Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Thursday, October 6, 2016

SKYWALK Poison X-Alps XS !



SKYWALK Poison X-Alps XS (65-90)
The Poison X-Alps is SKYWALK light EN-D wing. This glider is the fruit of the wing used in the last X-alps race, trimmed and tuned to meet the requirements of the D pilots.
The Poison X-alps is a 7 aspect ratio glider with three risers and a shark nose. A small piece of wood attached on the C riser, is connected to act also on the B riser for a possibility to control the glider pitch when accelerated. All lines are unsheathed.

Launching the 7 aspect ratio Poison is an easy task with the light cloth. Quickly overhead, a slight damp on the brakes to keep it overhead and the take off is immediate.
I must state that different sizes behaves very differently. For instance when the Ozone LM6 size S has a slight pitch forward, The LM6 size SM has a neutral pitch, The normal M6 size SM has a slight pitch back ! I was flying the Poison X-Alps size XS from 84 to 90 all up. The M size could have other feel under it ... i just have the XS size.

I found after some hours flying the XS size, that 5 kilos below top is optimum as the balance of climb and speed is great ! I didn’t notice an increase or decrease in trim speed flying it from 85 to 90...But the climb at 85 all up is superb !
Also flying it 5 kg below top, decreases slightly its dynamism and smoothen up the movements in active air. Much like the Cayenne 5. No need to fly it at top weight.
I flew that glider in some turbulent air alternating flights with the LM6 SM. The Poison X-alps has a more dynamic feel under it. The roll movements are more pronounced over the LM6 with a lovely slight pitch forward that pulls you into the thermal.

All that is coupled with a precise, linear, short, direct brake response which i adore on board this beautiful machine !
The Poison X-Alps feels more taught in the air than the LM6 ( it feels like a solid, dynamic, compact piece) The information given by the Poison X-alps XS is spectacular ! A good pilot will feel everything in the brakes and also in the harness with the possibility to place it exactly
where he wants inside any turbulent thermal ! It needs more piloting than the LM6 in turbulent air and feels slightly more dynamic.

The LM6 is for sure a superb machine. But if i’m going to explain the difference between them and especially in ‘feel’ without talking about performance yet, i would say that, If the LM6 SM loaded at top feels like a Porsche. The Poison X-Alps XS at 85, feel like a Porsche GT2. Everything is fine tuned for slightly more precision, slightly more dynamism, slightly more race feel, slightly more steering pleasure !

Going on some glide on the Poison X-Alps XS at 85 all up with an LM6 S at top weight and an LM6 SM also at top weight showed me that the Poison X-Alps XS has a +1 km/h faster trim speed. At top speed, the Poison X-Alps XS has +16 km/h over it’s trim taken at 800m ASL.
As for the glide angle at trim and accelerated i would say that they pretty close. My 'personal' feel is a slight efficiency in head wind glides for the Poison X-Alps especially above trim,+ 47 km/h.

The Poison X-Alps XS at 85 all up is a very good climber in weak conditions. And for sure when the thermal streghten, it will shoot upward without any delay ! Overall it’s an efficient climber.
The speed system has a moderate pressure .The glide is superb ! Bumps are felt when accelerating in turbulent air and the pitch is controlled by pulling on the C riser which is slightly on the heavy side and could control quite some moderate turbulence. But not as much as a 2 liner does. For example, the Peak 4 'B steering' is much softer and more efficient. But of course its a 2 liner ! I felt that controlling the pitch with the C riser on the Poison X-Alps has to be firm and at the same time sensitive and precise in order to keep the glider levelled above.
360’s are super easy and feels quite nice with a very clean exit. Big ears are stable and doable with at the external B riser kit.

Conclusion: Test flying the Poison X-alps XS for "my personal taste” was an exceptional experience for a D glider yet ! The handling and the way it turns, feels and cut through the air, is superb !
It’s a slightly dynamic and talkative wing for sure in turbulence, but very well pressurised and has a homogenous feel for a 7 AR, top performer D glider ! The brake authority and responsiveness is among it’s
strongest points !
I loved the way it pulls into the thermal ! It sniffs and go through with a positive vario.
The authority on the brakes, usability and feel are exceptional on this XS size ! I’m sure that many keen pilots wouldn’t be indifferent after a test flight !  :-)