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Windtech «Zenith»

This is the replacement wing for the Tecno of this Spanish brand. It did surprise everybody when it passed the certification in Class B. Remember this is a high intermediate wing very ambitious.

It is fast and has a great handling. Only three risers although the rear one is doubled in the top floor and the front one has a split riser for big ear maneuvers.

The line set up is only in two floors (the top one unsheathed). Each cell out of three has a line. It has a thick profile with the center of pressure well advanced and an elliptical vault short and compact. V risers and no battens. Thin risers and a soft and very effective speed system. It comes with a 4 colors design very original and it profits from the bottom surface transparence to show the brand image "flyman" of the top surface.

The virtues are speed, handling and performance unheard on the Class B gliders (Class Club pilot must watch out for this glider). The secret: few lines, a good profile with the torsion well adjusted in the wing-tips and a correct vault and canopy definition.

It was a surprise that the swiss certification manager, Alain Zoller, rated the new Windtech intermediate wing in Class B. The B rating is associated to advanced beginners gliders but not for an expected class 2 glider with such performances. Whatever the case is this is a guarantee of the high passive safety and the well behave of its reaction in collapses, shooting forward, turns and so on.

The XS is missing but the other 3 sizes are B rated (spin , frontal and asymmetrical collapse), all the other maneuvers are A.

How this wing is?

The plan-form has an elliptical leading edge and a straight trailing edge. Both converge in a straight stabilo producing a compact shape for an aspect ratio of six with a central part quite thick. The vault is elliptical with a short radius and arch.. The profile is thick with the center of pressure well advanced and a big curve near the leading edge and a small refex near the trailing edge. The front openings are now rectangular placed in a zig-zag way to become better oriented to all the different angles of attack and therefore smaller in surface than the traditional ones. Double dacron reinforcements in the inside. Windtech has not joined yet the nylon wires trend. the line setup is placed each 3 cells as the competition wings and has only two floors. The result is a wing with a small line consumption. To multiply the positive effects of this the top floor line are unsheathed. In order to joint the lines load so much distant ones from others the inner structure has load webbing across the wingspan. On the bottom there are only three risers although in the canopy the top floor branch off in C and D rows. However you will see four risers since the A riser has a baby A for big ears manoevers. The risers are thin with a double pulley speed system very soft and effective. All the fabric is Skytex 44 and 40gr. (it wears well long term and the weight increase is minimum).

The profile wash out in the wing tips is quite positive quite a contract with the center torsion a bit negative. This is reflected in a high trim speed of 40 km/h, almost reaching 60 km/h at full speed.

The top surface is quite flat, clean and well defined.

The brake handle is rigid has a swivel and is connected to the riser with a clip. These ones are long and well separated making B descents quite simple. The big ears reopen by itself and the stall arrives first in the wing tip, going backward and twisting before the full canopy goes backward. This arrives below 23 Km/h (depending on the size and load).

In flight

Inflation is very easy. It has a good preinflation very ligh and does not shoot forward when is above your head staying still and stable. You only need then to load your weight and go forward then you are airborne.

When there is nil wing you need to run fast since the trim speed is high.

The brake does respond quickly it is not hard but neither soft. You fell very well the wing and has a quick answer to side movement with a light pitch control during the first degrees. This is very welcome when turning and enter the thermal, it bites it very effectively.

The canopy is very solid and you don't feel the wing tips going forward or flying on their own. The wing goes in the turn quickly and maintains one of the best Windtech quality, this is the ability to turn tighter without changing the inclination. To achieve this you have to apply more brake input during the turn and when the wing goes slower apply more inside brake without changing the angle of inclination. This does work much better with low angles of inclination and is a perfect solution to center quickly and grasp firmly the thermal core.

This is not a panacea but brings forward a surplus in handling when piloting with accuracy.

Aspect ratio is not big but is a fast and agile glider

When flying at full gas it keeps the stability even when the airflow is above the front openings.

The best virtues of the Zenith are the speed and the high glide angle for such a moderate aspect ratio. Also the handling is great.

Some details need to be improves, for instance all lines are the same color (although this will change in next production units). Some wrinkles are visible around the frontal attachment points probably due to the separation between lines and also the rises fun out loosing the aerodynamic advantage of the thin risers well in line.

However the glide is quite remarkable, it belong to a high intermediate but with a B rating (you can compete in Class Club).

4 sizes (the big size is removed) but with a good weight range between one another between 60 and 115 kg so you can choose the prefered weight load.

If flies really well with the maximum load but since it does not need more speed it also flies great at the middle of the load. You have to forget about the B rating and think as this is a high intermediate with performances and piloting of a 2 wing but with a high passive safety.

Windtech's experience of 15 years.

Technical Specification Marks out of 3
Inflation : light you. Very compact • • •
Initiation of the turn : efective, good handling • • •
Turn reversal : quick answer • • •
Turns in very slow flight : it maintains, no problem • • •

Handling Marks out of 3
Slow flight : not nervous • • •
Normal flight : confort, perfect • • •
Accelerated flight : stable fast, acceleration • • •
Pitch : turning fast, you have to brake • • •
Roll : confort, stable • • •
Turns : agile • • •
Stall : in the brake trable • •
Tension : stabilo may loose tension • •

Performance (Zenith)

Wing loading 110 kg (3,8 kg/m2)
Min speed 23 Km/h
Speed 50% brake 32 Km/h
Trim speed 40 Km/h
Max speed (100% accelerator) 58 Km/h
Min sink rate 1,1 a 32 km/h
Best glide 9,5 to 40 km/h

*Measures at 1500m QNH and 28ºC

Manufacturer Windtech (Gijón, Spain) Designer Álvaro Valdés
Production Gijón (Spain) and Sri Lanka

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