Forums: Skydiving: Gear and Rigging:
What to consider when purchasing a main

 


vanessalh  (D 33301)

Sep 11, 2012, 10:38 PM
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What to consider when purchasing a main Can't Post

I'm starting to look at getting my own gear, and I'm finding all the options a bit overwhelming.

I know that size is a key consideration when purchasing, but what else should I be looking at?

Are the various brands and models within a brand really that different?

How important are the different material types for the canopy or the lines?

Thanks
Vanessa


irishrigger  (D 297)

Sep 11, 2012, 11:48 PM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi vannessa and welcome to the sport.Smile
most important when buying your first main is to make sure you get the correct wingloadind for your expirience. I am not sure how many jumps you have but i strongly advice you dont go above 1.1 for the first one until you have about 150 jumps Also make sure you get a square canopy and NOT a semi or full eliptical canopy. Also decide on a 7 cell or 9 cell canopy. Basicly a 7 cell flys and turns a bit slower so the 9 cell is a bit more responsive to toogle input.
As to the make and model, you have a wide variety and everyone has there own fav. Personally i like the PD canopys and think the spectra is a great choice for a newbie.
If possible do a few test jumps on a couple canopys and see what what feels best for you.
I would definatley advise that you get a ZP canopy! as for the lines it should not really be a huge factor for the type of canopy your seeking.
And final advice for your first gear i would suggest that you maybe buy second hand previding that you get your local rigger to check any gear out for you before committing to a purchase. It might cost you a few small bucks or a couple of beers but could save you a lot of heartache.
If unsure about anything ask your rigger or instructor for advice!
Again welcome to the sport and good luck finding gear.
Rodger


(This post was edited by irishrigger on Sep 11, 2012, 11:50 PM)


Joellercoaster  (D 105792)

Sep 12, 2012, 2:15 AM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Are the various brands and models within a brand really that different?

As for the brands, probably. Models within a brand? Absolutely.

They are all aimed at different niches so it's worth exploring how you want to fly, but there is a strong safety aspect as well. As irishrigger points out, some models are not appropriate for beginners or even intermediate jumpers, and others are designed for very particular flying styles or needs - they make compromises on other features.

For example just within PD, there's a reason Spectres are still so popular with camera flyers, a reason the Sabre2 sells like hot cakes and a reason why I have no business on a Velocity.

It's definitely a lot to take in, but there are people like your instructors and riggers who can help you figure it out.

Happy shopping!


(This post was edited by Joellercoaster on Sep 12, 2012, 2:16 AM)


scottd818  (C 41314)

Sep 12, 2012, 6:56 AM
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Re: [irishrigger] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Also make sure you get a square canopy and NOT a semi or full eliptical canopy.
i thought that pilots, sabre 2's and safire 2's r all considered simi eliptical. R they and would you not consider them a good choice?


vanessalh  (D 33301)

Sep 12, 2012, 7:40 AM
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Re: [irishrigger] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Rodger,

I'm currently jumping a WL of 1.0, I'm considering purchasing a parachute that would put me at ~1.12 WL.

I was looking at the Pilots (Loved it when I jumped it a few times). I've jumped a Sabre2 (found it difficult to get used to), and a Silhouette (just didn't like it across the board)

Do you have an opinion on the Aerodyne ZPX material vs ZP?


vanessalh  (D 33301)

Sep 12, 2012, 7:44 AM
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Re: [Joellercoaster] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Joellercoaster,

I'm starting to learn that at least some of the models are designed for performance way beyond my experience level, regardless of wingloading. It's helpful to eliminate some from consideration.

Do certain brands have a better reputation that others?
I was considering choosing between something from either Aerodyne (leaning towards the Pilot) or PD, but that's largely because of what is available at the dropzones I've been to.

I'm asking lots of questions of anyone who will listen :) Everyone has a slightly different take, so I'm trying to put it all together and determine what is right for me.


scottd818  (C 41314)

Sep 12, 2012, 8:04 AM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Do you have an opinion on the Aerodyne ZPX material vs ZP?

the only real differance between zpx and zp is that the zpx packs about a size smaller. for example when i bought my container i had it sized for a 190 and bought a 210 pilot zpx and it fits in there just fine. and good choice on the pilot. i love mine. so u could get a container for a 150 and put a 170 zpx pilot in it giving you a greater range of canopies that will fit.


bodypilot90  (D 24249)

Sep 12, 2012, 8:35 AM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

demo a pulse. opens better, flares better than a pilot and packs smaller than a zpx of the same size


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Sep 12, 2012, 9:14 AM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

One good place to look is on the manufacturer's websites. If they list a canopy as "Not Recommended" for student, novice and intermediate, then it's probably not a good choice for you.

Square or semi-elliptical is what you'd probably choose. The Sabre2 is a "semi" and is used successfully as a student canopy (at appropriate wingloading of course).

Your best bet is to get to a boogie with a good manufacturer presence and demo a bunch of different stuff. The sales reps know their products and will be able to suggest good choices They are also pretty good at not letting you try something beyond your experience (I watched a rep turn away a lower experience jumper who wanted to jump a too small canopy recently).

For material, ZP is most common. Stay away from f-111 unless its a really good canopy at a really good price. They wear out after a while, and older ones are more trouble than they are worth. When they wear out they start landing really, really bad. ZPX is pretty new, but has mostly good reviews as far as I've heard. It's main benefit is smaller packing. You can get a container that will hold your "next" size and put a "now" sized ZPX in it. It's also supposed to pack easier when new. It hasn't been out very long, so I don't think you are going to find much on the used market.

Lines are a bit more complex. Dacron is nice because it has "stretch" in it which will take the edge off of harder openings. But it's big. The different micro lines have their own pluses and minuses. Shrinkage, no warning on wear before they break, a few other things (each type has it's own pluses and minuses). They pack smaller, but won't "give" any on a hard opening.


jumpwally  (D License)

Sep 12, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

I recommend chatting it up with one of the many experienced ladies on here,,find one similar in body size/weight and go over their experience with them. You'll prolly get better info from them anyway,,cuz before you know it us guys will turn this into a boobies thread ! CoolWink


vanessalh  (D 33301)

Sep 12, 2012, 8:32 PM
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks wolfriverjoe!
I'm slowly working my way through the manufacturer's websites - it's still a bit overwhelming :)

The boogie suggestion is good, I'm still a bit nervous about jumping during such a busy time - I jumped as a licensed skydiver for the first time at a new dropzone. Even though everyone was very helpful at getting me acquainted I was still a bit nervous.


Joellercoaster  (D 105792)

Sep 13, 2012, 1:09 AM
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Re: [bodypilot90] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
demo a pulse.

This part, I can agree with.

In reply to:
opens better, flares better than a pilot

This part, not so much. You may find you agree with it after you demo, but I had the opposite experience. The difference is that I realise it's a matter of taste rather than "better" just because I happen to like Pilots more.

So, demo stuff for sure! PD and Aerodyne are both popular with good reason.


tbrown  (D 6533)

Sep 15, 2012, 10:17 AM
Post #13 of 22 (1166 views)
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Do certain brands have a better reputation that others?
I was considering choosing between something from either Aerodyne (leaning towards the Pilot) or PD, but that's largely because of what is available at the dropzones I've been to.

I'm asking lots of questions of anyone who will listen :) Everyone has a slightly different take, so I'm trying to put it all together and determine what is right for me.
Excellent that you're asking so many questions ! Buying gear as a newbie can be tricky business. First, I'd advise you to ask for plenty of advice and assistance from your instructors and your local rigger.

NEVER buy any used gear without a rigger's inspection ! Your gear saves your life every single time you use it and it just has to be right. Pay for an inspection and don't buy anything your rigger's not happy with.

Canopies like Spectres, Pilots, and Triathlons are good choices for beginners. Icarus also makes some excellent canopies, like their 9 cell Safire 2 and 7 cell Omni. The 1:1 wing loading recommendation is a good one for starters - don't let anybody tell you you "need to" downsize before you're ready.

Used gear is usually the best place for a newbie to start. Some women have size problems though, I know one or two teeny tiny women who had to have a custom harness made for them. Don't know if that applies to you or not, but long story short, don't buy a harness that doesn't fit snug and feel right.

Finally, be careful of the LIZARDS who will try to sell you their old crap at "bargain prices". I'm not talking about old or used gear, I'm talking about gear that's worn out, too small, or beyond your abilities. There are unfortunately some real s.o.b.s who will sell you garbage to make a quick $500. That's where you need your instructors, riggers - and instincts - to guide you.

Demo all the canopies you can and see which one you like the best. Don't ever feel you "have to" buy anything - because you don't. When you find the right one, you'll know it - and you'll find a way to pay a fair price for it.


vanessalh  (D 33301)

Sep 18, 2012, 7:54 AM
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Re: [tbrown] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks all for your advice.
After talking with some more folks at my DZ (and getting a bonus at work :) ) I decided to go for new gear.
I'm getting Infinity rig, 168 Pilot main w/ 175 Smart reserve and Cypres 2.


scottd818  (C 41314)

Sep 18, 2012, 8:00 AM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

now thats an execelent choice you will be super happy!!!!!!Wink


(This post was edited by scottd818 on Sep 18, 2012, 8:00 AM)


shibu  (B 37474)

Sep 18, 2012, 11:45 AM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Thanks all for your advice.
After talking with some more folks at my DZ (and getting a bonus at work :) ) I decided to go for new gear.
I'm getting Infinity rig, 168 Pilot main w/ 175 Smart reserve and Cypres 2.

I just demo'd a 168 Pilot last weekend. I loved the powerful flare. I think it just nudged the Saber2 out of the way as my favorite canopy.

I think the ZPX coating is worth the extra cost too.


(This post was edited by shibu on Sep 18, 2012, 11:45 AM)


vanessalh  (D 33301)

Sep 18, 2012, 6:39 PM
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Re: [shibu] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Awesome! Yup, I went for the ZPX. It also gives me an extra downsize on the current rig if I switch back to the ZP canopy. It'll be a long time before I'm on a 132, but at least I don't need to change out my rig to get there.

I can't ever see going below a 132 - at some point it just doesn't seem to make sense anymore to downsize.


Premier likestojump  (D License)

Sep 18, 2012, 6:44 PM
Post #18 of 22 (1015 views)
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Re: [shibu] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Thanks all for your advice.
After talking with some more folks at my DZ (and getting a bonus at work :) ) I decided to go for new gear.
I'm getting Infinity rig, 168 Pilot main w/ 175 Smart reserve and Cypres 2.

I just demo'd a 168 Pilot last weekend. I loved the powerful flare. I think it just nudged the Saber2 out of the way as my favorite canopy.

I think the ZPX coating is worth the extra cost too.

ZPX is not a coating, but a weave.
Be careful being vocal fanboy with a very small sample size of canopies flown, with a very small amount of jumps on those canopies.

And btw, for fucks sake : SABRE2, the E is on the end.


degeneration  (C 106811)

Sep 19, 2012, 8:53 AM
Post #19 of 22 (960 views)
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I can't ever see going below a 132 - at some point it just doesn't seem to make sense anymore to downsize.

Once upon a time I thought that too.

I'm now on a Pilot 124 and just bought a 117.

Think that is going to be my final stopping point...


vanessalh  (D 33301)

Sep 19, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Re: [degeneration] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Out of interest, What made you decide to downsize further?


degeneration  (C 106811)

Sep 20, 2012, 12:06 AM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

Fun!

I was liking the Pilot 132 and was really comfortable on it, but when I went to it from a Pilot 150, I didn't get the step up in gear that I was expecting/hoping for. It was a little faster but not really that much.

I wanted something that I could throw around a little more in the turns, and that could bring that manic wide eyed adrenalin fuelled grin back after a canopy ride where I was thinking "THAT was fun".

Don't get me wrong, the 132 was still fun, but not quite as much as I was wanting when downsizing from the 150.

So, as I was very, very slowly starting to some deliberately faster landings (double front riser approaches), I decided that I wanted a canopy that would give me that little bit more speed all round, so went 8 sq ft. smaller and got the 124 when I saw one available.

It has given me more like what I was originally after when going from the 150-132. The step from 132-124 hasn't been as much as the 150-132 step, but for the comparative reduction in size, there has been a more notable step in performance.

Now, I've just bought a 117 to go to when I'm ready, as I'm now feeling I'd like that little bit more again at some point.

but several years ago, a Pilot 132 was the canopy I was planning on stopping on as I couldn't see myself wanting to go smaller. Attitudes and desires change!

For info, I was loading the 132 at 1.33-1.43, depending on how much weight I had to wear. Now loading the 124 at 1.41-1.53 and will be loading the 117 at 1.5-1.6.

And before other people jump on questioning me about why I downsized, yes I've done canopy course, yes I could land my canopy comfortably on an off landing etc...


erdnarob  (D 364)

Sep 20, 2012, 6:09 PM
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Re: [vanessalh] What to consider when purchasing a main [In reply to] Can't Post

You have 65 jumps, very good. A canopy has too be chosen according different parameters :

1) your experience (we know it partially with your 65 jumps)
2) your age
3) your weight
4) your DZ elevation
5) your past injuries if any
6) your preferences like having long rides, or doing accuracy or wanting to land very softly, 7 or 9 cells...etc
7) the resale value (when you will have 300-400 jumps) if bought new
8) new or second hand

If you see an instructor or rigger with experience, you can talk to him/her about those parameters. In the rigger course, there is a form to be filled up called EQUIPMENT SELECTION SHEET. The rigger filled that up according your data and after can suggest you some brand, model and size. Performance Designs is proposing different canopies depending of your preferences after being out of the student status :
A) flat or long ride canopies 9 cells : Pulse
B) more or less accuracy canopies 7 cells : Spectre, Storm
C) strong flare, long ride 9 cells : Sabre 2

Keep in mind that the canopy is one of the three elements of a rig. There is also the reserve and the harness/container and those three elements have to be harmonized.



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