Jul 3, 2012, 3:30 AM
Post #1 of 16
X3 initial impressions
I've had a couple of requests for feedback on the X3, so here we go. I'm 5'11" (180cm), around 100kg (220lbs). I have around 700 or so WS jumps from just over 1300 jumps in total & I've done probably 150-200 WS jumps in large suits where the wing root comes from the ankle (Venom, X-Bird etc). So bear in mind that your experiences with a suit this size may differ from mine. I remember trying an X-Bird at around 100 WS jumps and certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone that early on.
I use a 9ft bridle with a 29" ZP PC and have done for quite a while. I jumps a Crossfire 2 139, psycho packed and loaded at 1.70. I deploy in flight but drop the knees to go head high & slow down a little, then fly through the opening until linestretch when I close my legs.
I only flew the X3 twice at the weekend due to the usual crappy met in the UK. Both flights were straight in at the deep end with the pressurisation "pussy zips" fully closed.
First flight I was out at 13,500ft, stable straight away and felt like I went straight into seriously slow flight. People still in the aircraft said it looked like I was staying level with them for ages. From a relatively slow run-in, it felt like it climbed a little even after staying closed up for a good while. I tried to maintain slowfall for the entire flight and deployed a little higher than usual incase of any dramas (4000ft). A practice pull or two up high would probably have been sensible, but I've always worked better under pressure. Turned out that pull was no problem at all, although others said they took a while to find it on first few flights with the XRW/Rebel/X3. Altitrack showed me deploying at 12,500ft without me consciously flaring the suit, which it has never done before. It is in "SLO" mode as it has been for all my other WS jumps.
Second flight I tried smoking it along a little to see what the forward speed was like, then flying it lazy, flying it slow & generally messing around. Arms were tiring a little towards the end, but pull still fine and I was surprised to see that I still did a 38mph average (22mph min if I remember correctly?) whilst messing around the whole flight.
As with all Tonysuits I've flown, it feels to me like my legs are too close together, but I've done the vast majority of my WS flights on V3, Ghost 3 & Venom which all have a wider leg stance. Also, from a handful of previous flights on S-Birds, I've felt that there needs to be a little more legwing as they tend to fly a little head high when all wings are maxed out. The X3 doesn't have this "problem". With everything maxed out, it rockets along and to slow it down (vertically and horizontally) you need to drop the knees a little to get your head up. I much prefer this to the way the S-Birds/Wings seemed to fly, during my very limited experience with them.
With the X3 and a mate's Apache XRW laid side by side, the suits are identical (well as "identical" as two Tonysuits ever are) apart from the rig being on the outside on the X3 of course. He has gone on to the XRW from an X2 and thinks there is now less work on the arms, probably due to the chest taking a larger percentage of the weight than with the rig outside.
If his Apache XRW fits me, we will swap for a jump when we get chance for a better comparison. For anyone that's interested, he has done a pull test on his thumb loops and they were well within limits if pulled downwards, rather than outwards away from the chest.
For info, I use a 9ft bridle with a 29" ZP PC and have done for quite a while. I jumps a Crossfire 2 139, psycho packed and loaded at 1.70. I've never had twists, off heading openings or PC hesitation on any suit since I went to this configuration. I deploy in flight but drop the knees to go head high & slow down a little, then fly through the opening until linestretch when I close my legs.
I will take some pictures next weekend of both suits and hopefully get some maxed out flights in with a flysight to get a better idea of performance.
Right, sorry it's taken a while for more info but I've been away and can't really post anything useful from my phone. I've had a heap of PMs so will answer the questions asked as I go along. It's not me in the pictures by the way, but it's probably the nearest Zoe is going to get to a modelling assignment.
The weather has still been shite in the UK so I have only done 3 or 4 jumps on the X3. The flysight data (freefall part only) here is from jump 3 where I wasn't trying to do anything in particular and flew in a slow left handed arc throughout about 180 degrees. I will leave the geeks among you to analyse the data in detail but it looks to me like I was averaging around mid 30s (mph) which is about what I would expect based on other people's experiences. I guess with another 15-20 jumps I should be seeing mid to low 20s sustained. At these speeds, Altitrack is useless, even in slow mode it thinks I'm under canopy. Paralog seems to think the same which surely must be configurable, although I can't see how just yet?
I'm still finding the pull no problem but after a few jumps with weary arms it needs a bit of positive effort. My mate who flies an Apache Rebel says that there is a noticable lesser strain on the arms than with his X2 he had previously. We are putting this down to the fact that the chest takes a larger percentage of the weight when the rig is on the inside of the suit.
I've been asked about flying without holding grippers. Although I didn't try releasing both, I did let go of the left one a couple of times to look at alti. The wing stayed pressurised and just the gripper flapped around. If you look at the armwing pic you will see that the gripper flapping won't actually affect the wing profile. If you really wanted to get rid of them then I guess you could tape them to the armwing as a trial and remove them if you really wanted to.
One thing I have noticed is that there is not a lot of hand room between end of sleeve an gripper, it's all a little crowded with gloves and an altitrack in there.
I have also been asked how X3 compares to the Apache & V4. I am loathed to spark off another brand war and have no affiliation to any manufacturer, but will give my honest opinions. The difference between X3 and Apache Rebel/XRW is marginal. They in turn both outperform the previous generation of Apache and X series as you would expect. It's not really fair to compare X3 with the V4 as they are very different suits. For out and out performance I would rather have the tonysuit but if I were flying down a talus then the precision and stability of a V3/V4 would maybe be preferable. I do also have a fair few jumps on the Venom (I own one) which is the most direct PF equivalent and I don't think anyone could argue that the X3 has the Venom well beaten for performance. Personally, I beat my Venom stats on the first jump on the X3 when just messing around.
I will be at Moorsele from 21-29 Jul if anyone is in the area and wants to take a closer look at it.
If there are any more questions, please post them here rather than via PM.
Firstly the girl is not mine, nor has she flown the suit, I just got her to stick it on to get some photos. The suit is obviously too big for her but it fits me perfectly. I did get some gopro video with a rear facing cam but you couldn't see anything useful on it so it's been deleted. I will try and get some better outside video soon.
By "performance" I am talking glide ratio and fallrate. However, I think Tony has proven that the horizontal speed is also pretty good by winning the BASE race hasn't he? I've not done a speed run in the X3 yet, but will do next week in Belgium if they let me get out far enough away.
I mean video if you would fly with somebody who have a cam on his helmet.
That's what I meant by "outside video". I will try and get some next week in Belgium but there are not that may people around that can fly slow enough to get video of it maxed out. When I have some, I will post it here so be patient.
Hi Murf, can you open up the arm wing pressurisation zips and have a look at the cross cell venting, I noticed the original X used straight vertical hot knife cuts. I've noticed some other suits use fine mesh for the internal ribs, would be interested to see how the cross venting is achieved on the X3. Guess its not so important on a skydive but can be very critical to sub terminal inflation.