UP Trango-X

April 14, 2023

In 2016, UP launched the Trango X-Race, with a 7 aspect ratio. If you have already read my test, then you would probably know that I fell in love with the handling, and overall performance at the time. Many EN-C gliders have emerged since then, but I can assure you not one has satisfied my spoiled and picky nature for breaking authority and handling. Yep…That’s me… Until PHI got the Maestro 2 as an EN-B size 21 and flew at 95 all up, to find a slightly similar feel and I was really happy to fly it and still, just to feel that handling taste. Now UP has released the 2023 Trango-X in the EN-C category, and my only concern even in my dreams was: “Please I really hope that they didn’t change that brake authority and feel…” It was indeed in my mind all the time! Believe me! :-) And there it was…I opened the box, the Trango-X in SM size 85-100. The Risers… Franta’s configuration (Frantisek Pavlousek ‘designer’)…Since he left Axis a long time ago. At that time I had a Venus 1 and 2 and the RX version. The risers configuration always had the B risers longer than the A, and C risers or D at the time. The Venus 2 S size in 2009 was for me a favorite. It was gliding much better than very well-known brands at the time, and few pilots tasted that, unfortunately… Now came the 2 line era! The Trango-X has been released with a hybrid option 2.5 Lines. If you are that special pilot who is looking only for a pure 2-liner C glider and just reading this test for fun…Then you are completely mistaken my friend! Read further down to see what the surprise UP has prepared for you! UP uses a mix of the excellent Porcher Skytex 32 Universal and Porcher Skytex 27 Classic II on top and bottom, with a mix of Edelrid 8000U-090/070/050/230/190/120 (Aramid unsheathed) / Liros DC60 /120/100 (Dyneema unsheathed). The construction and details are really good with a total weight of 4.5 kg in a semi-light build. As you see in the picture the leading edge has a pointed shark nose and small openings. UP opted for a 2.5-line riser setup. Launching the Trango -X with no wind is very straightforward and very easy to lift with no hard point. In the stronger breeze, no shooting forward with a little brake. I flew the Trango-X from 93 to 97 and it flies really well at 93 without the feel of less load. At 97 it's also perfect in strong air! Still on my beloved X-rated 6 XL. First turn….A WIDE smile on my face !!! YEEEPEEEEEEEEEEE !!! UP didn’t fail me by the delivered brake authority and feel !! The brake pressure is on the moderate side, with 10 cm to steer the glider and from 10 to 20 cm a super ‘linear’ input very precise to put the Trango-X ‘as you wish’ option! That’s what I’m talking about! A really nice steering glider gives good authority for the pilot even in strong air, and a very pleasurable one. The feedback has a slightly mixed feel that comes from the brakes 30 % and 70% from the glider. The perfect blend! Behavior in strong air: The Trango-X is easier to fly than its predecessor the Trango race, needing less than 30 % pilot input that was required by the older version. It needs around 10 % more active pilot control than the Artik-R. But that spicy and balanced feel under it will be cherished by the educated pilots that would fly it! The roll movements are on the moderate side, delivering exactly what a pilot must feel. The pitch has a slight and smooth pitch forward. Climb rate: In surfing that airmass the Trango-X doesn’t have a pitch back at all, nor a neutral pitch. Just a very slight forward pitch into the airmass! A delightful feel when flying through the air! The climb rate in strong thermals is really good. I flew with my friends on the Artik-R 23, and we were inseparable in weak and in strong thermals. Just to let you know that the Artik -R climb is really good, and probably just slightly more efficient in climb rate than the Photon, in weak air. Yes, there was also an Ozone Photon ML flying near all the time…As I was also test-flying the Photon with Trango-X, Artik-R, LT2, and Bonanza 3. at the same time. Alternating gliders convinced me that the Trango-X climbs superbly well! That feel of the Trango-X leading edge that pulls you gently into the thermal without any pitch-back back is a delight! You can feel that efficiency in surfing the air. When you fly a pleasurable glider, that urge to find thermals just to get the ‘pleasure of the turn’! Now you know that I’m hooked ;-) … Ok, that’s it…I’ll stop. Let's talk about the surprise! I mean the glide… One day, there was a strong north headwind with a really high cloud base for the day. It was the time to test the ability of the Tango-X versus the other pure 2-line competitors! While my friends on a Bonanza 3 S flown at 94, Artik-R 21 flown at 94, and Photon ML flown at 102 all up, were flying also near. We decided to go on a glide facing the wind, at trim and then at the half bar and later on full bar… The glides were repeated 3 days in a row to be sure before I write anything. After all, this is a 2.5-line configuration glider and anything written should be very accurate, at least for my personal peace of mind. What would you think of the outcome? After many glides wing tip to wing tip, the Trango-X with the 2.5 line configuration is nothing but excellent right next to the top ones of that EN-C category …believe it or not. At half bar, it is also very competitive. The C riser controls work well in controlling the glider movements. They have a moderate to hard feel and are quite usable. The pressure is harder than the Artik-R ones or the Photon. At full bar, the Trango-X has 18+ km/h over the trim with an incredibly good glide angle! The speed bar is heavy on the second bar. The leading edge is still solid at full bar. The details will be published on my 2-liner C comparisons, for tiny details. But prepare to see it very close to the top ones! Ears can be done with outside A’s and reopen without pilot intervention, or with outer B’s which opens quicker. Both are efficient to get down. Wingovers on the Trango-X can become very high after two turns! Showing its playful behavior. Conclusion: The Trango-X has an excellent and efficient glide through a moving airmass and converts any lift to climb without slowing, bumping, or losing the glide. Sometimes it is difficult to describe that feeling, but I can say that the UP TRANGO-X surfs the air with an efficient ‘attitude’ … It likes to fly. UP has created a 2.5-line EN-C glider that can easily compete in climb and glide flawlessly, against all the current 2 liners I am currently test flying. All that with delightful and pleasurable handling. It would be a shame if at least you can test fly that glider if it suits your pilot needs! Don’t let it slip your ‘list’ like that old 2009 Venus 2 did to many! I found out that the optimum weight for that glider is around 95…96. Happy testing !! :-) Ziad


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