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This is my current paraglider. I bought it after wearing out my Ozone Proton which I really liked and spending about 6 months flying my Ozone Octane L. 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 (possibly because I was overweight on it).
Whilst I felt comfortable on the DHV2/3 Proton I had the idea that it would be better to be on a lower rated wing - hence the Octane, which I ended up not liking too much. I had seen a couple of reviews of the Bliss, notably Greg Hamerton's review in Cross Country, which rated it as being a very nice to fly and safe for it's 2/3 category, so thought it might be worth a go as a sort of compromise. Jiri Stipek from Gradient was good enough to offer me his personal glider for a test fly and possible purchase.
My first test flight on the glider was pretty impressive. I beat my personal best distance by flying 168 km, I have written up the flight here - 168km flight from Bakewell.
After a test flight like that, how could I not buy it? The conditions on the day were fantastic, and I may well have gone as far on the Octane, but I had the feeling that the Octane was a little too sensitive to input contributing to errors on long flights when tired and landing early. The Bliss had proved I could stay up on it for 6+ hours, and pulled off some nice low saves, and feel comfortable on it straight away. Just what I was after really.
I have now done about 100 hours on the glider and have found nothing to complain about. I had a pretty lousy comp at the Manilla Open 2003 but that can't have been the gliders fault, because I did great (17th place) in the Manilla Open 2004 on the same glider.
I fly the Bliss pretty much at the top of the weight range 115-120kg and find it has quite a fast trim speed at that weight, I often find I need to overtake other gliders on a crowded ridge. It also goes well on speedbar, although sometimes a loop of webbing gets stuck in the pulleys, making it hard to get the last few mm of travel, not much of a problem for me as I rarely use full speed but might annoy others.
Generally I have found the Bliss very well behaved in lousy air. It sometimes dips the leading edge, which then pops back up without really collapsing. Asymetrics have been no drama at all, the bigger ones tend to stay in until pumped out, but the glider still flies fine, just with a higher sink rate. I have had a couple of huge frontals where I have really fallen out of the sky for an instant, but the glider has opened OK and with just a little input to keep it straight resumes flying very nicely. One of these collapses was due to hitting the edge of a thermal during the surge after releasing from a tow, the other came out of the blue on glide at Manilla, with a little speed bar on. I have also flown it in some horrendous air above an incipient dust devil, and despite some very huge and scary surges, did not collapse and let me climb out and carry on.
I was a little disappointed that the Bliss does not have split A risers, as I found launching with inner As only a big plus on Ozone gliders. It turns out not to be a problem, the Bliss seems to behave in a similar way, due to the cell openings getting smaller towards the tips, the center always comes up first, resulting in nice inflations. The Bliss also responds nicely to A+D riser launches, because the stabilo lines attach to the D riser, giving better than usual steering ability with the rear riser.In summary - no complaints about launching, very good.
It goes like a paraglider... I find it very hard to compare performance, it feels like it goes well, flying in the comps at Manilla it seemed to go much like other gliders around, although I'm sure it is not actually as good as the comp wings. I've never felt disadvantaged by it anyway. It feels easier to thermal efficiently than the Octane, although still a little keener to bank up than the Proton. You need to use the outside brake occasionally to stop it building up too much speed when thermalling. The risers are fairly thin and tend to vibrate/flap a bit when you go too fast just to remind you.
Details of some of my better flights on the Bliss are on my online logbook page.
Online Logbook - details of recent flights including photos and tracklogs.
Last Updated 16 June 2004 Michael Dufty