Forums: Skydiving Disciplines: Swooping and Canopy Control:
Is the Stiletto obsolete?

 

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davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 23, 2010, 6:34 AM
Post #26 of 62 (1756 views)
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Re: [JohanW] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
the short recovery arc, was a design decision at the time - it's a feature, not a bug. (It seems designed for togglewhipping, not swooping.)


That's not correct at all. The short recovey arc was not a design decision, it was a design by-product. The high apsect ratio and eliptical planform were design decisions, and both of those lead to high efficiency and creating a lot of lift, which leads to short recovry arcs.

The Stiletto is an excellent swooping canopy, and again I'll reference my 1000's of swoops, and the millions of other swoops performed on Stilettos over the years. The argument people make that bacause it has a shorter recovery arc it is not good for swooping is wrong.

It's similar to saying that a stock Corvette is not a good sports car becasue the Corvette Z-R1 is faster or the Corvette ZO6 handles better. The fact remains that a base model Corvette is a very fast, great handling car that would be thrilling to drive on the street or the track. Yes, there are higher performance cars available, but that does not subtract from the desirable qualities of the base model Corvette.

The majority of my jumps on Stilettos were on 107s loaded between 1.9 and 2.1. My swoop of choice was a 270 front riser dive, which I would start at about 400/450 ft. Last time I checked, that's higher than the tallest roller coaster on earth, and diving down from that speed into a nice 200+ ft swoop is certainly a nice way to end a skydive. Beyond that, the same high-lift characteristics make the Stilleto a breeze to land (and stop) on the rear risers, and allows it to carve easier and further than an X-braced canopy. When was the last time you saw a full 360 degree carve on a Velocity? A Stiletto (in the right hands) could pull that off, and I routinely set up traffic cones in a zig-zag pattern because the turns were so quick you could swoop through a left, right, left, right, combo and still go 50ft past the cones.

The bottom line is that the Stiletto is a great canopy, but it is a different canopy then the X-braced swooping machines that seem to be the 'standard' these days. For the record, I now jump a Velo becasue I'm addicted to the 900ft dive I get out of a 450 degree turn. However, I realize on every jump that I'm trading off many of the good features of the Stiletto for the one good feature of the Velo (the 900ft dive).


Premier Remster  (C License)

Nov 23, 2010, 6:46 AM
Post #27 of 62 (1747 views)
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Re: [craigbey] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

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Where does that myth about Stilettos come from?

I think it's purely because it was the fist popular elliptical canopy. People weren't used to have to be as symmetrical during deployment.


JohanW  (D 86318)

Nov 23, 2010, 7:34 AM
Post #28 of 62 (1733 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
.. the short recovery arc .. was a design decision at the time - it's a feature, not a bug. (It seems designed for togglewhipping, not swooping.)
That's not correct at all. The short recovery arc was not a design decision, it was a design by-product. The high aspect ratio and elliptical planform were design decisions, and both of those lead to high efficiency and creating a lot of lift, which leads to short recovery arcs.
You can make the recovery arc longer or shorter by playing with line length, or center of lift. Amount of lift is not the only influence.


rehmwa  (D 12816)

Nov 23, 2010, 7:45 AM
Post #29 of 62 (1729 views)
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Re: [yoink] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
As usual, Dave is spot on.

I've only put about 70 jumps on various sizes, but enjoyed them all. The Stilletto is a great all round canopy. Glides brilliantly, dives like a mutha and turns on a dime, but, it was built when different requirements and styles were the norm, and even then it went past them, so people now don't necessarily understand what it's strengths and weaknesses are.

For really good fun up in the sky, a Stilletto is still one of the best wings I've flown. For swooping, there are far better options. In my opinon though, it's far from obsolete.

I was going to +1 Dave's post, but your last paragraph is a great one.

The Stiletto is a great fun flying canopy. You can swoop with it for fun and do great, but it's not going to win world class comps - it's not designed for that. But it's a lot more fun to just fly up high than canopies designed for swooping as well.

Its an all around great canopy - high performance "flying and landing" doesn't equal - high performance "swooping".

Example - I tried the Katana and was immediately bored with it. However, while demo'ing the thing, I could clearly recognize that if I was only interested in swooping, that Katana would be much more effective than my Stiletto of the same size. But up in the air, I didn't like the turns, the glide angle, and the altitude loss. That's an easy tradeoff. Had I been more interested in swooping than just general performance, I'd surely switch - I'm not.

I'm ignoring all the incorrent snotty slams on the design (spin ups, etc) - canopy snobs tend to do that on the wings they don't fly.


jcbfly  (D 30546)

Nov 23, 2010, 7:49 AM
Post #30 of 62 (1724 views)
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Re: [ianmdrennan] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all the input! Ian read me right - I'm an avid canopy pilot, but not a hard core swooper. I'm very comfortable with flat gliding canopies because I come from a paragliding background. I've got plenty of Sabre 2 jumps, but it didn't appeal to me. I've enjoyed my Pilots, and I'm gonna keep one for wingsuiting, but the Stiletto is probably gonna be my next freefall and hop and pop canopy.

PD offers the Stiletto with a variety of line options: dacron, spectra, vectran and HMA. Any opinions on which lines are optimal?


Ron

Nov 23, 2010, 7:51 AM
Post #31 of 62 (1722 views)
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Re: [dragon2] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Stiletto: very SHORT recovery arc, making it dangerous for swooping,

DangerousCrazy.

Quote:
But what do I know Sly I'm sure with 125 jumps you know much better.

And I guess since I have twice + as many jumps as you I can say the same thing about you?

To the OP.... The Stiletto is far from obsolete. It may not be the cutting edge for swooping anymore, but it is as good of a canopy as it was the day it came out.... The laws of physics do not change.

The Stiletto has good points and bad points. Yes, at higher WL's it can cause a linetwist to be a mal. But I have chopped Velo's for the exact same reason.


peek  (D 8884)

Nov 23, 2010, 8:04 AM
Post #32 of 62 (1716 views)
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Re: [jcbfly] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
PD offers the Stiletto with a variety of line options: dacron, spectra, vectran and HMA. Any opinions on which lines are optimal?

I had PD reline mine with Dacron. I did notice a slight performance difference from the additional drag, but the openings are outrageously smooth and soft, which was more important to me.


DocPop  (C License)

Nov 23, 2010, 8:18 AM
Post #33 of 62 (1706 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
That's not correct at all. The short recovey arc was not a design decision, it was a design by-product. The high apsect ratio and eliptical planform were design decisions, and both of those lead to high efficiency and creating a lot of lift, which leads to short recovry arcs.

This confuses me, Dave.

The Katana has an even higher aspect ratio and is slightly more elliptical (according to the numbers on PD's website) and yet it dives considerably more than an equivalent sized/loaded Stiletto.

Is is not more likely that the short recovery arc of the ST was a conscious design decision to suit the style of canopy piloting at the time when the ST was developed?

I am not stating this as fact, just asking the question.




Zlew  (D 21616)

Nov 23, 2010, 12:50 PM
Post #35 of 62 (1645 views)
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Re: [Kolla] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Kolla!!!!!


Zlew  (D 21616)

Nov 23, 2010, 1:06 PM
Post #36 of 62 (1638 views)
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Re: [craigbey] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:

Where does that myth about Stilettos come from?

You have to remember the time line. 10-15 years ago people were not all jumping elliptical and high wingloaded canopies. Back then, a line twist was almost never a chop. Then the Stiletto comes out, becomes popular, people start bumping up the wing loadings over time, and now it gets the rep of being the "spinetto". I have over 1000 Stiletto jumps and only had to chop one. It was line twist before it was out of the bag and I traded it in for a white canopy on that jump. I can't remember the last time I had line twist, and have never had them spin up after being out of the bag.

IMO, most highly loaded wings, esp. if they are tapered or elliptical, will be more prone to turning/spinning if there is any input that is not symmetrical that is now locked in due to the twist. Play around on youtube and you can find countless line twist chops for all sorts of canopies. They all will do it in those conditions, it was just the Stiletto that first made it "cool" (hehe uncool?).


rehmwa  (D 12816)

Nov 23, 2010, 1:35 PM
Post #37 of 62 (1619 views)
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Re: [Zlew] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have about 2000 jumps on the current Stiletto (ST120 at 1.6 WL) and maybe about 10 openings with more than a half line twist and those calmly unwound - about the same as my Sabre before that, and the Maverick before that.

and no canopy related mals on this one

my next Stiletto is currently on order


(This post was edited by rehmwa on Nov 23, 2010, 1:35 PM)


Zlew  (D 21616)

Nov 23, 2010, 1:45 PM
Post #38 of 62 (1610 views)
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Re: [jcbfly] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

This is pretty good stuff from PD. I think they are still putting out videos from the series, but so far they have 4 or 5 videos with John L going over the different line types and the pro/cons of each

http://www.youtube.com/user/PDBlog

I relined my 107 with vectran because I didn't like how the microline behaved when it was getting out of trim (wicked openings). I have prob. 4-500 jumps on this line set, and it flies just like it did when it was new.


craigbey  (C 31991)

Nov 23, 2010, 3:09 PM
Post #39 of 62 (1576 views)
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Re: [Zlew] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
most highly loaded wings, esp. if they are tapered or elliptical, will be more prone to turning/spinning if there is any input that is not symmetrical that is now locked in due to the twist

Yep ... and some people still seem to think that the Stiletto is unique in that category. Too bad.


Dutton  (D 15542)

Nov 23, 2010, 4:33 PM
Post #40 of 62 (1544 views)
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Re: [jcbfly] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

The Stiletto had a long recovery arc at the time of its introduction. Jump a similiarly sized Sabre (original one) and you will see. It also was and still is very responsive through the harness. It is a very efficient high performance canopy that size for size, packs smaller than just about anything in the market, opens softly and is tremendously fun to swoop. Just find the film Antigravity and you will see what a real canopy pilot can do with it.
Designers build parachutes to satisfy their customers real (or perceived) needs. The market right now seems to prefer wings with long front riser dives and long rear riser control range. I like a parachute that is very tight and responsive on the toggles.

Then again, I'm a barbarian that loves a good toggle hook every now and then.
Shocked


Throttlebender  (C 39112)

Nov 24, 2010, 11:26 AM
Post #41 of 62 (1424 views)
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Re: [Dutton] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

For those of you that like the Stiletto, how do you feel it stands up as a camera canopy?


Dutton  (D 15542)

Nov 24, 2010, 12:12 PM
Post #42 of 62 (1404 views)
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Re: [Throttlebender] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's fine for camera work. I had a 97 that I wore out and have been through a couple of used 107's. I found that at my weight, 175 or so, when the spectra got out of trim the openings got snappy and unpredictable. I have a Katana now (which I am not completely sold on) and it has HMA lines, if I were to go back to a stiletto I would cetainly use that material. You can also use dacron lines to soften the openings, there is nothing wrong with that. Some people have used different sliders as well, but I don't like to experiment with my stuff that much any more.


gjhdiver  (D 7731)

Nov 24, 2010, 5:16 PM
Post #43 of 62 (1338 views)
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Re: [jcbfly] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've got over 3500 jumps on a Sabre, and about 7500 on a Stiletto.

There's a reason that's it's still made, and why half of Airspeed jump them. You can't buy a better standard elliptical canopy.

Anyone who thinks that a Sabre is a better swopping canopy than a Stiletto is respectfully talking out of an orifice not a million miles from their buttocks. The Sabre 2 is a nice square canopy, but it's no match for a Stiletto in the hands of someone that knows how to fly one. They are different canopies that require different approaches.

If the Stiletto didn't outperform the Sabre, it wouldn't have supplanted it so quickly in the 90's.


danielcroft  (D 31103)

Nov 24, 2010, 6:47 PM
Post #44 of 62 (1315 views)
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Re: [gjhdiver] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Can someone please tell me how this conversation relates to the advice I've been given and have heard many times saying that an ST is a bad canopy to swoop? Is the consensus that it's fine to swoop if you know what you're doing but not fine to learn on? If the recovery arc of an ST is about the same as an SA, why are people told to steer clear of them? How does the recovery arc compare to an SA?

This thread makes me feel like I'm working on incomplete information when it comes to the ST. My wife has one that's the same size as my SA so I may give it a go and see but I'd like to understand what the general experience is.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 24, 2010, 7:20 PM
Post #45 of 62 (1306 views)
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Re: [danielcroft] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Can someone please tell me how this conversation relates to the advice I've been given and have heard many times saying that an ST is a bad canopy to swoop?

The advice was either given incompletely, or by someone who was just parroting what they had heard.

The idea is that it does have a shorter recovery arc than any x-braced canopy or anything like an x-fire or katana. If your goal is big-time swooping on an x-braced canopy, then learning and spending time dialing in your turn from 300 or 400 ft on a Stiletto might not be as beneficial as doing the same on an x-fire or katana from 500 or 600 ft. if your ultimate goal is to be turning at 700 or 800 ft on a Velo, then the better move would be the more 'divey' canopy.

In terms of the Sabre2 angle, I think that issue comes down to WL. The Stiletto is very sensitive to WL when it comes to it's recovery arc. Anything around 1.5ish and below will produce a very short recovery arc, and magnify the 'problem' outlined above. It seems that when you start to push the WL up, the amount of dive increased then the increase in WL. For example, a 10% increase in loading above 1.5ish might produce a 15% increase in dive.

The Sabre2, on the other hand, seems to have a more linear change in recovery arc. You'll get similar performance out of it at 1.3 as you will at 1.6. Of course it will dive further at 1.6, but the increase over 1.3 is more in line with the straight increase in WL. For this reason, at lower WL, the Sabre2 might be a better stepping stone up to a real 'divey' canopy.

If you were looking at the two canopies loaded at 1.8, I think you would find them to be similar in their recovery arcs, with the Stiletto building more speed and being far more 'twitchy'.

Again, two different canopies built for two different purposes, with both canopies meeting their design goals pretty well.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 24, 2010, 7:28 PM
Post #46 of 62 (1304 views)
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Re: [Dutton] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
when the spectra got out of trim the openings got snappy and unpredictable.

Some people have used different sliders as well, but I don't like to experiment with my stuff that much any more.

That was my standard operating procedure. Upsize the slider to keep the openings in check until a line broke. Replace the line, and keep jumping until another broke, then reline or sell the canopy.

Worked like a charm. I sold two of them with one new line, one broken line, and the rest in sad shape. It was always fun to explain to potential buyers that when I said 'needs a reline' it meant it really needed a reline now, not in 50 or 100 more jumps.

I also played around with moving the brake setting further down the brake line to get the openings better, but that didn't work as well as the slider 'mod'. I think the combination of a badly worn line set, and non-standard brake settings were just too much 'different' for one canopy. At least with the slider trick, the line shrunk/streched as a complete set.

I'm not sure if it's old age, a better paying job, or just being more afraid of my Velo, but now I just send it in every other year for a reline, and that seems to work pretty well too.


danielcroft  (D 31103)

Nov 24, 2010, 9:33 PM
Post #47 of 62 (1285 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for another enlightening post Dave, I appreciate you taking the time to write it.

I have a friend who loves his KAs but I've always been inclined toward the XF2 because I'd been told and heard that it's less divey and more versatile. I'd always considered the ST to be a super flat flying, extremely elliptical canopy but it's interesting to me that the recovery arc changes differently with loading compared to an SA.

Obviously depending on currency I'm planning on flying both the KA & XF2 and potentially switching to elliptical in the same size as my SA. I'll see how I go and hopefully I can progress to a point that the people helping me will feel like that's a good option. I flew a KA one size up from my SA and really enjoyed the way it flew, how solid it felt in a riser dive and the control range on the front risers compared to the SA. I'm not sure I'd like having to manage the canopy so much in terms of the ground hungry glide ratio on the KA. We'll see, kinda need to get there & fly both first.


(This post was edited by danielcroft on Nov 24, 2010, 9:35 PM)


loudtom  (D 23115)

Nov 25, 2010, 5:56 AM
Post #48 of 62 (1217 views)
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Re: [dragon2] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

I would like to show you my safe, fast, long, easy swoop on my stilleto 135. It is a great canopy and when I transitioned to the velo...no problem.
Now I am safe and conservative and can do very low 360 degree turns with my stiletto, but it took a while.
I scare the heck out of my dzo when I come in close.
The stiletto is a great canopy!!!!!!!!!!!!
lt


Dutton  (D 15542)

Nov 25, 2010, 6:09 AM
Post #49 of 62 (1211 views)
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Re: [danielcroft] Is the Stiletto obsolete? [In reply to] Can't Post

Choosing a canopy is exactly like choosing a car.

If you want to go twice the posted speed limit around corners, a mustang gt is a better choice than a jeep. If you want to drive down a dirt road, you'd choose the jeep.

If you want a canopy to compete in swooping, work up to a velocity. If you like to swoop in that competition style, but want a more general purpose canopy, choose a sabre2 or a katana.

If you just make fun jumps or do a lot of work jumps and don't want a canopy that is designed to lose a lot of altitude in aggressive turns, choose a pulse or a stiletto. (stilettos are very undervalued in the used market...)

There's plenty of other choices, but just don't be that guy that buys a velocity and has no idea how to use it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-8RxoPcNCU




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