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…

Gliding….

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.  

 

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