This may be a little controversial (I know). Apologies in advance, but let's be civil. I have already talked to two people at my dropzone about this already. (I will be talking some more next time I go back to Gananoque)
This is still at the back of mind after travelling to Lake Wales and one of the organizers of an event having a cutaway, I'm now more interested in doing an intentional cutaway so I am familiar with my reserve capabilities.
This brings up a subject that I'm a little embarassed to talk about -- my reserve is somewhat smaller than my main. And yes, I know about my wingloading on my reserve is somewhat aggressive. My understanding is that when flying a Raven Micro 150 at a wingload of 1.25, I have to remember the following to fly this parachute:
- Slightly overloaded Raven Micro's are known to stall "instantly" when you pull brakes down too far.
- Flare range ends extremely early on all Raven Micro's that are overloaded (expected to stall at approximately slightly below shoulder level at wingload of 1.25), so don't flare much beyond this level.
- Do test flares to find flare band and flare behaviour if I have the altitude to do so (easier in an intentional cutaway). This will maximize my flare when I land.
- Assume PLF position while flaring, just in case.
However, I'd clearly feel much safer under a PD143R because of its much better flare. (Interestingly, it is actually bigger than a Raven Micro 150 -- Actual size is roughly 155 square feet because of PD measurements). The vastly superior flare of a PD reserve to a Raven Micro would be much more forgiving. A PD160R (my first choice) unfortunately won't fit into my rig, so it's either a PD143R or keeping my existing Raven Micro 150, or getting rid of my container.
Most of you will agree that replacing my rig to accomodate a bigger reserve is the wisest choice. However, I did buy this rig knowing the reserve was 150 and both myself, instructors and DZO were okay with that size. It was my decision to get the rig. What I didn't realize back then was how terrible the older Raven Micro's were, though I have strived to research its flare band (from tail deflection to stall point) and have rough expectations on how to fly it now. However, I do not want to hurt myself in an intentional cutaway. I know my experiences with my Sabre 170 when the brakes got replaced -- and the learning curve of a new flare band. (Lesson learned: Always, always check for tail deflection point to determine start of flare band - I apparently had to pull 7 inches of loose, nonresponsive brakes before flare worked its magic.)
I am planning to stay with 170 for my main for a while (probably to jump #300 or so), but I do feel comfortable flying a 150 in a one-time pre-planned conservative approach for an intentional cutaway -- however, knowing how "bad" (subjective) the Raven Micro is reported to fly, this is my main concern...
There are several arguments. - Replacing my rig to accomodate a PD160R (wisest choice) - Test jumping a PD143R (my preferred compromise) - Test jumping my Raven 150 (still thinking about it; but unsure.)
Upgrading my rig to accomodate a PD160R sounds like the obvious choice ("It's my life", after all -- most will clearly say).
On the other hand, landing a PD143R (more like a 155, as mentioned) is likely really no big deal after having already had 75 jumps on my Sabre 170 (1.1WL) with a near 100% standup landing success rate (the occasional slide landings during early low wind and zero wind landings, especially after the brakes were changed -- which frustrated me before I figured out tail deflection -- but for the last 55 or so jumps were all standups and I have landed zero winders very reliably).
The PD143R would be a reserve size (PD143R) that I want to keep even when I gradually downsize to a 150 and a 135 by my 1000th jump -- since I want the reserve to be reasonably survivable while landing unconscious even when my main becomes smaller than my reserve. So the PD143R is a very attractive option since it probably seems to be the smallest reserve I want to stick with for the rest of my skydiving career -- somewhat aggressive now but clearly much safer than a Raven Micro 150 by all online and offline sources, but within my current skill range.
Being panicky after cutting away from a mal that occured at low altitude, and landing a resreve inside a backyard is an entirely different story, but until I went to Lake Wales, there has never been backyards to worry about at my home dropzone (it's all surrounded by farmland several miles in every direction of the compass).
Yes, I know this post is somewhat controversial. I realize what I am getting into. My concern is chiefly that Micro's are not very safe reserve parachutes -- more than the size of the reserve.
Now, some daring people even suggest I test jump the Raven Micro. People who have advance knowledge of its narrow flare band (at 1.2 to 1.3 wingloading), have been able to do standup landings under a Raven Micro, and avoiding falling on their backs.
But, still -- I am tempted to sell this to a much ligher jumper and swap to a PD143R which, while somewhat aggressive, would have a vastly safer and more forgiving flare capability compared to a Raven Micro 150, while also being slightly bigger than the Raven Micro. Then I'm totally happy to do a preplanned test jump a PD143R at my home dropzone, pending dropzone approval.
I thought long and hard about not making this post because I am already talking to people at my dropzone -- but I thought I might as well cover all bases.
I won't be doing the intentional cutaway until an upcoming reserve repack - and after I've made sure I'm current again after a Canadian winter layoff where my jumping will be relatively infrequent (apart from the occasional trip south and a few snow jumps)
(This post was edited by mdrejhon on Oct 19, 2005, 12:10 PM)
Thought about a Smart 160? I believe they pack a little bit smaller than PD's, so it may fit in your rig.
Doubtful -- PD143R, according to a couple of well known riggers, has slightly bigger pack volume than a Raven 150, and the Raven 150 is already pretty tight. But as I feel better about almost any good reserve (including Smart) than a Raven Micro, I'll ask around at the DZ about these various choices.
2 words: Smart 150.
Smart 150, however, is a good choice (if I am not willing to replace my container). I believe pack volume is similiar to PD143R so that may actually fit my rig better.
I'm kind of biased towards PD reserves at the moment, but I'm willing to consider various options... I have all winter to research anyway and talk to various trusted contacts;
(This post was edited by mdrejhon on Oct 19, 2005, 12:16 PM)
If I were you I'd buy a 143 PDR. Not because I think the Raven is unsafe (I have one), but because it's not what you expect, and you'll have more fear when you're jumping it, which will give you even more to think about. On your most stressful jump ever, on probably your lowest opening ever, on a higher wingloading than you've ever jumped.
Yes, the flare on the Raven is narrow; I stalled mine on my last jump on it, but a PLF took care of it with absolutely no issue. I'd planned on PLFing anyway.
And this isn't just online. Offline sources suggest that Raven Micro is an older reserve that's not very forgiving. In fact, PD126R (yes, 126R) may be safer to land (fully conscious) than a Raven 150 because of the problems attributed to a somewhat overloaded Raven Micro.
This is really my main concern -- the use of an old Raven Micro model with a known dangerous tendancy to stall unexpectedly when pulling toggles to shoulder height or slightly below shoulder height.
(This post was edited by mdrejhon on Oct 19, 2005, 12:31 PM)
I have already intentionally stalled my Sabre's to a bowtie (At high altitude of course, during my 9000+ feet high altitude flights). So I know how scary a stall is, and the need to recover gradually from a stall. I have done more minor stalls on more than 10 different occasions (i.e. recovery before bowtieing and corners touched), in order for me to become familiar with stall behaviour and recovery.
A stall on a F111 7-cell is probably somewhat different, but I don't think it's vastly different from what I've already experienced?
(This post was edited by mdrejhon on Oct 19, 2005, 12:38 PM)
I was just replying to the title of the thread and your mention of the intentional cutaway in the first post. In this situation I agree with Wendy that you should buy one that you will be comfortable with. Last thing I would want is "gear fear" when landing a reserve in a stressfull situation. My next reserve will most likely be a PD. That is if I can ever afford ($$$) to downsize. James
billvon (D 16479)
Oct 19, 2005, 12:43 PM
Post #17 of 90
Personally? The reserve is my last chance to sleep with my wife tonight and to call my mother tomorrow morning and tell her how much I love her. So I jump PD reserves only. Tried and true. I have landed a Raven Twice a long time ago when I was still a beginner skydiver with around 200 jumps so they seemed to work. The research I have done though suggests that the PD reserve is as I said tried and true so I am biased. So sue me, I prefer the Vector 3 Micron too, even though every thing on the market these days is airworthy, its just 4 flaps and a pilot chute right? But it is the small differences in engineering.
Obviously you know what the best option is. If you are looking at other options just take your reserve and jump it as a main, open up nice and high and play with the flare...if it feels like it's stalling at an unsafe point chop it and ride in the real reserve.
On another note, I have ridden a micro raven 120-mz loaded at 1.9:1, landed it at 5500ft MSL and had a nice tip toe landing with a full flare stroke.
I'm a big fan of not relying solely on the opinion of someone else when deciding on my gear...I like to try everything for myself and make my own decisions. Hope this helps...
Personally... I'd go with the PD143R. Although since this is a fair bit smaller than what you are used to, it would be a good idea to see if you can get hold of a demo PD143R and put a few jumps on it as a main canopy to get a feel for jumping a small(er) F111 7-cell.
I only have one experience of flying a reserve - a PD126R - and I was incredibly impressed by how well it flew and flared. I got almost as much flare from my PD126R as I would expect from my Spectre 135 main and I only had 1,100' under it! I'll be sticking with PD reserves.
I realize the 143R is a fair bit smaller -- Although it should fly like a 155 sq feet because of the way PD is conservative. My 75 jumps on a Sabre 170 makes me feel ready to downsize to a 150 (rentals at jump 57, my own rig at jump 59, and I'm now at 132 jumps -- making it a total of 76 jumps actually). It's starting to feel pretty slow and docile, and I continue to push its limits gradually (I did one slow flat turn 90 degrees at 100 feet, and one flare turn 10 degrees already -- not quite Billyvon specs, but getting there)
However, first, I want to be able to do all of Bill Von's / Brian Germain checklist of canopy abilities before I downsize my main. Those rules should be the same for the reserve but the fact is, I'm stuck with a Raven Micro 150. Therefore, I do feel I should get rid of the Raven Micro. I don't have fear of trying a good quality 143-150 size reserve in a preplanned jump in a traditional straight-in landing approach, but the bad things I have been hearing about Raven Micro 150 from everywhere online and offline has definitely given me a little fear of it. It won't stop me from cutting away as I know it will still save my life. However, for a test jump -- I would be comfortable test jumping a PD143R -- but nervous of doing it on a Raven Micro 150.
(This post was edited by mdrejhon on Oct 19, 2005, 1:21 PM)
What I didn't realize back then was how terrible the older Raven Micro's were <snip> My concern is chiefly that Micro's are not very safe reserve parachutes
When loaded according to manufacturer's specs, the Super Raven series make good reserves. They were not designed to be loaded higher.
Any piece of gear can become unsafe when it's operated outside it's limitations. This doesn't make that piece of gear unsafe for those who fly within those limitations.
In reply to:
On the other hand, landing a PD143R (more like a 155, as mentioned) is likely really no big deal after having already had 75 jumps on my Sabre 170 (1.1WL) with a near 100% standup landing success rate
Have you jumped any F111 7 cells? Or even a zp 7 cell? You may be surprised at how different they are from your Sabre.
In reply to:
I won't be doing the intentional cutaway until an upcoming reserve repack
You are planning to do this wearing a tertiary reserve, right?
FYI, you can demo a Raven without having to chop your own main or find a tertiary reserve or find an intentional cutaway rig. Ask around, I'm sure someone has a MR150 that was used as a main sitting around. The original Ravens have main bridle attachments; swap out your bridle and p/c and risers/toggles and pack it up.
Here you go, how about this, demo the PD160R as a main for a few jumps. Get used to the 7 cell F111 flare, then demo the 143. If it feels good, buy one.
Also, combining an intentional cutaway with your first jump on a canopy you have 'issues' with sounds dumb. It seems like too many new things at once, too much stress, and may find yourself overloaded, and your performance will suffer.
Even though an actual cutaway will be more stressful, and then you still have to land the Raven, that may never happen, and forcing it to happen seems dumb (yeah, I already said it).
You should feel confident with your equipment at all times. Even if that confidence is based on information and not experience, it will clear your mind to perform at your best when you need to. So jump the PDR's, buy a PDR, and don't pack like a retard so you never have to see your PDR again.