Carlo chatted to Arne Wehrlin, head of Skywalk and one of the founding partners.
Combining climb and glide performance with balanced handling is a big challenge.
The new CHILI4 promises more precise feedback through the brake lines and more direct (higher) brake range. It's a whole new design, incorporating a shark nose and optimised cell structure. 'Near comp wing' speeds are being promised on full bar, as well as the characteristic 'thermal bite' and 'benchmark' climb rate.
Says Arne: "The Chili4 has very agile handling. The contact point is higher than the Chili3, so it's more direct. It is faster at glide and top speed with better glide. It's especially better in turbulent conditions. The pilot target market is very similar to the Chili3, maybe very slightly higher. It has completely new design and construction, ballooning and sail tension, with a flat aspect ratio of 5.65 (up from 5.52), and a slightly smaller surface area. There will be five sizes covering 55-135kg." Expect to see the first wings before the end of the year.
The lightweight version of the Cayenne 5 is proving to be very successful. It apparently has even better feeling than Cayenne5.
Better performance and behaviour than X-Alps 2 but not as light, due to the topsail being made of 32gr/m2 fabric for increased durability. There's a great new video showing off the wing
Expected Spring 2017. More news to follow.
Skywalk plans to expand their harness range with Cristoph Kirsch (head of harness R&D and Skywalk partner) at the helm, producing harnesses in their own new factory. They are aiming at very top quality and clean design, and intend to offer new levels of comfort, both in sitting and flying feeling.
They are currently working on the Cult 4, which has the same target market as the Cult 3 but with a completely different design. It's close to finalisation and certification, and is planned to be ready for next season.
Coming soon is the Range 2 successor, aimed at XC pilots but also recreational pilots, and entry level competition pilots. Comfort is the first priority, then the balance of weight/durability. It's expected to be around 4kg (less than half the weight of the Range 2!). Planned to be ready for next season.
And of course a new harness must be ready for the X-Alps. New rules stipulate that it must have an LTF certified protector (as well as load test). They aim to make the Range X-Alps even lighter! Skywalk will again be a main sponsor for the 2017 X-Alps, and get even more involved in hike and fly. They are working with RedBull X-Alps athletes on making the best possible hike and fly competition racing package. Stephan Gruber is now working in the R&D team along with Alex Höllwarth and Paul Guschlbauer. Exciting times!