Flybubble fluffs out the Artik 4 and takes the new EN C wing into the English skies. Is this updated cross-country wing from Niviuk worth your attention? We think so!
Test by Phil Clark
Niviuk Artik 4 (EN C) size M (75 – 95kg all up) @ 89kg.
I ballasted with 1kg up to 89 kg all up so that we would have the same loading for a comparison flight.
The very first impression is that it’s normal and unfussy but there aren’t many lines. The lower cascade is bright orange, and there are only 2 main A lines per side, but there’s quite a complex pyramid of lines coming off the stabilo line up at the tip (similar to Peak 3). Because this is attached to the C risers (on the size 23 and 25), these are not affected by the speed bar. (On the 27, they are on the B, so will be pulled down).
The cloth is Porscher (top) and Dominico (bottom), using a slightly lighter topsurface than on previous models. I liked the mix of colours. The risers are neat and simple, with loops on the C risers and traditional brake pulleys. There are magnetic retainers for the brakes. There’s a coloured sheath on the line where it meets the maillon and the A riser has a nice obvious chunk of green on it.
On the 23-25 size (left in diagram above), the A riser is split, but held in place at the top so you pretty much have to use the two A lines and let the tips look after themselves.
There is a definite pull needed (but you have to be really heavy handed to provoke any nonsense). Once the wing was partially inflated it was quite easy to control on the ground, even off-line and from a heap. Once up above my head I had no issues and it was easy to move around and kite from side to side.
Once in the air the brakes were light and the weight shift response calm and balanced. It reminded me of the Ozone Alpina2 that I had a brief float on last summer.
It was quite mellow (coming from the Omega 8) but then I’d expect that, it’s a reduced aspect and wing loading to what I’m used to. Trim speed seemed much the same as any other ‘hot B’ or EN C that was in the air but my impressions were that it climbed just as well as the Sigma9 and Delta2s that were out on the hill. I certainly didn’t feel hindered by it but I didn’t feel any great advantage either. I got to play with the bar and that was smooth and easy to push with a noticeable increase in speed; only the last little bit of the travel seemed to really ramp up the sink rate.
At the other end of the speed range there’s a nice obvious clunk into the stall and it’s worth working out where this is before you discover it by accident.
Packing is straight forward, the leading edge rods are a little thinner than those on other wings (like the Gin GTO2) but they are the same sort of dimensions along the chord so the wings packs nicely in three folds. There’s definitely a lot less reinforcement than there was on the Artik 3, which makes it more manageable.
First impressions then? Simple, well-made and no more than it needs to be. In the right hands it’s a very capable wing (right hands being a few years experience in thermals and crowds with a few hundred hours in the logbook).
PS. and the blue looks lovely…
Test by Greg Hamerton
Niviuk Artik 4 (EN C) size M (75 – 95kg all up) @ 93kg.
In this class you can currently expect a glide of about 10.5, trim speed of 39km/h, minimum sink rate of 1m/s, top speed of 55km/h. The Artik 4 is certainly competitive within its class, in light conditions I could maintain with similar wings. Gliding alongside a Sigma 9 at equal loading I couldn’t see a difference in trim speed or glide at trim on our short comparison.
Coming in to topland on the Artik 4, it behaved as I expected it to, giving me a slow touchdown with ample brake travel before stall point, and a good ability to ‘hold on’ before a sharp stall.
Niviuk reminds pilots what can be expected from EN C gliders: “Moderate passive safety with dynamic reactions in turbulence and mishandling. Glider recovery can require pilot intervention. To be flown only by pilots familiar with recovery techniques, active piloting, flying in turbulent conditions and able to handle this kind of demanding aircraft.”
That said, my initial impression is that the Artik 4 sits comfortably in the middle of the C class – a well-behaved, simple to fly glider with reassuring handling, good agility and optimum performance. A very nice balance of everything you need.
Things I like are the minimalistic line layout, good turn authority with limited tendency to roll, and the simple way it soars through moving air without needing much active piloting.
Find out more about the Niviuk Artik 4