Lower Bridal March 31, 2021, test flight of Ozone Alpina 4 S

 My first Bridal flight of the season, and there is still a bit of snow on the launch.  Arriving on launch around 1:30pm, which is early, and the sun was still not yet on-face, with a little east wind about.

Even as we waited for the sun to come around it remained east on launch which made launching quite tough.  Even Alan (who normally launches very early and consistently) was having difficulties!

I was flying Alex's Alpina4, which we have since discovered has a tendency to "taco" (tips come up first, middle last) during light/no-wind forward launches (even with a perfect layout), and of course this is exactly what happened.  After a couple of tries I actually laid the glider out next to the picnic table near the top, pointing towards the lower part of the launch to the east, and took off that way towards the parking lot, doing a last-second diversion to dive off the edge and into clear air.

Lower launch is mostly snow free.

Once in the air it was light east, not as much as launch would have you think, but enough to be noticeable.  It was very stable and getting above launch was tough, so I spent most of my flight at- or below launch height, where you could stay indefinitely if you were so inclined.  Folks at Woodside were reporting similar stable conditions, and the Benny folks were having an easier time, so Mt. St. Benedict was probably the best site for today's conditions.

I was flying the Alpina4 near the upper end of the weight range (65-85kg), whereas I'm over on my usual glider (60-80kg).  So compared to the Lynx the A4 felt a bit floatier, and was softer in pretty much all respects (turning, brakes, agility, etc).  As a 5'1" pilot, I found the "bridge" between the B's and C's for rear-riser flying to be a bit too high to reach without stretching...taller pilots will probably not have this issue.

All-in-all, the A4 would be a nice C glider for the hike-n-fly pilot (although not for technical sites with a short and narrow runway and low or nil wind, where a perfect overhead inflation is required), or someone looking for a lightweight glider.  I've already ordered a Phi Allegro X Alps so the test-flight of the A4 was more for comparison's sake and because Alex has one!

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