pitch+roll is only about 30 degrees, the height loss is mere 10 meters. A couple of ear sections may sometimes remain collapsed having no effect on glider behaviour which is very easy to understand. No special control technique is required, the glider even pardons some of the most typical errors like excessive brake input and delayed/incorrect weight shift.
Perfect again. The only difference is slightly more dynamics and more possibility to have the wingtips tangled after the most part of the wing is reopened. The angles are also increased: pitch+roll angle can reach 45 degrees, the course deviation is close to 90 degrees.
It's funny that, during a frontal collapse, the Funky behaves like some of Niviuk 2-liners. It's hard to provoke a frontal collapse because of high load on A risers. The collapse develops moderately deep chordwise, and releasing the risers provokes a powerful surge and an instant "parachute-like" reopening, all this in almost no time. The reopening is so quick that the glider looses only 10 meters of height or less, but the dynamics of the recovery process is quite impressive.
Spin out of thermal spiral
Not all of modern EN B gliders allow this trick. But, despite the abouve-cited brake slack and generally long brake travel, The Funky can potentially be stalled by its pilot while thermalling. But you need to push breakes really hard to do so. In my case the Funky was entering the stall at the very limit of available brake travel, and the brake effort was quite heavy. It's almost impossible that a typical EN B pilot could occasionally make such a mistake. The brake effort decrease at the beginning of the stall is quite subtle, but the stall develops slowly, the pilot has at least a couple of seconds to recognize the problem and to rise the hand. The recovery to thermal spiral is perfectly fast, the surge is powerful but very limited in amplitude.
Quick descent techniques
Almost ideal in terms of stability. The effort on external A lines is big at the beginning, drastically diminishing after the collapse occurs. Keeping the ears closed is a child's play, they require a minimal effort of A lines and are very stable. It's perfect compared to certain gliders which have a very deep-stall-like behavior with both ears closed... but it's less perfect in terms of sink rate. I measured only -2 m/s. Not very effective, maybe because of low wing loading during tests. The reopening requires some brake input or a couple of weight shifts.
Almost the same as without speed system, the only difference is the sink rate which increases up to 3 m/s.
High EN B is always a very special case for paraglider manufacturers. The high EN B gliders are the most popular gliders, and the concurrence in this market segment is quite high, encouraging pilots to make their choice by taking even the small details into consideration. So what about Funky? It's a funky thing! Maybe it's not ideal, but it has its own unique appearance, temper and style suiting typical pilot's demands. The combination of decent performance level and high passive safety is very attractive, allowing us to pardon the random and sudden pitches in heavy turbulence and some brakes slack. But it's generally an interesting and pleasant glider, able to find its own place on the market.
The typical Funky owner is an intelligent pilot aiming to have a very cost-effective glider with perfect performance-to-price ratio. DaVinci is still a young brand offering interesting products at fair prices, thus being a strong contender to popular and well-known brands. For its very reasonable price, Funky offers a good level of performance, a slightly spicy temper and a great reserve of passive safety. The application range for Funky is quite wide, so it's easier to define what Funky is NOT suitable for. It's not a vol-biv glider because of its long-lasting but relatively heavy construction. It's not the first EN B because it's a bit too "hot" for that. It's not a sport class competition winner because DaVinci didn't sacrifice the passive safety to reach the ultimate performance levels. But in any other case it's the right choice! The minimal pilot skills are around 40 flight hours during 1-2 flying seasons.
- Pleasant temper
- Decent general level of performance
- Long-lasting construction made from non-ultralight cloth
- Some brake slack (10-15 cm) intentionally introduced by manufacturer
- Prone to pitch surges in strong turbulence
My cordial gratitude to:
- Rinat Sabitov for offering the glider for testing
- Roman and Natalia Saveliev for help with logistics and test flights organization
- Ilya Shingarev for perfect fotos
- Foto: I. Shingarev, A.Tarasov
|Flight sites||Chegem, Yutsa (North Caucasus)|
|Total flight weight||100 kg|
|Recommended TOW, kg||95-120|
|Flat area, sq. m.||24,8|
|Flat span, m||12,5|
|Projected area, sq. m.||21,3|
|Projected span, m||10,25|
|Cord max, m||2,41|
|Cord average, m||1,98|
|Lines height, m||7,73|
|Accelerator travel, mm||165|
|Takeoff weight, kg||85-105|
|Glider weight, kg||4,5|
Materials and components
|Upper surface, leading edge||Dominico Textile||20D MF(WR)|
|Upper surface except leading edge||Porcher||E3W 32g|
|Bottom surface||Porcher||E3H 27g|
|Ribs, supported||Dominico Textile||30D FM|
|Ribs, unsupported||Dominico Textile||30D FM|
|Diagonal ribs||Dominico Textile||30D FM|
|Lines, upper cascades||EDELRID||8000U-70/50/30|
|Lines, middle cascades||EDELRID||8000U-130/90/70|
|Lines, main (lower) cascades||EDELRID||8000U-280/230/190|
|Risers, webbing||Guth&Wolth GMBH||12mm|