UP Meru – first impressions

Step up to a two liner is mind blowing experience, especially for a cautious pilot. Last year I flew Trango X-Race, which has identical aspect ratio 6,9, so are doubts reasonable?

I have flown Meru in various conditions from gentle thermic soaring to wild spring thermals, also with some pushes through a serious headwind.

Performance

I start with performance rarely but now it is the right time. The feeling of performance is there from beginning. Compared to “high performance” Trango is rather like a jump than a step. On trim speed, Meru is fast and I am not fan of it, as it creates issues during soaring with slower gliders. The glide is similar to high AR gliders, it is barely noticeable, but better.
However, when you push the speedbar the speed gain is amazing and the sink is also very low. During speedglides through headwind all C-gliders are quickly in a dust, and I do not believe any will be competent. From past competitions, I noticed 777 King (EN-D, 3 liner) is the closest to Meru. We will see how big mouth has Ozone with Mantra 7 soon.

Take off

The performance comes with high costs. Meru is more difficult to take off than any of my previous gliders. The A-risers try to escape from my hands as often as a drug boss sentenced to life in prison. With experience of about 30 another gliders, I have never had similar issues. What is the cause is a mystery to me. I need to use my body more, which is correct technique but I was surprised.
The airholes are tiny and glider is heavier than Trango, therefore the initial inflation in weak wind needs more patience and some luck.
The rods in trailing edge are easily lifted and then they cover the leading edge airholes. Bad situation on small take-offs.
Once my Meru is compact and rising, it is better to run fast. Braking little sooner and you can try whole circus again.

Handling

it quite different than Trango’s. The Meru requires much stronger initial input. With seatboard harness and/or more TOW this might be different but I have to change my approach significantly. Many experienced pilots may refuse changing their approach and than hate the glider.
Brake travel is shorter. I like the B-lines (=second lines = last lines if not counted brakes). My Meru does not have red balls but plastic handles. This sometimes cause small issues with lines around them during a take off but I really love them during glides on speedbar. Controlling through them is soft and fluffy (my wife’s popular connection of words…cannot resist :-)), and precise, as you needed on glides.
I used big ears on Trango a LOT, with combination of speedbar it was an effective solution to manage too fast rising. And in my country there are many airspaces, so it is an essential skill. I was very surprised that I was not able to initiate ears at all, and I tried it for several times with different approaches. Check the video at the end. Best (but still poor) results I achieved by grabbing outer B-lines.
The general workload seems similar to Trango. I noticed many small to medium collapses are “hold” by rods in the canopy. In exchange packing of glider is much bulkier.
I tried few almost wingovers and dynamic is the highest I experienced. The wing is almost bellow you with minimal correctly timed input. I did only few almost (-7 ms) spirals, where Gs started to increase. I was tired from long flights, therefore I did not want to push any extreme maneuvers. Meru is easily manageable in spiral, but much more sensitive to small inputs. The exit from spiral with high dynamic is difficult to do smoothly, I do not recommend trying it before SIV! I have never got issues with smooth exit but with Meru.

Safety

I have many almost collapses and about 6 collapses. All non-events but re-inflation had to be helped sometimes, as expected. In more turbulent air, I felt a significant taste to movement of glider, more than Trango. The taste and power to bite forward is felt more intense. I tried to be gentle on brakes as they might not be necessary, but I am not kind of person to test passive safety voluntarily. Minimal speed I did very carefully, probably only to 90% but the forces increase is well noticeable before stall, probably more than on Trango. I did two fullstalls during intentionally during landing and timed them correctly, of course without the exit phase.

Landing

From landing I am worried. My respect to minimal speed/stall and difficulties with ears, I need to work with approach very carefully. Any small bubble before small landing field means problems.

In summary

Meru is THE XC MACHINE. Comparison to Trango is simple. If you seek performance, Meru is the winner in all aspects. However Trango is lighter, much easier and tinier to pack, easier to take off, and more playful, with easy ears. It is a pity I cannot afford two gliders, Meru for comps and record hunting days, and Trango for the rest.
Video showing my fails when pulling ears:

4 thoughts on “UP Meru – first impressions”

  1. Hi Petr, for ears, try outer B’s (1 or even 2). The more you pull them, the higher descent speed. The glider gets arrow shape pointing forwards, which is fine. A’s do not work.

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