2016 Ozone Viper4 18
Flown 2016-03-18, reviewed 2016-04-19|
I've owned and competed with an Ozone Viper
1 for at least 4 years. I bought the Viper 1 even though a later model
was out because
Mathieu Rouanet had been competing on it successfully, without
deflations, and I wanted something well tested. When the Viper 3 came
out it felt more
difficult to kite in turbulent conditions which gave me pause. Mind you, when I flew
3 in that very same turbulence it did fine with nary a tip tuck so I
realize that the kiting test is not a direct analog for turbulence
handling, but it's the best I've got.
I had a chance to kite the Viper 4 in
turbulent conditions (not as bad as when I kited the 3) and had
no problems. Launching and flying it was a dream. They shouldn't
be very different since I'm told that the 4 is essentially
the same as the 3 except for lighter weight fabric on the bottom and
slightly different risers.
This one was a production prototype that I
flew several times and really liked, especially with well-adjusted 2-D
steering. It felt similar to the Snake, another wing in this class that
I really like.
Handling (- trim in, - trim out):
Lovely. I only flew it with the 2-D steering but it comes with a tip toggle. You
get 2-D steering if you tie the tip steering line to the brake and you
get traditional steering if you tie it to the provided tip toggle.
I really liked the handling in 2-D mode.
For one things, when you first pull brake, only the tip engages. That's
good because, if you forget and wind up pulling the toggles while fully
accelerated, you initially only pull the tip steering lines. This is how
the Snake that I flew is setup.
When trimmed slow, using the main brakes
like any other wing provides nimble response. Pulling a toggle down like
this engages both tip and main brakes in good balance. Sweet turns
result. When trimmed fast and/or accelerated fast the tip steering is
VERY effective. In 2-D mode you just pull down up to about 6 inches to
only engage the tips. That's good because it means the default action
(pulling the brake toggle down) is OK, even at full speed. Just don't go
more than about 6 inches unless you know exactly what you're doing.
Pulling outward only activates main brake. I don't use this (pulling outward) because I can't tell
the difference from just pulling down. The idea is probably that it lets
you fly slower but with less drag since the tips aren't pulled in,
possibly an advantage in some efficiency tasks.
Inflation: Wonderful. Lighter
weight fabric lets it rise that much easier in no wind. It will still
fall back if you don't accelerate but less so than its predecessor and
many other wings for that matter. I do light wind reverses with my old
model already so this rocks it. Do set the trimmers to the neutral setting, a white line,
Risers: The 4 row, PK-equipped risers
are complicated for cause and a bit different than PK riser systems.
First off, the risers work to keep the wing's semi-reflex profile
(airfoil shape) the same throughout its speed range. That's different
than some wings where trimming them fast is what forms the reflex
profile. Good/Bad I don't know, it's just a different philosophy. I
would expect that, at the highest speeds, it would be slightly more
likely to take folds in turbulence without pilot input.
Efficiency (- slow/ - fast): These
wings excel at providing efficiency at speed.
Speed: I did not do the full speed
testing. It's a race wing, though, so you can expect it to be in the top
Wings and the Effect of Weight on Speed & Power Required.
Certification & Safety: As with
most competition paramotor wings there is no certification beyond basic
Overall: It's the new frontier with
lightweight fabric improving behavior on a high performance competitor.
Some people have said that it changes the flying feel in some way but I
couldn't tell. It already handles very nice. Pilots will enjoy this
tweak to a proven performer.
Below: World Champion Kamil Mankowski taking off at a
Lake in Lake Wales, FL. Notice his right hand pulling brake you can see the
tips and main brakes deflected. This is configured as a 2-D system. The
wing should come with the ability to have either this or separate tip