Forums: Skydiving: Skydiving History & Trivia:
Who's Jumped a Strato Star ?

 

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tbrown  (D 6533)

Mar 6, 2004, 11:55 PM
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Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? Can't Post

The Paracommander threads have also brought back memories of the Strato Star, "the parachute that squared away parachuting", as an old Para Flite ad used to say. When I started jumping back in '74, most people were jumping PC's and a few Para Plane Clouds. The Clouds had brutally hard openings, I never jumped one, but remember seeing - and hearing - some openings that made me cringe. Then this smaller square, this Strato Star started showing up. It came with it's own little container with bungee chords. It had a ropes & rings reefing system that actually delivered soft openings (though I remember more than a few people had some cutaways before they got their packing of the reefing line right). Then in '75, some people came back from the Nationals with a small piece of cloth called a "slider" and everyone was cutting off their ropes and rings with pocket knives and putting these sliders on their Stars. From then on it was like the gold rush - it seemed like everyone was buying a Strato Star. People were so animated about them, they'd rave about how much they loved them. It was smaller, by virtue of being only a 5 cell, and lighter, and for a few years it set the standard for a smaller container size. Whatever the competition was making, be it round or square, it had to fit into a Star size container if they hoped to sell any.

The funny thing is, I never actually jumped one. My first square jump was on a Strato Cloud, and by then the Unit and Cruisair had stolen all the excitement. I ended up buying Pioneer's Viking Superlite, which I have to say was a really decent canopy. But there were still diehards jumping Strato Stars as late as 1980, when I finally left the sport on a 22 year hiatus. Nowadays it seems like the old Strat is sort of vilified and the butt of many unkind jokes. No doubt it's not up to modern standards, but it's earned its place as a canopy that really changed the face of our sport. And I'm sure there are plenty of older jumpers out there who jumped them, or owned one (and maybe still do).


fergs  (F 383)

Mar 7, 2004, 1:35 AM
Post #2 of 147 (8442 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

CoolCoolCoolCool

I'm an old stratostar jumper - even had a cat named after this fantastic (in its' day) canopy!!!

My first strat was in 1976 - bought when I was jumping in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It was the first stratostar in the country - in fact the two jumpers who's had paraplane clouds had recently left the country - so mine arrived to be the only square parachute in PNG at that time. I hadn't jumped a square before this, so had some difficulties with the packing instructions .... "go from high point to high point ..." Man, what the heck was a high point?!!!

Anyhow, after some trial and tribulations, I finally had it packed and was confident that it may indeed work. This included installing the tiny little container that it came with onto my harness.

It was the original long lined ring-and-rope version. Different from previous squares in that the reefing rope came from the pilot chute, through a grommeted panel in the center of the top and botom surface, then around the edge of the lower surface through numerous metal rings.

it opened a treat - always soft and on heading
- usually with closed end cells.

Some months later I was on vacation at Antioch in California - jumping in high winds and a fair bit of turbulence - yeah, you guessed it, canopy callopsed and I broke a femur. That was when we learned about such a thing as a "gust induced stall".

Back in Australia a few months later I had the ropes-and-rings replaced with a slider - and the rest is history.

My next strat was one of the, at the time, turbo charged models - short lines and slider from factory. From then I had a couple strato clouds (and another cat named same), then onward to other canopies of the day.

I really loverd my stratostar. It was the cutting edge of its' time - extremely high performance - light - low packing volume - and other jumpers would watch with amazement.

Pics attached are couple of the original, after the slider was installed.

Aaaggghhh for those old days ...

Bluie Skies,

fergs Wink
Attachments: strat 1976.jpg (31.1 KB)
  strat 2.jpg (25.2 KB)


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 7, 2004, 8:21 AM
Post #3 of 147 (8419 views)
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Re: [fergs] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gosh your PICS bring back memories!

I made a jump on one just like yours in the PIC...

ONE TIME!Blush
I was about 240lbs. (in college football shape)
and finally got talked into trading my 252 foil
with another buddy, and giving the star a try.

When it opened...
it looked SO SMALL!!!!ShockedShockedShocked


smooth  (D License)

Mar 7, 2004, 9:37 AM
Post #4 of 147 (8408 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to jump one. As a matter of fact, I still have it. Went from that to a Strato-Cloud then to a Pegasus.
Attachments: eric_star_small.jpg (4.95 KB)


slug  (B License)

Mar 7, 2004, 11:20 AM
Post #5 of 147 (8400 views)
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Re: [fergs] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Great pic's those cells are HugeShocked. How soon we forgetUnsure.

Thanks
R.I.P.


murrays  (C 1285)

Mar 7, 2004, 1:04 PM
Post #6 of 147 (8391 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have any Star jumps that I can remember but I have 80-90 on a National Parachute knock-off called the Cobra 10. (Thank god I got divorced, sold the house and bought a Pegasus...that Cobra 10 was one hard opening canopy). I hope the Strato Star was a better parachute because the Cobra 10 really was a brutal introduction to square parachutes.


skypuppy  (D 347)

Mar 7, 2004, 1:33 PM
Post #7 of 147 (8384 views)
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Re: [airtwardo] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been looking for my old one for a while - just can't remember for the life of me where it went... Strato - Star - 180 sq. ft. Still remember Al Miller breaking his toe landing a fourstack (he was on the bottom) in barefeet in the packing area at Z-hills the 1st winter at their new site. (Al was 6 ft +, 230+)... In the pic I'm docked 8th under the strato-star, Paul 'Anvil' Evanoff and Taff Jones (?) on top under glidepath dragonflies, a bunch of royal marines in between. One is Andy Guest. Not sure of the others... photo by Pink Floyd (we'd freeflown a ten-man star and held it 5 seconds before opening and building the stack).


(This post was edited by skypuppy on Mar 7, 2004, 1:34 PM)
Attachments: SCS Dive3.jpg (23.3 KB)


slug  (B License)

Mar 7, 2004, 2:17 PM
Post #8 of 147 (8376 views)
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Re: [skypuppy] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Pink Floyd knew how to turn on the gas on the ride to altitudeFrown

Nice video work thoughSmile

R.I.P.


darkwing  (D 4164)

Mar 7, 2004, 2:20 PM
Post #9 of 147 (8376 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I jumped a Strato Star in 1975 fairly shortly after they came out. Ropes and Rings didn'g last long. I'm guessing less than a year. I did a lot of slider conversions on Strato Stars for a couple of years. I put nearly 500 jumps on my Strato Star, but I'm sure the large majority were slider equipped.


jonstark  (D 8298)

Mar 7, 2004, 3:16 PM
Post #10 of 147 (8369 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I jumped a Strato-Star for about two years and 500 jumps. Used rings and ropes for about three jumps then this slider thingy came out. Mine came equipt with one. I replaced it with a Strato-Flyer and used that one for another 500 jumps as well as for my first five BASE jumps.

I used my Star for CRW with my DZO partner Robert Kempf. He used to have a Star as well but he outweighed me by 30 pounds. We used to run into each other and hang on for dear life. Called that CREW ha ha. Once he got a Cloud we were perfectly matched and could dock in seconds.

Made my first canopy hook-up under my S-Star too. It was with Lew Sanborn and was his first too. He was under a Cloud and bottom docked me. My jump number 133, April 77.


jimmytavino  (A 3914)

Mar 7, 2004, 5:04 PM
Post #11 of 147 (8360 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

 



Shocked Unimpressed Unsure ....Only ONE time!!!
It was the day on which i made my 1,200th jump...
( 9-24-80 ) I needed to get 5 jumps that day,,,and it was real busy... ( C182 DZ )... so the gang let me double manifest and I jumped my Friend Annette's Strato Star,,, on jump # 1199... It was small,,, and squirrelly,,, and had long lines....I pretty much stalled it on landing but I was in the pea gravel. so I got away with it...Sly Wink.... I recall deciding then and there,,,,, that I would NEVER jump another 5 cell
again!!!.... I finished that day with # 1,200,,, on which we tried a night 10 way,,, out of 2 cessnas..ShockedSmile flying in formation @ 10 Grand...
a fun day,,,,except we only built to 7....Frown...on the night jump....
I had about 100 jumps on my own second hand strato cloud, at that time,,, and still jumped my Round French Papillon often,,,,,But the strato star was new for me,,,,,and once was enough !!!Laugh


Amazon  (D License)

Mar 7, 2004, 8:24 PM
Post #12 of 147 (8340 views)
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Re: [jimmytavino] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had one for a while.. If I remember right it was a green one and always opened just fine.. no malfunctions.. unlike the Parafoil I replaced it with.

The long lines were a bit of a challenge when you whipped a turn and it tossed you WAY out and took a bit of time to stabilize..but again. its been a long time but that is about all I can remember about it.


tbrown  (D 6533)

Mar 7, 2004, 9:42 PM
Post #13 of 147 (8334 views)
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Re: [jimmytavino] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

 ....Only ONE time!!!
It was the day on which i made my 1,200th so the gang let me double manifest and I jumped my Friend Annette's Strato Star
So Jimmy, was that Annette from Seneca Falls ? She used to jump a Pap when I knew her. Whaddaya know ? I can never remember Annette's last name, but she went along on the 1977 Pilgrimage to Z-Hills for the Easter Boogie with us in Mary Todd's van. That was sure fun, Mary still had NC plates on the van - and a Fuzzbuster on the dashboard, so we just sailed on by all the NY and MA drivers who were pulled over fer speedin'.

I must now confess that the first Square I ever owned was a Cobra 10. I never had any hard openings on it, but the thing wasn't built right. After about 60 or so jumps, a couple load bearing ribs seperated. Sent it back for a repair, free of charge. By 105 jumps, it did it again. Got rid of the fucker and bought a Viking Superlite (made with the 1.2 oz. fabric that was considered "lightweight" before F-111 came along).


(This post was edited by tbrown on Mar 7, 2004, 9:45 PM)


jbrasher  (D 5166)

Mar 8, 2004, 3:04 PM
Post #14 of 147 (8277 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

My first square was a Stro Star bought in 1976. Two jumps with the rings and ropes and they were gone and it was short lined with a slider.

Always thought no wind landings in the morning were more fun than I wanted but otherwise it beat the hell out of anything else. My god it was fast (compared to a PC) Wink

500 jumps and never had a malfunction.


tonybrogdon  (D 12855)

Mar 8, 2004, 5:47 PM
Post #15 of 147 (8265 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

My first Square was a 5 cell Strato Star. I made such hard landings I exchanged for a 7 cell after about a dozen jumps.


Oberlin  (D 8118)

Mar 8, 2004, 6:54 PM
Post #16 of 147 (8260 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I purchased my Strato Star from a friend who was active Air Force, rings and ropes short lined 3 ft. I put about 100 jumps on the rings and rope before the slider became available, then another 50 before the Strato Cloud. I acquired a really nice Strat several years ago, I'd like to drag it out sometime (windy day) just for grins. Anybody got an old serviceable SST or Wonder Hog collecting dust?


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 8, 2004, 8:55 PM
Post #17 of 147 (8248 views)
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Re: [Oberlin] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yup!
got a wonderdog...
the origional, no riser covers...velcro loop
Strong 26 in the top end


Amazon  (D License)

Mar 8, 2004, 10:40 PM
Post #18 of 147 (8239 views)
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Re: [Oberlin] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking WATER JUMP...Smile

I have found one and I might just have to try flying it.... now If I can find an original Wonderhog to put it in..


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 8, 2004, 11:15 PM
Post #19 of 147 (8237 views)
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Re: [Amazon] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Mine's got a pull-out...

Ya can borrow it if ya clean off the
goo when your done! Laugh


Amazon  (D License)

Mar 8, 2004, 11:33 PM
Post #20 of 147 (8234 views)
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Re: [airtwardo] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

No Goo in those crystal clear waters there in Montana.. MAN that stuff is clear I could see at LEAST 50 ft down into it when I was there with no gear at all last year... I am taking my boat over.. and maybe some scuba.. I wanna see just how clear that glacial cut is down there.


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 8, 2004, 11:38 PM
Post #21 of 147 (8233 views)
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Re: [Amazon] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Offer stands 'Zon...
Let me know.
I have a Stylemaster it will fit into too!Wink


(This post was edited by airtwardo on Mar 8, 2004, 11:49 PM)


jimp

Mar 9, 2004, 9:20 AM
Post #22 of 147 (8202 views)
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Re: [tbrown] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Can anyone remember the red lanyard that was used to "set" the pilot chutes? It was attached to one of the rear risers, and after opening you would haul on it a couple of times to set the pilot chutes, generally a pair of MA 1's, so that they wouldn't start reefing the canopy back in when the brakes were released. Like a lot of other things, I just can't remember how they were rigged at the top end.

It was a great little canopy, and perfect for my light weight of 145, even though I was jumping between 4500 and 6000 ground elevation asl. One cutaway, when the reefing lines somehow tied themselves in a knot about 6 feet above the top of the canopy. The soft openings made it perfect for carrying a camera, I can remember the gentle rocking motion as each cell (except the ends) individually inflated.

Zero wind landings were ok after a steep learning curve. I would come in on final in half brakes, and at 50 or 60 feet let her fly, and then with a properly timed flare, soft landings were the result. With an improperly timed flare - well, you can guess the result.


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 9, 2004, 4:17 PM
Post #23 of 147 (8182 views)
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Re: [jimp] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

The reefing line had a little plactic tube that it went through
one open end and out at a 45 degree 3/4's of the way through the length of the tube...

It fed throurh a ring on thre top skin...went in clean and the angle it was cocked at hung up on the ring prevebting it from feeding back through...

Help any?


fergs  (F 383)

Mar 9, 2004, 5:39 PM
Post #24 of 147 (8177 views)
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Re: [airtwardo] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The reefing line had a little plactic tube that it went through
one open end and out at a 45 degree 3/4's of the way through the length of the tube...

It fed throurh a ring on thre top skin...went in clean and the angle it was cocked at hung up on the ring prevebting it from feeding back through...

Help any?

... the red line that was connected to one of the risers cascaded into two with a ring on the end of each at the canopy end. Through each ring went the reefing line, which when the canopy was open then continued through the grommits in the "protection fabric" that was mid canopy - both top and bottom surface.

So after opening, hawling down on the red line pyhsically pulled the reefing line down towards you. As soon as you saw the plastic tube thingy pop through one of the bottom surface grommits, you could let go of the red line. The tube thingy would then lock under the bottom surface.

These days, it equates to collapsing the slider. But not seating the plastic tube would result in a possibility of the pilot chute inflating and, whilst towing the reefing line, literally collapse. Not an ideal situation.

With the Strat, you'd have to unlock the plastic tube and feed it back to above grommit in top surface during packing. Or else you wouldn't be able to pull the long reefing line taught after the canopy was flaked and dressed.

I always found the reefing line openings softer that subsequent slider openings. I'd typically pull in a full track with the reefing line deployment retardation system - without ever experiencing a hard opening.

The first few pack jobs were a challenge, though. The manual assumed you'd seen a square parachute up close before and/or had a square owner nearby to coach. I had neither - and so did many pack versions - all of which could have been interpreted as correct by the manual (which may as well have been printed in a foreign language to me) before each of the first 4 or 5 jumps, before setting down to a version that was easy and logical as well as somewhat agereed with the manual.

So that was 1976 - and now 12 or 13 main canopies later, I still remember my first Strato Star with smiles.

Blue Skies,

fergs


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 9, 2004, 8:31 PM
Post #25 of 147 (8166 views)
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Re: [fergs] Who's Jumped a Strato Star ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I owned / packed several canopies w/
"Rings and Ropes"

And yes they were ALWAYS soft openings...

Always tended to get burns from the ropes
eventually...

I went to a method similar to the 252's pilot chute
controlled reefing system.

But a little better.

252 type spider slider, tubular nylon a bit longer
than 2X's the suspension line length,
and a standard pilot chute.

One end of the tubular nylon 'reefing line' was sewn
to the bottom skin of the canopy center.

The line then fed through a D ring sewn in the center
of the spider slider, and went back up through
grommets set in the canopy center...
with the pilotchute attached normally to it.

The canopy was flat packed normally,
I used a raper instead of a bag.

Packed canopy S folded into the container,
and the extra long bridle
was stowed in bands on the inside of the bottom flap.

The reefing line worked like a pulley system on
the slider, instead of the straight
through reefing as on 252's.

Opened quicker but as soft as 'rings and ropes'...
and never any canopy damage.

With the Raper it packed smaller and neater
and quicker than bagged canopies.

Used that system on several standard 'clouds'
XL Clouds, and a 260 'Sport' cloud as well as
a couple 252's.

..A little off topic, but interesting bit of nostalgia anyway!


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