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Review of Windtech Tempest
by Peter Feichtinger

Review courtesy of Gleitschirm Magazine

Translated from German by Verena Burns.

Five years ago Windtech entered into the German market with the Quarx, where this beautiful wing was received very warmly and successfully.

Then Windtech chief designer Alvaro Valdes’ team introduced the Serak, another extremely successful wing, and so established their name in the market.

But this success was followed by a few setbacks with the DHV: the Quarx 2 only managed DHV rating in the L size and the high performance wing Syncro didn’t get DHV rating. But after a few “discussions” with the licensing agents Windtech is now again on course, the new series started last year successfully with the DHV 1 Tempus. It’s only the name that is similar, as Windtech pushes to new lengths with the Tempest. Just look at the impressive aspect ratio of 5.66. The message is clear: Windtech wants to follow in the footsteps of the success in 2000 and open up the German market again.

Construction and Finish




Tempest wing tip - many small ribs clearly visible.




Reinforcements sewn into the folded top sail.

The most striking and immediately visible differences in construction are the many additional Mylar reinforcements at the leading edge of the Tempest paraglider. Every single cell is strengthened with reinforcements in the middle of the cell. This gives the appearance of a high performance wing with twice as many cells as it really has.

Constructor Alvaro Valdez first used this technique on the competition paraglider Silex, fine tuning it over the following 4 years in the Nitro and Tactic, and has now imported this enhanced design into the Tempest.

To be able to sew the reinforcements to the wing without creases, the cloth is folded at the leading edge and doubled right down to the end of the Mylar reinforcement on both top and bottom sail. This is meant to define the leading edge to perfection and improve the wing’s performance and stability, particularly in accelerated glide. The whole wing is built with lots of attention to detail, diagonal ribs and broad cross bands. Windtech like their wings built robustly!

All hang points, except the A-lines, are generously worked with Mylar and long pull distributions. This kind of construction comes of course with some extra weight: 7.1kgs might not be everyone’s idea for “walk & fly”.

The overall impression of line sewing and riser finish is also very good. Anyone buying a Tempest gets a top result of solid craftsmanship.

You will also get the brake lines long. After my first flight I had to shorten them about 10cms. Windtech commented: Because brake setting is a very individual thing we give the pilot the option to set the brake length to comfort. After all, shortening is easier than lengthening…

Launch Characteristics

The Tempest is very quickly prepared for launch. The lines are colour coded and the glider easily laid out. The wing launches a little slowly but very consistently and dead straight above the pilot, showing no tendency to over-fly. In difficult conditions the wing launches impressively too. If the canopy gets pulled sideways it is easily corrected during launch. On reverse launch the Tempest fills evenly and launches very cleanly. It is easy to keep the wing into wind and stabilize it above your head.

Flight Characteristics

The Tempest runs on rails through the air, cutting cleanly through turbulence and staying exactly on course at all times. This appears to be the overall flight characteristic of this new Windtech glider. In every turn the wing impresses by staying on track, carving through turbulence and only coming out of the turn when the pilot so chooses.

It reacts very precisely to even only moderate inputs. Flying into a thermal the Tempest stays neutral above the pilot and hardly pitches leaving the thermal, showing how well the wing dampens the blows.

Thermalling with this XC wing is child’s play. It turns ‘round and sound’ and centres on the core skilfully all the way up, giving superb feedback via the brakes. It is very responsive and just the pressure of a fingertip maintains a flat turning circle. Even in rough thermals the wing is extremely calm and does not jump around, responding well to weight-shift.

On the whole this performance intermediate shows its great strength in thermic flying. Be it cranking-it up on a wingtip in small punchy cores - and even then it turns impressively flat and efficient - or in broad broken thermals, the Tempest is always in its element.

Although the Tempest seems almost too well behaved with its ability to dampen any turbulence through the canopy, it’s handling is also wonderfully dynamic. Wingovers are great fun, and with only quite moderate brake input I could easily get up over the wing. Again the canopy stays on track even in aggressive turns and, unimpressed by turbulence, the wing stays inflated at all times.

On speed-bar the wing remains very stable, the leading edge dents only slightly and the Tempest looks good even when fully accelerated. The Mylar reinforcements in the leading edge surely improve the performance and stability of this glider.

This wing has to be one of the very best in its class as regards asymmetric tucks. Without pilot input, the wing reacts to a large collapse with only a moderately slow turn, opening again within 90 to 180 degrees, and with hardly any dive. If the pilot does help, the wing is easily stabilised and opens on its own incredibly quickly.

Descent Manoeuvres

Big Ears: Pulling big ears with the split A-risers is easy. The wingtips fold in cleanly with moderate resistance and are easy to maintain there. But the manoeuvre is not particularly effective when just using the split-A’s. The decent rate can be increased by pulling down further on the lines and/or using the speed bar at the same time. Steering is easy and excellent, and the ears come out with little impulse.

B-Stall: Getting into a B-stall requires moderate effort and some sensitivity. A short travel on the B-risers is enough to enter a stable stall with high efficiency. With even pull on both B-risers the airflow brakes cleanly and the Tempest descends with a stable 8m/sec. If the risers are pulled too far down, the wing becomes a little snaky. Once the pilot releases the B-risers the canopy regains airspeed without delay and returns to normal flight quickly and reliably.

Spiral Dive: With consummate ease this happy-to-turn Spaniard can be put into a spiral dive, quickly achieving high descent rates. Once in the spiral the Tempest once again excels in it’s excellent manoeuvrability, and with relatively small inputs the pilot can easily control the intensity of the spiral dive. It can also be taken out of a spiral very quickly, the wing transforming any built-up energy very efficiently into height – a little care should therefore be taken when fast-recovering this wing from of a deep spiral as it could climb up and fly back through it's own wake turbulence.

Specification

size 23 25 27 29
nº cells 61 61 61 61
all-up weight (kg) 60-80 75-95 90-110 105-130
span (m) 11.45 11.95 12.38 12.84
projected span (m) 9.58 10 10.36 10.74
area (m2) 23.11 25.2 27.06 29.1
projected area (m2) 20.75 22.59 24.26 26.1
aspect ratio 5.66 5.66 5.66 5.66
canopy weight (kg) 6.7 7 7.3 7.7
line length (m) 7.36 7.68 7.96 8.25
DHV certification pend. 2 2 pend.
min speed (km/h) 24 24 24 24
max speed trim (km/h) 38 38 38 38
max speed (km/h) 58 58 58 58

Material

upper sail cloth: NCV Porcher New Skytex 9092 E85A 45 g/m2
lower sail cloth: NCV Porcher New Skytex 9017 E77A 40 g/m2
rib cloth: NCV Porcher New Skytex 9017 E29A 40 g/m2
main lines: Edelrid Aramid 1.7 mm
upper lines: Edelrid Aramid 1.1 mm

In short

Finish/material: Solid and accurate workmanshp combined with very high quality materials.

*****

Launch: A little slow to start coming up, otherwise exemplary in all types of conditions.

****

Flying: Superb DHV 2 wing with outstanding thermalling attributes and high safety reserves. Excellent handling!

*****

Big Ears: Easy and no problem. Not very effective when only using split A’s. Good steering ability with Bi-Ears in.

****

B-Stall: A practical and effective manoeuvre which needs to be sensitively induced.

****

Spiral dive: A grand master of spiral flight! Easy entry and precise reaction to small inputs. Excels in this manoeuvre.

*****

* deficient
** fair
*** good
**** very good
*****     excelent
Resume

Windtech offers with the Tempest an excellent compromise between high passive safety, well-balanced dampening characteristics and great fun factor in the DHV 2 category. It will make the XC pilot who wants an easy to fly wing with outstanding performance very happy, but also a thermal hound who just loves nice handling. The wings excellent steering capability and agile flying will be loved by both pilot groups.


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