Thursday, April 27, 2023


OZONE Photon MS 93…94 all up.

Finally, the Photon MS size arrived, and quickly airborne at 93 all up.
When I flew the ML size at 102 I felt it was big and slow in the turning ability for my taste being used to smaller gliders, that logically should feel more dynamic.
Now I fly the Photon in my size. The MS size has a moderate launching behavior, not quick and fast to rise and fill like the light Mantra 7, but still ok for the category of pilots they are using it. The rise is steady, average to fill, and a bit similar to the Alpina 4 which is quite ok IMHO.

In the air the overall movements under the Photon MS are surely more pronounced than its bigger sister, but not that big difference. It is just the dynamics of smaller gliders versus the bigger ones which is logical.
In 2 hours in some moderate turbulent air, the overall movements are quite acceptable for the C category. For sure it moves but the overall movements in some daily average turbulence, don’t go too far, even if lightly braked. I could feel that sometimes it moves but also it stabilizes by itself…Felt like I’m on an auto-pilot sometimes… That’s why when I flew the bigger ML-size glider the movements were slower and I really felt on auto-pilot, just because I had more time to react on the brakes.

But the main issue is the brake authority that I need to discuss a bit. I think this is the ‘primary issue’ to understanding the Photon's abilities.
I never experienced such a different handling feel among other gliders before. When it is turbulent and the glider goes from one side to another, it is logical to counter steer with weight shift and brakes.
On the Photon, while the brakes are activated after the first 10 cm gap, as the trailing edge has a kind of pressure, the Photon brake authority doesn’t give you a perception of feel, so lowering to get that usual feel.
In the glider movement process the brake authority doesn't correct the smaller surges, that's why the glider moves a bit more, and longer inputs are needed.

In fact in moderate air, while coring a thermal, I only needed 10 cm after the first 10 cm to get a nice turn. It is only in surges and dynamic movements that the brake reactions won’t give the pilot that ‘desired ‘brake authority to control those roll and pitch movements.
Also when you need to make quick sharp turns, the Photon brake authority needs time to allow such a dynamic turn. It is obvious that it is trimmed to make only flat turns at an average speed...
My personal weak point is the handling, and honestly, I would have hoped for a better feel... as I surely know that OZONE created lots of wonderful gliders, that I cherished, like my favorite LM7 and the latest 7 aspect ratio Zeno 2 very direct and sharp brake travel! Hello !!! ??

The brake geometry on the Photon acts first on the middle part then very slightly goes to the tips. In the old times, there was a glider that had the same brake geometry (B4), and later Flight Design retrimmed it and we changed only the brake geometry, with probably another certification…But the same glider handling was more than 50% enhanced!
‘really wish’ that Ozone could make a small upgrade. But probably there are more complicated things in designing that I don’t know…
If possible what a complete very strong package you will have !!!

Saying that, the performance into wind and climbing abilities are really on top of that category. While low on a strong valley breeze, the Photon showed me some really efficient searching forward for thermals. This efficiency is rarely seen even on some higher-rated gliders. But the Photon search and digging through that difficult airmass, of course, is slower than the Zeno2, but still goes forward! No bumping through that heavy airmass! Eventually getting the lift !!
While on bar, the B steering is an efficient and easy-to-use tool every time! the glide at speed is what the C 2-liner pilot is longing for!
Ears are stable and efficient on the outer B's. They reopen fast without any intervention.

Test of the PHOTON ML further down the blog posts. 

U P D A T E On the Photon MS
As you all noticed in my Photon test, there was something a bit odd about the brake feel, and lots of pilots commented about it. For me, it seemed a bit strange that Ozone delivered that kind of handling. So I was writing to Luc (Ozone designer) about it, and we measured all the lines of my new Photon MS. One small issue was found on the BR3 line. This is the first outer line that you pull to induce ears.
Luc recommended that I released that loop on the BR3 to get a better connection for the brakes and to get more control on the tips.
I tried it today, and I needed to report it asap! The Photon brake connection was enhanced by 30 % and the control is really nicer!
At trim, the roll is slightly more present, but really guys, this is definitely a smooth glider. Once you push the speed bar, the roll calms down even in turbulence!
I always use a wrap on all gliders in order to keep my hands high, as the wrist muscles are less powerful than the forearm or the shoulders muscles but much more accurate in thermals!
The Photon had a longer travel, now it seems slightly shorter but with a slightly more wrist feel! I wish that they could also improve it even more!
In turbulence, the tips are still very well pressurized. The top speed is 18 km/h over trim with a solid leading edge.
Nothing changed! but the little more brake connectivity and turning ability.