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Obsession - U-Turn

Number of Reviews:  1  
Average Rating:  5.00 / 5  
Manufacturer Website:  No Website 
Suggested Retail Price:  2900 EUR 
Charl 14-Oct-2009 01:33 Report this Product!
Year Launched 2007 from U-Turn (if applicable)
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Obsession Description

The OBSESSION is situated right on the border between DHV 1-2 and DHV 2. It defines the cross-over point between maximum performance and the security level of DHV 1-2. The fantastic glide ratio, available even at full speed, is one of the significant properties of the glider. The OBSESSION possesses the typical U-Turn long accelerator travel for exact control and high final speed. In addition the agility and manoeverability are second to none. All of the know-how from the development of the Acro-reference G-FORCE 360 has been applied to the very dynamic and direct handling of the OBSESSION. Very flat yet confined thermalling is the glider’s trademark and the OBSESSION's turning sink rate is extremely low. The pilot will notice that there are without doubt genes in the OBSESSION which where previously reserved for higher paraglider categories.

Reviews of Obsession

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1 Review of Obsession

Charl   14-Oct-2009 01:45 Report this Review!
Your Flying Style: Recreational from Switzerland
Purchased From: Thanks to Thomas Voesller from
Period of Use: demo
Flying Experience: since 1992
Similar Products Tested: Golden 2
Current Flying Setup
& Clipped in Weight:

Golden 2, Icaro Energy Light Harness


Overall - LOTS


Basically the only thing that annoyed me about the Obsession was that I had to give this wing back.

Yes, there are aspects to this wing that are not in my opinion, perfect, in fact, I would say that this wing does not absolutely excel at anything, but it is the sum total of all its characteristics that make it so much fun to fly. This glider is not a fun cruiser like the Epsilon 5, neither is it a lovely little handling wonder like the golden 2. – No this glider is a machine, a dynamic, hardcore machine, an impression that is underlined by the aggressive optic and high aspect ratio of 5.5 points.

Also Weight is 6.4 kgs

Build/Quality: VERY good with LOTS of extras

first impressions
On receiving the Obsession I was immediately struck by the familiarity of the backpack, it is indeed very similar to my Gradient bag and is both comfortable and solidly constructed. Indeed this feeling of quality and excellent workmanship was constantly reinforced during the time I spent with the wing. The glider is full of surprises and little details that give the impression that a lot of thought went into its construction. There is the now well known AFS system, separate A risers, magnetic clips for the brakes, a system that allows easy packing in strong wind (Mylar Fix System), an “easyfix” system for attaching the risers to the glider during packing and butt holes in the outer cells, for letting out all the dirt you tend to accumulate with time. The only thing that I did not really like, was the weight of the wing, 6.4 kg for the M – though this is very much in line with the overall impression of robustness and solidity. This is indeed something that will please all those of you who fly in areas where the ground is rough and abrasive, therefore having an understandable sceptism when it comes to lighter materials.

The glider comes with a CD that is nicely presented and packed with technical details, entertaining videos and photos. There is also a wonderful 3-phase speed system and a spare brake line. I personally would have liked to have seen one of the really cool U-Turn base caps as well - after all one likes to show what one fly’s.

getting off the ground
The lines are fairly easy to sort, probably because there are not that many of them, though the upper galleries do need a little more attention. Here the lines are un-mantled and are impregnated with a UV resistant substance that is supposed to offer better ageing characteristics – personally I have no opinion on this, my Golden 2 also has similar lines and thus far have I have had no reason to complain. Though judging by the rugged quality of the wing I find it hard to believe that U-Turn would have used this technology if they expected any problems.

Due to the long lines and the high aspect ratio I arranged the wing in a u-shape before slowly and constantly walking into the start. In light wind conditions, I had the best results with my hands held at shoulder height, when the wind was stronger I simply held my arms slightly lower and in both cases the glider came up quickly, steadily and with only a slight tendency to overshoot. While flying in Austria I did however have very different experience - here the takeoff slope was almost flat, the wind very light and slightly cross, for the first time I was in agreement with the DHV protocol which states that the Obsession comes up slightly delayed. The wing also showed a definite tendency to gain speed and surge under these circumstances needing to be strongly curbed to prevent a frontal collapse. This was in strong contrast to the experiences I had on more sloped takeoff sites, with more wind. Basically the start characteristics are both fluid and easy when start conditions are ideal, however they are definitely in the upper DHV 1-2 range, which should be no problem as this glider is aimed at pilots with at least a year or two experience.

Reverse inflation was absolutely no problem, though course corrections had to be finely carried out. This is not a wing for pilots who have no feeling for the canopy and the reverse inflation is perhaps the most challenging aspect to flying the Obsession. The glider comes up slowly but constantly showed a very slight tendency to wonder off and at the last moment there was a minimal surge, if you don’t catch it with the brakes, you may get a frontal. The AFS system seems to play a role here as there where a few occasions when the glider surged in strong gusts and then at the last moment seemed to stabilise itself. I personally had a lot of fun kiting this wing, though one needs a fair breeze due to the weight of the canopy.

The first time I flew this wing I was honestly a little overwhelmed, pilots from higher DHV classes will feel familiar with the Obsession from the onset. Those of you coming from the DHV 1 or 1-2 class will need a little adjustment. Yes, the passive safety is well deserving of its DHV 1-2 rating but the way this glider reacts to brake input and the incredible dynamic you can develop may catch you unawares, this is in retrospect not surprising as this wing was developed from the acro glider G-Force 360. Once however, one adjusts to the difference in piloting, the Obsession is great fun to fly, offering incredible agility, flat turns and an altogether adequate passive safety.

At first the canopy is very soft and responsive, feedback is good though slightly filtered and I had the impression that the wing was neither as exact, or as manoverable as my Golden 2, though this changed as soon as I used a little body input. This wing reacts exceptionally well to body steering and in combination with minimal brake input is tireless to fly in the tightest lee thermals. Though stable on all axis there is a fair amount of canopy movement and active flying is necessary in really turbulent conditions. On entering a thermal the glider hardly shows any tendency to hang back or surge, but rather cuts aggressively into the up draught, where it remorselessly turns every little bit of lift into height gain.

The basic work area with this wing will mostly limit itself to the first 20 cm, where handling is light and comfortable, this changes the more you pull, until finally the brake pressure becomes very hard. Pull the brakes further than the above mentioned 20 cm and things change radically as the Obsession starts to develop an unbelievable dynamic in the turns. Due to the long lines you can experience impressive g-forces as you are positively rocketed around in the curves. Needless to say wingovers are very easy to fly and only when you are way up above the wing is it necessary to support the outer wing tip with the brakes, here the AFS system once again comes into its own, making this manuver a pleasure and not a challenge to co-ordinate.

getting down - fast
Spirals were also easy to enter and within a single turn I got some impressive sink values. Once in a spiral both the sink rate, speed and g-forces increase at a rapid rate, until they top out at about 18 m/s. The glider exited even radical spirals smoothly and rapidly before almost placidly returning to normal flight

Pulling in the ears was no problem either, due to the separate A risers, they were very effective and in combination with the speed system allowed good sink values. The ears once in, had to be actively pumped out, otherwise they stayed in, combined with the effective body steering this made it easy to use this descent option over a long time. This is a characteristic that I really like as it allows big ears to be maintained without always having to hang onto the outer risers.

The B-stall is a descent method that I personally seldom use and to be honest, see little point in, this is perhaps due to the fact that I have always preferred a spiral when I’ve wanted to get down in a hurry. Needless to say it is both easy to enter, hold and exit with the Obsession. With a vario I borrowed off a friend, I recorded sink rates in excess of 8 m/s. There was a very slight rotation, but conditions were very rough with strong wind which could have contributed to this.

wing collapse
I am one of those pilots who are constantly pulling at things and there are few things I enjoy more than simulating wing collapses. To be honest I was a little nervous when doing this on the Obsession for the first time, though this proved to be a needless concern. All collapses, even up to 70% where answered by a rapid acceleration towards the collapsed side that slowed considerably by the time the glider had turned a mere 90°, by the time it had the turned 180° the glider had ended its rotation and was once again flying in a straight line. All collapses where easy to control and merely by leaning away from the collapsed side I could turn in the opposite direction. With brake input, collapses where an absolute joke to stabilise, the biggest challenge being pumping out the collapsed side, here 3 or 4 powerful pumps were needed (this is one of the times when you are reminded of just how long the brake pull really is). Accelerated collapses where very similar, just a little faster and more powerful in reaction, without pilot input the wing turned about 270° before complete recovery. Personally I had the impression that I was never anywhere near the stall boundary, when counter steering and in general I had the impression that this wing would be difficult to bring into an asymmetric stall. The agility and dynamic of this wing would make “going negative” rather challenging – though I am sure there are a few uncoordinated pilots out there who could manage it. All told the Obsession shows very good passive safety that becomes outstanding with the correct pilot input.

Due to the high agility and stability it was easy to pilot this wing on the landing approach, last minute coarse changes being no problem. Here the incredible glide performance becomes most obvious as I regularly overshot my target by up to 30 m. As a pilot who prides himself on his spot landings, it took several flights to come to grip with this sudden boost in glide ratio. I also had to wrap the brake lines a few times around my wrists to smoothly flair this glider, the brake pull is really long and added to that is the almost unbelievable increase of brake pressure as one reached stall point, this made soft landings a challenge after my Golden. Once however, this adjustment was made, I had no further problems and came to really enjoy the wonderfully long flair you get out of the Obsession.

This is perhaps the least relevant reason for choosing a glider in this category, however as this wing has piloting characteristics that are more familiar to higher classed pilots I can only say that I never had the feeling of being at a disadvantage when flying with performance wings. On one 5 km valley crossing from the “Harder” to “Schynige Platte” together with a Nova Ra, there was no apparent height difference on reaching the other side, the Ra did arrive there slightly quicker though. The glide ratio is definitely better than on my Golden 2 which has a glide ratio of 8.6, the speed was in my opinion roughly the same, though this is naturally dependent on various factors. All told I have the feeling that the Obsession has probably the best overall performance in its class and is comparable to a DHV 2 wing.

Product Rating: (out of 5) Rating of 5Rating of 5Rating of 5Rating of 5Rating of 5

overall impression
The Obsession was definitely one of the most interesting wings I ever had the pleasure of flying. Absolutely packed with interesting ideas and superbly crafted it is certainly the first choice for ambitious DHV 1 / 1-2 pilots who are curious about moving up a class, but nervous about taking that step. For higher classed pilots who want similar handling and performance without any stress, look no further. A certain amount of experience is however needed to fly this wing safely and I personally would not recommend this wing as a school glider. For cross country and potential acro pilots who value performance and tireless handling that does not come at any price I would really recomend giving this wing a closer look.

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