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Night Jump Gear - Strobe

 

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AdamWirtz2001  (C 40050)

May 29, 2012, 6:06 AM
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Night Jump Gear - Strobe Can't Post

Hey guys,

I did a search and found some old threads on night jump gear, however the links in them were always too old and did not work anymore.

I am trying to find out where I can get an appropriate strobe for night jumps. We are doing them at SDC soon and I want to make sure I get the right gear. Any idea where I can go pick one up from? Can anybody link me to something that would be good? I am not exactly sure what I am looking for.

Thanks!

Adam


TheCaptain  (D License)

May 29, 2012, 6:20 AM
Post #2 of 42 (2690 views)
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Re: [AdamWirtz2001] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.paragear.com/...e.asp?group=24#L1456


(This post was edited by TheCaptain on May 29, 2012, 6:21 AM)


AdamWirtz2001  (C 40050)

May 29, 2012, 6:29 AM
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Re: [TheCaptain] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

Awesome! Thanks.


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

May 29, 2012, 8:04 AM
Post #4 of 42 (2646 views)
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Re: [AdamWirtz2001] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

I've found them at REI as well (I imagine similar stores might carry them, too).


DougH  (D License)

May 29, 2012, 11:21 AM
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Re: [NWFlyer] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

I purchased from Paragear the FIREFLY 3 RESCUE LIGHT.

It is bright as hell, and works really well.

I keep it off in freefall to avoid blinding myself and other jumpers.

I added a long line to the unit which is secured to my chest strap. The line is wrapped up on the unit, and then it gets stowed on my chest strap with rubber bands.

When under canopy I turn the unit on while looking away, and pull it clear of the rubber bands that it is stowed in and drop it between my legs. It unrolls and ends up a bit behind me so it doesn't blind me during canopy flight.

It is visible from above and below using this method, and 360 degrees around.

On landing it bounces behind me until I come to a stop. In that sense it could be a snag hazard under canopy but I think the risk is low and the drop cord I used has a relatively low breaking strength. I am pretty sure it would snap easily if it caught anything.

For me the risk of having an well visible strobe is worth the small snag risk. Most of the strobes that other jumpers use are just to meet the jump requirements but they don't work very well.


(This post was edited by DougH on May 29, 2012, 3:05 PM)


d100965  (D 100965)

May 29, 2012, 1:09 PM
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Re: [AdamWirtz2001] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

I made one myself......(it was a long while ago now though)
Attachments: 067.JPG (96.7 KB)


theplummeter  (C License)

May 29, 2012, 5:48 PM
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Re: [d100965] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I made one myself......(it was a long while ago now though)

If you're not still using that I would love to wear it around my job at the airport at night. For safety, and not to scare my coworkers before we fly.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

May 29, 2012, 9:50 PM
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Re: [DougH] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I added a long line to the unit which is secured to my chest strap. The line is wrapped up on the unit, and then it gets stowed on my chest strap with rubber bands.

Never, never tie anything to you rig you dont want to be buried with.

Sparky


obelixtim  (D 84)

May 30, 2012, 1:05 AM
Post #9 of 42 (2449 views)
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Re: [AdamWirtz2001] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

 You don't really need a strobe for night jumps, it is better to have a steady light shining up on to your canopy. From above, a strobe can easily be mistaken for a strobe on the ground, which airports generally have around them. As already stated, strobe lights can impair your night vision.

Usually there is a lot of light coming from the ground, and if you have moonlight, it is surprising how much visibility there will be.

Have an assigned segment of airspace to fly around in, and stick to it, if you are jumping with more than one person at the same time. You can also arrange to vary your opening heights, to maximise seperation. Don't get radical under canopy.

Keep your neck on a swivel and your eyes peeled.


DougH  (D License)

May 30, 2012, 4:27 AM
Post #10 of 42 (2424 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I added a long line to the unit which is secured to my chest strap. The line is wrapped up on the unit, and then it gets stowed on my chest strap with rubber bands.

Never, never tie anything to you rig you dont want to be buried with.

Sparky

Sparky I allways appreciate your input but you and I both know that equipment is not black and white. I got the idea of the dropline strobe from a very experienced jumper and rigger who has used this method for decades.

My setup is well thought out. In freefall it is no more dangerous than a student AFF radio, or chest mounted alti. I use multiple rubber bands to keep the line secured until I deploy it, it has redundancy built in.

Under canopy it posses a small snag risk but the line has such a low breaking strength that it is minimal. I tested by tying off between my rig and an anchor, it snaps easily by walking against it. I am not hanging 100 feet of 550 cord off my harness.

It deploys down and behind so there is very little risk of it getting snagged on the canopy itself. In hard turns the centrifical force keeps it as far away from the canopy as the line allows.

I could put a cutaway on the setup but that will overly complicate it.


(This post was edited by DougH on May 30, 2012, 6:10 AM)


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
Moderator
May 30, 2012, 6:05 AM
Post #11 of 42 (2405 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I added a long line to the unit which is secured to my chest strap. The line is wrapped up on the unit, and then it gets stowed on my chest strap with rubber bands.

Never, never tie anything to you rig you dont want to be buried with.

Sparky


I agree 100% with this. The main hangar at HALO school is named after an instructor and friend of mine who died due a strobe mishap that was tied to him. Strobe lights are attached to the top/back of the helmet and turned on once you are under canopy. The strobe can be gaffer/duct taped/zip tied to the helmet but NEVER tie it off to your person let alone dangle it under you while under canopy.


DougH  (D License)

May 30, 2012, 6:12 AM
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Re: [LouDiamond] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

If you can, can you please share what the specifics of the fatality were?

I *think* I have thought about the failure modes in my setup but I could be missing one.

One danger is that it deploys in freefall and tanges with my container and/or canopy. This could hinder cutaway and/or reserve deployment. To avoid this I use multiple tandem stow bands to secure the line to the unit and my chest strap. The drop line is wrapped around the unit and tightly secured, and then the whole unit is secured to the chest strap. To deploy prematurely it has to be knocked off the chest strap and multiple stow bands have to be peeled back, or the line has to pull free from them.

I could improve this by putting it in a pouch that needs to be opened to be deployed after under a good canopy.

Second danger I considered was the unit snagging with another jumper or an obstacle under canopy. I tried to minimize this risk by using a very light line that would break with minimal force.

I could improve this fail safe by attatching the unit and the end of the drop line by using a stow band as a breakable link of sorts.

What else am I failing to consider here?


(This post was edited by DougH on May 30, 2012, 6:23 AM)


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
Moderator
May 30, 2012, 6:30 AM
Post #13 of 42 (2395 views)
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Re: [obelixtim] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
You don't really need a strobe for night jumps, it is better to have a steady light shining up on to your canopy

Actually you do according to the FAA and since most steady lights that can be worn by a person aren't bright enough or don't meet the distance requirement to be seen until its too late by an aircraft, a strobe is needed. Steady lights can also be deceiving to see from jumper to jumper in some cases when under canopy as most lights on the ground are steady, a strobe pointed upward that flashes into the bottom skin of the canopy makes it easy for other jumpers and aircraft to see you. Steady lights, like Chem lights on the front and back of jumpers are ideal for freefall where most jumpers are in close proximity to one another. Green is worn on the back of the jumpers helmet and a red light is worn on the front of the jumper. This helps other jumpers know what direction a jumper is orientated and moving towards while in freefall and when under canopy when close to one another. Having both types of light sources on your person is a very good idea and highly recommended.


obelixtim  (D 84)

May 30, 2012, 6:44 AM
Post #14 of 42 (2383 views)
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Re: [LouDiamond] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Actually you do according to the FAA

OK, I wasn't aware of that.....but then I haven't done a jump in the US since 1976, and night jumps weren't on my aganda at the time.

The type of lighting is optional wherever I've jumped, and with around 50 night jumps I've never used a strobe. Whatever lighting system used seems to have pros and cons.

I only had one jump that was really scary.....no moon, high overcast layer, a 6 way from 10 grand....absolutely pitch black....No one saw anyone else from the second we exited till we met up in the bar later. Lights we had used successfully already, played no part in the jump. Everyone just tracked on their assigned heading and stayed there under canopy.


AdamWirtz2001  (C 40050)

May 30, 2012, 7:25 AM
Post #15 of 42 (2363 views)
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Re: [obelixtim] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

So, thanks to your help, I have my gear now.

I am very excited about doing these night jumps on Saturday. Any tips on doing them safely? Tricks for judging the landing?

How do you guys like night jumps? Falling through darkness sounds like a blast to me.


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

May 30, 2012, 10:51 AM
Post #16 of 42 (2330 views)
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Re: [AdamWirtz2001] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
So, thanks to your help, I have my gear now.

I am very excited about doing these night jumps on Saturday. Any tips on doing them safely? Tricks for judging the landing?

How do you guys like night jumps? Falling through darkness sounds like a blast to me.

Love the freefall, landing is okay, hate the canopy ride. I did my second one for my D license, came down and said "Done. Never again. Can I have my fucking D license now?" SlyLaugh

My night vision is not the greatest, though, and I found it very difficult to see anything at all on the canopy ride. Though everyone on the load had a strobe, it didn't help me at all in finding other canopies. Both night jumps I did had the landing area so well-lit the landing didn't feel all that different to me.

You should get a thorough briefing, but here's a few things that may or may not come up.

If you're using a glow-face analog altimeter, be sure to "charge" it by leaving it close to a light source for at least 30 minutes. If it's been buried in your gear bag for a while, it won't have quite the brightness you hope for.

Don't collapse your slider after you open. That flappy-flappy sound helps those around you know "there's another canopy nearby."


(This post was edited by NWFlyer on May 30, 2012, 10:51 AM)


airtwardo  (D License)

May 30, 2012, 11:28 AM
Post #17 of 42 (2318 views)
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Re: [LouDiamond] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
You don't really need a strobe for night jumps, it is better to have a steady light shining up on to your canopy

Actually you do according to the FAA and since most steady lights that can be worn by a person aren't bright enough or don't meet the distance requirement to be seen until its too late by an aircraft, a strobe is needed. Steady lights can also be deceiving to see from jumper to jumper in some cases when under canopy as most lights on the ground are steady, a strobe pointed upward that flashes into the bottom skin of the canopy makes it easy for other jumpers and aircraft to see you. Steady lights, like Chem lights on the front and back of jumpers are ideal for freefall where most jumpers are in close proximity to one another. Green is worn on the back of the jumpers helmet and a red light is worn on the front of the jumper. This helps other jumpers know what direction a jumper is orientated and moving towards while in freefall and when under canopy when close to one another. Having both types of light sources on your person is a very good idea and highly recommended.

"Red Right Returning" is how ya tell if an AC is coming at you or going away, I know YOU know that Scott just adding for the crowd. Wink

I've got a lot of safe, uneventful night jumps. I tend to use a combination of some things listed prior.

I have a spandex pocket on the rear riser that holds a small flashlight pointing up at the canopy...ya can't miss it. I slip the light in right after opening and clearing airspace.

A small flashlight taped to the underside of my left wrist, if landing in totally dark conditions I can get a ground reference with my hands in the toggles by raising my elbows, I usually leave that one off unless needed, it's a last ditch back-up.

A strobe gaffered to that back of my helmet that is on at exit, and another on the side attached to my left leg-strap in case #1 fails or I feel I need an additional blinker going because of crowded skies.



I 'use to' tie/tape a chem-lite to the back of a rear riser and break it prior to boarding the AC, the riser cover kept it dark in the AC ride up, if nothing else worked ya at least ha 'some' light on you, and if you chopped you 'might' get a clue as to where the canopy is going....way more trouble that it's worth, to me anyway. Sly


BrianM  (D 661)

May 30, 2012, 4:57 PM
Post #18 of 42 (2271 views)
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Re: [NWFlyer] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Don't collapse your slider after you open. That flappy-flappy sound helps those around you know "there's another canopy nearby."

How do I hear the other person's flappy-flappy slider over the sound of MY flappy-flappy slider, which is a mere couple feet or so from my ears?

It might make it harder to hear things other than another slider, too - like a yell.

I prefer to collapse mine.


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

May 30, 2012, 5:05 PM
Post #19 of 42 (2267 views)
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Re: [BrianM] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Don't collapse your slider after you open. That flappy-flappy sound helps those around you know "there's another canopy nearby."

How do I hear the other person's flappy-flappy slider over the sound of MY flappy-flappy slider, which is a mere couple feet or so from my ears?

It might make it harder to hear things other than another slider, too - like a yell.

I prefer to collapse mine.

Good point ... as I said upthread, I've only ever done two (not the biggest fan of night jumps) so I'll certainly defer to others who've done more as to how well that actually works in practice. (That wasn't my idea - others have suggested it to me, so it's out there in night jump briefings).


mjosparky  (D 5476)

May 30, 2012, 10:06 PM
Post #20 of 42 (2235 views)
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Re: [AdamWirtz2001] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
So, thanks to your help, I have my gear now.

I am very excited about doing these night jumps on Saturday. Any tips on doing them safely? Tricks for judging the landing?

How do you guys like night jumps? Falling through darkness sounds like a blast to me.

Try this.

Sparky

http://www.dropzone.com/...tail_page.cgi?ID=570


dninness  (D 19617)

May 31, 2012, 6:18 PM
Post #21 of 42 (2169 views)
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Re: Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

The little mini "fishing bobber" glow sticks are great with a bit of gaffer tape as a hood on your altimeter.

I've done the "strobe on a line' (I *knew* that old ROL pocket on my legstrap would come in handy!) before, and it seems to work fairly well. I let mine dangle 10-12 ft below me, which puts it mostly behind me and I don't seem to get any disorienting flashes off my canopy.

Last time I did night jumps, one of the guys had affixed a very, very bright head lamp to the very top of his helmet and from above that thing lit up his canopy like the inside of a Chinese lantern. When he moved his head, from above, you could see his light, and when it was pointing directly at the canopy it was very well lit. It was, no pun intended, brilliant.

I am already stoked to have that same setup on my next night jump.


monkycndo  (D License)

May 31, 2012, 7:43 PM
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Re: [dninness] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

I enjoy doing night wingsuit jumps. I use a combination of glow sticks in the wings and on my chest strap & helmet for being lit up during flight. My suit glows. I also have a strobe/flashlight taped to the back of my helmet and a head lamp worn under my open face helmet. Once I deploy, I turn on the headlamp and flashlight on my helmet to do a quick check of my canopy. Then I switch the flash light over to the strobe function. With it being on the back of the helmet, it doesn't affect my night vision.

And having the headlamp saved my butt doing the midnight New Years Eve jump in Eloy. The winds were blowing in all different directions at different altitudes. I misjudged the wind speed while under canopy and put myself downwind of the landing area and realized once I turned final wasn't going to make it to the grass. Ended up right over the top of where the planes fuel and coming almost straight down. And I can tell you there are no lights in this area and it was dark being that the lights in the landing area ahead of me killed some of my night vision. Being over the top of black pavement, it was difficult to tell my height above ground. Having the headlamp saved my ass because when the surface below me changed from black to the slightest hint of gray, I flared hard and still landed like a sack of rocks. If it hadn't been for the headlamp, I would have been in a serious world of hurt. Now the headlamp is always a part of my night gear.


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
Moderator
May 31, 2012, 10:17 PM
Post #23 of 42 (2139 views)
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Re: [dninness] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I've done the "strobe on a line' (I *knew* that old ROL pocket on my legstrap would come in handy!) before, and it seems to work fairly well.

That is pretty much how the fatality I mentioned above of Brian Daly happened. I cannot stress it enough, do not tie shit to your self and or dangle it below you. Either tape it on so there are no snag points or velcro it on. We use these methods for attaching strobes and chem lights for night jumps in the military for a reason.


AdamWirtz2001  (C 40050)

Jun 4, 2012, 7:40 AM
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Re: [LouDiamond] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the tips guys!

Did the first night jump on Saturday. 6000' Hop n pop. Deployed at 3k, turned strobe on, checked canopy with flashlight, and headed to my holding area. Nice clear night with full moon, was pretty was easy to see the DZ and landing area. No wind, so fast but good stand up landing.

I cannot wait to do another night jump at full altitude. It was so much fun falling through the darkness.

Thanks again for the tips for making it a safe jump.


RMK

Jun 7, 2012, 1:16 PM
Post #25 of 42 (1932 views)
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Re: [AdamWirtz2001] Night Jump Gear - Strobe [In reply to] Can't Post

Minor note - if you have an L&B AltiTrack Altimeter, dont underestimate how tricky it is to figure out how to turn on/off the backlight function. Have the user manual with you and read it beforehand prior to being in the dark to gain your night vision.

Great gear, but along the same style of how you turn L&B units on/off, youll never guess how the backlight works without the manual.


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