products   news   links   dealers   about us
home page   site map   email
past models zephyr > reviews > Parapente Mag, June 2008 zephyr topics
ambar

arial

bali

bali-2

bantoo

cargo

combat

coral

evo

honey

impulse

kali

kinetik

kinetik fr

kinetik plus

loop

nitro

pulsar

quarx1

quarx2

ru-bi

serak

silex

spiro

syncro

tactic

tecno

tempest

tempus

tonic

tuareg

tucan

windy

zenith

zenith evolution

zephyr

zephyr-2

zephyr pw
products


WINDTECH ZEPHYR - Test

by Philippe Lami

Windtech announces a revolution: A recreational glider EN B and LTF 1/2 that does replace the Kali with a glide angle above 9! Has this spanish manufacturer found a magic formula?

Well, I've been flying the Zephyr over and over for the last month. It is designed in 4 homothetics sizes (aspect ratio 5,4) and the look and the color design is quite shocking. Now, in the center of the bottom surface there is the flyman logo which is the brand icon. It has a complex assembling: 54 cells, side cross webbing and interconnected diagonal triangular ribs. The leading edge is formed by 3 cell groups (except in the wing-tips where there are 6 cells closed). The sail loft work is sophisticated and complex in each piece. All panels are numbered and marked with small holes for classification purposes, a bit too apparent. All the wing perimeter is closed with ribbon.

The lines are organized in 3 rises (thin, 1cm). A and B are in 2 cascades meanwhile the C is divided in 4 cascades. The bottom lines are sheathed Kevlar and the rest are unsheathed Dynema with anti-UV coating and quite thin. So this announces a drag improvement… Regarding the fabric the leading edge is made out of NCV 45g/m2 and the rest and bottom surface in 40g/m2, saving weight.

The design adds a simple baby ear riser, and a velcro socket for cleaning in the trailing edge. Big handles without swivels connected to the C riser by magnets, a speed system with 2 Austrialpin pulleys and braided Dynema cord. The lines are blocked in the maillons by a simple termo-plastic cover. The glider span is 11.96m flat in the ground in the size S (all up weight 75-95 k) and has a max. root of 2.75m.

During the Zephyr inflation it is impossible to make a mistake. Even in no wind condition the Zephyr inflates easily and quickly. You just need to slow it with the brakes (easy) to stop the wing to overpass you. In strong conditions this wing is very simple to handle. It shows no power which normally means a high trim speed. Once inflated the wing shows its special character: a high vault and a small tendency for the trailing edge to go upwards. You are airborne with few steps with a progressive wing loading.

First surprise: the speed hands up. You doff one's hat because the speed, and this is the opinion of all pilots I gave the glider for testing: In the speed meter you read a value between 40 and 41km/h. This is a big change since normally I read 35 and 37 km/h in this kind of intermediate gliders. This is almost the speed of my tandem glider! And this is a great point in many situations: strong valley breezes, getting into a thermal… but also a disadvantage (for a short time) for the pupils. You must learn to control the excess of energy. Hands up this wing is a train, bottom surface is clean. Brake travel is longer than 70cm but you can really slow it down the first 20 cm. The wing volunteers to slow down to 22km (note that I am highly loaded for this size). The brake pressure value before the stall is 3k.

The dutch roll control is well balanced and according to the certification. The thick profile makes a good job here by itself but you still have to pilot the wing. The certification results shows no surprise and the wind surges forward very little. On my side after many hours of flying in all kind of conditions I have never been surprised by a true collapse. This wind piloting is direct and precise and not very physical even in the strongest condition. In thermals you can handle it with lot of efficiency by a combination of weight shift and brake input. The minimum sink rate is 1.1m/s around 30 or 32km/h with a brake pressure of 2.1 for my wing load.

IN THERMALS

About thermals with the Zephyr I can talk for hours... without saying much. It is simple; it has not a single problem! Good sink rate, good performance, good pressure and good and precise communication with the pilot, without excesses. The extra speed gives the glider a great potential to attack into the thermal.

In a transition glide without using the speed bar the wing glides really great. The glide angle varies from 8.8 (in a normal seating position) up to 9.1 (faired harness) This is amazing for this category of wing. Is there a reason to look for something else? Anyhow the safety-performance ratio is exceptional and it may change the natural establishment of the other superior categories… Only the handling precision and the side roll absorption may get the experienced pilot confused but this only for a short time.

I personally did find that the Zephyr is a fun wing to discover the great angles of acro maneuvers and other inversions without problems. It is an homogenous piece. You will be surprised by you wing overs quality.

The speed bar is soft in your feet and you can reach a speed above 51km/h. The glide angle only starts degrading when 50% of the accelerator is used.

Big ears? Easy, thanks to the baby A. They tuck inside the bottom and you need a brake pump to get a quick reopening or a left/right inversion. Piloting with the harness (when doing big ears) is easy.

You can do 360º tuns really quick. The exit for the normal 360 banking angles is spontaneous with a nice energy recovery. Finally the landing is accomplished by a progressive flare and a well marked stop. Make attention the first times not to transform this extra of energy on a fire.

CONCLUSION

Well I confirm it.The Windtech Zephyr flies really great. Almost as good as the hot gliders. It gives you a lot. Its speed hands up is a real alternative for the pilot that don't use the speed system, simple and basic. But it wasn't this the definition of paragliding during its beginning? As a plus there is a ligth version in 27g fabric. Oil, pure oil, the best of oils… Meanwhile I took my decision I take this Zephyr for myself!

[+] [-]
· high trim speed
· general performances     
· ratio perfo/safety
· a small lack of
handling precission  


MEASURES
Weight range tested glider: 75/95 kg
All up weight: 93 kg
Load test in flight review: 3,51 kg/m2 (93 kg/25,45 m2)
Trim speed: 40 km/h
Maximum speed: 51 km/h
Minimum sink rate: -1,11 at 31 km/h, brake effort 2,5 kg
Maximum glide: 9 at 40 km/h
Stall speed: 22 km/h, brake effort 3 kg

APPRECIATION
Bad   • • Average   • • • Good   • • • • Excellent   • • • • • Perfect
Finish
Flight manual
Preparation
No wind inflation
Windy Inflation
Brake precision
Brake physical effort   
Handling
• • • •
not seen
• • • •
• • • • •
• • • •
• • • •
• • • •
• • • •
  Pitching control
Rolling control
Turbulence resistance
Reopening behavior
Maximum speed pressure   
Slow flying behavior
Performances
Ratio quality-price
• • • •
• • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •
• • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •

Manufacturer Windtech (Gijón, Spain)
Designers Álvaro Valdés and Gabriel Cañada
Production Gijón (Spain) and Sri Lanka
features

technical data

colours

reviews

pictures

brochure

manual

quality control

warranty
> reviews index