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Brake line length question

 

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TracyS  (B 38652)

Mar 29, 2013, 2:20 AM
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Brake line length question Can't Post

Let me begin with saying that I will discuss this with my S&TA who is also my rigger. I just want to see what I am thinking seems to be correct.
In everything I've read about getting to understand how my canopy handles; one of the topics discussed is getting a feel for stalling the canopy.
I have only made 6 jumps on this canopy and I've tried to stall it on each jump. My results have been that when I go into deep brakes and let the canopy slow down, it will come close to the stall point. I can see the canopy just barely start to "fold" back but won't quite get into the stall.
In full flight, if I look up at the steering lines, there is enough slack in the them that they are bowed back when my arms are in the full up position.
If I take one wrap of the brake line around each hand and attempt the stall again; the canopy will slow nicely and finally go into a stall.
When I take that one wrap around each hand, the bowing of the brake lines is significantly reduced and there is no change in flight with my arms in the full up position.
I have also noticed that while I have that wrap around my hands, that there is a noticeable improvement in executing a two stage flare by bringing the brakes down to shoulder level and having the glide slope level off and then begin to settle again as speed bleeds off. As that leveled off flight begins to settle from speed bleeding off, then bringing the brakes quickly and steadily down induces more lift to the point of landing.
Yesterday I was able to execute the nicest zero step, stand up landing I have had yet ( in my vast experience of 33 jumps Wink).
I believe that the technical answer would be to have the brake line lengths measured and compared to the manufacturer specs as a starting point. I also know that just like any other equipment, you can roll any two of them off the showroom floor and there will be subtle differences in how they "feel".
All that said, this would seem to indicate to me that shortening my brake lines by approximately the length of what it takes to put one wrap around my hands would be in order, and then more evaluation jumps. Possibly even adjusting the length by half that required to put a wrap around my hands first and evaluating before proceeding to the full length of a wrap around my hands.
Just wanted to get some feedback from the more experienced folks here that can tell me if I'm on the right track, or save me from the results of my wrong interpretation.
Thanks


theonlyski  (D License)

Mar 29, 2013, 5:17 AM
Post #2 of 27 (2347 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Many people (myself included) adjust their brake lines when moving to a new canopy. It's quite possible that your canopy was owned by someone with gorilla length arms and had it lengthened, or even different risers!

Adjusting your brake lines should be a little at a time. Maybe an inch or so until you're comfortable with it, then tack them down. Your rigger will be able to assist easily!


TracyS  (B 38652)

Mar 29, 2013, 6:53 AM
Post #3 of 27 (2318 views)
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Re: [theonlyski] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

You're right, the rig was owned by someone else prior to my purchase.
I'll get with my rigger and see if we can do some tweaking this weekend.
Thanks for your input.


gowlerk  (C 3196)

Mar 29, 2013, 7:16 AM
Post #4 of 27 (2308 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

   Your understanding of the issue is excellent. Brake line length is usually preset on modern canopies these days, but it is common to change it for the very reasons you describe.

Many people find the correct length is just enough that you can hold the toggles and reach the front dive loops without deflecting the tail. If you don't use the fronts much, you may opt for shorter lines to help you get a more effective flare. Just as long as there is still a little slack before the tail deflects.

I'm pretty sure you and your rigger will be able to work this out.

Ken


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Mar 29, 2013, 8:27 AM
Post #5 of 27 (2273 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

You are on the right track.

Also remember that the "factory" steering line lengths were set by John LeBlanc, who is over six feet tall and has long arms.
I get the impression that you are less than six feet tall ... and that your arms are shorter than John LeBlanc's... so you will land better with slightly shorter steering lines.
... and it sounds like you have already chosen which local rigger will assist you in shortening your steering lines. Ideally he will watch a few of your landings - with the new brake setting. Alternately, you could ask a friend to video a few of your landings and invite your rigger to watch those videos at the end of the day.

I wish more young jumpers were as curious and aware of thier canopies as you are.


irishrigger  (D 297)

Mar 29, 2013, 9:14 AM
Post #6 of 27 (2250 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Tracey,

i def think you arer on the correct track. and from your describtion it does sound like the brake lines can or should be shortend.how far have you got to pull your toggles down before the back of the canopy gets pulled down?
may i ask what type of canopy are you jumping?
also next time you jump the canopy, after releasing the brakes have a look up and see how much of a BOW of slack you got on the brake lines.
one should have a slight amout of slack on the lines.
my canopy i have to bring down the toogles about 4-5" before the back of the canopy gets pulled down. but i am a big guy at 6'5 and long arms. that set up works for me.
your rigger should also be able to pin point the correct lenght for you.

Welcome to the sport and save jumping.

Rodger


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Mar 30, 2013, 10:27 AM
Post #7 of 27 (2166 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Tracy...Big Steve will not steer you wrong but I'll put in my two cents and you can discuss it with him. I've always been the 'safety first, better safe than sorry' type of guy. The Farmers know me for that, I'm sure

IMHO, your brake line length, as you describe, is just right and here's why I say that.

Modern canopies will give you a stand-up landing nearly every time...if you flare properly for the into-the-wind conditions you are facing.

Stalling a canopy is fun and a good tool to have in your skydiving tool box if for no other reason than getting more knowledge on how canopies fly. That's why we teach you to do it in your training process.

However, the NEED to stall your canopy will only come about extremely rarely, if ever.

The danger in setting up your line lengths for stalling, especially for young (new) jumpers, is that you now make it possible to stall on landing in otherwise perfect conditions....not something you want to do close to the ground.

So, my suggestion is to
a) keep the lengths you have, and
b) talk over my approach with Big Steve.

BTW..has anybody discussed with you the problems associated with taking wraps? If not, talk to Big Steve about that too...before you do it again.

Welcome to the Big Blue Skies...jump the 'Van!

Andy


sundevil777  (D License)

Mar 30, 2013, 10:59 AM
Post #8 of 27 (2152 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
has anybody discussed with you the problems associated with taking wraps?

Grabbing the toggle at the top, with the line exiting between the fingers is another way of adding several inches to the total length of flare without taking a wrap.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Mar 30, 2013, 1:45 PM
Post #9 of 27 (2118 views)
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Re: [sundevil777] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
has anybody discussed with you the problems associated with taking wraps?

Grabbing the toggle at the top, with the line exiting between the fingers is another way of adding several inches to the total length of flare without taking a wrap.

True but why are we telling the OP that. I don't want to distract her from talking to her S&TA because she's found an alternative way of doing it.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Mar 30, 2013, 8:15 PM
Post #10 of 27 (2072 views)
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Re: [sundevil777] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Besides...I want her to know the why...not just the alternatives.


theplummeter  (C License)

Mar 30, 2013, 9:51 PM
Post #11 of 27 (2053 views)
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Re: [sundevil777] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
has anybody discussed with you the problems associated with taking wraps?

Grabbing the toggle at the top, with the line exiting between the fingers is another way of adding several inches to the total length of flare without taking a wrap.

This worked perfectly for the Safire I had. Wouldn't stall, but as close as it would come, leading to every bit of flare I could safely use.


TracyS  (B 38652)

Mar 31, 2013, 7:47 AM
Post #12 of 27 (2003 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

popsjumper,

A very emphatic YES!, I agree that Big Steve will not steer me wrong.
He's a great guy with a ton of knowledge and a desire to share it.
When I got my rig, I took it over to the Marietta location of ChutingStar so he could do the inspection. I got to hang out for a couple of hours while he did some of the inspection and did some work on other rigs. Just spent time picking his brain and watching. Great learning experience and having a chance to get an inspection done made me feel a lot better about buying a used rig.

As for the brake line question; I know that, as a general rule, learning to stall is only a training tool to help you learn to fly the canopy to it limits and, OOPS!, now that you've exceeded those limits, here's how it feels and what to do about it. That part is really not different than why fixed wing and helicopter pilots are taught to stall. I know that there is little possibility for me to ever NEED to stall my canopy but, length of brake lines and the ability to stall the canopy are directly linked to flaring for landing, it seems to me that the inability to perform a recommended training action, i.e. stalls also suggests that my ability to properly flare the canopy is lacking as well and therefore affecting my landings.
Prior to taking a wrap and experimenting at higher altitude what its effects would be on my ability to stall and flare; my landings were the typical "student stab". I would go from full flight to full brakes to get the deceleration necessary for me to get back on the ground safely.
Stand up landings; some, but not consistent.
I'm a big boy and, even on the big student rigs, I know I had a wing loading that was not exactly what would be desired. On the canopy that I am flying, Silhouette 230, I would still come in pretty hot and fast. A two stage flare just wasn't happening.
As soon as I tried taking the wrap, it was like everything fell into place with everything I had read and heard about improving my landings.
Now when I'm ready to flare, I bring the brakes down to shoulder level and the flight path levels out. As the speed bleeds off and I feel the canopy is ready to settle, I begin a quick, steady application of brakes the rest of the way down and the landing is a gentle, smooth stand up with just a little bit of lift up if I bring the brakes down fast enough.

All of this seems to fit the profile of what I've read I should be striving for.

I assume you're concern about my taking a wrap is the added risk of being "tied" in a line if an emergency occurred. I see all kinds of bad scenarios there, none of which end with Tracy having a happy skydiving day. I definitely know that taking a wrap is not the way I want to become accustomed to flying as the norm. That's why I posed the question to begin with, to see if the results from this experiment were an indication/confirmation that shortening the brake lines might be in order. You're better safe than sorry mentality is spot on. Smile
That goes back to why I'm exploring this. Improving my landings is a safety thing.
Hell, I'm 50 years old. I realized my mortality; and that things don't heal, as fast or well as they used to long ago. My wife keeps me fed well, which means I've got some extra tonnage to try to set back down to earth gently.
My knees haven't complained about my new hobby yet and I'd like to keep them happy for as long as I can. I gave them enough crap earlier in life and every once in a while they will remind me that they haven't forgotten years of abuse.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate yours and everyone else's responses to my questions. It's all helping me tremendously.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Mar 31, 2013, 2:10 PM
Post #13 of 27 (1954 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Let us know what you worked out with Steve.

I know the SillyWet you are flying...all too well.
Good luck with that!

just kidding.
LaughLaugh

One word though....when you start downsizing....do not use the 200. It flares like nothing you've ever seen...key word nothing. Talk to Tim Tom about it...he's off the crutches by now.
Laugh


TracyS  (B 38652)

Apr 8, 2013, 3:34 PM
Post #14 of 27 (1797 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, got the brake lines adjusted. Big Steve was busier than a one legend man in an ass kickin' contest this past Saturday, so he told me if I'd leave it with him he would get it done and have it back to me next weekend.
I was really wanting to get it done sooner, if possible, so I could jump it and evaluate the change in stall/flare characteristics before next Saturday. I'll be taking the Flight-1 101 & 102 canopy courses this coming weekend and didn't want to start jumping the course with changes to the brake lines that I hadn't had a chance to jump.
Long story short; I talked to Warren and explained my rationale for wanting to adjust my brake lines. I asked him if he thought he might have time to adjust them for me. He said he had time right then to do it.
I was able to get a couple of jumps on it after the adjustment and I am happy to say I like the results.
Now, when I try to stall at altitude, the canopy will get just to the edge of stalling with the toggles pulled all the way down. If I stretch my arms and hands to push the toggles down "just a little farther", the canopy will fold back and stall.
Now, on my landings, I can bring the toggles down to my shoulders when I am ready to stop my descent and transition to horizontal flight to continue bleeding off airspeed. As my speed bleeds off and I begin to fall through the horizontal flight, I can bring the toggles steadily down to add more lift and finish the flare with a stand up landing.
Depending on the speed with which I bring the toggles down, in the second stage of the flare, I'll get enough lift to "pop" back up a little.
So, I've got to work on the finesse with which I bring the toggles down in the second stage to get it dialed in just the way I want.
This seems to match everything I've read about moving away from the "student stab" and into a two stage flare.
Since beginning this experiment by taking a wrap on my brakes lines at altitude, and then keeping it wrapped all the way down to landing, every landing has been a nice, easy on the body, stand up landing.

Here are two landings done after the brake line adjustment.
Please feel free to criticize. I'm learning and appreciate any and all input.

http://youtu.be/CALlkQifx2w

http://youtu.be/jhWsQ7s83dw


(This post was edited by TracyS on Apr 8, 2013, 4:07 PM)


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Apr 8, 2013, 4:36 PM
Post #15 of 27 (1769 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

That sounds pretty good.
One question:

How much slack is in the steering lines when you have the toggles all the way up?

There should be a little bit of a bow in them so that you know the tail is not being pulled down at all.


TracyS  (B 38652)

Apr 8, 2013, 4:50 PM
Post #16 of 27 (1760 views)
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

I've already discussed that as feedback with Warren, the rigger who did the adjustment.
There is the slightest deflection of the tail at this point, and I do mean slightest.
Given the fact that I still, just barely, get to the edge of the stall point by pulling the toggles all the way down and have to really dig deep and stretch a little more to get the canopy to actually stall; I like the results.
I do understand that ANY deflection of the tail is, in effect, not allowing absolute full speed flight, but this has gotten me to the point of being able to perform skills that I have read and been told I should be working on.
I don't know, maybe my arms are a little shorter than what the canopy was designed for.
The nice thing is that I'll be attending a canopy class this coming Saturday and Sunday. Ian Drennan will be the instructor and will be evaluating our landings. If I understand the curriculum correctly, one of the first things that will be looked at is brake line length and, I assume, whether it needs to be adjusted.


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Apr 8, 2013, 4:58 PM
Post #17 of 27 (1750 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok.
First off, you are already aware of it, are discussing it with your rigger and are planning on discussing it with the CC instructor.
Their input is far superior to mine.

And I will agree that if you have short arms, giving up a little tail deflection in order to get optimum flaring performance is probably your best trade-off.

One thing though - If you are deflecting the tail, and start pulling on a front riser, the canopy will buck some. Nothing really nasty, or unmanageable, but it will definitely get your attention, especially the first couple of times. (You may well have known this already Wink)


TracyS  (B 38652)

Apr 8, 2013, 5:10 PM
Post #18 of 27 (1746 views)
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Ok.
And I will agree that if you have short arms, giving up a little tail deflection in order to get optimum flaring performance is probably your best trade-off.

One thing though - If you are deflecting the tail, and start pulling on a front riser, the canopy will buck some. Nothing really nasty, or unmanageable, but it will definitely get your attention, especially the first couple of times. (You may well have known this already Wink)

Nope, did not know this. Thanks for the heads up. I am starting to work a little more with front risers so this is very valuable info at the right moment in time.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Apr 8, 2013, 8:22 PM
Post #19 of 27 (1705 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Good job! Warren did you good.

Ask him out the time his wheels were put up on blocks.
LaughLaugh


TracyS  (B 38652)

Apr 11, 2013, 2:10 PM
Post #20 of 27 (1588 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks all for the input. I really appreciate the feedback.
I'll post back here after going through the canopy classes this weekend.


TracyS  (B 38652)

Apr 13, 2013, 11:40 PM
Post #21 of 27 (1486 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, did the Flight-1 101 Canopy Course yesterday. Sleeping in the car at the DZ to attend the 102 course today. Obviously not sleeping much or I wouldn't be posting this at 2:00 in the morning. Still reflecting on the 101 course.
Did not get to talk to Ian directly about having my lines shortened but we did discuss it in general terms.
I have further refined, in my mind, what effects shortening my brake lines had for me.
To stall: the canopy does not want to stall by just going into deep brakes. I had to take a half wrap to get the canopy to completely stall during our stall exercise. This is still in line with my previous post about having to really dig deep and stretch the arms to stall. I wasn't stalling, before, to the degree that we did during the course.
Wow!, that was a "fun" ride, letting the canopy completely fold back on itself and then holding it there. The recovery was a pretty wild ride.
To Flare: the two stage flare is something I'm still happy with. Ian did like how my canopy planes out in stage one of the flare and how it finishes in stage two. I did have a landing that I wasn't at all happy with. I flared too late for stage one and smacked the ground pretty good. The only good thing about the landing was that even as I hit the ground I continued to fly the canopy until it stopped. I realized I was going to hit and continued into the flare. I didn't stop the flare to reach out in a protective gesture, which would have completely stopped the flare. Instead, I dug down into the flare and rode it out as I hit. Not sure if I got some lift from the canopy as I continued into the flare or if I bounced off the ground a little but I'd like to think that following through with the flare gave me a little extra lift and helped lessen the impact.
Lucky for me, the ground is pretty soft from recent rains. My knee and calf are a bit sore but nothing injured other than my pride.
Hans asked why I was trying to beat up on his drop zone.
Ian didn't see the landing but did get it on film. When I described it in the debrief, he had not seen it yet and thought I was being a bit to hard on myself in my assessment, until he saw the video.
All in all, the landing was a good learning experience. No injury. A gentle reminder that it's not the fall that hurts, it's the sudden stop at the end of the fall that hurts.
I won't know until I get home and can convert the files, but I may have the landing on video. If so, I'll post it on YouTube and post a link here for amusement and critique.

I digress from the purpose of this post. I would have to say I am happy with the results of having the brake lines shortened. The canopy doesn't "want" to stall without some extra input. So I shouldn't find myself stalling while trying to flare for landing or flying in brakes.
It did result in a much improved two stage flare.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Apr 14, 2013, 11:46 AM
Post #22 of 27 (1405 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent, excellent, excellent!!!!!

I was off in my initial assessment of how far off length you original brake line length was...yep. Now it sounds really, really right on. You still can't stall it on landing and that's a good thing. Thanks Wayron!


TracyS  (B 38652)

Apr 14, 2013, 6:03 PM
Post #23 of 27 (1347 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Here are two of my landings from the Flight-1 101 canopy course.
The first one is the one I described in a message above.
This landing is in no way representative of the effects of having had my brake lines adjusted. Just a bad decision on when to start my flare.

http://youtu.be/7gIWkFBMaPoCrazy

The second one is one that I'm much happier with. It shows the type of two stage flare I am able to get since having had my brake lines adjusted.

http://youtu.be/DB2-VFzL0VASmile


(This post was edited by TracyS on Apr 14, 2013, 6:04 PM)


Quagmirian  (A 110392)

Apr 15, 2013, 4:24 AM
Post #24 of 27 (1305 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

Feet and knees together, hands in front of you and all the way down, don't let your toggles up before you've finished landing.

Edit: I'm a tit.


(This post was edited by Quagmirian on Apr 15, 2013, 8:11 AM)


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Apr 15, 2013, 7:02 AM
Post #25 of 27 (1257 views)
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Re: [TracyS] Brake line length question [In reply to] Can't Post

May I offer: It's always a good idea to come in prepared to PLF....with a good PLF body position set up.

Thanks for the vids....good job on the second one!


(This post was edited by popsjumper on Apr 15, 2013, 7:03 AM)


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