Jun 19, 2001, 8:33 AM
Post #1 of 14
Oxygn A3 ?
I have been thinking about getting one of these. But the problem is I keep getting conflicting reports about visor problems(flipping up in freefall), and have also heard the customer service sucks. So whats the deal? or should I get the Z1?
I am not a very big fan of the Oxygn because of it''s large size. When I "must" wear a full-face, it's my standard factory diver, normally without the lens when it's warm outside (goggles over the top). SEVERAL friends of mine have had the problem of their visors flying up and then tearing off with Oxygns; others swear by them.
An option here is the new BoneHead Havoc RW helmet. It is about the same size as the A3, but I guarantee you that the lens isn't going to flip up prematurely on that thing! The latch mechanism is simple, yet terribly secure. You can check out pictures of it on the Bonehead site.
Factory diver is the way to go if you don't need to flip your visor. That said, I haven't had any issues with my A3, nor have any of my team mates. One of the guys does have a Z1 and it flipped open in free fall the other day. I wouldn't buy one of them either due to their construction.
Yes, I saw them firsthand when I was in Perris for the swoop meet. The first one (the one with the yellow back-half shown on the website) has since been modified to vent better. The solid carbon fiber one also shown is the generation II version. The back half of the newest ones aren't quite as bulbous and freaky looking either. Either way, it's still almost exactly the same size as an A3. When you flip up the "lens", the whole front of the helmet rotates up, kind of like the BMW motorcycle helmets you can buy. The helmet is solid carbon fiber and is very light. They were producing the Havoc while I was out there. The factory is pretty neat and is a great place to stop by and check out when you are on one of your mid-day beer breaks. The factory is within easy walking distance of Skydive Perris if you happen to be stuck out there without wheels.
Concerning the Z1: I cannot believe they charge that much for that plastic contraption! Pretty to look at, but very cheesily assembled.
The Z1's are very popular at my DZ. I have one and haven't had any issues with it openning even during a stand. I was happy I had it when the otter clocked me on the jaw (severe turbulence) on exit once.
The visor on the Z1 flips back completely, although I normally keep mine closed until I land. I haven't had any fogging issues with it either.
I've seen very few people juming A3's, about the only ones I've seen are from people on Sky Systems' sponsored teams. They are horribly expensive.
That is correct, that is CORRECT! LOL! Actually, the Z-1 is not a cheap helmet either, thus my main complaint about it's construction method (injection molded plastic). There are loads of people that jump both that and the A-3 at Raeford. I "like" them both, but kind of prefer the Z-1, though I would never pay for one. The Army Parachute Team uses both Factory Divers and Z-1's. Mostly, the style and accuracy team uses the Z-1 (for style; frap hats for accuracy) and the RW team uses standard (non-flip) factory divers.
I have an A-3 and I love it. It did flip open in sit once, but didnt not rip off luckily, I just re-closed it and it was fine. I think I didnt close it all the way. It is comfy as hell and I love it in summer with the lens off and goggles. I got mine custom painted for well below the base standard price. I guess it's who you know.
I have an Oxygn A3 and am very pleased with it. I have done somewhere around 150 jumps with it, and have had no problems.
I do about 50%/50% freefly and RW, and have not had any problems with the visor flipping up. I am always careful to flip my visor down completely, using my fingers across the entire top edge of the visor to apply even pressure. I always check the top and bottom edge with my fingers to be sure it is sealed.
I originally went with the flip-up version because fogging goggles on jump run drove me crazy. Now I don't flip my visor down till the door comes open or even later if I'm in the back of the otter. On very rare occasion the conditions are such that my visor fogs under canopy... its nice to be able to flip it up and out of the way. The visor does not flip completely out of the way, but I have not found it to be a detriment to safe canopy flight. With the visor in place I have excellent visibility, and can see all of my handles easily. Only the RSL release is somewhat hard to see, but under canopy it is easily seen due to riser tension lifting it slightly.
When demo'ing various helmets, I found that the A3 gave me the best sound transmission from my Protrack... That was certainly a factor as well.
I have jumped it with the visor removed with googles as well, that works fine. The visor is easily removed, but not 'instantly.'
One last note: to clean the visor, run plain water over both surfaces. While you're not supposed to touch the visor surface, I find it helpful to gently rub stubborn dirt off with a fingertip, but only while the surface is wet. Let it air dry, and you are good to go.
I haven't jumped an Oxygen, but I do have a Z1.. If I end up down in Sebastian this weekend, I'll bring my Z1 and you can try it out.. I normally jump an open face freefly helmet, but keep the Z1 around for cold weather jumping.. I hope you have a big noggin, though.. My Z1 is an XL..
I have never used the Oxygn A3, but I have about 110 jumps on a Z1. I love the Z1, the visor has never come open in any of my dives. A friend of mine and I jumped together and he forgot to close the visor on his Z1 the visor did not rip off in freefall and worked fine after wards. Alot of the designs on other visors look pretty weak and I do not think they would stand up to freefall open. So, in my opinion the Z1 is a really great choice.
Yeah, I've had my Z1 for about 35 jumps now & absolutely love it. While only having done just a few sitfly jumps with it I haven't had any problems with it coming open in freefall.
I did leave it up once on exit & it didn't rip off, didn't hurt it a bit. In fact, I obviously noticed it once in freefall with no goggles & contacts, so I reached back & didn't feel the visor, I thought it was gone!! I was driving in to dock on someone & thought I'll check one more time, then I'm gonna' just pull (at this point things were starting to get pretty blurry), reached way back & there it was, slammed it forward, blinked my eyes a few times & was good to go. Didn't mess it up at all!
"OMG there I was, thought I was going to die.. she walks in with a can of motoroil & jumpercables.."