8.74 / 10

Skywalk Arriba 3: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Skywalk's extremely successful "intermediate", Tequila4, in the light version. This is at first glance. How it is at second glance, read below.


The main feature of Arriba, which defines its philosophy, is a lightweight fabric with unusual large ripstop cells. Everything else is in keeping with the fabric: unusually lightweight loose ends, thin stitching... Definitely, the design has more sporty ambition than Arriba's full-fledged relative Skywalk Tequila4, but the designer's main goal was not sportiness but lightness. Otherwise, the Arriba is not much different from the Tequila Fourth: almost the same wing geometry, almost the same gouging.

Wing Handling on the Ground

You always expect an easy launch from a light wing. Arriba does not cheat these expectations, but he brings his own specifics to "ground handling". Ease bordering on sharpness is the way to characterize the wing's upwind behavior. There is no need to load, pull or push too much - smoothness, smoothness and only smoothness! And small, accurately dosed efforts on the front rows and the body. Go too far, and Arriba assumes flight position in one jump, insisting on strong compensation with the brakes. Is this a bad thing? Only if the Arriba inadvertently ends up in the hands of an inexperienced pilot. Highly sensitive and agile even on land, the Arriba is no stranger to rough handling, but in expert hands it's superb. With this glider it is easy to soar from a short awkward start in the Alps, which is what the glider is designed for No hands, only body power, any games with the wing on the ground - everything is possible, everything is easy, if the pilot knows the subject.


No, it's definitely not "light Tequila". It's a different machine, with its own character and its own peculiarities. Is it good or bad? And it depends for what tasks and for what pilots!

Flying ability. Probably, it was a little higher than on Tequila, which is not surprising, if you remember the stripless slings, abundantly used on Arriba. The aerodynamic quality is probably a bit higher than it is usual for intermediate class wings, where our test wing confidently falls. The speed gain is just like on Tequila4, same 15-16km/h, and glide at top speed is a bit better. All in all, it's great! Arriba shouldn't have any problems in the thermals too (I write "shouldn't", because, unfortunately, I didn't have time to try it in thermal weather). The thermal turn is nice and energetic, and it is not in a hurry to increase as the radius of the helix decreases. However, the turn of Arriba requires a more special description, to which we now turn.

Maneuverability. "Not Tequila" is first and foremost about the turn. Arriba has its own, quite original and interesting, and at the same time it is palpably "Skywalker". The main difference from Tequila4 is more ostota in reactions and noticeably increased sensitivity to the work of hands and body. Arriba jumps into a turn almost instantly, without a pronounced delay and complex transitions, bending slightly and slightly crunching the thin semi-transparent fabric. All of the pilot's commands are executed quickly, clearly, unambiguously. Is it good or bad? Depends on the pilot. It is not a good idea for beginner pilots, but for more experienced pilots it is a good idea. Changes in rate of spin, speed, and radius are the same as entering a turn - almost instantaneous, and Arriba clearly locks onto the new mode of spin. Too bad we didn't have a chance to enjoy the thermals, I feel we could have had so much fun in the thermals! Arriba's behavior does not depend on the spin rate, it is very fast and responsive over a very wide range of speeds and rolls. The only thing Arriba doesn't like very much is low roll and low-speed spins a la undercurrents in a flat spiral. But a sane pilot wouldn't fly that kind of thing. The main task of the pilot is not to "cram" the machine into the desired mode (as it happens with the calmer "intermediates"), but to precisely dose the control actions.

Comfort and informativeness. Choosing a compromise between these mutually contradictory characteristics of the wing is always a difficult choice. In the case of the Arriba 3, informativeness undoubtedly prevails over comfort. This is not to say that there is a problem with comfort, but rather that there is no problem with informativeness. Sensitive, reverent, responsive even to small air movements, not too stiff in scope, this is the Arriba. This wing is not prone to sharp and amplitude roll and pitch motions, but small wiggles and "wiggling of the ears" happen almost constantly even in relatively calm air. The load on the brakes and main carabiners behaves roughly the same way: an abundance of almost constant small changes that are not perceived as uncomfortable, but are a constant - and very intense - flow of data. If the pilot's brain is not yet trained enough to process such volumes of information literally "on the fly", you can intentionally "narrow the bandwidth" and pay attention only to changes in speed, roll and pitch, which are very informative in themselves. And more experienced pilots can use the data-traffic generated by Arriba for direct purpose, anticipating the approaches to the thermals, searching for microlifts and playing many other equally difficult and interesting games with the wing and the air.

Dynamics and power capacity. Higher than the Tequila 4, but without the extreme. Let's say, Arriba can hardly scare its owner, but it can impress him. Arriba doesn't differ much from Tequila in its ability to store and release energy, but everything is faster and more dynamic, clearly above the average intermediate class. Wingovers, "candlestick" exits - as much as you like! The main thing is not to overdo it, not to overdo the intensity of maneuvers, not to lose control.

Dangerous flight modes

Asymmetric folding

Strange as it may seem, this is great. You could expect more brutal flying from a light, sensitive wing! The force on the A-riser at the moment of wing-collapse is moderate, the wing develops moderately deep along the chord, but after that the wing goes very quickly. I mean only the opening! It is interesting that, despite the rapidity, the opening is not an "explosion", which is characteristic of many machines with lines in the leading edge, but still a wave rolling from the center wing to the "ear". The whole process - from the beginning of folding to full restoration of the wing shape - takes one and a half to two seconds. During this time, the aircraft simply does not have time to noticeably go obliquely and/or deviate from its original course. Amplitude of oblique pitch (hmm, it is called "oblique pitch") - 20-30 degrees! Course deviation is about 45 degrees. Height loss is about 5 meters. Probably, this kind of folding would not create much danger even if flying up against some alpine rocks.

Frontal folding

Perfect! No worse than asymmetric folding. Everything is about the same - moderate depth along the chord, very fast, but not "explosive" opening... and almost no rolls or loss of altitude. The opening begins when the wing is slightly behind the pilot, having lost speed after folding, and by the time it returns to the position above the pilot's head, the Arriba is already fully open. Naturally, such a fast mode does not have time to noticeably affect the flight path - the straight pitch does not exceed 30 degrees, and the loss of altitude is the same ridiculous 5 meters.

Fast Descent Modes


Excellent. Quite stable in quite a wide range of A-row external sling travel, opens with some lag. Deceleration on the mode is quite normal, something like -3 m/s.


This is an extremely interesting device, though not unambiguous in all respects. Lightness, responsiveness and even trepidation - if you condense your impressions into a few words. Relationships with such a wing should be built, taking into account its character. No brutality, but careful attention and respect to what the wing can do, and then you can be sure that Arriba will reveal fully its reverent nature, giving the pilot the joy of full control over the situation. A rougher approach and Arriba is almost certainly the master of the situation. Very easy start - which, however, requires accurate control, because there is a risk of "shot" if hands and body aren't precise enough. Magnificent turn - which, however, requires precise dosage of all control actions. Excellent informativeness - which will be a nuisance and even annoying if the pilot is not prepared to listen to his wing and correctly interpret the incoming data stream. The ideal use of the Arriba is flying in serious mountains, where the priorities (in descending order) are wing safety, ability to start easily, high maneuverability, and decent flyability. Another good use for the Arriba is, oddly enough, plain flying. Excellent turning circle and high information value will let you confidently "survive" in weak, incomprehensible and difficult streams. But if a pilot wants a calm, super-comfortable, "lazy" machine that can't react subtly and sharply to the movements of the air and the pilot, the Arriba clearly won't be the right choice. I think the most correct Arriba owner is a pilot with some mountain flying experience who decided to just fly bivouacs for his own pleasure... or, let's say, dreams to go up to Mont Blanc with his own feet and fly over the glaciers there without much risk and stress. I can't recommend Arriba as an "after school" machine, passive safety is excellent, but for a typical "after school" pilot the delicate and bright character of Arriba will almost certainly be an insurmountable obstacle to building a relationship with the wing. The minimum flight time required is at least 20 hours.


  • Highest passive safety
  • Excellent maneuverability
  • Very high information value
  • Excellent flight characteristics


  • Moderate durability (lightweight materials)

Special features

  • High sensitivity and information value increasing entry threshold

My thanks to my Skywalk dealer in Russia Sergey Shelenkov for providing me with a paraglider for the tests.