Reviewed by John Welch
Air Cross U-Cruise M
Air Cross U-Cruise L
I’ve had the Air Cross U-Cruise for about 18 months now but had been flying comp gliders for 20 years before that. After a few exciting moments on my last comp glider I decided it was crazy to still be flying something like that and started to look for a replacement.
The U-Cruise is a long line glider which gives it a large projected area and makes it very efficient but at the same time, Air Cross have managed to give it great handling.
The top surface is a 9017 Skytex and the bottom is Dominico. The lower lines are sheathed PPSL while the upper lines are unsheathed. It comes with skinny risers and has a lot of travel on the accelerator system (about 15 cm). It has a shark nose profile, stiffeners (rods) in the leading edge and a complex internal structure.
Air Cross are definitely aiming this at someone for a first purchase but more at pilots looking for huge cross country flights. That said, it is a very easy glider to fly. The inflation is very easy both in very light / nil wind as well as in much stronger conditions and there is very little tendency to over fly. I did notice that it doesn’t come up quite as easily and gliders with a more traditional profile when inflating asymmetricly (cobra), probably because the cell openings are quite small. In flight it does have a slightly damped feel although I quite enjoyed this is in strong thermic conditions. The biggest surprise for me was what happened on the speed bar. It gives an extra 16 kph but has little effect on the sink rate. This is what you’d expect from a comp glider but I’ve never experienced on a B class glider and I get to fly a lot of them.
I fly all up at around 100 Kg and have had a fair bit of time on both the M (75 – 100) and the L (90 – 115) and definitely prefer the feel of it well loaded as it really does sharpen up the handling although even on the larger size, huge wing overs were very easy.
I guess that Air Cross must have got something right because it set the new world record for distance to declared goal (446 km).