Dec 7, 2010, 5:00 PM
Post #1 of 20
So I'm in the market to buy a smaller canopy. I put a couple hundred jumps on my Pilot 150, and about 15-20 on a Pilot 132. My question is, should I buy the 132 or the 124? Does 8 sq/ft make a big difference?
My thought/fear is that Ill invest a bunch of money in a 132 and end up wishing I got the 124, but since I really dont know the difference 8 sq/ft makes its still speculation. Any thoughts?
BTW, I would be wingloading the 132 at 1.4 and the 124 at 1.5. Also, this canopy would be used primarily for wingsuiting (if that matters).
Unfortunately I have not been able to demo both, just the 132. It felt "fun" and I have no doubt that I could land it under all of billvon's checklist criteria, however, I haven't actually done that yet on that particular canopy. My 150 OTOH, Ive done above and beyond that list to include 90, 180, 270, and 360 final front riser approaches. I want faster, but am wondering if .1 in wl makes it too fast or not.
Have you had an opportunity to demo both canopies?
without the input to see which would be preferable this it is mental mastrubation. Get the other demo and see which you prefer from an all around perspective. You might find that you like aspects of both and then it becomes a pros and cons list.
The pilot is a good wingsuit canopy; I used to jump the 150 @ 1.4. I now use a Safire2 129 @ 1.6 - I found that the Safire2 canopy gave me better high performance landings; the Pilot (IMO) was more resistant to front riser input, and recovered fast.
Any tapered canopy (Pilot, Safire2 etc) is fine for wingsuiting, certainly up to 1.6.
Your choice will depend on how current you are / will remain, and how you feel flying the canopies you're thinking about. From my own experience, I did c. 300 jumps on my Pilot 150 before getting the Safire 2 129; but after <100 jumps (and a handful more on other intermediate canopies) I was jumping a Xfire2 109 (which incidentally I don't use for wingsuit jumps). However, I had done many jumps that year, was doing c. 8 a day when I made the downsize and lots of high pulls for canopy control exercises. It felt right for me at the time. I then made c. 400 on that before trying a 96.
What you are suggesting doesn't sound too daft on paper, but whether it's right for you is dependent on a bunch of factors, not least an honest appraisal of how prepared a canopy pilot you really are. As for the wingsuit dimension, you'll be fine on either (provided you are not a beginner - you don't want to be having line twists on deployment as a regular occurrence)
So I got to thinking about the different canopy choices, and I went with a..... Cobalt 135. It keeps the w/l at something I can handle AND it doesn't open all funny like the Mamba I was thinking about buying.
Why not a Pilot you may ask? Well, I need a canopy before mid Jan and after looking extensively and talking to many folks about it, it looks like this will be my canopy for the next several hundred jumps.
Thanks for all the info you guys gave. You experienced guys really dont steer people wrong (even the the guys that have 25 jumps and want to fly a Velo).
So let us know how that works out, I hope it turns out to meet your expectations.
I'll not criticize, just let you know my experience with the Cobalt. I got a 120 despite a rigger friend's suggestion that it might be inappropriate, loaded at 1.6, me 1000+ jumps, probably 250 wingsuit. I sold it after the second time I chopped it, openings were too much like a Stiletto. Also the canopy wasn't much fun to fly at that low a wingloading. My wingsuit canopies are loaded at 1.6 and 1.8 (occasionally higher) but they aren't Cobalts. I do like Cobalts but not for w/s. YMMV
I appreciate you sharing your experience. From what Ive been reading in the gear review part of this site, it seems the only Cobalts having problems with on openings were the ones with "out of trim" line sets. Out of curiosity, how many jumps were on the Cobalt that you jumped before you tried it?
Thanks again guys. This info is appreciated. If I end up not liking the Cobalt for wingsuiting, then Ill have another reason to buy another rig to put it in and throw a Pilot in the rig I wingsuit with.
Oh yeah, the Cobalt lineset was just OK and you're right, line trim makes a big difference on opening behavior even on "tame" canopies. I definitely have the choppers to prove that. BTW my somewhat limited background on Cobalts is that they are very opening sensitive, not just my personal experience either. That's the main reason I can't recommend the canopy to you especially with little experience, I'm no canopy nazi though.
Seriously I hope the Cobalt works out, concentrating on super-symmetrical body position at opening will help you avoid reserve rides, keeping your knees and ankles tight together at opening will also help a lot. When w/s jumping very HP canopies my hands are near my front handles at opening. It might also help to find out what your rigger drinks in advance, it's likely you'll be a good customer.
I'm no wingsuiter but I have quite a bit of experience on a Cobalt and I've had very little in the way of opening problems. I bought the canopy for almost nothing as it was described as bad condition. Nothing wrong with the skin at all but it Vectran relined and the lines were shot and had ate almost thru the brass slider grommets.
I put a couple of jumps on those lines and it opened okay, nothing scary or out or weird but I was aware that the slider might cut a line. I sent it for a new spectra lineset and had Stane send me a new slider. Opens in that Cobalt staged opening every time.
Now for my moment of dumb-ass; jumped it while it was trash packed once b/c I forgot to repack it at home. Slider up but collapsed, only one locking stow and the lines coiled in the pack tray, pilot chute barley cocked. Luckly I stow brakes walking in. I definately was not symetrical when it came out b/c I was looking back at at PC hesitation. Only a mildly disconcerting opening but definatley not a Sabre I slammer. 1/2 twist and I was not even sore.
I'm only loading at 1:37 but I love my Cobalt and if you don't like your 135, give me a shout b/c I've been looking for one as I'd like to downsize. I demo'ed the Mamba and was not all that impressed but I think I needed to be at about 1.5 and I was about 1.3 on the one I flew.
Alrighty, I jumped my Cobalt 135 7 times this weekend (6 were wingsuit jumps). Im loading this thing at 1.45ish. Openings are nice and soft, but I found the canopy searches a bit before it finds itself. Once open it flies a dream even in line twist (BTW, dont do a half ass pitch in a v-1). The canopy had very good response to even the slightest inputs (ie. me leaning one way to unsip my leg wing produced a signifigant turn in that direction). The flight and flare was an absolute treat! Front riser pressure is negligable up to about a 720.
After jumping it I'm totally happy that I bought it. Im not real sure why people "motherfucker" this canopy as my results were well within acceptable considereing it's fully elliptical. BTW, the only reason I had line twists was due to a half-ass pitch on my V-1, but everything worked out.
Just in case of bad name related to openings... I disagree with that opinion based on my experience. Well I have only owned and jumped three sizes of Cobalts and there might always be someone saying that this in not enough to build an opinion on. My first Cobalt was 135 which I jumped for about 200 jumps @ 1.40 WL - one extremely hard opening but related to shrunk lines (shorter by about 8-10 cm) and one chop (severe line twist on my back) caused by packing - all on normal jumps. Later I moved to 120 @ 1.6 WL which I used for my first WS jump ever. My the sweetest and the hardest WS opening so far on that canopy caused by packing. But in general a great canopy which I take for WS jumps very rarely as I have a second (safer) system build specifically for WS with Cobalt 150 @ 1.3 WL. The best, softest opening canopy on a WS comparing to my previous SA 2 150 which has given some line twists... I have several tunnel hours so I belief that my body position is good enough to not be a major issue while opening the canopy, however I know that I'm not perfect and maybe I'm very bad ... don't know ;-). I have to admit that the Sabre2 was very stable in line twists though, so I didn't care much about them while flying WS. Based on twist which I got on Cob 150 I am very confident that the canopy is also stable in line twist on my WS jumps. My personal opinion is that the Cobalts (at least those 4 which I have jumped on) are in general very good and nice canopies. Based on my experience I recommend everyone to go for some canopy coaching to be on the safe side. Easy to handle and pack due to gelvenor fabric, requiring a little work to find the way to pack it the way they give the sweetest openings. I love flying them every second, great to learn landings. Fantastic to get back from long spot (which I have had trouble on sinking Sabre2). As a matter of fact I made some very boring vid with all recorded openings which I have. Please note that some of them were affected by the fact I had the camera on my head (135) first time ever (riser strike to the cam box with PC1000) causing a little unsymmetrical openings and were done after one hard opening resulting in neck problems ( I still was not perfectly ok at that time). In terms of openings the only problems were on my 135 (it was a little tricky comparing friend's one which I also jumped). The vid is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ-lw83XxbE
I think the OP will like his canopy and will stick to the brand/type of the canopy.
BTW I'm looking for a Cc 105 to downsize from 120 for/after the next season. Optionally Demon 100, Radical 105 (just to jump canopies made of gelvenor).
regards j Edit to ad that the 150 is which I refer to line twists on WS jumps. No line twists on 120 so far. In case of OP on 1.5 WL on elliptical canopy on a WS is high so the line twists can result in something more serious
(This post was edited by JanuszPS on Jan 19, 2011, 8:48 AM)
I'm glad that you don't have any issue with that coblat. When I jumped that same coblat it opened like this everytime. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA5BWTutbQ0 I wonder what causes such drastic change in opening sequence from person to person on the same canopy. I think i have decent body position and have good packing skill.
Brass grommet catching the lines might have something to do with bad openings.
I highly suggest getting a Katana or x-fire for you. Alot better opening and has way more bottom flair power IMO.
after jumping that coblat I never ever complain about hard or bad opening, nothing can and will open shitty as that particular one.
Nice post, thanks for sharing your experience which is, I'm sure, greater than mine. Also I really do hope the OP finds that the canopy suits him and meets his expectations. My posts were based on my less than desirable experiences with the Cobalt as a wingsuit canopy and as a freefall canopy at that wingloading, very possibly it was that particular canopy and/or the aging lineset. Prior to owning the 120 I had enjoyed jumping a friend's 120 and 105 (I think that was the size), that's why I got one for wingsuit. My other concern was the OP's choice of wingsuit canopy despite his lack of experience.