he new tandem wing from Mac Para is especially designed for heavy paratrikes. Certified up to 400 kg, it includes interesting technical advances, and handling and turning behaviour as star qualities.
Test by Daniel Crespo
The new tandem wing from Mac Para is especially designed for heavy paratrikes. Certified up to 400 kg, it includes interesting technical advances, and handling and turning behaviour as star qualities.
Piloting the T-Ride is absolutely sportive, with short and progressive handling; besides, it is a glider with good performance, solid, and offering a good dose of flight safety.
With a slight push on the risers the wing shoots forward to the vertical so it is best to push them gently, otherwise the glider may overshoot and front-collapse, as it happened to me on my first attempt.
The T-Ride comes standard with the brake line fitted with a 2:1 pulley system, i.e., you brake with twice the travel but half the effort - which is not bad when you fly one of the heaviest paratrikes loaded to 400 kg.
When I first flew the T-Ride I had a total load of "only" 300 Kg, and by half the start-run I noticed that the brakes were way too long for me, so I could not brake the glider at all and it was impossible to hold it over my head. At the end, the wing totally collapsed.
After removing these pulleys and taking the time to reset the handles to my taste, I prepared to take off again. On my second attempt the brakes were at the correct height and now they had half the travel… I pushed the risers softly and the result was optimum: progressive and even inflation, a short run, and, ultimately, a clean and elegant takeoff.
This system of pulleys is interesting as well as very practical if you fly heavily loaded because it reduces the effort on the brakes, but make sure to adjust the length of them according to your glider’s hangpoint and height of the risers.
The T-Ride does not disappoint in navigations; in our test flights we managed to keep 62-63 Km/h, which is not bad. To achieve this speed we release the rear trimmers and fully tighten the front ones –they are a little hard, and to close them you need to release the controls which, in rough air, requires a pilot with some experience.
Once in the air a sense of aplomb dominates; the T-Ride moves as if on rails, and draws millimeter-precise courses. In the pitch axis it is very stable, with no tendency to shoot forward, and the surges are virtually non-existent unless you struggle to get one. In roll, things change though. It is not that the T-Ride is a nervous wing; if we fly it with symmetric touches on the brakes it will go straight and level, but when it is time to turn and use the brakes it is like releasing the Tasmanian Devil in a chicken coop! The T-Ride is agile and lively; a couple of minutes of sportive handling with it and your adrenaline levels will skyrocket. At Mac Para worked hard to create a playful, exciting paraglider to enjoy turning around with.
In leveled flight at that speed the glider tends to turn slightly to the right, so I have to keep a touch of brake on the left side.The risers are simple and easy to use, although I think that they would be better if they had wingtip steering toggles to navigate, and maybe a torque-counterbalancing trimmer.
After turning off the engine at 400m above the airfield, I try a dynamic approach including maneuvers like wingovers, asymmetric wingovers, and some 360 spins. Wow, how fun! The turn of the T-Ride is immediate, clean and progressive. It is close to perfect! My turns come out rhythmic and well-balanced, the glider calls for action and it seems difficult to exceed the limit. Besides, after leaving a strong spiral or a wingover it is not difficult to take the T-Ride back to level flight.
I tried some slalom-type turns and, without tweaking trimmer positions much, I can say that the turning behaviour of the T-Ride feels close to a solo wing; you can close it up almost as much as you want and make the glider touch the pylon… I think it has great potential in this respect.
After a good 360 I face the runway at full speed and when I'm about to touch the ground I start a flare that allows me to skim the ground and land this weighty machine as if it was a feather in the wind. I think that with 400 kg or more the effect should be similar, only faster.
The T-Ride is a tandem wing with sportive spirit; it likes to twist and spin about. It offers good performance, and with 63 km/h it can navigate well. The handling is direct and sportive but it is nothing complicated. The risers are simple and easy to use, although they could do with an antipar system. The T-Ride incorporates leading edge technology, design and good construction, but without extras. The classic Mac Para visual design is a bit boring in contrast to the lively and showy spirit of the T-Ride, in my opinion.
The T-Ride has 39m2, aspect ratio of 5.2 points, and 58 cells. It has the same aspect ratio and number of cells than the Chronos, the new solo intermediate-advanced wing for paramotor in the Mac Para range.
The T-Ride boasts some of the best features that can be used on paragliders today:
The leading edge is preformed by a mylar section and a plastic rod. As a result, we have an especially neat and efficient leading edge.
The brake system was optimized. There are partial ribs and a pleating system to make the trailing edge clean and effective. The brake system also includes a central line with a pulley that connects both brake lines, which acts when they are pulled symmetrically to brake the entire length of the trailing edge allowing for noticeable slow flying.
The T-Ride comes standard with the risers we tried for this review, but there is also the option of aluminum-steel speed bars that are commonly used in larger and heavier Paratrikes.
It may not be the fastest wing to navigate, but its 63 km/h are comfortable to keep and allow you to get reasonable consumption in your cross country raids, with a good degree of stability. However, the best virtue of the T-Ride is its maneuverability and easy handling; it is a glider to have fun with, for short rides with many twists and turns, flying close to the ground. I think the T-Ride can be flown by a wide scope of expert pilots; it is ideal for professionals that offer tourist flights, as it has a flawless inflation, needs a short run to take off and, thanks to its stability, it has a wide window to fly in different conditions. Besides, Mac Para tandem wings have a good reputation among tandem pilots regarding use and durability of the materials.
Review by Daniel Crespo
Daniel is a long time pilot and competitor in Paragliding & Paramotor.