Paraglider Reviews

Advance PI 2 and EASINESS 2 (Review)

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."

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Gin EXPLORER (Paraglider Review)

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.

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Skywalk CHILI4 (Paraglider Review)

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.

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Gin Explorer demo wings land at Flybubble!

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!

Skywalk CHILI 4 (First Impressions)

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?

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Skywalk POISON X-ALPS Review

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.

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Niviuk ROLLER Review

The Niviuk ROLLER is a mini wing designed to extend your flying range into high wind soaring, beyond what you can safely fly in using a standard sized paraglider. What is the handling like? And what kind of pilot is it really suitable for? We took the Flybubble demo wings out for some extensive testing.

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Niviuk PEAK 4 Review

The PEAK 4  (EN D) replaces the PEAK 3 in Niviuk's range and fits squarely in the Advanced Class, below the Competition Class Icepeak 8 (CCC) and above the Performance Class Artik 4 (EN C).

It's intended for pilots who are wanting to do competitions or big competitive XC but don't want the full-on concentration required to keep a high-maintenance hotship flying in cracking conditions.

It also offers a unique stepping stone as an 'entry level' 2-liner for pilots unfamiliar with the handling of this recent design innovation.

Greg Hamerton tested the PEAK 4 >

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Advance EPSILON 8 Review

The Epsilon 8 is a recreational 'mid' EN B wing, intended for pilots with a year or more of flying experience but who still want security and simplicity in their flying.

It comes in above the entry-level Alpha 6 and below the high-performance Iota.

Greg Hamerton tested the wing in varied conditions, including a 100km XC flight. 

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