UP Summit XC4 – review after 110 hours

I tried Summit XC3 two times in past two years but did not felt confident to fly it regularly. Probably because of lack of experience, or bravery. With new version and 200+ flight hours later, I felt UP Summit in new incarnation (XC4) is a perfect companion for me from the first date. (article was updated after ~110 hours total, usually ~93 of 100 kg)

As I upgraded from UP Kibo (170 hours, mid EN-B), a performance difference is well visible. Still sitting in Advance Lightness 2 harness.

Manufacturing

of glider and lines is excellent. Risers are different than XC3, especially speed system is redesigned and has definitely better durability. However the risers have some minor issues. A brake handles’ pins to risers are impossible to detach/attach at some angles. One pin teared off the brake handle after a take off at 8 ms, no idea how it happened, I replaced a new handle provided by my dealer. There is only tight space between C and B lines to C-control, complicate driving in my extra warm gloves. Also, the brummel hooks travel too close to a small ball and sometimes can hit it and stuck for while, which can be annoying.
Lines are unsheathed and all with the same color, saying “not for newbies” from first view. Tangles tendency is quite high compared to Kibo but easier to remove by simple pull/release method. During all my launches I had just about 1 or 2 small knots, if not counting a branches in lines.

Take off

is moderate, the glider needs moderate impulse in weak conditions, newbies’ gliders seems easier to launch. Ears must be put outside otherwise they have strong tendency to tuck, no surprise with high aspect ratio glider. Takeoffs on tow, no issues was observed. Glider is very stable on tow, most corrections were possible to do by C risers and weight-shift but some strong thermic bubbles.
Landings is moderate, with high energy preservation a heavy hand can lift you few meters in the air and with followed uncomfortable consequences. Skilled pilot will however enjoy spectacular landings.

Handling

is subjective topic, it suits me. Brake travel is medium. Most thermals I go without wrap, but for tight cores or long thermals a half wrap is more comfortable. Shorter than XC3, if I remember correctly. Reactions are fast and fluent, energy preservation is significantly higher than on Kibo. It seems to me a having less authority to control by Cs than some other gliders.

Feeling

is another subjective topic. On XC3 I felt often ears’ forward<>backward movement in turbulences. On XC4 I have not noticed any such behavior. Generally the glider seems very calm to me, despite its “for experienced” aspect ratio 6,3. When heavy on brakes, glider starts collapse back slowly, giving a lot of time to release and continue without a fullstall/negative phase. Speedbar is very fluent even when pushed fast, and I think it is softer than on XC3, my legs were “fine” even after 6+ hours flights.

Performance

A cursed performance in paragliding. Trim speed was too high until first retrimming, later just little bit higher. Thermalling in weak conditions I always lack few meters after best pilots in gaggle. On the opposite, thermalling in moderate and good conditions, I was usually along the best even at competitions.
Glide at trim, differences are very small to do any conclusions. Summit is fast even at half bar, compared to Kibo there is visible difference, so you can leave all mid Bs in a dust when met a headwind or if you want just to fly fast. Comparing to EN-Cs and EN-Ds, speed is very similar, difficult to say what is faster, it seemed after long transitions I arrived few meters bellow higher EN certified gliders. Compared to Boom 10 or Zeno, it is visibly a different level, Icepeaks is also visibly better at glide, who would say that? 🙂 Still, I beated several high performance gliders at Polish Open.
The ears are very easy to initiate and absolutely stable, good improvement of XC3 where it was a nightmare. They need multiple impulses or one longer and hold few seconds to roll out. I tried a deep spiral, it seems having some Gs more than Kibo, not very comfortable but no bad behavior. I usually go in “half” spiral with 5-8 ms sink. Wingovers have a high dynamic and to make next one smaller a pilot needs to know what to do well, therefore it might be dangerous for unskilled pilot try them at Summit first.

Passive safety

I have flown Summit in all possible conditions, experienced several collapses. All asymetrics was piece of cake, only some took multiple impulses to roll out. Most fronstalls I catched, only got two or three in very strong conditions, recovered immediately after automatic pilot’s (that is me) input.

I also hit (wanted try one) a true rotor in Lijak near Ajdovcina, glider collapsed several times in few seconds, still I managed to fly direction I wanted, on half bar when it got better. No brown pants was needed but nature gained my respect to its force.
I did 3 SIV flights. On trim speed a piece of cake, sometimes the collapsed part needs an input to roll out. I would be careful to try a no pilot’s input during full speed collapses, as on any other mid-high EN-B glider. Holding a fullstall on Summit was significantly more difficult than on Kibo for me, I failed both times to hold it correctly. I saw no difference between other mid/high EN-Bs I flew and collapsed, except a fullstall.

It is difficult to assess a collapse resistance, but from my personal statistic, Summit XC4 seems very resistant to frontstall, little less resistant to asymetric collapse, as I had about 30 of them but most at Spring. Kibo seemed much more resistant, or maybe it is called pilot idiotproof? With version XC3 I had almost no collapses in 35 hours.
Compared to its predecessor, if my memory serves well, you should have these differences:
– stable ears
– different risers
– slightly softer speed
– (probably) little bit of extra performance
 

Summary

Summit XC4 is an amazing cross country machine with exceptional passive safety, high dynamic and high top speed. Required skills are significantly higher than mid EN-Bs like UP Kibo, giving nice performance benefits to those regularly glide at speedbar.
Flights
Comparison to Boom 10 (bigger) and Sigma 9 (smaller) and Swift 4 (unknown size)

Comparison to Gradient Nevada 1 (bigger) and Axis Pluto 3 (same)

One thought on “UP Summit XC4 – review after 110 hours”

  1. Thank you for this write up , I currently have around 260 hours on my summit xc3 with 23 hours inland. I am looking at getting a xc4 and using it for inland flying after I do a few more courses..

    Thanks

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