2003 Fresh Breeze Silex 25
This is a great overall wing for intermediate pilots. It was my favorite for several years, a wonderful compromise of safety and great handling. I bought this wing in about 2002 after a test flight when I fell in love with its handling. I bought another new, identical iteration in early 2004 and have amassed more time under it than any other, probably over 200 hours.
Tested in-flight weight was 230 lbs using a Blackhawk Rhino 172. It’s flat area is 24.6 and the projected area is 20.8 m² for a projected wing loading 11.05 lbs / m².
Caution: Best reserved for experienced PPG2 pilots or higher. Handling is much quicker than most gliders of its time and it is easy to dive if the pilot horses abruptly into a turn with just one brake.
Handling (8): Excellent. It’s the reason I fell in love with the glider to begin with. Yes, it will dive in a turn if the pilot just pulls on one brake. Using appropriate opposite brake, however, allows turns as flat as any other wing. Anybody who says the wing dives in a turn is simply not controlling it.
Inflation (7): Fairly easy and corrects easily. Its relatively small size helps the pilot keep moving forward and it tends to come up straight. It’s recovers easily from an off-center inflation. It does hang back a bit so the pilot must stay on the A’s a bit longer during no-wind inflations.
Kiting is easy. It’s predictable and easy to gather it back overhead if it starts getting off-center.
Efficiency (4): This is not its strong point. It’s got a somewhat higher sink rate than others so it wouldn’t make a good soaring wing. It does have enough that you can do “slider” landings meaning that, power off, the wing carries energy well enough to slide maybe 5 feet without swooping.
Speed (7): It’s faster than average. It has trimmers and speedbar and is relatively solid even with both engaged. It does have some reflex to the wing which helps in this regard.
Construction (5): Built soundly and the new ones come with a longer lasting than average fabric. Older models had issues with porosity getting bad early on but the new ones have improved on that dramatically. I could tell the fabric was different on the 2004 model.
Certification & Safety (6): It’s DULV certified as a 2, probably because the designer loads it heavily. In almost every category it was a 1-2 and feels like a beginner glider except for the sporty handling. It seems very collapse resistant and predictable on the recoveries. It was the glider used most for all the collapses performed in the video Risk & Reward.
Overall: This was my favorite glider until the Spice came along. It’s got advantages on the spice, especially in strong, bumpy conditions.