This is a work in progress. As I get more pictures and time, I will revise and re-write
Ok, so I got to fly the U2 twice this weekend, both on Saturday.
I launched early Saturday morning for a sled run. It went well and nailed the flare no problem. I actually found it easier to flare than my Horizon.
Second launch was later in the evening when the wind was high... 18 to 20mph when I launched. I had two people on each wire, and one on the keel. They were saying "light up". My nose angle was low, I felt the time was right and yelled "clear".
Before I could even push off the ramp, I was 3 feet above it. I yelled "SH*T!" and pulled in as hard as I could. Off I went. I flew in the ridge lift for about an hour, experimenting with various VG positions and turns and going on glide etc. Nearing the end of my down-wind, I hit some really nasty rotor. The rotor was too bad to circle in, yet I was awfully high to go on final.... not much choice so I decided to go on final. I pulled in as hard as I could, got up to 45mph and used up 90% of the field before touching down. Unfortunately, I was a little too rattled from the rotor and possibility of running out of field to pull off a good flare I was a little late on the flare but didn't whack or hurt anything.
So, all that aside, here are my impressions of the U2 as compared to the Horizon (H). The U2 is much more difficult to turn. With VG off, it turns like the Horizon with VG on 1/2 to 3/4. It just wants to keep tracking straight ahead. When you want to turn the U2, you can yaw it and shift all the way over but it still takes a second for it enter the turn. I imagine it is like a topless in that respect. I can easily snap the Horizon up on a wing tip instantly, even at very slow speeds. Not so much with the U2. But once you enter a turn, it takes almost no effort to stay in a constant bank.
In ground handling with VG off, there is a lot of slack in the side wires. It's not a big deal to me as the Horizon had slack too. You get used to it. The other thing I noticed in ground handling is that it feels very tail heavy. When walking with it or setting your nose angle for launch, you really have to lean forward with some authority. Otherwise, launching the U2 is as easy as any other wing I've flown.
Performance wise, the thing is a rocket ship compared with anything else I have flown. The glide is very flat, there is very little pitch pressure, especially with any amount of VG... it doesn't want to come down! The VG makes very noticable differences at ALL settings... even 1/4 VG makes a noticable difference. It picks up speed very quickly, easily, and silently. The Horizon made all kinds of noise over 30mph but the U2 is near silent. On my first flight, I got it up to 45mph and still had room to pull in. It doesn't seem easy to PIO on it either... I did PIO once but it was when I was low to the ground on final, going very fast, and running out of field... I was nervous and was overcontrolling because of that. Letting out a bit on the bar corrected that in 3 seconds. The sink rate seems outstanding.
Due to the long glide, you must to have good landing approaches. You can't pull in to bleed off altitude. It just converts that altitude to speed and the field goes away very quickly. This is probably going to be the biggest adjustment for me.
All in all, I love the wing. I am a bit more sore today than I am after flying my horizon, and I attribute that to the extra effort required to initiate turns. I am thinking and hoping that it will quickly become just as easy to intiate turns as my Horizon... but slightly different technique will be required. The hope is that as I learn the technique, I will be working more with the glider instead of against it and trying to muscle it around.
I can't wait for spring!!!!!