Reviews

Paraglider Review: 2011 MacPara Chronos 19 (Flat)

Reviews, Updated 12-11-2011 | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good | Para200 Specs | About the Testing

MacPara has a solid reputation for building easy inflating wings with good handling and the tradition continues. Like many manufacturers they haven't made really small sizes for general sales but the Chronos changes that. An number of pilots like to fly more heavily loaded and, before this one, MacPara's smallest size was a 22 M Spice. Enter the Chronos, a paraglider made for motoring at higher loadings than they've had before. That's a big deal to my 135 pound self who likes to fly heavily loaded (small gliders). Those are darned hard to find.

I had this glider for a week, both in Illinois where I live and during the Masters Clinic in Mexico. Mostly I flew it on a 100 cc paramotor that weighed about 60 pounds, doing all kinds of things with it including soaring at La Salina's gorgeous ridge. That showed off one feature of the wing: efficiency. I was able to stay up at least as long as others who were lighter-loaded wings. It makes me wonder why they call it a motor wing since I cannot see any difference from soaring wings beyond the smaller size.

Handling (8): Handling was awesome--I really liked it. It's a bit more responsive than my slightly smaller Pluto and not quite as nimble as the Spice. It dives nicely if you want it to but, as with all wings, turns flat if you use appropriate opposite brake. Handing was good trimmed in or out.

Inflation (8): Very easy. The usual trade for easy inflation is more tendency to frontal if you don't check a rapid inflation but I didn't get to test this a lot. On a couple inflations, when a frontal could have happened, it did not, so indeed this wing may be a bit more resistant. Consider that assertion tentative, though.

Risers: (-): Its 4 riser system is standard with trimmers and speedbar, There's about a 4 inch trimmer range which was good for about 4 mph worth of acceleration.

Efficiency: Great efficiency. They've got a lot of lines on this thing but they're heavily cascaded and the top lines are unsheathed. I'd be willing to bet that 80% of the drag in paragliders come from lines. So a significant decrease in the many lines of the topmost cascade should yield a nice decrease in drag. The Dudek Plasma went so far as to have unsheathed lines on the entire line set although that may have been a prototype thing. Competition soaring wings are like this and oh boy are they a pain to untangle!

Speed: At an all up weight of 205 pounds, my slow trim speed was 22.3 mph, and at fast trim the speed was 26 mph.

Raw data: slow trim 19.5 mph upwind, 25 downwind, slow trim=19.8 upwind, fast trim=23.5. Computed headwind=2.75 mph.

To see how fast you would be at your weight, see the formula here. My all-up weight was approx. 210 lbs.

Construction (-): It seemed to be constructed well and used medium to lightweight fabric. As mentioned above, it uses unsheathed lines on the uppermost cascade.

There is one oddity on the brakes. It employs a crossover line that goes from left to right main brake lines (shown in purple, below). Normally your inner brake line goes to near the center but not necessarily all the way so that, when you pull both brakes, the trailing edge may not deflect right in the middle. But on this glider, pulling both brakes deflects the entire range. I couldn't say what it does for steering but it would seem to allow more slowing, possibly with less likelihood of spinning since it incorporates the entire trailing edge. So far, this is the first glider I've seen such a thing. It mostly only affected the trailing edge while both brakes were pulled.

Lastly, anyone who flies from iron-infested beach will appreciate this: MacPara has incorporated covered magnets for their brake keepers. That will seem like a small deal until you've dealt with not having brake keepers because they've gotten clogged. No more. Thank you MacPara!

Certification & Safety (-): The 19 meter size that I flew was not certified but all the larger sizes are as EN-C. I'm thankful that they're making smaller wings for us lightweights who like to fly heavily loaded and enjoy crisp response.

One mistake should NOT be made and that would be to buy this as a beginner wing. It is most certainly not, mostly because of the high responsiveness but also because, at high loadings, the results of anything over a 60% collapse will be dramatic. In fact, after seeing a control related training fatality, I think that new pilots should start out on school wings, but then that's a topic for another time.

I only got to test it with full speedbar while free flying and it behaved well even in level 2 level bumps with no tendency to front tuck. But the real test would be using it for competition where you commonly fly through your own wake.

Overall (-): MacPara has lived up to their reputation in making a quality, innovative product that handles extremely well, inflates well, and all with great efficiency. Nicely done.

The photo below, taken by Bart Simpson, shows the unusual brake diagram with the crossover line.


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