2002-Dec-2 Added Performance & Speed Numbers
The Ozone Viper 2 is an update of their original Viper 1. My original plan was to simply update the review but, when I got the Viper 2, I realized that several significant changes had been made. This is in the same class as the Dudek Plasma and Paramania Fusion, mating an efficient, high aspect ratio wing with a reflexed profile for speed.
Flights were done both morning and evening on light days and high elevation. Initial flights were done with a Blackhawk 172 at 5000 feet and then with a Top 80 Miniplane. Performance measurements were made at 1200 feet MSL and 45�F using the Miniplane (55 lbs with fuel) at an inflight weight of 225 lbs.
This review is a mix of two since the 20 meter prototype I flew didn’t have many of the features of the 24 meter model I flew in Salt Lake. Those features turned out to be real important. The 20 was more of a Viper 1 without tip steering and with the old-style brake design. The Viper 2 is leaps ahead in handling. It’s semi-reflex with maybe 50-80% the reflex amount as Dudek or Paramania models.
Handling (7): Handling when trimmed slow and only using the brakes is middling but, with the tip steering toggles, it’s excellent. Single brake application causes that side riser want to go up unless, of course, you use weight shift. Pull left brake and your left cheek goes up. You’ll notice it more on weight-shift machines and even more so when accelerated but you’ll get great handling with the tip steering and won’t want to touch the brakes.
When left alone, cruising level with hands up, an oscillation set up. This left/right swing back and forth happened on both my machines. It was more noticeable on the Blackhawk which was actually slowly divergent, and less so on the Miniplane. It was more prominent when trimmed fast on either machine.
Inflation (-): Like all reflex models it takes a bit more to launch�namely, staying on the A’s until some definite speed is gained. Doing forwards, where the D lines spread around the cage, make it a bit more sluggish. I was actually able to do pretty light wind reverses but then it took quite an effort on no-wind forwards. A smaller wing would be easier in this regard although you’ll obviously run faster. I found my best success by stepping back a couple steps and accelerating into it under quarter-power.
In strong wind you’ll love it. Overshooting is less of an issue than regular wings although may be a bit more prone to it than the Plasma. Of course any wing can be made to rocket past an unwary pilot. All reflexed gliders have less tendency to experience a frontal collapse and this is now exception even though it’s considered not quite a full reflex.
Kiting (4): It’s a aspect ratio wing which means some extra challenges. Mostly that, when it gets gets crooked, the required amount of brake pull tend to stall the tip and falls back. Kiting is easier with the trimmers neutral since brakes still work well–if the trimmers are all the way out the reflex airfoil behaves poorly with brake pull. It’s very responsive to the tip steering which can be used to kite although its obviously harder to damp a forward surge that way.
Kiting is not noticeably different than the Viper 1, Plasma, or Fusion.
Efficiency (7): Lines are unsheathed for probably the upper two or three cascades and are very thin, giving good efficiency. I’ll have the numbers up shortly.
Raw Data: Trim slow, 1000′ – 850′ in :30. Trim fast, 1000′ – 790′ ft in :30. 1200′ – 990′ in 15 seconds. The last measurement, using only 15 seconds, has twice the error potential as the 30 second measurements. I will welcome others performing similar tests but with more data points or longer clock times which will be more accurate.
Slow trim glide ratio = 7.2 at 24.3 mph. Fast trim is 5.4 at 26 mph. Fast trim on speedbar is 3.3 at 31.8 mph.
Speed (9.5): This wing is fast with a really effective speedbar. Not surprisingly it took full power on my Top 80 to barely stay level. The most likely use for fast trim and full speedbar will be coming out of turns unless you’ve got lots of power. The Vipers would be well suited for Cloverleaf type tasks for those who get on the speedbar during rollout. It handled flying through my own wake without problem although I never got a big bump.
Raw Data: Trim slow, upwind 26.5 mph, downwind 22 mph. Remaining speeds should be used for their speed difference only. Trim slow 25.5 mph, Trim neutral 28 mph. Another run trim slow = 21.5 mph, trim fast = 25.7 mph. Last run trim slow = 22 mph, fast with speedbar = 32 mph.
Slow trim speed = 24.3 mph, fast trim = 26 mph, fast trim on speedbar = 31.8 mph.
Certification & Safety (6): It’s not certified nor would it make much difference in this class since they’re basically competition wings. We’re flying so heavily that it’s probably not possible to certify but, if you did, it would probably come out as AFNOR Competition, DHV 3, or EN D.
When trimmed fast and hands off, there is decent passive safety in terms of collapse resistance although probably not quite as much as the Plasma. Since I’m a fan of active flying, when big bumps come along, I prefer to trim slow and keep my hands on the brakes. Plus, lets face it, if you do take a collapse while flying at the speed of heat it won’t be pretty. Risk probability low, severity high. I would only recommend this wing to PPG 3 level or higher pilots.
This wing may be slightly more solid in its tips than others in its class. While turning cloverleafs, I did not get any collapses even when flying through my wake. My best results were, by far, when holding both the brake and tip steering toggle with trims set to half-fast. In turns, I’d pull mostly with the tip steering and brakes if needed to control pitch. That tip/brake use took some getting used to, and would take more to become good at it, but clearly the rate of bank was extremely high with no risk of spinning.
Avoid being trimmed slow and using speedbar, a potentially nasty combination. The practice is common on regular paragliders but not recommended for reflex gliders. This wing does allow speedbar while trimmed slow suggests only doing so in calm air.
Construction: It’s extremely well built and engineered. The unsheathed lines are more predominant than on other models I’ve tested, even competition wings. One note about these really thin lines–as much as they’re great for drag resistance, they tend to tangle easily, forming loops easily.
Tip steering toggles have sufficiently strong captured magnets meaning that iron-sand beach flyers won’t have problems. That’s where iron-containing sand clogs the magnetic clips of many brake-keeper magnet styles.
Warrantee: No information here.
Overall: Clearly this is for experienced pilots who like to go fast, maneuver and who don’t mind faster takeoffs and landings. If you wanna go lickety split with great handling using tip steering, the Viper 2 is perfect.
Be careful and enjoy.