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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Air Design VOLT 3 SM

Air Design VOLT 3 SM

With 6.5 aspect ratio, Air design is introducing their 2018/2019 C glider.
The construction is really well made. All lines are unsheathed with 2 lines on the A’s on each side. 
The Volt 3 comes up really well, and inflates quite easy for this aspect ratio. The take off is immediate.

The brake travel were set slightly short, but i made then 3 cm longer.  I flew the Volt 3 SM from 90 to 95 all up.
It’s quite nice at 90 all up in all conditions, but i found it best at 93. 

The brake pressure are slightly less than the Artik 5 i had tested earlier and slightly more than an Alpina 3 MS.  
The information of the air  in moderate conditions is filtered and moderately sensed by the pilot. A little more informative than the Artik 5 which is sometimes too dampened, and not too informative like the Sector S, but rather toward a Delta 3 comfortable feel with more roll movements and a slight riser feedback which is very good ! 

10 cm are only needed to steer the Volt 3 in moderate conditions. In turbulent cores more pull is needed to get a turn and a bit of weight shifting. I could describe the agility as slightly less than an Alpina 3 MS at 92 and quite close to an Artik 5 24 at 93 but in small strong, turbulent thermals, i must insist more on my weight shift and brake pull to have a ‘closer’ agility to the Artik 5.  In those conditions a good dosage of brake pull will be required to turn it efficiently. 
In well built homogenous thermals, the Volt 3 agility is really nice. Once it entered, it cores quite tight and climbs fast. 

Climbing abilities:
Last glider i flew was the Artik 5 and i was impressed by the climb rate of that glider. The next week flying the Volt 3 next to the Artik 5 and to an LM6 (mantra light) gave me a bigger idea about the Volt 3 in terms of climb rate.
It’s a blessing sometimes when i test fly new gliders that can surprise me positively…And the Volt 3 did in fact opened my eyes by it’s incredible climbing abilities !  Later, with also other new C gliders in the air, i was happy test flying it, and totally convinced that the Volt 3 stand out as the best and finest climber in it’s category !  That glider does in fact climb really well in weak thermals and rapidly in strong cores!  
There’s no pitch back behavior, but a slight pull toward the thermals.  

Glide angle:
Doing some glides next to an Artik 5, Alpina 3, even LM6, i noticed that the Volt 3 is well placed right on top of that C category , and could easily match the LM6 glide angle or at least is super close…
I had to pull slightly on the bar (2-3 cm) to match the trim speed of the Artik 5, with exactly the same glide angle.  
Gliding on the bar (50%) in turbulent air is comfortable on the Volt 3, and the C riser control is very efficient by pulling it down to prevent surges if occurred during strong turbulence, but rarely since the leading edge is quite stable and solid. I was able to push with total confidence in a variety of conditions. The glide at full bar matches the best C gliders of the moment.

For a 6.5 aspect ratio C glider, the Volt 3 is very comfortable to fly. The overall movements in the air ressembles the Alpina 3 ones but the piloting level of the Volt 3 is slightly higher.  
It ressembles the Artik 5 comfort with also slightly more piloting level.  If i want to put int into numbers to give you an idea, i would say 15 % over the A5 in pilot level, and 20 % over the Alpina 3. 

Ears are stable and big, since there are only 2 lines on the A’s. They are very efficient, and reopen by a slight action from the pilot. Totally usable and a nice feature for easy descent rate. 

Conclusion: After the Rise 3 here’s another very good XC potential with the Volt 3 !  I’m pretty sure that a good C pilot will have a blast on this XC machine !  
Easy for a 6.5 AR, comfortable to fly in big air if properly loaded, climb like a dream, has a superb glide angle among the top C’s. 
Be sure to test fly one and post back your feedback !  :-) 

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Skywalk Tequila 5 S

Skywalk Tequila 5 

It was obvious when test flying the Tequila (Four) two years ago, i wrote that that low B had some super fine qualities and incredible handling. Many pilots around the world had sent me email’s about their happy experience underneath that glider. Also many reported that for a low B it was a bit handful in strong air especially for fresh pilots coming from an A glider. For sure the Tequila 4 has some incredible flying qualities enabling it to surf quite well in tricky air without loosing on glides. 
Then came the Chili 4, which inherited a nice handling (not really as agile as the T4 ! but really nice ) And the overall performance of the Chili 4 is still on the top high B category.
So i think SKYWALK philosophy was to introduce a glider that was more accessible for the low mass pilots.

The Tequila 5 has an excellent construction with sheathed lines on the lower part and unsheathed on the top part next to the sail. The lines ressembles the Chili 4 ones. Only a few slightly more diameters width. 

Launching the T5 is easy without any difficulties or hard point. 

In the air, i immediately felt a much more comfortable glider over the T4.  The movements in roll and pitch are very well dampened.  After a few hours it seems that the T5 is easier to fly with less overall movements than a Buzz Z5, an Ion 5 or even the Synphonia.  It feels quite dampened in all axes and quite well placed in the mid low B segment for overall usability.

The handling and the way to steer the Tequila 5 has been also adjusted. It doesn’t have the agility of the Tequila 4 which was over the low B category at the time…I miss the T4 beautiful agility…But some low B pilot would welcome at open arms the T5 forgiving handling. It just turn with pilot input and quite obedient in a very polite way :-)

Flying with another low B gliders, and more mid to high B gliders, i could place well the Tequila 5 is terms of climb and glide. 
Climb rate would be fitted in the mid low B category. At 90 all up on the S size the climb rate is quite ok.  The nose doesn’t dig like the T4 but, quite nicer as some Low B gliders.

Doing some glides into wind, with some other B gliders, the Tequila 5 has a moderate glide angle that quite fits in the low B segment.  

Stepping on the bar at full speed is quite usable in all conditions. It’s a mild ,soft ,very well balanced low B glider. 

Ears are stable, reopens on release.

Conclusion: Skywalk has succeeded to fit the Tequila 5 much better in the low B category for a much bigger majority of newcomers.  Any fresh pilot would find a nice, well balanced, easy to fly, comfortable low B glider. 

   This is only my opinion. Make your own !