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Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading?

 

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Lindenwood  (Student)

Aug 23, 2012, 12:31 AM
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Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? Can't Post

I have been gathering info leading to a first-rig purchase. My instructor said I should look into around a 1.0 wing loading (~170 for my skinny self) and find something with decent performance that I could grow into and enjoy for a while.

I am just wondering of an elliptical canopy loaded that light is dangerous? I have found a few people saying XFire's and such loaded too light have collapsed under light turbulence, but others saying it is fine to load an elliptical this light.

The supposed benefit I'd gain would be more powerful flare and flatter glide, and faster turns. I like playing around up high so that sounds fun. Plus, I don't think I have the risk tolerance to mess with hook turns ANY time in the near future, so I like the idea of having the extra lift to glide in flat on landings ("swoop," even if mild), without doing aggressive maneuvers close to the ground.

The obvious downside would be the risk of accidental low turns due to the more responsive nature. However, I intend to get canopy instruction and do several high HopNPops with whatever I get, to get comfortable with the basic handling of the canopy and especially flat turns. So, given it is something over which I do have some degree of control, and I intend to put in some effort to learn it safely, Im not terribly concerned about that.

Still, I do keep getting that nagging feeling about loading one too light and having it collapse on me. Being completely out of my control once I am under it, that factor scares me.

So, please correct me if I'm wrong about the performance of elliptical at light wing loadings. But, I was just noticing that decent elliptical aren't really more expensive then decent tapered canopies (and understanding that is largely semantics). Thus, unless there is some inherent danger or I am overestimating their performance at light WLs, I figured "why not?"


sundevil777  (D License)

Aug 23, 2012, 12:54 AM
Post #2 of 28 (1913 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
find something with decent performance that I could grow into and enjoy for a while.

Your concern is likely brought about by that kind of thinking - that an aggressive canopy design is needed to keep you entertained/to get decent performance/etc.

Forget that kind of advice. A crossfire is definitely not right for you, even at low WL. Lots of very experienced jumpers are doing very well, having a lot of fun, landing very nicely on the same model canopies that are appropriate for you. Don't be in such a hurry to hurt yourself. Modern canopies have great performance, you don't need one designed for swooping.


(This post was edited by sundevil777 on Aug 23, 2012, 12:56 AM)


Lindenwood  (Student)

Aug 23, 2012, 1:09 AM
Post #3 of 28 (1904 views)
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Re: [sundevil777] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't looking at any particular elliptical. Just that was one of the ones I'd read collapsed at a low WL (that and a small Cobalt over a small pilot).

But you are saying that if I don't intend to do hook turns for swooping, an elliptical canopy won't get me anything? What would be the downside of an elliptical (out of curiosity), other then the risk of low turns (or are you emphasizing this downside?)?

Thanks.


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Aug 23, 2012, 1:15 AM
Post #4 of 28 (1901 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
What would be the downside of an elliptical (out of curiosity), other then the risk of low turns (or are you emphasizing this downside?)?

Horrible openings.

There are lots of canopies for beginners and novices. Pick one of them and stay away for ellipticals for 200 or 500 jumps.


Lindenwood  (Student)

Aug 23, 2012, 1:27 AM
Post #5 of 28 (1894 views)
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Re: [phoenixlpr] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Aaha, I had read this as a common complaint with many ellipticals!

Thanks!


nigel99  (D 1)

Aug 23, 2012, 1:28 AM
Post #6 of 28 (1892 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Look into a Sabre 2. It is a very fun canopy and you can drive it hard as you get experienced. There's no need for elliptical for your first few hundred jumps. In fact I know people with thousands of jumps still jumping Sabre 2's. There are other canopies in the same class that are just as fun.


NNault  (D 32131)

Aug 23, 2012, 1:32 AM
Post #7 of 28 (1890 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Simply put...you flying a fully elliptical wing is just inappropriate. Two things stick out right off the bat. A semi-ellip wing at a proper (and apropriate) wing loading will give you the perfect glide and "fast tuns and fun" that you will want and need. You must walk before you can run. Second..if you don't know what additional risks are associated with a high performance canopy you absolutely should not be under one. Finding a proper canopy is more than landing with accuracy and such. You MUST understand HOW and WHY a canopy flies and behaves the way that it does. You must understand the intricacies of ram air canopy flight. A semi-elliptical (Sabre2, Safire2, Pilot) are much better suited for your experience/WL. You will get the "quick turns", "flat glide", and "swoopy type landings" that you are looking for.....I promise. On top of this you will begin to build your base of knowledge of canopy flight that you will carry with you for the rest of your skydiving career. Please...PLEASE heed the warnings of those whom have gone--and GONE--before you. But ultimately..if you want to break yourself that's up to you..but if you hurt someone else.........


Lindenwood  (Student)

Aug 23, 2012, 2:18 AM
Post #8 of 28 (1872 views)
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Re: [NNault] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

I teach physics and am anal about technical details so I know I can understand the principal elements of canopy flight (and probably already do better than most).

In a nutshell, the biggest risks with moderately HP canopies are from being more sensitive to small inputs, because that can amplify small mistakes at low altitudes and during landings, resulting in crashes, no?

If there is something I am missing, being condescending is far less educational than just explaining it :/ . I didn't come here as some kid fresh out of the FCJ who really wants to be like the cool swoopers, so there is no need to talk to me like one. I really am just trying to understand better, and am not set in one direction or another (well, aside from definitely leaning toward the common novice canopies).


piisfish

Aug 23, 2012, 2:49 AM
Post #9 of 28 (1862 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

if you are not loading properly the canopy, you just won't get the extra lift and fun and turf-surf you are looking for.
Just like driving a sportscar with 4 flat tires...


NNault  (D 32131)

Aug 23, 2012, 3:30 AM
Post #10 of 28 (1846 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well I certainly did not intend to come across as a condecending ass and if you took it as such I sincerely apologize. With no profile info and judging by your questions I was assuming you've got between 40 to 80 jumps. On top of this a full explaination could help another younger jumper with the same questions. Fyi..understanding canopy flight on paper and feeling camopy flight are very different. I was just trying to answer the question that you asked. If you don't like/dont agree with my answer I apologize.


DougH  (D License)

Aug 23, 2012, 5:06 AM
Post #11 of 28 (1789 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
If there is something I am missing, being condescending is far less educational than just explaining it :/ . I didn't come here as some kid fresh out of the FCJ who really wants to be like the cool swoopers, so there is no need to talk to me like one. I really am just trying to understand better, and am not set in one direction or another (well, aside from definitely leaning toward the common novice canopies).

Suck it up cupcake. How would anyone know your experience level? Your profile is blank, maybe deliberately. And at first it appeared that you were fishing for favorable anwsers.

You aren't allways going to get touchy feely anwsers, and you don't need to, it is the anwser that matters.

Full elliptical canopies are not for lower experience jumpers. Bad opening characteristics, oversteer, faster turn rates and altitude loss are all reasons why the manufacturers specifically state this.


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Aug 23, 2012, 5:26 AM
Post #12 of 28 (1769 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Tapered vs semi-elliptical vs fully elliptical.

Yes, some of that is semantics. Very few canopies (if any) are truly rectangular. Some semi-elliptical/tapered canopies are essentially fully elliptical but are so with a less aggressive planform or are otherwise designed so as to be less aggressive than canopies styled "elliptical" by the same or competing manufacturers. Some truly do have very different planforms. Some may have a tapered trailing edge only. It's often a question of degree of taper, which then gets translated through into one of the two general categories for marketing/classification reasons.

Why is this important then if all we're concerned about is small differences in the shape of a wing?

In my view, it comes down to that classification bit. Whatever the actual changes in shape and the degree of those changes, they have been classified as either semi-elliptical or fully elliptical as a means of assisting in determining the degree of responsiveness to input/skill required to fly the thing/danger involved etc.

What I'm suggesting is that you put aside for a moment the exact specifications of the planform and other canopy features and simply take the classification on face value.

A canopy styled "semi-elliptical" is not inherently worse or less capable than one styled "fully elliptical". I know you come at this from a physics point of view, but there's a whole lot more to things than just the planform. Some "semi's" may even be as or more elliptical than comparable "fully elliptical" canopies. There are other differences though. There's the angle of attack, cross section of the wing, line length and construction, the degree of anhedral/dihedral curve to the wing, cross bracing, chord length, etc etc - hell you'd have to get a canopy manufacturer to spill the beans on all the factors.

And as discussed above, it's usually a question of degree. Canopies styled "semi-elliptical are great wings and can often be far more versatile than their full elliptical comparators. You don't necessarily gain anything just by buying a canopy styled "fully elliptical".

Think for a moment that in many countries you are not permitted to fly a fully elliptical canopy until you have 500 jumps. Ok, the US has not got any such rules, but there's a logic behind those rules where they exist. Just because it might be legal to drink drive in say, Libya or somewhere, doesn't make it a great idea to do so.

Those rules are not based simply on the shape of the planform, but on the general characteristics of wings which fall into the manufacturers self appointed categories. Take those categories on face value and don't just focus on the planform which lends its name to the category.

Choose your gear based on what might happen if someone cuts you up at 50ft. Choose your gear on what might happen if you have a terrible spot and end up trying to put it down in someone's back yard while dodging power cables. If you have the skill set from hundreds of jumps to do that on a canopy categorised as "fully elliptical" and therefore is highly sensitive to input (due to far more than simply it's planform), great. If you think you might fly yourself into the ground on that canopy then maybe it's not such a great idea.

I have no idea of your experiance, but a canopy styled as falling into the "fully elliptical" catagory, irrespective of its actual planform compared to other canopies, and irrespective of wing loading, is not a recomended canopy for your first rig (assuming you've a "normal" level of experiance when buying your first rig). It's your call though.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 23, 2012, 5:32 AM
Post #13 of 28 (1767 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
The supposed benefit I'd gain would be more powerful flare and flatter glide, and faster turns.

More powerful than what? Faster than what? Flatter than what?

Without knowing your experience and history of canopies you've flown, these aren't comparisons that we can confirm or deny.

I will say this, however, there is not a canopy produced today (that I know of) that does not have a flare powerful enough to provide a zero descent rate upon touchdown. If the canopy is properly maintained and properly flown, any modern canopy will have enough flare power to land you softly.

With regards to turns, 'faster' is an odd concept. Once you get your WL up a little, 'faster' becomes a non-issue because at some point it turns into 'too fast' and can toss you into line twists. So turn rate is only a concern if you can pull a toggle down to your hip and it's still too slow. In that case, you might want a canopy that can turn fatser, but if you're not pulling to toggle all the way down, just pull it down further and you'll turn faster.

Disclaimer - you'd be surprised at how big/slow of a canopy will line twist itself if you give a full deflection toggle turn, be careful.

With regards to glide, again, sort of an odd concpet to focus on. Again, you can adjust your glide as you see fit with brake or rear riser input. The trimmed glide of a non-swooping canopy is rarely a concern, and only 'needs' to be used on final approach (not even then sometimes). Otherwise, you can set your glide as you see fit by actaully 'flying' your canopy.

Truth be told, a canopy with a steeper glide is more versatile as you can choose full lfight with a steep glide, partial input for a medium glide, and more input for a shallow glide (there's more to it than that, but you get the idea). On a shallow trimmed canopy, you lose the option of a steep glide (yes, you can pull the front risers down, but then the airspeed builds and it's not a 'sustainable' flight mode).

No offence, but the things you say don't make sense, and do make you sound like a (in your words) 'kid fresh out of the FJC'. Don't take this the wrong way, but your physics degreee means very little in skydiving, as skydiving goes well beyond the physics of the activity. Experience and human nautre are huge factors, and there's no equation that will account for those. Until you know for sure (through experience, training, and muscle memory) that you can handle a sensitive, twitchy canopy both during the deployment and close to the ground, you simply shouldn't be jumping them.

If you claim to teah physics, you must be a smart guy. Don't disprove that by acting like a dumbass, and combing the classifieds looking for canopies that you shouldn't be jumping. Some sellers will do background checks, ya know?


Joellercoaster  (D 105792)

Aug 23, 2012, 5:38 AM
Post #14 of 28 (1763 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

To be clear - and I think you are working this out - there is more to elliptical canopies than just better this and that. There is also worse. And the downsides, while they are exacerbated by higher loads, by no means eliminated by loading them less.

It's possible to get into trouble quicker, and further. The preceding hundreds of jumps are hopefully there so you see, feel the problem before it happens and reflexively do the things that will get you out again. Nobody is born with quite those instincts, you develop them over time.

For what it's worth, I had a fully elliptical canopy for a hundred or more jumps, but while I loved flying it, the openings became too much of an issue. I may go back in future, but the intervening couple of years have been back on a Pilot and it's still teaching me things.

Good luck with your search for the right canopy, there are loads of good choices out there!


Chris-Ottawa  (A License)

Aug 23, 2012, 6:35 AM
Post #15 of 28 (1728 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll give you the answers you want, I like telling it like it is.

You indicated that you are a "skinny 170 lbs". 170 lbs is pretty average. I'm a "skinny 120 lbs".

My 31st jump was on a 7 cell 135sq ft (Spectre). That was the canopy I bought and used full time. By Jump 75 I demoed a Stiletto 135, and ended up going back to my Spectre 135. Jump 99 was on an Alpha 120...scared he hell out of me and went back to my Spectre. By jump 117, I had purchased and made a Cobalt 105 my full time canopy. I jumped that until I bought a Katana 97 about 160 jumps later. Yes, I was regularly jumping a Katana 97 before 300 jumps and still continue to jump it.

All this to say that you can generally do whatever you want, and can get away with. Is it smart, nope. Are you much more likely to die, yep. What are the odds that you think you're better than everyone else and won't die, extremely high. You fit the criteria of being a male in their mid 20's with an ego to prove.

Here's the dead honest truth. Don't come to the internet to get approval for what your instructors told you not to do, or refused to discuss with you because it's ridiculous. If you asked them and they sat down with you and discussed your performance, they may have been considering it. If they refuse to chat...that's a sign.

If you choose to jump an elliptical and the DZ allows it, shut up and jump. When you cream in and break you back (or worse) and learn that you'll never walk again, don't be looking for donations to pay your medical bills or people to comfort you while you're strung up in the hospital. Reality sucks.

There, you have the answer you wanted, now go and jump.



PS: Man up and fill out your profile so we can see what altitude you're likely to be jumping in, what canopy size you're on now, how many jumps you have etc. Hiding behind your computer screen like a little girl while you're trying to prove how big/strong and badass you are is kind of a conundrum in itself.


{pot}stirred{/pot}


Chris-Ottawa  (A License)

Aug 23, 2012, 6:46 AM
Post #16 of 28 (1716 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh wait...this is a classic.

Lindenwood...you are the epitome of the classic "noob". You have 3 threads started, let me share it with everyone in this thread.

Here's a quote from your other thread:
Quote:
I have always been one to enjoy ringing every last bit of personal performance out if machines and equipment, over buying higher-performance stuff to begin with and relying on it to make up for my own lack of skill.

and in this thread:
Quote:
and find something with decent performance that I could grow into and enjoy for a while.

I think you answered your own question there bud. You have 9 jumps, you have no idea what a real canopy handles like and you have next to ZERO experience. You even realize that you're going to get yourself in trouble and will need to rely on your skill to get out of it (which you know you also don't have at this point).

I think you're trying to skip about 20 steps in your progression. Slow down, get another 30-50 jumps and you'll have a MUCH better understanding of what a "sport" canopy is capable of.


Lindenwood  (Student)

Aug 23, 2012, 7:32 AM
Post #17 of 28 (1678 views)
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Re: [Chris-Ottawa] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you to everyone who provided useful feedback.

It sounds like you guys are saying I was underestimating the responsiveness (and thus inherent risk) of the elliptical canopies, which I totally accept! I have given the same lecture to people starting out on supersport motorcycles (or anyone else talking risks they don't understand), so it is interesting to look up and find myself on the other side of that "you don't know what you don't know" argument, heh.

But, I am just starting to look for gear I can piece together for my first rig. I did indeed find what I thought might have been a good deal on an elliptical canopy, which sparked a day of research and ultimately this thread because I couldn't find solid enough answers to my original question. The manufacturers even recommend it for "beginners" at light wing loadings, which is why I thought it might have been okay. I am not going to buy any elliptical now, and even if I were to end up with the one I was looking at, I did go into it knowing I might sell it (probably at a loss) a week later if I learn more that convinces me otherwise. In any case, I am not in a hurry to be jumping my own rig before the next several months.

[Sarcasm]
Trust me, my feelings aren't hurt a single bit. Asking for a little politeness doesn't mean I'm any less "tough" than the next guy, especially on the internet...

Oh, and it's 13 jumps now ;) .

[/Sarcasm]


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Aug 23, 2012, 7:57 AM
Post #18 of 28 (1658 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wanna learn canopy control well?
Wanna learn new and complex ways to scare yourself?
Wanna hang with the "pocket protector" crowd?
Wanna dress ugly?
Wanna scare other skydivers with your rig?
Wanna jump canopies which are challenging to land?
Wanna learn the meaning of "....and then it was raining free bags"?
Wanna have more fun than you can describe?

Jump with the CReW dawgs! You will do all of the above... and more.


Fast  (D 28237)

Aug 23, 2012, 8:03 AM
Post #19 of 28 (1653 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's some good advice:

Get your license before buying your equipment and work hand in hand with your instructors and the person who is going to be your rigger to pick something out that is appropriate for you.

I promise you that they are going to be willing to help.

And finally, be wary of any "good deal" in skydiving. 99% of the time, you get what you pay for in aviation related activities.


(This post was edited by Fast on Aug 23, 2012, 8:04 AM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 23, 2012, 8:17 AM
Post #20 of 28 (1634 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I am just starting to look for gear I can piece together for my first rig.

Good idea, but the main canopy is the last thing you buy.

Calculate your exit weight (which is your body weight plus about 25-30lbs) and look for a reserve that you will be loading at 1 to 1 max. If that adds up to, say, 180 and you have a choice between a 170 and a 190 reserve, buy the bigger reserve. You'll never be sorry to have extra square footage on your reserve.

Next, look for a container. The harness is a no-brainer, it needs to fit your body. If you see a rig you like, get the serial number from the seller, and email the manufacturer with that number and your measurements, and they'll tell you if it will fit. If it won't, they can also tell you the cost of a harness re-size to make it fit.

The other part of the container is the size canopies it will hold. You need one to hold the reserve you choose as per the above instructions, and look for one that will hold a main of the same size. You're not going to be that far off 1 to1 anytime in the near future, so it's a good guess as to what you need (more on why you have to guess in a minute). If you do buy a main at 1 to 1, it will fit. If you end up with a main one size smaller, at a higher WL, it will also fit and be easier to pack. Even if you downsize once more in the future, you should still be able to use the same container, and it will be even easier to pack.

Last up is the main, and here's why - most DZs will want you to jump student gear until you have a license. During that time, you'll get to try the different size canopies they have, and you can see what size canopy 'fits' you. Since you don't know what that will be until you get there, it's hard to buy that stuff in advance.

Let's say you buy a rig and a 170 main. By the time you're ready to jump it, you're on the DZs student 190 and still have not really 'mastered' it. You will want to jump your own rig, but it's not the right rig for you yet, and the tendency has been for jumpers to push the limits and jump the smaller canopy anyway, somtimes with very poor results.

So by all means start collecting your gear. Get a reserve, AAD (if you want) and a container that will fit 'any' canopy you might be ready for at the time you start jumping your own rig. Then, at that time, buy a main.


sundevil777  (D License)

Aug 23, 2012, 8:18 AM
Post #21 of 28 (1635 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The manufacturers even recommend it for "beginners" at light wing loadings, which is why I thought it might have been okay.

It depends on the canopy. Some beginner appropriate canopies are described as semi elliptical or whatever. A crossfire or Katana is not appropriate.


DocPop  (C License)

Aug 23, 2012, 8:22 AM
Post #22 of 28 (1629 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Let's say you buy a rig and a 170 main. By the time you're ready to jump it, you're on the DZs student 190 and still have not really 'mastered' it.

In case you are wondering what "mastering it" looks like, here is a guide to the minimum skills you should have (there is more than this to truly matering a canopy, but this is a good minimum):

http://www.dropzone.com/...ent/Detailed/47.html


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Aug 23, 2012, 8:33 AM
Post #23 of 28 (1619 views)
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Re: [Lindenwood] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

>I am just wondering of an elliptical canopy loaded that light is dangerous?

First off almost every modern canopy is elliptical to some degree. Nowadays people make a distinction between "fully elliptical" and "tapered" (or similar nomenclature) to tell the real speed machines from the more manageable canopies. The Navigator (student canopy) is tapered, for example.

Secondly, there are a lot of mildly elliptical canopies out there that are very good performers. The Safire2, for example, is a very well behaved canopy that still gives you all the performance you'll want for a few hundred jumps at least.

That being said, the only time I've had problems with underloading an elliptical was when I jumped a Stiletto 190 loaded at about 1:1 - so I'd avoid the very flat canopies.

>The supposed benefit I'd gain would be more powerful flare and flatter glide, and faster turns.

Again there are several things in your statement:

1) More powerful flare. Most modern canopies have pretty good flares; they differ only in the details of how to get that flare.

2) Flatter glide. This is dependent primarily upon trim angle and you will have canopies ranging from the Stiletto (very flat) to the Safire types (moderate) to the Katana (very steep.) You probably want a moderate trim angle at this point in your career.

3) Faster turns. Most canopies turn pretty quickly; the big difference is in front riser turns, and for that it's a combination of responsiveness and front riser pressure.

>so I like the idea of having the extra lift to glide in flat on landings

Careful there. In general flatter gliding canopies will not have as much energy when you flare, and take a little more care to get good landings out of. Again you're probably better off with a moderately trimmed canopy.


johnmatrix  (D 9999)

Aug 23, 2012, 11:20 PM
Post #24 of 28 (1480 views)
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Re: [billvon] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just out of curiosity, what was the issue with the Stiletto at 1:1?


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Aug 23, 2012, 11:35 PM
Post #25 of 28 (1472 views)
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Re: [johnmatrix] Elliptical with 1.0 Wing Loading? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Just out of curiosity, what was the issue with the Stiletto at 1:1?

Just out of curiosity, have you read this discussion from the beginning?


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