Nova Bantam 2- First impression
We have flown the 12 a little bit and compared quickly with Bantam 1 and Kode P 14. So this is a just the first impression.
Construction: Very visible are the highly tensioned very thick Nitinol rods in the leading edge. They seem thicker then most Nitinol rods used in Hike and Fly gliders and are tensioned a lot. It makes the leading edge stiff and wrinkle free. The rods on the bottom sail are super thin then, thiner then all others we have seen. Kinda weird combo, but i’m sure weight they have chosen this carefully. The A-Lines are set further back than on the Bantam 1. This should make it already a little more collapse stable. The risers are similar, but slightly thinner. On the 12 there are 2 options for speedbar travel. One is 17cm, which we don’t recommend to use, apart from super calm air. Already the slower option is very fast. The Fabric is the same as on the first one, just diffrent color. The shark nose is a more pronounced on the new one.
Take off: It inflates faster than the old one and you can hold the A-Risers only on launch without closing the leading edge. It comes up quicker and sometimes need to be stopped actively to not overshoot. In strong wind we found it can shoot and plug you off the ground. So walk actively against it when it comes. No need for pulling A-Lines, it’s trimmed fast and comes up as soon as you release the brakes. Take off speed felt similar to the first one.
Flying: It flies like a Bantam 1; It’s trimmed fast, has very short lines, is responsive to toggle inputs and dives quit a bit in turns. It still has the same Gokart feeling the first one has. Probably even a little bit more, since it has slightly more roll than the first one. However this depends a lot on which harness you use, since the lines are so short, the lateral distance between the risers has a big influence on roll. (at least on the first Bantam this was the case) We were surprised to see that the new one glides much better. After half a minute flying, you are one wing higher than with the first one. The first one was really nice to fly on the C’s. Very reactive and precise. This is gone. It feels like it looses stability when pulling on the C’s. You can still use the to fly active do, but you need to pull hard. It also doesn’t create lift quickly when using the risers. So no more proxy-machine. We don’t mind since we have the Flare Moustache and the Line for this now. Compared to a Niviuk Kode P in the same size, the Bantam 2 is noticeably faster, but the Kode P has still a slightly better glide.
Safety: Very hard to rate on small wings. One thing is how they behave after collapses, the other is how much turbulence it takes to collapse them. When pulling ears or collapses on the Bantam 2, you can feel it has much more tension on the A-Lines. That should make it much more stable in theorie! Ears and collapses reopen very quickly. However it’s very hard to pull small collapses without folding lines. If you pull the A-Lines, it always makes very big and deep collapses, very likely because the center of lift is close to the A-Line attachment. This is a bad thing for those who like to pull collapses, but a good thing for all those that don’t want to get collapses:-) The reaction to the collapses seems rather quick, the wing comes forward quite a bit. That seemed more gently on the old one, but it’s not fair to compare those pulled collapses. In general it makes a much more collapse stable impression to me. It’s probably similar to a Niviuk Kode P in collapse stability. Time will tell… The stallpoint is quit low and it get’s very hard down there. You need a lot of force to pull a stall. You wan’t stall the Bantam 2 accidentally. Personally i like this a lot, i have seen too many stall related accidents live and online… So overall we are quite happy with the changes Nova did on this Bantam 2! Remember it’s designed for mountaineering, for taking off in small spots.
Landing: The Flare of the Bantam 2 is amazing. I don’t know another such small wing you can slow down this well. Landing uphill without speedbar: No problem. I think thats where the Bantam shines out. The Niviuk Kode P doesn’t make that much lift and it doesn’t slow down as much.
Packing volume: I’m sure you can pack the Bantam quite small, but it hurts me a little bit, bending this Nitinol rods this much. I know it won’t hurt the rods, but it probably puts more pressure on the fabric. You need quite some force to pack it really small, because the rods are quite long and very thick.
I’m keen to compare the Bantam 2 more with the Niviuk Kode P which we and many pilots love as well.
By the way; the new Bantam 2 is 50g lighter, that’s why you have to upgrade it:-)