The LIFT EZ is APCO‘s latest generation of reflex wings designed as an “all round” wing for beginner or experienced pilots. Mine arrived fresh from the factory via Terry Lutke who declined to demo the wing even though he had my blessing. Terry claims that he wants me to have the honor of the first flight and that’s very nice of him…. But….I think he just didn’t want to take the chance blending it. To that I say….ah Heck… It’s going to be up close and personal with Elizabeth sooner or later. CHICKEN!!
The first thing I noticed was the fabric was lighter than my previous wings and it has been chemically treated giving it a slicker feel. APCO claims it will increase lifespan by reducing UV damage and abrasion. They also claim zero porosity over the life of the glider. This wing is the large model measuring 29.2 m and 25 m projected area. It’s rated to 407 lbs. all up, so we are right at the top of the placard. The Brasiliera color scheme I selected is Red Yellow and Green, it is vibrant and totally out of character with the Falcon… But… I like it.
The trimmer range is several inches longer than I’m used to and the hatch marks span both positive and negative trim. It’s been suggested that the negative trim would be helpful when adjusting for crosswind flying or possibly anti torque. It’s unknown territory for me. I’ve requested info from APCO and would like to start a discussion of trim and characteristics on Facebook. Hopefully I’ll be able to do an intelligent report on glider behavior with this wing.
The manual says it is safe to fly at any setting, so I assume it is ok to fly with the trim fully closed.
I don’t know what to expect because it kites like a power mattress with trims fully closed.
There are several safety features. The SRS Stall Recovery System is a clever riser design that allow the A and the C and D risers to slide in opposing directions. If the wing were ever to go into a parachutal stall the load would shift elevating the C and D risers and pulling the A riser down, accelerating the wing back into a flight. Since I tend to fly like an old lady, I’ve never experienced a parachutal stall.There is also a series of valves at the top of the leading edge. When the wing is in reflex and the Angle of Attack is lowered these HIT valves open up increasing internal pressure. This feature really becomes important when using the speed system. The tip steering is also a little different. Instead of just pulling down the stabilo line the WSS Wind Scoop System cups the wing tips, creating drag without lift.
For the first flights, I set the trim to neutral, the take offs and landing were clean and uneventful. Climb is good in neutral but goes down fast in reflex. At one point I was climbing at 250 fpm but the average seems to be around 175 fpm, descent was around 500 fpm. Turning with the tip steering is smooth and requires minimum pull. I did notice that we were losing altitude in turns and I’m going to experiment with different thrust to figure out what makes for a flat turn. Turning against the torque is discouraged and when it’s also against the wind, the wing resists greatly. It reminds me of the way the power play swing used to react.
Both days there was building wind and it was hard to judge the speed but I don’t think it’s any faster than I was with the Eden III, probably 30 mph. I might think about the speed system
There were a few annoyances….
Its hard to see the scale marks on the trim tabs, and when closed, the loose webbing can get in the way. These things are probably no big deal and after 10 flights I won’t even notice but right now, they complicate the flight.
But I Really liked….
The new magnets, they really grab the toggles.
The Flexon Battons that shap the cell openings.
The butt holes to keep my wing clean. 🙂
Overall it’s a nice wing. The flight characteristics are predictable and benign but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s clearly suitable for a beginner and I think the huge speed range possible with this wing will keep me interested for awhile.