Flybubble team pilot MALIN LOBB pushes the limits of the Skywalk CHILI4 in Annecy.
I test flew the Skywalk CHILI4 S (85-105) at 95 kg all up for the test manoeuvres, and 103 as per Skywalk’s recommendation for cross country flying. I have to start by saying that for the last three years I’ve flown 2 liner comp gliders, so I’m coming at this having not flown EN Bs since my very first wing. So I have nothing to compare it to, but there were still some things that jumped out straight away.
The first when I got it out of the bag was actually how much more like a comp wing this EN B is when compared to the EN B wings I was used to. The lines are highly optimised, it has a shark nose profile, and it has modern internal strengthening like the Enzo. I was pleasantly surprised, from the start.
In the air even though I had about 5 square metres more cloth (than I’d have on a competition wing), it still felt well pressurised and I didn’t feel lightly loaded on it at all.
Trim speed frontals were a complete non-event, I even did some porpoising to make them more aggressive, and it was very hard to destroy the chord. I couldn’t get to full speed the way my front camera was mounted I had to loosen off the speedbar a bit, but with the high speed frontal I did I managed to destroy the chord more, and even though it started to open asymmetrically it recovered on course and dealt with it very well. That’s about the most catastrophic thing you’ll get flying a glider like this, and it was a complete non-event so that was very good.
Spiral exit was nice, it would come out the second you would lift your hand up, it came out much more positively than higher aspect ratio wings I’m used to flying, so that’s a good safety aspect built in.
I did quite a few asymmetric collapses with the brake in my hand and any action on the trailing edge would stop the span from collapsing, so if you’re an active pilot even a small amount of brake input is going to help keep the span with asymmetrics. I did a few with weightshift towards the collapse, and that was the only way I could get a turn with this glider, it’s pretty stable with up to 50% asymmetric collapses.
I tested pitch control to frontal, it took four well-timed pitch controls to get it to frontal, on the third the lines went slack so I knew the fourth one would be the frontal, again the recovery was straight-forward, it shows that there’s a bit of energy in this wing, but for its class its fine.
The recovery from searching for spin was very quick to react and to fly again.
In the stall, the glider was very keen to refly again, there was a very small parachutal window for tailslide, and it definitely wanted to fly, which is a good characteristic.
What I have to say about these tests, we are not trying to replicate the EN tests, it’s already got an EN B. We also aren’t trying to test outside the realms of EN and then go aha! this shouldn’t be in this category. With any glider you can get results the level above their EN tests. What we’re trying to do is be playful with the glider and if anything nasty jumps out report that. But really just to see the different characteristics that come to light from pushing gliders outside of their normal flight envelope.
So in conclusion, nothing jumped out at me with this wing that said it shouldn’t be in the class that it’s in, Skywalk don’t aim it at lower EN B pilots, but for mid-high EN B pilots, and I think you’ll get on very well with this wing. It was very nice to fly, and didn’t have too much energy for the average recreational pilot.
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