OZONE PHOTON ML
Writing plain reviews, empty of small details, will not satisfy any more aware pilots out there, especially for those 2 liner C classes. That’s why, I will take time to explain every detail to the advanced pilots. It could be boring sometimes, but I really cannot write reviews as I’m doing a low B glider test…
The new EN-C 2 liner from OZONE is already since 20 days in ML size. I am still waiting for the MS size to arrive hopefully next week.
I have flown the ML size for some hours, from 100 all up to 104 all up, which is the maximum of ballast I wanted to carry.
To begin with the construction, the PHOTON has exactly the same construction and details as the Zeno 2. In fact, if you see both gliders next to each other(pic attached) you cannot see the differences apart from the slightly wider shape of the Photon as its aspect ratio is 6.5 compared to 7.0 for the Zeno 2.
The shape of the leading edge with the position openings is exactly the same as well the risers. For sure some internal structures and width or other things could differ, but the plain eyes cannot see those differences apart from the wider cord.
Flying the Photon ML / X-Rated 6 at 100 and later at 104 all up, gave me a large idea and feel that I will share with you.
The launching of the Photon in nil wind doesn’t need any for the C pilot. I usually don’t comment a lot about the launch of its normal, unless I see a hard point or something that requires a lot of effort in stronger air, but the Photon with its semi-light construction is easy to launch close enough to the Alpina 4.
In strong breeze over 25 km/h, the PHOTON ML behaved quite gently for a C pilot and I didn’t find any dynamic reactions. Overall, easy to launch in all conditions.
I had at the same time as the PHOTON testing, I had over here, the NK Artik-R, SOL LT2, GIN Bonanza 3, and UP Trango-X. (All one size smaller) 75-95—100. This was for me a great way to give you more precise feedback especially since all were flown on the same harness but added some ballast for the Photon ML. Later I will mention the differences between the PHOTON MS and ML in handling, reactivity, and feel. Now I only have the ML.
One day it was windy, turbulent, and quite generous in thermals. So It was a good informative day to get a bigger idea of what to expect from the PHOTON ML. I was flying it at 102 all up.
First thermal the Photon ML didn’t have any pitch back or front at all. Felt like it was a calm glider in that matter and enters the lift with ease without any complicated pitch movements.
The roll movements are also very comfortable similar like the Delta in MS size to be precise. Not really far from the Alpina 4, MS feedback If I remember correctly. Please consider that smaller sizes feedback is slightly more sensitive than larger ones. So I think the PHOTON ML has probably 10 % more feedback than the Alpina 4 MS, which is really comfortable to fly!
In all turbulence, the PHOTON ML felt quite tamed.
Now to give you a clearer explanation of what I felt, I will let you imagine flying an 18 sqm acro glider for a while, not smaller 😉 and then switch to your regular C glider…Or perhaps…smoking a certain weed 😉 Everything looks slow around you. That is the slow-motion feel I got when I flew the PHOTON ML at 102 in relation to the airmass.
It will fly OK at 100, but you will miss the point.
Please consider that OZONE made the Photon for a purpose. And that purpose is not limited to a small local flight. It will surely perform very well…But IMHO, the PHOTON is a very well-engineered design carefully made for glide efficiency and you the pilot must ‘help’ extract those performances by loading it at 104-105 so that this special structure will show you its hidden magical efficiency to cut through and move forward like a top end 2 liner C ! You cannot perform on a race car with a semi deflated wheel! 🙂 That’s the best way to describe it.
Even in climbing mode, the Photon needs to move forward faster in the rising airmass. The climb rate of the PHOTON ML at 104 is still very good. In a weak climb, if it is flown at 100, it needs more time to get through but has no problem getting efficiently high. It’s just time and patience that are needed.
For example, next to a Zeno 2 MS at 95, for one hour in thermals, I was always slower to dig through and the Zeno 2 was always two steps ahead higher, and in front. We tried again and again with the same results. For sure the Zeno 2 is another category, but just to tell you how it will behave at 100. At 104 things got a lot better, I was able to ‘have’ a little more chance to keep up, especially in those long glides with lifts in between as the loaded Photon was moving forward better, especially at half or even at the full bar! And that is the strong point of that glider when you are using the speed system. It moves forward through the lift and guts! While other gliders could get pinned or slowed.
I also did lots of glides with all the new 2 liner C’s and saw that the ML size has a slight upper hand, in transitions, at full bar, but this gap was larger in difficult conditions, as the PHOTON ML was gliding on rails with a solid one-piece homogenous structure. I will hopefully try with a loaded Photon MS size as soon as it is available.
The B steering has a moderate feel, very efficiently usable. While on bar, I was completely at ease and quite efficient to keep the glider stable with the B controls. I will update my C comparison for all the details after I fly the MS size.
The PHOTON ML even at 104 could be considered as having moderate agility. The trailing edge reacts after 10 cm of gap. The brake travel is a bit long, But that glider flies at best, hands up and doing that, it could be steered with less and less brake input. So getting used to it, I could steer it with only 15 cm with weight shift after the gap without braking the outer side. It turns flat and narrow sometimes.
To get the first wing over you must insist on a weight shift.
Ears with outer A’s are stable on the ML size at 102 and reopen with little pilot assistance. Ears with outer B’s are stable and reopen quickly. A good way to get down.
I will try the MS size, which I am used to flying from 90 to 95 which could be more dynamic a bit. But for now, these are my humble thoughts on the PHOTON ML.
The PHOTON ML is a very calm, easy, stable, and homogenous 2-liner C. The overall performance in glide is very good for that category. Much better than the Mantra 7especially at the speed bar and also racing upwind. That ML size was way easier to fly than my Light Mantra 7 MS, and closer to the Alpina 4 with probably around +10 % max more pilot control.
Will write my impressions on the MS when it will arrive.
Thanks to Ziad Bassil 🙂