First here is some information from ADVANCE :
Question: What would be the differences between the different past versions of the OMEGA? …3-4 you made in the past 2 years?
Valery Chapuis (ADVANCE): The new wing is called the OMEGA ULS and was certified in March. We developed it together with our X-Alps pilots because this wing is made for them first. It is the best compromise for the preferences of all these athletes.
There are differences between the OMEGA ULS and the previous OMEGA X-Alps 4 (that we didn’t launch in the market 2 years ago due to lack of production capacity - Covid). The new one is about 250 g lighter and more compact to pack. An improved interior structure and optimized Nitinol wires have contributed to this. The OMEGA ULS also has a higher top speed and a noticeably better glide over the entire polar curve. It is also easier and has smoother handling. The aspect ratio is a little bit smaller (6,8 VS 6,95). There is also one more size, so the OMEGA ULS is now available in sizes 21, 22, 23, and 24.
The gliders that our athletes used at the X-Alps are identical to the serial model in terms of construction and trim, however, lighter materials with clearly limited longevity were used in some areas and an ultra-lighter riser with more difficult handling is fitted.
All the work we have done on the profile and the structure of the OMEGA ULS will go into the new gliders. With this, we can influence the weight of a glider for example.
With my best regards. Fly well and take care.
ADVANCE Omega ULS ( The white light )
Please note again… that tests will always differ with other sizes. At first, if flown with seatless harnesses, or must I say a completely different harness. Also if the same sizes are flown at different loads, lighter loads will get the weakest climb but will be penalized in control in heavy air or pushing through a heavy airmass. Bigger sizes have more gliding performance and also better climb in weak conditions. In my small tests, I always state the size, the total flying weight, and afterward IMHO, the optimum weight I found in that particular glider.
The Omega ULS has already won the toughest X Alps 2023 race, and in that particular race flying hours were the most logged in sometimes very harsh conditions.
This time, I got the Omega ULS in size 23 which goes to 100, but ADVANCE recommends an optimum range from 88 to 98 all up. I flew the ULS at 90, 93, 94, 97 all up and I think the sweet spot is around 93-94 for practically all-around conditions. If you need to get even more efficiency in entering a strong and heavy airmass, then 97, 98 could be also more beneficial.
Typically ADVANCE, the construction, and details are really impressive, clean, neat, and light cloth, even the risers (PES/Technora 12mm) feel very light, which sometimes, it imposes you to treat her with finesse. Here’s the link for the ADVANCE page for a clearer explanation:
Launching the light ULS is super easy even in no wind and without any delay. It rises smoothly and evenly, with no hard point no snaking around, just as easy as it gets with its 6.8 aspect ratio.
In the air, the brake length has a 15 cm gap after the pulleys and they need around 20 to 30 cm to steer the glider in all conditions. They have a moderate length, but …as agile as you could dream for a 6.8 AR glider! I could place the Omega ULS in rough air whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted ! and that is a blessing to those gliders. The brake length is around 5 cm longer than the Artik R size 23 at 94, and 10 cm shorter than the Photon MS at 94, (but much more reactive to brake inputs!) In the ULS case, I try to fly with a half wrap all the time except when I’m on the speed bar of course, and that gave me a superb authority on the brakes. The pressure however is on the moderate/light side. Slightly lighter and smoother than the Artik R, Photon, Bonanza 3, and Trango X, and also slightly lighter than the Omega 3 in size 22 flown at 85 all up.
So, we have a light to moderate when we pull past 40 cm with amazing agility letting the pilot enjoy every thermal!
Inside a thermal core, the ULS has the ability to narrow the turning radius, as some low aspect high B’s!
The Omega ULS enters gently moderate thermal stays in the core easily without any useless and excessive movements.
A really nice glider to thermal with.
I flew in different areas from rough conditions in our high mountains to some other spots with +35 C, warm air with turbulence, and #$@^#& conditions! ;-)
And also, in some quite nice conditions, with good thermals, nice cloud bases, and even after hours under the Omega ULS, you just wish it never ends!
In strong conditions, the Omega ULS moves as a completely whole structure. The feel of a light but very well-taught and balanced structure overhead gives the pilot a high passive safety feel. In strong punchy cores, the ULS has of course some dynamic movements for that class, especially if you are flying it above 3000m where the air is thinner and logically more dynamic. But the brake authority can stop any surge promptly and adjust all the movements of the glider. In my flying hours under it, I never sensed any awkward feel or strange movement underneath. The roll is well-balanced and quite comfortable for that class. The pitch behavior is quite tamed but surely in strong air the pilot has a high authority to catch any dynamic surges with the brakes.
In terms of pilot demands, I can say the Omega ULS needs slightly more active control than the EN-C’s like Artik R, Trango X, Photon..etc, and of course less workout than the Xc Racer 2. So it seems to be in that middle for accessibility. Could be similar to fly than the Light Mantra 7 but with a more coherent structure.
The Omega ULS has a sensitive weight approach. For example, if you fly it at its sweet spot around 93-94 all up, the climbing abilities in weak air are very good. As well as in stronger cores, the handling and agility will keep you rocketing upward.
Now for the gliding part, I made some glides with the latest high-end EN-D’s like Zeno 2 MS, XC racer 2 (95 max), and also with some new EN-C’s like the Photon MS.
After some glides (in calm air), I can clearly say that I was really impressed by that glider! The glide at trim and especially at full bar which gave me around 15 km’h over trim on that version, is nothing but excellent! If the D gliders match the full speed of the Omega ULS, then it's a draw! YES … The Omega ULS glide matches the 7 AR EN-Ds! … And that you can try!
Now for the professional approach, if you are flying an OMEGA ULS and you are pinned in a low strong valley breeze, and next to you there’s a high-end EN-D like the Zeno 2, XC racer 2 for example, then they will logically prevail by moving faster into that heavy airmass and digging and slipping through more efficiently just because the high aspect EN-D’s are built with long rods complex structures and built without weight compromises and aimed for racing.
But that Omega ULS with refined and engineered construction designed for XC hike and fly, will never be far as it glides extremely well!
Pushing on the speed bar and if correctly tuned with some harnesses, one step, can close both pulleys.
I personally tuned it to have two steps and push half the speed, the Omega ULS movements in turbulent air seem calmer. At the second step with pulleys overlapping, the Omega ULS is very taught, with no airfoil fluttering at all! it feels very solid, and surprisingly, with little time under it, the Omega ULS will give you that passive feel to keep the speed bar on if you need it sometimes.
The B steering with moderate pressure is very efficient and will keep the glider on its path through turbulence. The pressure on the B’s is quite moderate and controls the glider's movements accurately.
Ears are stable with outer A’s, they reopen slowly with a little help.
The Omega ULS, is a light, agile, well-balanced 6.8 aspect ratio EN-D with a high-performance package.
I can only imagine that after test-flying it, many pilots aiming for that class will eventually get hooked and will fly the Omega ULS for years to come.