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Gradient Bigolden 3



The third BiGolden is an EN B certified glider, very well placed in terms of performance, that can be steered and turned efficiently and with ease. The size 42 we tested ranges from 140 to 220 Kg and, with a weight of 7.2 kg, it is a relatively lightweight tandem wing. In addition, it is designed and built with care and good details, in an exclusive state-of-the-art fabric.

Gradient Bigolden3
Gradient Bigolden3

Inflation and take-off

It gets technical with wind. In nil wind the canopy rises taking pressure gradually, centered and without any difficulty. With wind of about 20 Km/h and up to 35 on a few occasions, the BiGolden 3 tended to speed up at the end and asked for prompt inputs. Therefore, for take-offs in strong winds the best –although not easy- is to prepare the glider very well on the ground so it will not inflate by itself, but when you take the risers it will take form progressively and in a controlled way (*valid for any glider).

Gradient Bigolden3

Graceful and safe turns
The turn of the BiGolden 3 is simple, gradual and effective. Entering a thermal and centering the core involves no difficulties, and once in the turn the glider stays in easily. The brake has average travel and a nice feeling: the first part, where most of the piloting takes place, is soft and it hardens towards the end, so it is difficult to over-brake by mistake.

Gradient Bigolden 3

Top performance
The trimmer is well resolved and effective; the strap slides smoothly and can be operated easily in both directions. It has a small rope handle to grab and pull it, which might be the only detail of the BiGolden 3 that I would change as I use the trimmers actively -I adjust them constantly- so I prefer a more ergonomic grip, like a normal handle or a plastic ball. In any case, the trimmers let you go from 41-42 km/h to 46-48 or more if you fly the wing well loaded. The trimmer is adjusted so that with 10cm of travel actually 5cm are released. The wing feels comfortable and with pressure even at maximum speed, and you can even –and sometimes you should– land like that to get the best flare.

BGD Dual

Paratrike
We also did some flights on paratrike. We flew the BiGolden3 with an Airfer Mustang Hirth2703 of 100Kg of weight and 52 HP –i.e., power to spare – and high stability.

Gradient Bigolden 3

Inflation and control of the wing during taxi are uncomplicated; the glider rises and stands almost immediately over the pilot. The heavy weight and low centre of gravity of the paratrike help. The BiGolden 3 has good performance in sink rate so level flight is almost at touch of throttle, and it navigates straight without oscillations. With trimmers closed we move at 45 Km/h, and after releasing them we reach 51 Km/h. In the air we feel comfort, although the controls are rather harder than when we free-fly the BiGolden 3. It is an interesting choice for lighter paratrikes; a very versatile tandem wing, perfect for pilots who fly both free and under power.


Gradient Bigolden 3

Materials and 1-year repair warranty
Porcher Sport manufactures the double coated Everlast cloth especially for Gradient. This is a new fabric with special characteristics of strength and durability.
Warranty: Whatever happens during the first year, you can send the glider to Gradient for repairing and they will take good care of it without extra charges: Rips on the sail, a broken cell, line replacement, etc. It is a very interesting advantage if you plan to fly intensely.

Bigolden 3 rucksack

The rucksack is nice-looking, large (210 litres), light, and well thought to make it compact. It also has several pockets and padded zones, and it comes in eye-catching deep blue colour.

The+: Great balance of ease of use, confidence, and performance.

The-: Thin string to pull trimmer. Spread-bars not included.

+Info: www.gradient.cx


*Review by Daniel Crespo
Daniel is a long time pilot and competitor both in Paragliding & Paramotor.

We received the third generation of the popular tandem wing from Gradient with great anticipation. We tested the first BiGolden some years ago, and the test flight was an unforgettable task of nearly 100 km over the Pyrenees, in Castejon de Sos, during a Spanish League. That was an outstanding paraglider, and we could only expect that this one would be up to continue the series.

Gradient Bigolden3

With my nearly 100Kg of weight plus about 20 of gear (paraglider, harnesses, spread bars, etc.) and passengers of between 35 and 80 Kg, I can say that I have tried nearly the entire weight range of the BiGolden 3 in many flights during the high season of tandems in Iquique (Chile). Of them, two were done with children of 35 and 40 Kg with whom we made around 155 kg of total load in flight. I also had a couple of heavyweights of 92 and 100 Kg, respectively.

Gradient Bigolden3

Security: smooth and forgiving
With a moderate aspect ratio of 5.35, the BiGolden 3 is a compact glider. In flight, we notice a good amount of internal pressure, although the way to absorb turbulence feels somewhat 'cushioned'. The BiGolden 3 is indulgent, smooth. With it most of the turbulence vanishes, so we only have to use active piloting in strong shakings, gusts that would significantly change the flight direction or incidence. In none of my flights did I find unpleasant situations or response; quite the opposite, the feeling is of safety and comfort.

Gradient Bigolden 3

Landing behaviour
Superb! The BiGolden 3 has that extra point of speed and performance that allows you to round up the most difficult landings with zero wind. It is ideal for commercial tandem flights, where too often the passenger does not participate or run long enough. All the flights I did with this two-seater ended with soft landings, and –believe me– this feature is highly valued by professional tandem pilots.

Gradient Bigolden 3
Gradient Bigolden 3

Conclusion
The BiGolden 3 retains the best qualities of the series: light inflation, ease of use, good performance, and delightful handling. It has a wide weight range and works well on all of it, from 140 up to 220 kg, with the best performance achieved between 160 and 200 Kg.
It is a well balanced and comfortable glider. Although quite stable, it offers efficient turning behaviour and it is not physical to handle, which makes it a great choice for commercial or leisure tandem flights. It also flies well with paramotor.

Gradient Color rangeGradient Bigolden 3 Colors

Technical Data Gradient Bigolden 3

Pilot: Daniel Crespo

Posted: April 25th, 2014

*Test & article by Ojovolador.com

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