Gradient Golden 5 – impressions

It was a while till I tried a school glider. Old Sky Atis 2 I tried last year did not impress me at all, but as a curious pilot (and pre-instructor) I want to know what new design of school glider offers. When I had a chance to test Gradient Golden 5, gave it a shot.

Test conditions: light/moderate wind with light thermals but moderate bubbles. Harness Lightness 2 (hammock style), 87 of 85-105 kg total weight. Place – Raná, Czech Republic. 6 flights, usually 5-15 minutes each and some groundhandling/toplandings.

No problems with take off in both light and moderate wind. In strong wind glider slightly overshoots but it is very easy to manage by brakes. It showed good (standard now?) collapse resistance. No tendencies to cravats, even from a packed glider take off was always fluent. The lines has however some tendency to tangle with other lines, 2 times i had to solve it by stronger input. Love the brake pins -compared to UP they go on/off very easily and yet holds well.

Forgot to try ears. Manual collapses are extremely easy to manage, fluent and very mild to reinflate. As height was quite low I was gentle to them but calm breed was obvious. The stability of pitch and rotation is very high. The flight at full speed is stable and I did not felt of falling down, glide seemed very competitive on first view. Compared to Gradient Golden 3 or Sky Atis 2 flown in past, it was a very different and seriously better feeling.

Turning is nice, with a half wrap the glider is very responsive, despite slightly longer brakes, they are soft and probably not tiring. The sharp turns are very easy to do, however the leading edge has some tendency to fall down a little, in narrow thermals I believe it is not as effective as other (higher tier) gliders I usually fly . Did just few wingunders, there is obvious tendency to stabilize, which is expected in this cat, but with good timing you can turn it into WO beast for sure.

The feeling at my take off weight was great, maybe too much for a newbie in a turbulent air. The test air had some narrow medium bubbles but not violent. The feedback from glider is very high. The turbulence twice flapped my ear and I felt a tiny deformation near middle to travel to ear and disappear. L2 is known as extremely sensitive harness and very few pilots will have this setup. If you prefer a comfort (better in mountains) in exchange to sensibility (better in flats) a seatboard harness and/or loading near the middle is a must.

Cannot speak about performance as no glide comparisons were made, but climbing ability in weak seems very nice.

Golden is felt exceptionally good machine for beginners, which was confirmed a day later by 100 km flats FAI by (not beginners) Jan Kratky, or previously by 170 km return by Mirek Volny. Golden 5 turns very nice in both flat and sharp turns, it offers a reasonable glide on full speedbar, in brown situations it will be gentle to you. It is little heavier, exchange for durability instead weight is my opinion is more important for most newbies.

Thanks to Zakladni Skola Letani for this opportunity!

2 thoughts on “Gradient Golden 5 – impressions”

  1. Hello from Brazil.

    How would you compare the golden5 to Niviuk Hook 4 or Gradient Nevada2, if you had the opportunity to test one of them? I’ve been flying with Nevada2, but as I am flying low hours than last year, I was thinking to downgrade to Golden5.

    1. Hi, I can compare only to gliders I flew. Compared to Nevada 1 (if my memory serves), the difference in handling and feeling is very small, until you push speedbar, the glide should be also barely noticeable. Nevada 2 is quite different at least in lines scheme. Niviuk is not imported to our country for some reason so no idea.

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