OK introduction to care and feeding of ellipticals
Review by: Joellercoaster, 2009-03-18
I bought my Vision 150 at 400 jumps, having ordered a Pilot 150 with a new rig then decided I wanted something a bit sportier in the long UPT wait period. My feelings about the canopy are positive, but kind of mixed - the executive summary is that I'm going to keep it and learn it well, but have a feeling that there might be something better out there in the same sort of class.
Before this I've jumped mostly Pilots and Sabre2s, sizes 210-150, and preferred the Pilots in general. I have the HMA lines, not because I am a swoop god, but because I ordered them by accident. So far, they seem pretty good and I like the way they pack, though we'll see how they wear eh?
The good: Openings are positive and regular. Noticeably quicker than the Pilot, which I have to say I like, and generally on-heading, seems fairly sensitive to body position during the snivel (you can steer it if you're watching). Mine is prone to occasional end-cell closure, which is annoying but not really a big deal. It spun up on me and put me on my back on the second jump, but it hasn't done it again now that I leave a good 2' of line between the last stow and the risers.
It's fun to fly - initially about as responsive to toggle input as the Pilots I've jumped, but requires me to think a little more about oversteer as it will happily heel over and spiral if I (for example) yank on a rear riser too hard, without counter-input. Good exercise for the future, needing to think another step ahead. It certainly dives harder and longer than the Pilot, and it's easy to build up a lot more speed and keep it. Front riser pressure I'd put at 'medium'; it doesn't take a lot of effort to start something but it can be a strain to hold onto - the difference being, you're getting more for your input even though it feels like you're not pulling much further.
It notices when you shift your weight in the harness. Leaning into turns makes a world of difference.
The bad: As other people have said, the Vision can run out of flare just when you want to shut it down. I've noticed mine only does this on straight-in landings; the flare is fine on front-riser approaches. I asked another Vision owner about it, and he said he had the same thing until he downsized... an idea emerges.
Looking at the Aerodyne website, they recommend Visions be loaded at 1.6 to 1.8. And the plot thickens further. 1.6 is a hefty loading even in the accelerated Mad Skillz world we live in now - the Vision is at the lower-performance end of the elliptical spectrum, viewed by buyers as maybe a decent 'first' elliptical for people who don't want the really long recovery arc of a Crossfire or a Katana, and are a bit suspicious of the Stiletto's opening reputation. But 1.6 was a step too far for me, and it seems I'm underloading mine because I feel like I'm right on the bottom edge of the useful performance envelope, flare-wise. Which makes me wonder, exactly who is this canopy aimed at? 0.2 pounds per square foot is not a huge window of wingloading range.
On double fronts or carving approaches though, it's a happy bunny. So I just land it like that mostly, and flare hard and late when I have to land straight in.
Overall, it's a good canopy but I don't honestly know who to recommend it to. I'll demo a 132 in a few hundred jumps and see if the shutdown does indeed improve with higher load, because other than that I really like it. Failing that, I dunno... Nitro? Crossfire2 in the same size?