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Crossfire vs. Cobalt

 

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Geoff

Mar 14, 2001, 4:44 AM
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Crossfire vs. Cobalt Can't Post

I've read the reviews - both the Crossfire and the Cobalt are getting a lot of good publicity, and both seem to be in the same performance class.

Anybody have experience of both? Any opinions about the way they open, fly, the build quality, value for money, customer service and back-up?

Incidentally, the Atair web site claims the cobalt is the only canopy rated up to 160 mph deployment speed, but the patch on my Safire says 150 knots, which is about 172 mph???

I'd be loading at about 1.4.

Thanks

Geoff



Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Mar 15, 2001, 9:58 AM
Post #2 of 35 (3850 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

I have owned two Atair canopies: an Alpha 84 and my current Cobalt 85. Both are outstanding parachutes. I have also test-jumped the Icarus Crossfire and owned an Icarus Extreme VX-74. The Crossfire is a very nice parachute. To me, the difference in the flight characteristics between it and the Cobalt is negligible. I think the Cobalt opens ever-so-slightly better, and certainly is easier to pack, but besides that I really think they are about dead equal in the air. I think you would be able to get a Cobalt for slightly cheaper if you look around. You can CERTAINLY get one MUCH faster. Custom color Cobalts are available in around three weeks. I got mine in just over two weeks. On the other hand: while I really did love my Icarus VX, it took three months to get to me. Either way, both of the canopies you inquired about kick ass and I am sure you will enjoy yourself with whichever you choose.

Chuck



DBTECH  (B 21186)

Mar 15, 2001, 8:34 PM
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My custom color order for a Cobalt 135 was sent to the factory in Slovenia on Monday.
I was told six weeks delivery, but I'm hoping sooner.
I recently put six jumps on a demo Cobalt 135, and was very happy with the total performance,
and of course the price.

Dave Brownell

Mesa, AZ



alan  (D 17868)

Mar 20, 2001, 10:15 AM
Post #4 of 35 (3753 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

In response to:
"Incidentally, the Atair web site claims the cobalt is the only canopy rated up to 160 mph deployment speed, but the patch on my Safire says 150 knots, which is about 172 mph???"

I just looked at the placard on a one year old Cobalt 150 last Saturday and it read max. deployment speed 130kts. That is about 150mph. I too have seen the 160mph claim on their web-site and adds. I think i will e-mail them for an explanation.



alan


alan  (D 17868)

Mar 25, 2001, 1:00 PM
Post #5 of 35 (3690 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

Dan Preston of Atair replied that the Cobalt I had observed to be placarded at 130 kts was made before they had tested the canopies to 160 mph. In response to the Icarus canopies being placarded at 150 kts, which is higher than the 160 mph of the Cobalt, he said he had "heard" that they are not tested to that speed. I asked him what canopies they were referring to with their claim that other mains are designed for 120 kts deployment, his only reply was PD. I checked several Sabres and they were placarded at 130 kts, I checked a new Vengeance and it was 120 kts. I will do some follow up with both PD and Icarus.

alan


cobaltdan  (D License)

Apr 7, 2001, 3:19 PM
Post #6 of 35 (3623 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

hi alan,

i do not recall our conversation, but i do not believe i would have said that i 'herd icarus did not test their canopies to 150kt'. i would have no knowledge of that and i do not believe they would lie.

i have responded to several people when questioned about a safires 150kt label that drop test ratings are are done on canopies to determine damage done to the canopy at a specific speed and loading, NOT damage done to the jumper subjected to the opening (there is a big difference between what you would do to a drop test 'dummy' weight and what you would do to a person). Our canopies have been designed and tested using specially built equipment to ensure that the ratings we post are safe. to my knowledge no other canopy company designs with or tests their canopies recording the force/time applied to the jumper. (PD did loan recently a couple canopies to parks college as dr. jean potvin and gary peeks can take similar measurements.)

having your canopy not blow apart doesn't do you much good if you snap your neck from the opening shock. i have some experience with this as i fractured my c6 vertabre on a competitors canopy on a slow speed deployment rw jump. this is unfortunately not that rare.

i have deployed a 95 cobalt in head down, full stand, tracking, etc for our testing equiped with a computerized dataloger with accelerometer and load sensors. i personally have 63 test jumps deploying at speeds from 160-210mph. i have another 400+ fun jumps on cobalts most high speed.

how many safire jumpers would do a jump with me and dump in a stand at 180mph?


sincerely,

dan preston
atair aerodynamics
www.extremefly.com




alan  (D 17868)

Apr 8, 2001, 10:38 AM
Post #7 of 35 (3597 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

Dan here is a cut and paste of the relevant portion from your e-mail to me.

"Hi Dan,
This last Sat I was asked to take a look at a Cobalt 150 that was less than 1 year old. The placard read max. deployment speed 130 kts. As a rigger, I was questioned as to why your ads state the following: "The Atair COBALT is the first canopy addressing the needs of free flyers.
Max deployment 160 mph.", when 130 kts is about 150 mph. My response was that I didn't know and would have to e-mail you for an answer.

-that cobalt was manufactured before we completed our higher speed testing and as such has an old label.


In the meantime, I decided to see what information your web-site had to offer and came across this statement: "Main canopies are designed for maximum deployment speeds of 120 knots and below." My Icarus canopies are placarded at 150 kts, well above 160 mph. I am curious about what main
canopies you are referring to.

-pd canopies are specified at 120. additionally from what i have been told icarus canopies may be labeled higher but have not been tested to 150."

We have several Crossfires at the DZ and they all said they would be willing to open with you any time any way and that you should bring along a lot of beer with you.


alan


cobaltdan  (D License)

Apr 8, 2001, 2:31 PM
Post #8 of 35 (3583 views)
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hi alan,

in my last post i was trying to explain that the labels are tests of max conditions for canopy survival, they do not take into consideration if the resulting opening force/time exceeds safe levels to subject a jumper. atair is trying to change this. this is not an antagonistic jab at other manufacturers , but rather our passion and effort to make the sport safer.

compare apples to apples. if we go by convention we could rate the max deployment speed of the cobalt grossly higher. we do not because i have trouble with the ethics involved in allowing a jumper to have a false sense of security by thinking it is safe for their canopy to deploy at a speed that may seriously injure them.


as far as crossfire jumping, i would love to have someone jump it with our SDAS (skydiving data acquisition system) and test it safely (ie. a series of jumps deploying at progressively higher speeds).

the beauty of using an sdas is that there is nothing subjective, all relevant data is exactly sensed and recorded.

when i said how many people want to pop their safire in a fast stand, i was just being cute. sometimes i forget that tone does not always read right when quickly typing emails. but we have tested 2 safires by letting other jumpers use our sdas. we have let allot of people jump our sdas at various dz's so we can look at the results and show our equipment. i have 4 'scans' of 2 different safires, not nearly enough for a scientific study, but based on what was recorded i wouldn't want anyone dumping one in a fast stand.

sincerely,

dan
atair
www.extremefly.com





DBTECH  (B 21186)

Apr 9, 2001, 11:52 AM
Post #9 of 35 (3516 views)
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Monday AM--4-9-01

I just got an E-mail from Dan at Atair that my custom color 135 Cobalt is in NY.
The custom order was sent to the factory in Solvenia (Europe) four weeks ago, exactly!

Dave Brownell



alan  (D 17868)

Apr 9, 2001, 3:18 PM
Post #10 of 35 (3499 views)
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Dan,
I said you said something. You said you did't recall the conversation and that you would not have said what I claimed you did. I cut and pasted a portion of our e-mail exchange that showed what you actually said. Now you want to put a different spin on it. As far as the tests with the SDAS goes, as you pointed out previously, Gary Peek and Dr. Jean Potvin tested a variety of canopies (PD) and found them to have about the same forces on the jumper as what you have stated the Cobalt does according to the article they published in Skydiving Magazine #224.

You stated that "early tests show show his company's canopies show a peak dedeleration of about 6 Gs, significantly less than many other modern skydiving canopies." In the same issue, in the article by Peek and Potvin, they state "Our measurements have shown that on average, sport canopies tend to generate opening shocks averaging in the 3- to 6-G level after a skydive performed at terminal velocity. Hard (fast) and painful openings have been documented at about 9 to 12 G's in about one second."

You may indeed have a passion and effort to make the sport safer, but it appears you also have a passion to sell Cobalt canopies and are willing to engage in a lot of "puffery" and misleading claims to do so. From what I have seen and heard about the Cobalt, it is a fine canopy and it will stand very well on its' performance and probably sell alot better without the type of pitching I have seen. I had hoped to get the opportunity to evaluate one personally after you promised Sangiro via e-mail that you would be happy to send me one to review for a feature article here in Dropzone.com, but you seem to have forgotten that as well. It is probably a moot issue now that Parachutist did such a good review. I was very glad to see that and wish they would do it more often.

alan


cobaltdan  (D License)

Apr 10, 2001, 3:26 PM
Post #11 of 35 (3447 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

i am not trying to put spins on anything just not argue over comments not in context.

canopies lables stating max opening speed are tested only for canopy survival and not if the jumper will sustain injury as a result of that opening.

this is very important. doesn't this bother you. it is missleading. most people assume that the rating means it is safe to open up to that figure. for many canopies it is not. neck injuries ranging from whiplash to death, detached retina's, etc.. are more common than you would think. the useful data for determining if a jumper may be harmed by opening force is the force/time curve.

i have scans taken on our canopies and many others, there are distint differences between canopies. some are good, some less, and some are unsafe. the genie is out of the bag so to speak. almost every major parachute and container manufacture at the pia asked asked us to quote them on an sdas. we are building them now for other manufacturers to help offset the hugh initial r&d cost to design and build, but mainly also because it will create a level playing field. instead of manufacturers advertising un substantiated claims or saying if your canopy opens hard you must be packing wrong....jumpers will have empirical data on the differences between products to make up their own mind.

Atair has deliberatly not published scans yet (but definately our sdas has been demonstrated and data shown to people in the industry) as we are in the process of involving individuals and associations for further tests. i do not want any posibility for someone to point bias, or create a situation where a more powerful company in the industry could come in and steal our thunder so to speak. additionally there is still allot of work left to be done. medically what force/time is acceptable is still a bit grey. we are inferring from studies done in the automobile industry and some military parachute studies...etc...we want

i think its funny that you think i am putting out "puffery"
i try to be educational in my posts and of course being with atair, i cant post without it being at least a slight plug. but i would think this is more good than not. wouldn't you like to see all manufacturers active on this list. i think we all stand to learn allot.

demo's: fax in a demo' request off our home page and the office will schedule it for you.

sincerely,

dan
atair
www.extremefly.com

ps. we will be off line and at carolina sly sports for the rest of the week. hopefully simon and i will get a ride in ted strong's parachute atv :)



DBTECH  (B 21186)

Apr 12, 2001, 8:21 PM
Post #12 of 35 (3369 views)
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I received my new Atair Cobalt 135 this morning via Fed X.
The quality/workmanship is beyond very good----will be jumping it at Eloy on Saturday.

Dave Brownell db




MrHixxx  (D 24144)

Apr 14, 2001, 11:59 PM
Post #13 of 35 (3317 views)
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I just ordered my custom colored Cobalt 120 a few weeks ago. I am glad to hear that the performance comparison between these canopies is negligible as both were up for consideration. Some 8 months ago I put in for a Crossfire demo and was blown off by Icarus after being encouraged to buy one and return it if I did not like it. I also put in for a Samurai demo shortly after and was forgotten on this list too. It took all of two weeks to get a Cobalt demo on all three requests, not to mention tons of support I received from Mike at Freeair and Dan in piloting and picking the right canopy. With concern for product support, these canopies are not really so equal in my experience.



Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Apr 17, 2001, 1:53 PM
Post #14 of 35 (3254 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

"It took all of two weeks to get a Cobalt demo on all three requests, not to mention tons of support I received from Mike at Freeair and Dan in piloting and picking the right canopy."

Glad you were happy enough with your demo to go ahead and order your new Cobalt! We had a great time this past weekend showing off the demo Cobalts (plus the new Indigo seven-cell eliptical) to the crowd at the CSS Easter Boogie. We also had a Cobalt 95 with prototype nose modifications to lock in more air. It flew beautifully and I have a new 75 with those nose mods on the way (factory pilot bennies!). Any Perris guys out there will see myself and Caven Warren swooping it up with Cobalts at the Para Performance Games in June.

Chuck Blue
D-12501
Atair Factory Pilot



Geoff

Apr 18, 2001, 4:15 AM
Post #15 of 35 (3214 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

Can't help wondering why you're modifying the Cobalt nose? How will that affect the way it flies?

To be honest, I suddenly feel less inclined to order one yet, knowing that it's being re-designed.

I'm sure you don't want to damage or even delay your own sales, so more info would be appreciated.

Thanks

Geoff



Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Apr 18, 2001, 8:57 AM
Post #16 of 35 (3193 views)
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Geoff,
I am sure Dan will pop on and answer with "the factory answer", but the prototype that was jumped at the CSS easter boogie, a modified Cobalt 95, was a test mule for a future canopy, as yet to be named. That canopy is an R&D test bed, pure and simple.

My new 75 will have that mod so that I can do more first-hand analysis on the design. If I find I don't really like it (because I LOVE my current Cobalt), then I will have the nose things removed, modified, or whatever. I do not mind being a guinea pig. What one possible concern is with this prototype is that we might be blocking so much incoming air that we are negating the effect of the current "two stage" opening effect. It might end up that my prototype has small crossports cut into the 3rd and 6th ribs so as to allow better pressure equalization. I will be the judge of that. I will say, though, that Caven Warren, another Atair Factory Pilot, put down one blistering surf on the 95 prototype. Caven normally jumps an 85 and some weights. He liked it enough that we are putting the mod on my 75.

One other person at the CSS boogie who test-jumped the prototype indicated that he thoght the canopy waffled in a riser dive, so once again, don't be thinking that this mod is a "done deal" so to speak. So, in closing, thinking you might be missing out on "the newest thing" by waiting to put in your Cobalt order is not what I would advise.

Go Fast, Take Chances

Chuck Blue
D-12501
Atair Factory Pilot



cobaltdan  (D License)

Apr 18, 2001, 10:16 AM
Post #17 of 35 (3182 views)
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hi geoff,

the 95 canopy jumped in css over easter is a prototype 'competition' model. the nose is 25% closed with triangular cross braces from the loaded ribs. preliminary results: more rigid leading edge airfoil, less drag providing a 30% longer dive and about 1/2 size increase in speed. the 95 flies almost like an 85, but with the lift and glide of a 95. slight buffeting was noticed on the right side only during a hard hook in 1 out of 3 jumps and is being investigated.

with the para performance games coming up i am working on a squeezing a little extra performance out of a few hot rod cobalts.

> this is not a production mod to appear on cobalts <

sincerely,

dan
atair

sincerely,

dan



Geoff

Apr 18, 2001, 10:27 AM
Post #18 of 35 (3180 views)
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Thanks Dan and Chuck - that clarifies a lot.

Blue swoops

Geoff



decorous

Apr 18, 2001, 12:02 PM
Post #19 of 35 (3167 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

I have been looking at both the crossfire and the cobalt. How does the nose of the cobalt compare to that of the crossfire. I know that the flare is deep with the safire and crossfire, how does the cobalt compare. Sorry never jumped a cobalt.



Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Apr 18, 2001, 1:29 PM
Post #20 of 35 (3156 views)
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Decorous,
I believe you asked two different questions, so I will answer both for you. First, the nose on a Cobalt APPEARS the same as a Stilleto or say any other nine-cell eliptical; leading edge flipped over the top a bit. The nose on a Crossfire is more closed off; with only two oval-shaped openings per cell. I am not sure what benefit this adds, as the Cobalt flies at least as well and certainly opens better.

The "control range" on a Cobalt is similar to most other "performance" mains (all tri-cells, the Crossfire, etc.) on the market other than the Stilleto. That is to say that the brakes are more around your shoulders/torso than your ears as is the case with the Stilleto. The Cobalt is a much less "jittery" canopy than a Stilleto, The Cobalt, as well as most other performance mains, also dives steeper and has a longer recovery arc.

I personally compare the Safire to something like a PISA Hornet; an intermediate experience-range, lightly eliptical main. A Safire flies nothing like a Cobalt.

I would write more, but hey, it's quittin' time!

Chuck



cobaltdan  (D License)

Apr 18, 2001, 2:49 PM
Post #21 of 35 (3144 views)
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a note on the crossfire nose design. if you look at it when un inflated it is basically the standard rectangular opening you are used to seeing with the corners radiused on the non-loaded ribs.

the heart shape you see when it inflates is because the non-loaded ribs with the rounded corners float up higher than the loaded rib in the center. the resulting distorted shape looks like a heart.

this is a minor nose mod, it does reduce inlet drag slightly, but mostly i think the motivation behind it is asthetic. i think many jumpers believe it looks more modern and advanced.

because the mod is on the non loaded ribs it does not make make the nose more rigid or provide a better leading edge airfoil. spanwise distortion is the same with this mod or without.

sincerely,

dan
atair



weid14  (D 20292)

Apr 19, 2001, 3:15 PM
Post #22 of 35 (3094 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

Dan, it's OK to support and promote you product. And I think the Cobalt is a fine canopy, but without any product development knowledge, I suggest you not make claims about other manufacturer's products that you can not substantiate. I have jumped the Colbalt, it's nice, I've jumped a crossfire, I bought one.

Dave



alan  (D 17868)

Apr 19, 2001, 3:34 PM
Post #23 of 35 (3092 views)
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I've been trying to get this message across to Dan, without much success. As Dan himself suggested, I wish other manufacturers would use this forum to disseminate information, it would be better for all and there would be less innuendo, half truths, and misleading information about canopies and canopy design being spread around.

alan


alan  (D 17868)

Apr 19, 2001, 3:54 PM
Post #24 of 35 (3089 views)
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Re: Crossfire vs. Cobalt [In reply to] Can't Post

hi alan,

in my last post i was trying to explain that the labels are tests of max conditions for canopy survival, they do not take into consideration if the resulting opening force/time exceeds safe levels to subject a jumper. atair is trying to change this. this is not an antagonistic jab at other manufacturers , but rather our passion and effort to make the sport safer.

>Fair enough, but what we were talking about were placarded speed limitations and your comments on such. I cut and pasted them here with no editing and did not change the context of either my question or your answer.

compare apples to apples. if we go by convention we could rate the max deployment speed of the cobalt grossly higher. we do not because i have trouble with the ethics involved in allowing a jumper to have a false sense of security by thinking it is safe for their canopy to deploy at a speed that may seriously injure them.

>Fine, but the industry standard is and has been to placard the canopy at tested opening speeds that the canopy can withstand and most jumpers realize this and do not have a false sense of security.


as far as crossfire jumping, i would love to have someone jump it with our SDAS (skydiving data acquisition system) and test it safely (ie. a series of jumps deploying at progressively higher speeds).

>I would love to do this for you. In reponse to an e-mail from Sangiro, you said you would love to send me a canopy to evaluate and write an article on. I followed up on that with my own e-mail, but now you want me to request a demo from your web-site. If you would like, I would be happy to post all of the correspondence here to refresh your memory.

the beauty of using an sdas is that there is nothing subjective, all relevant data is exactly sensed and recorded.

when i said how many people want to pop their safire in a fast stand, i was just being cute. sometimes i forget that tone does not always read right when quickly typing emails. but we have tested 2 safires by letting other jumpers use our sdas. we have let allot of people jump our sdas at various dz's so we can look at the results and show our equipment. i have 4 'scans' of 2 different safires, not nearly enough for a scientific study, but based on what was recorded i wouldn't want anyone dumping one in a fast stand.

>OK. Send me one. I'll test it on the Crossfire as well. I'll need your action plan with wingloading information, testing conditions, etc.



alan


weid14  (D 20292)

Apr 19, 2001, 4:13 PM
Post #25 of 35 (3084 views)
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I agree.... it seems like (unfortunately) that also happens ("that" being: innuendo and half truths - or changing the story part way through -- the Safire and Crossfire are totally different in design and target audience) from at least one manufacturer here :) Besides, then what fun would it be.



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