Swing Mistral 7 Paraglider – First Flight Review
Reviewed by Carlo Borsattino, Flybubble Paragliding
It was supplied with a Swing concertina bag as standard, a very nice lightweight one. Unfolding the wing, it all looks nicely made; materials, stitching, build quality all good. Cell openings are relatively small for an EN B wing (even a high-end B). The risers are very slim (possibly the slimmest of any B I've seen so far) and line consumption seems very low.
Swing's 'multigrip' brake handles are luxurious, with thick neoprene padding all the way round and a removable stiffener in the brake loop, for pilots who like to hold the brakes at the bottom. I found the brake loops a bit narrow for my gloved hands.
It’s a 3-liner with 2A, 2B (+ 1 stabilo), 2C. Lower lines are relatively few but reassuringly thick; lower As and B's sheathed; stabilos and lower C unsheathed. Upper lines unsheathed (and relatively thin).
The wing looks small. It is only 25m2 for an 85-105kg all-up weight range, giving a higher wing loading compared to other high-end Bs. Aspect ratio is a moderate 5.5.
In light thermic winds it launched easily enough; not tricky. A moderate pressure on the risers is required; it came up very nicely.
Brake pressure is average to high with a short brake travel for a high-end B wing. It is relatively easy to reach the stall point; no wraps are required. There's a good warning before the wing stalls though; brakes get heavier.
Handling is agile and responsive with a nice sporty feeling; certainly not too dampened or slow. Not hot or too twitchy either, just direct and quick to respond to inputs. It is one of the more agile high-end B wings. Despite its relatively small surface area, I didn't seem to be losing out on climb rate against other wings. It's easy to turn tightly, whilst still keeping the turn relatively flat and efficient.
It seemed to climb very well – especially in smaller thermals. In wider areas of weak lift it wasn't quite as 'floaty' as one or two of the other wings with lower wing loading; but then it was quicker.
The Mistral 7 has excellent glide performance, especially accelerated. Seemed right up there with the very best of the high-end Bs. Full speed bar still seemed usable, and the wing still felt solid, even in moderately active air. Feels fast for a high end EN B!
The wing is quite resistant to pulling in big ears. As with all wings with only 2 A lines, the big ears are relatively big and therefore more effective, but they flap around.
It feels like a high-end B wing in terms of handling and performance. Perhaps mid to high B in terms of passive safety, recovery and how demanding it is to fly in active conditions, but I'd put it towards the top end of that range too. It’s not the best wing for a heavy-handed or insensitive pilot, nor a pilot who flies very infrequently and should be looking for something more calm and dampened. I definitely wouldn't recommend it for new pilots.
Best suited to more sensitive, active-flying pilots looking for an agile top-performing EN B wing with responsive handling and plenty of feedback. A great XC wing, made for going places!
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