Reviews

2012 Paramania GTR 18, (Projected 16.6 est)

Reviews, 04-28-2012, updated May 14, 2012 | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good | Para200 Specs | About the Testing

See the video here that I did while filming. Some of the shots were of Eric Dufour flying the 18 and he's about 30 pounds heavier than I.

2012 Sept 09 During Indy Air Hogs' fly-in I got to try out the GTR 18 again with the intent to sample a different brake configuration and, more importantly see what the speed range is using trimmers only. I flew it with the slightly heavier Pap 185. US Importer Bobby Benn had replaced the tip steer bungees with solid line and hooked them straight to the brake toggle. I found it far better because you don't need to let go of the brake to engage the tip steering AND there is no stretch.

2012 Sept 09 For the speed test I disconnected the PK system (GTR 20 PK System) and measured the speed increase. It was around 6 mph which is much more than with the PK system engaged as you would expect. I did not retest the speed with fast trim and full speedbar.

A few months ago I flew the Paramania Action GTR 20, the smallest size available at the time, and reviewed it here. When an 18 came out I went to fly it again and, as you would expect, the smaller size makes for a far more dramatic experience. My first takeoff wound up swinging left and right until I paid it some attention and then all was in good control. This is a wing that will bite, though, anyone who plays ham fisted with it. A little brake does a lot and if you get opposite to its natural swing, expect rapid divergence!

I flew it several times at sea level on my Top 80 Miniplane and once on an Air Conception Ultra 130 .  My clip-in weight was about 185 pounds since the Ultra and Miniplane weigh the same. This wing is about the right size for me although I'm still on the light side. I got a pretty decent feel for it since I did filming of Eric Dufour who was playing around simulated pylons while I followed.

It has the "PK" system which, when hooked up, ties the trimmers to the speedbar so that pushing out the speedbar also lets out the trimmers. It works for the last half or so of trimmer travel. It is why, in the speed tests, there's not much speed difference from slow trim to fast trim. It can be disconnected by simply unhooking a sister clip on each riser.

Handling (-): The handling is still extremely responsive and fairly heavy, probably a trade for better collapse resistance. You can get it into turns VERY quickly with minimal worry of spinning although that's true of most small wings. Tip steering is very effective and requires a fairly heavy pull. There are no toggles, rather it has a line that is attached to the risers with about a foot of bungee material. The idea is that you quickly go to it when fully accelerated but I'd still prefer the little toggles. As usual, if you're on full speedbar and trimmed fast, it's desirable NOT to use the regular brakes but rather use the tip steering for control, and modulate the speedbar for pitch. I didn't practice doing that here but, on a later flight, while filming John Black (he was on a Hadron, I was on a Plasma) I did get used to doing this and its surprisingly effective. Like all this stuff, it's just about practice.

The tip steering is extremely solid, I did not have even a hint of tip collapses. But after filming for 30 minutes, chasing Eric around, my arms were shot! It's responsive alright, but you'll know you've been flying.

It dives like crazy when you want it. At a hundred feet or so, slow down with fairly heavy brakes while trimmed fast, then let off all the way and she'll drop quickly, building energy. It allows an enormously long swoop on power off landings.

2012 May 14

I flew a version of this wing where the tip steering was connected to the brake toggle instead of the bungee cord. What a difference! It belonged to extremely talented pilot Paco Guerro who was playing with different configurations. Hopefully Paramania will adopt (or offer) his change because it made the wing far more enjoyable to me. You can use the tip steering without engaging the brakes by pulling inward, although only for a few inches of that inward pull. I wound up  holding the line so that I could get tip pull without using any brake. I'd be curious to see what its like if the brakes did NOT go through a pulley but rather the tip steering did. That way you could easily engage only the tips without engaging ANY main brake.

Inflation (-): Easy, easy. With the trims halfway out it came up quickly even without using any A's. That's not a good test, admittedly, because it was blowing pretty hard, but it feels like no-wind launches would be easy. The new breed of reflex models seems to have really improved in this regard. During takeoff you'll need lots of brake pull to liftoff.

Risers: (-): Four riser system, just like the GTR 20. When flying on fast trim with full speedbar, you use the tip steering only. It requires fairly heavy brake pull but you're rewarded with great response.

Here is the manufacturer's video on how the risers work.

Efficiency (-): Very good efficiency, especially given that I was able to easily fly my 130 pound butt level while trimmed fast and on full speedbar. It was way too turbulent for any sink rate testing.

Speed (-): I kept the PK system (see Risers description on GTR 20) hooked up so the speedbar would offer maximum speed range.

Raw data:
  Wind run, upwind = 13 mph, downwind = 45 mph, windspeed (45-13)/2 = 16 mph, true airspeed = 29 mph.

Slow trim = 13 mph, Fast trim = 15 mph, fast trim airspeed = 31 mph. Trim added 2 mph. Remember, the PK system reserves most trim range for speedbar use.
Fast trim with speedbar = 23 mph airspeed or 39 mph. Speedbar added 8 mph.

Resultant airspeeds:

  Slow trim = 29 mph, Fast Trim 31 mph, Fast Trim with Speedbar = 39 mph.

  With the PK system disconnected (test flown 2012-Sept-09) the speed increase was 6 mph. So it would be:
  Slow trim = 29 mph, Fast Trim 35 mph, Fast Trim with Speedbar = 39 mph.

I would welcome other pilots, even at different weights, who have this same wing in a 18m to take their own readings and send them to 737jeff@footflyer.com.

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

Construction (-): Very good quality.

Certification & Safety (-): No certification at the size I flew nor in any of the other sizes as of publish date. It appears to be more collapse resistant then others in this class.

Overall (-): For pilots already used to very active flying this will be a fast, sporty, and competitive ride. Transition slowly, in many ways it behaves like smaller speed wings and a newer pilot, or one without much steep maneuvering experience, will quickly overcontrol with potentially nasty results.

courtesy FlyParamania.com

 


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