Stalwart Paraglider Maker Ozone has added another glider to its quiver of competitors. The Speedster is a “semi-reflex” model that I flew at Glamis, CA and the Salton Sea. Thanks to Mathieu Roaunet for letting me give it a try. My flying was all within 300 feet of sea level on a Blackhawk 172 with a clip-in weight of 135 (me) + 70 (motor & fuel) = 205 pounds.
Handling (- trim in, – trim out): Like nearly all reflex wings this has standard brake toggles and tip steering. The regular brakes are not intended to be used when flying on fast trim and full speedbar so I didn’t try them in this configuration. I have done so and, when you slightly unload the glider then use brakes, the tips collapse. So there’s good reason to know what you’re doing when fully accelerated. If you’re going fast use the tip steering which is VERY effective. Ozone has this dialed in. Trimmed slow the brakes are effective but somewhat heavy, even moreso trimmed fast. The tip toggles could easily be held with one hand and any serious competitor or low-level slalom flyer will want to get used to doing so.
Dives nice and allows a long level out so you can do a big swoop landing if its properly timed.
Also, you can use the brakes when trimmed fast so the speed range is quite usable. If you’re on speedbar, only use the tip steering and control height with the speedbar. Obviously that will require some practice.
Inflation (-): Small wings rock. Since they don’t pull back very hard inflation is usually pretty brisk and indeed she came up very quickly and required dampening even in light winds. Once you’re moving, brakes will be required to lift off as with all smaller gliders (and most normal gliders, for that matter).
Risers: (-): 4 riser, long (and VERY effective) trimmer range, normal speedbar travel, snaps for the brakes, magnets for the tip steering.
Efficiency (- slow/ – fast): I didn’t get to do a sink rate test but on landings I had plenty of energy. It felt quite efficient but this should be measured..
Speed (-): Raw: wind run=19.2, 33, Test Run1=18.5, 27, Test Run2=19, 26, 32 (speedbar), windspeed=(33-19)=14, 14 / 2=7 MPH wind. There was an enormous speed difference between slow and fast trim so I did the run twice to make sure I didn’t misread anything. As you can see the results suggest that the error bars should be in 5% range.
Slow Trim = 26 MPH
Fast Trim = 34 MPH
Fast Trim + Full Speedbar = 39 MPH
Construction (-): Well made with some advanced construction techniques in the wing such as the flexible tube leading edge reinforcements.
Certification & Safety (-): None. This glider is certified in its larger sizes as an EN-C but is not certified nor will it likely be owing to the high wing loading that its designed for. It should only be flown by experienced pilots who are willing to run a bit faster on launch and enjoy the energy management games that it allows.
Overall (-): Anyone wanting to go fast, especially without needing speedbar, is gonna love this wing.