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By danmoser
#246244
I've been seriously considering getting a UP Predator .. and would like to get comments & advice from some knowledgeable fliers of these wings.
http://upgliders.com/predator/

BTW, I hook in at around 265 lb., so would definitely choose the larger size, 158 sq. ft..

I've talked to a few Predator pilots.. some absolutely love them.. some not so much... I've asked some of the most vocal Predator critics if they've ever flown one.. and usually, they haven't..
I do like the lightweight, quick set-up, strong composite frame features.
Some have stated definitely that Predators perform better than ANY other kingposted HG.. some are just as adamant that they do not beat the latest U2s & Discuses (or is it Discii.. ;)

Some say the predator is the easiest high performance kingposter to land.. others disagree.

Some say it's stiff in roll.. others say it's as easy to turn as others in its class.

We all have strong opinions and biases, especially when our company loyalties and fondly held beliefs are threatened... and this kind of topic can sometimes ignite an ugly flame war.. PLEASE DON'T FLAME!! :cuss:

I'd really like to get down to some cold hard facts on the Predator's pros & cons.. especially landability, performance & handling. :popcorn:

Thanks, and happy landings to all !! :thumbsup:
User avatar
By Jason
#246247
The predator is a solid KP glider

I have flown it and think it is a great flying glider. I'd have to fly it head to head against the latest kingposted gliders. but I think it would hold its own pretty well

I never found it hard to land, but it does have a long stinger (like any other kp glider with an 8:1 aspect ratio {sensors})

haven't flown a U2/discuss and the last litesport if flew was in 2002.....so i can't say which turns easier
User avatar
By AIRTHUG
#246257
Dan- talk to Dave Gibson- he's flown most every HG every made over the years... and has a fair bit of time on Predators as well... I don't think he's flown a U2, yet... maybe Cal would let him fly his? :popcorn:
User avatar
By CAL
#246259
AIRTHUG wrote:Dan- talk to Dave Gibson- he's flown most every HG every made over the years... and has a fair bit of time on Predators as well... I don't think he's flown a U2, yet... maybe Cal would let him fly his? :popcorn:
i would love to let him fly my U2


it would be better if you purchased a falcon 1, that would give me a better chance of staying with you, well maybe ?

you should consider a U2 , since my trip to Wills Wing and see the testing that is done there and how they are built i am more partial to WW gliders.

a new predator is as much a a new T2 , what moves you towards a predator ?
User avatar
By jjcote
#246262
danmoser wrote:I've asked some of the most vocal Predator critics if they've ever flown one.. and usually, they haven't..
I won't comment on the Predator, but I'd be happy to give you vigorous opinions on any number of other topics that I know nothing about.
User avatar
By danmoser
#246265
Thanks, all..

@ Jason.. I appreciate your comments.. BTW, I also had a topless Sensor 510-CF5 about 8 years ago.. it's performance was INCREDIBLE.. nothing could match it!.. however it was heavy, and a holy bee-itch to turn,.. but worst of all, I hated those damn tip wands!.. it would take me close to an hour to set the damn thing up, and my aging body was not able to deal with it at some point .. it was not too bad on landing, though.. I'm sure the "flaps" helped.

@ Ryan.. Thanks, I will yack about it with Super Dave next chance I get... I'm doing some composite tube work for Cheney & maybe for the UP gliders as well in the near future, so that's a factor in my choice as well.

@ Cal .. I'd love to fly your U2 sometime, though I am supposedly a bit beyond the max. rated hook-in weight of 260#.. wish they made a bigger size.. (curse this middle-aged gut ;).. it didn't work out to fly a U2 with WW demo days the last 2 years for various reasons.. and likewise, I'd be happy to let you fly any of my wings anytime! KC is a big Predator fan, but he also skies out on that T2 of his.. seems like ya just can't keep up with that guy, no matter what !!
User avatar
By dayhead
#246284
Never flew a Predator, but that TRX 140 i flew was a real sweetheart.

While I love my little Sensor and wouldn't trade her for any wing, I will admit to a preference for square tips, they are just easier to deal with.

Wish I could afford a carbon airframe for the Sensor.
By Roadrunner
#246293
I have flown a Predator 158 for over ten years. I have not flown many Gliders, but my first Glider was a Wills Wing Falcon 225. I can say that my landing Performace improved when landing my Predator 158 over my preveous glider, my Wills Wing, 225. I live in California, and here at my home site, Mount Diablo California, It is almost always a case of if, one is landing at the LZ, that is located on the East side of the Juniper Campground, well when you land there, (often the case). This landing zone is set up as a down wind, up hill type of landing. I know that my opinion should not hold much water. But I feel better about landing the Predator 158, down wind, up hill han my old Falcon 225 into the wind, on flat ground, or up hill. All I can say about the Glider are good commets. in Glide, I guess the Topless can better it, in handling, it is killer. Also in Speed, it is a real mover, no King posated glider shows it's Tail Feathers to a Predator. If you would like to Fly a Predator 158, and live close to Mount Diablo, I could help you get a test flight. If you like call me, I am the Big Guy 925-497-1059
User avatar
By flysurfski
#246302
danmoser wrote:I've been seriously considering getting a UP Predator .. and would like to get comments & advice from some knowledgeable fliers of these wings.
http://upgliders.com/predator/

BTW, I hook in at around 265 lb., so would definitely choose the larger size, 158 sq. ft..

I've talked to a few Predator pilots.. some absolutely love them.. some not so much... I've asked some of the most vocal Predator critics if they've ever flown one.. and usually, they haven't..
I do like the lightweight, quick set-up, strong composite frame features.
Some have stated definitely that Predators perform better than ANY other kingposted HG.. some are just as adamant that they do not beat the latest U2s & Discuses (or is it Discii.. ;)

Some say the predator is the easiest high performance kingposter to land.. others disagree.

Some say it's stiff in roll.. others say it's as easy to turn as others in its class.

We all have strong opinions and biases, especially when our company loyalties and fondly held beliefs are threatened... and this kind of topic can sometimes ignite an ugly flame war.. PLEASE DON'T FLAME!! :cuss:

I'd really like to get down to some cold hard facts on the Predator's pros & cons.. especially landability, performance & handling. :popcorn:

Thanks, and happy landings to all !! :thumbsup:
If you can't find a big one to fly, give Joe a call and maybe you can fly down to San Diego for a couple of days(Where UP is now located) and I'm sure he can set you up with a test flight @ Torrey. Who knows depending on his schedule maybe even a flight @ one of our local mnt sites....
:goodidea:



Having owned one in the past(and a TRX), I could go on and on about what a great glider it is, but since the owner of the company and the designer(John Heiney) are both my flying buddies out @ TPG, it would be like a Voight writing a review on a Wills Wing.... :lol: :lol: :lol:



FYI I have considered getting another one, but for the kind/amount of flying I have been doing lately I'm more leaning toward the 147 Saturn.......
(I personally don't like high performance gliders @ Torrey unless it's howling because of PG traffic, and they really limit your options if you get really low and have to do a non-standard(AKA sketchy) approach to avoid landing @ the beach...)
User avatar
By PredatorJoe
#246314
fly,surf,&ski wrote:Having owned one in the past(and a TRX), I could go on and on about what a great glider it is, but since the owner of the company and the designer(John Heiney) are both my flying buddies out @ TPG, it would be like a Voight writing a review on a Wills Wing.... :lol: :lol: :lol:
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

on a more serious note...

I'm obviously somewhat biased having flown them for the past 11yrs and been in the business for 8, but I'll do my best to provide some objective observations.

landing:
I've sold VERY few downtubes and i know of several pilots who are still flying their originals for 8+yrs. the few pilots who do or have had trouble landing, I believe would struggle to land any wing

handling:
I know of at least a couple pilots who hook in VERY lite on the 142 and at least 1 who is lite on the 158 and they have no problem thermalling. those who complain of stiff handling likely either didn't spend enough time to get dialed in, or haven't done any tuning. rib tension in #9 & 10 (10 & 11 on the 158) and tip-strut tension have a noticeable effect on roll response.

I've flown lots of different wings with similar or greater performance and the only one that handled better was the U2 (subjective)

come on down to crestline, elsinore or san diego and fly my 158 so you can decide for yourself. :thumbsup:
User avatar
By Flyking
#246375
I can tell you if they made a Predator 150 I would of bought it before I bought the T-2. I used my Predator at the King Meet and did real well with it. I was flying with Kurt and he was flying a U-2 at the King meet and he kept complaining that my glider was way faster than his. I love my Predator. In my opinion it is the highest performance, best landing, easy to turn, built for lots of hours of flying. King posted Glider ever built :mosh: :mosh: I wish they would build a 150 predator. How about it Joe :thumbsup: Buy a Predator :mosh: It sounds like you could handle the 158. I would like to try one just to see how it flys with my weight. :mosh:
User avatar
By danmoser
#246397
Roadrunner wrote:I have flown a Predator 158 for over ten years. ... All I can say about the Glider are good commets. in Glide, I guess the Topless can better it, in handling, it is killer. Also in Speed, it is a real mover, no King posated glider shows it's Tail Feathers to a Predator.
Very helpful, Big Guy. I'm sure topless gliders like the WW T2C will out-glide it, especially at higher speeds.. but that's not the main criteria for my choice.
fly,surf,&ski wrote:
Having owned one in the past(and a TRX), I could go on and on about what a great glider it is, but since the owner of the company and the designer(John Heiney) are both my flying buddies out @ TPG, it would be like a Voight writing a review on a Wills Wing..
Well, please, do go on about it anyway... I'll factor in prejudices, etc... BTW, I know Ryan, and he does love Wills Wings.. for very good reasons.. it's a terrific company making outstanding gliders.. and I trust Ryan's integrity not to grossly exaggerate the attributes of their wings just to make a sale... and I trust Joe the same way.. IMHO, there aren't too many villains in this sport..
PredatorJoe wrote: I'm obviously somewhat biased having flown them for the past 11yrs and been in the business for 8, but I'll do my best to provide some objective observations.

landing:
I've sold VERY few downtubes and i know of several pilots who are still flying their originals for 8+yrs. the few pilots who do or have had trouble landing, I believe would struggle to land any wing

handling:
I know of at least a couple pilots who hook in VERY lite on the 142 and at least 1 who is lite on the 158 and they have no problem thermalling. those who complain of stiff handling likely either didn't spend enough time to get dialed in, or haven't done any tuning. rib tension in #9 & 10 (10 & 11 on the 158) and tip-strut tension have a noticeable effect on roll response.

I've flown lots of different wings with similar or greater performance and the only one that handled better was the U2 (subjective)
Thanks.. Good to know about the tip rib tension tuning.. I've heard good things about the comparative handling of the U2 and Predator from pilot who have flown both.. and they generally agree with your assessment
Flyking wrote:I can tell you if they made a Predator 150 I would of bought it before I bought the T-2. I used my Predator at the King Meet and did real well with it. I was flying with Kurt and he was flying a U-2 at the King meet and he kept complaining that my glider was way faster than his. I love my Predator. In my opinion it is the highest performance, best landing, easy to turn, built for lots of hours of flying. King posted Glider ever built :mosh: :mosh: I wish they would build a 150 predator. How about it Joe :thumbsup: Buy a Predator :mosh: It sounds like you could handle the 158. I would like to try one just to see how it flys with my weight. :mosh:
to be fair, hardly anybody can keep up with you.. Predator or T2. :surrender:
Good to know that you're still favoring a wing design that is very old by today's standards.. reminds me that the world sailplane distance record of over 1,400 miles was just broken this spring by a 1972 design..
:shock:

Thanks to all commentators... it really helped a lot!!!

Happy Landings !!
User avatar
By Jason
#246427
danmoser wrote:Good to know that you're still favoring a wing design that is very old by today's standards.. reminds me that the world sailplane distance record of over 1,400 miles was just broken this spring by a 1972 design..
:shock:

Thanks to all commentators... it really helped a lot!!!

Happy Landings !!
as my old man used to say.........If it ain't broke don't fix it

There are certain gliders out there that were done right, and will always have a following(predator, Harrier, dream, pulse/mkIV etc)

some of these designs are approaching 30 years old......and yet people still love them
User avatar
By AIRTHUG
#246456
danmoser wrote:
fly,surf,&ski wrote: Having owned one in the past(and a TRX), I could go on and on about what a great glider it is, but since the owner of the company and the designer(John Heiney) are both my flying buddies out @ TPG, it would be like a Voight writing a review on a Wills Wing..
Well, please, do go on about it anyway... I'll factor in prejudices, etc... BTW, I know Ryan, and he does love Wills Wings.. for very good reasons.. it's a terrific company making outstanding gliders.. and I trust Ryan's integrity not to grossly exaggerate the attributes of their wings just to make a sale... and I trust Joe the same way.. IMHO, there aren't too many villains in this sport.
:rofl: :owned:

I do go on and on about WW gliders, but that is because I feel strongly about how good they are... it's what I choose to fly... what I choose to sell... yada yada yada...

I will say this: I've never flown a Predator, but *any* glider that has such a following can't be all bad. I do have some issues with the Predator, but most if not all revolve around the company or the design history, and not the glider itself.

I have known a few pilots who flew/fly Predators, and I can say from flying with them that glide performance seemed very good. The few I knew never seemed to get as high as everyone else in wonder winds and such, so I took that as not the best sink rate... but it could have been those pilots. But I know one Predator pilot that moved to a U2 and started getting up with everyone else pretty much immediately.... but again, that doesn't really prove anything...

I will point out that the Predator is an 'advanced' glider (think topless-of-the-time), and the U2 is an 'intermediate' glider.... High performance gliders (generally speaking) are not as easy to fly, and/or can be less forgiving. I think the performance on a U2 and on a Predator are likely very similar... the Predator is much higher aspect ratio, but the U2 doesn't have any luff lines, and has that super clean litestream control frame. Probably about a wash? In my mind, the newer glider that is designed to be easier to fly, but still has comparable performance, seems the easy choice to make.... but then again, we all know I'm WW bias (rather than using sound logic to make decisions, as I just explained).

If you can, fly 'em both and pick what ya like :thumbsup:
I don't think you could make a BAD choice in this case....
User avatar
By J Fritsche
#246465
I've heard mostly good things about the Predator. Plenty of guys seem to really love them. I know a guy who bought a Saturn a year or so ago; he's really happy with the glider and the customer service he's received from the test-flying phase through post-ownership issues.
I'm sure both UP gliders are great. They have a long, proven track record. I really like that they don't have curved tips.
But I'd be afraid to buy one. I stick with Wills Wing. Why? From what I know, UP is a very small-time operation, a two-man company. They don't sell many gliders. They don't advertise. Do they even have dealers, or is all business done directly with UP? They haven't come up with a new design in, what, 15 years? Is there any R & D at all? What kind of confidence could I have that a "company" like this won't close for any number of reasons at some point in the near future? And if it does close, who's going to make and sell me replacement parts? In that scenario, I don't think my local dealers for Wills, Moyes, etc. are going to bend over backwards to help me find stuff for my out-of-production glider that I bought direct from the manufacturer.
Just some more food for thought before you buy...
By Roadrunner
#246470
Hi this is the Big Guy, I very well might not be the person to offer an well informed opinion. Being that I hve only flown about a half Dozen Gliders in about 22 years Flying experience. But what I can, and will state that my opinion of what I think the glider can, and will do for a Pilot. The Glider was way ahead of it's Time, when it first came out. We all know that all the Glider Companies went to the Topless Platform too soon. Truem the Glider Companies have done a Wonderful job of playing catch up since those early Designs of Topless Gliders came out. What I wondered, when I first saw a Topless Glif=der was, and still is true with me Today is/was. Why are they not Bottom less also? What I do know? Well even loaded heavy, as in a Hook in weight of about 330 LBS. This gliders lands so sweet. That a Pilot would have to blow it pretty badley, to whack the thing. I also have 10 years pluss, landing the Glider , down wind, up hill. Without a single whack. In raw speed the Gliders have a well deswrerved reputation of being smoking Fast. I just Love my 158 Predator. So, if you want to Fly one, and are in the area of Mt. Diablo California, USA. Call me, and maybe we can get you a test Flight. 925-497-1059 The Big Guy.
User avatar
By flysurfski
#246509
AIRTHUG wrote:

I have known a few pilots who flew/fly Predators, and I can say from flying with them that glide performance seemed very good. The few I knew never seemed to get as high as everyone else in wonder winds and such, so I took that as not the best sink rate... but it could have been those pilots. But I know one Predator pilot that moved to a U2 and started getting up with everyone else pretty much immediately.... but again, that doesn't really prove anything...
first off i think you realize the wills wing comment was just a joke.......

As for the Predator: The sink rate is pretty good and what I think you were seeing is that like you said it's a high performance glider. It's more spirally unstable than what most pilots are used too, therefore the glider requires the pilot to sometimes high side the glider to make nice flat turns.(Some never really grasp this technique) I think you would agree that really flat turns are what you need to be able to do to get high in light/glass off conditions.


The other side of the equation is how nice this spiral instability can be when thermal flying :thumbsup:

FYI for newer pilots reading this thread: Spiral Stability in a nut shell basically has to do with whether the glider wants to roll back straight after a turn is initiated, or wants to keep banking steeper. A falcon is so roll stable that in a strong thermal you are constantly having to hold that steep bank angle. On a less spirally stable glider like the TRX/Predator the glider just keeps the bank angle virtually on on it own.

Feel free to add anything I missed Ryan, et al :sleep:
Last edited by flysurfski on Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By flysurfski
#246511
J Fritsche wrote:What kind of confidence could I have that a "company" like this won't close for any number of reasons at some point in the near future?
Some would argue that the fact that the company does not rely on money from the HG business is the reason the company will stay in business...... :crazy:
User avatar
By J Fritsche
#246515
fly,surf,&ski wrote:
J Fritsche wrote:What kind of confidence could I have that a "company" like this won't close for any number of reasons at some point in the near future?
Some would argue that the fact that the company does not rely on money from the HG business is the reason the company will stay in business...... :crazy:
So you're saying that the reason the company will stay in business is that its owners have other sources of income, that UP simply provides a pleasant way for them to make some extra cash? To what extent can pilots rely on the continued existence of that business model to provide them with the glider support they need? Mind you, I've heard only good things about Heiney and Spinney...but if I had one of their gliders, I'd pray that they didn't have any whimsical changes of heart, for any number of reasons, about continuing the existence of UP.
User avatar
By flysurfski
#246521
J Fritsche wrote: So you're saying that the reason the company will stay in business is that its owners have other sources of income, that UP simply provides a pleasant way for them to make some extra cash?
Yes that's what I'm saying :mosh: :mosh: :mosh:
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