I’ve really needed the 20 + hours to get friendly with the glider, mostly due to me being out of flying shape. The glider looks and feels quite different from my last S4, the sail has a lot more double surface, the frame and span is larger. I’ve only done some minor adjustments to it to tune out a small left turn when glider is tight. (Shortening the left leading edge tube to take away some tension from the tip)
As some of you have asked about the setup of the glider it’s a size 4, with full carbon leading edges front and back, Zoom A frame with carbon speedbar, carbon sprogs, and the Smoke Inlaid sail. 4 out of 6 under surface battens are carbon, and most of the top surface battens are also carbon/aluminium combination. (Straight section is carbon, curved profile is alu, with a glued and shrinkwrapped joint). The glider feels lighter than before, the sail is lighter, and all the carbon options contribute to shave off a few kilos.
The glider tows nicely with 1/2 VG, bar pressure feels solid all the way up to just before full VG, where it becomes very light onto full VG. Handling of the glider is light, and in thermals and turbulence I would describe it as slightly nervous. In Forbes I experienced that it requires a lot of high siding, and constant input in the thermals to make it stay on course, but we had quite rough air there.
Having said that it was quickly clear that the more nervous handling equals more performance. The RS4 performs extremely well both in climb and on glide. I could stay with the top pilots on both glide and in climb, I could never do that on any of my previous gliders. All the RS4’s seemed to perform equal, so it looks like the gliders are very competitive out of the box.
Landing is relatively easy, and the one foot launch I did off Mt. Emu in light winds and hot air felt like every other Litespeed – no problem if you just keep the nose down and run well. The lighter weight is nice in nil-wind conditions.
In summary it’s a glider made for competition pilots that fly quite a lot, and want the best performance available. No suprise there, but I would say this glider is the most racing tuned glider I’ve ever flown, and also the most demanding to fly efficient. I probably need 10-20 more hours to get comfortable with the glider.
Bogong Cup 2007
Today we went up to Mt Emu, with a lot of smoke in the air from the bushfires. We started the 97km task, but it was stopped as the easterly winds brought a lot more smoke into the valley. About 35 pilots had taken off before it was stopped. Olav flew the whole course as he did not have working radio, Jon got the message, but flew the task for training. The rest of us just flew down to the airstrip and packed up there. It’s very poor visibility here now, I can see the smoke obscuring the trees just 50 meters from there. I guess we have less than 700 meter visibility on the ground here this afternoon.
Jon also got attacked by an Eagle that put some nasty rifts in his leading edge, they can be very aggressive here, possibly the smoke makes them even more irritable and hungry… Hard to tell what we can do here, we might get stuck in smoke the whole week. There’s no big fires just here now, but it’s remains from earlier fires, plus smoke from the big fires to the SE.