The newest instruments from Brauniger and Flytec have a USB interface, and needs a driver to work in Windows/MacOS. I’m running Windows 7 both at home and on my laptop, and had some problems finding the right driver.
If you have problems connecting to your instrument in Windows 7 you might want to try this driver from Prolific. Prolific makes the chipset in the USB to Serial chip in the instruments.
I’ve just used it to download tracklogs with GPSDump and that works fine, but using the firmware upgrade flasher program does not work. For the firmware upgrade I need a PC with Vista or XP and the PL2303drivers supplied by Brauniger/Flytec.
The Flasher program seems to be poorly written in the way it handles the serial port, it’s always been a problem using it with USB-Serial adapters.
I finally got my new Litespeed RS 3.5 on Friday. It has the new type of inlaid smoke sail (not so smoke anymore, more light gray) that Gerolf was testing in Bassano, and all carbon options. It’s white/White/Fluo Orange, and has the Litespeed RS logo so I can tell it apart from my old RS 4 that Jan Erik now flies :-)
I did not expect to go flying whis weekend as the weather forecast was bad, but when I checked it again late Friday night it had improved a lot and it actually looked quite flyable with low winds and a red thermal prognosis. Since I was itching to test my new toy I changed weekend plans, kissed the wife goodbye and set off to Vågå – Only to realize I was too tired to drive 4,5 hours at night, so I went to bed instead and got up at 5:30 Saturday morning to start driving.
320km later fueled by coffe and RedBull I was in Vågå, and met up with Steinar, Terje and Benedicte. We quickly got ready as the day looked good already at 11:30, Benedicte got off early and had her first real thermal flight. I did not have any plan other than testing the glider to see how it flew.
AK and Tom (PG) were declaring an out and return to Kvam (75km), looked like a good day for it. Stein Are (PG) and his crew were going for open distance. Steinar wanted to set a new personal best by flying to Åttekanten at Fåvang and have a burger there, I thought that was a good plan and when I took off and got a feel for the glider and the air I might join him.
There was an inversion around 12-1400 meters, so thermalling up in front of launch was a bit tricky in the beginning, but I found a nice thermal to the west over the old ski lift, and got to 1800 meters. I glided to Gråhøe and then towards Tordkampen where I saw some of the Paragliders thermalling up under a nice cloud where I got to a rather cold cloudbase at 2500m. From there I saw the conditions were really good looking towards the south, and I committed to going XC, Steinar was thermalling up underneath me and I expected him to tag along, but that was the last time I saw him in the air.
At Torgerkampen I found a real boomer, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the vario blank out completely with 9 m/s climb (around 1800 fpm for my metrically challenged readers), it was rough but I hung on for a few turns until cloudbase. I catched up with Stein Are in that thermal and we glided towards Vinstra and a nice cloudstreet towards Frya.
My glider had a strong left turn in it, both thermalling and on glide. Since I’m out of flying shape my shoulders and back started to ache and cramp up on me because of all the work keeping the glider going straight, so by now Åttekanten seemed like a very good place to land. I took a nice slow glide from Frya to the TP at Fåvang kirke, and turned north again to glide back to Åttekanten and landed next to the cafe.
Thanks to Benedicte for driving, she drove from Vågå to find me, and we drove south to Øyer to get Steinar who had passed me while I was finishing my dessert, he had set a new personal best XC with 104km flying his WillsWing Sport 2.
The glider, good, bad, and ugly
I had borrowed Nils Aage’s RS 3.5 a few weeks back, so I expected my new glider to be much the same but maybe a bit stiffer due to a new sail. I was in for a pleasant suprise…
When setting up the new “smoke” sail felt lighter and a lot smoother and softer than the previous smoke. It looks like it has a lot more reinforcement fibers, but it feels very light. The sailcut looks more or less the same as my older RS4, but the 3.5 looks a little more loose in the center section when the VG is loose. I need to compare the two gliders to be sure though.
The handling was a lot lighter than I expected, it’s still a competition glider that demands refined skills to fly, but compared to my RS4 it’s feels super nice and light. In thermals where I normally would have to manhandle the RS4 using brute force, this glider turns into lift with just a little input and corrections. This glider handles a lot better than Nils Aage’s glider did when I flew it, maybe it’s the new sail, but it can also be the setup of the gliders.
In the rough air the glider felt very solid, it had good barpressure and felt reassuring when entering or leaving thermals. I had to do less highsiding than with the RS4, with similar trim speed, so this looks like a winner for my aching shoulders.
Performance is hard to tell without climbing and gliding with others, but it felt very quick and I think the better handling will improve my climbrates more than a bigger glider.
The XC bag did not fit, it’s way too short, this is negligence from Moyes as the bag was marked LS3.5 (Which I believe is shorter)
This is the 8’th new Litespeed I buy from Moyes. I’ve had 4 Litespeeds, 2 Litespeed S, and 1 RS before this. I change often since it’s convenient and makes some economic sense when traveling to Australia for flying anyway, besides that I like having new gliders – they smell nice :-)
But it’s quite annoying that almost every Litespeed I get have to be adjusted before it goes straight. It’s (usually) not difficult to do, but it takes a lot of effort and time when I don’t have areotow or reliable toplanding sites available. It’s a mystery to me why Moyes fail time after time to deliver a glider that goes straight.
The RS I got now have definitively been testflown, I saw the sand left on the speedbar and A-frame corners. The left turn was not small, it was very noticeable within 10 seconds from takeoff in rough air. So now I have to spend the next flyable days tweaking the glider, as usual. Flyable days are not that common here in the far north, and it would be nice to spend them flying in glider that goes straight from day one.
The first Litespeed I bought in 2000 did go straight, and the Litespeed S that I got for the Oz worlds in 2005 was also good. The glider I got in Australia in 2001 had not been testflown, so it was expected to need some tweaking, that’s all OK. But this glider and 4 others were delivered testflown by the Moyes crew, it’s their job to make sure that the glider meet the customer expectations. They have failed repeatedly.
I’m very pleased with the Litespeeds and Moyes in general, they have the best glider, the best service, and the Moyes crew and pilots are really nice to be around and fly with. It’s definetively worth it to get a Litespeed that’s not quite straight, but if Moyes would invest in some more QA before delivery it would make at least this Litespeed customer a lot happier.
So I just ordered a new hangglider, the new Moyes Malibu. I bought it to see if I like to have two gliders, the Malibu is just for pure fun flying when I do not need the performance of the Litespeed RS. If I do not fly it much I can always sell it without much loss. The market here needs more gliders like the Malibu, Fun, and Falcon, so that beginners can get a modern and easy glider after learning to fly.
I think these are the same colours as I ordered, looks cool with the “inlaid” design.
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.
Skyline’s range of HG harnesses have been thouroghly upgraded and updated, check out Skyline’s website for all info on the new range and options.
The top model Zero Drag FR is the most advanced and best made harness on the market. Lots of kick ass features, like long and flat pack chutes along the side with zipper cover for no drag, zipper cover over the main slider, carbon extension plate that slides out to support the lower leg section in flight, and lot more.
As always the harness is custom made for a perfect fit, with the options and colours you decide. I’m the Skyline dealer in Norway, if you want a new harness before the thermal season starts let me know!