Skywalk TEQUILA4 Review

Skywalk TEQUILA4 Review

The TEQUILA4 is supposed to span the gap between Skywalk's Mescal4 and their CHILI3 with which it shares some features like the profile, skin tension and the C-wire reinforcing. It's a true 3-liner and according to the designer Alex Höllwarth, it also inherits the outstanding climb rate of the CHILI3.

But is it 'the right choice for talented beginners' that Skywalk claims it to be?

The Flybubble team put the wing through its paces.

On the ground it pops up easily without using the A risers in all but the lightest conditions, showing the benefit of the rigid foils in the leading edge. Normal launches are easy and measured. The wing pulls slightly forward when overhead, needing a gentle touch of brakes.

In strong conditions the wing want to launch itself, so pin it down with the back risers.

Landing speed is comfortably slow, but take care to avoid stalling the wing by using excessive brakes, a habit you might have acquired on other Skywalk models which favoured long brake travel.

This is due to the redesign of the brake position. Alex Hollwarth explained that they had some complaints about the handling of the CHILI3 so they raised the position of the brake pulley and made the riser is a little bit longer. The TEQUILA4 has a better brake position, the handling feels more agile and direct and the brake travel feels shorter compared to CHILI3 and TEQUILA3.

We could reach the stall point on the TEQUILA4 without wraps at 60-65cm (brakes at our hips). Brake pressure became moderate to high, and there was fair warning before the stall which seemed to happen at a relatively low speed. It's useful to be able to stall the wing on landing in a strong wind without having to take wraps!

The brakes have a small hook and loop fastener adjustment tab which allows you to reduce the size of the brake loop.

Turning behaviour is surprisingly good. It's very nimble, I was easily getting 360 thermaling turns under 12 seconds. It responds to the first touch of brake, but be careful – alternating brake input can quickly lead to big pitch or roll. Because of this I'd suggest that the TEQUILA4 is too responsive to be used for training, where the MESCAL4 is the perfect choice.

It is easy to induce big pitch movements, but it settles quickly if left alone. This makes it lots of fun to fly but also means that the passive safety is high. The wing absorbs the rough edges of the air currents and leaves you with the feeling of rolling over big plastic bubbles – you get a rounded bump as you encounter turbulence and enough feedback that you can tell which way to turn. Because of its forgiving nature I was comfortable leaving the wing to fly on its own while I fiddled with instruments and camera gear.

Recovery from a 50% collapse caused less than 90 degrees of turn, a mild pitch and little height loss. It's a very safe wing that received A ratings in most of its EN tests.

Big ears were easy to induce with the split A, producing a reasonable descent rate. Carlo had no problems on the medium. I found the ears on the small fighting to reinflate when accelerated. Even with larger ears there is no tendency to deep stall.

The speedbar was easy to operate and the wing felt solid throughout the range. It accelerated more than 10km/h which is average for a modern EN B wing.

In smooth soaring conditions with identical wing loadings, the TEQUILA4 M (pilot in a standard harness) was almost matched in performance with the CHILI3 S (pilot in pod harness), which is very impressive. The CHILI3 crept slowly forwards and upwards over a period of time. Fully accelerated the CHILI3 has a higher top speed and glide but the TEQUILA4 was still close.

Summary

The Skywalk TEQUILA4. Very nice rounded glider quite smooth in the air tends to smoothen out the bumps a little bit, so if you imagine the bumps as being sharp jagged rocks it makes them into rounded bowling balls. You can feel what's going on, you get a little bit of a bump, but it's not that hard sharp feeling of too much direct input and feedback.

For an 'easy B', it's actually got a very responsive turn, you put the brake in, you go around, I was getting sort of under 15 seconds on my 360s and it's doing that while keeping the glider flat. And quite a bit of energy and quite responsive.

Having said that you've got to be a little bit careful, if you're an insensitive pilot or not quite ready for this sort of glider if you put in a right turn and then a left turn at the wrong time you're going to find the wing building up energy and I was able to do wingovers super easy.

So if you're wanting to do kind of acro and messing around with the wing, this is the one.

It's not for everybody coming out of the paragliding school, it's for the students that have got a little bit more ability.

Pitches: it has got quite a bit of energy there, if you come on to the brakes and release, in the second cycle, it's way forward and it feels like it's going to front tuck but it was very impressive it went quite far forward … and didn't go. So it's got a lot of resistance to collapsing forward, before it will actually tuck.

I'm very happy with the change they have made, Skywalk have made to their brake rigging, it's shorter, it's direct. Previous Skywalks tended to have too much brake travel, and I've always had to have a wrap, which is frustrating on long cold cross-countries, your fingers start losing circulation. On this one, no need for wrapping … you just grab the brake, you put the brake next to your ear, you're thermaling, that's perfect.

Conclusion

It's not a wing we'd recommend to a heavy-handed or nervous new pilot, who would be better off with something more calm and dampened. The TEQUILA4 is perfectly suited to ambitious new and low airtime pilots who have good feeling and wing control; all pilots looking for high safety, agile handling and excellent performance.

More info on shop.flybubble.co.uk/skywalk-TEQUILA4