The GTO 2 from Gin Gliders is a lightweight wing with a high aspect ratio, built for performance. Designed for both hike-and-fly racers and adventurous XC pilots, it is a 3-lined design that should prove to be more forgiving and versatile than some of the recent 2-liner EN D wings. Not to mention that it's unbelievably light! We were keen to get our hands on one and test it out. We don't do exhaustive testing for our First Impressions series: as soon as we've flown it, we let you know!
Phil Clark and Carlo Borsattino from Flybubble share their first impressions of the GTO 2...
Pilot Review (Phil Clark)
Phil Clark flew the size S (80 - 95kg all up) at 87kg.
Ordinarily I fly an Omega 8 (EN D) size 23, 65 - 85kg all up at about 85kg. For the GTO 2 I was carrying around 87kg all up and using my original Advance Lightness harness.
^ Phil on toplanding approach ... gliding, gliding, gliding.
The GTO 2 cloth itself is almost translucent and has a waxy feel to it, and once up with the sun shining through it then it really isn’t quite such an in-your-face colour. The risers are neat, tidy, simple and coloured so you know which one is the left from the right.
The lines are coloured and the A riser is split, I started out by using just the riser with the centre two A lines and let the tips look after themselves. Expect some high-aspect snakey behaviour on the ground. The tips can get caught at both the trailing and leading edges so care is needed in the set up.
^ Simple three-riser configuration ... but the tips demand attention
You cannot get away with being casual otherwise you will have a small, knotty, cravatted handful and the stabilo line is thin and not so simple to pick out of the bunch. Once the wing was partially inflated it was fairly easy to control on the ground and above my head I had no issues. It is a glider that rewards subtlety, it’s not a glider for the hamfisted… An over-committed forward launch will get you a front horseshoe, but being smooth and gentle will see it well behaved and quickly lifting once accelerated.
^ Gentle and careful forward launch
There are magnetic retainers for the brakes, balls for C riser control and low friction rings for the brake lines. The brakes felt stiff and juddery on the ground but that stiffness was not at all noticeable in the air. Once in the air the brakes were very light and the weight shift response was steady and prompt. Like the Omega it rewards subtlety and a gentle guidance rather than the heavy hand but you can show it who's boss if you need too.
^ Knife-edged precision along the trailing edge, a very lean looking wing
It was very intuitive coming from the Omega to this but then I'd expect that, it's a similar aspect and wing loading to what I'm used to. Even trim speed seems much the same but my impression is that it climbs a little better. I didn't get to play with the bar as I spent much of my time dodging the traffic and trying to stay in shot for the filming of Flybubble's class comparison video (coming soon).
^ It requires an experienced hand on the ground
When I got to play freely the day had shut down and I found myself having to slope land in a steep tree and bush covered bowl but the glider behaved well and was easy to put down in my chosen obstacle-free spot. Launching again a little later was fine but you do need a run to get off in the lighter winds.
^ Approach to stall ... and stall point!
Packing is straight forward, the leading edges rods are quite substantial but the glider easily went into the small (90 litre) Advance Lightness backpack with three folds and a gentle squash. I'd like to fly it some more and it's going to be an interesting year to see how this new breed of XC wing develops. First impressions then? Very nice indeed! Roll on, Spring.
Pilot Review (Carlo Borsattino)
The GTO 2 S definitely feels related to the Carrera to me, but quite different in some ways. Comes up quite fast, especially in stronger winds, but fine to control for the pilot level. Light and nil wind launching are a breeze - a completely different league to the Boomerang X which was, I'm sorry, a dog to launch in nil winds. The GTO 2 is a delight! Higher AR and lighter construction/material mean that, unsurprisingly, the wing snakes around a bit more than the Carrera, but I was impressed by how coherent it felt for a wing with an AR of very nearly 7 (6.99).
Ground handling is surprisingly easy and playful for a wing of this level and AR. It's inherited the Atlas/Carrera inflation i.e. you can drop it right down low to the ground and float it back up easily with a gentle pull on the risers (just leaning back is generally enough). Lighter, shorter brakes than Carrera. I guess this might be why they've not put the balls on the brake handles (or perhaps they just decided to use normal brakes handles as standard from feedback given by Carrera pilots; they can always change the ball handles if they want them).
Easier to stall, but still relatively resistant for it's level/class/AR and Simon and I both found the stall to be easily recognisable and predictable. With some finesse I could get the wing to enter a stable parachutal stall as it didn't suddenly stall and drop back without giving good warning. Very useful to landing in a tight spot!
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