Review by John Turczak
I have enjoyed testing the Gin BONANZA 2, which is a modern reinforced Sports Class wing. For the last couple of years I have been flying my Niviuk Artik 4, which I know very well, so this is mainly a comparison between the two, to give a flavour of these two sports class gliders and an idea of how new wings have progressed in the past few years. Over the few weeks I had the Bonanza 2 I managed 25 flights ranging from 2-90 minutes and a total of 10 hours airtime over three different sites. These were in conditions varying from light to strong and thermic to soaring with a couple of short (17km) XCs.
The Bonanza 2 L (flat area of 26.5 m2) is rated EN C for 95-115kg and has a 6.44 aspect ratio. This compares to the size 27 Artik 4 (also 26.5 m2) rated EN C for 90-110kg with a 6.1 aspect ratio.
There were a few basic things I had to get used to about the wing that were different from the Artik.
The wing comes up much quicker, but despite the higher Aspect Ratio there was very little (if any) ‘snaking’ of the wing. It would hold its position quite comfortably on the ground waiting to be pulled up. It required less momentum to pull the wing up. And once I got used to the speed it was very easy to launch.
I never actually measured this but it felt when I was flying that my hands were a bit higher than with the Artik. So for the first few flights it did feel like a bit more strain on the arms. But then I got used to it and I didn’t notice that anymore.
Handles on the back risers
A small point, but the Artik has handles on the back risers and I have gotten used to having them there when on a glide or with bar on. I didn’t like having to loop my fingers through the rear risers on the Bonanza instead. It’s only a small gripe but one that I noticed.
There were a few key differences I noticed once in the air.
- Glide: the Bonanza felt like it had a much better glide. A bit subjective as I didn’t have the Artik flying next to me to compare. But based on about 250 hours on the Artik it felt like I was getting places with a lot less height loss.
- Handling turbulence: The Bonanza seemed to cut through the rougher air much better than the Artik, with less feeling of the wing being thrown around.
- Feedback: The feedback from the wing almost feels like it has been tuned for thermals. You notice the slight pulls on the wings as you approach a thermal and it gives an amazing level of feedback in light thermals that allows you to ‘feel’ the thermal and make the most of it. While the Artik does do this it’s not to the same level. With the Artik there is more mental mapping that goes on. With the Bonanza, working light thermals seems more intuitive.
- Speed bar system: I am not sure what GIN have done here but applying bar is much easier. With the Artik there is an initial umph you have to give to engage the bar. With the Bonanza it just goes on smoothly with almost no initial effort. This was for me a delight as I do notice the strain on my knee when applying bar on the Artik which was not there with the Bonanza.
The wing seems to climb very efficiently in thermals with it easily biting into the thermal and no sense that you are being pushed out of it. As mentioned earlier there is more feedback on the Bonanza 2 than from the Artik but not in a way that distracts from the flying. To make the most of it you do need to fly actively but I was able to keep my attention on the flight and the next climb and was not distracted by the wing.
I did get one asymmetric on it, while coming in to land over a thermic field in strong wind with speedbar on. (The wind strength was above my trim speed and I needed bar to go forward.) About 60 % of the right side of the wing went and I was pleased to see that a bit of weight shift kept the wing flying easily on course and a few pumps got the wing flying again. No trauma, easy recovery.
Gin Bonanza 2: who’s it for?
I think that someone currently on a high B or a low C looking at getting more from their XC flying (but don’t want to move up to the D class) is going to do well on the Bonanza 2.
Thanks to Flybubble for the chance to try out a great wing.
Images courtesy GIN Gliders
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