Quick Test : Ozone Ozium
A friend arrived in Pokhara and mentioned that he had the Ozium in my size which i could test fly, up until now i would say that by a pretty large margin the Advance Lightness was the most comfortable harness on the market (for those that like a more reclined position).
Out of the bag the feel of the harness is good with nice relatively sturdy materials used for both the main structure as well as the externals (earlier i had seen the real X-alps version which was made even lighter and i wouldn’t expect the almost glider material externals to last very long), one thing that i noticed at once was the very light almost see through lycra type material on the leg cover, i have to say that i had my initial doubts about warmth in this thing at altitude.
Once hanging in the simulator i found that the settings out of the bag were pretty much spot on, i only adjusted the very top back strap about 1.5cms and it was ideal.
Putting in the rescue you feel a little doubtful about the whole zip closure method that Ozone have used, but once closed its solid and the zips don’t open under pressure (unless you have not started the zip closure at the appropriate place and even then it requires quite a bit of pressure). My light weight rescue was almost swimming in all the space that is in there, which would accommodate most rescues not only lightweight.
Takeoff, is relatively uneventful, i was pleasantly surprised that the main problem which had plagued the lightness, where the harness would ride up and crush your you know whats, has been resolved. The leg strap mounting position has been widened and moved further back on the Ozium which solves this (on the lightness you had to launch hanging over your rescue to avoid getting the guillotine action of certain parts of your body). Getting into the leg cover which due to the lycra comes a little higher than I’m personally used to requires a slightly different method but this is no huge hassle and simply requires getting used to, even though your hanging there your not in a huge rush to get in as your supported comfortably. The foot plate looks like it would give in under added pressure, but even in rougher air when more pressure was placed on it there were no signs of flexing, so big thumbs up.
Flying in the Ozium feels great, you really don’t feel like you have a harness under you. The amount of support that you are getting from the harness distributes your body weight across the entire harness in such a way that i didn’t have any “hard points” of pressure during the 5hr flight.
Weight shift is fast and easy while at the same time not being over the top twitchy like at times in the lightness.
The rescue handle is not in the most natural position to find, it feels slightly too high and far back. but this is only my opinion. The handle itself is nice and stays securely in place when not needed.
Now for the amount of time and effort not to mention the expectations of the public, i have to say that the “flight deck” has come out as quite a large….. i mean small disappointment. Really? thats the best you guys could come up with? ok for those gram counters out there I’m sure that it looks appealing but once you consider the extra weight of the bungee cord and plastic adjustment slider you would be better off making something a little better and user friendly as the current one is for a lack of other words, unique. Granted this system gets the instruments all the way out of the way during takeoff, it is sitting on your chest most of the time, which would be ok for someone that hasn’t got a need to look at their instrument too often but for someone in a comp checking and rechecking their instruments it is in a slightly awkward position.
The trailing fairing could have been made to ride a little higher on the pilots back to create a more streamlined tail section. but this is my personal view as i like the profile of my WV X-alps harness.
The leg cover even at altitude actually faired quite well and i didn’t feel much air coming through the almost see through material.
overall a nice light package that is responsive and in general a pleasure to fly, no matter if its for a hike and fly or the next epic adventure in the back country. If Kortel don’t get a wriggle on with releasing the Kolibri I’m guessing that i will be getting hold of one of these for myself, i just hope i can get hold of the original X-alps lighter version for the upcoming X-Pyr race. (Users need to remember that even though the construction and materials used are pretty good, this is a light weight harness and still needs to be treated with a lot of extra care compared to a normal one).