Reviews

Paraglider Review: 2011 Dudek Hadron 20 (17.36 projected)

Reviews, Updated 02-11-2007 | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good | Para200 Specs | About the Testing

Dudek has come up with another innovative Reflex wing, the Hadron, to entice competition pilots and anyone wanting speed with good handling. I've heard several pilots say it wasn't intended to be fast but, as you'll see from the results, it's just as fast as other wings in this class and has enormous speedbar effectiveness which is what Pylon racers want. The 20 is really too big for my 130 pounds but it was the smallest available at review time.

It's most obvious difference is the unique "2D" steering system which offers more control options with just one toggle. But it can't be used at full speedbar so it doesn't do much for the pylon pilot at maximum speed as I'll cover in "Handling" below. I'm hoping to get more time on this wing and will update the review if that happens.

A note about terminology. Each constructor uses different names for the various steering elements. For standardization I'll call steering lines that go primarily to the stabilos "Stabilo Steering" (SS). These go to the very end of the wingtip. Anything that engages just the outer brakes lines, even if it pulls in the tip at a stabilo attachment, will be called "outer brake steering (OBS)." On this glider, Dudek calls it the ALC line.

I flew it at sea level, weighing 130 pounds with 54 pounds of fueled Miniplane. It was a fairly turbulent 78 degrees. In competition, the Hadron has done very well, including at the Salton Sea, helping Ryan Shaw garner 1st place, a performance that a cameraman caught with my big camera.

After getting the brake lengths dialed in, I took it up and played with what hand motion engaged what part of the wing--watching the trailing edge. The only way to engage just the outer brake steering (OBS or "ALC") was by letting go the brake toggle and pulling its line.

Handling (-): The 2D steering works well and handling is quite good for both slow trim and fast trim. Pressure goes up with speed but not unduly so. I seemed to get basically the same results when I just pulled the brakes downward which engaged that side's entire trailing edge like on traditional steering. Pulling across your body engages more tip brake while pulling outward engages mostly the center brakes. The best way to understand it all is to go up high and watch what happens as you pull in different ways. Look at the trailing edge then just fly it through some steep turns and level offs. You quickly see how different motions do different things. As long as you do so without being trimmed fast AND on speedbar, it works great.

I'll admit to not reading the manual fully but sure verified what it says. If you set the trims fast and go to full speedbar, pulling brake causes an immediate tip collapse, even if you pull sideways in an effort to engage mostly the outer brake steering (ALC). Mind you, it's a complete non-event and barely turned the glider but was obviously not turning. In this fastest mode (fast trim, full speedbar) they recommend only using the stabilo steering (SS) which is only good for slow turns.  I came to find that all of this is spelled out quite clearly in the manual. That begs the question of how *DO* you control it on full speedbar while trimmed fast. I hope to find out the answer to that if I get a chance to spend more time on it but Ryan Shaw says that you must tweak the amount of trimmer and brake pull to find how much you can use to get good turns without the tip folds.

On a separate note, the glider I demoed had its stabilo steering toggle (Dudek calls it TST) tied in a way that only yielded a 0.5 ratio  mean that a 8 inch pull resulted in 4 inches of line pull. New models don't do this and I'd re-tie it so it's normal (like what the manual shows).

Inflation (-): Set the trims half fast and she comes up quite nicely. I noticed no tendency for the tips to come up first. Lightweight fabric and tubular leading edge stiffeners help. It's very high aspect ratio so it'll be more of a handful in strong winds.

Risers: (-): The glider has quite long risers and the brakes pulleys have three locations where they can be mounted based on your motor. High hook-in machines will definitely want them on the lowest positions. Even on my moderately low hook-in Miniplane they were best used in their lowest attachment.

Efficiency (- slow/ - fast): Clearly it's quite efficient but, without a sink rate test, I can't be objective. There's nothing like well-collected data. All ships are rising in this class. I'm not being "politically correct", I'm being honest about an observation that should be made objectively--a test that requires extremely calm conditions which I didn't have.

Efficiency judging using RPM on a motor is really only useful when comparing another wing of known efficiency and then it's only good for that particular comparison. Saying it "feels" efficient is nearly useless. I can get a great swoop with tons of slide at the end on all these new wings.  And the sink rate on Para2000 (or the maker's website) is nearly useless for comparison since it's not discriminating enough and doesn't include higher speed configurations. Like essentially all reliable human knowledge, if you really want to know, measure! If I get the wing for long enough I'll do the test.

Speed (-): Here are the results. It's fast. An average pilot will want to only use full speed with the stabilo steering. Competition pilots will want to go up high and find out how much trims allow full speedbar without getting tip collapses. Since the slowest speed is desired going around pylons, you want the most speed increase with speedbar, not trims. Consider also that Ryan Shaw (of Paradrenalin) actually did use brakes but in a way that minimized the tips. That's going against the manual but clearly it worked -- I'm going to play with the wing some more if I get an opportunity and understand what he did. I appreciate his willingness to offer his suggestions.

As with any glider equipped with stabilo steering, that's what I used to avoid slowing it down.

Raw speeds. Slow trim, upwind = 6 mph, downwind = 39.5) Windspeed=17 mph (16.75). Airspeed - 23 mph.
  Next run: Slow trim = 6 mph, fast trim = 11.5 mph for a fast trim airspeed of 28 mph.
  Next run: fast trim = 10 mph, fast trim with speedbar = 19 mph for an accelerated airspeed of 37 mph.

  Summary results are 23 mph slow, 28 mph fast and 37 mph accelerated (trimmed fast with speedbar).

Here is the formula to relate weight and speed to see how fast YOU would go on this wing.

Construction (-): Very high quality. The highest cascade is unsheathed for efficiency, a common concession to efficiency, but they tangle easily and are more prone to damage. If you have a choice, go for having sheathed lines. All competition gliders in this class have these thin lines, and I can appreciate their desire for drag reduction but, if you'll be using it for everyday flying, and not competing, I'd give up the 2% (or whatever it is) for less hassle and more durability.

Certification & Safety (-): There is no certification at these sizes and it's certainly not for newer pilots. In some ways, it's more benign than other reflex gliders because it allows more configurations to be used while pulling the brakes (but not trimmed fast with speedbar). This includes using the speedbar even while trimmed slow. But, by all means, READ THE MANUAL ON YOUR model! Especially since changes are made that could easily render this information obsolete.

Overall (-): Even without the whole 2D thing this is an extremely capable reflex glider. For those wanting to compete, it would work as well as any of the others in the speed class (Ozone Viper, Paramania GTR, Velocity Recon) and size. If you'll be using it full accelerated, do go up high and figure out how much brakes and trimmer can be used with full speedbar. Enjoy.

Hadron. Courtesy Dudek.com


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