Bautek Spice – “one flight review”.

Below is my “test report” for the Bautek Spice. The Spice is still not DHV certified and hence is not yet for sales in Germany (as far as I know), buy as Norway has no requirements for hang glider certification the Norwegian dealer Knut Johansen received one Spice as early as June. Knut is raving about the qualities of the glider, and I am quite impressed as well. Still, I have only flown the Spice for 12 minutes/1 flight, and my “topless” experience is limited to my own WW Fusion 141, so have that in mind as you read the following Spice review. Launch: The Spice is less tail heavy than the Fusion, it is quite neutral, and is easy to balance and seems easy to launch. Flight: Good handling, but not better than the WW Fusion 141, which I fly at max hook in weight (100 kg). Still, the handling seems more smooth than on the Fusion. On my Fusion I feel as if I must constantly steer the glider, especially in thermals, and it is demanding to fly straight at high speeds. The Spice, however, seems to be less “nervous”, but it still seems to have very good handling while at the same time being stable and predictable. My biggest problem while flying was the position of the speed-bar, which was way in front of where I have the speed-bar on the Fusion. Still, here it is the Fusion that is particular and not the Spice. Furthermore, it felt natural with the position of the Spice speed-bar. I only tried to tension the VG for a short time; the VG operated quite light and easy, and the speed-bar immediately wandered back as I pulled the VG. From one dive turn and from pulling on speed once, it seemed like the glider has lots of energy, but I had no time testing the speed potential. Landing: The flare window seems to be quite wide, and glide on final was long. But according to Knut Johansen you need to be determined when flaring the glider. This is probably true as I was a bit cautious and had to run a few steps and put down the nose in order to stop. Glider finish and details: The entire glider looked first-class. The sail seemed to be well sawn and extremely tight, and the frame seemed well manufactured (as far as I with my limited technical skills could tell). In addition, I liked how Bautek has solved a lot of details. For instance the zippers on the mylar leading edge at both sides of the nose so that the sail should not be wrinkled in the nose section when packing the glider, the mylar extension on the keel from the sail, covering all mechanisms on the keel for tensioning the glider. I also liked the locks for tensioning the glider and the attachment of the nose wires – they were both small, neat, and “fool-proof” (small devises with spring locks) – real German craftsmanship. All in all, to conclude, the Spice seems like a very impressive glider, and I would love to test it more.

© Bjørn Hammer, Oslo – Norway, August 1st 2003

Bautek Spice.

Photo: Bautek

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