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Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz?

 

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xavenger  (A 1)

Aug 15, 2004, 8:24 AM
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Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? Can't Post

Hi boys and girls ..

When I got my A licence (about jump 20) exactly 1 year ago - I went and bought a nice rig with an excellent Aerodyne Pilot 168sqf canopy on the advice of several people.

This I have *since* worked out gave me a wing loading of about 1.35. I've had some pretty consistent landing problems ever since I got the canopy - and I now have 200 jumps. My landings have hardly ever really been "right".

These landing problems got much "worse" when I left my own beautiful little coastal DZ in the UK that often has light reliable winds and I went abroad.

On my first trip to sunny Florida, much much warmer and nill winds - I hurt myself several times. After taking several weeks off from a knee injury - I got a very experienced instructor friend over there to give me 2 days worth of canopy coaching and this helped 100x fold. Invaluable.

Even though he got me standing them up, all my landings have always felt a bit "on the edge" for me. Mind you, having hurt myself several times I have perhaps become more "nervous" of landing than most people and I am sure this feedback loop does nothing to improve my performance.

I recently went to a dropzone elsewhere in Europe at about 2,300ft above sea level and holy shit landings seemed fast. The place is extremely dry and the temperature was about 35C in comparison to about 22C that is a UK summer. I don't know if heat or air humidity effects canopy control but suspect it must alter the air density in some way.

In the first 30 jumps I only stood it up "safely" about 4 times. I hurt my ankle on about jump 20 and had to take a few days off to recover.

Eventually I nailed my landings and could stand them up .. it all still felt very fast to me but I started to get the timing right. Great stuff. Then on jump 50 (my 200th jump in total) I broke my leg/foot/knee, rather badly and now won't be jumping for a very long time. Lots of metal in leg .. crutches .. etc etc. Damnit. Damnit. Damnit.

Now throughout my whole skydiving career - which is only 12 months - I've had landing problems. I look around at the DZs I have visiting and sure, there are often other people with landing problems but I've never met anyone who has had quite so many as me. I know my reflexes are pretty good, I know my depth perception is good (I can shoot clays out the sky with wicked precision) and whatsoever you might think, me now having broken my leg, I'm not completely and utterly stupid - honestly..!!

So, over the last 12 months I've gradually been beginning to think that maybe I'm just not cut out for landing a sport parachute. Well at least - I was beginning to convince myself of this until in the last couple of months new people I've been meeting have started to say to me stuff like "well I'm not surprised you're having landing problems on that wing loading - its way too high".

I've been chatting to a number of people online including many people with 1000+ jumps who are jumping with a wing loading less than mine. A lot of people I have talked to are jumping at about 1.1. Here I am with 200 jumps - and I'm on something faster and have been since finishing AFF. Hmmmmm.

All makes me think that maybe, all along, it's not necessarily that I am just rubbish (although I possibly am - I'm definately not a natural) it's maybe just that I have just been jumping something well out of my league. Something too fast for me. Your general comments on this would be much appreciated.

Please don't come back to me with "you dick head - of course that wing loading is too high for your experience level" because I've had as many people tell me it's ok - as have told me it isn't.

I went and bought that canopy on the advice of several instructors in the first place - and what is a new skydiver to do if not listen to the advice of his instructors. Basically does 1.35 seem generally high for someone between 20 and 200 jumps?? What do you think?

Blue skies folks

J


(This post was edited by xavenger on Aug 15, 2004, 9:58 AM)


BPO  (D 87411)

Aug 15, 2004, 9:13 AM
Post #2 of 34 (3620 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Plz comment on my wing loading.. pretty plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi There!

DISCLAIMER: I know next to nothing.. always consult with an instructor who knows you and has seen you land!

Try to loan or demo a larger chute of a somewhat more docile nature (try a Sabre / Sabre-clone ). If that works better for you, well...

The Pilot is, imho, not a beginners chute, and a wingload of 1.35 is a bit high for a beginner. Especially high for a beginner who has troubles landing properly.

Have fun & be safe!


(This post was edited by BPO on Aug 15, 2004, 9:15 AM)


FlyinseivLP2  (D 18628)

Aug 15, 2004, 9:38 AM
Post #3 of 34 (3595 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Plz comment on my wing loading.. pretty plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, your wing loading is too high. Not only are you not getting good landings, but you have put yourself in a position to seriously hurt yourself if you get in an unfamiliar situation( off landing, getting cut off, setup downwind, ect..) If you are not able to land the canopy in favorable conditions, you are surely high risk to end up in an incident report if something goes wrong. A wing loading of 1:1 is what is usually suggested to someone buying their first rig. Since you have had problems with flying your canopy you should probably go down to around 1:1. There are people out there who can land a canopy at your wing loading and with your experince, but that doesn't mean they should be flying it. Some DZ's would not let you jump with that wing loading.
I do understand how you got into that wing loading though. There are to many people talking new jumpers into high wing loadings. Fortunately, things are changing. Some DZ's wouldn't even let you jump a canopy at that wing loading. Do a search under wing loadings, I'm sure you will come up with some good info. Be Safe


MarkM  (C 35089)

Aug 15, 2004, 10:45 AM
Post #4 of 34 (3565 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Any chance your rig will take a larger canopy or is the 168 main, 160 reserve all it can handle? It kind of sounds like you already know the wing loading is too much for you, but you just need to hear other people confirm your decision.

Personally I'm on a 1.08 Triathlon and the only time I've felt "on the edge" was when I was landing off DZ, cross wind, on a 8 foot wide strip of grass between a road and fence doing my 4th jump ever on that canopy.

I'm a pretty bad pilot, but that canopy and loading is passive enough that I'm very comfortable getting aggressive with it at my current jump numbers. It's a nice "zone" of canopy wing loading to be in for my skill and personality.

Maybe rent some rigs with a lighter wing loading and see how they feel to you?


JohnRich  (D License)

Aug 15, 2004, 10:57 AM
Post #5 of 34 (3553 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Screw the "wing loading ratio" number. If you're having trouble landing the canopy consistently, then it's not right for you. Try something else.


xavenger  (A 1)

Aug 15, 2004, 10:59 AM
Post #6 of 34 (3552 views)
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Re: [MarkM] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

The gear is sold - sold it last week.

Not going to be jumping for 12 months because of the injuries sustained on my last bad landing. Figured if I was finding it on the edge now - then in 12 months after no jumping, yikes .. jumping it again would be very bad news indeed.

Will buy a new rig when I'm fixed .. am totally happy to go for a wing loading of 1-1.1 ... which means something like a 210. Sick of hurting myself and frankly terrified that this leg will take a spanking.

I have made my mind up, I'm getting something much bigger - the purpose in making the post was to get some people's comments generally about the advice that was given to me in the first place.

Lots of experienced skydivers told me for a long time "don't worry you'll quickly get used to / will grow in to the canopy". Well it was just plain wrong. Or certainly still hadn't done in 180 jumps. Not bitching at anyone, I bought it in the end - it was my fault.

Just trying to get a feel for what some people think is a high wingloading for a newbie and what isn't. My bad accident happened abroad at an elevated dropzone, in lots of heat - very different conditions to home.

I think the atmospherics effected the canopy so that it moved out being "on the edge" in to "dangerous" for me .. but I only realise that in hindsight. Not "blaming" the conditions at the dropzone, just saying that I suspect the change in conditions *really* pushed me past my limits for that canopy.

Suppose I'm trying to make a second point that I think new jumpers need to be warned a little bit more about the effects of jumping at dropzones at different elevations and climates certainly if they already have inconsistent landings at home.

J


(This post was edited by xavenger on Aug 15, 2004, 11:07 AM)


tbrown  (D 6533)

Aug 15, 2004, 1:09 PM
Post #7 of 34 (3506 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel for you, I'm also recovering from a broken ankle landing. Hopefully I'll be back in the air in just a month or two, but I too am trading up a size on my main. I was jumping a 190 Spectre, which is an excellent canopy, but I was loading it at 1.29 and came thundering in like a freight train on a hot day in no wind and approx 1400 ft field elevation.

Now the interesting thing is all the CRAP I'm getting from so many of my so called friends, who are insisting that I'd be mistaken to trade up. They say things like, "my 190 didn't do this to me, I did this to me". Which is technically correct, I could've avoided the whole ugly result by deciding to put my feet and knees together and doing a slide or PLF and I probably would've got up and walked away laughing about it.

But the truth is, I'd been having a tougher time landing the 190 than I really cared to admit and was not nearly as comfortable or making nearly as many standups as I'd been routinely making under 210's. (Note: Please don't be fooled by my 630 jumps - 566 of them took place in 1974 - '80, since my return after 22 years, I have only 64 current skydives). Nevertheless, I have one friend who thinks I'd do better with a 170 (at a 1.44 WL) and another who thinks even a 170 is still "too large".

I sometimes wonder why these knuckleheads even wear a rig at all, they're obviously so hot they shouldn't even need one. Fast parachutes are fun, but let's not lose sight of thhe basic concept here - a parachute's purpose is to SLOW DOWN your descent enough to afford you a safe landing. I think you & I and everyone else would agree that a 1.35 WL is too much in your case. I did that math backwards and am guessing that you'd load a 1.19 (better) and a 210 at 1.08 (better still). Most canopy gurus consider WL od 1.0 - 1.2 to be a reasonably safe wingload for intermediate jumpers who get out and jump 100 or so times a year. In your case, you'd probably feel better with a 210, or even a 230. And if anybody gives you a hard time about it, tell 'em to shove it - hell, you're still jumping out of an airplane aren't you ?

Sorry to hear how badly you were injured and I just hope you can get back in the air and enjoy it again. Blue skies.


BPO  (D 87411)

Aug 15, 2004, 3:11 PM
Post #8 of 34 (3465 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The gear is sold - sold it last week.

I have made my mind up, I'm getting something much bigger

Very good decision! Well done. Hope you heal well!


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Aug 15, 2004, 4:17 PM
Post #9 of 34 (3442 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I went and bought that canopy on the advice of several instructors in the first place - and what is a new skydiver to do if not listen to the advice of his instructors. Basically does 1.35 seem generally high for someone between 20 and 200 jumps?? What do you think?

J

Your parachutes (main+reserve) should be big enough that you can set down gracefully and accurately in any conditions - at high density altitude, in parking lots, down wind, cross-wind.

Brian Germains 1.0 + .1 / 100 jumps with adjustments down for small canopies and higher density altitude never-exceed formula is also reasonable.

You should also be able to finish Bill's checklist http://www.dropzone.com/...etail_page.cgi?ID=47 before each down-size.

By all three metrics your wing loading is excessive.


bob.dino  (E 2185)

Aug 15, 2004, 6:47 PM
Post #10 of 34 (3397 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

The higher you are, the less dense the air. This most certainly does affect the handling of your canopy. Page 8 of the Australian Parachute Federation's High Performance Canopy Handling Manual (http://www.apf.asn.au/...hpcanopyhandling.pdf) explains this better than I could. In fact, I'd highly recommend the manual to all novice skydivers.

As for my experience, I've 110 jumps to my name, and there's no way I'd jump a 1.35 wingloading. If I'd attempted to buy/jump a canopy of that size after 30-odd jumps, the instructors (and by extension the DZSO) would have prevented me from doing so. And smacked me 'round the head for being so bloody stupid :-)

Good luck to both you guys - get well soon, and remember that this is supposed to be fun, not a contest to see who can piss highest.


Premier quade  (D 22635)
Moderator
Aug 15, 2004, 8:33 PM
Post #11 of 34 (3361 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, going from sea level to a much higher and hotter drop zone certainly isn't going to help your landings any. But I guess you know that now.

Yes, you were coming in quite a bit faster -- no question there.

Humidity plays a small part in the air density changes -- temperature plays a very large part as does the altitude change of the DZ.

Florida is fairly flat but my guess is that on any given day it's probably quite a bit warmer than the UK.

Going from sea level to 2,300 combined with the increase in temperature from 22c to 35c (which would add about another 1,500 feet to the density altitude) means your canopy was behaving as if it was about 3,800 feet higher than you were used to, so let's call that about 8 percent faster and about 15 percent more kinetic energy your legs had to absorb.

That's pretty significant, especially when you consider it was perhaps a bit more aggressive a wingloading to begin with than most modern canopy coaches would recommend for your experience level.

Be careful when you ask people for canopy recommendations. Remember that for some more experienced skydivers a "better" landing means longer and faster swoops, so be aware of what people are -really- talking about when they say so-and-so canopy gives you a "better" landing.

Also, don't let anybody ever give you any crap about having "too big" of a canopy or a canopy with a wingloading that is too low. Some of the best canopy pilots in the world are jumping canopies with -very- low wingloadings around 0.5:1. No, they aren't super swoopers with those wingloading, but they're definitely bad-assed canopy pilots none the less and doing things the average skydiver hasn't ever dreamed of.

Wingloading doesn't make a person a great canopy pilot -- surviving does.


Squeak  (E 1313)

Aug 16, 2004, 4:59 AM
Post #12 of 34 (3272 views)
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Re: [quade] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is ZHill at 2300 feet?
What about the other DZs in Fla


xavenger  (A 1)

Aug 16, 2004, 5:13 AM
Post #13 of 34 (3263 views)
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Re: [Squeak] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

ZHills isn't that I am aware off .. accident was at 2300ft DZ in Spain ..


WrongWay  (D 27371)

Aug 16, 2004, 7:20 AM
Post #14 of 34 (3215 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have a lot of jumps myself, but in my opinion, 1.35 is too high for somebody with 200 jumps, let alone for a student. I think you're right in asking if you have a problem, and I'd say you probably do. Get something a little more conservative.

And one more thing, good job on realizing that wingloading matters. You're being the wise owl by recognizing and admitting that this may be too much canopy for you. Sadly, we don't see that as much as we'd like. Don't change that.


Premier quade  (D 22635)
Moderator
Aug 16, 2004, 8:31 AM
Post #15 of 34 (3177 views)
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Re: [Squeak] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Is ZHill at 2300 feet?
What about the other DZs in Fla

I don't think -any- drop zone in Florida is more than 100 or so feet above sea level. It's a -very- flat state.


meltdown  (A 44508)

Aug 16, 2004, 9:30 AM
Post #16 of 34 (3151 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

In my newbie opinion your WL is too high. I started with a 170 loaded at .94, then moved to a 150 loaded at 1.1 at about 70 jumps. I am not planning on downsizing again anytime soon. The 150 is plenty quick, especially in no wind. If I were jumping anything smaller I'd be scared shitless.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Aug 16, 2004, 11:03 AM
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

 Those several people were a poor choice to get advice from. I'm sorry you wasted so much time getting hurt by a canopy you should have never been under. IMHO, no one under a hundred jumps should have more than a 1:1 wing loading. I know, I know, a lot of people do go higher sooner and survive, but the uneccessary risk is way more than it should be. You need a canopy that you can land safely in all conditions, on or off the DZ. When you heal up, rent a big one for a while, or start off with a 1:1 main and enjoy nice landings for a change. Blue skies.


happythoughts  (D License)

Aug 16, 2004, 11:58 AM
Post #18 of 34 (3094 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

My general rules:
1. Can you land it downwind in a 5mph wind?
2. Can you sink it into a tight landing area after a bad spot?
3. Can you land it on a no-wind day?

That is stuff that you may have to do sometime.

Since you have the canopy, have a buddy video 3 landings. Then, ask your DZO for the name of a person to review your video. You may just make the same mistakes on a different canopy without some correction.


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Aug 16, 2004, 1:49 PM
Post #19 of 34 (3063 views)
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Re: [quade] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
Is ZHill at 2300 feet?
What about the other DZs in Fla

I don't think -any- drop zone in Florida is more than 100 or so feet above sea level. It's a -very- flat state.

Tallest natural point is 345 feet - Lakewood Mountain.


dusm12  (D 28648)

Aug 16, 2004, 2:50 PM
Post #20 of 34 (3043 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

a flare is a flare, higher loading longer flare b/c of speed on final. I am at 1.5 at 250 jumps but empty weight of 165lbs, although unproven heavier weighted wing loading looks as if their falling out of the sky. besides the low turn and off landing issue aspect, i must say sounds like ur canopy is inadequate, remember what country u received that reference at. I would fly a 139 safire and unless i had good headwind it's flare never levelled off, and good flying canopy should, based on ur pattern it might be ur canopy. "..but im not a rigger"


Chrisky

Aug 16, 2004, 4:44 PM
Post #21 of 34 (3013 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

You should find yourself some new friends as it seems...Wink If a friend of mine told me he was going up, that's fine with me. It's YOU who has to land the canopy, not them. If a friend asks me for my opinion, basically i tell them to jump what they feel comfortable with.
Just as i told my friend who gave me a 120 (as he thought it was better for me than a 135), i didn't feel ready for it (even though i stood up the landing). He agreed it's no good to jump a canopy yuo're not comfortable with. 25 jumps later i retried the 120 and loved it, even though i didn't expect that.
If someone says my canopy size is too big i smile and walk away. If they say my canopy size is too small i listen what they have to say and whether it makes sense to me and in my context.

Live and learn, learn and live.


tustinr  (D 610)

Aug 16, 2004, 6:42 PM
Post #22 of 34 (2986 views)
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Re: [Chrisky] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry to hear about your misfortune. I jumped a Sabre 190 for 350 jumps at a WL of less than 1:1 until I mastered the art of landing it properly under all circumstances mentioned above and then downsized to a Triathlon 175 and am still jumping it. Very happy with it. I recently jumped the Pilot 168 and was impressed at its zippiness and faster landings compared to the Triathlon. I certainly would not recommend it to an A licence skydiver with a WL of 1:1.35 - asking for trouble.

Skydiving is about the freefall experience, learning to fly. The parachute is there to land safely, pack and jump again (in my opinion).

You made the right decision to sell the canopy.

Speedy recovery.
Rich


dnewcomer

Aug 16, 2004, 9:34 PM
Post #23 of 34 (2955 views)
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Re: [xavenger] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
"Lots of experienced skydivers told me for a long time 'don't worry you'll quickly get used to/will grow in to the canopy.' Well it was just plain wrong."

OK.....you got some questionable advice. Up-sizing your canopy is a smart move.

My $0.02 about difficulties flaring/landing: no matter what the conditions, a bad landing is almost always due to FLARING TOO LOW or an INADEQUATE FLARE. An INADEQUATE FLARE may mean (1) not flaring rapidly enough or (2) you're not pulling your toggles down far enough (not having enough amplitude to your flare). An adequate flare is what will change your canopy's flight path from a glide slope of maybe 2:1 or 3:1 to horizontal to the ground. I find I have to make slight changes in the way I flare as conditions change (landing elevation, air temp, etc.).

When you get your new canopy, if you are still having problems landing softly the best way to see what you are doing wrong is get a video of a few of your landings and go over it with an experienced canopy pilot....or instructor....or coach....or S&TA....or CReW dog....etc. When you see clearly on the video what you are actually doing, it usually turns out to be something totally different from what you thought you were doing.

I am 5'6" tall, weigh 138 lbs, and have short arms. When I flared a 280 sq ft Manta as a student (~0.6 wing-loading), nothing happened. Someone told me to grip the control lines above the toggle loops or wrap the toggles around my hand a couple of times and flare faster. It worked! (I am not recommending this technique, only mentioning it to show how one person solved an apparent flaring problem under one set of circumstances.)

It would be unfortunate if you gave up sport skydiving because of your difficult landings. Soft landings can be one of the most gratifying and enjoyable parts of the skydiving experience. Some day you'll look back on these experiences and wonder why you had any problem landing softly at all.

Dave


teason  (D 18902)

Aug 17, 2004, 9:19 AM
Post #24 of 34 (2891 views)
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Re: [dnewcomer] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
no matter what the conditions, a bad landing is almost always due to FLARING TOO LOW or an INADEQUATE FLARE. An INADEQUATE FLARE may mean (1) not flaring rapidly enough or (2) you're not pulling your toggles down far enough (not having enough amplitude to your flare).

Or 3 the toggles are pulled too far creating a dynamic stall on landing or positive lift that dumps you too high.

But this is all academic.

The question isn't "why are the landings bad" the question is "is this the wrong canopy for me"

I have a jumper that went from a manta at .6 to a Vengence at 1.0.

Watching his performance compared to others at the same expereience I can clearly see that he hasn't been able to improve his canopy skills. He basically got a canopy that is hard to learn on.

I've met a ton of yahoos who tell people that their first canopy should be small and fast so that they don't get board. That is poor advice.

The right advice is that you're first canopy should be one that is easy to learn on. When you have acheived your full potetial on that canopy, that's when you move on.




Premier Remster  (C License)

Aug 17, 2004, 11:13 AM
Post #25 of 34 (2876 views)
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Re: [teason] Do you think my wing-loading is too high? Plz? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
that's when you move on
IF you want to.

I think people have this drive to downsize at all cost, espcially now that wingloads of +2.0 are not uncommum amoung the swoop set.

Same goes for xbraced canopies with characteristics taht are difficult to handle.

If you want to downsize, go for it, its your life. But question why you want to downsize, and then if you should.


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