Xaos is a nice change from a Velo
Review by: sunnyape, 2012-06-15
I have just done a few dozen jumps on a new Xaos 21 117 after having done 1,000+ on a Velocity 111. Both canopies are loaded to about a 2.2
At last, a cross braced canopy that you can trust to open. Although Velocities open softly, their pig-headed desire to go where you don't want until the slider is down can be a P.I.T.A.
In comparison, although the Xaos shakes itself around during opening and the slider stays up longer, nothing untoward actually happens. I had a brake come off during one opening and all that happened was it maintained a stiff turn that I could lean against until I popped the other brake. The same scenario on the Velo would be a catastrophe. (if you ever want to scare yourself silly, jump your Velo with the brakes off!).
The Xaos doesn't dive as hard as the Velo and planes out a bit more by itself, but the swoops are still almost as long and just as fun. Not quite as steerable on the rear risers as the Velo and the transition to stall before you need the brakes to flare is a bit more abrupt, but that is a matter of adjusting your technique.
If you really must have the extra swoop performance, go for the Xaos 27. If not and you want a more well rounded canopy, the 21 will give you 95% of a Velo's performance without the downsides.
My only gripe is the thin HMA lines. Having done 1,000+ jumps on the Velo with Vectran 750 lines before doing a reline, (even though they were still in trim and in fairly good condition), it would be nice if Xaoses (Xaoi?) had an option for a slightly heavier version of the HMA to have longer between relines.
5 years later
It's been five years living with the Xaos 21 117 and it's been a very good relationship. Over the past hundred jumps, the slider has become more reluctant to come down during opening, causing the 'snivel' stage to last longer. The HMA lines looked in fairly good condition with just mild piling on the surface (I've been using a stowless bag), so I was getting ready to replace them.... when a B line broke (It was perfectly fine to fly and land). Oh, well, the choice was made for me. The slider's got some mild abrasion near the grommets, so I'm getting that replaced during the re-line, but I'm getting one with stainless grommets instead of brass in the hope the openings will be a little more positive as the Xaos can be a bit slow to open.