Paraglider Review: 2008
MacPara Spice 25
Reviews, 09-29-2008 | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good | Para200
| About the Testing
The Spice 25 is efficiency epitomized. Although made mostly for
motoring, it would be at home on a soaring hill. In fact, when I
first took it up, it reminded me most of a high-performing DHV 2 soaring wing
that I'd recently flown in the Alps.
I borrowed this wing to do a spot landing for the Fox TV Show "Sports
Science." Basically, the slower the wing, the better it is for spot landings,
provided the glide is good. The Spice excels in glide, plus you can
slow it way down. Ultimately, the TV show's mission changed to become
all about landing in a boxing ringóthat called for a different (even
larger and slower) choice. But the Spice 25 was truly amazing at being
able to touch down consistently on a target. You could pull lots of
brake and slow it way down, but letting up on that pressure was like
adding power. I was impressed there.
The morning flight was done Sept 21, 2008 on a Miniplane Top 80 (55 lbs
with fuel) at an inflight weight of 229 lbs (104 kgs). Altitude ranged from 1500
feet to 2000 feet MSL and temperature was about 70įF.
Handling (8): Handling is much different
than its smaller (and uncertified) sibling, the Spice 22. Brake
pressures are higher, but still quite light, and the pull required to
get a reaction is longer.
It took an enormous amount of pull to get to the point of stall. In
fact, I never saw any distortion which is the limit of my willingness to
None of my flights were were in significant turbulence but it seemed well
behaved in the level 2 bumps I encountered.
Brake pressure at 5" of travel was 1.2 pounds but, if this were my
wing, I'd shorten the brake lines by about 3 inches. Pressure at 10
inches was 2.8 pounds.
Brake travel at 5 pounds of pull was 15 inches and at 8 pounds, it
was 20 inches.
Obviously this is quite light on the brake pressure. It took about 8
pounds of pull to enter a steep turn. That's pretty reasonable and one
of the reasons why I think this wing is fine for newer intermediate
pilots. It's nowhere near as likely to be overcontrolled as the Spice
Inflation (7): Longer lines area a mixed blessing. It takes
longer for the wing to come up but inflation tends to be straighter. And
it does need some A pressure just after the wing comes off the ground.
I did lots of no-wind inflation. Lots. They were quite easy
after I got the A pull correct. Like most Macpara's, don't pull the A's
much at firstólet the wing billow then pull the A's more, probably about
Efficiency (9): Flying this wing is like adding 10 pounds of
thrust. You can see it in the descent rate. With trimmers set slow, it
sinks about 250 fpm, with the trimmers neutral, about 270 fpm and
trimmers fast was about 300 fpm sink.
Speed (-): The Spice 25 is obviously slower than my
22. That's why I wanted to try it. Speeds were 16.5 upwind and 27.5
downwind for an average speed of 22.5 with trim in. Letting the trim to
out added 2.2 mph, applying speedbar added about 5.5 mph.
Construction (6): It's build lightly like all Macpara's which is
some of why the wing's inflate so well. They're plenty strong, of
course, as they have to be for passing certification.
Sand flyers out west (CA) may not like the brake toggle retainer magnets
which clog in iron-rich sand. I prefer enclosed magnets (embedded behind
one layer of fabric) which may not hold quite as well but don't clog up.
If you fly from grass or non-iron sand then you won't notice the issue.
The trimmers have three settings, on this relatively new model, they
were easy to move and held their position.
Certification & Safety (6): It's
certified AFNOR Performance which, in this case, is roughly equivalent to DHV 2-3
which suggests that recovery
from large collapses would probably be dynamic, especially in the hands
of a new pilot. It's slightly more active than other wings but I sure never felt anything that would make me question
it's safety for most higher level PPG2 or PPG3 pilots.
Warrantee: No information here.
Overall: This is a good wing for reasonably experienced through advanced motorheads. It would also be great for soaring. The
efficiency is tops. In fact, it may be the most efficient wing I've
flown to date.
1. Flying the Spice 25 near Batavia, IL. By David McWhinnie
2. The risers with a magnetic clip. This is how I measure the brake
3. Cranking it around.