Most of things you can observe in first few hours of flying but some needs time. This short article complements my first impressions. Especially safety and performance attributes.
Agility on low end of TOW is not good (I remind I fly 90-105 at around 92 kg without any ballast). However you can increase agility and lessen soft tips feeling by taking a little ballast, from 95+ kg TOW worked fine for me.
On the full speed the aerodynamic noise is so high I barely hear my sink vario noise. As I am on full bar most of times I realized it is not a problem.
In Turkish Open I had a good comparison for pilots on Enzos 3, Spectra, Zeno and Boom 11. I noticed visibly worse (long) glide and full speed to most of them except Zeno. The difference was not big and I was able to follow leading gaggle a if they struggled finding core for two turns, it was fine. I ended 4th overall, never expected, and if last task was not stopped before start, I really believed in podium chance :-).
At PWC in Pico do Gaviao we had an amazing race. 7x 90+ km tasks, and a training task. Compared to Turkish Open, the pilots are on a different level. They need much less time to find the strongest core, and I was visibly slower with worse glide. After 30 km the leading gaggle (90 pilots usually) was in a dust. Only 2 tasks I was able to compete with them. One I chose my route in mountains under almost invisible cumulostrada, where I had strong thermals and was leading whole race for 25 km. But in no-clouds flats I hit not predicted headwind and strong sink and they got me easily. A day or two later I flew really well, seeing gaggles in front of me and go directly to strongest core. I caught leading gaggle 20 km before goal in a middle altitude. However the comp was lost to me so I bet all in to mountains…and bombed out.
I confirm that on full bar the difference is easily noticeable on a long glides. Not only Meru’s fault, the comp harness makes significant difference, whatever Advance says in its marketing brochures. During a practice flight from Krupka, my friend was flying same size same loading Meru and was ~2 km/h faster on top speed (WV XR7 vs. A L2). Next week I let the geometry be checked by UP main test pilot and he says it is very close to optimal, little faster now so he would not change it for competitions.
Safety is really great. I had many collapses. Especially in Turkey there were very strong conditions every day. I had many easy collapses, and no problems. Because of altitude limit I was on full bar in 5-6ms thermals regularly. Only once a big collapse (70%) turned me about 30 degrees. Once I had a serie of fast 4 or 5 asymetricals (Bora wind flying in Czech Open), again no problem, no change of direction, no cravat. Two times I had a small knot in lines and wing turned slightly. It was easy to notice and luckily I always pumped it out easily. Really nice.
I flew two races with upper limit and ineffective ears really sucks. Franta Pavlousek….Meru 2 and effective ears please!!!
In Summary, Meru is definitely one of the best “first” twoliners. It is very safe and has no tendency to a cravat. You can compete in most FAI2 competitions for podium with it if you play smart. However a racing harness, ballast and bigger size is a must for PWC, if not a CCC glider.
My Meru is for sale, contact me if you are interested. There is still two intense seasons in it and price is reasonable.