You'll find the Safire and other canopies reviewed under the Gear link on the uppper left hand corner of Dropzone's home page. I'll give you the personal touch and tell you what I think right here about the Safire. BIG DISCLAIMER: I am a newbie to skydiving. Most other skydivers have more experience and knowledge than I do; therefore what you are about to read may be inaccurate, incomplete, totally off-base, or just plain wrong. I currently have 50 jumps under my belt and of those, 40+ have been under either a Safire 189 or 169 (wingloadings respectively 1.1 and 1.24). I rescently bought my first rig and it is equiped with a Safire 169. So from the get go, it should be understood that not only is my experience limited, it's also biased <grin>. The Safire is a 9-cell slightly eliptical ZP canopy. As such, it tends to come in flater than a similar sized and proportioned (aspect ratio)7-cell. This is neither good or bad...just different if you've only flown 7 cells. I love the way the canopy flies, especially at the higher wing loading. It responds immediately to toggle input and straightens out promptly when you release tension. In other words, it doesn't continue to turn when you let up on the toggle. When I first started flying the Safire ( about jump # 9)I thought the canopy was abit twitchy to inputs, but I quickly adjusted to it and after about 4 or 5 more jumps the twitchiness was no longer a factor. If you like to go horizontal durings spirals you'll like this canopy. My 169 slings me from out under the canopy very easily under hard toggle turns and remains rock solid. I've done 6 or 7 sequential 360 degree spiral turns and then flipped it in the opposite direction to complete several more spiral turns and the whole time felt under complete control. During the transition from opposite directions the canopy exhibited no tendency to induce line twists. The control range is on the longish side. To stall the canopy requires a deep pull of the toggles. Perhaps because of this, you may have heard that you have to land Safires differently. I don't know how to interprete "different" but I will say that when flaring the canopy on landing you want to progressively apply input to the toogles throughout the entire range. You do not want to just yank down on the toggles in one quick motion. If you do this and are high when you flare, you will plane out and drop straight down when the canopy stalls (ouch). It may even gain a little altitude at the end of the plane-out phase and drop you from a little higher up (double ouch!) Should you just yank on the toggles on the lowish side for flare time, if you're lucky, you'll have to run off the landing speed, and I do mean run. If you're a little less than lucky than you will get to do a really good PLF. I'm not trying to intimidate you or make it sound that this canopy is hard to land. The secret here is smooth progressive control inputs, and feeling for feedback from the canopy. This is how I land it...your mileage may vary....On final approach I have the toggles all the way up or only slightly pulled down (literally only a few inches.) When reaching flare altitude (when feet are about six feet off the ground.)pull down on the toggles smoothly but at a moderate rate. As soon as the canopy begins to plane-out is where the real work begins. The idea is to continue to pull down on the toggles but vary your pace depending on the the conditions. Some people call this a two-stage flare but I don't like the term because it implies that you hold or stop the flare for some distinct time period. I think of it as "milking the flare". If I find myself a little high during the plan-out phase I slow down the rate I pull down on the toggles. Conversely, If a little low, you'll need to pick up the pace. If done correctly ( at least in my mind.), as you reach the end of the plane-out phase and you're skimming above the ground about a foot (it's imporatant to be very close to the ground if you do this.)pull quickly done on the last bit of control range that you have left, and the canopy will lift you up just a bit as it stalls and losses all or most of it's forward speed. At this point it will drop you to the ground quite nicely and all you'll need is a step or two for the last bit of momentum you might have. Nice landing! This method has worked consistantly for me. I've stood up every landing except one, once I dialed it in. So that would make about 35 jumps total. Front riser control takes a little bit of muscle but not bad for diving turns. Pulling down on both risers requires some real heft. It's essentially like doing a pull-up. I'm not an expert in front riser maneuvers so'll I'll just leave it at this. This canopy is a blast to fly. It may take a little more attention at first, but the investment is well worth it. Well I've probably babbled on long enough...If you have any other questions about this canopy and think that I might have some insight about it, feel free to email me.
WOW-LOL- yeah I know a good deal about em, Iwas looking for personal opinions/expereinces just like what you wrote. I think there is one waiting in my freshly repacked rig, or there will be one, that I'm going to jump asap.
It's hard to add a lot to landmissle's post. He or she summed up the Safire well. I have 40 total jumps, 30 on Safires at wingloadings from .8 to 1.3. I like the Safire more than the one other canopy I jumped (Triathalon) because it is a lot more fun to fly. It can be trickier to land but I think the trick is to make sure the toggles are all the way down - not 70 or 80% down. I like the Safire enough that I recently bought a used one for my first canopy.
I just jumped my Safire for the first time the other day. I didn't quite milk all the flare out of it and had to run it out (I didn't mind). The winds were strong though, and I anticipate it will take some dialing in for no wind days. Mine is loaded at 1.4 and it is really nice. Quick and responsive, and such a nice opening! I'm glad I bought it and can't wait for the weather to clear so I can go again! I never thought I'd want to just do a hop n pop, but I will now.
The only canopy ive ever used is a safire 190, 170, and 150 and i cant seem to get the landing down, i always have to run it out and its a little rough on my left ankle ( the foot that hits the ground first ) ive had jump masters tell me to flare it ALL the way for a nice tip toe landing. it's definatly fun to fly, crispy turns and easy to stop where you want. just need to practice the flare a little. since im learning to pack there is no comment on if it packs good or not. the rigger at my dz says its not hard to pack at all. I'm looking to purchase a used/post student safire 135 unless something i jump totally blows the safire away.
I've got about 100 jumps on my Safire 129 at 1.4 lb/sqft. My previous 350 jumps were mostly Sabres and Spectres.
The Safire is definitely a bit more tricky to land, and has a flare unlike most other canopies. No question. But I still think it's great in virtually every other respect - openings, glide, swoopability, etc.
Icarus say they're modifying the brake setup to give a more powerful flare, at the expense of slightly higher toggle pressure, and this modification will be available for existing canopies. I'll be trying it as soon as its available (depending on price), so I'll let you know.
as you reach the end of the plane-out phase and you're skimming above the ground about a foot (it's imporatant to be very close to the ground if you do this.)pull quickly done on the last bit of control range that you have left, and the canopy will lift you up just a bit as it stalls and losses all or most of it's forward speed. At this point it will drop you to the ground quite nicely and all you'll need is a step or two for the last bit of momentum you might have. Nice landing!
This is a very accurate description of the tricky or different bit about the Safire flare that people talk about. Most other modern canopies you just keep adding a little more toggle as the canopy slows and slows and slows..... until you're slow enough to step onto the ground.
I got the chance to jump the safire a couple of times this weekend because I am still waiting to get my container from SunPath. By the way, does anyone know how SunPath ships their rigs??? UPS ground, next day air, or what???
Anyways, I had heard so much about the issues flaring this canopy and was anxiously awaiting landing this thing. I was jumping it loaded at about 1.1, and this thing was a really nice canopy!!! It opened quite smoothly, I didnt get whacked, no line twists...very comfortable. It flies quite nicely with minimal toggle pressure. It didnt oversteer, but I did notice that it dove considerably more than a Sabre. You may want to be a bit more aware of altitude while you are playing with this thing. Landings were great. the Canopy planes out quite nicely with minimal effort. I didnt quite notice a flaring issue. I thought that it landed much better than the Sabres that I have been jumping. If I didnt just buy a Sabre, I would have gotten a Safire!
I fly a Safire loaded at 1.35 (that often becomes 1.4…).
I’ve done about 25/30 jumps on it. Always great openings, but Wednesday, on my second jump, I had a quite serious (four or five) line twist. Well, the canopy was just STABLE and SOLID as a ROCK in the air! Only a little bit of turning to the right due essentially to end cell closure (that happens quite often, actually) and not to the twists, that stopped by itself long before I managed to untwist them lines…
Well, if I was happy with my new Safire, now I’m absolutely in love with it!
After a long dialog with Icarus, about the brake mods to the Safire, I eventually got this info:
"It's unfortunate that I have to advise that we are still some time away from releasing a new control line set up.
The reason for this is that we have decided to not release a Safire upgrade model but rather release what we call the generation 2 version which incorporates some additional new technology. As a result the testing has become a lot more comprehensive and focuses on various aspects of the canopy over and above just the control lines."
Ho hum, guess I'll just have to hook it a bit harder to improve the landings.......
I recently bought a Safire 139 (wing loading 1.3-1.35) and have only had about 10 jumps on it so far. I've just come back to skydiving after a long time off (circa 1990) so these are my first Zero P, nine cell rides after doing 800 odd jumps on 7-cell F111 canopies at 200-230sq ft. (wing loading 0.8-0.9). I think all of the replies to your post accurately describe my experience with the Safire so far - soft, on heading openings, rapid responsive turns that can quickly get you horizontal but stop on heading neatly without need for countersteer, very long and deep control range on toggles.
I had one opening with line twists and the canopy was completely controllable without any of the nasty diving that I have heard about with fully ellipticals (Stiletto). This is a marketing point made by Icarus and it seems to be validated in practice. Of my meagre 10 jumps on the Safire I have had a disproportionate number of nil-wind landings (6) and must say that the ground speed (at least for me!) can be quite intimidating. However, I have managed a stand up landing every time after some long glides at quite deep toggle (approx 1 ft off the ground) followed by a little extra flare and a final step up and out - much like Landmissil described in an earlier post. Hard for me to comment any more on this type of landing as it is COMPLETELY different to landing my 7-cell FIII canopy.
All up, I am very happy with my Safire so far - it has great performance but still manages to be very predictable. Whilst the toggle depth for flaring is a bit deep for my liking it is obviously very forgiving if an old turkey like me can pull off stand-up landings in nil winds!