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(Annotation from bautek: 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 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 its 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.
* Special thanks to Garry Hume (bautek dealer UK) for helping with the translation from German into English
Tom Becher wrote on 9 March 2017:
wow, now this is a phantastic bird. I’m stoked.
Had to wait a bit for decent flying conditions, so I had time to work out my shoulder muscles. The day before yesterday, the forecast was for unflyable weather. But on take-off, conditions were very good, so I could fly in a strong northerly wind and in strong springtime thermals. Yesterday was fairly perfect, first with good blue thermals, later somewhat shaded with moderate to weak conditions. In the first half I managed to fly a sensational average: 90 km in exactly 2 hours and 30 minutes. Looks good for big distances.
So these two days had everything I needed to make an assessment of the new Fizz. As you know, I’m not very good at describing impressions verbally; and I guess the statement „perfect bird“ wouldn’t quite satisfy you.
Anyway, I’ll try to compare this glider to previous versions of the Fizz:
In thermals, the glider is absolutely neutral. No highsiding required in weak and in strong thermals. It’s even neutral with different VG settings. I tried this up to 40 % VG. Interesting comparison to my previous Fizzs, where I used to thermal with 0% VG most of the time; the new one can be flown in a stable manner with 10, 20 and 30 percent VG. Perfect. During the first half of yesterday's flight, I thermalled with 15 to 30 % VG.
Rough conditions are dampened much better than with my earlier Fizzs; this one is softer, more comfortable, more balanced. Couldn’t be better.
Performance is noticeably higher than with the last Fizz. …
Thank you for this beautiful bird. If you need further info, just let me know.
I hope all is well, Just thought I would share my experience, and the interest in the Fizz with you after a competition in Tennessee last week.
The ATOS pilot that flew my Fizz is called Fred Kaemerer, he is the ATOS importer and distributor for the USA and after his flight, at the prize ceremony he said it was the sweetest king-posted glider he had ever flown and that he had flown nearly all of the them.
There were also a number of unhappy XX* pilots, including a good friend of mine, and I could have sold my glider a number of times over to YY* pilots!
Thank you again for making such an incredible glider, I feel very privileged and honoured to show off its capabilities to US pilots and hopefully there will be a few more in the skies soon.
* Glider type blanked.
Last weekend, our club chief instructor and I set up this beauty, and he performed the first flight. His first comments after landing were:
"Best King Post Glider I have ever flown. Extremely fast, controllable, fun, different. Hard to stall in slow flight. Flies like an older topless, but with easier control. This wing must be a killer in a Sport Class competition."
Next Saturday, weather permitting, it's going to be my turn. With the tail fin, the wing seems to be very stable on tow. I'll report.
Thanks again for this beautiful wing, have a nice holiday.
Après deux saisons de vols avec FIZZ je désire vous faire partager mes sensations, je n’aborderai pas les aspects techniques que nous pilotes de loisir laissons aux constructeurs.
Les sensations sont nombreuses avec FIZZ, en premier lieu il y a l’objet sur lequel absolument rien ne dérange, les ajustements sont beaux et propres, les formes harmonieuses, elle est simplement belle avec un montage simple et efficace , en second si vous soulevez FIZZ la surprise est agréable, elle est légère, bien équilibrée et homogène, un coup d’œil vers les bouts des ailes c’est déjà le bonheur, en troisième si vous courrez avec elle vous soulèvera avec douceur en ligne droite, c’est FIZZ.
En vol instinctivement vous pensez tourner et là la pensée fait tourner, c’est FIZZ, ensuite le plus fabuleux reste à venir, comme en planeur vous connaissez certainement la sensation aux fesses , là il vous suffit de déposer vos épaules dans les sangles de votre harnais et la magie opère, vous vous connectez au FiZZ, votre corps fait pendule sous la voile et vos sens s’emballent, c’est de cette incroyable sensation dont je voulais vous faire part, les épaules déposées libèrent vos bras et vos mains deviennent légères, votre esprit est connecté à FIZZ, la montée est telle une danse, jamais je n’ai ressenti cela, c’est à vivre sans modération, c’est FIZZ.
Les vols réalisés l’année dernière à Annecy et cette année à St André ont été plus faciles et plus confortables qu’avec mes ailes de course sans mât, certes un peu moins vite mais c’est tout, les données parlent d’elles mêmes, les traces sont disponibles.
A la fin vous devez ramener FIZZ au sol car lui il reste en l’air, c’est au pilote de bien le poser mais FIZZ vous donnera toutes les chances d’y arriver en beauté, même de vous garder en vie dans une situation difficile, merci mon FIZZ ;)
Ainsi je pourrais si Bautek me le permet, résumer que FIZZ sort tout droit d’un programme de développement de nom de code «SENS» car en Français on trouve sensation, sensitive, sentiment, sensationnelle ! Que de jolis mots qui relient le physique à l’esprit, c’est FIZZ bien sur.
Merci Harald, à ton équipe. Fabien G.
After two seasons of flights with FIZZ I wish to share my feelings with you. I will not deal with the technical aspects which we, as leisure pilots, may happily leave to the manufacturers.
The feelings are numerous with FIZZ. Firstly there is the glider on which absolutely nothing disturbs, the adjustments are beautiful and clean, the shape is harmonious, it is simply beautiful with a simple and effective assembly. Secondly, if you raise FIZZ the surprise is pleasant: it is light, well balanced and homogeneous, a glance towards the ends of the wings is a joy already. Thirdly, on your start run it will lift you from the ground gently and in a straight line, this is the FIZZ.
In flight, you instinctively think of turning, and the thought itself makes it turn, this is the FIZZ. And then, the most fabulous thing: just like in a sailplane there is the “buttocks feeling”, here it is enough for you to relax your shoulders in the straps of your harness and the magic operates: you connect yourself to FIZZ, your body moves under the sail and your senses unite. It is this incredible feeling of which I wanted to inform you, the relaxed shoulders release your arms and your hands become light, your spirit is connected to the FIZZ, the rise becomes dance. I’ve never had this experience, it is “life without moderation”, this is the FIZZ.
The flights carried out last year at Annecy and this year at St André were easier and more comfortable than with my topless competition wings, certainly a little less fast but this is all, the data speak for themselves, GPS tracks are available.
Finally, you must land the FIZZ (because it wants to stay up in the air), it is for the pilot to make a good landing, but the FIZZ will give you all the chances to do it beautifully, even to stay alive in difficult situations, thank you my FIZZ;)
Thus I could resume, if Bautek allows it, that the FIZZ comes directly from a development program with the code name “SENS” because in French one finds this code name in words like “sensation, sensitive, sentiment, sensationnelle » (sensation, sensitive, sentiment, sensational) ! Beautiful words which connect the physics to the spirit, just like the FIZZ, of course.
Thank you Harald, with your team. Fabien G.
After a few flights on the FIZZ I was blown away with the glide. No disrespect to XXX* but it kicks my YYY* butt for glide (it's not even close). The handling was predictable and the flare window at landing has a good solid feel. Set up and breakdown is a snap.
Many pilots commented on the craftsmanship and quality. Some wanted to fly it but they would have to pry it from my hands. My wife who is a non pilot even says it looks awesome
I will send more photos,reviews and some flying stories in the near future. Thank you for such a beautiful wing
John Musto USHGPA #39118
* Name of manufacturer and glider blanked.
We are particularly pleased when a bautek glider brings back the joy of flying. Here's Bernd's report:
ich hatte das Vergnügen im vergangenen Dezember bei dir den Fizz Vorführer abholen zu können.... Vorweg, dein Angebot den Drachen zurück zu geben, falls ich nicht klar komme, kannst du "vergessen"!!! Komme super klar damit. Aufbau kein Problem, Start völlig neutral auf den Schultern und die Abhebegeschwindigkeit ist niedrig. Im Flug ist der Drachen leichtgängig aber überhaupt nicht nervös. Gutes Feedback was in der Luft gerade los ist und selbst bei 30km/h keine Tendenz in die Kurve zu schmieren.... Bin gleich beim ersten Flug näher an die Baumkronen als mit meinem bisherigen Gerät..... Und ich fühlte mich rundum wohl und sicher!!!! …
Das Sinken war niedrig, die Gleitleistung ohne gespannte VG liegt meiner Einschätzung und Erfahrung im Bereich anderer moderner Turmgeräte, geringstes Sinken ist wohl absolute Spitzenklasse. Was die Gleitleistung mit voll gespannter VG angeht, habe ich gegenüber meinem bisherigen, 10 Jahre alten "Turmlosen" nur bei hohen Geschwindigkeiten das Gefühl schlechter zu gleiten. Bei einem Speed von 50 bin ich der Meinung keine schlechteren Werte zu haben.......
Und jeder noch so tolle Flug geht mit der Landung zu Ende. Bei mir in dem letzten Jahr leider öfters unschön und auch mehrmals schmerzhaft! Deshalb hatte ich den allergrößten Respekt vor der Landung, denn damit habe ich meine weitere Fliegerkarriere eng verbunden! Klappt es nicht, höre ich auf, das war für mich glasklar... Nun die Landung hat geklappt, UND wie die Landung klappt. Ausschweben, aufrichten und die Höhe halten.... Dann macht es einfach "flopp" und man steht!!!!!!!! Der Drachen nimmt die Nase mehr oder weniger von alleine nach oben so bald die Höhe nicht mehr gehalten werden kann. Und das bei sehr geringer Geschwindigkeit und etwa ein drittel gespannter VG. Dabei ist der Drachen null nervös.
Ein tolles Gerät was ich nicht mehr hergeben werde, auch wenn ich noch mit dem anbringen der Winglets beim Aufbau meine kleinen Schwierigkeiten habe...
Dir Harald besten Dank für deine Unterstützung und die Energie die du in diesen Vogel gesteckt hast! Es hat sich gelohnt... Ich bin Fizzinfiziert!!
Gruss und happy landings... Bernd
Excerpts in English: "... In flight, the glider has a light handling, but it isn't nervous at all. ... Right in my first flight, I went closer to the trees than with my previous glider - and I felt perfectly safe and comfortable. ... Sink rate is among the best. The glide ratio with VG on is, compared to my 10 year old topless glider, inferior only at high speeds. ... Even the best flight ends with a landing. Last year, this has often been an unpleasant and even painful experience for me, so I was a bit scared. It was quite clear for me: if the landing didn't work out, I would quit flying. But you bet it DID work out: Final glide, rock up, fly parallel to the ground - and then it goes "plopp", and you stand on your feet. The Fizz lifts its nose almost by itself when you can't keep flying level any more. All this at very low speed, with VG about 1/3 on. ... A great glider which I will keep for sure, even though I sometimes have a bit of trouble fixing the winglets... Thank you, Harald, for your support and for the effort that went into the development of this glider. It definitely paid off. I'm 'fizzinfected'!!"
Hello dear Harald,
some news after 4 days at Annecy ...
After 4 years without competition, now for the two task I'm every day at goal, come back fizzy ! champagne :) just a mismatch with my GPS at the first task , the first turnpoint was wrong, so no point... but now all are clear, go on !
With the Fizz I climb very well and easily , full control in the gaggle, after 2 hours I'm not tired, these glider is very funny and I'm impressed by the performance, for the moment I don't use the maximum of the glider, the feeling is perfect.
This great glider Fizz became me happy in secure, for that the Fizz is already at goal !
Thanks at your team. Best regards
Note: Fabien has won the Pre-Worlds in Annecy 2013 in Sport Class. Bravo, Fabien!
Pilotenmeinung nach dem Erstflug mit meinem fabrikneuen Fizz:
Dieser Vogel macht einfach nur riesigen Spaß von der ersten Sekunde in der Luft bis zur Landung.
Das Handling- traumhaft- gerade bei schwachen thermischen Bedingungen lässt sich das Gerät spielerisch leicht auch nah am Hang um die Kurve drehen. Wenn der Bart dann zieht, gehts fast wie mit einer Servolenkung nach oben - kein Stützen, kein Nachsteuern nötig. Und die Gleit- Leistung für einen Turmdrachen ist schlichtweg atemberaubend.
Ich schwankte lange zwischen der Anschaffung eines turmlosen Hochleisters (T2/Z9) und einem Fizz, habe viel getestet und bin froh, die richtige Wahl getroffen zu haben. Im direkten Vergleich zum Turmlosen Spice ist selbst im oberen Geschwindigkeitsbereich kein Leistungs-Unterschied wahrnehmbar.
Das Allerwichtigste aber sind die positiven Lande-Eigenschaften und das wie gestern Nachmittag bei Null- Wind, was ja nie so ganz ohne ohne ist .-)) !
Fazit: Ich bin noch nie einen Drachen geflogen, der sich im Endanflug so deutlich bemerkbar machte, wann er rausgedrückt werden will. Der Vorgang selbst ist völlig unspektakulär und einfach- der Drachen nimmt von selbst die Nase hoch- dann genügt lediglich ein kurzer, knackiger Impuls der Arme (keine Vollstreckung!) und schon steht man - Landen geht fast wie Einparken!
Alles in allem ist der Fizz sicherlich derzeit die absolute Nummer 1 bei den Turmdrachen, und von der Bautek- üblichen hohen Verarbeitungsqualität des Segels kann sich jeder bereits beim Anfassen eines solchen Vogels sein Bild machen.
Vielen Dank an Harald und die komplette Bautek- Crew, die in Zeiten von billiger Massenware aus China noch immer tolle Wertarbeit abliefern.
Daniel Scheider, Saarbrücken
Excerpts in English: „This bird is simply loads of fun, from the first moment until touchdown. Handling is a dream. In marginal conditions, the glider can be turned playfully, even close to the terrain. Once the thermal catches on, it’s almost like having a servo-steering, no highsiding, no corrections. And the glide performance is simply breathtaking for a kingposted glider. For quite a while, I was torn between buying kingpostless comp glider (T2/Z9) and a Fizz; I’ve done a lot of testing and I’m happy now to have made the right choice. … But, most importantly, the landing properties, especially in nil wind conditions… Bottom line is: I’ve never flown a hangglider which, before touchdown, makes it so clear when the right moment for flaring has come. … Landing has become almost as easy as parking your car. All in all, at this point in time, the Fizz surely is the number one among the kingposted gliders, and the high manufacturing standard of the sail is obvious for anyone who takes a closer look at this bird. ..:”
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.
hab am letzten Sonntag meinen "Jungfernflug" mit dem Astir am Wank in Garmisch gemacht... Der Drachen ist super zu starten, die Tendenz, die lange Nase nach unten zu nehmen ist deutlich geringer, als bei den anderen Nasenspornern, die ich schon hatte. Das Segel steht Klasse und ich hab mich sofort zu Hause gefühlt, trotz starker Thermik mit Steigwerten bis 8m! Das Landen war auch einfach und ich war echt happy, nach der langen Winterpause auf diese Art und Weise in die neue Saison einsteigen zu können.
Viele Grüße aus Oberbayern
Translation: Harald, 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
"Mein Astir fliegt wirklich fantastisch mit dem Minimum! Das nenne ich wahres Fliegen, also nochmal Danke für den schönen Vogel."
Translation: My Astir really flies fantastic with the Minimum! That's what I call real flying, so 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:
im Dez. 2012 war ich mit meinem Kite BJ.2008 bei euch zum ersten Check.
Ihr habt ihn dabei mit der Aufhängung, dem Flügelrohrende und geändertem Segellattenprofil langsamer getrimmt. Habe ihn jetzt seit der Änderung das erste Mal im UL-Schlepp geflogen und bin begeistert!
Alle drei Landungen waren perfekt, der Zeitpunkt zum Drücken war eindeutig zu spüren.
Auch beim Thermikkreisen merke ich das der Trimm an der untersten Grenze liegt.
Die VG ist beim Start wie auch zur Landung eine Basislänge weit gezogen.
Mein Einhängegewicht liegt bei 110kg.
Tolle Arbeit von euch!
Gruß, Andreas Fuchs
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.
Great work! Greetings, Andreas Fuchs