Dave Southern reports on the hike-and-fly combination of Advance PI 2 and EASINESS 2 (Skywings Magazine, January 2017). "The Pi 2 27 and Easiness 2 ‘security configuration’ are an excellent combination which should pass unnoticed by the most eagle-eyed flight desk attendant and go into the overhead lockers for air travel. All of your kit, including an ultralight reserve, could weigh less than 7kg and you’d still have a glider that is capable of good, safe XCs."Read more
The Gin EXPLORER is “a lightweight sports performance wing aimed at seasoned XC pilots who want to fly a wing that’s comfortable, responsive and performant.” Nancy Elliott shares her first impressions based on her experience on the wing in UK spring conditions.Read more
Flybubble team pilot Malin Lobb pushes the limits of the Skywalk CHILI 4 in Annecy, testing its responses to extreme flight situations.Read more
The Flybubble crew have now flown Skywalk's new high-end EN B wing, the CHILI4, a good amount in a variety of conditions. Carlo was charged with getting to know the CHILI4 intimately and then publish his findings. After numerous flights, lots of ground handling, and much poking and prodding, here they are.Read more
Holy Cow, Batman! Is that your new Gin Explorer demo wing?
We got our first new Gin Explorer demo in early January and Carlo managed to get out and have a brief play in light winds on a very beautiful sunny winter’s day.
First impressions of the Explorer are that the build quality is excellent, the wing has a very clean shape, the launch characteristics are well-balanced, and handling is responsive and moderately dynamic. Like a lightweight Carrera+ but with a slightly more compact feel.
The wing inflates and comes up easily, without any marked sticking point i.e. I didn’t find it showing a tendency to ‘pause’ or hang back on inflation, with or without risers. In light winds I didn’t notice the Carrera’s tendency to ‘reward’ a poor pilot’s inputs with the good ol’ pluck n plonk, but the real test of this will of course be in strong conditions.
As with the original Carrera and Carrera+, the Explorer requires some finesse to get it to come up straight, however if you do bring it up skew then this is relatively easy to correct with good technique.
Another similar trait to it’s two siblings is that the Explorer is quite reactive to relatively short brake travel, yet still tolerates relatively deep inputs and gives good of warning before the stall point is reached, giving it a performance class feel with XC class demands in this regard.
As well as a good bit of ground handling, some kiting around the hill, about a dozen launches and a bit of scratchy soaring, I had opportunity to throw a few small wing overs. The Explorer responds smartly to inputs, builds speed quickly and converts this speed efficiently into energy – excellent for wing overs, again very similar to the Carrera and Carrera+.
We’ll need to fly it more – a lot more – to be sure however first impressions are that the Explorer is a very similar level of glider, with similar levels of pilot demand, to the Carrera+ i.e. a bit less demanding that the original Carrera.
More to follow as soon as possible…
More about the Gin Explorer.
Want to try our Gin Explorer demo? Contact us to arrange a test flight!
Round, square, hybrid, rogallo? There are many differences between modern reserve parachutes and buying one can be a complicated decision. A reserve can seem like an unnecessary cost, something you could do without or don't need to pay much attention to. But it's a cornerstone of reducing risk, and it's really important to get the choice right.Read more
The Skywalk CHILI 3 developed a reputation as the 'climbing king' in the XC Class. It also had a fairly impressive accelerated glide, making it a favourite in the UK, where escaping from small hills usually involves pushing upwind from a poor climb before making the best of weak lift that struggles through the ground inversion and into the really good sky near the clouds. The CHILI 4 has slightly more aspect ratio, more cells, is slightly heavier and is designed with more loading. From that I'd expect the wing to be slightly faster and offer better glide. The introduction of a shark nose should increase the speed range and safety. So is it an outright winner?Read more
The Poison X-Alps seems to have a dual purpose: with a 'semi-light construction' it is aimed mainly at adventurous XC pilots while also hoping to attract pilots from hike-and-fly racing. Based on the wing Paul Guschlbauer and Stephan Gruber used in the Xalps 2015 (Skywalk Xalps 2), it has an impressive pedigree. Within the lightweight Advanced Class, it has a philosophy of 'slightly heavier, slightly bulkier, more performance' construction, shared by the Gin GTO2 and Ozone's LM6. But with 80 cells and mini-ribs all along the trailing edge, the Poison X-Alps shows the greatest dedication to reducing drag.Read more
The faulty assembly of a Quick-Out carabiner led to its accidental opening. The pilot had dismounted both of the Quick-Out's release buttons and later re-installed them in swapped positions. Swapping the release buttons is dangerous! In the instruction manual, the manufacturer points out that the release button located on the opposite side of the installation slot must not be dismounted when attaching the carabiner to the harness.Read more
The Advance SUCCESS 4 has just arrived at Flybubble! Carlo says: "I'm very impressed by the build quality, passive safety, comfort, low weight and packing volume, practical ease of use, well thought out reserve system, attention to detail and comprehensive package of the SUCCESS 4. Although the price is high for a standard (non pod) harness, when you consider what you get for your money and that the excellent protection it offers could help prevent injury then I think the price is justified. Properly looked after, this harness could last much more than 10 years."Read more