Paragliding in BC

Paragliding in BC

Friday, April 14, 2017

Skywalk Chili 4 review

I've moved back and forth between wing levels a few times during this sport.  It started with my second glider...I went from a beginner wing (see photo below) to a "low level" intermediate one, but back in the 90's the intermediate wings could be quite a handful.  That new wing did end up scaring me at an SIV course, so I went back down a level until I regained my confidence and was ready to progress again.

My first glider!  The "Flight Design A4".  Photo from 1999 maybe?

Being a team pilot for Skywalk I'd been hearing a lot about this amazing new "high" EN-B rated wing in development (the Skywalk Chili 4) but truthfully I had to swallow my ego before ordering one.  I'd been flying EN-C rated wings (which is a solid intermediate level) for almost 10 years so this would be a step down.  However my flying hours lately had been on the low side so the smart decision was to go with the Chili 4.  Besides, I thought to myself, if I bought this wing and it lacked the performance I wanted, it would be easier to sell an EN B wing than an EN C one!  That helped seal the deal (and shut my damn ego up).

Turns out there was nothing to worry about - I hardly noticed a difference in performance on my first thermal flight.  Hurray for new technology!  I could turn just as zippy as on my old glider and got the same great feedback from the wing while climbing in thermals.  And it's response in rough air was a real treat.  It was as if the Chili 4 would hit some turbulence and say, "Don't worry...I got this" and then dissipate all the rough stuff and leave me to continue on flying.  It was so much more relaxing in the an EN B rated wing should be.  That left me with more resources to concentrate on finding lift and paying attention to what was happening in the air than to worry about any potential collapses. The Chili 4 is agile and a smart thermal hunter like it's predecessors - when a sinkhole found me, I had no trouble making a low save and getting back up over launch height again.

George doing a fly-by overhead.

Not surprisingly George (who is on the Chili 4 as well but stepped up a level) felt the wing was more active than his old wing. And while for me the final glide when coming in to land seemed shorter, he mentioned having to adjust his final approach when his glide seemed longer.  Makes sense.

The Skywalk Chili 4 sits just where it should in Skywalk's range of gliders - high intermediate.  Definitely not a first glider, but full of potential for pilots who are ready to go cross country and have solid thermalling skills.  Stable enough to bring you through the rough stuff, and agile enough to turn on a dime when you need to catch a super skinny thermal.  I'm so excited about this season of flying, and can't wait to get to know my new glider better.

Although I'm not sure about the resident alien living in my right hand wing tip...

Click on photo to enlarge it - then you can see the alien living in my right wingtip!

No comments: