Mirage Systems - Soft Reserve Ripcord Recall

    Mirage Systems has received 2 reports of reserve ripcord pins breaking under apparently normal wear. Although the company and the subcontractor who manufactured the ripcord assemblies have not been able to identify the cause of the failures, Mirage has issued the following mandatory Product Service Bulletin:
    MIRAGE SYSTEMS - Product Service Bulletin
    Issue date: 28 April 2003

    Bulletin number: 280403-01

    Subject: Soft Reserve Ripcord Recall

    Status: Mandatory.

    Compliance date: Immediate.

    Identification: Mirage 27” Soft Reserve Ripcord, part #SH01-27, batch #M005128, mfd. 11/25/2001 – 5/10/2002
    Mirage Systems has received 2 reports of reserve ripcord pins breaking under apparently normal wear. Mirage Systems, working with the subcontractor who manufactured the ripcord assemblies, has not been able to identify the cause of the failures. Detailed microscopic and metallurgical examinations have been carried out with nominal results. Further investigation is ongoing. Both failures occurred in a single batch of ripcord sub-assemblies manufactured in November 2001. Other assemblies from the same batch were tested and were normal. However, because both failures occurred in the same batch, in lieu of the discovery of a definitive cause and in the interest of safety, Mirage Systems and the subcontractor, Capewell Components, have decided to recall all ripcords from this batch for inspection and possible replacement effective immediately.
    All Mirage owners with soft reserve ripcords should check the ripcord data panel, found on the soft handle opposite the attachment Velcro. Suspect handles are marked “S/N M005128”. Affected owners have 2 possible courses of action:
    1. Return the ripcord ONLY together with identification and rig serial number to Capewell Components
    ATTN: Mark M.

    105 Nutmeg Road South

    S. Windsor, CT 06074

    Capewell will conduct non-destructive testing and inspection and, if necessary, Mirage Systems will replace and return the ripcord assembly, free of charge. Assemblies which pass inspection will be so marked and returned, cleared to jump, by Capewell.
    2. Contact Mirage Systems with the serial number of their rig to place an order for immediate replacement at:
    Mirage Systems

    1501A Lexington Ave.

    DeLand, Fl 32724


    [email protected]
    Customers returning their old handles at time of order will be charged $15. Other orders will be charged $64, but will be eligible for a $44 refund upon receipt of the old handle. Customers shipping handles to either Capewell Components or Mirage Systems may use UPS account #E8E841 (Capewell Components) to cover shipping charges or use another service at their expense. Soft reserve ripcords bearing batch numbers other than M005128 and all metal handled ripcords are NOT affected. Because Capewell Components makes assemblies for other container manufacturers, all skydivers are recommended to check all hardware assemblies for unusual wear, cracking, scoring, marking or bending. All skydivers are reminded to check all their equipment for problems frequently.
    Daniel Thompson, President, Mirage System

    Jeff Johnston, QC Manager, Mirage Sysetms

    Mark Magdalenski, QC Manager, Capewell Components

    Distribution: FAA, Mirage dealers and customers of record, Parachutist, Skydiving, Int’l periodicals.
    Download the PDF

    By admin, in Gear,

    Atair Aerospace wins COMET Award

    Long Island, NY - April 24, 2003 - Atair Aerospace was one of five manufacturers honored by New York State’s Empire State Development and the Long Island Forum for Technology during their COMET expo and awards dinner at the Long Island Business & Technology Center on April 10, 2003. The event was created as a way to feature the numerous high-technology manufacturing companies of the Long Island area, with a particular emphasis on defense related companies.
    BAE Systems, EDO Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Empire State Development, Fleet Bank, and Margolin, Winer & Evans, LLP, judged the over 70 participating companies in five categories: Innovative Products, Precision Parts, Electronic Assemblies, Complex Integrated Products, and Unrestricted. Atair was honored with the 2003 Manufacturer of the Year Award for Innovation for their ONYX family of Autonomous Guided Parachute systems.
    Conflicts in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq have demonstrated the wide spread use of inexpensive surface to air missiles by enemies. The United States Military has at the highest level recognized the critical need for the development of guided parachute systems to replace current, obsolete airdrop delivery techniques. A $3000 shoulder fired SAM can put in jeopardy aircraft flying up to 25,000 ft. Conventional military airdrop techniques release cargo under round parachutes from altitudes below 1,500 ft. At such low altitudes placing cargo at the intended landing target is accurate, but puts the carrier plane and personnel in grave danger. Using such airdrop techniques at altitudes of 25,000 ft. to 35,000 ft. provides safety for the aircraft and personnel, but makes delivering cargo to the landing target impossible.
    With funding for guided parachute systems now coming from the Secretary of Defense level, government and military agencies appear primed to dedicate serious resources to resolving this critical strategic military requirement. Having foreseen this need and begun the development of guided parafoil systems several years ago, Atair Aerospace continues to develop the state-of-the-art, advanced-design parachutes guided by Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and Inertial Navigation Sensors (INS) for the precise, reliable and cost-effective airborne delivery of material and ordnance to remote locations in fulfillment of critical military, relief and rescue missions. Atair has been a pioneer in bringing forth new technological advances in military and sport parachute systems since 1992.
    For more information please contact Mark Montalvo at [email protected] or visit Atair Aerospace’s website at www.extremefly.com.
    Read more about Atair's Autonomous Guided Parachute systems

    By admin, in Gear,

    Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy

    I've been jumping for more than 20 years, but I still remember my very first skydive, and I'll bet you do too. Likewise, I remember the anxiety of trying to find a drop zone, and I remember my concern about the safety of the school, and my own ability to handle this exciting sport. In the years since my first jump I've earned instructional ratings in IAD, SL, AFF, and tandem programs, and am now the Safety and Training Advisor at The Ranch.
    Last spring I was approached by McGraw-Hill to write a book about skydiving targeted at beginners in the United States. That book, "Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy" has now been published and should be available soon at local booksellers. It is already being shipped by major web retailers such as Amazon.com. "Jump!" has more than 128 pages and 86 illustrations, including images from 19 photographers. I think this is the first comprehensive book about skydiving training to be commissioned by a major publisher like McGraw-Hill.
    I'm really proud of "Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy" and am confident it will appeal to our new students. "Jump!" is designed to answer all the common questions presented by prospective students, as well as offer guidance to those that have already made one tandem jump. While "Jump!" is designed for beginners, it will probably also be of interest to experienced jumpers for use as a gift…I think it's a great way to quickly handle inquiries from coworkers, family, and friends. "Jump!" is also a great book to share with local government and airport officials who might not otherwise understand our sport. I'm also betting drop zones that send a copy of "Jump!" to their local newspapers and television stations along with feature ideas will have an easier time arranging free media coverage. "Jump!" is loaded with statistics and includes lots of detail covering training methods, costs, regulation, drop zone evaluation, and much more.
    My hope is that "Jump!" will help to educate consumers about our sport, and drive interest in student training. Readers will find themselves excited by skydiving, but they will also be well informed about the risks of our sport. As I prepared to write "Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy" I spoke with hundreds of instructors and students, and read a vast number of posts on this site and others. Likewise, I chatted with many drop zone owners, checked their web sites, and spoke with leading experts including TK Donle, Jim Crouch, Paul Fayard, Rob Laidlaw, Nancy LaRiviere, Bill Dause and (Dr.) John DeRosalia. "Jump!" is a significant collection of wisdom gathered from these experts. While the specific information in "Jump!" is based on USPA programs in the United States, it should appeal to many international jumpers interested in comparing programs across borders. It is also a great guide for prospective students from other countries who are thinking about doing their skydiving training in The United States.
    I hope you will have a chance to read "Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy", and I hope you will recommend this book to beginners who are looking for basic information about our sport. "Jump!" with a list price of 14.95, is now on sale for 30 percent off at www.amazon.com, and is also available at significant bulk purchase discounts directly from McGraw-Hill. If you would like more information about those bulk discounts for resale through drop zone stores or web sites, please let me know and I'll be happy to coordinate the contacts with McGraw account executives.
    Blue Skies
    Tom Buchanan/D-8514
    Buy from Amazon.com

    By admin, in Gear,

    Action Products: Skydiving Toys

    My name is Nick Miller, and I'm 11 years old. I am on special assignment for Dropzone.com, reviewing a new line of skydiving toys by Action Products. The toys are for ages 5 and up and consist of four different three inch plastic skydiver figurines. Each one includes a detachable parachute and a target.

    Special Correspondent:
    Nick Miller

    They have cool names like Free Fallin' Fiona (my mom was really happy they included a girl), Hot Seat Harry, Sky Eye Skylar and Tailspin Tyler. Each one of them also has an extra detachable toy included. According to the packaging, Fiona and Harry are on the "high flying rescue team" and Fiona has a grappling hook with rope, and Harry has a shovel because he's a smokejumper. Skylar and Tyler are on the "extreme sports team" and Skylar has a camera and Tyler has a board.
    I played with the toys with two of my friends and my older sister. We played with the skydivers two different ways. First, my sister and I stood on the second floor inside our house and we tried to drop them onto the targets on the first floor. It didn't work very well! The parachutes did inflate a little, but we missed the target every time. I don't think we had enough room indoors to play with them properly.
    Next, my friends and I took them outside. It worked much better this way. First, we laid the plastic targets on the ground. The targets have a bulls eye on them and areas with different point values, so you can add up your scores against your friend's. Then, we folded up the parachute, wrapped the thick line around it, made sure it was attached well to the skydiver and threw it up as far as we could. If there was wind, the parachute did a good job inflating and it soared through the sky pretty well. When there wasn't wind, the parachute was a little bunched up and the skydiver had to do a PLF.
    Once we figured out how to make adjustments for the wind, we were able to hit the targets about half the time, just like in real skydiving!
    Some good things about these toys are the fact that the parachutes detach from the skydivers with just one click, so you can play with them in other ways besides just throwing them up in the air. The extra toys that come with them are cool too, and I even took the board with me to the pool to play with it there. Also, the head, arms and waist are movable on each skydiver, making them a little more fun to play with.
    I think it would be neat if they talked, but my mom said that being skydivers they would probably say too many bad words. The only bad thing about one of the toys was that the line became unattached from the parachute on one of the guys, but it is something that my mom can sew up if I ask nicely. In conclusion, I think they are fun toys to buy a kid who is under the age of 14.~ Nick
    About Action Products
    Since 1977, Action Products International, Inc. has been servicing museum and educational specialty retailers. This company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the edutainment megatrend. Action has formed strategic relationships with many of the leading industry buyers, strengthened our lines of supply all over the world, and developed a range of products in the important educational themes which are of interest to this marketplace.
    The company is focusing on brand development, e-commerce strategies, and merchandising, including retail packaging and point-of-purchase display systems, designed to provide the retailers with the tools they need to present our product lines to the consumer in a consistent and effective way.
    Action Products is a member of the Toy Industry Association (TIA), American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), Museum Store Associsation (MSA), and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).
    Action Products International, Inc.
    390 North Orange Avenue Suite 2185
    Orlando, FL 32801 344 Cypress Road
    Ocala, FL 34472
    Call Toll Free 1.800.772.2846
    Fax Toll Free 1.888.232.9228
    Action Products Web Site
    Buy from Square1

    By admin, in Gear,

    Icarus Release New Products for 2002

    Icarus Canopies are releasing 3 new products for the summer season. These designs incorporate new plan form shaping techniques that Icarus designers have been working on for the past 18 months. 7 years ago, Icarus designers pioneered a new plan form shape with the EXTreme FX. The Icarus Safire, Omega and EXTreme VX followed incorporating similar shaping techniques. The Icarus Crossfire expanded on that principle integrating additional surface shaping.
    These designs incorporated many innovations including full surface shaping, constant cell proportions, and lowered wing tips. All engineered to reduce drag, increase lift (at high and low speeds), increase rigidity and create even cell pressurization eliminating the perceived benefit of airlocks. These shaping techniques took parachutes beyond standard ram air designs and created true wing shapes with increased performance at both ends of the spectrum.
    A bi-product of this increased performance and control range was an increased toggle stroke making the toggle control range longer and flare point deeper than other designs at the time. While this longer control range was labeled a disadvantage by some rivals at the time, many have released competing designs with similar characteristics due to the increased efficiency these more precise wings create.
    With similar parachutes entering the market, our design team has been engineering plan form shapes which integrate the benefits of these designs plus further increasing the parachutes efficiency by incorporating precise and immediate toggle and riser control.
    Our 2002 products incorporate varying shaping techniques depending on the specific target audience of each design resulting from this program.
    Upon completion of this program these 3 designs have been undergoing market evaluation over the past few months. Specifically we have been comparing them with other products in the same target markets to ensure supremacy when compared with competing products. Now confident that we have once again solidly achieved this goal, we are releasing 3 exciting new designs.

    The Icarus Omni is the latest innovation in 7 cell canopy design. 7 cell canopies such as the Icarus Omega, PD Spectre or Aerodyne Triathlon gained popularity because of their ease of use and gentle characteristics. The disadvantage with 7 cells is their reduced lift making it difficult to get back from long spots and inferior flare characteristic when compared with 9 cell designs. While this is often no issue for beginners or at lighter wing loadings many seasoned skydivers also prefer the ease of use that comes with 7 cell canopies and are prepared to sacrifice lift and glide for this benefit.
    The Omni answers these issues offering the largest range of flight currently available on an all purpose 7 cell canopy.
    The Icarus Omni is a 7-Cell, Semi and lightly elliptical, Zero Porosity canopy. It has been designed as an all purpose canopy with soft on-heading openings, predictable flight characteristics, light toggle and riser pressure and with the added advantage of an increased glide ratio and greater flare power when compared with other 7 cell designs.
    The result, a 7 cell with an increase operating range, usable for all facets of modern skydiving.
    At lighter wing loading (below .9 PSF) it is a good transition or first canopy or for someone who likes to take it easy. At heavier wing loading (up to 1.5 PSF) it will have noticeable performance while maintaining soft openings and better landings than other 7 cell designs.
    We recommend it for wing loading from .75 PSF to 1.5 PSF.

    4 years ago we released the Icarus Safire. A revolutionary canopy, being the first all purpose 9 cell canopy to include a lightly & truly elliptical platform shape offering superior openings and flight characteristics compared to competing mid-performance range 9 cell designs at the time.

    We new that the superior characteristics of this design, such as a lightly & truly elliptical platform shape combined with constant cell proportioning would not be ignored by other canopy manufacturers. This style of design would become the benchmark for mid-range performance canopies and other manufacturers would build similar designs as we have recently seen.
    The Safire 2, like the original Safire is a truly elliptical canopy with a light shaping incorporating a constant cell aspect ratio which consistently controls the airfoil shape across the canopy, maintaining increased rigidity and reducing drag.
    The Safire 2 is an enhanced version of the original Safire incorporating new trim and plan form shaping techniques. Its openings are arguably the sweetest of any canopy in its class. So much so that you'd swear it was a 7 cell opening above your head. We have also integrated an even greater glide ratio, more nimble and very predicable flight characteristics, responsive flight controls both on toggles and risers, a shorter recovery arc to maintain a higher level of safety for mid-range jumpers and a powerful flare.
    The Safire 2 is designed to fly best at wing loading of .75 to 1.6. At the lower end, the Safire flies forgivingly and is an ideal transitional canopy. At the higher loading, it is a fast-moving smooth-handling ride that outperforms other canopies in its class.

    2 years ago we revolutionized what was possible with a 9 cell (non-cross braced) canopy.
    The Icarus Crossfire is categorically a step up in performance from any other 9 cell in the world. Its swoop capability almost rivals cross-braced canopies such as the EXTreme FX and Velocity while maintaining many other more desirable flight characteristics.
    Our target audience with the Crossfire has always been the many Stiletto pilots wanting the next step in canopy evolution. PD did a great job with the Stiletto and it remained un-rivaled for years. However, design concepts and construction techniques improve and we were able to release the Crossfire, a canopy aspiring to this market with increased performance characteristics, a longer recovery arc, an incredible swoop distance and with openings that are unparalleled.
    With our latest design innovations we are able to take the Crossfire performance even further. The Crossfire 2 has the same impressive opening and swoop capabilities with some of the most responsive toggle and riser turns of any canopy in the market. It has a light riser pressure and an incredible recovery arc.
    The Crossfire 2 is a highly elliptical, constant cell aspect ratio, closed nose, fully and surface shaped inflatable wing capable of unrivaled performance. It will out perform any non cross-braced 9 cell available; Openings, toggle turns, riser turns, dives, swoop distance and flare -period!
    Recommended wing loadings are 1.4 - 2.2.
    Icarus Guarantee:
    Icarus is the only company in the market to offer an unconditional 31 day satisfaction guarantee. Icarus guarantees that our products perform as advertised with superior characteristics to competing products.
    If for any reason a customer is not entirely satisfied we will replace the product or refund the customer, no questions asked. Refer www.icaruscanopies.com for details.
    Full details of these products will be available on Icarus Canopies website www.icaruscanopies.com from 10 May 2002.
    For additional information contact:
    Simon Mundell
    [email protected]
    (630) 562-2735
    Crossfire2, Omni – Steve Utter
    Safire2 – Mike Sanders

    By admin, in Gear,

    Safer Ringsight Mounting by Brent Finley

    These quality swivel clamps were machined precisely to hold a ring sight in place. Most machine shop clamps are made to hold gauges, etc. and can't take the high torque that your sight goes through with random bumps and knocks. This clamp has a semi circle binding ring (see the arrow above) that ensures maximum holding power. The aluminum post is slightly longer than most hardware store posts, and milled to exact dimensions for precise fit.
    This design is NEW! We have improved the design to replace the old knurled thumbwheel with a low profile Allen screw. This makes the clamp less likely to snag a line during an unstable deployment. The clamp comes with an Allen wrench for your toolkit.
    Pricing is as follows:
    Mounting kit (Clamp and Post) $30 + shipping.
    Clamp without the post is $25 + shipping.
    Call Brent Finley at 480-855-7779.
    Send Check or Money Order to
    Brent Finley, 3102 S. Marigold Place, Chandler, AZ 85248
    Brent's Galleries

    By admin, in Gear,

    Film Closer, Get better footage, Be safer

    The 'Diamond .3' wide-angle video camera lens is now available. The lenses are handmade in Japan. The Diamond .3 wide-angle lens gives a video camera a 110-degree field of view with very little barrel distortion. The lens is NOT a fish-eye.
    The lens has no vignette (black corners in the field of view). The lens is perfect for freeflying, flat flying inside video, relative work and AFF coaching (from the instructor's angle), CRW, canopy swooping, BASE jumping or anything that an inside, wide-angle view is desired. Capture up-close shots with a crystal clear, non-distorted view.
    The size of the lens is very low profile. The diameter is 44mm (1 ¾ inch.) and the length is 8mm (5/16inch). The small size has many benefits. It puts less stress and wear on the camera's frame and standard lens. It minimizes vibrations and camera shake since it is more than ¼ the size of other lenses. The chance of a riser strike on your camera's lens is decreased, as well as contact with any other object.
    It is available in two different thread sizes, 30mm (pc-1, 3, 5, 9, etc.) and 37mm (pc-7, 10, 100, 110, etc). In most Sony camcorders, no adapter ring is needed.
    The retail price of the lens is $200 US. Summer Sale Price of $175 (plus s/h)
    For more information, contact Max Cohn at: [email protected], or at 201.538.4652, or visit http://generationfreefly.com/diamond.3/ for more pictures and information.

    By wlie, in Gear,

    Personal Parachutes: The Ethics of Safety

    Many of us since the attack on the World Trade Center have been asking how this could have been prevented. And if it could not have been prevented, how then could we have had more survivors? As daunting as it is to think of, a parachute appears to be a logical and effective means of escape. After all, Leonardo DaVinci conceived in 1485 the first parachute specifically for the purpose of escaping safely from fires in tall buildings, and there have been countless other inventors and engineers who have worked on similar ideas since his time.
    Why then have we never seen this technology in use? Simply put, it is not necessarily a good idea. The recent events have led the public in a state of helpless anxiety to seek protection, reassurance, and a means to escape. Thousands of gallons of water have been sold, as well as a multitude of flashlights, antibiotics, gas masks, and now, personal parachutes. Several companies have taken advantage of this new demand by marketing parachute systems to office workers, hotel guests, emergency workers, and high rise tenants. One example, “The Executive Chute” is being advertised as a “last resort” when fleeing a structure over 20 stories. While the idea of marketing an emergency escape system itself is an admirable idea, it is highly irresponsible to sell these parachutes to people without adequate training. Their web site makes it seem like anyone could just pop it out of their desk drawer at work and saunter out to the nearest ledge and leap to safety.
    Another company, Precision Aerodynamics, is marketing the “Emergency Building Escape Parachute System”. They compare the need for an EscapeChute for people in high rises as similar to the need of a life preserver when traveling beyond swimming range from shore. People need to understand that this is not as simple as putting on a life vest. While their web site does say “training required”, they also promote the EscapeChute as an easy and obvious choice: “By following simple instructions, the parachute is automatically deployed for you. All you have to do to initiate deployment is to jump out the window and away from the building. Simple steering and landing techniques can deliver you to the surface with confidence”. A video is provided with purchase of the canopy, which may falsely lead people to believe that this is all the training they need.
    B.A.S.E. jumping, for the most part illegal in this country, is the extreme sport of jumping off of stationary objects (Building, Antennae, Span (bridges), and Earth). Buildings are the most difficult, even for a highly experienced jumper. Morpheus Technologies, which provides one of the only legal US training courses for B.A.S.E. jumpers, will not even let anyone sign up for their courses unless they are already a licensed and experienced skydiver with a minimum of 200 jumps. Even then, their training is intensive and rigorous. Kathy Gillespie-Jones at Morpheus says “As a manufacturer of B.A.S.E. specific equipment, we feel a responsibility to the general public. There is no quick fix in this situation. A background in skydiving and a very thorough training course are needed to even begin to pursue what we look at as a SPORT. Even then, we can die!”
    B.A.S.E rigs contain only one parachute and there is no back up, as typically altitudes are so low that it would not be possible to deploy a reserve in time. Packing must be perfect as well as your body position when jumping off the building to provide for the best chance that the parachute will open properly, on-heading, away from the building and with adequate horizontal separation. There are so many other variables that need to be taken into consideration when executing a base jump just under good conditions, such as exit height, wind patterns, piloting the parachute, just to name a few. An experienced and trained B.A.S.E jumper under good conditions is going to be a highly different model than a panicked inexperienced office worker, who would in all likelihood be severely injured or killed using a parachute to escape from a building. For a novice even with training, the lack of conditioning would cause a sensory overload which could prevent them from being able to react and properly use the equipment.
    Fire within a building would take this to an entirely different level of risk. Greg Yarbenet, the inventor of the slider which made modern parachuting possible, did studies about fifteen years ago, researching the effectiveness of escaping from a burning structure with a parachute. ”Parachuting from a burning building has to take into account the very unusual wind patterns that develop from a very hot rising air mass that is being replaced by the cooler, lower air that is now funneling upwards to replace the hot air.” He clocked the thermal updrafts at over two thousand feet per minute at the top of a test burning building. Air near the ground began to swirl upwards in a small vortex that changed the velocity and direction according to doors, windows, and other building shapes that allow the air to find the easiest path to the flames. Rising thermals off of the top created sudden downdrafts on the leeward side. Yarbenet found that any normal size parachute would not function well in such turbulent conditions, and could be pulled back up in the strong updrafts or collapse in the multiple vortexes along the sides of the building.
    Daniel Preston, of the New York based parachute company, Atair Aerodynamics, has mixed feelings on the subject. When asked if he would work in a high rise without his B.A.S.E. rig Preston answered “definitely not”. He believes that people should be given all the facts, allowing them to then seek training and make an educated purchase. However, he is against the selling of escape parachutes to the general public. As a New York company, Atair finds the ads for these products to be in horrendous taste, dangerously misleading and opportunistic. One company, B.E.S. even showed a banner of one of the towers being hit and people falling to their death. “It is specifically the way these products are being marketed that is irresponsible”, says Preston, “B.A.S.E. jumping requires training, period. It is not something you can just learn in a few hours from reading a book or seeing a video. The first step is to learn how to skydive. With a couple hundred jumps under your belt, you could consider learning B.A.S.E.”
    Preston estimated the survivability rate of some of these personal escape parachute systems to be less than 50%. That means that half of the people jumping would probably die. Other industry leaders estimated the survivability rate to be less. By comparison in skydiving where everyone is trained and licensed, fatality rates are less than one in one hundred thousand jumps. The majority of those fatalities are caused by pilot error under a fully functioning parachute. While it would be arguable that one should take any chance in the case of extreme emergency, the difficulty with that is determining what exactly is a last ditch situation. “I could envision many situations where people would be likely to jump when they don't have to”, says Preston. It is estimated that 70% of the people in the World Trade Towers escaped the through the stairwells.
    According to Cliff Schmucker, president of the Parachute Industry Association, “there’s obviously people out here trying to make a quick buck in a bad situation….At least one person was looking into congressional relief for the liability issue.”. This would be disastrous, as it would remove accountability for improperly designed, tested and marketed products.
    Dan Poynter, a well known publisher and writer of educational and technical texts on sport parachuting, says “sure, if you are a base jumper and on the 28th floor, keep your rig at the office, but for other people it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense”. Poynter believes “a parachute could work for some people in some cases, but there are many, many questions to be answered with regard to practicality, cost, training and design.”
    Atair manufactures a B.A.S.E. parachute called the Troll and states that the parachutes accumulated one thousand live real world jumps before it was offered for sale. What is being marketed by many companies as escape systems, is untested technology. The way that it is being marketed is misleading and sensationalist. “While I am not against the possibility of escaping from a building with a parachute”, says Preston, “there are so many things that need to be taken into consideration, and which seem to be overlooked in these current products.” “you can not just take an off the shelf para-glider reserve parachute, put it in a container and market it for a wholly different, far more complex and demanding application…its not safe.”
    The systems being marketed at this time have appeared on a variety of television shows and are gaining a lot of publicity. “From what we have seen”, says Gillespie-Jones, “The harness seems to be extremely awkward and the point in which the static line connector is located is very prone to cause an entanglement with the body. We witnessed complete failure by a company representative to put this system on properly. This was done on the Today Show in a controlled environment. There is no way that a person in a panicked state could begin to equip themselves properly in a timely fashion.”
    It is very frustrating to see the direction that this whole thing is going in. Companies seem to be jumping on the bandwagon, offering parachuting equipment that in any other application would take months if not years of research and development, drop testing and live testing in a variety of environments before there would even be a consideration to sell to the public. What transpired in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania is absolutely tragic and it was horrifying to see those people jump from the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, jumping with many of these escape systems that are being marketed in the aftermath under those same circumstances may not have saved lives, but only extended them by a second or two.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Sky Systems and Parasport Introduces New Gear

    Two gear major skydiving manufacturers recently launched new products - Sky Systems and Parasport Italia. Sky Systems launched the Hurricane. This new freefly helmet together with the NVERTIGO will lead Sky System's attack on the ever growing market and demand for freeflying head protection. Parasport Italia (Parasport Skydiving Equipment) launched the Skytornic FX. The new Skytronic is being positioned to compete with the Pro-Track and Pro-Dytter in the heavy-weight audible altimeter and skydiving computer class. It's about time.
    Hurricane Freefly Helmet from Sky Systems Ltd
    Hurricane is the new freefly helmet from Sky Systems Ltd. (the makers of Factory Diver, Sidewinder and OXYGN skydiving helmets). This carbon fiber, Kevlar reinforced helmet is by far the most comfortable freefly helmet available on the market.
    Sky Systems has taken your thoughts and designed a new freefly helmet to meet your needs. The Hurricane introduces a new shape for a more comfortable fit, and has external audible ports over each ear for a more clear sound transmission. Utilizing similar technology as the Nvertigo, the Hurricane features the Sky Dial tightening mechanism to tighten the forehead and neck areas. Sizes are currently available in S-M and L-XL. More sizes may be offered soon.
    See the Hurricane listing in the Gear section Visit the Sky Systems web site Buy a Hurricane from Square1 Skytronic FX by Parasport Skydiving Equipment
    Finally released the new Skytronic FX! Several months of studies and tests, together with the experience developed in the past years with the Skytronic and the Skytronic Pro, allowed Parasport Skydiving Equipment to develop this new instrument. Features include:
    Three programmable warning altitudes PLUS a countdown timer, all in a single instrument Loud and easily recognizable alarms Signals go off only if necessary (only the breakoff alarm goes off if not in freefall) Metric/English units in a single instrument Electronic logbook stores data about the last 200 jumps Totals freefall time and number of jumps Statistics on altitudes Low battery indication Can be connected to a PC (external interface optional) According to the Parasport web site the computer interface for this will be ready and available in June 2001. The Skytronic FX can be installed on the polycarbonate version of the Z1 STI just replacing the metal plate with the one designed for the FX. It is also available the replacement holder for the Z1 Alpha STI. The Skytronic FX should also fit comfortably into most popular skydiving helmet designs.
    See the Skytronic FX listing in the Gear section Visit the Parasport Skydiving Equipment web site

    By admin, in Gear,

    Sun Path Releases the Javelin Odyssey

    After more than a year of testing, the engineers at Sun Path Products Inc, are proud to release the Javelin "Odyssey" harness/container system. In keeping with the tried, tested, and proven reliability of the world-famous Javelin, the Javelin "Odyssey" takes comfort, strength, performance, and fashion, to a new level.

    The "Odyssey" will be tested under the FAA TSO category C 23 (d), meaning that it will be drop tested to weights in excess of 300 lbs. The new rig features longer riser covers, eliminating any exposure of the main or reserve risers, but not hindering the opening characteristics of the canopy. New "anti-twist" technology main risers, incorporating plastic riser tube inserts, are featured on this container. The tubes are of a composition that meets, or exceeds, the test conditions required by the FAA TSO. The advantage of plastic tubes is that they can be "crushed" in a car door/trunk, and continue to function. The new "Odyssey" will also feature the Oetiker clamps, which clamp the release and reserve housings in place, thus eliminating the need for hand tacks.
    The "Odyssey" will touch you where no other rig can with its new "cut-in" backpad (the lateral straps exit the backpad closer to the center of the main container, instead of at the corners). This feature of the Javelin "Odyssey" allows for the lateral strap to contour around the lower back, keeping the container snug against the jumper. The jumper and Javelin "Odyssey" move as one. High-speed free flyer, competitive formation skydiver, or weekend warrior, the Javelin "Odyssey" stays snugly in place. The Javelin "Odyssey" features a new quilted-look, extra comfortable backpad, affording unsurpassed luxury while sitting in the plane or waiting for your load.

    New legstrap geometry is currently under evaluation and will become available as soon as testing is complete. The Javelin "Odyssey" also features split leg straps as standard. By splitting the webbing, and making the leg strap wider, the weight of the suspended jumper is dispersed through a larger area, providing exceptional comfort under canopy.
    The Javelin "Odyssey" will be available in new "space-age" durable fashion fabrics, previously unavailable to the general public. These new fabrics have been tested for over a year, before officially debuting on the 2001 Javelin "Odyssey". These new "space-age" fabrics include a leather-look fabric, available in black, navy, green, and brown. The colorful "houndstooth", a checkerboard pattern, is available in a variety of colors. Also new to the market, is our "Diamondback" fabric, which is a ribbed parapack fabric, where the ribs are in the shape of diamonds. The "Diamondback" is available in six different colors. We will have a limited supply of a funky "hologram" plastic fabric, which will be available for the pop-top and midflaps. Promotional material, and fabric samples, will be available in the near future.
    The Javelin "Odyssey" offers exceptional safety, performance, comfort, and fashion, from a company that has proven itself an industry leader in skydiving harness and container manufacture over the last decade. The Javelin "Odyssey" will premier at the PIA Symposium, and will beavailable for order after January 27. The retail price of the Javelin "Odyssey" will be $1650 and include all of the above mentioned features. For more info, contact a Sun Path representative.

    By admin, in Gear,