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Monday, July 28, 2014

SKYWALK Tequila 4 S (YODA ! The Jedi master :-) )

At first i was afraid of getting a Tequila 4 for testing as i thought it could have the same long brake travel as the Chili 3, especially being a low B, then some pilots reported that it was completely different....i was curious...i ordered it...waited ... a ... lot ... Skywalk delay...then it came.
The test:
The last Skywalk glider i have flown was a Chili 3.  That glider amazed me by its overall performance especially the climb rate. The only negative point for my personal taste was its long brake travel.

Now its smaller sister the Tequila 4 in size S (70-95) is smiling at me at the take off....
Quality is now a competitive race between manufacturers, and a Skywalk wing has its place on the higher steps among the best ones available. Talking about quality can be sometimes like poor literature on paper .
The eye is the key that unveils the perfection of the work that has been done on a paraglider .The Skywalk Tequila 4 much like the Chili 3 has a neat finish coupled with refine construction details.

Launching the S size at 92 all up, i found the first pull on the A's to be relatively calm ,smooth and the lift from the first steps was quick.  

In the air: 
I still remember perfectly my last test flights on low B gliders .
 Ion 3, Atlas, Buzz Z4, etc...
Flying the Tequila 4 in thermals surprised me ! The maneuverability in this low B category is unique by a "short" quicker brake response and immediate turning behavior which puts a large smile and even more happy humor the whole flight...(In the past low B gliders were dull and some pilots will be bored)  Not on the Tequila 4 ! I was enjoying my test flight  :-) Farewell to the long brake travel on the Chili 3. The Tequila is ssssspicy :-)
Small bullet thermals can be out-cored !!!      Is that english ??   :-) 

The Tequila 4 doesn't dive in the thermal. It just turn quickly as we use to say "on a dime" !

After several occasions  flying next to my usual friends .I can confirm an excellent climb rate for that tiny Grey/green dot ! ;-) ...In fact i think Skywalk has managed to inherit the Tequila 4 'some' of the fine climbing qualities of its bigger sister the Chili 3 .

Doing long glides against some gliders in the same category did in fact surprised me even more ...The Tequila 4 stand on the higher shelf of the performance scale for a low B glider and could even match the best one up there touching the heart of the high-end B category supremacy... The trim speed at my total weight was very good for a low B. May be 39.5 km/h at 800 asl. 
Some difficult glides were made against the sea breeze and showed some impressive behavior for the Tequila 4 enabling it to always search forward and float rather than to bump against the airmass. And that is totally brilliant for a low B glider.

Who's the glider for?
The 'Spaghetti salad mixture' dilemma of the higher categories,D,C and finally touching the high-end B's with the appearance of the high aspect ratio ones has already made heads spinning faster than say the least... 
This race for better performance or should i say better numbers ?  ;-) as some pilots are still looking for those !! Yes and they are many still...unfortunately...
This big salad mixture seems to be tasty ...and i 'm afraid it will hit the lower categories soon.

 Back to my green Yoda friend, I found that it has the ability to please pilots in the category above who will appreciate its relatively dynamic but reassuring attitude. The Tequila 4 is not a tamed or dull low B glider. It is a glider for talented pilots searching for their second wing and will find real fun without loosing the 0.2 figure... in L/D on the higher B's.

In fact wing overs on the Tequila 4 are awesome ! In the second weight shift i found myself above the wing...Looking at the small aspect ratio glider ,i wouldn't have thought i will have fun like that! 
It could possibly be and i don't encourage it...but ....a good baby learning acro wing :-) for the basic maneuvers of course.

Big ears are stable and a good way to get down,if coupled with bar.
Speed over trim is 11 km/h with a medium to soft pressure push.
The glide is still good at ± 44 km/h ,then the Chili 3 will prevail.
Low speed characteristics are present with a forgiving 75 % brake pull ,but the glider will keep a certain float-ability before top landing...It's polar seems good .

Low aspect ratio B glider , true 3 liner design , top gliding and climbing performance , handles like a toy, a blissful machine , That's the Tequila 4 in size S .

I am been flying the Tequila 4 S those past weeks, and more feedback are available to share.
In my flying years ,there were some special gliders. Flying them gave me an impression that they stand near perfection in their respective categories.
After each flight on the Tequila 4 S , those impressions  began more and more to settle in.

When laying this glider for folding it after each flight , my head always ask the same question: 
How come that a low aspect ratio glider that looks relatively small over my head round and compact ,having all over regular covered lines ! can in fact fly beautifully each time i took it for an air challenge.

In 85 % of difficult conditions , the T4 always kept it’s magical powers saving me again and again to regain some heights, and float away, where some other gliders next to me seems to reject the conditions of the day by their excessive bumping, surging, diving , jumping around and loosing heights.
Indeed there are some special gliders, and the T4 S is one of them. 
It is in fact the whole package that is successful . Where the brake response of the Chili 3 and Cayenne 4 were long and in stronger ,punchier conditions, the brakes weren’t that efficient to control the strong surges, the Tequila 4 is the golden boy! The brake travel is short, and very precise. Yes it moves a bit more than an average low B ,but the precision of the brakes will tame immediately the sudden movements of the glider. 
In weak thermals it is a bliss to steer it.  No B or C pilot would be indifferent toward this precision and pleasure to fly it, and they won’t loose that joyful feeling under it that is not usually available on  some low aspect B’s...
For me the Tequila 4 S is a special glider and the main cause is (  low aspect ratio -  Normal lines-B glider  - High trim speed !  - Pleasure handling - Outstanding performance ‘efficiency' for a regular B !  )

Many did asked me if the glide matches the Chili 3 S.  May be the manufacturer won’t say it…But i will…Yes it has the same glide angle until 44 km/h and the glide in moving conditions is ….b.t….impressive   ;-) 

Designing gliders sometimes don’t bear the fruits that manufacturer are aiming for. A glider replacement is not always better…Too many things involved for success...

But the Tequila 4 S design for the easy B category is indeed a success.  Too many things involved for success...
  IMHO unless there’s a competition for speed , a good pilot can fly the T4 where his imagination leads him .