I’ve been flying the Woody Valley GTO Light 2 harness for 2.5 years now. Time for a review. To start with, I am still very satisfied with the design, but less so with the quality.
I flew the GTO light 2 for about 160 hours, mostly with the Ozone Alpina 4, and after I switched to the Advance Iota DLS I also flew a few hours with it. During this time, I noticed some minor and major shortcomings, which I would like to describe in more detail below. Before that I flew for 9 years with an Advance Impress 3 and for a short time with a GIN Genie lite 3. The main reasons why I bought the GTO light 2 are the low weight, the fact that it folds up very compactly, the very large storage space and the large tail fin.
Firstly, a few words about what I consider to be the special features of the harness design.
The usefulness of a tail fin has been discussed in the scene, but I immediately felt in the first flight that you are more streamlined, even if I can’t prove it in a better glide ratio. Some time ago it was actually proven in a wind tunnel that the drag coefficient improves significantly with a tail fin.
As I fly with an open helmet, wind protection is a sensible thing for me. The wind flow in my face decreases noticeably, especially when accelerating, also because I crouch down when accelerating to improve the glide ratio. For the purists among us, a windshield would probably be nothing, as you can supposedly feel the warm air of the thermal.
I don’t know whether this, like the tail fin, improves the drag coefficient as advertised by the manufacturer. In the German paragliding forum, it was mentioned that the wind protection significantly worsens the glide ratio. It is probably more a question of faith.
The storage space in the back pocket is gigantic (compared to the Impress 3) and leaves nothing to be desired.
I bought the GTO light 2 with a foam protector, which quickly proved to be a mistake if you want to fold the harness compactly. It is better to use an inflatable protector together with a small air pump. This way it is quickly ready for use at the launch site. For hygienic reasons, it is not advisable to inflate the protector orally, as a black film quickly forms in the tube. I probably don’t have the largest lung capacity either, so it was very strenuous for me to inflate the protector. The attempts to inflate the protector with a pump bag were also not really practical, especially when there was no wind at the launch site.
As with all manufacturers, including Woody Valley, the speed bars consist of simple ropes that are almost impossible to pick up with your foot in flight. I have replaced the speed bar with the Bullet Speed Bar, which I already flew in the Impress 3. I have also fitted Ronstan speed bar pulleys, which make accelerating noticeably easier.
Below is a list of the defects that have occurred in the 2.5 years.
The windshield is fastened with 3 buttons, which are extremely difficult to close and open. Over time, these have torn out, even though I took great care when closing and opening the press-studs. With the new windshield I ordered, the press-studs are much easier to open and close, so the problem should no longer occur.
The windshield started to get streaks after a short period of use, even though I only took it out of the protective cover shortly before use. I have not yet been able to test the new windshield in this respect, so I hope that higher quality Makrolon has been used in the meantime.
As you can see in the photo below, the fabric has torn open (see red circle) at the side due to the use of the windshield. I have flamed off the threads of the torn fabric.
Cracked buckle for the ABS stability system
The buckle for the ABS stability system on the left side was broken and had to be replaced. It is unclear to me why a plastic one was used there, as the buckle has to absorb part of the body weight.
In general, the zips are not of the best quality because, as you can see in the photo, they do not close properly. They are also quite stiff, silicone oil has not helped here.
Other points that make me doubt the quality of the harness:
- The fabric underneath the left carabiner is chafed. It is unclear to me why only there, it is not actually exposed to any particular strain
- The material of the entire harness is faded, so that it no longer looks deep black, but rather anthracite-coloured
- The fabric on the back bag has been torn by hiking poles. However, I have to admit that I am partly to blame, the hiking poles should be stowed away more carefully so that there is not too much tension on the fabric.
- I had to replace the white hook on the leg bag fastener with a carabiner as it sometimes unhooked itself during the start run
As I wrote above, I am still very satisfied with the well-thought-out design. But as I realized, there is still room for improvement when it comes to quality. You probably have to compromise on quality with a semi-light harness.
I may not be particularly careful with my harness, but I’m not rough on it either, so I believe that other pilots may have the same problems, so I would be happy to hear your feedback.