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Blind Faith

 

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cobaltdan  (D License)

May 3, 2002, 2:43 PM
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Blind Faith Can't Post

i poked my nose into the talkback forum and read some posts slamming another canopy manufacturer and spouting the ol' if its not PD its sh^t comment.

in the first year atair marketed canopies i heard this far too often. what upsets me is that this is simply programmed blind faith. every time i run into this statement i lay out a canopy and ask them to please specifically show me what to look at. 99.9 % of the jumpers and unfortunately many riggers have no clue what to look at to gauge the quality of construction on a canopy.

i.e. -many canopy companies if they run out of thread mid seam they will simply overlap and continue. atair does not. if the seamstress runs out of thread 2" from the tail seam the entire rib ream gets redone. we only accept seams that stop on a tape. pd and precision do not adhear to this.

-an atair seamstress is responsible for a canopies construction from start to finish (less bartacking). once begun no other seamstress will touch that canopy. it is more time consuming and not as cost effective as a work cell factory enviroment used by our competitors (different seamstresses for different operations) but by using 1 seamstress you can assure far higher tollerences. (you can have 2 top rate seamstresses even working on the same machine with the same fabric puller and you can get different tensions.)

-atair holds match mark tollerences of 2 mm and overall leading edge tollerence of 10mm.

-etc..

it does it make a difference, definately, it is one of the reasons we can land 9 cell canopies 30% smaller than pd has. it is one of the reasons a 9 cell cobalt is ranked #2 in swoop distance after a full year competing on the paraperformance proswoop circuit, beating out a huge field of x braced canopies.

pd is like mcdonalds, they consistantly pump out avarage to good quality canopies. but they are not, the highest quality available.

we have been in the process of generating a video for the last 6 months, explaining each construction detail of a canopy. we have shot footage at every step of the manufacturing process in our factory, plus factory footage from our raw material suppliers, and interviews with key personelle.

atair is not as big as pd, we can not manufacturer as many canopies or be as inexpensive but i absolutely guarantee that we holds higher tollerences on our canopies than pd. and as far as research, development and testing : atair has spent 100% of it profits over the last 3 years + and additional $550k on r&d. i do not know what other companies spend but i doubt they come close....we received a huge amount of interest from industry manufactures inour developed test equipment. with the exception of 2 military contractors, the consensus is that at $15k the equipment is too expensive for their r&d program. we have performed over 400 datalogged test jumps on the cobalt canopy. other companies make unsubstantiated claimes i.e " absoiutely and without a doubt...exhibits better opening characteristics than any other parachute on the market" , with absolutely no recorded data to back them up. how many companies will demonstrate a high speed freefly deployment for you: none. how many companies have live tested canopies deploying at up to 250mph: none...

blind faith is not for skydiving, at least not when it comes to your equipment. its best to learn the how and why's and make your own educated decisions.... in an industry that is significantly 'all about fashion', i propose it is most fashionable to simply know your sh^t.

end of rant...

sincerely,

dan
atair aerodynamics
www.extremefly.com



SkydiveMonkey  (B 102345)

May 3, 2002, 3:07 PM
Post #2 of 83 (4279 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

A few friends of mine are looking for first kit, and they're going with the traditional Javelin, Sabre, PD-R mix just because that's all they know and people tell them to get. It's a good combo, but there are other choices. If you asked them to name any other manufacturers, they'd stuggle. I've never been one to go with the flow - I like to make my on choices. That's why I'll probably never go PD. I jump a hornet at the minute and love it, and will probably get a heatwave next, and probably cobalt after that (a long time off but hey)

When I grow up, I want to be a post whore


rgoper  (C 32349)

May 3, 2002, 3:23 PM
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

Dan:

have you checked your pm's? i've sent you 2 so far, my next canopy will be a cobalt, i made that decision the other day, i've tried contacting you, and dealers, pm me please, so we can disscuss this further.






Richard

"Gravity Is My Friend"



Jimbo  (D License)

May 3, 2002, 3:30 PM
Post #4 of 83 (4266 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I've never been one to go with the flow - I like to make my on choices. That's why I'll probably never go PD. I jump a hornet at the minute and love it, and will probably get a heatwave next, and probably cobalt after that (a long time off but hey)
If you like to make your own choices then make _intelligent_ choices. When it comes time to get your next canopy demo canopies from _ALL_ the manufacturers and don't exclude PD just because you think you'll be too mainstream if you buy one.

If, by the time you're looking, PISA or Atair has gained a large market share will you exclude them from your list just because they're popular? I wouldn't.

-
Jim



SkydiveMonkey  (B 102345)

May 3, 2002, 3:33 PM
Post #5 of 83 (4261 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not saying PD is bad just because they're big. I just prefer to go with other companies that's all.

When I grow up, I want to be a post whore


Jimbo  (D License)

May 3, 2002, 3:36 PM
Post #6 of 83 (4259 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

Based on what? Price, performance, quality, name, reputation, size?

I'm not suggesting you should blindly buy a PD, but that same logic says that you shouldn't blindly avoid them either.

Before you start getting ideas, I do not currently jump a PD and I do not have plans to buy a PD anytime in the near future, but I also don't have plans _not_ to buy a PD. This is the Summer of the Demo for me. I'm going to make it a point to jump just about every canopy I can get my hands on. After I've jumped them all I'll make a decision based on price, performance, reliability, comfort, and probably a dozen other factors. I'm just curious how you came to that decision.

-
Jim



(This post was edited by Jimbo on May 3, 2002, 3:40 PM)


SkydiveMonkey  (B 102345)

May 3, 2002, 3:47 PM
Post #7 of 83 (4250 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, like I said, I jump a hornet atm and love it, so I think the next logical progression is to a heatwave (the same way that a lot of sabre jumpers go to a stiletto). I've heard a lot of good things about cobalts as well so I'll probably get one of those. But, it all depends on what I can get my dirty little hands on. Chances are, I'll end up with a stiletto at one point.

When I grow up, I want to be a post whore


cobaltdan  (D License)

May 3, 2002, 3:52 PM
Post #8 of 83 (4247 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

several people have told me they have sent pm's on dz.com but i have not been able to retrieve them....?

direct contact information for anyone interested is:

atair aerodynamics
718-923-1709 ph
718-923-1733 fx
office hours: m-w-f- 9:30-6 , t-w 9:30-3

email questions : use the form on our web site www.extremefly.com
the form includes fill in frames for information needed for us to answer many questions. i.e. it is amazing how many serious emails we get that read " what size would you recommend for me, blue skies, krusty" with no other information.
sorry if anyones pm's have gone unanswered, please contact me at the office and i will be glad to talk.

sincerely,

dan



Premier skybytch  (D License)

May 3, 2002, 4:26 PM
Post #9 of 83 (4233 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well, like I said, I jump a hornet atm and love it, so I think the next logical progression is to a heatwave (the same way that a lot of sabre jumpers go to a stiletto). I've heard a lot of good things about cobalts as well so I'll probably get one of those. But, it all depends on what I can get my dirty little hands on. Chances are, I'll end up with a stiletto at one point.
Okay, I'm confused. You're going to get a Heatwave, a Cobalt and a Stiletto?

pull & flare,
lisa
---
On the other hand...you have different fingers


Premier skybytch  (D License)

May 3, 2002, 4:46 PM
Post #10 of 83 (4223 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing I really like about having people like Bill Booth (RWS), Kelly Farrington (Infinity) and George Galloway (Precision), among others, posting here is that besides offering excellent gear related information to us they _don't_ bash other manufacturers - they manage to promote their products without comparing them to those produced by others. To me that's an indication of their ethics and the confidence that they have in their products.

pull & flare,
lisa
---
On the other hand...you have different fingers


Zennie

May 3, 2002, 8:30 PM
Post #11 of 83 (4180 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

Ya know what's kind of funny? I like a lot of non-PD canopies.

I liked the Cobalt a lot and was going to buy one until I ran into an "offer I couldn't refuse" on a Jedei. Now I'm sold on Brian Germain canopies. Absolutely nothing against Cobalts. I still recommend them to folks.

The fact is, people need to be less brand-conscious and more in tune with quality, as you mention, and how the canopy flies. Different people like different things. Different things are "better" for different people. Expand your horizons.

I jump other people's canopies every chance I get so I can get a feel for the nuances in performance. It's been said before and I'll say it again. Before you buy, demo, demo, demo!




"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."


SkydiveMonkey  (B 102345)

May 3, 2002, 11:25 PM
Post #12 of 83 (4168 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll probably end up with those canopies in different sizes later on in my skydiving career.

When I grow up, I want to be a post whore


riggerrob  (D 14840)

May 4, 2002, 8:36 AM
Post #13 of 83 (4131 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem is too many canopies = too many choices.
Jumpers are faced with a bewildering array of canopies to choose from.
For example: PD makes the Spectre, Icarus makes the Omega, Precision makes an Omega knock-off and Big Air makes a similar tapered 7-cell with air-locks.
How is the consumer supposed to tell the difference?
Does the difference matter?
Unless that jumper is a hard-core competitor, the subtle differences between canopies don't matter, so he decides based upon: price, availability or who has the biggest ad.



prost  (D 24959)

May 4, 2002, 9:23 AM
Post #14 of 83 (4121 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

What has happened is a product of the atmosphere that is now prominent in the skydiving community. There has been a lot of finger pointing in a lot of directions. Young jumpers are hearing many experienced people argue about the safety of many different canopies without a lot of clear evidence. Some of the people involved in this finger pointing have been employees of various canopy manufacturers. This makes jumpers nervous. They do not know whom to believe so the safest thing in their minds is to look to the manufacturer that has been making the most canopies for the longest time. Even though Pd is not the oldest company, they have been the market leader since most jumpers in the sport have been jumping. Look at the forums. Every week we have another witch hunt on a different canopy. This situation makes people afraid of what they don't know, and what they do know typically is Pd. I am not trying to promote Pd. I own 5 canopies and one of them is a Pd. Safety is important to all of us but I am sick of the witch-hunt mentality that has been developed. It will hurt all of the smaller manufacturers and anyone coming out with new products.


William




pilotdave  (D License)

May 4, 2002, 4:08 PM
Post #15 of 83 (4086 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
One thing I really like about having people like Bill Booth (RWS), Kelly Farrington (Infinity) and George Galloway (Precision), among others, posting here is that besides offering excellent gear related information to us they _don't_ bash other manufacturers
I kinda disagree. Although maybe it sounds bad coming from a competitor, the information (assuming it's correct) that he's giving is good to know. I want to know why one canopy (or anything else) is better than another, and not just in flight characteristics. So many canopies are so similar in how they fly, other information is helpful to choose which is best. I'd like to see this information come from an outside source, but the information just isnt out there.

Dave

http://www.skydivingmovies.com


freeflir29  (D 10000000)

May 4, 2002, 4:35 PM
Post #16 of 83 (4081 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
assuming it's correct

There in lies the problem. I think it's safe to say that Dan and PD don't exactly have a "cozy" relationship. So, when Dan makes any comment about PD his credibility is in serious question. No offense Dan but trashing PD on a public web site is probably not the best idea you had this week. The information may or may not be true. I have no idea. Given the relationship the two have I think I'll take this banter with a grain of salt but keep my eyes open.

"It's all about the BOOBIES!"


Hooknswoop  (D License)

May 4, 2002, 4:48 PM
Post #17 of 83 (4077 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

Honest information from manufacturers would help change this "witch hunt" atmosphere. People are going to discuss canopys/gear and try to determine if there is a problem with a particular piece of gear. They will assume that a particular piece of gear is defective if it is involved in an accident and is supsected as the cause. If the company either doesn't explain what happend to their satifastion or trys to but no one will believe them because their track record doesn't demonstrate reliability or trust.

Manufacturers live and breathe this stuff. They have knowledge that the general skydiving community does not have. I think they should share as much as that knowledge as possible, without, of course, hurting their company. I sometimes feel I have to filter through all the marketing hype to try and find some real information about a piece of gear. There is no such thing as a canopy that does everything great.

Hook



rogue108  (D 27640)

May 4, 2002, 9:42 PM
Post #18 of 83 (4053 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with Lisa 100% on this issue. Manufactures bashing other manufactures products on here is a reflection of the ethics they practice and the confidence they have in their products. If a product is excellent it will stand on its own merits and prove itself superior.

There seems to a large amount of bashing going on unsubstantiated by evidence. This just makes me loose respect and confidence for that manufacture/individual. I don't find it a service to bash another manufacture unless there is solid independent evidence



Milo  (Student)

May 5, 2002, 5:23 PM
Post #19 of 83 (3985 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
{...}when Dan makes any comment about PD his credibility is in serious question.
Dan's comment about 'Blind Faith' was directed at riggers and customers who don't take the time to learn about any canopy other than PD canopies. He also compared his canopies to Precision canopies later in his post.
I heard it at my DZ when I started asking questions when I wanted to buy my first rig: "You can't go wrong with a PD canopy" was what my rigger said to me.

Dan then went on in his post to show why he feels his canopies are superior to other canopies on the market. He claims superior manufacturing techniques make his canopies better. He listed specific techniques and processes that he says PD and Precision do not use.

I know squat about manufacturing canopies. It would be nice if PD or Precision or another manufacturer would respond and try to educate and convince me they make the best canopy out there.
Competition is a good thing, it spurs companies to make better products at cheaper prices.
If Dan's claims are false or libelous his competitors will respond, either in this forum or in a legal action.
In the end, WE as skydivers win, with safer, higher quality gear.

milo



freeflir29  (D 10000000)

May 5, 2002, 5:32 PM
Post #20 of 83 (3981 views)
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In reply to:
or in a legal action

I think one company already took that highway once. It's none of my business though and I don't know, nor do I care to know the story.....I just wanna skydive.

"It's all about the BOOBIES!"


cobaltdan  (D License)

May 5, 2002, 5:45 PM
Post #21 of 83 (3980 views)
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stating that pd consistantly manufacturers in high volume good to avarage quality in construction canopies is hardly a bash.

the post is a bash on the people that state 'if is is not pd it's junk' when thay have no idea how to judge construction quality.

with regards to atairs relationship with pd. we are simply fellow parachute manufacturers as well as healthy competitors. there is no animosity between us.

sincerely,

dan



freeflir29  (D 10000000)

May 5, 2002, 6:00 PM
Post #22 of 83 (3976 views)
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In reply to:
the post is a bash on the people that state 'if is is not pd it's junk' when thay have no idea how to judge construction quality
I'm with you there. There are plenty of other fine canopies out there. They are just different. PD seems to have a common set of characteristics to most if not all their canopies. Hell...I hear people bash PISA all the time and yet have known countless highly experienced people that swear by their products. *shrug* I say try them all yourself and make your own decisions. I was going to buy a Heatwave but it sold before I emailed the guy. Then a Stilletto heppened along at a nice price so I bought it. I'm still in a transition period so I know I won't keep this canopy more than a year or two. I didn't want to shell out the big bucks for brand new when I know I won't keep it. I still have yet to fly a Cobalt. I'd like to try it though along with a Nitron. I still dream of an all black Cobalt with purple diamonds. For no other reason than that would look just too damn cool....LOL That's the number one rule right? Smile

In reply to:
there is no animosity between us.
Come on Dan......I know everybody hates PD. Just kidding. Laugh Actually thank you for posting this. It got me thinking and I will be taking a long hard look at my Stilletto when I get to the DZ tomorrow. I might even learn something....



"It's all about the BOOBIES!"


NtheSeaOrSky  (Student)

May 5, 2002, 6:10 PM
Post #23 of 83 (3973 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

I am by no means an expert, nor even close, but I will say this:
As a newbie I appreciate learning about the different manufacturers and their products. Lets face it, there are a handful of companies and a large number of products. Helmets, jumpsuits, altimeters, containers, mains, reserves...thats a lot of stuff! Many people rely on what a few others say or get what they see the other jumpers using. For example, all the containers at our DZ are made by manufacturer X....and many of the newer jumpers buy that container, while it may be excellent, I realize it cannot be the only one. Differences in the way things are manufactured and the standards to which the manufacturer sets for themselves is very important to me. As a newbie, I have ZERO idea of what to ask, and what all is involved. My riggers, who are absolutely wonderful, have a better idea but I realize they cannot know all the differences in all products. I think the manufacturers have the best position to tell us all about their product. That having been said, I realize also when I am getting a sales pitch. If a manufacturer tells me of a certain feature their product has, it is my responsibility to then inquire why that makes a difference and do my comparison shopping.
I thank Dan for pointing out several differences in the canopies and giving me something to think about when the time comes for me to make that decision.
Blind faith is dangerous.....question everything!

I'm not stubborn, I'm high-spirited!


polarbear  (D 25673)

May 5, 2002, 7:46 PM
Post #24 of 83 (3947 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

I would agree with some of the other people on this thread in that information such as this is hard to come by. Sure, a rigger *should* be able to see this stuff, but frankly, I don't think most riggers look that closely at a reserve, let alone a main. As far as construction goes, I know of no canopy/manufacturere that clearly has a problem with canopies coming apart. Because of that, construction is a sort of secondary quality to me. I am more interested in how they fly, and that becomes fairly subjective...you could preach to the end of time about the flight qualities of a given canopy; I still just might simply not like those qualities and therefore not buy the canopy.

I would definitely agree that no one company is king of the parachute industry...a buyer should be open minded and willing to try different companies. However, it is not really practical to demo all of the canopies in a particular class. Looking fo a high-performance 9-cell elliptical would consist of demoing a Stiletto, Heatwave, Vengeance, Samurai, Nitron, Crossfire, Cobalt, and probably others. It would take a long time to do this. I think most buyers demo 2 or 3 canopies at most...getting to jump all of them in a reasonable amount of time would be very lucky.

Good information on manufacturing parachute equipment is hard to come by. No one really ever talks about what type of joint to look for, what type of hardware, should this piece of fabric be reinforced, should it be cut on the bias, etc. I don't think many people really look at this stuff and frankly I think there are a lot of people who don't really care.



Milo  (Student)

May 5, 2002, 8:44 PM
Post #25 of 83 (3923 views)
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Re: Blind Faith [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
{...}they manage to promote their products without comparing them to those produced by others.
Well, I'm really, REALLY, well endowed! And if you never compare me to anyone else you will just have to accept that as the truth :)

I recently had to decide between two containers, a Vector and an Infinity. I talked to people at my DZ who said 'Any modern container is the same, they are all good'. Well, if I get to choose, one must be better for me than the other.
I chose the Infinity, based on information I read here, on dropzone.com.
Bill Booth is a legend, a pioneer and workhorse in the skydiving sport. But he never posted here to tell me why the Vector was better than an Infinity or Wings or any other container.
Kelly Farrington is also well known and well respected in the skydiving community. He never posted here why the Infinity is better than any other container.
So, I chose to make my decision based on 'User Reviews' from relatively anonymous skydivers here on dropzone.com. Some reviews were from very experienced skydivers, like you, and some could have been from jumpers with even less experience than me.
I made my choice, and it is the container I own so I will jump it. I bought the Infinity.
If, before I made my purchase, Bill Booth- with his intimate knowledge of the manufacturing process of the Vector container- had pointed out some feature of construction or quality that I and the 12 'reviewers' on dz.com were unaware of, would it have influenced my decision?
Hell Yeah!
Let them post. 8000+ users on Dropzone.com, that is a huge market, and, a huge base of skydivers who can be educated to innovations and advances in the safety and quality of the equipment that is available today.

milo



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