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Gear

    Z1 SL-14 Helmet Released by Parasport Italy

    Parasport Italy recently released the latest addition to their gear products with the announcement of the Z1 SL-14 helmet. The Z1 SL-14 is the first of the company's products to use the much anticipated Skylight visor. One of the new features with the Skylight visor is the ability to rotate the flip-up visor to a point whereby it will go unseen, ensuring that it does not disturb your peripheral vision under canopy. The visor is made of injection molded polycarbonate and is both anti-scratch and anti-fog treated. Parasport Italy also put focus on the ease of use, and the Skylight visor has been made to operate easily with one hand, even while wearing gloves. The positive response to the previous Z1 helmet regarding the visor locking system has meant that while enhanced upon, the same concept is used for the Z1 SL-14.
    A wider face opening allows for enhanced peripheral vision, a clear field of view whereby the helmet does not distract, and makes for easier sight of the handles, as well as a better awareness of the environment.
    There have been numerous improvements made to the shell of the Z1, ensuring a stronger, more durable helmet, while at the same time focusing on comfort. The manufacturing process involved injection molding with high impact ABS, like that used in the building of motorcycle helmets. The method by which this injection molding takes place, ensures that the products are consistent and well built. The helmet also comes with an adjustable airtight collar which is made from soft anallergic polyester. A removable variable density liner ensures that the Z1 gives a comfortable fit, while also allowing one to easily set the size just by changing the liner. The collar system has been redesigned for a more comfortable fit than previous models, with more padding around the back of the neck. Similar enhancements have been made on the liner which has been redesigned to ensure even better comfort. There has also been an improvement with the airflow management, which the liner's new design helps aid in.
    A lot of focus was placed on consumer and industry feedback with the production of the Z1 SL-14. Such feedback is what brought the design of the Z1 away from the rear placed ratchet collar system that was found on the previous model. The new latching system makes it possible to close the collar around your neck and secure the helmet with the chinstrap buckle in a single movement. The chinstrap is adjustable to adapt the collar to the different shapes and sizes. Adjustment is needed just once (as shown on the drawing), after that securing the Z1 SL-14 is easy as pulling the chinstrap and closing the clip: no further adjustment needed.
    The helmet is designed to be light and aerodynamic, while still ensuring that it is of the highest quality and strength.
    Technical Specifications
    Integrated polycarbonate flip-up visor
    Unique practical and affordable visor mechanism
    Anti-fog, anti-scratch, sturdy replaceable visor
    Airtight collar, combined with safety chinstrap
    Interchangeable liner (can be washed in the washing machine!)
    Pouches on both ears to accommodate audibles
    Size is set by the liner. Available sizes are S, M, L, XL and XXL
    Available with IAS option to install the Skytronic GFX, the NeoXs or compatible audibles
    Available separately the beautiful protecting helmet bag

    By admin, in Gear,

    Z-Brace Technology from Performance Designs

    The next revolution in high performance technology: Z-Brace Performance Designs has been working on this concept for over two years and is proud to present the first Z-BRACE concept canopy.
    In 1990 Performance Designs launched Excalibur, the first cross-braced canopy. this technology was designed and patented by Performance Designs and is being used in canopies from around the world. The Velocity high performance wing from PD is the world's most winningest cross-braced canopy to date.
    Cross-braced technology:
    A cross-brace holds a non-load rib flat with a conventional rib, in effect creating three loaded cells between line groups.
    The Z-Brace concept:
    The Z-Brace goes a step beyond the cross-brace, by diagonally bracing two additional non-loded ribs, which results in five cells between line groups.
    The Z-Brace concept canopy displayed at PIA was a 35 cell canopy. The Z-Brace technology and canopy is not yet available on any released products.

    PIA Contest Winner
    At the recent PIA Symposium PD displayed the new Z-Brace concept canopy described above. At their booth they had a contest where jumpers completed a short survey and then were invited to guess how many parts make up the Z-Brace canopy. For coming up with the correct answer people could win a free PD canopy of their choice.
    One jumper came up with the correct answer – 400 parts ! “Chilly-Willy” Del Campo from Chile was the lucky winner – the only one guessing the exact number of parts. Enjoy the new canopy Willy!!

    By admin, in Gear,

    Why Your Canopy Is Slapping You Around

    Image by Lukasz Szymanski Ah, your canopy.
    When you first got together, everything was great. A few tussles over crispy, slippery fabric were the biggest issues you two had. You packed carefully -- lovingly, even -- or you were at least habitually spying on your packer. And after freefall, it was a joy to reach for that pilot chute.
    Now, things are horribly, horribly different.
    What happened?
    Maybe it’s because you stopped paying attention -- or maybe because you’re both getting older -- but something has changed. There have been some bad moments. Violent moments, even. There was that time that you landed from a jump with a three-ring mark and a stunned expression on your face. Your friends asked what happened to you. You started to wonder if it’s time to say goodbye for good.
    Don’t thumbtack that “for sale” sign to the corkboard too quickly, friend. You can save this relationship. Here’s how.
    1. Wrap your head around the dynamics involved.
    When a ram-air canopy opens in freefall, the dynamics of that opening are controlled by two processes: cell inflation (air pressurizing the airfoil through the nose inlets) and bottom-skin spreading (the side-to-side spreading action that takes place as relative wind rushes against the bottom of the canopy). You might not be aware of how separate these processes are, but they are quite distinct.
    Even without cell inflation, bottom-skin spreading is such an efficient phenomenon that a canopy can open entirely by this method, before the cells have a chance to inflate and pressurize. Since the force of that kind of opening is brutal enough to be quite literally fatal, square skydiving canopy designers invented a system to put on the all-important brakes -- the humble slider.
    That funny little square has a single function: to sync up bottom-skin spreading with cell inflation. A correctly packed slider stays at the very top of the lines during the early part of inflation, kept there by the same forces that would smack the canopy open with bottom-skin inflation.
    2. Help your slider help you.
    Make quartering your slider the most important part of your pack job. Be thorough about it. Draw the folds evenly between each of the four line groups, then tug the center of the slider straight down to settle the grommets snugly against the stops. A slider that’s sorted out in this way is a slider that is most likely to present itself correctly to the relative wind (and therefore do its job optimally).
    3. Avoid getting dumped.
    Optimizing your slider is only the first step in the process. The second, as you might imagine, has to do with your tangled handfuls of marionette strings. Incorrect line stows can release prematurely -- or, colloquially, “dump” -- resulting in a configuration wherein the canopy inflates before line stretch. When the lines catch up to the nylon, the jumper gets one heckuva headbanger. (Picture a Great Dane running at full tilt to the end of a long, long leash.)
    4. Keep the right amount of pressure on.
    It should take roughly 8 to 12 pounds of pressure to pull your lines from the stows. If you’ve gotten complacent (or too tired to be trusted), you’re probably going to pay for it.
    5. Use the rule of thumb.
    The loops of line on the outside of each rubber band stow (technically called “bights”) should be approximately two inches long. If that’s longer than you’re used to, that’s normal -- but know that right-sized bights keep about a quarter of the stowed line on the outside of the stow, minimizing the lines’ ability to dump. Luckily, two inches is about the size of the average human thumb, so you have a ready reference when you’re on the packing mat.
    If you happen to have stowless gear, your line dump issues are probably related to uneven folding of the lines (or lazy bag closure). The same pressure principle applies to the closing bands on your system: close the bag with 8-12 pounds of pressure, equal on each side.
    6. Get professional help.
    If you go through all those steps and you’re still not on good terms with your canopy, look elsewhere for guidance. Take your canopy to a rigger for inspection. You may discover a deeper problem -- and he/she might just be able to fix it right up. (There’s no shame in a little counseling, after all. Love is worth it.)

    By admin, in Gear,

    What's New - The Latest Gear at PIA 2017

    We're at the PIA symposium this year, scouting out what the manufacturers have lined up for release this year, and we've managed to grab some images to show you what has just arrived on the market and what is coming soon. Check out the following items and let us know in the comments section which ones you're most likely going to be picking up once they hit the shelves.
    Alti-2 - Chronos




    Cookie Composites - M3





    Larsen & Brusgaard - Pro-Track II





    Sun Path - Aurora






    Airtec GmbH - Wingsuit Cypres


    By admin, in Gear,

    What To Ask Yourself Before You Mess With Your AAD

    Image by Ralph Turner You probably have one meaningful interaction with your AAD: you chase the red light.
    Poke, poke, poke, watch. ...Zero. Okay. Off you go.
    Just a quick note, friend: you might want to poke a little deeper. According to the USPA, there have been no less than nine fatalities related to AAD fires at designated firing altitudes that did not result in fully inflated canopies before impact. The point is that these guys chased the red light just fine, but there was likely a difference between what the AAD was told to do and the actual conditions of the jump. A couple hundred extra feet could have made the difference between nine annoying repacks and nine funerals.
    Food for thought, y’know.
    If your equipment is new-ish, your AAD probably has a feature that allows you to change its activation altitude. It’s good to know that feature exists, and it’s good to know how it works -- because it helps you understand that mysterious little whatsit in your rig a little better when you do.
    If you’re ready to explore, do a little introspection first. Here are the important questions to ask yourself before you change the activation altitude on your AAD:
    1.Do you want this to be forever, or just-for-now?
    Most currently manufactured automatic activation devices let you offset the device’s activation altitude to allow for a one-time altitude differential between takeoff and landing area. This will be a factor for you only if you’re making a single wahoo at a dropzone with a significant altitude differential between takeoff and LZ -- or if you’re doing a demo jump with an offset. This method resets when the device turns off.
    If you need a change that sticks around a little longer, don’t despair: both the Cypres 2 and Vigil 2+ have a way to increase the activation altitude until you change it back again. Your owner’s manual will explain how to do this.
    2. What’s the difference?
    The Cypres 2 adjusts in increments of 100 feet, from 750 up to 1,650. The Vigil adjusts in 150-foot increments. For example, if you have a Cypres you’ll add increments +100 feet for a higher landing zone compared to the take-off and increments of -100 feet for a lower landing zone.
    3. When’s it going to give the all-clear?
    When you make a positive altitude correction, the AAD will still disarm at its standard number of feet above the ground zero reference -- the exact same altitude as it does when no altitude correction is set. When a negative altitude correction is applied, however, it will disarm at its standard number of feet above the preset negative altitude correction -- the new landing zone.
    4. How forgetful are you?
    If you’re the type of person to run into sliding glass doors at full clip, wear your shirt inside-out all day and/or infuriate your spouse/partner/lover by brainfarting every single anniversary, beware: Adjusting the activation altitude on your AAD might not be the best idea for total space cadets. To avoid a two-out, you’re going to need to remember that setting and ensure that you’ve got an open, functional main no lower than 1000 feet above it.
    Remember: a slow opening messes with that margin. Think about density altitude, and think about your packing choices.
    Another liability for nutty professors: turning on your AAD in the landing area of one dropzone and driving to another dropzone with a different altitude without resetting the AAD. (Work out how much of a kerfuffle that could be.)
    Finally, balance your know-how with your need. Bryan Burke, Skydive Arizona S&TA; (and über-adventuring renaissance man) has this to say about it: “I’m willing to bet that, for most skydivers, messing around with an AAD is likely to cause more problems than it’s going to solve.”
    5. Which way are you pointing your belly button?
    You may be surprised to know that your body position directly affects your AAD’s activation altitude. AADs work using the metrics of measured air pressure and measured time. Those two parameters allow the little guy to calculate your pretty-much-exact altitude (±3 feet or so) at any given moment as a function of the registered air pressure, as well as your vertical speed related to a pressure variation within a certain period of time.
    But wait! Does that air pressure change depending on where your body has oriented that little AAD? Why, yes. Yes it does, smartypants.
    A belly position puts your AAD in a burble. This changes the atmospheric air pressure registered by your AAD by up to 10 millibars. Interestingly, that works out to a difference of ±260 feet. In an AAD activation scenario, 260 feet is y’know kindof a big deal. The AAD senses that the belly-to-earth jumper is higher than they actually are -- kinda like a policeman working the exit road of a music festival. Be aware.
    6. Why do you even have this little gadget?
    If you have an AAD in order to make your skydiving life painlessly safer, you need to know that it’s not the foolproof set-it-and-forget-it piece of furniture you might think it is. You put so much faith in that thing that you really ought to get to know it a little better. There will, after all, likely be a fatality number ten...and it doesn’t have to be you.

    By nettenette, in Gear,

    Voyages of a Skydiver

    Captain’s Log 2010, 0210, Manifest asks for proof of currency and jump numbers, along with the reserve data card from my rig…These are the voyages of Average Skydiver.
    Many of us grew up hearing a similar introduction to Star Trek episodes, as required by Starfleet Command. A captain’s log is nothing more than a logbook chronicling the journeys and adventures of a spaceship, boat, airplane, or other craft that carries persons or cargo.
    Logbooks are the basic standard of proving jump numbers in the world of skydiving. Jump numbers are a basic indicator of skydiving experience. A logbook may also be a means of keeping track of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and who you did it with. Logbooks may be fun, or they can be boring.
    Skydivers are required to keep a logbook of sorts at the least until an A or other beginning license is achieved that indicates the “student” status has passed. Many dropzones require a written logbook if a visiting jumper wishes to jump. The logbook not only demonstrates the number of jumps, but should indicate skydiver currency as well.
    If the goal is to become an instructor of sorts, logbooks must be kept until 500 or even 1000 jumps, depending on where the skydiver lives. Riggers are required to keep logs of reserves packed, and it’s a good idea to keep a log for any major repairs done to any skydiving equipment for purposes of “present recall." The same can be said for keeping student logs, or at the least, logging information about students you've taught. Something may come up later in their jumping career. Remember your Coach course?
    Logbooks might be as simple as a logging audible that keeps track of jumps and as complex as handwritten journals that contain every last detail about each jump, and everything in between.
    A logbook is a journal of skydiving history. For some, bragging rights related to jump numbers may be enough. For others, recalling who was on a jump, the type of jump, the formations achieved, length of freefall, and much more become part of the bigger picture.
    Every AFF instructor learns how to fill out a logbook with encouraging information and reinforcement of a student jump while providing “code” so that any subsequent instructor has some information about the strengths and weaknesses of the student. Students will generally improve faster if provided specifics in their logbook, and the logbook will serve as a historical record of their first jumps.
    Logbooks also preserve records for those that come after someone has retired or deceased. A most special moment was at the memorial service for Gary Douris, where some of his logs were brought out for the attending public to view. Howls of laughter rang across the courtyard at S’nore as people read log entries saying that “So and so had been grounded” and “XXX couldn’t arch but he deployed OK, so he was ready for a longer delay."
    Samplings of logbooks can be seen here, courtesy of Eike Hohnendahl and myself.
    Some folks have expressed shock and awe at Eike’s logbooks, which are as meticulous as the man himself. Each jump is logged for place, date, exit point, landing point, participants in the jump, any exciting or interesting moments in the jump. Also included are copies of any payment for a jump, type of main used, and any special equipment used. In many cases, photos of the jump are also included. These logbooks take time, time that most are probably not willing to put into logging each jump. The skydiver making 15 jumps in a day likely isn’t able to log with such tremendous detail.





    Some skydivers may wish to only keep jumps logged in an electronic logger as mentioned above, and never enter data into any computer or logbook. This is perfectly fine too.
    CHEATING JUMPS
    A famous logbook entry, referred to as the “P-51” entry, is named for the kind of pen used to fill in the logbook with false/padded jumps.
    Although meant in fun, inflated jump numbers are no joke. Lying in a logbook is predominantly a game of lying to yourself, but may carry over into falsification of records, if the logbook is being used to affirm and prove jump numbers for the purposes of achieving ratings or participation in an event. Ultimately, falsified logbooks impress only yourself and no one else.
    INSTRUCTOR AND SPECIAL JUMPS
    My own method has been to keep a detailed record of every jump using the L&B; Jumptrack software, until I became an instructor. I keep a separate log of students and the type of instructional jump ie; Coach Jump, AFF jump, Wingsuit FFC, Wingsuit Coach, etc. The Instructional Logbook is kept in paper form, and in most instances I ask the student to sign the logbook, simply because I enjoy re-reading the logbooks at later points, and being able to show students “lookie here, remember when you did your AFF Cat D jump with me? That was a fun ride, yeah?”
    CHOOSING A LOGBOOK
    When choosing a logbook, consider how you’d like to log jumps. If you like to write, be sure the logbook has enough space and is comfortable to write in. Do you want to be able to put photos in the logbook? Be sure it’s large enough to hold those photos. If electronic logging is preferred, there are several applications available, including software as simple as Excel or other database software. Software tools like Paralog and Jumptrack interface directly with electronic loggers such as the Neptune, Altitrack, or ProTrack altimeters/audibles. Some logbooks allow for the import of GPS data for tracking jumps, wingsuit flights, or long distance canopy flight. The logging software may display a graph of exit point, speed, deployment, and offer fields to store indexed data such as total freefall time, type of skydive, aircraft used, etc.
    No matter how jumps are logged and chronicled, it’s a good idea to keep a logbook for at least the first 500 or 1000 jumps, if ratings are to be achieved. If nothing else, logbooks can provide great entertainment during the off-season or after a day’s jumping has occurred. They’re a great place to store phone numbers, email addresses, photos of special jumps, and to remember all those “beer” experiences.
    And when you're sitting around on a dark windy day with nothing to do but make up lies (No sh**, there I was) and drink beer with friends, a well-kept logbook will only add to the fun.

    By DSE, in Gear,

    USPA & PIA Team to Revise FAA Repack Rule

    Re-run with USPA permission.
    After years of effort by USPA and the Parachute Industry Association, the FAA has approved a new final rule that will lengthen the parachute repack cycle from 120 days to 180 days. The final rule appeared in the Federal Register last month, and will take effect on December 19, 2008. The effort had more twists and turns than a funneled 20-way, but the change happened when PIA and USPA joined together and finally convinced the FAA to grant a 180-day repack cycle.
    USPA initiated the first run at the change in 1998 when its board of directors approved a motion authorizing USPA to petition the FAA for the rule change. At the time, the FAA was preparing to revise Part 105. However, the FAA declined to include the lengthened repack cycle as part of its Part 105 revision in 2001, saying the initiative didn't have full industry support.
    In early 2005, Allen Silver, a well-known rigger and PIA’s Rigging Committee chair, initiated discussion with the FAA about accepting a petition for an exemption that would allow a 180-day repack cycle. Getting FAA agreement, PIA and USPA formed a task group to develop the petition language. This resulted in an effort in which all aviation groups, whose pilots used emergency parachutes, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Soaring Society, among others, to join PIA and USPA in jointly petitioning the FAA for an exemption to the regulations addressing those parachutes. The exemption requested a 180-day repack cycle for the emergency parachutes worn by pilots, as well as the sport parachutes used by skydivers. The joint PIA-USPA petition was submitted in July 2005. Ironically, while the FAA saw good cause for a lengthened repack cycle, the agency said its own rules prevented it from granting an exemption to so many beneficiaries; exemptions were intended for small groups. The FAA denied the petition for exemption.
    However, acknowledging the support of so many pilots, riggers and skydivers, the FAA declared that it would publish its own Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to lengthen the repack cycle, which it did on May 22, 2007. At urging by USPA and PIA, nearly all of the hundreds of comments to the docket were in favor of the proposal. The end result is a final rule published this week granting the lengthened repack cycle.
    "This result shows what can happen when two organizations like USPA and PIA decide to work together on common goals," said USPA Executive Director Ed Scott. "We look forward to doing even more together for the benefit of skydivers." PIA President Cliff Schmucker said, "The 180-day repack rule change is a fine example of what PIA and USPA can accomplish working as one. Together we will endeavor to continue improving safety for parachute users.”
    For answers to frequently asked questions about the new Rule, please visit either the USPA or PIA (.pdf) online.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Understanding your AAD

    With all the recent issues that have been brought up by the Argus AAD ban by multiple container manufacturers, I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that while most modern AAD’s have a similar design, based on that of the CYPRES1 which was introduced in the early 90’s, they all have very unique differences, and these differences can cause major issues if you are unaware of them. Also, this is a good time to remind people about best practices to use if you have an AAD in your rig.
    Because of safety concerns right now it looks like most container manufacturers have
    at least temporarily prohibited the ARGUS in their containers, so this article predominantly relates to the CYPRES and the VIGIL. If the ARGUS is approved again for most containers, updated information will then be made available. Although not widely seen, there are also the FXC Astra (electronic with cutter), and the FXC-12000, an older bulky mechanical pin-pulling device. Introduced at the recent PIA Symposium, the MARS M2 from the Czech Republic and being imported by Alti-2, is another newcomer to the AAD market, which may be available sometime this year once the container manufacturers approve it for use.
    All the modern electronic AAD’s currently on the market in their “Expert mode” work by activating a cutter that severs the reserve closing loop when the user is falling at or greater than a given speed (typically around 78 MPH or faster) and at or lower than a given altitude (typically around 750 feet). This cut closing loop should then allow the reserve to begin its opening sequence. This is all the AAD will do (cut the loop). If the reserve has been correctly packed, the cutting of the loop should initiate the reserve opening sequence, and hopefully a reserve canopy will open between 200-500 feet AGL (barring a pilot chute hesitation, etc).
    KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENTAs always, consult the user manual for your specific make/model, and discuss any of your AAD questions with a qualified rigger. We are lucky to have SSK Industries, Inc., the US service center for CYPRES units located in Lebanon, Ohio, so please feel free to contact SSK for any CYPRES questions also.
    The first major difference between AAD’s is “active” mode. This is the altitude above the ground that the AAD would allow itself to activate if the conditions were met for an activation. The CYPRES\CYPRES2 arms at 1500 feet AGL. The VIGIL\VIGIL2 will move to active mode at 150 feet AGL. Both of these have different rationale behind their decisions. While a CYPRES will not active if the airplane only gets to 900 feet and you have to do an emergency exit, a VIGIL moves into active mode at a lower altitude and this has caused issues when the door of the airplane accidentally opened which caused a pressure difference that triggered activation. Counterpoint to this for the VIGIL is if you exit at 1200 feet and hit your head on the tail the unit is already in active mode and is able to potentially fire to start the reserve activation sequence. (Note that CYPRES is armed if you climb to arming altitude, then descend lower prior to exit.) The CYPRES also disarms when it goes below ~ 130 ft. AGL. The VIGIL will also disarm at ~130 feet on the way down
    A second major difference is in the shutdown timing. A CYPRES until has a hard shutdown at 14 hours after the startup sequence. This means even if you are on the airplane climbing to altitude or in freefall when that time is reached the unit will shut down. In this method of shutdown timing you must do a manual shutdown and restart of the unit if you are approaching the 14 hours since startup to ensure that the unit will remain active for any skydives that you are intending on doing. The VIGIL checks to see if it is at its “Ground Zero” altitude and if you are 150 feet or higher or lower than that altitude via pressure readings then the unit will remain on until you reach “Ground Zero” altitude again. This can cause an issue if you take your rig home and you live more than 150 feet above or below the field elevation at the airport since the VIGIL might remain on for days or weeks. Specifically this can cause issues if you are frequently traveling and leave the DZ at the end of the day and travel to a different DZ the next day since the unit might still be on and is using the altitude of the other airport as its “Zero” point. This could cause the unit to fire much higher or lower than expected. As a reference point Middletown Hook Field, the home of Start Skydiving is at 650’ MSL, Columbus (CMH) is at 815’ MSL, Indianapolis (IND) is 797’ MSL and Covington (CVG) is 896’ MSL. All of these areas may be at a large enough altitude difference that you may need to manually turn your VIGIL off when you leave the dropzone to keep it turned on until it is returned to Start Skydiving. Leaving the VIGIL on for extended time periods can lead to the battery going dead prior to the expected life of the unit or the unit failing to realize the difference in “Zero” altitude if you travel to another dropzone.
    A third difference is the way that the altitude reference offset data is stored in the units.. If you are doing an offsite demo jump, or jump at a DZ with an airfield with an elevation different from the landing area, there exists an option that, if you know you are going to be landing at a location that is hundreds of feet higher or lower then where you are taking off from, allows you to adjust the AAD so it knows about that difference, so it still will activate at ~750 feet above the ground at the intended landing location. Because of the CYPRES automatic weather correction feature, it will re-zero itself on the way back to the take-off location, so it is necessary to switch it off and reset the DZ altitude reference prior to each jump at the remote airfield. At the end of the self-test procedure, CYPRES-2 displays the previously set altitude offset so that it can be easily selected again. The CYPRES(1) unit does not have a memory of a programmed offset and will forget the difference each time the CYPRES is turned off. CYPRES automatically tracks weather changes throughout the day, and if the airfield and landing site are nearby and at the same elevation there is no need to reset it every time you need to re-zero your altimeter. If you travel by car back to the DZ, or walk back from a different elevation after landing with your CYPRES, it is recommended to reset it (switch off/on). As the VIGIL does not automatically track weather changes in the same way, it will retain the offset information in its memory until you go back into the menu and change it back to zero even if the unit is shut down or it reaches its 14 hour point and shuts off. The upside is if you are frequently jumping at a location that involves needing to input an offset the offset is saved for you. The downside to this is if you program in an offset and forget to reset it you could have the unit activating incorrectly since it thinks it still needs the offset. The VIGIL also recommends resetting the unit if you travel with it in a car or walk back from a different elevation.
    Yet another difference is the “Function” of the AAD. CYPRES units come in four versions that are easy to tell the difference of at a glance. CYPRES Expert units have a Red button, Speed units have a Red button that has SPEED printed on it. Student units have a Yellow button and a Tandem unit has a Blue button. Each of these models has unique activation parameters so refer to the user manual for specific information. A CYPRES-2 unit can be reprogrammed by SSK or the factory to change its functionality and it’s done at no charge. The VIGIL is a multifunction device that allows for the user to change it from “Expert” to “Student” or even “Tandem” in the startup sequence.) You do need to make sure the unit is in the right mode to get the correct activation parameters loaded. You can tell the mode the VIGIL is in by looking at the display once the unit is turned on and it will tell the currently active mode. Tandem Instructors especially need to ensure if the rig they are about to jump has a VIGIL installed that it is in the right mode since having the unit activate at the EXPERT or STUDENT parameters may not ensure the canopies will open in time to save your life.
    There are additional differences so please read your User Manual to really understand all the details of your AAD. While we try to use the “Set it and Forget it!” attitude towards AADs, they are somewhat complicated devices that you need to understand the details of, so that you can properly use the unit if it is installed in your container.
    Modern AAD’s since they were introduced with the CYPRES1 in 1991 have saved hundreds of lives. They have also caused issues and even fatalities when inducing two canopy out situations at times where jumpers have opened their main canopies very low or other complications. AAD’s have a very high success rate when needed but they are not 100% flawless either. Just by having an AAD installed does not mean that you are now perfectly safe. Many jumpers inform their friends and families that “I have this little device that will pull for me if I don’t” as a way of reassuring them around the dangers of skydiving. While it is true that having an AAD does increase your safety factor it is not to be relied on and the true risk involved in skydiving does need to be considered.
    Reminder of Best Practices for use of your AAD no matter which brand you use:
    1) Only turn your AAD on at the takeoff site, do not turn it on at home then drive to the DZ since it will think your home is “Zero Altitude” and may fire higher or lower than expected because of this.
    2) If a “multimode” device, ensure the unit is in the correct “Mode” for the skydive you are about to do.
    3) Notice any errors during the start up or during operations during the day and alert your rigger before completing another jump on the unit.
    4) Be aware of the shutdown timing on the AAD and if needed turn it off before you leave at the end of the day. Also be prepared to reset the unit if you will be doing more than 14 hours of jumping (Night jumps especially are of note on this)
    5) Only configure offset information into the unit if you are truly jumping at an altitude different than you are taking off from. Also be sure you know whether the unit retains the offset information or not.
    CYPRES2 User Manual:
    http://www.cypres-usa.com/userguide/CYPRES_2_users_guide_english.pdf
    or
    http://www.cypres.cc/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid;=89&func;=download&id;=182&chk;=5ca53a980b98700d976eb51f9e1fc9c3&no;_html=1〈=enVIGIL User Manual: http://www.vigil.aero/files/images/ENGELS___DP_JUN_2010.pdf

    VIGIL SB on this topic: http://www.vigil.aero/files/images/Information_Bulletin___Airborne_Status_.pdfWith all the recent issues that have been brought up by the Argus AAD ban by multiple container manufacturers, I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that while most modern AAD’s have a similar design, based on that of the CYPRES1 which was introduced in the early 90’s, they all have very unique differences, and these differences can cause major issues if you are unaware of them. Also, this is a good time to remind people about best practices to use if you have an AAD in your rig.
    Because of safety concerns right now it looks like most container manufacturers have
    at least temporarily prohibited the ARGUS in their containers, so this article predominantly relates to the CYPRES and the VIGIL. If the ARGUS is approved again for most containers, updated information will then be made available. Although not widely seen, there are also the FXC Astra (electronic with cutter), and the FXC-12000, an older bulky mechanical pin-pulling device. Introduced at the recent PIA Symposium, the MARS M2 from the Czech Republic and being imported by Alti-2, is another newcomer to the AAD market, which may be available sometime this year once the container manufacturers approve it for use.
    All the modern electronic AAD’s currently on the market in their “Expert mode” work by activating a cutter that severs the reserve closing loop when the user is falling at or greater than a given speed (typically around 78 MPH or faster) and at or lower than a given altitude (typically around 750 feet). This cut closing loop should then allow the reserve to begin its opening sequence. This is all the AAD will do (cut the loop). If the reserve has been correctly packed, the cutting of the loop should initiate the reserve opening sequence, and hopefully a reserve canopy will open between 200-500 feet AGL (barring a pilot chute hesitation, etc).
    KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENTAs always, consult the user manual for your specific make/model, and discuss any of your AAD questions with a qualified rigger. We are lucky to have SSK Industries, Inc., the US service center for CYPRES units located in Lebanon, Ohio, so please feel free to contact SSK for any CYPRES questions also.
    The first major difference between AAD’s is “active” mode. This is the altitude above the ground that the AAD would allow itself to activate if the conditions were met for an activation. The CYPRES\CYPRES2 arms at 1500 feet AGL. The VIGIL\VIGIL2 will move to active mode at 150 feet AGL. Both of these have different rationale behind their decisions. While a CYPRES will not active if the airplane only gets to 900 feet and you have to do an emergency exit, a VIGIL moves into active mode at a lower altitude and this has caused issues when the door of the airplane accidentally opened which caused a pressure difference that triggered activation. Counterpoint to this for the VIGIL is if you exit at 1200 feet and hit your head on the tail the unit is already in active mode and is able to potentially fire to start the reserve activation sequence. (Note that CYPRES is armed if you climb to arming altitude, then descend lower prior to exit.) The CYPRES also disarms when it goes below ~ 130 ft. AGL. The VIGIL will also disarm at ~130 feet on the way down
    A second major difference is in the shutdown timing. A CYPRES until has a hard shutdown at 14 hours after the startup sequence. This means even if you are on the airplane climbing to altitude or in freefall when that time is reached the unit will shut down. In this method of shutdown timing you must do a manual shutdown and restart of the unit if you are approaching the 14 hours since startup to ensure that the unit will remain active for any skydives that you are intending on doing. The VIGIL checks to see if it is at its “Ground Zero” altitude and if you are 150 feet or higher or lower than that altitude via pressure readings then the unit will remain on until you reach “Ground Zero” altitude again. This can cause an issue if you take your rig home and you live more than 150 feet above or below the field elevation at the airport since the VIGIL might remain on for days or weeks. Specifically this can cause issues if you are frequently traveling and leave the DZ at the end of the day and travel to a different DZ the next day since the unit might still be on and is using the altitude of the other airport as its “Zero” point. This could cause the unit to fire much higher or lower than expected. As a reference point Middletown Hook Field, the home of Start Skydiving is at 650’ MSL, Columbus (CMH) is at 815’ MSL, Indianapolis (IND) is 797’ MSL and Covington (CVG) is 896’ MSL. All of these areas may be at a large enough altitude difference that you may need to manually turn your VIGIL off when you leave the dropzone to keep it turned on until it is returned to Start Skydiving. Leaving the VIGIL on for extended time periods can lead to the battery going dead prior to the expected life of the unit or the unit failing to realize the difference in “Zero” altitude if you travel to another dropzone.
    A third difference is the way that the altitude reference offset data is stored in the units.. If you are doing an offsite demo jump, or jump at a DZ with an airfield with an elevation different from the landing area, there exists an option that, if you know you are going to be landing at a location that is hundreds of feet higher or lower then where you are taking off from, allows you to adjust the AAD so it knows about that difference, so it still will activate at ~750 feet above the ground at the intended landing location. Because of the CYPRES automatic weather correction feature, it will re-zero itself on the way back to the take-off location, so it is necessary to switch it off and reset the DZ altitude reference prior to each jump at the remote airfield. At the end of the self-test procedure, CYPRES-2 displays the previously set altitude offset so that it can be easily selected again. The CYPRES(1) unit does not have a memory of a programmed offset and will forget the difference each time the CYPRES is turned off. CYPRES automatically tracks weather changes throughout the day, and if the airfield and landing site are nearby and at the same elevation there is no need to reset it every time you need to re-zero your altimeter. If you travel by car back to the DZ, or walk back from a different elevation after landing with your CYPRES, it is recommended to reset it (switch off/on). As the VIGIL does not automatically track weather changes in the same way, it will retain the offset information in its memory until you go back into the menu and change it back to zero even if the unit is shut down or it reaches its 14 hour point and shuts off. The upside is if you are frequently jumping at a location that involves needing to input an offset the offset is saved for you. The downside to this is if you program in an offset and forget to reset it you could have the unit activating incorrectly since it thinks it still needs the offset. The VIGIL also recommends resetting the unit if you travel with it in a car or walk back from a different elevation.
    Yet another difference is the “Function” of the AAD. CYPRES units come in four versions that are easy to tell the difference of at a glance. CYPRES Expert units have a Red button, Speed units have a Red button that has SPEED printed on it. Student units have a Yellow button and a Tandem unit has a Blue button. Each of these models has unique activation parameters so refer to the user manual for specific information. A CYPRES-2 unit can be reprogrammed by SSK or the factory to change its functionality and it’s done at no charge. The VIGIL is a multifunction device that allows for the user to change it from “Expert” to “Student” or even “Tandem” in the startup sequence.) You do need to make sure the unit is in the right mode to get the correct activation parameters loaded. You can tell the mode the VIGIL is in by looking at the display once the unit is turned on and it will tell the currently active mode. Tandem Instructors especially need to ensure if the rig they are about to jump has a VIGIL installed that it is in the right mode since having the unit activate at the EXPERT or STUDENT parameters may not ensure the canopies will open in time to save your life.
    There are additional differences so please read your User Manual to really understand all the details of your AAD. While we try to use the “Set it and Forget it!” attitude towards AADs, they are somewhat complicated devices that you need to understand the details of, so that you can properly use the unit if it is installed in your container.
    Modern AAD’s since they were introduced with the CYPRES1 in 1991 have saved hundreds of lives. They have also caused issues and even fatalities when inducing two canopy out situations at times where jumpers have opened their main canopies very low or other complications. AAD’s have a very high success rate when needed but they are not 100% flawless either. Just by having an AAD installed does not mean that you are now perfectly safe. Many jumpers inform their friends and families that “I have this little device that will pull for me if I don’t” as a way of reassuring them around the dangers of skydiving. While it is true that having an AAD does increase your safety factor it is not to be relied on and the true risk involved in skydiving does need to be considered.
    Reminder of Best Practices for use of your AAD no matter which brand you use:
    1) Only turn your AAD on at the takeoff site, do not turn it on at home then drive to the DZ since it will think your home is “Zero Altitude” and may fire higher or lower than expected because of this.
    2) If a “multimode” device, ensure the unit is in the correct “Mode” for the skydive you are about to do.
    3) Notice any errors during the start up or during operations during the day and alert your rigger before completing another jump on the unit.
    4) Be aware of the shutdown timing on the AAD and if needed turn it off before you leave at the end of the day. Also be prepared to reset the unit if you will be doing more than 14 hours of jumping (Night jumps especially are of note on this)
    5) Only configure offset information into the unit if you are truly jumping at an altitude different than you are taking off from. Also be sure you know whether the unit retains the offset information or not.
    CYPRES2 User Manual:
    http://www.cypres-usa.com/userguide/CYPRES_2_users_guide_english.pdf
    or
    http://www.cypres.cc/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid;=89&func;=download&id;=182&chk;=5ca53a980b98700d976eb51f9e1fc9c3&no;_html=1〈=enVIGIL User Manual: http://www.vigil.aero/files/images/ENGELS___DP_JUN_2010.pdf

    VIGIL SB on this topic: http://www.vigil.aero/files/images/Information_Bulletin___Airborne_Status_.pdf

    By PhreeZone, in Gear,

    Two New Suits from Squirrel

    Squirrel have recently released two new products to their wingsuit inventory, with an entry level wingsuit called the Hatch and an advanced wingsuit called the Colugo 2. The Colugo 2 was announced for release in June, but was delayed until the Redbull Aces event, which saw the testing of technology included in the suit. Andy Farrington who was flying a Squirrel prototype which included this new new technology found in the Colugo 2 came first in the event.
    Colugo 2
    The original Colugo suit was met with positive reviews from owners of the suit, with many noting how quick it was to start in a BASE environment. The Colugo 2 has taken the strengths of its predecessor and included new technology and enhancements in order to make it an even stronger wingsuit. The Colugo 2 has a smaller surface area than the original with a slight change in the arm wing design. These changes were made to increase the efficiency of the profile and leading edge. Squirrel advise that while the Colugo 2 is an ideal choice for experienced wingsuit BASE jumpers, the Aura remains the best suit for more technical exit points. The Colugo looks to be great for both BASE jumpers and skydivers, with the suit catering well to glider-performance focused based jumps and skydive flocking. A better trim speed and glide range makes the Colugo 2 fly both further and faster than the original Colugo wingsuit.


    The handling of the C2 is said to be far superior to that of the original Colugo, with a thinner profile and more efficient leading edge. The C2 is all about speed as well, with the reduced surface area and less drag - you can expect to experience higher speed than those produced by the Colugo.
    The Colugo 2 from Squirrel is an agile mid to large sized wingsuit that aims to provide high performance flying in a competitive slalom environment, focusing on carving and speed. Though the suit is also able to provide pilots with quality floating.
    One of new features on the Colugo 2 is the AFLE (Andy Farrington Leading Edge), as they've called it. The AFLE is a new design of the leading edge, where the arm zipper on the wing chord has been moved to increase the amount of 'effective edge', in turn improviding the shape and smoothness - which then increases performance.
    Pre-orders are now open with the suit expecting to ship by the end of August.
    Read more about the Colugo 2 Wingsuit
    Hatch
    The new Hatch suit focuses primarily on being the easiest suit to fly, aimed at beginner wingsuiters who are looking for something easy, comfortable but also reliable. The Hatch has many of the features found on the other Squirrels suits, including the RAD system, tri-layer leading edge construction, reinforced inlets and innie-outie zips. The Hatch doesn't require cutaway cables, and in turn allows for direct access to the risers and brakes during and after deployment. A safety feature that Squirrel feel is vital to every wingsuit. The leading edge of the suit is said to be based on the tried and tested method Squirrel have used in their other suits of combining both comfort and performance.


    The Hatch is certainly aimed at those looking to purchase their first wingsuit and for skydivers that are new to wingsuiting. Though Squirrel seek to stress that the Hatch is not only for beginners and is a competent flyer in situations where agility and versatility are required. It is also recommended as a good suit for more advanced wingsuit pilots who may be new to backflying or acrobatics and are looking for a comfortable, low surface area suit to practice with.
    Prior to the release of the Hatch, the Swift seemed to be Squirrel's go to suit for less experienced pilots looking for something easy to fly. It will be interesting to see how the two suits hold up against each other.
    Read more about the Hatch Wingsuit

    By admin, in Gear,

    Turned On by Hypoxic

    In May of 2014 the skydiving-focused electronics company Hypoxic began a Kickstarter campaign that sought out a goal funding of $30,000 in order to develop a status indicator for the GoPro action camera. Despite dominating the market for several years, neither GoPro or its primary competitors come with a feature or piece of hardware that allows the user to easily determine the status of the camera or its recording. For sports where the GoPro is mounted out of sight, such as the popular helmet mounting method, this can often cause hesitation when trying to remember whether you may have pressed record or whether you put the SD card back. Hypoxic's goal was to try and provide a useful and easy way of determining whether the camera is functioning as it should, while also removing that hesitation from the minds of the jumper.
    As quoted from the Kickstarter page: "In our sports, these uncertainties are not just unsettling: they’re dangerous. As an athlete, you know: before riding down this line, starting this race, jumping out of this plane, launching down this mountain, you need an absolutely clear head. Nothing good can happen when personal safety takes a backseat to a blinking light."
    By the end of June last year, the Kickstarter campaign had raised $43,049, more than $13,000 over the original target amount. Incentives for backers ranged from stickers for those that pledged $5 or more, to Turned On units with early shipping for backers that pledged over $180.
    Over the past 6 months the Kickstarter units have been sent to the backers of the campaign and were well received. The Turned On units have now begun shipping to outlets and are available for public purchase.

    What Does It Do?
    The Turned On unit makes use of 3 colored LED lights to provide information as to the status of the camera. When the camera is recording, the light will be solid red. When it is on standby a blue light will be displayed. When an error is present it will display either a solid yellow or a flashing yellow light. When the light is flashing yellow, it indicates a potential impending interruption to recording, such as low card space, low battery or high temperature. A solid yellow light indicates an error and in this case, the camera will not be able to record, such as in situations where the card is missing or corrupt.
    The device will work in all modes, and show the active recording light whether you're recording video or shooting a series of images in burst mode.
    What separates the Turned On indicator from other indicators on the market is the detailed level of information provided. Most other indicators simply use an on/off system that will display whether or not the camera is recording or even just whether the power is on, which is often unreliable - especially in cases when the camera may be in stand by mode.

    Compatibility and Support
    Currently there is limited compatibility with the Turned On, and will require one of the following GoPro cameras: GoPro Hero 4 Black, GoPro Hero 4 Silver, GoPro Hero 3+ Black, GoPro Hero 3 Black.
    Supported Versions
    GoPro Hero 4 Black - v1.02.00

    GoPro Hero 4 Silver - v1.0.2.00

    GoPro Hero 3+ Black - v1.04.00

    GoPro Hero 3 Black - v3.00.00
    There are two build of the Turned On available, the H3+/H4 and the H3. The H3+/H4 is designed for use with the GoPro Hero 3+ and GoPro Hero 4 cases, while the H3 model is for use with the GoPro Hero 3 case.
    Hypoxic are already looking to expand the development to include more of the GoPro models and claim to be exploring compatibility that goes back to the GoPro Hero 2.

    Where to Get One?
    Dealers that are listed with selling the Turned On units are as follows:
    Chuting Star - Skydive the Farm, GA

    Patrick Kaye - Skydive Dubai, Dubai, UAE

    Para-Gear - Skokie, IL

    Ranch Pro Shop / Tonfly USA - Skydive the Ranch, NY

    The Drop Shop - Skydive Chicago

    Gold Coast Skydivers - Gold Coast Skydivers, LA

    Sunshine Factory - ZHills, FL

    Rock Sky Market - Chicago Skydive Center, IL

    Xtreme Video - Skydive Carolina, Chester, SC

    HYPOXIC - Chandler, AZ
    As of the release of this article, the MSRP for the Turned On units was listed as $99.
    More information and installation guides can be found on the Turned On Website.

    By admin, in Gear,

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