The first day of CP in Dubai was supposed to take place on Tuesday, 2nd Dec on the Independence Day in Dubai. Unfortunately strong winds put both Accuracy and Canopy Piloting on hold. From canopy disciplines only CF was actually flying. The busy dropzone was focused more on perfomers, airshows and holiday celebration. First swoops were made on Wednesday morning.
- "The conditions change between rounds but in the first round I was able to make good adjustements and scored 100" - says Curt Bartholomew from Alter Ego Team after first round of Accuracy - "Of course I prefer to go headwind, this is how it was today, but everything depends on location specifics and here Accuracy goes always in the same direction. Sometimes it’s downwind, sometimes headwind. The factor we cannot influence."
- "I’m happy with the results so far" - Cornelia Mihai from Skydive Dubai Team with a big smile leaving the swoop pond - "We’ll see how it goes with next rounds."
"The truth is that even the slightest change of wind speed or direction can make a huge difference in the results. It’s not rare for comeptitors to have more than one canopy of the same model (like Petra or Peregrine) but in different sizes to make a choice just before the jump accordingly to weather conditions. - In practice round I took Peregrine 75, but for the first round I flew Peregrine 67." - adds Curt.
The pilot is a real engine of his canopy
The choice of the canopy seems to be one of the CP aspects which may determine a career. To make it simpler, there are two manufacturers that provide swoopers with high performing canopies: Performance Designs and NZ Aerosport. They delivered to the market, the Peregrine and Petra, which are already used by the majority of competitors. As none of them are useful for everyday freefall jumping, users needed a canopy with performance of Peregrine/Petra and terminal deployment tolerance. (NZ Aerosports have, since publication told us that the Petra is able to open in terminal and opens well with a normal slider and RDS)
So more than 1 year ago Leia form NZ Aerosport was announced to be ready to sell and just two weeks ago PD released trailer of Valkyrie. Both canopies are described as high performing with smooth openings and being perfectly good for freefall jumping.
"If you take basic aerodynamics, this is the logical direction to go." - John LeBlanc
- "If you take basic aerodynamics, this is the logical direction to go." - John LeBlanc, PD vice-president and head of R&D; - "But I must admit that the Valkyrie project started before the Peregrine development. We have 40-120 prototypes every year and we only announce the new product to be ready when it’s really great."
- "It’s a step up from Velocity or Comp Velocity. It was designed to be an everyday usage canopy with higher performance." - says Albert Berchtold, marketing representative of PD - "It’s a different canopy than Leia, even if some claims otherwise. We were working on it at the same time as NZ for a couple of years now and we’re really happy with what Valkyrie became. Just ask users if they like it!"
And we actually did. Pablo Hernandez, winner of DISL (Swoop League) says: "The first thing that comes to me when I think of Valkyrie is the amazing openings. Really smooth and soft, my neck and back loved it from the frist jump. It also has a lot of rear risers power and toggles power. It can be used as an everyday canopy but it’s good for competition as well, mostly for Accuracy. I don’t jump it here, as I only have 30-40 jumps on it but for the next competition I will probably take it."
The first users’ descriptions of Valkyrie performance seem to be similar to Leia characteristics.
- "We arrived at the Leia trying to find Petras little sister as it were" - says Richard Munro from NZ Aerosport - "A high performance wing that incorporates many design elements of Petra without some of the practical limiatations. It’s probably reasonable to think PD had similar intent with their canopy development. In the end, the competition between the manufactuers only leads to better canopies - the pilots are the real winners."
- "I really love Leia, it’s good for Accuracy jumping in competitions but I would say it’s more dedicated to everyday skydives" - claims Lee Barraclough, competitor from NZ Aerosport - "The openings are really nice."
"I really love Leia, it’s good for Accuracy jumping in competitions but I would say it’s more dedicated to everyday skydives" - Lee Barraclough
But the truth is that aerodynamic and gravity rules stay the same for all canopies. If constructors want to achive a specific goal or parameters - no mercy - they will probably come to the similar conclusions and ideas.
- "The canopy is only a tool, the pilot is a real engine" - explains Nick Batsch, competitor from Alter Ego Team - "It doesn’t really matter if those canopies are different (probably not much, by the way). If there actually is any dispute between manufacturers is more about ‘who did it first’, and not ‘who did it better’. It shouldn’t be taken too seriously."
We tried to find a swooper who actually tried both canopies and apparently Curt Bartholomew is the only one.
- "I admit Valkyrie is similar to Leia, it feels a little bit different as the manufacturers use probably different fabrics and materials and the construction is somehow different, but the openings are supersoft in both canopies, similar risers pressure and toggle power. Probably I would benefit Valkyrie more in Distance and Speed but to be honest, they are both really good."
5th DICP almost done
Windy weather 4 days in a row is not a common thing in Dubai. Organizers keep up with the competition but many disciplines were put on hold because of difficult conditions. Distance and Speed were done only during the second day of CP, on Thursday. First two rounds were a combination ob both, so called “Speed-Distance”. It’s an experimental combination (not confirmed by FAI) where one result of a jump influences two traditional categories: Speed and Distance. This means that the stake is doubled, the pressure is doubled and of course the risk of loosing precious points is also doubled.
- "I’m happy that there is a trend of experiments, which I’ve already noticed in Klatovy, to make Canopy Piloting more interesting for the public. To make it more attractive and spectacular" - says Sebastian Dratwa - "But having in mind that this is the most important goal, I can’t understand why the Accuracy was completly isolated form the audience. Even Regan [media presenter] had to choose between being close to people and actually seeing how competitors landed."
It is true that the Canopy Piloting discipline is the most interesting for the audience. But from all three categories, only Distance is easy to understand. Even if Speed is simple, without instant results on the screen, it’s not that exciting. On the other hand it really is great (also for competitors) that the negative zones in Accuracy were removed. It’s easier to follow the rules for competitors, not to mention non-skydivers watching the show. All attempts to bring CP closer to the audience are great. There is still a lot to improve in future editions but kudos to organizers for all their efforts.
- "It’s great here, as every year. Sometimes the weather is not helping with organization of the competition." - says Regan Tetlow, media presenter of DIPC - "I love this place. Actually I decided yesterday to move to Dubai, I change my life from now on…!"
As all three CP categories are done, there is an extra one for tomorrow: CP freestyle. Last year around 40 competitors (out of 70) took part in this additional event. Sadly, this year only the first 30 are allowed to participate.
Let’s keep fingers crossed for them.
The 5th DIPC will soon be over…