How To Avoid Line Burn (Because Raw Canopies Work Better)

    Image by Keith Creedy C’mon...just how much damage can one little line really do?
    When a suspension line gets out-of-place and slides across neighboring nylon, another line, or another skydiver (in a collision scenario), the damage can be catastrophic. The lines connecting your mortal coil to your nylon conveyance are, after all, thin strands of extremely strong material – and, in deployment and flight, they move very, very fast.
    Line burn is, as you have no doubt extrapolated by now, caused by the generation of heat by friction. The amount of heat a fast-moving line generates is enough to literally melt the canopy – and, under certain circumstances, the line itself. Here are the questions you’ve gotta answer in order to avoid cooking your precious canopy.
    1. How melt-resistant are your lines?
    Both F-111 and ZP nylon melt at 417 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a lower melting point than almost all the common suspension line materials (Dacron®, Vectran® and HMA), which melt when exposed to heat levels of 482-932 degrees. There is, however, one exception: Spectra®. Spectra®, that tender little princess, melts at just 297 degrees.
    Even if they literally melt a hole in the canopy, all lines but Spectra® will likely survive the incident unscathed. If you have Spectra® lines, however, check them carefully if you discover line burn on your canopy – they are likely sufficiently damaged to require replacement.
    2. Is that crease really a crease?
    Most modern sport canopies used to be made of F-111 nylon. These days, for lots of reasons--from performance to fading mitigation--they’re generally constructed of ZP (zero-porosity) fabric.
    The behavior of these two materials under stress varies widely. When an F-111 canopy suffers line burn, the damage tends to be localized – often, sufficiently contained to be landable. ZP fabric is not so forgiving: high-speed line burns tend to cause major structural disintegrity. In addition to that, burn damage to ZP fabric can be difficult to identify, often appearing as a simple crease in the fabric – though testing to that crease finds it to have been massively reduced in tensile strength. (For this reason, Performance Designs doesn’t use zero-P fabric in their reserve canopies.)
    3. Are you packing for a smacking?
    According to the United States Parachute Association, incorrect packing is the most common source of line burn. The other cause, of course, is canopy collision – but that is a subject for another article entirely. To reduce your risk:
    Don’t throw your canopy in the bag. Take a moment to mindfully arrange the lines towards the center of the pack job, making sure that rogue lines aren’t nestled deep in the fabric where they could cause burn.
    Mind your slider. Keep the slider flush against the slider stops and tucked between the line groups. Not only will this help to mitigate opening shock, it will help to manage the lines as the canopy deploys and keep them from unnecessary intimacy from the neighboring fabric.
    Clear your stabilizers. The stabilizers (the “ears” of fabric that come down slightly on each lateral side of the canopy) have a tendency to tuck themselves in towards the lines when you’re pro-packing. Make sure they’re clear.
    4. Have you already been burned?

    Look for melting and discoloration. Line-burn damage looks very different than puncture damage (or any other clean cut or rip).
    Check your lines. If you notice burn damage on your canopy, it means that the nylon most certainly came into contact with your lines. To check lines for burn damage, use your hands more than your eyes. While seared lines often show signs of melting at the burn point, the easiest way to determine damage is by feel: an undamaged line will feel smooth if you pinch it and slide your fingers down, while burned (or otherwise damaged) lines will feel bumpy and rough.
    Get help. If you notice evidence of line burn – or what you suspect to be line burn – on your canopy or lines, take the damage to your rigger for inspection as soon as possible. Don’t freak out! In many cases, the damage can be repaired simply and economically, with replacement suspension lines and patching.
    Don’t be a dick. If you notice any damage on a rental (or student) rig, don’t hesitate to point it out to your coach or the rental office, whether or not you believe the damage happened “on your watch.” You’d want the same treatment--and you don’t want to be burning your fellow skydivers. Right?

    By nettenette, in Gear,

    A Great Suit Fit By The Numbers

    No-Punches-Pulled Advice From A Long-Time Suit Dealer
    Image by Joel Strickland You might think twice--or three times, or never--about dropping many hundreds of dollars on a dapper tuxedo. A skydiving suit, however? Shut up and take my money, dear manufacturer. Just make sure it’s in my colors and that the sponsor logos are right.
    When you’re slinging that kind of cash around, the last thing you want is for the object of your ardent longing to show up too loose, too tight, too short, or too long--and, due to a bafflingly high instance of improper measuring on the part of the buyer, that happens all the time. Take it from Joel Strickland, double British gold medalist (in both freestyle and freefly) and dealer for the venerable Vertical Suits. He’s been wrapping innocent skydivers in measuring tape for some years now, and he has excellent advice for the un- (or under-) initiated.
    1. Relax.
    “Measuring is not as difficult as people think it is,” Strickland soothes, “So, if you follow a few simple rules, it is pretty straightforward.” In other words: don’t get too nervous about this.
    2. Get someone to help.
    “While it’s technically possible to measure yourself,” Strickland explains, “It is not recommended. There will be some touching. Try not to make it weird.”
    3. Make it a dress rehearsal.
    Strickland advises everyone who comes to him for a fitting to wear what he/she would normally wear under a suit: base layers, thermals, underpants, jeans, whatever’s usually under there. You’ll want that suit to fit comfortably over your usual undergirdings, not strain over a pair of baggy, beloved chinos you didn’t wear to the fitting.
    4. Follow the video.
    “It is difficult to get it wrong if you use the talking pictures,” Strickland says. “We live in the future. Few people are ever more than ten feet from a device that will let you do this. No excuses.”
    He’s referring specifically to the Vertical Suits fitting video, of course, but similar helping hands are available from other suit manufacturers.
    5. Measure twice, cut once.
    “Always measure twice,” Strickland insists. “Maybe switch hands or stand on the other side and do it the other way around. Perhaps switch the limb being measured. See that the numbers match up.”
    6. Don’t tweak.
    “Suit design has grown into a very precise process using science and maths and brains,” Strickland says. “The manufacturers ask for a lot of measurements for a reason, and the best results come from sticking to the plan. If you mess with them, it can throw out the form of the suit and compromise its awesomeness.”
    7. Let the company know about your special needs.
    If you do require a specific area to be looser--for example, if you wear a brace--reach out to the manufacturer for advice instead of altering your measurements to suit what you think the suit requires. They’ve almost certainly seen your issue before and can give you the best advice.
    8. Don’t fudge the numbers.
    Your measurements now are what counts. “If you want your suit to fit,” Strickland sighs, “Do not adjust anything based the diet you just started or the gym membership you just bought.”
    9. Be gentle.
    “When wielding the tape measure,” he continues, “You should be aiming for tickle, not strangle.”
    10. Come as you are.
    When being measured, stand naturally. “Don’t puff out your chest or suck in your stomach or clench your buttocks or whatever,” Strickland explains. Your suit will feel better, fly better and look better if it fits you as you really are, right now.
    11. Look to the experts, if you really want to nail it.
    The best way to get all of this stuff done is to seek out one of your chosen suit’s stable of official dealers. “In and around all the places where skydiving is popular,” Strickland advises, “There are people who work closely with the company as boots on the ground to help.”
    These dealers have the benefit of many years of combined experience, as well as a direct line to the manufacturer for questions. They’ve generally tried and tested many different jumpsuits through the years, and can offer horse’s-mouth feedback on any issues or questions you might have. Sniff around at boogies or events--not just under the loudly-logo’d tents, but in the crowds, as well.
    “They will go on and on,” Strickland assures. “You will wish they would shut up about it after a while.”

    By nettenette, in Gear,

    How To Show Your Three-Ring System You Care

    Three-ring systems look pretty tough. They’re made of thick, heavy metal, after all – what could possibly go wrong? Bad news: lots.
    The rings are husky little guys, that’s true. However, they depend on the webbing behind them–and the cutaway cables that fasten them in the ready position–in order for them to work. It behooves you to know when and how to maintain the system.
    How Sloppily Maintained 3-Ring Systems Can Cause a Bad Day
    Nylon webbing, the material used to make skydiving (and BASE, for that matter) risers, stiffens over time to conform to the position in which it’s usually stored.
    Sometimes, they “set” so firmly in that position that the risers can’t flex the backing nylon–and can’t detach from the harness when the jumper engages the cutaway system, especially during a low-drag malfunction (such as a streamer).
    This, of course, is a very bad thing.
    The B-Sides
    You’ve probably gotten used to looking at the little snowmen of your three-rings during your preflight gear checks. Great! How often do you look behind them? The loop that connects the cutaway cable to the three-ring system can get dangerously abraded over time. You should peek at it every time you pack.
    The Deep Tracks
    To keep your three-rings in proper working order, the three-rings need to be manually disassembled, the cables checked and the webbing treated to a little massage.
    For skydivers, this is the stuff of riggers. According to Federal Aviation Regulation Part 65-111, skydivers “must be under the supervision of a rigger when performing any maintenance on a parachute system.”
    Don’t let your rigger have all the fun, though. Having a hand in the process has the significant benefit of familiarizing you with the operation of the system and increasing your confidence that it’ll be there when you need it. The best advice is to go through these steps every three months, whether or not you’ve been jumping the rig.
    Check your user’s manual for specific instructions. You can always find this on the manufacturer’s website.
    Pull the cutaway handle. Set the cutaway and connected cables on a clean surface. (Do not pull the reserve handle – unless you need a repack, of course.)

    Inspect the Velcro on the cutaway handle and the seating on the harness. You may need to use a stuff brush to “fluff” the Velcro and clean off any adherence-preventing dirt, especially if you jump at a dusty drop zone.
    Check the ends of each cutaway cable to be sure they haven’t developed any kinks or rough edges.
    Run a microfiber cloth over each cable. While you do, check for smoothness.
    Disassemble the risers.
    Carefully check each riser for signs of wear. Look especially carefully at the white loop that “locks” the cutaway cable to the three-ring system. (You should be checking this loop each time you pack the rig, but this process gives you a better, closer look.)
    Twist and flex the webbing of each riser near the ring system. You can safely be vigorous. You’ll likely feel the problem-causing stiffness as you do this.
    Reassemble the system. Refer to your user’s manual to ensure you’ve done it correctly.
    Before your next jump, have an experienced jumper or a rigger confirm that the system is correctly reassembled.
    Enjoy a little more gear confidence, dear reader. You’ve earned it.

    By nettenette, in Gear,

    6 Ways to Be Less Dumb When You Buy Used Skydiving Gear

    Image by Lukasz Szymanski Paul Iglin has been brokering used skydiving gear for more than a decade. He’s seen it all.
    He has definitely seen your kind before, and wants you to know a few things about the buying process, so you don’t make the same mistakes he’s seen over – and over – and over. I asked him what people need to know about buying used skydiving gear when they begin the process, and he had plenty of sage advice to share. Here’s what he has to say about it.
    1. Curb your enthusiasm.
    “Your job as a buyer is to get the right gear at the right time and at the right point in your skydiving career. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
    Every once in a while I have had people contact me who have not actually started skydiving yet. It is very rare, but it happens. They are clueless – and they are dangerous to themselves from a financial standpoint, because they have no idea what they’re buying. I tell them to go to somebody else; I won’t sell them gear. Before you start shopping for gear, you need to know what you are shopping for. So, if you don’t: Stop right there.
    Good shape, good brand, good used gear at the right price: Make no mistake; that’s hard to find. In skydiving gear, the supply-and-demand curve is really messed up. There’s very little supply and very high demand.
    It’s also seasonal. Come March and April, everybody rushes to find gear, and then demand stays strong all the way through end of the season around September. Try to shop outside that time frame if you can.”
    2. Don’t trust your friends.
    “Man, people get their advice from some terrible sources. A lot of the time, they’ll just go to their friends. But when you’re a new jumper, most likely your friends are also newer jumpers who basically don’t know jack****. Their understanding is very, very narrow; they have blinders on. Like: they bought themselves a brand-new Infinity rig with a brand-new Optimum with a brand-new Sabre 2, and it works for them, so that’s what they tell their friends to get.
    Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the gear they’re recommending is the worst. It just means that these people don’t have a statistically relevant sample, so their opinion doesn’t really count for anything. And they always tell whoever’s asking that ‘this is the best,’ as opposed to making the correct statement: ‘This is the one I have, and it works well for me.’”
    3. Do your homework.
    “All of this ties into the fact that people often just don’t do proper research. How do you do proper research? Well, whenever people ask me this question, I tell them this: Look at the gear as tier A, B and C as far as manufacturers, quality and pricing. I’m going to go ahead and throw some manufacturers’ names out there. You have your tier-A manufacturers: your Vectors; your Javelins; your Mirages; your Infinities. All those guys have been around for a long time. There are no questions about quality. They are very reputable. All the options are available.
    Then you have your tier-Bs: Icons, Wings, Perigees, whatever Dolphin became and a whole lot of other brands that are either obscure or very localized to another continent or a particular country. Avoid the latter if you’re a new jumper, because you don’t know what the **** you’re doing.
    You may have somebody try to sell you another brand that’s technically TSO’d, but you’re really going to suffer when you try to resell. You’ll have a hard time finding replacement parts if you are outside of the country of manufacture – and you’re going to get killed on shipping, and support is going to be pretty crappy. Be aware.
    Your can ask any rigger what the tier-C manufacturer is. They’ll tell you.”
    4. Make peace with your pants size.
    “One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is being a over-optimistic about their weight. It happens a lot, because it’s usually people who are just slightly overweight that make the biggest mistakes. For example: a 5’10”, 180-pound person says, ‘I am going to be exiting at 210 pounds, so I should get a 210, But I’m going to work out and lose weight, so I’m going to go with a 190.’
    I immediately tell them not to shop for the future. You shop for right now. If you need a 210 based on your current body weight, for chrissakes get a 210. Because in my experience -- and this is 15 years of skydiving speaking -- it is very unlikely that you will actually get to that goal weight. Sorry. It is possible, sure, but nobody has ever gotten hurt because their canopy was bigger rather than smaller. Don’t be stupid about it.”
    5. Then add to that number. More than you think.
    “The other problem that I see a lot of people early on in their careers -- and a lot of times even as they become experienced skydivers with a couple of hundred jumps -- is that people don’t account for exit weight. People add a couple of pounds and call it a day, and that’s completely wrong.
    You step out of the shower, and that’s your body weight. Then you put on your clothes. You put on your boots. You put on your rig. You put on your helmet and whatever suit you wear and your cameras and whatever else you’re jumping with. Then you step on the scale, and that’s your exit weight. You know all that already.
    Even knowing that, a lot of people don’t bother with the scale and egregiously underestimate what their rig weighs. A lot of people estimate 15 pounds for gear. Seriously?! What the **** are you talking about? You are going to put on 10 pounds just of clothing and boots alone. Then a canopy weighs about eight pounds. Your container weighs 8-12 pounds, depending on the amount of hardware. Your reserve? About six pounds. Your AAD, even, weighs six ounces. Your jumpsuit is going to add another couple of pounds. None of that stuff is magically
    Add 30 pounds for your gear. Maybe more. Don’t underestimate! You’re only hurting yourself.”
    6. Consult the chart.
    “The loading chart that I share with my customers – Brian Germain’s chart -- is the easiest one that I think is out there. I’m not necessarily saying it is the best one; I just think it’s the easiest to grasp. What he says is this: If you have 100 jumps or less, you should load one-to-one or less. For every 100 jumps, increase your wing loading by .1. That means that if you have 300 jumps, there is no reason you shouldn’t be jumping the 1.3 wing loading.
    Of course, you have caveats. People who jump at high-altitude dropzones and people who jump in very windy areas will need to choose different gear than people who jump at sea level, and so on and so forth. If you live in Colorado, you should probably jump a bigger canopy, because the air is thinner. If you jump where it’s really, really windy, you may get away with a slightly smaller canopy because you really do need the speed.
    Also, keep your head.
    “If you get a 170, you weigh 210 pounds and you’re 50 jumps into the sport, you are not doing anybody any favors. You may survive. You may not. But I certainly won’t be the person selling you a 170-square-foot canopy.”
    In general, please: Don’t go into it blind. Ask very experienced people for advice. And if you come to me as a buyer, expect me to tell it like it is. Because I will.”

    By nettenette, in Gear,

    The GoHawk - GoPro Expansion Pack

    POA Labs has announced the launch of the GoHawk, an expansion pack for the GoPro Hero4 that adds three new levels of functionality for POV Still and Video photographers.
    The GoHawk adds three new camera ports, allowing the user to connect:
    Remote shutter button. Save time by only shooting photos when you want to. Choose from hands-free mouth switches or a thumb triggered handlebar switch. Works with any 2.5mm remote shutter switch.
    Remote LED indicator lets you know that your camera is on and recording. The bendable indicator can be mounted in your helmet or wrapped around your handlebars.
    Auxiliary USB Power Input for extended shooting - plug into any battery pack and never run out of power again.

    The GoHawk enhances the process of shooting POV photos with your GoPro Hero4. Choose from a mouth-operated shutter button (best for chest or helmet mounted cameras) or a handlebar-mount push button (ideal for handlebar mounted cameras, cyclists, and motorcyclists). Simply plug your switch of choice into the GoHawk and start shooting!
    For still photographers, the GoHawk can be used in Continuous or Burst photo modes to capture the pictures you want, and ONLY the pictures you want. You’ll never have to spend hours sorting through the contents of a full memory card for that one magical shot. If you shoot video, you can easily start and stop recording using any external shutter switch.

    With the bendable LED indicator.you’ll never have to worry if your camera is on, taking a photo, or recording. A blue standby LED lets you know that your camera is on and flashes to let you know when your battery is low. A red record/shutter LED mimic’s the GoPro’s own shutter button lights no matter what mode you’re in.
    No special software is needed to operate the GoHawk. Simply plug it in and start shooting. The GoHawk is perfect for photographers and videographers who value the durability, price, and compact size of their GoPro’s, but need more
    control over how they capture the action.

    For more information, visit:
    the kickstarter page
    If you're interested in backing this project, you can support it on their kickstarter page, which is now live.
    About POA Labs
    POA Labs is a Portland-based product incubator focused on developing new and innovative products that enhance the lives of people who take their fun seriously. We want to enable our customers to do more - do it better, do it easier, and
    do it safer. Have more fun.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Aerodyne Release Pilot7 Canopy

    Aerodyne recently announced the release of their new canopy, the Pilot7. This new main, which was initially developed with wingsuiters in mind, is a 7-cell variation of the popular Pilot canopy which Aerodyne have sold for over a decade. The original Pilot canopy is in fact the company's most successful product, with the 9-cell elliptical holding an average rating of 4.67/5 based off 69 votes in our gear section.
    Aerodyne say they found their design for the Pilot7 heavily influenced by the strengths of the initial Pilot, and wanted to ensure that the new canopy lived up to the expectations set by its older sibling.
    Something for Everyone
    Both beginner flyers and experienced wingsuit pilots have reportedly demoed the Pilot7 with great results and public feedback as to the performance of the canopy. The company claims the Pilot7 provides 'superbly consistent openings', while in flight offers the pilot something fun and agile, while still remaining stable and easy to fly.
    "It has a flat glide and a powerful flare, likely more so than any 7-cell you’ve experienced.", claim Aerodyne.
    It was clear that solid, reliable openings were a key factor for this canopy during development, and testimonials from those who have been demoing the Pilot7 seem to confirm that Aerodyne have really hit the nail on the head with regards to the reliability of openings.
    While the focus of the Pilot7 was wingsuiting, Aerodyne say they expect that the canopy may become popular in other demographics of jumpers. Due to forgiving openings, handling characteristics and low pack volumes of the canopy, it could serve as a great choice for all skydiving skill groups, however could prove especially useful for beginner skydivers.
    The standard version of the Pilot7 will come in ZP, while there are also the options for Aerodyne's honeycomb low pack volume ZPS and their new UltraLPV material.
    "This builds the top skin and stabilizers from ZPX, and the ribs and bottom skin from FX-11 (the low pack volume material used in the SmartLPV). We use the ZLX lines to create an amazingly low pack volume canopy."
    Available sizes: 117, 137, 147, 167, 187, 207, 227, 247 sq ft.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Four-Armed is Forewarned

    Altitude awareness is easily the most important aspect of skydiving and it’s no wonder that audible alert systems were one of the first technological inventions in the earlier days of skydiving. Like most things technical, significant advances have been made, and any device that provides information/feedback during a skydive is a valuable addition to any skydiver’s tool kit.
    Larsen and Brusgaard, the foremost authority on altitude-measuring/awareness devices, launched a new product named the “Quattro,” in early 2014. With four user-programmable altitude notifications/alarms, the Quattro has become incredibly popular.
    It’s important to understand what an audible offers skydivers involved in precision activities. Once relegated only to scream at a skydiver that they’d missed their point of deployment, audibles are now used for indicating user-controlled altitude alarms, while still providing feedback for deployment, hard deck, cutaway, or other altitudes warnings.
    From a wingsuiting perspective, I cannot imagine anyone not owning a Quattro. With the ability to generate seven notifications in flight, wingsuiters have no reason to not be set for exact breakoff points, maneuver points, deployment, entry and exit gate-points for performance training, competition points, and the list goes on and on.
    Wingsuiters fall at different rates, and with radically different wingsuits, everyone has different needs and wants. With this in mind, I’ve put together a few bullet points on where the Quattro benefits wingsuiter pilots.
    COACHING: Frequently, wingsuit coaches have a “no more work altitude” that is different than deployment altitudes. For example, I want students to not perform tasks below 6000’ but frequently continue stable flight until 4,500. As a coach, I want these notification alarms in addition to my own personal alarms of 3,500’ and 2500’ and my hard-deck alarm at 1600’.
    As an FFC/First Flight Course coach, students are given specific tasks at specific altitudes on the climb to altitude. The Quattro provides three “climb to altitude” alarms that a coach might use to remind him of those points where the student should be providing feedback or information. For example, students might be giving a verbal description of the skydive at 5000’ or indicating their countdown and waveoff point at 6,000’. In any event, climb-to-altitude alarms serve a multitude of value.
    PERFORMANCE TRAINING: Wingsuiters competing in FAI Performance Categories need to enter their performance gate at 3000m/9842’ and exit the gate at 2000m/6562’ and while the mandatory Flysight can provide these entry/exit indicators, competitors can benefit from a pre-gate announcement that the Quattro can provide, in addition to deployment indicators.
    ACRO COMPETITION: In Wingsuit Acro, the competition clock starts as the competitors exit. In non-compulsory jumps, synchronization is frequently part of the jump, and having set points for an action, particularly where wingsuiters may not be facing each other (back to back flying), an alarm or series of alarms can provide valuable timing information. The multiple alarms are also good for notifying competitors when they’ve reached their competitive deck, while still providing the “standard” three alarms for deployment, reminder, and hard-deck.
    HIGH ALTITUDE JUMPS: Wingsuiters engaging in high altitude jumps are flummoxed that most audible systems cannot provide feedback above 10,000’. The Quattro is capable of informing the wingsuiter as high as 19,990.
    Although the Quattro offers a broad spectrum of alarm settings, users are not required to enable them, and this is one of the features I appreciate most about the Quattro; users may configure the system to be as personal as needed, turning on/off various alarm points.
    Wingsuiters focused on performance frequently do not want to look at their wrist or chest mount altimeters if they’ve got a good performance groove happening, and full-face helmets often make it impossible to see chest-mount altimeters when in a performance configuration; an audible provides valuable feedback when cranking a chin around to see a visual may have a negative impact on performance.
    The unit allows for offsets, so if the landing area is a different elevation than the point of take-off, audible settings can be user-adjusted if the offset is known. Otherwise, the unit will recalibrate itself every 14 hours to the last MSL point of take-off. Manually zeroing the Quattro is as easy as pressing the center button a couple of times (this is the same procedure for generating altitude off-sets).
    As with previous L&B; products, the Quattro uses a pair of 2325 batteries, easily found at most any electronics store or grocery store that offers a wide variety of button batteries. In my experience, the batteries seem to be good for about 1000 jumps, or about a year. However, the Quattro and Optima seem to be very forgiving when the battery indicator says “replace me.” I’ve tacked on another 300 jumps after the indicator told me I had an empty battery.
    While just about any discipline in skydiving can benefit from the Quattro’s numerous features, wingsuiting is one aspect of the sport that frequently demands “more.” Wingsuiters love data, feedback, and algorithms designed just for them, and the Quattro certainly delivers. It probably helps that some of the folks at L&B; are avid wingsuit pilots, and have taken time out to really dig into what makes wingsuiting and wingsuiters just “a bit different” than other skydivers, and in the Quattro, they’ve really done it well. Although I’m not a speed skydiver, I can only surmise the multiple alarms would also benefit the speed discipline.
    Several helmet manufacturers have recognized the value of L&B; products, and have custom-fit slots for the Quattro (or Optima2, Solo) audible, and some have given exterior access to the audible. One feature I very much appreciate in my Tonfly helmets is that I can access the audible from the outside, letting me know my altitude settings are correct, that my battery is good, and that the unit is active (I frequently turn it off if I’m not going to be jumping for a few days). The unit display turns off after 14 hours, but will reactivate if it senses a climb to altitude. Unless manually turned off, it is always ready to jump. During frequent/daily jump cycles, I don’t bother to turn off my Quattro.
    By the way, for the color coordination-conscious skydiver, these are available with custom-configuration buttons, just like the Optima and Viso.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Introducing The Safire 3 by NZ Aerosports

    NZ Aerosports released the original Icarus Safire in 1999. They followed up in 2001 with the release of the Safire2, and she went on to become their biggest selling mainstream canopy, and one of the most popular beginner and intermediate canopies on the market.
    About five years ago, there began to be rumours of a Safire 3 and Crossfire 3 being developed, but the development of Petra and Leia stole the limelight and the research and development hours, and kept the company preoccupied for a few years. But last year NZ Aerosports started making some noise about them again, and since there's been a few teaser posts on their Facebook page about these new wings.

    Everyone wants to know when the Safire 3 and Crossfire 3 will be released, but the team at NZ Aerosports are staying tight lipped on that one. They have stated that the Safire 3 will be first to go public. And they've released a bit of information about what we can expect to see in the Safire 2's successor. They say they are also working hard on the Crossfire 3 project and that it’s going to be ready later in the year than the Safire 3, but it’s looking pretty good!
    The starting point for the Safire 3 project was reshaping the Safire 2 in the same software and using the same 3D design technique used to design Petra and Leia. They’ve kept the crossport design and repartition the same, to reduce surface distortion and improve load bearing, and the 3D lineset design, which gives a more accurate shape in flight. They’ve used the same elliptical lobe, so the shape of the canopy given by the way the lineset attaches now follows a true ellipse. And they’ve added their statement Powerband that flattens the 3D panels more accurately and reduces fabric stretch to keep the new design true to it’s shape in flight.

    These are some of the design changes you can expect from the Safire 2 to Safire 3:
    New planform totally reshaped through true 3D design
    Proportionally tuned air inlets that open wider in the centre of the canopy and less toward the tips
    New brake configuration, providing a more efficient flare It won't be more 'high performance' than the Safire 2, because it is aimed at the same type of pilot that flies them now, but she will be more efficient and responsive, have a better glide and an even more powerful flare.
    The Safire3 Project: Opening Progression from NZ Aerosports Ltd on Vimeo.
    When the Safire 3 comes to market she will be available exclusively from NZ Aerosports in New Zealand, and NZ Aerosports dealers.

    By admin, in Gear,

    First Look At The Squirrel Swift 2

    Squirrel are soon releasing their Swift 2 and Funk 2 wingsuits, which are now available for pre-orders. We're excited to bring you this first look at the Swift 2.
    Image by Dan Dupuis

    New smaller planform
    New profile
    New leading edge construction
    New arm sweep
    More R&D; per square inch than any suit in its class
    The SWIFT 2 is an entirely new design that brings a higher level of efficiency and performance to the beginner-intermediate class. This is the most balanced and versatile beginner-intermediate design that we have flown, and we think it represents a meaningful step forward in wingsuit design. In the same way that the FREAK has upset the intermediate class market, the SWIFT 2 offers performance and ease of use in a ratio that we think is unique in the category.
    Compared to the SWIFT, the SWIFT 2 has less surface area yet more glide performance, range, and speed. What this means is that the SWIFT 2 is easier to fly than its predecessor, and offers higher performance. This has been accomplished by increasing efficiency in the profile and planform.
    Traditionally, wingsuit manufacturers have added surface area to a design in order to increase “performance”. But, as surface area increases, so does difficulty. Surface area is the one factor in wingsuit design that cannot be cheated: if it’s bigger, it’s potentially more difficult to fly. Our mission at Squirrel is to maximize the efficiency of each design by focusing on glide and speed gains that come as a result of profile improvements and drag reduction, instead of simply increasing surface area. When we increase the performance of a suit without reducing the comfort and ease of use, it can be considered a “free” upgrade. That is the focus of the SWIFT 2.

    Image by Avalon Wolf The SWIFT 2 planform has less arm wing surface at the wingtip section of the span, increasing the aspect ratio and improving handling and ease of use. The wing root chord has been slightly increased, adding range and stability particularly in applications such as flocking. The added surface at the wing root enables smoother pitch adjustment and increases roll stability by supporting the pilot’s CG and hips. This also eases transitions from belly to back fly positions. The leg wing stance is also narrower than the original SWIFT.
    A new arm sweep and leading edge construction, taken directly from the FREAK, has reduced drag and improved agility. The SWIFT 2 feels considerably more compact than its predecessor, or any other wing in its class, thanks to these factors being combined with a profile also adapted from the FREAK. The FREAK profile was chosen for its moderate thickness and excellent behavior across a wide range of speeds.
    Versatility is a key tenet of the SWIFT 2 design. Arm and leg wing pressure can be adjusted via the internal wing zips, allowing a softer and more manageable ride for newer pilots, acrobatic pilots looking for rapid transition and ease in flips where wing area has to be rapidly compressed. With zips closed, the SWIFT 2 delivers the range, performance, and stability needed for high or low speed flocking.
    The SWIFT 2 inlets are adapted from our newest high-performance suits, and feature a more efficient intake with less drag than the original SWIFT. Back-fly inlets are offered as an option, and make the SWIFT 2 a fun and agile suit for freestyle flying and steeper, more advanced, formations.
    Leading edge construction is a complicated matter in wingsuit design. Performance can be enhanced by creating a rigid structure over the arm, but this results in a significant reduction in passive safety. We have focused on this part of our wingsuits since the beginning of our development and we are constantly striving to create the best balance of comfort and performance. The SWIFT 2 leading edge is adapted from the FREAK, and features a grained non-flexible main arm segment with a flexible Glideskin arc at the wrist for BOC and riser/brake toggle access. The interior is finished in Lycra, which provides a smooth surface for skin or clothing to slide across, and houses the optional leading edge foam. Never underestimate the importance of an easy pull and access to your risers. Brake and riser access is a learned skill: practice it thoroughly!
    The SWIFT 2 planform is completely new, and was chosen for its distribution of surface at the wing tip and wing root. Additionally, the sweep and stance are similar to the FREAK and FUNK 2, making the transition to our more advanced suits feel more natural.
    The SWIFT 2 profile is adapted from the FREAK, modified only to fit the smaller planform and shorter chord. Thickness and camber was chosen for stability across a wide range of speeds and angles of attack.

    Image by Luis Lopez Mendez FEATURES
    We believe that all performance-enhancing features in a wingsuit should be standard. If it's important to performance flying or improves ease-of-use, then it's included in the price of your suit. Padded and reinforced foot cavities, chest pocket / belly-cam access, internal pressure-zips, nut-sack storage compartment, mylar reinforced leading edge, and rubber BASE soles are all standard features in all of our suits.
    In BASE and Skydiving, easy BOC and brake toggle access has proven to yield the safest and most reliable deployments. We firmly believe in the mantra, "Keep it Simple and Safe". For that reason, we designed a suit for which arm cutaways are unnecessary, BOC access is clean thanks to the extended wing root that helps to prevent the trailing edge from covering your PC, and risers / brake toggles can be accessed without unzipping. The arm sweep, wrist-cut, and leading edge construction have all been engineered for a balance of safety and performance.
    The SWIFT 2 has an exceptional amount of performance for its surface area. No other suit in this size range delivers as much speed, glide, or range. Ease of use is a critical factor for this class of suit, and the newest pilots will instantly appreciate the SWIFT 2’s stability in an arched position. If you have questions about flying your SWIFT 2 at any level of performance, please don't hesitate to contact us! We are always here to answer your questions.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Parachute Systems Service Bulletin for Vortex Container

    PRODUCT SERVICE BULLETIN 2016-01 (PSB # 2016 - 01)
    ISSUE DATE: 4th January 2016

    SUBJECT: Stainless Steel Mini Base Ring

    STATUS: Ground Equipment Until Further Notice

    Affected Vortex Rigs: To be updated ASAP.
    Subject to a notification on Saturday, Jan 2nd, 2016, from our dealer in Holland that a stainless steel mini base ring presented with a problem on a Vortex container on its fourth jump (DOM October 2014), we are immediately advising all customers with a Vortex that has “DSF” stamped base rings (flip the base ring over and if its stamped DSF) to ground their equipment until we can ascertain which batch is impacted and obtain more detail from the manufacturer. We are diligently pursuing this information in as quick a time as possible. We will post serial numbers of potentially affected Vortex's as soon as we have the manufacturers’ confirmed information and steps that need to be taken to resolve this issue.
    Please be assured that Parachute Systems will make all efforts as quickly as possible to resolve this issue.
    Discussions regarding this issue are being discussed on Parachute Systems' Facebook page.
    This bulletin will be updated as more information on the affected containers are provided.
    UPDATE - Permanent Grounding For All Vortex Harness Containers With DSF Ring

    An update has been provided by Parachute Systems that has seen the permanent grounding of all Vortex containers with the affected DSF ring.
    "While the hardware manufacturers believe the compromised stainless steel ring could be an isolated incident, and expert opinion has confirmed this is very possible, in the absence of being able to test every single ring quickly and efficiently, both companies have decided that they will not risk the possibility of even one Harness Container in the field with a potentially faulty stainless steel ring.
    It has been decided, therefore, that every Vortex Harness Container with the stainless steel hardware as referenced in the Bulletin and stamped “DSF” BE GROUNDED PERMANENTLY"
    This grounding does NOT pertain to the Vortex Harness Containers that do not have the referenced stainless steel hardware per the Bulletin and stamped “DSF">
    It has been further agreed to by both companies, that EVERY Vortex harness container that has the stainless steel hardware as referenced in the initial Bulletin, will be replaced with a brand new identical Harness Container as the original order.
    The replacement phase (VORTEX REPLACEMENT PROGRAM) will commence immediately and the closing date for the receipt of claims under this program is December 31st 2016."
    More information available in the Service Bulletin
    They have also made a recall form Available on Their Website

    By admin, in Gear,