Thermik Magazine, April 2010
“After a few seconds in the air flying the Swift you realize quickly: Your Swift is not only a light wing, but also a “super easy to handle paraglider”: this Ozone glider can be turned very cleanly, tenderly, and exactly. It is an extraordinary thermal wing that feels comfortable in every kind of lift.”
“Also remarkable is the stability of this Ozone light wing during accelerated flights, and that mainly due to its very high maximum speed for its category.”
“The Performance range of the Ozone Swift ranks at the very top level of the intermediate class.”
The Swift – Reviewed by Neil of Northern Paragliding, UK.
Does the Swift come up to Ozone’s promise of “a wing with EN B security, a 9:1 glide ratio, unimaginably precise handling, and a total weight of less than 4kg”?
…Although I have thousands of hours on paragliders, I am a more infrequent flyer than I have been with more family commitments and too many other hobbies. Most of my flying now is recreational XC and quite a bit of that abroad. My days of lugging bulky XC harnesses and 20-odd kg bags of gear up hills are long over!
Many of the lightweight wings available are low-performance, tissue-thin and fragile, so Mike’s talk of LTF 2 performance and handling in such a light, safe package made the pre-order of a Swift small a no-brainer.
On opening the box I wasn’t disappointed with the diminutive package before me and by the time I’d stripped of the plastic bag and the glider sack I was chuckling quietly. As this glider was to be a demo I’d ordered it with standard risers so there were no surprises there (light risers available as an option) and the glider fabric certainly didn’t seem over-thin. But a quick pop on the scales confirmed Ozone’s promise with it tipping the balance at 3.9kg (in stuff sack with strap).
It was a few weeks before the opportunity to fly it came. A quick call from Martin to ask if I fancied a fly at Whitestones – a fabulous site next to the M6 motorway near Tebay.
The first thing that struck me as I unrolled the Swift for the first time is that it just doesn’t seem fragile or ‘thin’. Clearly the fabric is light but not that light. The lines are unsheathed other than the main riser lines. They have used Edelrid UV resistant lines and they seem pretty substantial. So where have Ozone saved the weight? The fabrics used are 36g/m2 on the top surface and 27g/m2 on the lower. Ozone’s research into lightweight fabrics started with the Peak in 2001. Since then they have led the way with their Ultralite series and also X-Alps lightweight specials. It is the combination of rigifoil leading edge battens and lightweight construction techniques as much as the materials themselves that have shaved off the grams.
Most lightweight wings are easy on the ground and the Swift is no exception. It looks small (at 21.2m2 only a bit smaller than many wings of the same weight range) and inflates in the lightest of breezes. Ground handling is very easy and intuitive, a tweak on the front riser sends it effortlessly up. First impression as I took off and looked up was that it looks very sharp and clean – Ozone’s 09 colours are really eye-catching and stylish. Being a bit lazy I hadn’t walked up to the top – others soaring showing me it was OK. So I took off lowish and had to work hard to scratch up. The Swift responded well to being slowed right down with plenty of brake pressure coming in at large brake inputs.
This type of scratching is easier with a glider that turns efficiently. Ozone’s trademark has always been quick efficient handling and yet again the Swift produced the goods. As I climbed and started to relax the grin spread across my face – I knew I was already enjoying this and I could tell there was a lot more still there. Small thermals were coming through and the Swift made using them a piece of cake. A bit of weight shift and a touch of brake sending her round efficiently and effortlessly.
Two hours later I top landed on Fell Head. Who should come in on his Mantra M3 but Mike Cav himself. “I thought it must be you Neil, I recognized the Swift!” he said and we passed a couple of minutes admiring the view before taking off and flying down to the cars. As I flew down I realised the last time me and Mike had met like that was about 18 years ago on the same hill! Flying down I tried full bar – the Swift surged forward with impressive speed – 52km/h on my GPS. Arriving over landing with a good 1000’ gave time for a little fun. The Swift excels in wingovers with its good energy retention and crisp handling. On landing several pilots remarked on how good the Swift looked.
To cynical readers this sounds like most reviews one reads. But, when I look back over my reviews I realise that we pick gliders from a huge range of many – those that we think on paper look like good sellers and offering something different from the crowd, so it’s not surprising that we rate them. However, the Swift is even more exciting than most. It isn’t what it does in each of it’s characteristics but how it does them all so well and offers an unbeatable overall package – performance, handling, looks, quality all in a small neat package weighing less than 4kg.
To put it into context, any other wing with similar performance will be LTF 2, weigh at least 1.2kg more, or both!
If you are carrying around 20+kg of paragliding equipment, it really is time to ask yourself why. I am using a Sup’Air Altirando XP harness (with removable leg fairing), Sup’Air Xtralite reserve and the Ozone Swift, and with all my flying gear in the bag it weighs in at 12kg, yes 12kg. It is small (at least half the volume of many), light and very easy to carry on even the biggest walk up our area has to offer.
In conclusion, if you:
- Are a competent XC/recreational pilot flying a LTF 1-2 glider
- Appreciate exceptional handling
- Want LTF 2 performance without the worry
- Are sick of lugging massive bags around the world
…Then you need an Ozone Swift!
Neil, Northern Paragliding, UK. (http://www.northern-paragliding.com/)