Here are my impressions of the glider after a 3hr flight in not the best conditions.
The glider itself weights in at 3.8kg, which is a slight increase on the Race version LM5 that i tested a few weeks ago (approx. 300 grams more, which comes from standard risers being fitted on the Boom versus the Dyneema on the LM5). It comes packed in a nice blood red, glossy, silky smooth concertina bag which in itself looks the part, oh look I’m drooling over myself again…
Opening it up at takeoff you notice that everything that is here is the minimum that is needed while still delivering “normal” glider performance.
Inflation of the Boom seems a little easier than the Ozone (even in a cross wind) with a marginally smaller amount of over shoot that needs to be caught out and with less wing tip snaking. Once overhead it feels very stable and ready to go but not over excited to tear you forward or up out of your shoes.
Once flying the break pressure of the Boom is noticeably less than that of the LM5, this doesn’t affect the handling authority negatively, the glider follows your hand easily no matter if your going for a long smooth extra efficient turn or banking into a high energy one.
Trim speed appear to be almost identical and glide is great.
The Boom seems to have a lower internal wing pressure which allows the leading edge and the bottom surface of the glider to deform in shape slightly during trim speed flight, this disappears from around 1/4 speed bar onwards and doesn’t seem to affect the overall handling of the glider.
There is much less wing tip movement during flight from the Boom than the LM5, it still has a slight wiggle of the tips every now and then but no where near as much as on the Ozone, you can notice this during thermaling where the Boom turns more as a whole wing while the LM5 would curl around more like a 2 liner when banked (not saying either is better just different). It appears that with the Xalps Gin has cured an issue that has plagued other Booms of the past, i call it the Gin Ear (where while thermaling you would get the outside wing tip tucking in and staying there due to either trimming issues or a lack of internal pressure that might resist the small tuck in the first place and later assist in re-inflation) that has annoyed many a pilot over the years.
The energy retention after a maneuver is great and only slightly less than what i had experienced on the LM5.
Flying in turbulence at the inversion layer or during choppy high cross wind runs down the ridge on speed bar (approx. 75%) proved that the glider is solid and has no bad tendencies to try to collapse unexpectedly, giving you notice of anything suspect in advance.
Due to the low wing inertia the glider stops on demand during any surges in strong lift.
one main thing that i would like to see changed is the speed system which runs a fair amount harder than on the LM5, making long days of bar work more tiering and less efficient for both the pilot and glider.
I think the increase of speed to sink ratio of the Gin at full bar is slightly better than that of the Ozone which sinks more without attaining a great increase in speed.
Ears are like most gliders of this class, they flap around a bit but are manageable and reinflate as a whole with a snap rather than cell by cell. Seeing that the majority of pilots flying at this level won’t be using them very often they won’t really be affected by that fact.
In the beginning I wasn’t convinced about the pulley-less brake system used on both the Ozone and the Gin but have found that i quite like them as they not only eliminate the squeaking that comes in time once moisture and dust enter the pulleys but also unnecessary weight. I have however noticed that at times the amount of friction between the ceramic ring and line leads to a slight grab of the line (Im guessing this could be remedied by using a different variety of line, this isn’t a major issue).
You may have noticed that while comparing the Boomerang X-alps to the Ozone LM5 i have said that the Gin has less of this and that on most points, please don’t take this as a sign of the Gin being inferior to the Ozone, on the contrary. Personally if i was to choose one of the two gliders for myself to buy new then the Gin would win due to its more user friendly attitude. The pilot input to performance is more rounded and balanced and allows you to think about what your doing and where your going rather than concentrating on the glider and keeping it in check.
Please remember that these are EN-D wings and should be flown by pilots that have the appropriate skill set.