Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Friday, October 21, 2016



The Zeno is the new 2 liner from OZONE.
OZONE wanted to introduce to the market a 2 liner design , which they claim it’s easier to fly than their Enzo 2 and close enough to their superb Mantra 6.
In fact i still have an LM6 in MS size. It suits my all up weight without ballast.
I have also a Peak 4 in size 23 (85-105) for my future comparisons which proved to be a very nice and gentle D glider for Xc and competition use.

The Zeno has 6 lines per side, and it’s a pure 2 liner. Of course all lines are unsheathed and have different width. It looks very optimized for performance. Such a wing deserves a more detailed description when testing it. Lets see…

Launching the Zeno is super easy for a 2 liner. Slightly easier to inflate than the Peak 4. In strong wind, it needs a dab on the brakes to control it overhead. The take off is immediate.
I did some 360’s and wing overs ,just to get it well tensioned in order to settle down to its designed configuration.
To my surprise, coming off the 360’s couldn’t be easier ! It seems that the Zeno dissipate it’s energy on the last turn. No surprises ! Clean exit.
Wing overs are super high and real fun to make.

I have flown for the past month, the easy King S with it’s lovely handling, the LM6 magical overall glider, the energetic Poison X-Alps XS with its sharp handling, and the relatively smooth, and agile Peak 4 23 for a 2 liner design, just to be able to quickly place the Zeno among those D’s in terms of feeling, responsiveness and brake precision inside rough or smooth thermals.
All testings were done on the same X-rated 6 harness with the same chest strap width for all.(±47 cm)

I flew the Zeno MS from 93 to 98 all up to find out finally that in XC mode, 93-95 is a very nice weight, and for competition, 97-98 all up could be quite ok for the whole solidity and compact feel of the design which will feel more taught overhead.
Here’s my small and humble opinion upon this glider.

At first, I don’t think that the overall comfort is similar to the M6 or the LM6 MS when flown in turbulent strong conditions. The Zeno needs more active piloting in turbulent cores. Taking into consideration that the way a 2 liner can be steered through turbulence differ a lot from 3 line gliders.
Applying brakes on pitches, doesn’t really work good on the Zeno as it could work slightly more on the Peak 4 which is a 2 liner also.
The Zeno needs a much more gentle approach. Letting the glider go in, with just a feel on the brakes is super efficient on the Zeno. Too much brakes in turbulent conditions will deform the profile and the energy stored in the Zeno will induce yaw movements.
In turbulent air, I found out also that the Zeno needs slightly more active piloting than the Peak 4 23 i have over here flown at 99 all up. 

In (moderate conditions), the Zeno has indeed the comfort of the LM6 or the Peak 4. It feels like a taught compact structure, with a leading edge so stable without any pitch. The maneuverability is really nice for this 2 liner in those moderate conditions. But in rough air it gave me a much more active workout ! Nothing difficult for a (regular) D pilot to master.

For example a pilot coming from after a good flying season on an IP6 in different conditions will be welcomed aboard the Zeno.
The Zeno pitch behavior is toward a neutral feel in moderate weak thermals, but surely a more pronounced one in strong cores with a pull inside the thermals.

The pressure on the brakes of the Zeno are slightly lighter than the LM6, but still more pressure feel on the brakes than the Peak 4 23 loaded at 99 all up.
The turning ability of the Zeno at 95 and at 98 all up felt the same as the M6 (Only in moderate conditions) .
In turbulent cores, and even if loaded at 98, the Zeno will have slight less authority on the brakes as the M6, LM6 have in those conditions.

The LM6 is more agile and can core more tightly some thermals in overall conditions.

The climb rate of the Zeno is impressive in surges. When everything is homogenous strong or weak, it climbs as the Peak 4, but when you hit the core the Zeno springs up faster !

Doing some glides near a Peak 4 23 loaded at 99 all up. The Zeno MS at 95 all up showed me that the Peak 4 23 has a slight faster trim speed. Of course no one is buying those two gliders to fly them at trim speed for sure !
It’s just for your information ! And the glide efficiency at trim is slightly on the Zeno side. 
Now at first bar, the matter of glide became more serious on the Zeno especially into wind transitions in active air ! For sure we are in a different world …At second bar, the speed is impressive with a superior glide angle. The speed over trim loaded at 95 all up, is around + 22 km/h taken at 800 ASL.
The speed bar is delicate to use in turbulent conditions. Especially the top speed ! It takes time to adapt to it …
This is the fastest D certified glider i have ever flown.

The use of the bar on the Peak 4 23 is easier and as the pitch control.
Flying in smooth air won’t show you any differences when comparing gliders. Or even in head wind smooth air like soaring high cliffs for example. Many good pilots already know that.
The differences are very little and sometimes useless.
It’s in active air where a special glider can actually shine. It’s no secret why the Enzo 2’s are winning competitions…

The ability for the Zeno to surf the (active air) is really impressive ! It’s like it doesn’t want to get down. Comparing it with other gliders in those conditions, will give the Zeno this slight cruising efficiency. It just goes on and on on glides getting those tiny lifts on the way…Advanced pilots will understand what i mean.
The constant vario sound seems endless with those glides. This is for sure a very efficient glider in active air (for the keen D pilots)

That doesn’t mean that the Peak 4 23 is far behind. It is still a beautiful, easy 2 liner with nice performance ! But the Zeno will actually have the upper hand in long glides especially on bar with a slightly higher piloting level at speed for the Zeno !

Big ears with the outside A’s are stable if moderately pulled. With bar -2.5 could be reached…
Big ears with outside B’s are doable, more stable for sure and reopen quicker. The second option could be better if you don’t want knots on the extremities like on the M6 when ears are induced for a long time.

Conclusion: The Zeno has for sure the highest-end gliding performance (especially on bar), among all present D’s. That’s a fact.
Another fact is that in my personal view, it needs a “good D pilot” to master it efficiently in all conditions. For competition use, that’s some winning tool !
For XC, fun, safety, and multi-use, the LM6 still works magic ! ;-)
So, if you want to break records, win competitions, want to have the best glide angle on a (D glider) for the moment, and above all, you have the skills to master the Zeno, then close your eyes, take a deep breath, release the OOOMMMMM sound, then quickly go order one :-)
But it seems many of you already did  :-)


Hi, Here’s a little feedback for the Zeno S (75-90) 
I have been flying two Zeno’s in the same day, in the same condition in order to compare. (landing, swapping, take off again...and so on...) 
One is the S (75-90) at 88 all up, and comparing it to the MS (80-100) at 98 all up. Both 2 kg under max. 

The Zeno S with same loadings, has a lighter brake pressure, a slightly more alive feel, and a more agile turn. The climb rate is superb even loaded. The tiniest thermal can be converted to climb. I don’t think there’s any difference ,or advantage for the MS. In turbulent conditions, the Zeno S needs slightly more active piloting over the MS similarly loaded. 
Just a small remark, i think the Zeno MS loaded from 98 till 100 is easier and have a more compact feel, to handle than lightly loaded at 95. The difference is big. The authority under it with ± 3 kg is feel-able. 
The Zeno S at 88 doesn’t give you the feel of a loaded one, like the feeling under the MS at 98. So flying it at 90 seems a superb choice. 
The agility of the S size in narrow thermals could give it the upper hand in those particular conditions, as it seems more agile to “tight” core those narrow weak thermals. 
The bar on the S size has the same pressure feel as the MS. Applying it many times, i felt that +5 km over trim the float ability was at its best. 
IMHO, i think that they both have quite similar performance in all conditions. The S size is really nice ... 
Hope it helped a bit… 


  1. Replies
    1. I'm preparing one. It will need some time...Still gathering some footage... I think it will be completed once the weather will allow an editing session :-) !!! Cheers,

  2. Great - looking forward to it. I've got my Zeno now - only flown it once but it's very fast!

  3. Hello Ziad,
    you've already made the comparison of the glider class D?

  4. Ziad great!
    You're always a guarantee!

  5. your write-ups are the best on the web my man ... I am a LM6 pilot who just stepped up to a Zeno and your comments are all spot on ... I flew my LM6 319 km in Brazil in November and it is my favorite XC glider of all time, but now after a week of competition in Colombia where it was obvious that the Zeno performs as well as an Enzo 2 and is much much easier to fly, I have a feeling the Zeno is the best glider ever made ... but I will be keeping the LM6 for those spring Owen's Valley days!