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Ozone Octane

Adam Grochowski trying my Octane at Wozza' Knob

I liked the reviews of Ozone gliders when they started up, and bought a Proton, which I really enjoyed flying. But soon after I got it the Octane came out and got great reviews, and they reckoned it had similar performance to the Proton with more safety so it sounded great. I was an agent for Ozone in WA at the time, and sold a couple to friends. I got to have a short fly on some M size pre-delivery and a little ridge soar on an XL, all of which felt good. So When I crashed my Proton into a powerline, I thought it would be cool to get myself an Octane, if I liked it better than the Proton I would keep it, if not I got it at dealer price so should be able to sell it on without too much loss when the Proton was repaired. As it turned out I decided I prefered the Proton, but had great difficulty selling the Octane. Too small a market here? I ended up still having the Octane when the Proton was worn out, and I flew it for about 6 months.

So what didn't I like? Actually the Octane was not bad but I felt it lacked a bit of efficiency compared to the Proton, and it didn't give me the same confidence to pull off a low save in marginal condition. This may be because it was a bit smaller, and I was overweight on it by the time I started flying it regularly. My friend with the XL loves it, and I wish I had gone for that size myself.

The brakes on the Octane are much lighter than the Proton, making it easier to turn, possibly too easy for me. It seemed to have much more tendency to dive when turning, and required a fair bit of work with the outside brake to turn efficiently. It was really nice trying to core small elusive thermals, but felt like it demanded too much concentration on a long cross country, after a few hours, I'd start getting slack and falling out of thermals and over-correcting. More my problem than the glider, but I like a glider that makes up for my failings.

I had a few good flights on the Octane, and the Out and Return 65km I did on it at Wyalkatchem in Nov 2002 is still a WA record in 2004. I actually won the National Winter XC league that year on the Octane, thanks mainly to a really good weekend of weather at the end of September. I also did a big out and return ridge soar from Mt Nameless in the Pilbara, including pulling off a strong wind launch among rocks and spinifex, that I shoudln't really have risked. At least Mike Annear got it on video, it's on his "Ultra Low Flight" video.

I'm afraid I couldn't really tell the safety difference between DHV 2 and 2/3. I guess the Octane never did anything nasty too me, whereas the Proton had a couple of cascades when I first got it. I didn't find I felt any safer on the Octane, basically I fear hitting really nasty air more than glider reactions. I ended up going back to a (tame) 2/3 with my next glider, a Gradient Bliss, because I had a really good test fly on it.

Lots of people really like the Octane, my impression was the sink rate suffers if you overload it, and it's more a glider for people that like banking up and playing, than Cross Country, certainly if it is overloaded. In Ozone's publicity for the Octane replacement, the Vulcan, the things they say they worked on improving were exactly what I didn't like, so I suspect I might like the Vulcan if I ever get to try one.

Last Updated 25 August 2004 Michael Dufty