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Tandem Canopies Comparison

 

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skydived19006  (D 19006)

Jun 27, 2005, 10:53 AM
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Tandem Canopies Comparison Can't Post

Id start off, but I dont have a wide range of experience with various tandem canopies. I just saw that Atair has a tandem main, and was wondering what they flew like. Anyway, I looked around and couldnt really find any threads comparing just the tandem mains, and there are a lot of them out there these days.
Modern Tandem mains I know of;
Icarus (what I jump)
Precision (basically the same as Icarus although the manufactures both argue that theirs is better)
Sigma
Strong SET
Racer Firebolt
Aerodyne A2
Atair Cobalt Tandem

Did I miss any?

It seems to me form what Ive seen here that the Icarus/Precision, and Sigma are fairly comparable, as with the A2. Does anyone have any experience with the Cobalt Tandem?

I know that some people dont like the lake of break settings on the Icarus; they seldom open on heading, but almost always soft, and virtually never twist into line twists. Landings are good, but virtually never stand up in no wind (straight in approach), just too much ground speed left.


Martin
Air Capital Drop Zone


DanglesOZQld  (F 623)

Jun 27, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Have been brought up on and love the HOP canopies we use daily at Sunshine Coast Skydivers.
(Qld Australia ;)

Sets and Gyros and a lot of others I have tried but nothing compares! Try landing anything but a HOP in deep brakes releasing into full drive and flare for a stand up landing!! Have been to a lot of places but still call caloundra home lol ;) See my personal gallery ;) BSBD! lol! - Mark.


DanglesOZQld  (F 623)

Jun 27, 2005, 11:07 AM
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Re: [DanglesOZQld] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Ps - My dz has a page at -
http://www.scskydivers.com/

-ITS HARD BEING ABLE TO JUMP ALL YEAR LOL!!!!

BSBD! -Mark.


Kimblair13  (D 28140)

Jun 27, 2005, 11:08 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

I've only jumped SET's and Icarus's. I like the Icarus 365 when I have a normal or small Tandem Passenger and the SET 400 when I have a large Tandem Passenger. But that's just what we have.


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
Moderator
Jun 27, 2005, 11:14 AM
Post #5 of 52 (3067 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Some where around the site here there are a few threads on tandem mains. Chuck and I both personaly own and jump 350 Tandem Firebolt canopies. The tandem Firebolt opens super soft and on heading, is responsive to toggle inputs and has a lot of bottom end flare. On little or no wind days when all the Sigmas are sliding in chuck and I are often getting a nice surf with a step down landing. The 298 tandem main firebolt flies like a normal sports parachute and is extremely fun to fly. The 400 is a tad bit slower but is just as powerful on the bottom end. Call Jump Shack up and ask them to send you a demo, it's a great canopy.


livendive  (D 21415)

Jun 27, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Jumping at a relatively low MSL dz (400'), I really like the Icarus 330. It took a little while for me to realize that waiting for it to pick a heading is just part of the experience, but other than that I think they fly great. Then again all I can compare it to are the 384, 421, 425, and 500...not really fair comparisons.

Blues,
Dave


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Jun 27, 2005, 1:57 PM
Post #7 of 52 (3012 views)
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Re: [LouDiamond] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Call Jump Shack up and ask them to send you a demo, it's a great canopy.

I'd like to demo a few such as the Firebolt, A2 and the Atair. Who knows, I might learn something and buy different next time I need a new tandem canopy!

Atair has belly camera video on their site, the openings are VERY staged, and slow! Check it out.

http://www.atairaerodynamics.com/canopies/tandem.html

Martin


piisfish

Jun 27, 2005, 2:04 PM
Post #8 of 52 (3008 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Did I miss any?
Parachutes de France BT80, the only one I flew till now...


AggieDave  (D License)

Jun 27, 2005, 2:07 PM
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Re: [LouDiamond] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
On little or no wind days when all the Sigmas are sliding in chuck and I are often getting a nice surf with a step down landing.

That's not the main's fault. The Sigma has a great amount of bottom end flare and it flies much like a sport canopy. Infact its the same plane form as the Vengence.

Personally I felt like the Firebolt's flare felt mushy, not much power at all, although it opened "ok."

I jump a lot of Sigma mains, some EZ-384 jumps and sometimes an Icarus 360. Other mains I've jumped as a TI the A2, the Firebolt 350, Icarus 400 and I think I might be leaving something out, just can't remember right now (oh, the RWS reserve a few times as wellTongue).

Out of all of those I would rank in terms of openings, flare power and overall just being a good canopy as follows:

1. Sigma
2. A2
3. Icarus
4. EZ-384
5. Firebolt


Some folks complain about the toggle pressure of the Sigma, basically if you have problems doing 10 tandems in a day with that canopy, you need to workout. Plain and simple, since the toggle pressure is actually pretty light.

If anyone actually cares, I'll be more then happy to write a comprehensive review of each of those canopies.



EDIT:


Scott,

I stand a good percentage of my tandems up (you'll never stand *everyone* of them up) in no winds, light winds, variable winds, etc, no problem. Due to my size a large percentage of my tandems are either at the 500lbs combined limit or close to it. Then again, I've only got 700+ tandem jumps, so I'm sure some other TI is going to "call me out" on my opinion of mains.


(This post was edited by AggieDave on Jun 27, 2005, 2:09 PM)


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
Moderator
Jun 27, 2005, 3:43 PM
Post #10 of 52 (2989 views)
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Re: [AggieDave] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I'm sure some other TI is going to "call me out" on my opinion of mains.

Hey, you know what they say about opinions. That's why I recommend to everyone that they not only believe what they hear or read about a skydiving item but to actually demo it and see how they perceive it to be and make a decission for themselves. Because as I am sure you know , your perception and the next guys perception may be drastically different.


AggieDave  (D License)

Jun 27, 2005, 4:03 PM
Post #11 of 52 (2984 views)
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Re: [LouDiamond] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Because as I am sure you know , your perception and the next guys perception may be drastically different.

Exactly, that's why I said it was my opinion.

All of the canopies I've jumped as a TI can be demoed (well, except for the RWS reserve, I guess and the EZ, since I don't think they make them anymore), and I highly suggest any TI demoing those canopies. Find the one that they like and get the best results from.

I will say, if you're a DZ TI without your own tandem gear, then learn how the different canopies on the market fly, since you really never know what the DZ may buy or what you may end up jumping. Each canopy flies different enough and requires different techniques for landing (and more importantly how they handle in different conditions and how they glide).



Sidenote:

My typical Sigma 370 opening is similar to the video you posted, easy snatch force and generally speaking around 800-1000' openings (yes, I have sat there and watched my altimeter on a good number of openings). I've had good openings and bad openings on each one of the canopies I've jumped, no canopy is magical and will never open poorly.
Wink


Skypilot  (F 538)

Jun 27, 2005, 6:17 PM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

I have 2100 tandem jumps and of those about 1600 are on Icarus. Mainly on the 365 with about 300 on the 330. I stand up a very high percentage of my landings and believe the more loaded they are the better they fly. I would take a 330 Icarus any day.


aironscott

Jun 27, 2005, 10:54 PM
Post #13 of 52 (2941 views)
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Re: [Skypilot] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Good thread good question.
Personally I have about 1000 jumps on 365 Icarus's another 1000 on sigma 370's and several hundred under sigma 395's, EZ 384 and 425 and a couple of dozen under SET 400's(Not to mention the couple of hundred of 421's and 500's from PD.) I've heard great things about the HOP and the Firebolt but haven't jumped them.
I love flying the Icarus but I dislike the openings. These things dance around on opening. The Sigma 370 flys and lands every bit as good as the Icarus, but the openings are much more predictable.
SETs and EZ's are old technology. But I also remember when they were the shit hot canopy for tandems.
All this being said, I'd rather have the 370 Sigma than anything else (that I'm familiar with). Although they fly just like the Icarus, the Icarus will open hard or "searching" at times. Maybe 1 time out of 4 openings. Part of that I chalk up to the no brake settings and part of it I blame on the vectran lines (no stretch). All I want out of a tandem canopy is one that it opens soft and it flys like a modern canopy that I can control the landing on. There is no reason that we shouldn't be able to fly tandem canopies that have similar flight charictarisits to what our regular canopies are like. If you have a tandem rating, you had better well know how to fly a parachute already. But why put you back on a Manta (SET 400) when you already know how to fly a Stiletto (Sigma 370) well? Just make sure you adjust the harness so that they can get their feet up.
Take it for what its worth,
Aaron


skydiverton  (D 123456789)

Jun 27, 2005, 10:57 PM
Post #14 of 52 (2941 views)
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Re: [piisfish] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Did I miss any?
Parachutes de France BT80, the only one I flew till now...

Yes the BT80 is still my first choise if you are talking about steering and landing.
Packing a new BT80 sucks like hell. 380sqft of zepo (both top and bottom)
Take care when jumping a BT80 older than 4-5years. They open hard and the nose has to be rolled. The newer ones open perfect.


signormeek  (D 8776)

Jun 27, 2005, 11:13 PM
Post #15 of 52 (2938 views)
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Re: [skydiverton] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there, just to add in to the canopy debate. My DZ has HOPs, SETs, SIGMA's and BT 80s. and I would say that the HOP is by far and away the best of the lot. Not only do they give you brilliant openings (although they can take 1500' - but as long as you know its easy to get used to) and fly like sports canopies they cost next to nothing in comparison to other canopies. Only $2100 new. I was so impressed I bought one for my personal tandem gear. If you can get the chance to demo one I would definitely recommend that you make the effort.


ernokaikkonen  (D 12)

Jun 28, 2005, 6:09 AM
Post #16 of 52 (2907 views)
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Re: [AggieDave] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Some folks complain about the toggle pressure of the Sigma, basically if you have problems doing 10 tandems in a day with that canopy, you need to workout. Plain and simple, since the toggle pressure is actually pretty light.

Compared to what, your Crossfire?Tongue

I find the toggle pressure on the Sigma much higher than on a Icarus/Precision tandem or an EZ. (edit to add: That's of course probably plain and simply BS. The reason I have that feeling is that we only ever jump the EZs with small students. I do maintain that the Icarus/Precision has a much lighter toggle pressure.) That said, the Sigmas do shut down better even if it takes more strength to do it.

The HOP doesn't handle turbulence too well, I've been told. On one of the DZs I've jumped at, they have one HOP and they simply leave it on the shelf most of the time after being scared a few times; the conditions there are almost always turbulent.


(This post was edited by ernokaikkonen on Jun 28, 2005, 6:15 AM)


skydiverton  (D 123456789)

Jun 28, 2005, 6:18 AM
Post #17 of 52 (2903 views)
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Re: [ernokaikkonen] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Some folks complain about the toggle pressure of the Sigma, basically if you have problems doing 10 tandems in a day with that canopy, you need to workout. Plain and simple, since the toggle pressure is actually pretty light.


Sigma too high??? Pussy!!!CrazyBlushTongue

For me doing 7 or 8 tandems a day on a Contrail tandemcanopy is the workout!
Well the togglepressure is rather high but even a new contrail packs OK. Also important on a sunny day.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Jun 28, 2005, 6:38 AM
Post #18 of 52 (2900 views)
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Re: [aironscott] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Maybe 1 time out of 4 openings. Part of that I chalk up to the no brake settings and part of it I blame on the vectran lines (no stretch).
Aaron

I don't like Vectran line for tandem canopies at all! It doesnt cushion openings at all, the life seems to be only 2 to 300 before it breaks (Im not in the desert either), I just see no advantage to it. Two of my Icarus canopies have spectra, but I'm going to migrate back to Dacron. Dacron has the most stretch, as I understand will not distort like Spectra, drag isn't much of an issue on tandems, and pack volume isn't an problem (I have a 330 and 2 365s, if I had a 400 the pack volume might be an issue)

Can anyone give me any reason why Dacron isn't the line of choice for tandem canopies? I assume it's only the pack volume?

Im unfamiliar with the HOP, who manufactures it?

Its interesting how much of an issue this has became since the FARs changed!

I understand Ted Strong does not allow anything other than his canopies in his containers. Can anyone point to a case where he tired to enforce this policy, and how? Is there something contractual?

Martin


ernokaikkonen  (D 12)

Jun 28, 2005, 6:41 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Can anyone give me any reason why Dacron isn't the line of choice for tandem canopies? I assume it's only the pack volume?

Pack volume and weight, but also the parasitic drag. The thinner Spectra and Vectran lines cause less drag and the canopy flies more efficiently.


AggieDave  (D License)

Jun 28, 2005, 6:43 AM
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Quote:
I understand Ted Strong does not allow anything other than his canopies in his containers. Can anyone point to a case where he tired to enforce this policy, and how? Is there something contractual?

The problem isn't his enforcing, its the what if game. Not following manufacture's "rules and recommendations" would be great fodder for a lawyer should that ever occur.Unsure


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jun 28, 2005, 8:58 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't like Vectran line for tandem canopies at all! It doesnt cushion openings at all, the life seems to be only 2 to 300 before it breaks (Im not in the desert either),

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Vectran was a fashion that has come and gone.
As for Vectran only lasting 200 or 300 jumps .. if you let a Spectra line set on a SET 400 go more than 400 jumps, it takes forever to open and flares half-heartedly.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jun 28, 2005, 8:59 AM
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Re: [piisfish] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Did I miss any?
Parachutes de France BT80, the only one I flew till now...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Strong's SET 400 is a direct copy of BT 80.
SET 360 is just a scaled down version of BT 80.
A Strong Enterprises factory rep - Bill Morrisey - said so.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jun 28, 2005, 9:03 AM
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Re: [AggieDave] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally I felt like the Firebolt's flare felt mushy, not much power at all, although it opened "ok."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Funny, I was amazed at how strong the "bottom end" of the flare was on Firebolt 298.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Jun 29, 2005, 9:21 AM
Post #24 of 52 (2820 views)
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Re: [ernokaikkonen] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:

Pack volume and weight, but also the parasitic drag. The thinner Spectra and Vectran lines cause less drag and the canopy flies more efficiently.

Yeah, I understand parasitic drag, but is it really all that big of a deal on a tandem system?

I think I'd rather have a little more drag, than going out of trim with Spectra! One other reason for my opinion is based on the fact that it's also Bill Booth's opinion. When Bill Booth talks people listen.


diablopilot  (D License)

Jun 29, 2005, 10:35 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem Canopies Comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

Various musings and impresions from the canopies I've jumped.

Atair: Openings were somewhat snivley, but that can get excessive. Toggle pressure was monster high. Way to high to jump ten times a day.

Sigma: Nice openings mostly, but I have had trouble finding consistancy between different canopies. I hate the brake stows on them. Some of the risers (RWS) have hang up problems, and re stowing the brakes slows the packing process a bunch.

A2: Only got one jump but it's nice. Good opening, lower toggle pressure, meat of flare is lower in the control stroke.

Icarus/Eclipse: The Best Tandem Main I've jumped by far, especialy focusing on the 365 and 330 sizes. Openings on the dacron lined versions are great, no toggle stows are a plus from packing and instant control standpoints. Flare is huge, pop ups are easy to standing landings even in no wind.


(This post was edited by diablopilot on Jun 29, 2005, 10:39 AM)


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