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Wednesday, August 2, 2023

OZONE Buzz Z7 MS


Disclaimer:

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.



Ozone Buzz Z7

The Buzz Z7 is the low EN-B from OZONE. It has a 5.1 aspect ratio.

Test: Ozone Buzz Z 7 size MS 75-95 flown at 92 all up.

Harness: Woody Valley X-rated 6 size XL modified to fit my taste.


Test:

The Buzz Z7 holds a robust construction for daily use. You can see the details here: https://flyozone.com/paragliders/products/gliders/buzz-z7/

Launching the Buzz Z7 even in nil wind rises smoothly, and evenly. It is an easy glider for that low B class to inflate. However, I just remembered to mention that even to this date, and after thousands of hours, I still catch every opportunity to kite any glider anywhere, as kiting your glider and playing on the ground is a very important step to evolve. If you can master your glider in some turbulent landing spot, then you will master your glider in the air. Just because what your glider does in the ground, it will do the same in the air. If you can master it accurately and refine your feel under it, you will quickly evolve.


Now back to flying that cool Buzz Z7 is our strong Cedars range as the air is cooler and thermals are generous. I was also alternating with the Nova Ion 7 which is a low B, and I will also write a review shortly. The Buzz Z7 is a cool, easy comfortable EN-B. The movements are quite balanced and the pitch and roll are automatically controlled to stay at low angles above your head despite the rough conditions. It felt sometimes like a school glider behaves.

The brake pressure is moderate on that Buzz Z7 and not tiring at all for long flights. The handling is sweet, and the Buzz Z7 is an agile glide for that low category without being dynamic. The level of overall comfort is similar to the Buzz Z6, with a slightly more joyful ride.

The new hidden feature is yet to come!

The more experienced pilots who are flying the 2 liners Photon, know very well, why that glider flies so well. It is not that the number you see in calm air that matters. But rather the efficiency of sliding through that moving airmass and behaving like climbing stairs up, while moving forward. That’s the hidden efficiency and excellence behind the creations.

I am not telling you that the Buzz Z7 flies like the Photon! 

Of course, I am not for sure.

I am just telling you that this R&D ‘know-how’ is integrated into the Buzz Z7. That low B with its low B characteristics felt to get the most of that moving airmass when you least apply the brakes and let it fly as much as your ability can…

It is definitely slower and cooler to enter, but it still enters and moves forward quite efficiently for that low B class!

The glide in moving air is impressive as it doesn’t bump into the airmass but rather slows but digs through smoothly without losing the glide.

To feel that feature on a low B is quite impressive.

The turning radius can be very narrowed for little thermals. The Buzz Z7 doesn’t really dive in turns. It is optimized to get flat turns, and it climbs beautifully well!

The speed bar has moderate pressure and can be used all the way when needed. The glide at speed is still very good. Even though there’s no B, C connection, I found that pulling the C risers could easily keep the glider overhead while on the bar.

Ears are super easy to induce, they reopen without pilot intervention.

Landing is super easy as the glider can be slowed down quite well.


Conclusion:

By creating the Buzz Z7, I think Ozone has given that low B a multi-functional task. While being very easy to handle and confidence-inspiring, they gave it an impressive performance package for that low B category, coupled with joyful and balanced handling. So young newcomers, or even senior pilots who are looking for a stress-free glider while preserving a good efficient level of gliding and climbing performance, should definitely try out the Buzz Z7.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

ADVANCE Omega ULS 23




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?


Email reply:

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.

ValΓ©ry

Team ADVANCE




ADVANCE Omega ULS     ( The white light )

Disclaimer:

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:

https://www.advance.swiss/en/products/paragliders/omega-uls


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. 


Conclusion:

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. 

 

Friday, July 14, 2023

SUPAIR Step X size 80-100



Disclaimer:

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.



SUPAIR Step X  size M flown from 93 to 97 all up. 


The Step X is the new 2023 high EN-B from Supair. I will let you visit their website for the construction details and materials. https://supair.com/en/produit/aile-parapente-supair-en-b-step-cross/


The Step X has an aspect ratio of 5.65 made with Dominico, has 3 rows of lines, and the overall weight of the M size is around 4.3 kg with very nice construction details! 

It is a relatively light EN-B and launches easily without any wind without any hard point. A straightforward glider to launch. In the stronger breeze, I didn’t find any nervousness or dynamic surges, but a smooth and easy-to-launch glider.


I flew the Step X at 97 all up in one turbulent very strong day, in our Cedars range (Explained down below) 


Comfort and accessibility.

I found that the Step-X managed well all the harsh conditions without any tip fluttering, and still delivered a very prompt brake authority for the pilot to stay in control. Alternating flights and test flying the Mentor 7, I think that the Step-X is also a highly comfortable glider for that category! I was really surprised by the educated feedback and balanced movements of the Step-X in overall conditions. The Step X has slightly more feel than the Mentor 7 while remaining very comfortable to fly.  To place it even further, I think it resembles the Swift 6 accessibility for the same size. 


Handling and agility:

The brake length on the Step X is slightly longer than the Mentor 7 and slightly less than the Swift 6, which place it in the sweet spot. You need just around 15 to 20 cm to steer the glider after the first 10 cm gap. 

The Step X is quite an agile glider and coring tight thermals are easily doable. The pressure is on the moderate side with its effective brake range to control the surges in active air, and flying it for hours is not tiring for the arms. 

While the Maestro 2 could deliver more dynamic handling, the Step X is close in agility while being more user-friendly for the new high B pilot in that class, and calmer in thermals while coring every bit of lift.


Climb rate:

I flew next to higher-rated 2-liner C class gliders in thermals, and the climb rate in weak thermals was very good on Step X around 95 all up. It floats well! For real, this glider climbs very well comparing it with the B class.

It is for sure slower to enter the airmass as the 2 liners but for a high B with 3 lines, it climbs extremely well! 


Gliding through the moving airmass and comparing it to other high B’s the Step X showed me also that it matches the best ones out there! Usually, when a glider has fewer lines like 2.5 ..etc..they should glide more, but flying the Step X near, I didn’t notice any disadvantages… What can I say…when a new creation seems really good and competitive!  I was impressed! 

I will update my B comparison for the little details in climb and glide, but I confirm that the Step X has a very efficient glide through the airmass for the high B category. 


The speed bar has a moderate pressure, and the C steering has acceptable efficiency while on the bar for the 3 liners glider. Perhaps the Maestro 2 and the Rush 6, have swifter C controls, but nevertheless, the Step C controls are manageable and easy to use to control the overall movements. 


The top speed is around 12 km/h over trim. 


Ears are stable and reopen without pilot intervention. 


Conclusion: 

The Step X can be flown easily at 93 all up but it would be slow to enter the airmass. I found out at 95 to be nice overall, and to be even more efficient and more compact with good penetration fly it at 97,98. 

When a product is nice, readers are expecting the testers to find the negative points, when they are difficult to find… My B comparison will shortly be updated. 

Easily placed among the high B’s in terms of good overall performance, the Step X is an enjoyable glider to fly while being well-balanced and quite comfortable during long XCs. The passive safety seems quite high for that category delivering a solid and light-to-carry companion for your adventures. Supair never stopped to amaze me… It would be quite an interesting high B to test fly! 




Cedars range: 

 Cedars range divides the country in half horizontally from north to South. The peaks are facing east and west. They reside above the very hot Bekaa Valley, situated inland of the country. If the thermal breeze is from the west, you will get nice conditions, but if it comes from the east, which it always does afternoon, then the challenge arises especially at noon, and preferable to fly only hang gliders as the very strong breeze literally limit your forward speed with sudden powerful thermals, and since taking off from the east side, a mix of strong valley east breeze and southwesterly wind coming from the sea side toward inland makes the word turbulence a bit undermined …   

When I fly gliders there, I often feel many times I’m just a puppet underneath even on the easiest glider!  Not a good feeling as sometimes, the workloads are extreme and need lots of endurance over the time spent and quite tiring.  At 11 am +6 m/s thermals are common, with a high cloud base over 4500 m, but since there’s a commercial flight line passing over from 4000 m and up, so controlling your height is also very crucial!  

Flying 2 hours from sunset to dark is the best experience a pilot would have. Smooth lift everywhere with a high cloud base. 

Friday, June 30, 2023

NOVA Mentor 7 S / 80-105





Disclaimer:

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.


NOVA Mentor 7 S  /  80-105 

After my test flight of the Light Mentor 7 in XS size, I decided to get the bigger size in a normal and sturdy cloth.

NOVA uses my favorite cloth on this version which is on the top surface a mix of Skytex 38 Universal 38g/m², and Skytex 40 Eazyfly 40g/m² and on the lower surface the Skytex 40 Eazyfly 40g/m². They have indeed a different crispy feel of their own.  


Having flown all the Mentors for the very first editions, my head was stuck on that idea to fly at the top, but…

After my test on the light XS, and NOVA's recommendation to fly it near the middleweight, I have decided to fly the S size which goes to 105 weight extended at 96, 97.  Later, I found that this is indeed the sweet spot in the Mentor 7 series.  There seem to be nowadays more and more new creations that are quite nice to fly at the middle range, like the PHI Maestro 2 for example that could be flown less than 6 kg from the top easily. Now the Mentor 7 S has its sweet spot less than 10 kg from the top!. You could, of course, fly it easily near the top when you need speed on generous days for winning competitions. 


Launching the normal Mentor 7 is as easy as the light version. It inflates quite well, without any hard points, and the take is immediate. 


As you probably read my notice at the top of the test, different sizes and different loads, and also lighter materials may give another feel… And sometimes they differ a lot! 

I can say that I am very lucky to fly as many gliders to experience those small and sometimes big changes and feel those differences. 


The Mentor 7 S at 97 feels slightly more subtle and sweeter to fly than the XS 75-95 light, even when flying it at 87.  The movements are very similar to the light XS ones but with a touch of some nicer spices!  It is the most comfortable high B glider to fly in rowdy air, but not dull to fly!   It gives slightly more feel to interpret calmly the airmass than the light version. For me the small added spices probably came from the harder cloth and the bigger size…made the glider incredibly balanced and nicer to fly for the pilot underneath it. 


Even the brake inputs are crispier than the light version, they are as short to react and very direct a bit more precise than the XS size.  I was happily flying it in thermals. The Mentor 7 S doesn’t communicate as much as the Maestro 2.  All the movements are calmer and more gentle.  It is possible That you can drink sometimes a cup of coffee while coring without spilling it! And you will see yourself higher at the same time…


In weak thermals climbing next to my reference high B, I think the Mentor 7 S climbs as well and never loses that small weak thermal. It floats nicely. 

The pitch is nearly absent and the roll is very dampened. It just climbs without bumping in thermals. A smoother glider in turbulence with very high efficiency!  At 97 all up, I sensed a moderate trim speed versus the Maestro 2 but without any consequences for efficient gliding through the air. When I felt that I needed to push the speed bar, the glide was impressive! 


And I always found myself quite competitive in the high B class, and even with the class above but with a touch slower! 

While doing this test, even my head never stopped asking me that question: If a pilot is not competing in the C class, why would he be flying anything else?  And then came answers…Perhaps more agility? brake feel? price? more feedback? design and color? brand oriented? Lots of possible parameters to consider…. one thing is for sure: The very high (comfort and performance package)  found on the Mentor 7 is very rare.


Pushing on the speed bar has moderate pressure on the X-rated6, and I saw 15 km/h over trim at 800 ASL.  The glide at max speed is as efficient as my reference in the high B category.   The C steering has a moderate pressure and it is an efficient tool to control the already stable M7 above your head in turbulent air while on the speed bar.  

Ears with outer B’s is easy and efficient and reopens quickly.  


Some pilots will ask me about the performance differences with the 2 liners C category.  It comes always about the pilot skills. 

Example 1 in a regular XC flight:  Pilot A with lots of experience on the Mentor 7 versus a good pilot B with moderate experience on the new 2-liner C’s.   My answer would be: Pilot A would ‘probably’ fly further.


Example 2 in competition: Same pilot A with lots of experience on the Mentor 7 versus a good pilot B with moderate experience on the new 2 liner C’s. My answer would be that if pilot A can hold the speed bar +35 % of the time over pilot B, then there’s perhaps a tie possibility…


It is just to give you a little idea. 


Conclusion: 

This regular version of the mentor 7 in S size felt quite good. 

Climb and glide are excellent, and handling, agility, and brake coordination are quite acceptable. Comfort is very high without being too dull and sometimes quite appreciated in high turbulence. The top speed is good and usable in active air.  The Mentor 7 S… ( Bentley of the sky)