Feb 19, 2004, 8:42 PM
Post #1 of 3
First Airlock Canopy
The first canopy with the conventional "Airlock" was flown in January of 1994.
It was a modified Jonathan 120, called the "Grape Ape", due to it's all blackberry fabric. We used all blackberry because we were stuck with a bad batch of the fabric. The fill-threads of the weave were seriously warped, which would cause major built-in turns if it were used in canopies. So Tony Uragallo had no problem donating the fabric for the project, and agreed to pay me $5 per hour to do the work.
I made it work by mirroring the diagonal weave on each part of the parachute. Since the "Grape" was hand-cut, I was able to place the pattern on the appropriate angle to make the weave anomaly work.
The canopy was test jumped by Doug Park. I stood in the pea gravel with a beer and a cigarette, nervous as hell. Doug jumped the canopy in his own rig, which upped the stakes somewhat. Without a second reserve, a cutaway would be his last chance. Fortunately, the canopy worked perfectly, and Doug hooked it in to a perfect swoop onto the grass of Skydive City, Z-Hills. The rest is history...
Brain, could you give us a complete break down of the Airlock and the Jedei canopies? I know the Jedei came in at least 2 main versions, the original and the Sweptwing Jedei but I've also heard of a Genesis and a Jaberwocky that AirTime designs made. Could you give us the details and history on those canopies?
Also I heard the airlock design was slightly changed for a bit a few years ago with the creation of the PCS Airlock. Any historical info on that change?
There were in fact three canopies in the Jedei series. There was the original with the inboard stabilizers. This canopy was hand cut. Then there was the "Computer" cut Jedei without the inboard stabs. Last there was the eagle trimmed Sweptwing Jedei, which of course evolved into the Samurai.
There were lots of other wings that we built there, but never marketed all that hard. The Genesis and Jaberwalky were rectangle 9-cells which evolved into the Lotus semi-eliptical.
There was also the Warlock which was a 7-cell CRW airlock canopy. This is evolving into the Shogun.
There were others, too. This is mainly because I named each prototype in order to remember which was which. Sometimes it was based on color, like the Grape Ape and the Green Machine, and others due to their flight characteritics, such as "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" and "911".
(This post was edited by BrianSGermain on Feb 21, 2004, 3:33 PM)