Carlo Borsattino, Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) of Flybubble, flew the Swing Mistral 7 and U-Turn Blacklight a good amount in varied conditions (light, strong, smooth, turbulent, dynamic, thermic) within a few weeks of each other, so could draw a very good and clear comparison between them. Carlo compares the two 'High B' wings in this article.

I flew a Mistral 7 size M (25m2 flat, 85-105kg) and a Blacklight size M (27.5m2 flat, 85-110kg), both loaded at 102Kg all-up. Both models are EN B certified paragliders, placed at the higher end of the EN B rating.

I think they are both great gliders, but I would say that each is suitable for a different level of pilot as I found one to be significantly more demanding to manage and fly than the other (in more demanding conditions).

Although I'd certainly class the Mistral 7 as a high-end B (B3) wing, not suitable for new or low airtime pilots, I found the Blacklight to be hotter (i.e. more demanding) than the Mistral 7 in most respects.

I'd class the Blacklight as what I call a 'pseudo-B' (B4) i.e. more like a C, albeit a low-end C (C1). Why? Read on...

Carlo testing the Swing Mistral 7 (review video)

Carlo testing the U-Turn Blacklight (Foot or Flybubble)

 

I found the Blacklight more demanding to manage on the ground, mainly due to its higher AR. On launch, I found the Mistral 7 to be markedly less demanding, more like a mid B (B2) - especially in stronger, gustier winds.

Both wings seem to give relatively high feedback for B wings in active air, which might make them feel twitchy to some B pilots. Most significantly, as regards managing in active air (surely one of the most important things for any wing, which the certificatin doesn't tell you) and collapse behaviour I found the Blacklight to be markedly more demanding (B4).

The Mistral 7 is more collapse resistant, and behaves somewhere between a mid to high B in collapses, whereas the Blacklight requires more active input to prevent collapses and behaves like a very high-B in collapses to me (B4).

I did full SIV on the Mistral 7, and was very impressed by how well it behaved; generally like a mid- to high- B wing (B2-3).

Carlo doing SIV on the Mistral 7 (Annecy Lake)

 

In terms of performance, I didn't get to fly them side by side however my impression was that the Blacklight had a slight edge in terms of sink rate (most probably due to its much larger wing size; 27.5m2 compared to 25m2) and glide at trim-speed. Trim- and top- speeds seemed similar, with the Mistral 7 perhaps having the edge. I felt the Mistral 7 had the most usable top-speed, most probably at least in part due to its lower aspect ratio and higher wing loading.

In summary I'd say that the Mistral 7 is likely to be a better bet for a moderate-airtime pilot stepping up from a low or mid B wing (the Blacklight is likely to prove too hot for these pilots) whilst the Blacklight is most suited to high-airtime pilots with plenty of airtime on high-B or C wings.

Footnote: It's certainly interesting to see that there are current B wings which perform better than some current C wings (some Bs even perform better than most Cs), and some C wings which in reality seem to be safer than some B wings.

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