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Marvel TEST

 Paraglider Marvel

Marvel

 

Mac Para Marvel Review (Cross Country Magazine)

Marcus King loves the handling of this Sports Class wing

 

MAC PARA’S DESCRIPTION

The Marvel offers sporty agility and amazing performance in the EN C category. It is the perfect glider for pilots who want performance and XC capability.

 

BACKGROUND

Mac Para are one of the long-time established brands in our sport. They have had a consistent range of wings over the last few years: from the Progress starter wing to the Magus XC Serial Class racer with the Magus as their Open Class flagship.
Their Sports Class wing has been the Envy series, currently in its second incarnation. We tested the Envy2 back in issue 127 and found a wing that, “was no more demanding than most 1-2 [EN B] wings,” but that had, “an extra dose of performance”.
When at this year’s Kossen Testival Mac Para’s designer Peter Recek told me that the proto we were watching coming into land was their new project that was being designed to fit in the EN C above the Envy, I was keen to get a chance to fly it.
Peter said: “When we were testing the Magus XC2 we realised with a few modifications we had the potential for a very good EN C wing.
“With the Marvel we are looking to achieve similar performance to the Magus XC2 combined with great climbing ability and lovely handling. ”

 

CONSTRUCTION

As so often seems the case with Mac Para wings the design of the wing is very clean and classical. The aspect ratio of 6.48 is nearly in EN D territory; Ozone’s M4 has an AR of 6.5. This high aspect ratio combined with a cell count of 75 and the familiar Mac Para colour scheme help create the impression of a sleek racy wing.
The sail itself is made from Porcher 45g/m2 on the leading edge with 40g/m2 used elsewhere. This along with other savings have helped Mac Para keep the overall weight down, which has to be good in this class of wing that will often be used by travelling adventure pilots.
It seems that these days you can’t have a wing without nylon rods in the leading edge and the Marvel follows this trend. The rods go back a good 20cm or so along the chord; not as much as some but more than others. The leading edge is entirely open except for the cells in the tip.
Going to the back of the wing one modern innovation is conspicuous by its absence: Peter and the team have opted to go for a classic trailing edge rather than use mini ribs.
The risers are made from suitably thin webbing, which add to the racy feel. The design is relatively simple with just three risers – from each of which the three main lines come. Only the A riser is split. Three sheathed main lines are attached to each riser with the stabilo also attached to the B riser. Although the wing has three lines on each side it isn’t a true three-liner as the C lines split to two tab positions in the centre of the wing. The upper lines are all unsheathed.
The speed system makes use of large Harken pulleys and also features a step-down ball making half-bar easy to find. The brake handles are standard webbing handles attached via magnets and have a swivel to prevent line twisting.
The wing is available in four certified sizes covering a weight range of 70kg to 130kg. There is also a Marvel 38 with a weight range of 140kg to 185kg but this is uncertified.

 

LAUNCHING

During the test period – a three-week trip to Nepal – I launched in a wide range of conditions. The wing proved to be easy to launch whether reversing in windy or thermic conditions, or forward launching during the day’s last gasps. All my launches saw the wing rise smoothly and it took little controlling once overhead.

 

IN THE AIR

As soon as you are in the air you get a true feel for the lineage of this wing. If you have flown any of the new breed of EN D wings it will feel very familiar. You will have the same taught feel of a single wing cutting through the air. However, it all just feels that little bit more relaxed – but without feeling dumbed-down.
The wing is engaging to fly and there is a good level of information on hand to help you find the best lift. But all the information is passed on smoothly and there are no sudden surges or jumps to unsettle you. Undoubtedly this wing needs a little more piloting than a lower-end EN C wing, but the information fed to you means you will naturally fly the wing actively.
The Marvel uses bunching in the brake system where the brake lines go through loops on the trailing edge that are pulled together with the initial application of the brakes. This helps the wing turn quickly but flat. Indeed this wing doesn’t exhibit large amount of roll – that isn’t to say you can’t get it up on a wingtip by applying a measure of weightshift as well as increasing the amount of brake.
The lack of roll may mean it is less ‘exciting’ to fly, but it makes for efficient climbing. The brake pressure itself isn’t high but starts to ramp up as you get towards the stall point, giving plenty of warning of an incipient spin.

 

ON LOCATION

I took the wing to Nepal during the test period. In the stable conditions of Pokhara the wing climbed effortlessly through the crowds. Once into the bigger hills and stronger thermals a bit more brake and weightshift got it easily centred. In thermals the wing was easy to keep locked in, and the smooth transition between flat and banked made it easy to stay with the lift as you climbed through the various layers of air. I found the handling so natural that I could leave the thermalling to my subconscious, allowing me to plan the next move or simply to enjoy the view opening up around me.
When it’s time to head off on glide the wing shows its top-notch performance for the class. Gliding at trim the wing feels fast and efficient, as you would expect. With the large pulleys the speedbar is smooth and doesn’t require much force to apply. Going to half-bar gives a good increase in speed with no real noticeable increase in sink rate – indeed there is no steep drop off going pulley to pulley. The wing feels reassuringly solid on bar and cuts through the air nicely. It’s possible to keep in touch with the wing through the C risers but I found very little need to correct the wing on glides. Glide performance is always hard to put meaningful figures on, but from the glides I made on this wing I’m confident that it will put a smile on your face.

 

CONCLUSION

In a year of confusion in the world of Open and Serial Class racing we may well see a lot of pilots turning to the Sports Class to get their racing kicks. I’d be very surprised if we don’t see the Marvel amongst the wings at the front of the pack. When not racing, take it to the hills for big days out or even further afield for some adventure.
I’ve long loved the Sports Class and this is a fine example. It combines really well-crafted handling and overall performance that you expect from higher class wings, with an extra level of safety that gives you that bit more confidence.

 

WE LIKED MOST
Climbing efficiency and smooth handling

WE’D RECOMMEND IT TO
XC and Adventure pilots plus Sports Class racers