The key to life is not accumulation. It's contribution. Hands that serve help more than the lips that pray.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

SKYWALK CHili 5 XS 75-95

Skywalk Chili 5 size XS 75-95

After the excellent Chili 4, Skywalk released the Chili 5 for 2021-2022 and perhaps a little more.

One of my favorite gliders at the time in the B category was the Chili 4. It had a wonderful brake authority, climbs beautifully, and has one of the best glide angles for the category, and is still very competitive. Some pilots reported that the extra movements in the air were too much for them, and some appreciated each moment. Always a matter of taste.

Let's begin with the construction which shows very clean work. Skywalk uses a mix of TX-Light and Dominico 30 DMF. The jet flaps are of course still present on the Chili 5, 3D shaping, shark nose, and all the new features of a modern B class paraglider. The risers have a C steering speed control that allows the pilot to stay on the bar while limiting the pitch movements. 

So, what’s the Chili 5 have to offer? Let's see…

Launching the Chili 5 XS at 93 all up with my good old X -rated 6 harness is very direct, easy and inflates without any hard point or even any shooting forward. It launches easier than the Rush 6 and is similar to the Base 2 which is excellent. The light materials offer a straight forward uncomplicated launch. The take-off is immediate and smooth.

I flew the Chili 5 in multiple conditions, from our strong higher Cedars sites to the lower humid sites with 35 degrees hot and turbulent summer weather! 

In the air, I immediately felt like I’m sitting on a comfortable couch despite what’s going around me. In the same weather, the Chili 4 would have been like a go-kart. The pitch movements are nearly absent but when encountering a strong bullet, the Chili 5 pitches slightly back, but…with a positive vario and it slides through the rising air mass.  There’s some bad pitch back that doesn’t really get inside the thermals, and a good pitch back. The Chili 5 has very good behavior in thermals.

That’s a rare feeling for me, and I find it really interesting in a very positive way. To explain that feeling, in most turbulent air some B gliders surges forward, some pitches back losing the climb, and require pilot management with the brakes that could delay a bit the climbing efficiency, but I rarely see a glider that climbs and still climb well, with a very reassuring little pitch back that is quickly gone when inside a thermal. That pitch back doesn’t need anything to do for the pilot underneath. The Chili 5 just climbs effortlessly without too much control from the pilot. Interesting point. 

To add to my comments on that climb, and while I was testing it with the best B’s of the moment, like the Base 2 and the new Rush 6 and with the same loadings, I can confirm that the Chili 5 is one of the best climbing machines!  To explain why it climbs so well, I must say again, that no touching of the brakes is needed while hitting a thermal or just a slight bit, and that enables the Chili 5 to float in a rising air mass. On those testing days, my friends on the new high B gliders were stunned by the efficiency of the Chili 5! 

The Rush 6 is different in entering the airmass and jumps forward into it. The comfort under the Chili 5 is IMHO, 30% less than the workout on the R6 in strong turbulent air and it is even just slightly more comfortable than the Base2!  It is really compact and homogenous! 

The brake travel and pressure of the Chili 5 is slightly more firm than the Chili 4 on the first 15 cm after the 10 cm of a gap. The agility and authority on the brakes are really nice also. Not as dynamic in turns as the Chili 4, but really good and efficient. I could turn the Chili 5 in a very narrow thermal. The Chili 5 doesn’t dive in turns, and if you want to make a wing over you need to build it. 

In these testing hours, I was completely satisfied with the handling. And that’s an important issue for my personal preference.

After pulling 15-17 cm which I don’t think any pilot will use then much unless there are heavy conditions, the Chili 5 brake pressure became a bit hard. It could be a relief for some pilots to feel secure when things go wild, just because they could hang on to something…


That part is interesting…Flying many new gliders, I’m still amazed at the new ones! I lately test flew the Rush 6, and it was also available to compare it with the Chili 5. I also brought the excellent Base 2 M which has a very good glide angle. Test flying against the Base 2 at the same weight showed me that the Chili 5 has what it takes to be awesome! The top speed is 3 km/h faster than the already fast Base 2 M. I did some glides also with the Rush 6, and I can say that the glide is very close and competitive. For that matter, I’ll update my B comparison for the little details if needed. 

C steering while on the bar is efficient, moderates pressure, and keeps the glider overhead. 

Ears are stable and reopen slowly without pilot intervention if loaded at the top. 

Conclusion: Skywalk has built a very comfortable high-performance B glider. The Chili 5 doesn’t require a lot of active control while delivering excellent overall performance for the B category. I can confirm that I can put it with some mid-Bs in terms of comfort and accessibility.

The Package of the climb, glide performance, and huge comfort are very wide in the high B category. The top speed is really good and a bit hard to push at the second bar. Other than that… Fly the Chili 5 near the top weight for efficiency, and you will experience an excellent XC machine that saves you a lot of energy, keeping you gliding toward the sunset.  


Friday, August 13, 2021

Rush 6 MS 75-95

Rush 6 MS 75-95

And here it is…The new Ozone Rush 6 EN-B for 2022-23.  

In my mind, I was thinking that to beat the Rush 5 would be a super difficult job for Ozone. My test conclusion of the Rush 5 was the best EN-B ever made, and it was clear to all the pilots in the world after the two years cycles.

Will Rush 6 beat the Rush 5 in all qualities? … let's see…

The take-off at 93 all up with my X-rated 6 harness seems much better than the Rush 5 which was a bit slow to inflate. The Rush 6 with those small leading-edge openings, inflates much better in little air. Lighter materials enable the gliders to launch better, like the Explorer 2 for example And I think the future Swift 6 will have an even more enhanced launching as the Explorer2. But for a normal B glider, no more complaints about the launching characteristics. Checked!

In the air, the Rush 6 is a bit faster at trim than the Rush 5 and for sure at the second bar which we will talk about later on.

The brake travel at my weight has similar pressure to the Rook 3 but longer a bit for the same turning abilities and same agility in turns. 

Before I continue describing the turn abilities, I have to mention that the overall feel under the Rush 6 is very different from 90 % of the B category gliders. Let me explain:

The Rush 5, Rook3, Mentor 6, Chili4, are still excellent B gliders, but the feel under them is exactly like a moderate aspect ratio B glider with limited abilities for the leading edge to cut through a difficult airmass. And that ability was only reserved for the class above. 

The Rush 6 is different. A different behavior and movements under it. The pilot level is a little step more than the Rush 5, but still in the high B category. 

The leading edge is so tensed that I needed to pull hard in order to collapse it. The reopening is immediate and slightly more dynamic. 

In strong and turbulent air, no small collapses whatsoever. Very taught leading edge. The Rush 6 is a different glider from the older series. 

 But please don’t understand me wrong. The Rush 6 is a relatively comfortable glider in the B category.  I just needed to place it accurately versus the Rush 5.  For example: Easier to fly and much tamer movements than the Carrera Plus. Probably similar to the Maestro 21. So all is good there. To finalize, the Rush 6 is slightly easier to fly than the Delta 4 when conditions are rough. The information is slightly more tamed. 

All that hybrid construction with the C steering like the Delta and Alpina series, and the taught leading-edge, leads to having a leading edge that is cutting through the airmass exactly like a C glider!  The efficiency in moving forward is like the class above. Or should I say to be very accurate, in the “middle-top” of the C class category? 

Now that’s a bold statement…I know. But I as you already know, I won’t write useless marketing talk, anything unless I’m sure about it. And yes, I’m sure. 

The C steering is very easy and comfortable to use in turbulence while on bar. 

Now the question that you might ask is: What about the Delta 4? Does the Rush 6 have the same overall performance as the Delta 4? My answer is simple.

As long as you push the bar on the Rush 6, the difference in glide against the wind and in a moving airmass in XC conditions are very…very…little to say the least. Even at full bar on the Rush 6, the efficiency is outstanding!

The very strange thing is that the glide at trim of the Rush6 seems slightly less than the top C gliders, but as soon as you push the bar, the glide improves a lot on the Rush 6…which is weird…While having the C glider pushing also on bar of course and both match the same speed. 

But I have tried and tried many glides with the same results even at top speed comparing with a very good C glider of the same size and at the same loadings.

Climbing in weak conditions at 93 all up, showed me also a very efficient machine that could float in those tiny thermals despite the stiff and solid structure of a B glider. On a higher-rated glider, flying in weak conditions will give you more feedback as the C, or D gliders inform the pilot in a more subtle and direct way of the air movements. But the mellow Rush 6 was quite efficient in weak. Despite being very good in weak, I think that the Rush 5 would float a tiny better in 0.2 m/s conditions. Encountering a bit of valley breeze, the R6 will have the upper-hand

Some would ask: Is it as nimble with short brake travel as the Chili4 of the same size, R-Light S ?  No, it doesn’t have that short, very linear response, as the mentioned gliders deliver a little more feedback from their brakes, but still, the R6 has more than enough for the B category, with very good agility, and a very good brake authority to place it among the good ones in the handling category.  

Does it turn better than the Rush 5? 

Yes, “with more positive power into the turn” is the best description for it. It goes forward without stopping while turning. (Of course for a B glider) 

The feedback comes from the risers, not the brakes. The turning abilities to core any turbulent thermal with a narrow radius are very possible if the inside brake is pulled to a certain degree. Overall, a very good handling and brake authority. 

 A pilot upgrading from the Buzz Z5 or Z6 needs at least two full seasons in strong air to fully understand the Rush 6 excellent potential. Coming from a Mojo is not recommended…I think.

Big ears are stable and reopen with pilot control as the tips tend to stick a bit. A little break pump would be great.

Conclusion:  If you are that good high B pilot that searches to get an XC record on a B while pushing often on the bar, then you have reached your destination.  

If pilots want to use the R6 only at trim, then they will miss its real potential. 

The Rush 6 is a higher step-in feel and in performance for the B category. It feels like the R6 is pushing into the airmass like very rare high B gliders, but with a high-performance package.

A Rush 5 pilot needs a few hours to dial in and to understand the new concept. Afterward unleash the beast! :-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Mac Para Elan 3 24

MacPara Elan 3  24. (75-95)

The new C for 2021 from MacPara has arrived. Having flown both earlier versions, I was excited to test fly their latest release. 

Shark nose, The Elan 3 is manufactured using the excellent lightweight materials from Porcher Sport. Skytex 38, Skytex 32 and Skytex 27.  

The lines are made from Edelrid, Aramid Kevlar for the upper lines, PPSL lines for the lower lines.

The construction and details are superb. The risers have a connection between the B and the C for efficient C steering. 

Launching the Elan 3 at 93 all up is smooth and easy. The Elan 3 rises effortlessly without any hard point even in nil wind. If the Delta 4 is sometimes slow to launch, the Elan 3 like the Allegro is easier to inflate. 

Flying with my X-rated 6 at 93,94 all up, the Elan 3 seems fast at trim. Similar to a Bonanza 2 in trim speed and 1-2 km/h faster at top speed. 

I flew the Elan 3 in different conditions, from a strong day in the Cedars spot at 3000 ASL to the lower spots with warm air and inversions at 800 ASL. In all conditions, the Elan 3 felt homogenous without any parasital movements whatsoever. The Elan 3 is very different from the Elan 1 and the Elan 2 in terms of overall feel. While being comfortable to fly for a C, and a very successful DHV rating, with one C, the Elan 3 DNA flies and feels different. The feel under it is like a super easy and comfortable baby Magus. 

The pitch when entering thermals is incredibly efficient without any pitch back at all. A slight pitch forward that pulls you efficiently into the core. The Elan 3 needs a slightly more active pilot control than the Elan 2, Delta 4, but still easy to manage for a C, while giving the pilot an educated but comfortable feedback of the class above without the demanding piloting control a D glider gives.

To explain more, I could say that for pilots who find that flying a Delta 4 or Elan 2 is too dampened in overall feel, the Elan 3 will offer the little extra spice that an educated pilot will cherish for the same comfort, or possibly a 10% more pilot control. 

In turbulent and strong air, the structure felt very solid and very homogenous.

The brake pressure is on the moderate side. I could control the Elan 3 in a moderate 15 - 25 cm of brakes after the first 10 cm of a gap.  It resembles the Alpina 4 brake length with slightly more pressure. 

The agility of the Elan 3 is very slightly less than the Elan 2, but I was very satisfied with its efficiency. 

The Elan 3 has precise brake travel, and I could say that it has more direct control than a Supair Savage, with slightly more agile. Not as agile as an Alpina 4 for example that could core the thermals really tight, but the Elan 3 is not that far, with a much more performance-oriented turning ability.  

Flying the Elan 3, I was able to core every thermal without missing any. The turns are flat without a dive. 

Flying the Elan 3 in moving air showed me the bigger difference, as the Elan 3 has the ability to surf efficiently the moving air mass, and to convert every moving air into the lift. That’s why I wrote above that the feel under it is very different. The Elan 3 was surfing the lift lines and moving forward and upward like the class above! 

Doing some glides in calm air showed me the Elan 3 shares the best glide for today's C, at trim, and at full bar. It is in moving air that the Elan 3 will be more efficient through the airmass. 

Climbing in weak and strong conditions seems also efficient. The Elan 3 has an amazing ability to convert any movement to lift, and that’s exactly its strong point. Even in sudden and strong cores, I could turn precisely the Elan 3 into the stronger core.


Ears are stable, reopen faster with little help. Induced asymmetries kept the Elan 3 on the path and very easy to recover.


That kind of feel and handling suits my personal flying style a lot. It reminded me of the Trango X-race handling, but slightly mellower in turns and of course tamer in turbulence.

Mac Para has lifted the Elan series to a new dimension and feel. If you have never flown a Mac Para, now is the time to taste that special feel under the Elan 3 !  It is so different from the too dampened older series, but still quite comfortable with that specially added spice.  The difference between the old and the new one is that the Elan 3 will cut through the airmass more efficiently and resembles the upper ratings in that matter! 

The C steering is a bit hard to pull but efficient to keep the Elan 3 overhead in turbulence.

The Elan 3 movements and overall comfort in turbulence target exactly the C category pilots. I think a pilot downgrading from a higher-rated glider won’t lose that special feel under the D gliders while getting the passive safety of the C category. 

A good B pilot with two full seasons in strong conditions will find the Elan 3 as one of the best logical evolution for the solid C category. 

Saturday, August 7, 2021

XC Pen

XC Pen

Flying XC or even local, for a long period of time i always had some issues when I needed to get in touch with my smartphone. On my Samsung Note, I needed to get the pen out and stick it with a cord in order to be able to touch the Samsung screen for usage. That was really a hassle as the phone always sends a note if the pen is attached, and beside the long pen would not sit properly in the front cockpit and require a hole to stabilize it. And it was slippery with the gloves. I never thought about an optional idea until I received Mathias's email!
Mathias Weil

Like many pilots in the world, Mathias needed a tool to reach his smart tablets in the air, and the idea came to create the XC pen!  A small device that is made especially for flying. The XC pen is small, has its own sleeve, that it’s attached to the cockpit by velcro, and …it worked like a charm on every tablet, and smartphone.
Besides using the XC pen for managing XC courses, and as I’m practically airborne every flyable day, I sometimes needed to reach my phone for family and urgent matters.  I could also put on some music if I wanted, answer my phone, or send a message to my family if needed.
The XC pen works also in all smart tablets in an easy way in order to control your settings and maximize your XC potential which is why the XC pen was created in the first place.
Conclusion: Small, easy to reach, efficient to use. I like it! :-)  A little tool to make things much easier.