It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. by Abraham Lincoln
Stepping up from Dudek Universal 1.1 25.5m to Ozone Sirocco 2 22m
The Dudek Universal (Uni) 1.1 is a very safe and reliable wing. On one flight at Meadow lake, even after all the weather checks and precautions were taken, I was caught in a weather nightmare heading back to the landing zone. The Dudek wing half way collapsed and recovered but not after I was ragged dolled and nearly twisted. Given that experience, I knew I could trust my Uni through thick and thin turmoil.
Technically the Uni is a B rated wing. Most students start with an A rated wing. The wing takes some effort to launch and your landing has to be dialed in. Once in the air, she is stable and with a speed range of 24 to 34 mph utilizing the trims. The basic acro, such as wing overs, are not hard to pull off. You have to build up and manage the energy. The wing material is heavier which has its pros and cons. The pro is the wing will last longer. The con are the launch and land scenarios.
Recently I logged 100 hours of flying. Per suggestion of the manufacturer, either 100 hours or two years and the wing needs to be inspected. Airtoyz is one place for wing inspections. Coincidentally, I also had wing repairs needed. The wait time is an agonizing three plus weeks. And now for the dilemma, what on earth do I do without a wing for three weeks?
My pilot friend, Brian, to the rescue. He let me borrow his Ozone Sirocco 2. As a bonus, the 2d steering was already tied in. I did not notice a huge speed difference while utilizing the trims. I did not have chance to test the speed bar. My friends believe that is where the true speed difference will be noticed between the Uni and the Sirocco.
I have to admit I was highly intimidated moving from a B rated wing to a C rated wing. So much so, I botched the first launch on the Sirocco. I caught a D line in my prop. AirToyz knows me by name now. I first saw Brian's Sirocco lying on the ground in the wing bag. The wing was half the size and weight of my Uni. The Sirocco is constructed of lighter material. After my unsuccessful launch, it was time for kiting practice. The remainder of the morning I kited with my friends critiquing my form. The next morning I was determined to get in the air. Sandstone was the perfect Lz to take flight. First attempt and I was airborne. One problem, I had a brake line twist. I thought it was strange that the wing was pulling left but I was not used to the characteristics of the wing yet. I quickly realized after launch and fixed the brake.
The 2d steering makes a difference when yanking and banking. I almost feel that engaging the brakes alone was not as sensitive as the Uni. The combined brakes and tip lines makes for a very playful experience. After four flights, I can tell the Sirocco talks to me more with the bumps in the air. The Uni eats the bumps better. That is not a bad thing for the Sirocco as a pilot may want to respond accordingly to the action while flying. Overall, like the Uni, the Sirocco was stable and did not oscillate. The Sirocco shined with agility, launching and landing. I will still need to evaluate the speed bar for a through review.
Huge jump from Ozone Sirocco 2 22m to Ozone Viper 5
The Viper 5 18m is a wing that is owned by someone who has three heads stuffed in a cooler, in a cabin, in the mountains. This viper has fangs and if you are not careful you will DIE! Just ask Dell Schanze. Brian again loaned me a glider that would give a new definition to dirt torpedo. I pull up in my Jeep to meet Brian and I see a pillow case on the ground. Surely that can't be a wing stuffed in there? YUP! I knew I was in for an experience.
I was ready to take on the mythical creature. I turned on my camera, did my checks, adjusted the trims to the wrong position and was about to launch. Brian stops me and says, "the manual states setting the trims to the green line", and he corrects my trims. I guess reading the manual would be a great idea. RTFM. Whatever! Now it is go time. 1 2 3 run, run, run. Boom I was in the air with ease. I thought, what is this mis-information about advanced wings, this is no problem. I bank to my left and climb higher to be met with turbulence. Now the fun begins.
The wind sways me to the left, no right, wait, back left again. Where did I store that memory oF stopping the oscillations? The oscillations started getting larger before I finally came to my senses and took control. I played around with different altitudes in order to get used to controlling the wing. In a few minutes, flying straight, I was more comfortable with her behavior. My next test is a foot drag.
I begin my turn and realize quickly I do not need to pull hard to turn. Easily doing a wing over I turn back into the wind to set up for a foot drag. I had better not sneeze or I will do a barrel roll. The glide was descent and I had good control down low. I pull back up to altitude and forgot about the oscillations until my wing reminded me that I must control her at all times. Brian did say to not take my hands off of the brakes.
With only 15 minutes of play time, I was convinced this wing is not for me. I don't fall into the category of psychopaths and serial killers. Okay, I do, but not this strain of craziness. Time for the landing. My heart starts racing as I am fast approaching the ground, thinking, timing, wait for it, PULL. I ballooned up a little, then landed. Not bad at all! Why is my Uni so hard to land?
Ultimately you have to know what type of pilot you are. Cross country, acro or maybe a little of both. With only a year under my belt I think I am leaning more towards the smooth cross country, high altitude flight with a bit of acro sprinkled in. Given that, I am looking forward to demoing the Ozone Viper 5 XC 18m. Brian, David and John are on a different level of crazy acro. I need to have them put me in their Will. Although, I believe their non-sense is rubbing off on me.
Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. by Les Brown