Paraglider Review: 2009
Ozone Viper 2
Reviews, 08-13-2009 | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good |
| About the Testing
See the earlier
Viper Custom review.
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 and felt it
warranted its own treatment. 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 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
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
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
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.
Here is the spreadsheet used for
& 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
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
Be careful and enjoy.