I recall the APS / FTS reserves having no rib reinforcement tapes up from the attachments, just heavy chordwise tapes along the line attachment seams. Don't know if it was all models though. Very odd when one saw it but I guess it passed testing.
Interesting to hear what Chuck says. Once when I was a newbie I jumped a Lazer 250 main, and thought it really sluggish -- and my frame of reference at the time was that a Manta was a sweet flying canopy.
(There are a couple other threads about the company's canopies. Search "FTS APS" or "Bogey" or "Bogy" for example. Riggerrob weighed in on them in a 2006 thread... If you're reading this Rob, the Lazer I jumped was at Lahr, Germany, so it must have been one of the ones you helped purchase for the Canadian Forces club.)
Edit: The conclusion from some other threads seems to be that the canopies weren't the best...
(This post was edited by pchapman on Mar 18, 2013, 3:23 PM)
I new Chafen for years. We jumped at the same dropzone for a while. I got recruted to "test jump" a lot of his new designs. This was like his pre pre test jumping program. Keep in mind that the final buyer was in truth his test jumper program. Like bata testing soft ware only with your legs on the line. But don't worry. When you buy the canopy from him it entitales you to life time support and all the upgrades and mods. So when the canopy stalls out on flare and plows you into the ground he'll be there to fix it. Often on the spot there at the drop zone, retriming it on sight there for you between loads. The sissure witch to the rescue with his magic raiser blade.
All jokes aside. I knew him for years. Very interesting fellow. Did a lot of things over the years and whether you beleave it or not this guy actually contributed a lot to sky diving especally in the early square years. Just had to stand up wind of him. I have never seen a heavier chain smoker. By the time he died he was allready half embalmed like a mummy.
Lazers. I can tell you all about lazers. Although these things were never addressed formally in SB there are a number of things you should be aware of. These are thing that we here in texas just know.
First. The first thing you must allways do in inspecting a Bob Chafen reserve canopy is to comferm that it has lines on it. Make visual confermation. Hell count them, make sure they are all there. Yes there is a story. He once inspected, stamped final inspection PASSED, boxed, and shipped a canopy with no lines on it. No shit. Eaven sent the guy a bill. QC in his shop was a little hit or miss.
Second. The second thing you must do is inspect every single bartack. You've all heard of the Swift Plus issue right? Well that was one incedent where some one changed the width to like sew there jeans. I mean it only affected a hand full of canopies but it became a big SB that every one knows about. Check out Bobs bartacks. Operational standard: At least some threads from at least one side of the bartack must pass through the line. That's the best you can hope for. His bar tack was a little... wide. I'm talking the small short one he used on lines. Often especally on micro line it would be wider then the line in questin and one full side would miss the line compleatly. This is normal.
Third. The third thing to do is double check every bartack in the break lines. He used Red 900 lb dacron for his break lines. Guess what. The red bartacks were not exactly obveous on the line. Offten they would make it through inspection with no bar tacks in the break lines at all. I found a bogi with no bartacks in the upper end of the main break lines when I was repacking it for a guy at quency. He'd just had a ride on it. Canopy had been in service for many years. So, no, bartacks are not absolutly nessasary in all locations in a line set but I like them so feel free to modify his canopy by adding them to the break lines. I wont tell. Later canopies have light blue bartacks on the break lines to easy the inspection process.
Fourth. The fourth thing to do is check and see if it has nose bartacks. If you look at most modern canopies at where the ribs attach to the top and bottom skins. Say at the point that the unloaded rib joines the top and bottom or at the top of the loaded rib. Normally you will see a bartack joining the tapes there. This is not always the case on a chafen canopy. I have seen them both with and with out bartacks. Now I am not sure if this was just an over sight or a change in production standard. I called Bob about it and he said that the bartack was not nessarary and that a simple back stich was adiquit at that location, and told me that it was allright to pack the reserve. Now this is up to you. You are the rigger of record and canopies have been built both ways but if you happen to have a small bartack in the shop and can match the stitch pattern... well I wont tell. And for the record I have seen a lot of nose failures on various canopies where they broak heavier tapes then that. So I don't think much of just a little back stitch.
I could go on but these are some of the main points and besides I'm getting tired. Make sure to check all the attachment points and all normal areas of wear. Check the sewing on all seams. Crooked... well it was Bob so that's ok, it was normal and this is a lower performance canopy buy check and make sure the rolls are all ok. Some times they got... funcky. Other things to be aware of. No tapes on the ribs. One main cross port. The rib does not go all the way to the tail. Pack volume is small except for the dacron lines. Check the size. The "normal" size was like... 227, it's been a long time. But there were all kinds of mutant sizes, exspecally with the mains. I think there were even a couple of vareations in the size of the reserve. You know... that shouldn't really be so vage with a TSO'd reserve but we are talking about Bob. Any time you get one of his canopies in it's good to check all of these things. Rarely did he build two canopies in a row the same way. He just couldn't stop him self from monkeying with designs. I once tryed to make a list of all the vareations that I'd saw in one canopy design... but I gave up.
For the record. To the best of my knowlage. The bogie, I think it was the Bogie, is the only reserve TSO'ed in the catigory TSO c23C Note the C on the end. Every thing else except... the cricket is B. That's faster and heavier then every thing else. I did hear that he had to play with the slider but apparently it passed. He knew a bunch of millitary people and I think he piggi backed on there drop test to get his high speed done. The canopies do work. I have jumped them. They do work. We had them as both main and reserve in the student rigs at Ennis when Mark was running it. Lotts of jumps on them. The performance is low. The lack of ribs at the tail makes a very rounded draggy edgy. The lines are long Which makes responce seem sluggish on some of his designs from that generation. They are long enough and the canopy slow enough that you need to keep it in mind on the flare. Like all canopies full flight before you flare. If you make eaven a small corection before flare the pitching and lines are long enough that the canopy may not have time to recover.
In short I've jumped the shit out of them. They work. They are what they are. Don't go thinking you can load them over 1-1. But if built right they will work. And... Well I'm assuming some one gave this to you for free, They can be a pritty good deal. Free + Work = Good Deal. Or at least that's the case in my book. It was free... Right?
Thanks for the responses. Yeah, I kinda came to the same conclusion as far as quality on this beast. I always do a thorough inspection on any rig I haven't seen before. Seeing as this was from a student rig, I won't bother. It's getting retired, NOW.
1991 built by ASP in Texas. In very good condition and shows few pack jobs. Plan on pull test. Anybody know anything about these?
The company was first called FTS then changed to APS when Bob Chafin took over (after Dave Davenport, the creator, went to prison). The first canopies were built in a garage in Columbus, GA and were later built for a time in my dad's (Buddy Blue, D-597) loft in Opelika, AL. They moved to a facility up in Alpharetta, GA for a while, then Bob took the company to TX after Dave "went away".
I made a ton of test jumps on the smaller sizes of all the reserve canopies down to 150 square feet. They worked just fine for back in the day. I think I might still have an old Bogy 150 in a box somewhere...Lazers, Rascals, and Bogys were ALL TSO'd as reserves and also sold as mains and it's not uncommon to see a "reserve" with a bridle attachment point.
I remember the student rigs I jumped during my static line progression having Laser canopies in them, big 200+ sq ft ones anyhow.
Scared the hell out of my instructor on final once when the damn thing just about collapsed 50 feet off the ground and instantly re-inflated. I had no idea that it happened though and I didn't do anything to cause it. I just remember a bit of a jerk and bump and that was it, I stood up the landing.