Paragliding in BC

Paragliding in BC

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sneak Peek at the Chili 4

As mentioned in my last post, it's too snowy to get to launch...unless you're up for a good hike of course.  Since I'm battling a nagging winter cough that option is out of the question for now, so I'm going to have to peek at my new paraglider here inside my house.

First impressions - the new inner bag is amazing!  Instead of the usual bag with an opening and drawstring up top, you can zip down both sides to expand the bag. This will definitely replace my accordion packing bag on hike and fly adventures, and maybe even day-to-day flying. It almost looks like a stuff-n-go type bag but without the awkwardness of trying to carry one of those for more than a few steps.

New Skywalk inner bag - sides unzipped

Skywalk inner bag - all zipped up 
View from the top (newly designed outer backpack to the left)

Skywalk also redesigned their outer backpack - it's sleeker than previous versions with nice fat easy-pull zippers, an outer bungee to slide your jacket in when you get hot hiking up to launch, plus a small pouch on the hip strap to stash your keys or phone.

But back to the goodies inside the bag! Riser bag, bandana/neck gaiter/whatchamacallit, manual and piece of white repair tape are included standard with each wing.

Swag is always awesome!

I pulled out the risers from my Skywalk Cayenne 4 (EN-C, 2012) to compare to the Chili 4 (EN-B).  In 4 years glider development has come a long way - there's almost no difference now between my "old" EN-C and the new EN-B (see photo below).  Both have skinny risers and skinny lines (one extra on each riser for the B wing) but at this first quick glance they look really similar.

Skywalk Cayenne 4 on the left, Skywalk Chili 4 on the right.

And even with the extra line on each riser, the wing weighs .1 kg less overall than my Cayenne of the same size. The only physical change I can see on the risers is the black plastic tabs in the quick links were replaced with rubber O rings, plus the big ears tabs have been removed.  

Close up of the Skywalk Chili 4 riser

They also switched to snaps for the brake handles - personally I prefer magnets but guess I can live with the change! They also have a cool loop on the rear risers instead of a pulley for the brake line to thread through to keep everything clean and organized.

Same as photo above - Cayenne 4 on left, new Chili 4 on right.

You can see the brake line itself is even thinner than my "racier" wing...I seriously can't wait to try this Chili 4 out!

I'm not really comparing apples to apples here, but with the huge improvements in EN B gliders these days I'm guessing that I'm not going to notice a whole lot of difference in the air to my 4-year old EN C when I finally get a chance to go fly this new beauty.  Hoping Santa brings some warm weather to melt the snow on the road to launch so we can drive at least most of the way up, and some clear skies and perfect winds to go with it!  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Skywalk Chili "4" Christmas


                                              Christmas came a few days early this year!

Skywalk Paragliders have been working on their new Chili 4 ("high" EN B) over the last year or so, testing and modifying and testing again until it met their exacting standards. To find the perfect balance between safety and performance meant having patience as they modified designs until they were satisfied.

I eagerly read each of our Team Pilot updates - this was my new baby in production after all! Knowing the delay meant a better wing made the wait worth it...that and the miserable weather we seemed to have here almost every weekend this season.

On Thursday December 8th the email came from Skywalk - the XS Chili 4 would be ready for shipping early next week! Sure enough, UPS tracking showed my glider ready for pick up from Skywalk's warehouse in Germany on Tuesday morning. By Thursday it was sitting in Richmond, BC - merely an hour's drive away from me - waiting to clear customs.  As usual, the customs agents took their own sweet time and didn't release it until Friday afternoon, which meant no delivery until Monday.  Who cares if it was snowing and the wind was gusting over 30 km/hr...I wanted my wing!

So, I now have a perfect new paraglider sitting under my Christmas tree waiting for a sunny day and the energy to hike up to one of our local launches (that whole snow thing means no driving up to the take-off any time soon).

I did peek inside since there weren't any signs saying "Do Not Open till Christmas". I don't think I'll be missing much "stepping down" from my 4 year old EN C. By the look of the risers that I carefully wiggled out of the magically folded glider (so I could actually fold it back up factory-style), it's obvious that EN B wings have come a long way.

Another post coming soon with some first impressions and pictures from my sneak peek in the (wicked new) bag!