Catching the Drift: Thermals and Wind

Holding on to a drifting thermal can be very challenging, but improving this skill can yield exponential gains in airtime. Due to their buoyancy, thermals want to rise straight up. At some point the prevailing wind will overcome this inertia and tilt the thermal column. The winds at different altitudes can vary in direction and strength. The thermals therefore follow a wandering tilted trajectory as they rise, which can be difficult to map in three dimensions.

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Skywalk CHILI4 review (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 Performance 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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Advance SUCCESS 4 Review

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."

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Hang-gliding Until The Mountains End

Last year, Dale Lippstreu flew 268km in South Africa on his ATOS (Class 5 rigid wing hang glider).

Although longer flights are often achieved across the South African interior, this is an exceptional flight for the mountainous region of the Western Cape, where the technical challenges usually end flights well before 200km.

Dale shares some insight into achieving this flight.

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Advance STRAPLESS Review (by Greg Hamerton)

“The STRAPLESS weighs only 190 grams and is intended for hikers and mountain climbers who make no compromise when it comes to weight and volume,” says Advance.

Advance Strapless harness review

What this means is that there is nothing added for comfort or support geometry. It doesn’t feel flimsy – it’s surely strong enough – but it only has what is needed for you to fly down from a mountain.

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Supair STRIKE paragliding harness review

The Supair STRIKE is an ultralight pod harness based on the one designed for the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps race. Hike-and-fly racing is surely a niche activity, but many pilots appreciate the lightweight revolution which is transforming our gear and allowing us to explore more freely. When a harness is designed with these pilots in mind, we get something exceptional: a fully competitive ultralight that anyone can access.

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