The Falcon line of gliders is the most popular model line in our history. The reason? – The Falcon offers the highest level of effective soaring performance for the greatest range of pilot skill and experience of any glider we’ve ever made.
What is higher effective performance? It’s a lot of things. It’s the higher probability that you will get an extended soaring flight on any given day, rather than just a quick sled ride to the bottom of the hill, or back to the tow launch area. It’s the more controlled launch and departure, and the easier and more controlled approach and landing that will ensure that you’ll fully enjoy every aspect of your flight, not just the soaring portion. It’s the faster rate at which you will build your flying skills, as find it easier to dial into your glider and acquire more airtime and experience. It’s the lighter weight, faster set-up time, and lower cost that the Falcon provides. The Falcon 3 has already demonstrated its real world performance capability with a single surface record XC flight of over 200 miles.
When is a Falcon not enough glider for you? Maybe never. At Wills Wing, each of our factory test pilots has decades of experience, and multiple thousands of flights and flight hours, and yet we’d still just as soon fly a Falcon on any given flight as anything else we make. And when the soaring conditions are most challenging, we know that even with our skills and experience, we’ll have our best chance at soaring on a Falcon.
The Sport 2 line is the next step up from the Falcon. When is it time to consider moving up to a Sport 2? Well, first there are some pre-requisites. To start with, you should have very solid basic skills – if you’re still developing those, you’ll only be held back by trying to move up to a more challenging glider too soon. You should be at the point on a Falcon where you don’t really have to think about how you fly the glider – it should feel pretty much like an extension of your own body. Also consider the type of flying you do. If most of your flying is done at slow speeds, near minimum sink rate speed, and in light winds, and if your landing area is a short, comfortable glide from your launch point, you won’t see a significant gain in performance, and maybe no gain at all, in moving up to a Sport 2. If, on the other hand, you are commonly flying in moderate winds with a need to fly upwind to a somewhat distant landing area, and if you’re comfortable enough with your skills to engage the VG when you need to fly faster or get increased performance, then you may be ready to take advantage of the higher performance the Sport 2 can offer under those circumstances.
Next up from the Sport 2, and just below the T2, is the U2. When should you consider the U2 instead of the Sport 2? Again, it comes down primarily to your performance needs, and your skill level. If you can fly the Sport 2 completely effectively with the VG set at between 50% and 100%, and if that is where you typically find yourself flying it in order to get the performance you need, and if you still feel like you could use a little more glide, or a little more speed, then you may be ready for the U2. There is a very significant difference in the Sport 2’s performance at VG off versus VG 75%, so if you’re not regularly using a significant amount of VG on the Sport 2, then you’re not yet utilizing the performance that is already available to you. As a result you won’t see a significant performance gain over the Sport 2 in moving up to a U2 until you’re ready to start flying with the VG engaged. Also, make sure before you consider moving up that your landings are completely solid, and that you have no qualms about your ability to set up an approach, even under challenging conditions into a small field, because these will be considerably more demanding on the U2. If you are still at the point where you feel challenged by any aspect of flying the Sport 2, it’s not time to move up to something more difficult.
The T2 is our top of the line glider, and it is the most challenging and most demanding of pilot skill of any glider we make. Considering the performance it offers, it is, in its most mild state of tune, with VG full off, a remarkably accessible and straight-forward glider to fly. However, in that configuration, you are not getting anywhere near the full performance the glider offers, and therefore, again, if you don’t have the skills to engage the VG and still fly the glider effectively, you won’t see the benefits in performance from moving up to this class of glider. If you reach the stage in the development of your skills and experience where you can fly a U2 effectively with the VG set between 50% and 100%, and where you have no reservations about your landings or landing approaches in even the most difficult situations, and if you regularly find that you feel the need for still more performance, then you may be a candidate for the T2. Short of that level of skill, you are not likely to realize performance benefits from the T2 that would fairly compensate you for the increased cost, weight and complexity of the glider.
The T2C is the competition version of our T2. It utilizes carbon rear leading edges and carbon sprogs supported by stronger cables that feature reduced stretch under load to build extra stiffness into the airframe and stability system, both of which allow for significantly lower twist at tighter VG settings, and, as a result, increased performance. (The use of carbon in the T2C has been specifically employed to allow for a tighter, flatter twist curve at higher VG settings – the carbon components do not significantly reduce the weight of the glider.) If you’re planning a season on the comp circuit, and if you have the skills to effectively fly the T2 with the VG significantly engaged, yielding a tighter, flatter sail, the T2C will provide the highest level of performance that you can buy. However, at VG settings of 33% or looser, you probably won’t see a measurable performance gain over a stock T2 with the aluminum airframe.