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Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana?

 

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NoShitThereIWas  (D 25347)

Sep 11, 2013, 11:01 AM
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Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? Can't Post

                 Just wanting to hear mainly from experienced canopy pilots familiar with Spectres and Katanas. I have around 1,500 jumps and quit the sport about 6 years ago. I jumped a Stiletto 120 at expert wingloading and had a solid 10 years in the sport before I quit. I was no pro swooper or anything close to it, but I was a very competent canopy pilot tagging along with Nick Batsch, Robert Cook and Brian Kurzawa, all very competent swoopers back in the day. I learned from Jay Moledski right alongside them at Lake Wales and began mastering the brake, front riser, rotational dive and plane out to swoop technique (which is probably old skool by now) but I was developing that skill proficiently when I quit.
This summer I got back in the saddle again after a 6 year break first under a Stiletto 150 which I had no problems landing but then when I downsized back to my 120, I sank out of the sky like a brick. Then my landings were less than graceful some of them and I thought to myself, is my canopy ragged out or am I just that fat?
After visiting PDs website and calculating the weight I did put on since my departure from the sport, I quickly realized I am over the max wingloading weight with gear on. My less than desirable canopy landings also put a little dent in my ego when comparing them to those I have watched on video from back in the day.
Upsizing is a no brainer, I will be well within the limits on a 135 however, I am debating between the Katana and the Spectre. With my Stiletto I do miss my stable on heading openings with my old Spectre but I am afraid if I buy a Spectre, I will be happy at first and then bored with its flight characteristics.
I have jumped the Katana a handful of times when a dear friend allowed me the chance to jump his. I believe it was a 120 back in the day and I remember loving it. I have read everything on PDs website about it being between the Stiletto and the Velo. Not sure whether to go safe stable and boring or to the Katana which is fully elliptical and higher performance than the Stiletto. Anyone have any input?


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Sep 11, 2013, 11:19 AM
Post #2 of 38 (7034 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you are asking that question - the Spectre. It's much better to be happy for a while, then get bored (and then get a new canopy) than be unhappy with a canopy because it's too aggressive.

> but then when I downsized back to my 120, I sank out of the sky like a brick.

If you do not like sinking out of the sky like a brick do NOT get a Katana! Might also want to consider something like a Safire at first, transitioning to a Crossfire later.


wmw999  (D 6296)

Sep 11, 2013, 11:21 AM
Post #3 of 38 (7023 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Why not a Stiletto 135? It's reasonably familiar, and might give you a better platform on which to consider whether you want to keep swooping or not

Wendy P.


mattjw916  (D License)

Sep 11, 2013, 11:23 AM
Post #4 of 38 (7012 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

What about a third choice?

There are a bunch of canopies between a Katana and a Spectre that would potentially be suitable IMO. Nitro, Nitron, Samurai, the often lamented Vengeance that I still know a lot of people love... I'd even rather go with the trusty Sabre 2 than a Spectre though. I really never cared for the 7 cells (although I haven't tried any of the new ones) and I'm certain that if I was bored, you'd get bored even faster coming from a snappy Stiletto.

My Nitron 150 at 1.4 was pretty sporty and never dramatic.


hookitt  (D License)

Sep 11, 2013, 12:50 PM
Post #5 of 38 (6836 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not even going to finish reading. katana is NOT the canopy for you. Either get another stiletto or get something like a Crossfire2. They are fun to fly and can deal with much higher wingloads and actually do quite well and lighter medium loading.

The Katana is a ground hungry, inconsistent opening canopy that dives but has much less flare power than it should.

I have PLENTY of jumps on a Katana. I won't recommend them to anyone. People who like them, like them because it's what they have ... and now it's time to flame me for that comment Tongue

If you want more of an opinion, I'll be glad to talk to you offline.


NoShitThereIWas  (D 25347)

Sep 11, 2013, 12:56 PM
Post #6 of 38 (6810 views)
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Re: [mattjw916] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah that is what I am worried about. Canopies are expensive and I don't know... I guess I can demo both but does anyone have any experience to speak about under Katana or Nitro or Crossfire or Vengeance?

As far as sinking out of the sky, my Stiletto does have lots of jumps on it and the fabric is not like new zero p. I'm wondering if a relatively new Katana 15 square feet larger will give more lift.

Wendy, good thought. I guess I am just kind of over having unpredictable openings. At one point in my skydiving career that was "exciting" which in my older age is what makes the Spectre so appealing. I really do miss the greatest opening in the world. But I will never advance under the Spectre unless I want to do accuracy. I am not looking to be a pro swooper but I would like to continue with my progression and come in HOT once in a while when the time is right... you know???


NoShitThereIWas  (D 25347)

Sep 11, 2013, 12:58 PM
Post #7 of 38 (6794 views)
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Re: [hookitt] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Timme!!!!!

I need someone to tell me what to try. Tell me about the Crossfire 2. I need something fun and with great openings!

Oh and no one flame hookitt please, but if you constructive disagreements please post! I don't have much experience under them but I remember loving the ride. I don't want to make any mistakes though... I also don't want to spend a fortune demoing a bunch of canopies.


(This post was edited by NoShitThereIWas on Sep 11, 2013, 1:01 PM)


hookitt  (D License)

Sep 11, 2013, 1:12 PM
Post #8 of 38 (6754 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Safire2 Good opening. Great flight and landing characteristics. Kinda Swoopy :)

Crossfire2 Good Opening Great flight and landing characteristics. Turns quicker glides REALLY well and can be very swoopy :) :)

The Nitron is actually fun too. It opens well, and flares great. I'm surprised at how much I liked this when I borrowed it a bunch. The first one was called the Jalapeno!

You have the experience to fly either one. Just jump something, anything you can of appropriate size. Do that until you get the canopy you want.

Vengeance... .don't bother. It was a nice try and discontinued quickly. Ground hungry and flies like a box.

Katana. Sporadic and often uncomfortable openings on all 3 sizes I jumped. sometimes they opened fine. They sink out of the sky really fast. They dive real easy and flare like a typical 9 cell. Skip it.

My suggestion would be the Crossfire2 unless you wish to go Crossbraced and then JFX is the one to go for. We can wait a bit on that one.

I'll still be happy to talk offline about any and all of this with you.

Ps, if it wasn't you, I was probably going to skip answering this thread Tongue ... It's just a forum so they can flame away, it doesn't actually hurt. :)


(This post was edited by hookitt on Sep 11, 2013, 1:15 PM)


Premier Remster  (C License)

Sep 11, 2013, 1:31 PM
Post #9 of 38 (6686 views)
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Re: [hookitt] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

You know, I've put quite a few of jumps on a crossfire and a Katana before picking the KA. I really didnt like the way the XF dove or flew in brakes. And landings / flare was much better on the KA for me. I guess YMMV Smile

This being said, yeah. KA's fall out of the skies unless you fly them in deep brakes.


hookitt  (D License)

Sep 11, 2013, 1:52 PM
Post #10 of 38 (6640 views)
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Re: [Remster] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Seems as if the somewhat "larger" ones are less temperamental.

I say "larger" cuz 135 isn't exactly a big canopy.


Premier Remster  (C License)

Sep 11, 2013, 2:17 PM
Post #11 of 38 (6608 views)
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Re: [hookitt] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

What can I say. I'm fat. Sly


NoShitThereIWas  (D 25347)

Sep 12, 2013, 12:03 AM
Post #12 of 38 (6245 views)
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Re: [Remster] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks so much for the input you two! I will definitely take it into consideration and let you know how I do. More input is still welcome!


matt002

Sep 12, 2013, 5:48 AM
Post #13 of 38 (5985 views)
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Re: [hookitt] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

hookitt wrote:

The Katana is a ground hungry, inconsistent opening canopy that dives but has much less flare power than it should

That's a petty accurate summary of the katana at high wingloadings, its like a non cross braced velocity, and that's not a good thing.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Sep 12, 2013, 6:07 AM
Post #14 of 38 (5957 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Canopies are expensive

This should have nothing to do with your decision. Used canopies all cost the same, and you can buy and sell them all day long to make sure you have the canopy/size that is safe and appropriate for you.

There have been a bunch of these threads in the last few months, and I'm surprised at the number of people who had enough time and experience in the sport to know the importance of practice and currency who seem to throw that right out the window when they return to the sport.

You're not the same jumper you were when you stopped jumping. You're older, possibly fatter, possibly weaker, possibly less flexible, probably less likely to heal fully from injury, and definitely not the canopy pilot you used to be. With all that in mind, everyone looks to their performance on their last day of jumping, when they were the most experienced they had ever been, as the benchmark for moving forward.

I know that for me, the end of the season is when I'm at my best. Several hundred jumping in the past 7 months, and I'm as on top of my game as I've ever been. Fast forward through the winter, and I'm pretty far from where I left off. When you operate at a high level, you lose the top end of that pretty fast.

Spectre or Katana are nothing alike, and shouldn't be on the same page in any case, unless it's a PD price list. How about do what you know is the 'right' move, and find a used intermediate canopy at a reasonable WL, and get your 'sky legs' back. Put in 50 jumps and blow off some of the rust.

Not going to be jumping that much? Feel like 50 jumps will take forever? All the more reason to take it easy with your canopy selection. Think back to your 'old' self, how long did 50 jumps take you then? Probably not that long. What would you have said to a jumper who had 50 jumps on any canopy and felt like they were 'good' on that canopy.

Going to be hitting it hard? Good for you, 50 jumps won't take very long, and you'll that much better off.


bwilling  (C 13618)

Sep 12, 2013, 7:31 AM
Post #15 of 38 (5824 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Spectre or Katana are nothing alike, and shouldn't be on the same page in any case, unless it's a PD price list.

That's exactly what I thought when I saw the title of this thread! I have over 500 jumps on various Spectres, almost a thousand on a couple of same sized Storms, and just finished a round of demoing higher performance canopies including the Crossfire2 and the Katana, after which I purchased a Crossfire2.

I'll limit my input to this... if you're considering a Spectre class canopy, you should also consider the Storm. Having owned and jumped both, it's the ONLY 7 cell I would consider owning now. In fact my original plan was to downsize my Storm, until I started demoing 'sportier' options.

It's more ground hungry than the Spectre, but lands much better in my opinion. My pair of Storms had Dacron lines, and they are simply the best opening canopies I've ever jumped. Less snivel than the Spectre, but nice controlled soft openings. Just another canopy to consider since the Spectre was on the list...


NoShitThereIWas  (D 25347)

Sep 12, 2013, 10:02 AM
Post #16 of 38 (5676 views)
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Re: [bwilling] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

I realize the Katana and Spectre are two completely different canopies. Perhaps I should have titled this thread which canopy should I try that has the openings of a Spectre and the flight characteristics of the Katana. To me the Katana seemed more stable than my Stiletto. The long recovery arc was the only real thing that concerned me about the Katana. PD did not rant about their openings either. I loved my Stiletto maybe it is just time to upsize but my openings were not consistent even after a new line set and being that I am over gross weight under my 120 as well as it being somewhat old technology, I am open to trying something new.

Being that I have only owned PD canopies with the exception of one reserve, I was hoping to get a little perspective into other canopies from other manufacturers in this post. The Crossfire2 description seems like what I am looking for. I have a friend or two who own one and love the openings and flight characteristics. It seems like the perfect intermediate canopy with the capability to go higher performance when the time is right. I appreciate the frank and considerate opinions. Blue skies!

PS. Remster's post still makes me love the Katana!!! I remember it flying like an eagle more like soaring! I loved it. Maybe I just need to demo a couple. Oy...


(This post was edited by NoShitThereIWas on Sep 12, 2013, 10:07 AM)


diablopilot  (D License)

Sep 12, 2013, 12:18 PM
Post #17 of 38 (5570 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Stick with the Stiletto. I went back to one after a decade on cross braced pocket rockets, and I couldn't be happier. A new one will open like a dream, will get back from a spot in another country and has the performance to make you happy without the stress of being "on" every landing.

Oh and if you load up a 120 past it's max, I must be in trouble. I'm 1.8 to 1.9..... love it.


(This post was edited by diablopilot on Sep 12, 2013, 12:22 PM)


bwilling  (C 13618)

Sep 12, 2013, 12:26 PM
Post #18 of 38 (5559 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Perhaps I should have titled this thread which canopy should I try that has the openings of a Spectre and the flight characteristics of the Katana.

Ha! That's what I wanted... a parachute that opened just like my Storm but flew and landed more like the Katana! The Crossfire2 is not as 'sporty feeling' as the Katana at the relatively low wing loading that I'm jumping at (1.4-1.5), but I thought is was a better overall compromise between openings and flight performance than the Katana was, and a better 'next step' for me. YMMV

Good luck on your search, and welcome back! ;-)


CSpenceFLY  (D 25252)

Sep 12, 2013, 3:40 PM
Post #19 of 38 (5429 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

I put a lot of jumps on a Spectre 170 loaded at about 1.4 when I was flying camera. Loved it. First thing you want to do is lengthen the brake lines a little and they fly great.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 12, 2013, 6:37 PM
Post #20 of 38 (5294 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

NoShitThereIWas wrote:
... Spectre ...


jsaxton  (D 26818)

Sep 12, 2013, 9:30 PM
Post #21 of 38 (5186 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

How many jumps a week are you planning on doing? Think about it.


NoShitThereIWas  (D 25347)

Sep 12, 2013, 10:59 PM
Post #22 of 38 (5143 views)
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Re: [jsaxton] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

That all depends. My SO was a DZO and skydiving is huge for him. I have been out of the sport for a while but I can see jumping back in hard core... I guess it all depends on how much SCUBA diving we end up doing...


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Sep 14, 2013, 6:10 AM
Post #23 of 38 (4788 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Not sure whether to go safe stable and boring or to the Katana which is fully elliptical and higher performance than the Stiletto

A Spectre "can" be sized and flown such that you'd consider it boring. But my husband has a 135 loaded at about 1.5 that he loves as much as he loves his Velo. It's all in how you fly it. He gets longer swoops than some people do with their Katanas, and has the advantages of soft on heading openings and good stall recovery.

What do you want out of skydiving this time around? Do you need to fly fast under canopy on every skydive and are you willing to accept the risks? If so, go with the Katana (or equivalent). Are you okay with a bit less performance in exchange for reduced risk? Go with the Spectre.

You know the correct answer. Get demos of each one and wring them out.


erdnarob  (D 364)

Sep 14, 2013, 12:28 PM
Post #24 of 38 (4688 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a Katana, I jumped it for the last 500 jumps and I can tell you that you will never be bored with it. If you are gentle with it, conservative, the Katana will provide you with nice flights and tremendous flares. The Katana is not a touchy canopy, its large toggle range with low pressure makes it very predictible. According John LeBlanc from PD, the Katana is what you normally jump after a Sabre 2. But if you like a 7 cell canopy go for the Storm which is the enhanced Spectre with more diving capabilities and a flare accordingly. But if you choose a Katana, be careful below 1000 ft. A good 180 degree full turn will make you lose 400 ft. No problem using flat turns with it even at low altitude but get use to the canopy first.


JumpRu  (D License)

Sep 15, 2013, 11:45 PM
Post #25 of 38 (4387 views)
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] Canopy decision for a once expert jumper returning to the sport. Spectre or Katana? [In reply to] Can't Post

if wl is an issue you need to go with most efficient wing... i don't see how conventional 7 cell can help you... katana is one of the most efficient 9cell canopies. so unless you want to go xbraced it would be good choice for someone who knows how to swoop.
openings are fine, off heading but never hard. i did not have a single line twist in last 500 jumps.
flare is ok. i doubt any 9 cell can give you more.
i think the only competition for katana would be something like velo.
nothing wrong with xfire too, it is just different in some ways better in some worse. you have to demo both to decide. can not really go wrong with ether one of them.


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