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Skydiving Gear : Reviews

Katana 120 @ 1.65 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: Dutcher, 2014-07-15

Coming from a Stiletto 135, I was advised an x-fire 119 to be my next canopy. Hated the frontriser-pressure on the Stiletto, and hoped for better on the Crossfire. I liked it very much, till someone let me jump a Katana 120. Now that's what low pressure is about! I instantly sold the X-fire and ordered a Kat 120 from PD-stock. I now have 70 jumps on it and a lot of what people say is true. It can be searchy on openings (X-fire opens like a dream, always, everytime) but I have only had one single twist so far.
It really dives like hell once you let it built up speed on fronts, and you better be careful: I've been a few times deep down in the corner because it tends to keep diving after you let go of the risers. The emergency-digging-out on toggles made me swing forward so fast I pitched up some 15 feet above the ground. Well, I survived without injury, and learned fast...
Now that I am somewhat used to it's characteristics, I start to feel confident about the Katana. This is really the modern way of flying. You have to be active and keen on every aspect of your flight. No more fun-360's and other aerobatics before you start your landing pattern. You'll be on the ground in no time if you do that. Is that a shame? No way!
When flown with dedication the Katana is very rewarding. Fast, clean, yet smooth turns, very predictable. The canopy is diving fast, but puts you exactly where you want to be. Turbulence, strong headwinds, no problemo: It cuts through the air like a razor. Don't be dazzled by it's high speed once it recovers. Don't brake in panick but start your flare gently and higher than you're used to. Once it starts to decelerate you can easily flare it to a full stop, surfing with your toes through the grass forever. I really love this canopy, but handle it with care and respect! Still a lot to learn, but getting there. Starting my 270's at 800 ft and ending up a little high, but that's good for now.

BTW: Have to keep my fullface closed, since I wear lenses. The relative wind blows them out of my eyes in a steep turn. A speedy ride, everytime. And big fun!

PS: Some extra advice on the openings. Katana has a reputation for it's unpredictable openings, easily leading to twists. After about 150 jumps I have found out wat works for me just right te prevent this.
1) Divide the slider between the line-groups and push it down firmly and tight to the sliderstops and keep it that way until you put your lines on the first stow.
2) Keep your stows fresh. Replace them when they start to wear out, don't wait for them to break. Line dump is a bad thing for openings, but the Katana really hates it.
3) And most impotant: perform a fast and "positive" throw-out of your pc, after that immediatly fix your shoulders and upperarms and look at the horizon. Try NOT to look up at your opening canopy before you feel the snivel has finished. Body position is everything.

Perform this way you will experience the Katana is a very smooth, somewhat slow opening canopy (900 ft is normal) that keeps heading quite well and is a relief for your back. Stressful openings are often caused by fear of line-twists, resulting in a quick head-up and/or shoulders-turned bodyposition, making the opening progressively worse.