Thank you for sending FIZZ SE to the Alps. The shipment worked really well. The glider was packed in cardboard and arrived here without damage on Friday, so it probably took only two days. Respect for 5,80m and determined 43 kg gross weight. In the last few days there was a lot of flying weather on the Alps and I was able to test my new FIZZ SE under natural, partly very thermal conditions in the Allgäu Alps.
In the meantime, I have made 6 takeoffs and landings, made innumerable thermal circuits and was in the air for almost 16 hours. I would like to give you some feedback, especially after your support and the season starting a little later:
Sail, construction and technology: The sail has become visually very beautiful, a real eye-catcher. Here in Oberammergau and Tegelberg some fly a "classic" Fizz, a number of towerless and of course the stare. When building it up therew was great curiosity of the fellow airmen and also envy of the beautiful wing clearly visible.
Trapeze corners and base: The new trapeze corners with the profiled speedbar seem to be very successful in terms of appearance and flow. The recessed grips in the base fit perfectly for my hands and arms. Even in high-speed flight and at crossings you can take the arms well to the body and then grips the base gently and aerodynamically in the middle of the rounding. Ergonomically, that suits perfect to me as a low-flying pilot.
Takeoff, landing, performance: The Fizz SE starts up exactly as I expected and experienced with my Twister and Spice. Easy to balance and handle, even with little wind it’s bearing fast. Love it! In the flying area familiar to me, the Fizz SE glides very well along the mountain profile. As felt and as expected with less loss of height than my previous device the last few years. Very fine! Light, delicate and central lift are instantly transformed into height without leaving the direction. Especially on my last flights, I have done some long gliding flights in moving, thermal air masses. I have analysed these flights - between 4km and 12 km with long valley crossings. It showed the gliding under realistic conditions with a glide ratio over 11, sometimes 12-13 –ie air movements and control impulse is very good! I think that's great and I increasingly trust to arrive high enough on the other side. I definitely dare to go further than before. The landing is expected to be widespread and prudent to choose. I expected that, because I wanted this wing because of the nice performance as well.
Thermal flying and rolling behavior: First and foremost: The FIZZ is rising very well. He reacts to the smallest air movement. I didn‘t like it at all times, especially at the beginning it was a bit exhausting. The reason is for sure also the new and (still) quite tight sail. Compared to my last glider with edge bow I had to relearn and I'm still on it. When flying into strong thermal or turbulent air, the FIZZ SE wants to be flown very attentively, because he wants "to do something with air movement" and thus sends clear signs to the pilot. If I was able to force my former hangglider with edge arch into the beard with little effort, once I fell out, it would not be a good idea to force the FIZZ around the "corner", because I'm just working against the supporting force which the incredibly powerful sail generates. The trick is to feel it before and not to let it come so far that you fall out. This, in turn, requires a very active pilot who knows how to handle speed and harness position, depending on the attitude and situation. And then the pilot will also be rewarded with a super rising wing and it becomes effortless and easy to handle. Just flying! Nevertheless, I keep more distance from dangerous lee side conditions and the bare rock walls than before. Maybe in the meantime I just have more respect.
Settings: At the end of my third flight, after about 6 flying hours, I flew some Wingover with a large reserve of altitude, perhaps to stretch the sail a bit. Before the fourth flight I lowered the inner and outside sprogs inside by one turn and after the fourth flight also reduced the sheer batten tension by 360 degrees backwards. My impression is that the Fizz now rolls and circles better. He turns in neutral, I have to support neither in curves nor when "high-siding". That's how it should be. The VG is a real surprise for me. On the one hand, it is very smooth and effortless. In the meantime, I really like to use it, because the many different positions make clearly recognizable and noticeable changes to the wing behavior and thus actually make sense in the respective situations and conditions. There is not just "everything" or "nothing". Even with 100% VG the Fizz is still easy to control with the body in case the wing has to be corrected by restless air flow or a wind drift.
Conclusion: A very successful wing with its own characteristics. The Fizz wants to be attentively and sensitively flown and is rewarding you with an outstanding performance. It is a high-performance glider in a beautiful robe for the experienced pilot who frequently fly and want to enjoy the whole flight, definitely not for fresh pilots or small landing sites.
Jürgen was a member of the German National Team at the Rigid Wing World Championship held 2006 in Florida/USA
I just wanted to test the new Fizz SE, mainly because it looked so good, despite having no real interest in flying high performance flexwings in recent times.
I‘ve been flying rigid-wings since 2002 between 2006 with some success in competitions. After an accident in 2016, in which I sustained more damage than my Atos (ouch), I flew went back to flying a single surface flexwing glider. After a short time, despite feeling very relaxed and comfortable both flying and landing, it did not give the desired feedback and enjoyment in the air. As my home in sites around Trier in Germany, I was already familiar with the Fizz SE, with is almost completely transparent Technora sail.
When first offered the chance to test fly this glider, I was a little sceptical. Those who have ever changed back to a flexwing after years of rigid wings will know why. I simply was not sure if the few flying hours on my rather basic single surface glider, with its easy and forgiving flight characteristics were enough.
However curiosity and the option to use a fin on early flights (an optionally extra), finally convinced me. The first flight was unfortunately only a sled ride but I had l been tempted! Although of course there was a huge difference to my single surface glider, I coped surprisingly well and had no problems to flying close to the slope.
Nobody stayed up after me either. After two more top to bottoms, finally a good weather window opportunity came to fly in Neumagen. After take-off I found a weak climb. On my right, both a Laminar Z9 and an Atos VQ were circling in thermals. The Z9 had made room for me and after a few circles and a little later, I was also above the VQ.
Perhaps it also the conditions were less suited to the VQ?
There were also other rigid wings in the air including two new VRS and an older VR and an Atos V. All the rigids had launched earlier and were now far above me. The climb was very weak and spread-out. As an ex Atos-pilot, I did not expect to beat the rigid wings in these conditions ………but who cares? I just wanted to enjoy the flight and find out if the Fizz SE flies as well as it looks. In short: it does!
The handling was exactly how I imagine it, light but not challenging and above all, very balanced and good-natured. You can fly the Fizz SE very slowly and it shows you every bubble of lift with precise feedback of the air around you.
After I`ve been testing the Fizz SE for a while on how it reacted in the weak thermals with different VG-positions when a strong thermal came through with up to 1m/s climb. Because the thermal diameter was not very tight, I left the VG at 1/3 on and circled the Fizz with about 20° bank. It responded beautifully in the thermals and can be re-centred with little effort. After a few circles, I saw a few shadows just above me. I had caught up with the rigid wings. We were still slightly below cloud-base; not really high at about 350m about take-off, but it was mid-January after all.
The next half hour I flew with the rigid wings, with all other flexwings at least 100 m lower. The glide ratio difference to the rigids was also surprisingly small.
Of course, I also tested flying at speed, especially as rigid-wing-pilots nearly always have the greatest handling problems when changing to flexis. Because of the fin damping the potential for PIO and with smooth air, it worked great.
On two approaches there was some pilot induced oscillation (PIO) but us calmed down with some sensible planning, although I always kept the speedbar pulled in – speed is safety on finals!. Of course, I could not resist a few wingovers when high. A little bit of fun is always good ….
On landing the Fizz SE forgives so much. Of course, the landing approach is not the same as on a single surface glider, so performance has its price.
I pushed out the control bar a little bit too early at first in zero wind in ground effect thinking it cannot fly that slowly without stalling or dropping a wing …………but it can!
Of course, I didn’t hold the control bar pushed out without a final flare, which usually ends in running after the glider and the inevitable nose-in. But the Fizz SE has no tendency to drop the nose, three quick steps whilst rapidly pushing out made it look easy.
I couldn’t resist even after these fun flights to reconsider flying my damaged Atos and even bought some used parts to repair it.
However, I was curious how the Fizz would fly in stronger conditions. At the second of my longer flights in Serrig it started very weak, narrow and uneven lift. With zero VG the Fizz and still using the fin, it responded to quick corrections during thermaling. It is also possible to circle the glider slowly, flat and tight and therefore I was the only one to get up that day. At 200 m over the launch point, the thermals “ignited” and amazingly for February was climbing at 3m/s. At 850 m over the take of area it was over. The sky rapidly shaded-out totally and as it was already 16.30 pm I used the altitude for a long glide.
The air was now completely smooth without lift but for a flexi with a king post, the glide angle was really impressive. When landing, I gently dropped the nose. I had a good excuse because my right shoe came off in the muddy field on my second step.
Well, that´s exactly what happened and I bought the Fizz SE there and then and I´m looking forward to my next flights.
Anyone who just wants to test the beautiful wing for fun, I can only warn them they may be spending money soon!! The Fizz SE fun, yet great for serious XCs and faster and with far more performance than you think.
Wishing everyone a safe and fun flying season in 2018...
Reidar Bertsen sends us this picture and says:
"The most fun flying machine ever..."
Reidar also has a nice youtube channel where you can find some videos of the Astir.
Bo Frazier wrote on 13 Oct 2015:
I wanted to report my experiences in flying the Astir I purchased this summer. I have had four mountain flights on the glider with each being for two hours or more. The glider is a joy to fly. I have been flying hang gliders for 35 years and have never flown a glider that handles as superbly as the Astir. It truly is an effortless glider to fly. I am able to stay up and climb in the lightest of lift and tiniest of thermals even though I am in the upper weight range for the glider with a body weight of 225 pounds. The glider will almost thermal itself with just occasional inputs from me. It's speed and glide also are excellent. I'm not a competition pilot but just enjoy thermal flying and occasional cross country flights and the glider has no weaknesses in those areas of flight. I could not be happier with my purchase of the Astir. If anyone is looking for a fun to fly high performance glider, they need an Astir.
Klaus Hoermann wrote on 17 April 2013:
Hi Harald, I had the maiden flight with my Astir last sunday in Garmisch... The glider is easy to launch; the tendency to drop the nose is much less noticeable than with earlier bowsprit gliders of mine. The sail is a beauty in flight, and I felt comfortable immediately, despite thermals of up to 8 m/sec! Landing was simple as well, and I was happy to be able to start the new season in this way, after the long winter break.
Greetings from Oberbayern
Oliver Sven Barth wrote from Brasil on 21 July 2011:
My Astir really flies fantastic with the Minimum! That's what I call real flying - thanks again for this beautiful bird.
"Let me say that I am very passionate about your glider. In 35 years of hanggliding I have flown over 25 gliders. I know when I am flying a glider that is special. That realisation came the moment I launched for the first flight in the Kite. It was truly love at first flight. We were merged together into a dance in the skies which felt effortless and exhilarating. She is my perfect partner in the air.
My confidence has increased and my flying has achieved a big leap forward in Europe with the Kite. I was flying with 2 top UK pilots in topless gliders and both in climbs and on glide I was easily a match for them. Whereas they were always worried about their landings I never had any concerns and achieved near perfect to perfect landings every time. I am now back in the UK and have flown the Kite with my Doodlebug and I have soared tiny dunes and sea walls with it. She can do it all so well!
The Kite is versatile, predictable, exhilarating and confidence building. I just wish I could find a woman that is all that!"
We are sometimes asked whether our hanggliders are suitable also for "big guys". Well, firstly, the Astir, Kite and Fizz are certified for hook-in weights of 115-120 kg. A report we received from Kite pilot Andreas shows that these wings, thanks to their high-lift capacities, do work in practice with such a loading.
Andreas Fuchs wrote on 8 April 2013:
in Dec. 2012, I was in the bautek factory with my Kite (manufactured 2008) for the first check. You made the trim quite a bit slower (hang point, sail tension, batten profile). Now I have aerotowed the glider for the first time after the trim change - I was excited!
All three landings were perfect; the right moment for flaring was clearly noticeable. When I was thermalling, I also felt that the trim is at the slower end.
For launching and landing, the VG was pulled by one base-bar's length. My hook-in weight is 110 kg.