Phi MAESTRO paraglider review

maestro! hey morning! what have I got here? Phi maestro. see very slim line. 2A 2B 2Cs and a Stabilo. proudly displaying the Hannes Papesh signature as the designer. We’ve had quite a build-up to this wing.
Phi’s been teasing us because Hannes has started off with the A-class, so he first
released the Symphonia whichis a high A; we’ve had the Sonata which is an A;
he’s gone onto the Tenor which is mid B and slowly worked his way up to this
wing: the Maestro. so what’s a maestro?Well if you think about how the the whole
range has been set up, we’ve got the Tenor which is placed as a mid B but is
a very capable XC wing (you can see Carlo’s review) and that wing is very
good for cross country so they’ve already got quite a capable cross country wing …
it’s a progression wing but yeah it’s certainly challenging some of the top XC gliders in the high B class. so that sets
Phi up to be able to make this Maestro sit right at the top of the high B class
they don’t have to cater to the lower end of their B category they can
position it right at the top to get the maximum performance. but let’s see what
the handling is like. is it tricky and right on the edge or is it quite
accessible? let’s find out! very soft loose sort of brake, just a bit
of sponginess in the base, quite big enough and quite easy to get your hand
out of. A fair amount a force being generated on the ground in not particularly
strong conditions. The wing has got a fair pull to it. just holding it down on the brakes there
and it’s a little bit untidy so let’s transition to the back risers. holding the back risers in, it’s easy and nice
and controlled. I haven’t got much brake on there I’m just using the back risers.
It wants to rise up in the center but if I walk towards it it’ll calm down. and let’s take back risers and the brakes and that gives it a nicer shape easier to control on the ground. I check my airspace. I’m just going to pop it
up with no hands … quite easy. okay if you just pull up like that (no As) it
generates quite a lot of force. brakes are light and they feel responsive. that’s just quarter break it’s quite light that’s fairly deep brakes that’s good resistance to stall, it didn’t
feel like it is ready to go without any warning down at my hips and there it goes. I’m going to do a normal pull-up using the centre A’s There seems to be less power doing that pull up on the center A’s very light and easy It’s a very light feeling. The glider is light and responsive. when you combine it with the moderately short or accessible stall
point you get a little bit more challenging launching because if the
wing dives forward and you catch it too hard you can stall it like that and then
the wing’s behind you so it’s definitely not for a beginner pilot. If you’re a beginner you’re going to find that a little bit tricky to control If you know what you’re doing
you can get this sort of launch where you just step off Everything is shaded a little bit of a thermal there but I
can feel as soon as I turn I’m out of the front already so it wasn’t big
enough to do a 360 so in that case I’m just gonna come back through the same
lift again do gentle figure-of-eights. there it is.
then you see already I’m out the other side, I’m in the sink there. it’s
very small. somewhere back here. that’s where the lift is and now I go straight
into wind. just changed direction a bit it’s a bit more northeast. into wind on that.
there’s a core and if I’m quick I can hook it around on that one and on my second turn I can get it slightly better into the core by just widening out my turn slightly okay I’m not gonna get away in this but
it’s certainly worth working. The Maestro feels nice on the glide, it’s very
steady and it’s not jumping ahead. A little hawk turning here, he’s not really
climbing either he’s just kind of there. It’s very light. I’m feeling I’m getting a
nice turn on this but not as much speed and energy as I’d get on a C class wing,
it’s a little bit dampened out but really just a touch, just taking the
sting out of the turn. It’s fairly quick. it’s a tight enough turn without being a
very whippy turn it’s a good climbing turn, very efficiently. moderate pressure that’s required it’s fairly light initially but the
actual turn that I’m requiring to do for the thermaling has moderate pressure. that’s the core. just putting in one break to see what it
does I’m not using the outside brake and you can time that and see how quick that
360 was. this is a sort of established 360 without using the outside is very easy
I’m not having to actually manage the outside you can just let that go and
this is locked here. I do this sometimes as a test to see how much wheight shift do I
need to do to counteract the energy of the glider. this is really sweet and easy
and doing very little adjustments I’m not doing anything on my inside hand. I’m not suggesting this is a safe thing to do, I’m just showing you this is locked so that you can see I’m not doing any input
I’m just leaving it and letting it go around by itself and its finding its balance quite happily now if
I was going to add this I’d be using that just to catch some of the lift and
just to slow down when I want to straighten up and if I’m going to use
the inside brake I’d be tightening on the stronger lift. but pretty much I don’t have to do
anything really. The glider is set, it’s just going round and it’s happy. one of the
tests I like to just to test the glider to see if it’s safe in the class is to
put in too much brake on the inside in a thermaling turn with a bit of outside
brake on, so it’s like a really slow turn let’s drag it around like that, I’ve got a lot of brake on. I feel like it’s … there! it’s just about to slip. took quite a while. It was a very smooth
thermal but it shows that the glider is very safe so now we can try bar I’m going on to
the first step going onto the second step I need to spread my legs a little bit
just to get full bar. looking at the way it handles on the back risers it gives
you a little bit of a kink I’d prefer to have a linked system here lovely thermal ah okay how cool was that? That was
really nice, I mean for a completely grey overcast day, I managed to pop out a little
triangle … that was sweet! getting up on the point up there and getting up really
high with a beautiful view. I managed to do a big glide all the way back into wind and
ended up where I started so it just proves that paragliders still don’t have
a hell of a lot of reach into wind. I had a 20 km/h headwind one meter a second thermal pretty much when I left the thermal and went on glide I ended up
where I’d started about half an hour earlier. so a very difficult day to do a
triangle I didn’t manage to get out in front of the ridge but managed to get
there over the back down to the corner and back again that was a nice little
challenge had about two hours of flying on the maestro in thermic conditions, a little punchy at times but generally pretty smooth probably about one metre per second on average sometimes going up to two and I had to be very precise with my turns
to stay in the lift, to make the most out of these weak conditions. the glider
certainly felt very light in the air the brake pressure is quite light in
the beginning and then when you are in a thermaling turn, moderate pressure.
A reasonable amount of travel down to that thermaling point but it does start giving you a bit of a response on the very light first little piece so if you’re
wanting just to fly around in delicate feely kind of stuff you don’t need much
pressure but there’s definitely a second step of medium pressure when you are
thermaling and turning. the wing is quite calm, light and calm, not calm in a
in a heavy kind of way, calm in a steady way with light feeling.
I definitely had a lot of feeling through the wing and I also felt that
you had to be on it you had to stay on the controls it wasn’t the kind of wing
that’s got this kind of massive collapse resistance and sort of reinforced
feeling which bulldozes through everything, it’s definitely not that, it’s
on the other end of the scale where I felt like in bumpy active conditions I
didn’t want to let go of the controls to fiddle around with my instruments I felt
like I needed to be there just to put in those small catch motions and active
flying input. it’s not scary it’s not like it’s about to do something wild but
I did feel like I had some tip collapses, closures where I was fiddling around with
something and the glider went Hup! forward and you need to be on it. The turn is a nice quick turn if you put in the brake quickly and you hook a turn
around it will turn and then it will flatten out a little bit it doesn’t turn
and then want to hook and roll so I felt like the turns weren’t rolling a lot but
just the right amount very nice you can grab onto something swing it
around and then that energy kind of … the speed is still there you can go into your
turn but it flattens out which gives you this nice quick catch the thermal and then the flatten out and go straight into
thermaling efficiently, it doesn’t roll over into the thermal you don’t have to
be controlling that kind of roll. I found you needed very little on the outside
brake, if anything. you can just put your therming turn in I did one long turn
where I just sort of clamped my hand on the riser onto the the carabiner and let
the other hand go just to test and I didn’t need to do a lot of adjusting in
my harness, so that tells you something about the the smoothness and the
steadiness. it doesn’t accelerate a lot I mean you
don’t have speed that you need to control it’s fairly calm and smooth in
its thermaling turn which is very nice. I found it was very easy to thermal and
relaxing I wasn’t using a lot of energy to control the glider in the thermal.
when I straightened up and I went on bar I thought it was fairly light on the bar and
did accelerate nicely I could still feel a lot of the air. some gliders when you
go onto bar they kind of stiffen up and you feel like you don’t get a lot of
feeling about what the air is doing I’m thinking more of like the Mentor gliders
which seems when you go on bar it feels like there’s a lot of tolerance
still for more bar like it’s fairly dull on bar. the Maestro certainly I could
feel all the little air currents still so you still feel like you want to be
on the back risers at least and just controlling the glider, getting the
feeling of what the air is doing rather than just put on the bar and fiddle with your
instruments. big ears comes in easily they shake but the glider is stable
just the tips shake and if you let them go they reinflate on their own the majority of the section reinflates
and the last little bit of the tips just tickles out over time. I
felt on glide it didn’t feel like it was jumping ahead it felt like it was
sitting maybe five degrees back from vertical not very scientific I know but
that was the feeling like it was balanced and it didn’t need a lot of
management and it wasn’t it wasn’t knocking back jumping forward it was a
fairly steady glide. I did feel as I went into lift that the glider did sit
slightly back and then it would come back to return that’s pretty normal for
an XC class wing that’s where you’ll find a bit of a
difference if you go up a class the gliders start to cut into
the thermal and lead forward. I felt it’s knocked slightly back before it went into
the thermal. so who is the maestro for? Experienced pilots that
are looking for that high B safety in reinflation and the way the glider holds
itself together, pilots that enjoy a glider that’s got feeling and feedback
in the air and a glider that does demand a little
bit of you, that you need to be on the glider on the controls, engaged
and in contact with the air. It gives you a very good contact feeling with the air currents, I could feel what was going on all around me even
accelerated you’re getting feedback from the air, so it’s not a dull glider, it’s got life but not a lot of energy it feels like it’s fairly calm. if
you’re going to turn, if you put in a lot of brake you get a quick
response but then it flattens out and converts that into a nice climbing turn.
so it’s not like something that’s got loads of energy it feels fairly together
and fairly balanced quite easy to fly. having said that I do you feel it’s at
the top end of the high B class in terms of pilot demands and the pilot
match. the ideal pilot isn’t a pilot that’s straight out of school for sure,
or unsure, hasn’t done an SIV course, not totally on top of their gliding
and active flying skills. you need to be a fairly advanced pilot to be getting a
good match with this wing and being able to sync with it. I felt like it had a
fair amount of power on the pull up on the launch, the launch wanted to go ahead
you needed to be able to control that and time your launch properly and also
if you kind of jam on the brakes to stop it going ahead you can get to the stall
point. it’s a fairly long travel and pretty average for the class but that
could catch you out if you’re a beginner and you’ve got this surge and you need
to hold it back. I think for pilots that are wanting to really get going on
their XC flying and are going to spend hours in the air, want a glider that isn’t
tiring to fly (because of the light controls and the responsive handling it
doesn’t take a lot out of you) but it keeps you connected with the air. it’s
great for big XC adventures and pilots who want to go far.

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