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Average Flown Distance
(source: OLC 2016)
Our editors' review up to date on Dec 28 2016
The Pilatus B4AF is an all-round sailplane. With Ka6-like performance, it could be used for your first cross-country flights. The B4 out-climbs a lot of gliders. However, it is mostly bought as an aerobatic trainer these days. Since the B4 is all-metal, it is very strong and rigid. This gives it G-limits of +7G and -5G, very suitable for aerobatics. The low VNE of 240kph is a bit low for the more advanced figures or quarter rolls going straight down. It has once beaten Fox'es in the Advanced class, when it was flown by Johan Gustafsson.
For aerobatics, it is very comparable to the ASK-21, but better. Faster rolls rates and the possibility to do spins, flick-rolls (for which you need the "F" mod: a stringer on near the tail) and tail-slides makes it more exciting than the ASK-21.
The B4 requires little maintenance and can be tied down outside without worry. Assembly is a bit heavy on the arms, but a good trailer and some friends make this job a lot easier.
Overall, the glider is very suitable for solo-standard pilots. The only thing to look out for is Pilot-Induced-Oscillation during towing, especially if your B4 does not have a separate hook for aero-towing.
More exciting in the air and easier to handle on the ground than an ASK-21.
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