They really went to great lengths! Perhaps the only time I was as impressed with the design of the Mistral 7 from Swing. "Shark nose", three-rows, inner ties along the span, additional ribbing on the trailing edge, thin open-strings with red anti-UV-impregnation, like on the most sophisticated Ozons, narrow free ends with a wide main loop... All in all, it's like some kind of Icepick! The wing, with a relatively modest extension of just over 6 for today's times, has a rather aggressive shape and sparkles violently in the May sun with the newfangled thin Dominico fabric. Harsh, but beautiful - that's the very first impression.
Launch, wing work on the ground
Very good. No complaints. I remember with pleasant nostalgia the Icaro Ice2XC - once I considered it as a standard of performance, also in terms of launch. Maverick III turned out to be no worse in terms of launch. Clear, predictable behavior without too much aggression. I.e. goes over the head pretty chipper and energetic, but doesn't seem to fly over in a strong wind or with very rough handling. Also forgives pilot's mistakes - as much as is appropriate for medium level EN C. "Can land by ear if not on the first attempt, but certainly on the second. The dome already on the ground demonstrates well-tuned sensitivity without extra sharpness and sharpness, but with quite, quite sufficient accuracy. In general, total relaxation and positivity.
Eh, I will begin from sad, but I will continue cheerfully. The main drawback of our today's figurant - a modest aerodynamic quality - revealed itself not at once, but rather reliably and convincingly. You would expect more from a modern "performance", even if it is of an entry level. And in other respects the device has shown itself quite adequately, it does not disappoint. So, on points...
Let me begin again with sad things. Or rather, I will continue. I spent the first hour or so of flight getting used to the craft, evaluating its maneuverability, but did not try to fly with anybody else in parallel. The first timid questions and suspicions began to arise even then. A couple of hours later a mild evening thermodynamic allowed to fly "up close" to the BGD Tala. This - undoubtedly very nice! - machine has quite decent, but not record for the EN C class aerodynamic quality. The quality of the Tala can be considered high only in comparison with entry-level EN C machines. The first few passes in parallel with and without the gas pedal reinforced our suspicions - it's not enough! It wouldn't be much. At balance speed the Tala was invariably behind, but higher. At the first stage of the gas pedal the difference began to worsen: the gap in range increased, but Maverick's lag in height increased even more. And at the second stage of the gas pedal, it started to seem to me that Maverick was flying down rather than forward, relative to Tala, of course. In principle, for an entry-level EN C, the quality of the Maverick is not bad. It's more like "quite enough" (this was convincingly demonstrated by a short route against the wind which I rode on the Maverick). But the Maverick 3 clearly falls short of the EN C class leaders, and even of the best "entry-level Cecks" in terms of its aerodynamic quality.
It's time to cheer the public up a bit. Top speed. Here the picture is much more pleasant. With a load under the top of the fork, Maverick is expected to give out about 38-40 km/h. The first step of gas pedal is 48-49 km/h. Quite normal, especially since at this speed the quality of the Maverick falls not yet too noticeably. The second stage is about 53-54 km/h. Well yes, again, not a class record, but quite a typical, acceptable figure. The only embarrassment is the high specific load at which this speed is achieved, and the modest glide, unexpected for a wing of such a sophisticated design.
Let's add more honey to dilute the tar. Maneuverability. That's where the Maverick III is not just good, but very good. Or excellent with a minus. The EN C grade of "excellent" is reserved for such machines as the BGD Tala and MacPara Elan. The Maverick III cannot be called either overly sharp or overly sensitive. But at the same time, it does nothing - absolutely nothing! - does not limit its pilot. Maverick turned out to be a very nice machine in terms of thermal: it is not very sharp, but it reacts quickly and accurately to brakes and hand, it follows your hand, is sure to keep thermal spiral of any reasonable radius, does not want to fall out even from rip currents, if necessary allows sending itself to the very core with just one short move of the hand. The load on the brakes is pleasantly moderate, just right for my taste. Weight response is close to average for the EN C class. Calm enough in the thermals, the Maverick surprised me on the wingovers. I was able to fling the centroplane under myself with just one or two moves! At the same time, even at maximum range the glider was compliant and predictable, and you still got some room for brake travel. In general, excellent!
Comfort and information value. All in all good, in details ambiguous. Maverick 3 is definitely not a harsh and uncomfortable wing. The bangs are soft and resilient, although it tends to build up quite a lot of energy in every forward and backward movement of the wing. When operating in thermodynamics there is a feeling of jumping up and down stairs - or, if you like, driving over cobblestones in a jeep with soft and long stroke suspension. The specific effect, familiar to me from the Dudek fenders and another Icaro machine, the Wildcat TE, confused me a bit. Forward rolls on the Maverick III are usually small in amplitude, but to compensate for them sometimes you need an unexpectedly long brake travel. If you press the machine a little harder on a flip, you immediately realize that you need to press the brakes a little harder... ...and a little more... and more... No, it is not a crime, not a problem, but at the same time this kind of wing behavior is not very pleasant and not very usual. However, the described effect occurs not always - most often on the approach to a strong thermal, so you can even perceive this feature as a certain aspect of informativeness.
Speaking of informativeness. Slightly above average, but not excessive. No unnecessary, "parasitic" wing movements were noticed; all wing movements created by the dangling are informative and useful. The Maverick is noticeably "sucked up" to the flow when there are a couple of hundred meters to the core. It is enough not to interfere with the wing, and in a dozen or two seconds a short throw and joyful beeping of the variometer testify that we are in the stream. In pitch it moves within a moderate range and does not tend to roll backwards or bend strongly. Traditionally, there is a bit more movement in roll, but no excesses either. The speed information value is average for EN C, but I was pleasantly surprised by how informative the load on the brakes was.
Dynamics and power capacity. Above average! Like many quite calm performance machines in general, the Maverick III is able to store an impressive amount of energy, almost without giving it away. The apparatus has really and wholeheartedly revealed its character on the vingovers - I wrote above, it did not seem too little! At the same time, the wing's fairly calm character kept the power accumulated on the winglings safe and under control all the time. Naturally, the Maverick perfectly allows you to overrun, "swoop" style landings, but if necessary, it can be firmly and directively "pressed" to the ground by a couple of brake movements, without flattening the trajectory.
Rapid Descent Modes
I can't believe it myself, but I think I got an "A"! To be honest, a few previous test-drives almost taught me that ears are a sore point of modern paragliders. They fold hard, behave unstably... But that's not the case with today's protagonist! "Maverick Three's ears are exemplary. One movement of the hands - and the tips obediently make "one", breaking through the ends of the lines and clearly fixing under the wing. Do "two" - squeeze gas pedal - and the resulting construction flies forward and down comfortably and quickly. No oscillations of the ears or sway of the whole wing were noticed, even in turbulence! Deceleration is normal, about -3.5 (with gas pedal). Exiting the mode requires several "pumping" or vigorous movements of the weight left and right: the ears of the Maverick III do not open by themselves, and this is rather a plus.
To be honest, I find it difficult to assess the spiral neutrality - I tested the Maverick with the new suspension, which greatly affects the spiral stability. De facto neutrality started already at -10 meters per second, but the same effect was observed with other guinea pigs, i.e. paragliders, with the same harness. So let's write it off to the suspension.
Dangerous modes of flight
Okay. Not too hard to fold, load on A-rail is moderate for a glider with lines. After folding it develops an unhurried but powerful slanting yaw, which can go up to 60 degrees. However, Maverick immediately jumps out of it, quickly gaining lost altitude but deviating on course. Heading deviation is within a reasonable range, 120 degrees. Loss of altitude at the mode peak - 20 meters, then part of the altitude is gained again on the hill after an oblique flip. In general, the folding proceeds quite dynamically.
Good. Fearing that the Maverick would behave as dynamically on the "frontal" as it does on the "asymmetry", de facto observed almost the opposite effect. Folding, forming a "bagel" (the wingtips fly back and almost meet each other there), returning the wing to the overhead position... and incomprehensible almost-parachuting, which lasts 2-3 seconds, eating 10-15 meters of altitude. The apparatus at this time is more or less above the pilot, the centerplane is open but sluggish, and the "ears" are in no hurry to open. It ends with a modest 20 degree roll, during which the "ears" simultaneously open and the horizontal speed increases. If the phase of almost-parachuting were more rapid - it would be "excellent".
The thermal spiral takeoff
Good and plus, peculiar. The effort on the inner hand is moderate on the verge of a tear-off; the device does not resist the attempts to break it off. The beginning of the stall is indicated by the retraction of part of the wing back, but how interesting it is! Usually only a few sections on the "ear" are involved in the stall - but at Maverick, slowly and unhurriedly, almost half of the wing back begins to bend! It is absolutely impossible to miss the beginning of mode development by looking at the wing. And by the force on the arm, the breakup is diagnosed somewhat worse - at the beginning of the breakup, the load on the inner arm certainly drops, but not very much.
The way you dress, the way you see off. From the outside, the Maverick III looks like it's going to be a piece of cake. "On board" there is every conceivable modern technology, which, it would seem, should guarantee excellent volatility. But no - the maximum quality of the Maverick, shall we say, does not set a record in class. But there are no problems with passive safety - the folds flow dynamically, but everything remains within the limits of reasonable for the middle or even bottom of the EN C class. The imputed top speed, very pleasant maneuverability and quite high comfort complete the image of our skater. Even though he is not a glider, he is docile and enjoyable to fly! Who can be best suited for this wing? And for what tasks? Probably the right person to own a Maverick is a pilot who wants to be part of modern technology and its related features, without sacrificing passive safety or trying to get too much out of the wing in terms of performance. The flight characteristics of the Maverick are enough to fly confidently both in the mountains and on the plains. I estimate the minimum required flight time at 40-50 hours.
- Pleasant overall, moderately dynamic, sporty character
- Good, pleasant maneuverability
- High quality workmanship, advanced design
- Maximum quality could be more
- Some lack of top speed
- Some jumps have to be compensated by big strokes of the brakes
I would like to thank Valery Maznev, the Icaro dealer in Russia, for providing me with the wing for the tests.