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Gear

    Performing a Great Wingsuit Gear Check (The Easy Way)

    Let me ask you this: When was the last time that you saw the pilot running down a safety checklist on the jump plane?

    Photographer: BatCam
    If you’re paying attention, you certainly have--or at least seen the clipboard stuffed somewhere in the cockpit, lookin’ official.
    Metal-tube pilots have an actual checklist to run down to confirm the safety of the gear that heaves us all up into the sky. That’s a great idea -- it’s a reasonably complicated system, and a checklist ensures that nothing’s being forgotten.
    Now: when have you ever seen a nylon pilot with a clipboard and a pen, spinning briskly around in front of a mirror and checking things off? Yeah--never. Even though a wingsuit has lots of little safety details that need to be confirmed before every flight, our before-takeoff checklist exists only in our heads--and it’s significantly more complicated than a standard skydiving gear check.
    Let’s make that checklist a little easier to remember, hey? A gear check should be a mantra. Here’s the abbreviated checklist to add to your “standard” skydiving gear check:
    The Four-Three Wingsuit Check

    3 Checks
    3 Straps
    3 Handles
    3 Zeroes
    Here’s what it means.
    Three Checks
    This will be familiar to any skydiver, since it’s been a recommendation since the dawn of the sport: you should perform a pre-flight gear check three times. Perform one in the hangar, one before hoppin’ on the plane and one before you exit. Also: Never underestimate the value of another pair of eyeballs during this process.
    Three Straps
    Two leg straps and one chest strap are the only things that keep us skydivers from being skyfallers. All wingsuits cover up two-thirds of those vital bits of webbing; some wingsuits (in BASE mode) obscure the chest strap as well*. As you might imagine, fatalities--and many close calls--have resulted.
    Check them with your eyeballs before you’re zipped in. Some suits fit snugly enough that the straps seem tightened when they’re not (gulp!), and once those straps are out of sight, they can easily slip out of mind. After you’re zipped in, you can check your legs by lifting your shoulders and feeling for the pull of the leg straps.
    Three Handles
    Make sure you know exactly where all three of your handles are, and that they’ll be available to you while you’re flying. Your cutaway and reserve handles must be readily accessible and visible to you in flight -- so make sure your suit is fitted and attached in a way that puts those handles on proud display.
    Switching from BOC to leg pouch? Switching from leg pouch to BOC? Best be damn sure you know which one you’re wearing.
    Three Zeros
    Zero Holes
    When you’re fully zipped in, every zipper on the suit should be zipped and every cable should be properly routed. If a zipper is down, you’re in for a rodeo.
    Your wingsuit closure zippers aren’t the casual affair at the front of your pants, either, my friends. Check: Are the female and male ends mated properly so that each tooth of the zipper alternates? This is checked at the fitting end of the zipper. If that’s not done properly, you risk losing that wing in flight (or potentially shifting the zipper during deployment, which can cause jamming and possible damage).
    Eminent wingsuit athlete and coach Matt Blank has additional advice. “I have my students zip their arms all the way closed,” he explains, “Then touch their handles and then open both arm zippers. This insures that the clothing they have on under their suit does not inhibit the student from reaching his or her handles--or is a risk for being caught in zippers if they need to rapidly unzip after deployment.”
    Look at your pressure zippers, too. Are the pressure relief zippers in the appropriate place for the flight, and symmetrical from arm to arm? For beginner flight, we quite often unzip the pressure zippers, which naturally comes at a cost to performance. As we advance in the sport, we may zip them partially closed or closed all the way. In either case, check for symmetry. If one arm is zipped differently than the opposite, the suit will have an asymmetric inflation--causing an unbalanced flight.

    Image submitted by bruno.ferrazza
    Zero Dangles
    Check for dangly anything: cables, webbing, half-stowed pilot chutes, camera bits, etc. As a rule, dangly bits are bad.
    Oh. and another thing: Never disconnect your RSL for wingsuit jumps. Take it from Richard Webb, one of the discipline’s most experienced and respected athletes (as well as the founder of the science-forward, no-nonsense human flight information source Top Gun BASE).
    “I've been saved by an RSL when my reserve pillow got sucked into my wingsuit on a spinning malfunction,” Webb explains. “It literally saved my life. I didn't have an AAD at the time. Now, I will never wingsuit without an RSL. Ever. I strongly endorse RSL use for all wingsuit ops. The data is conclusive. Even on spinning malfunctions on tiny cross-braced canopies, RSLs and Skyhooks work remarkably well at getting you under an inflated reserve safely with minimal line twists.”
    Zero on Your Altitude Indicators
    Make sure your AAD is on (and reads zero), as well as your other altitude indicators -- and that you can see your visual alti while you’re in flight mode.
    If you wingsuit with an AAD, you need to know this: most AADs will not fire at even modest wingsuit speeds. That said, they have saved wingsuit pilots who got little-bunny-foo-food on the way down, so don’t let that dissuade you from turning yours on.
    The Rest of the Recipe
    A good gear check requires that you know your gear. As a wingsuit pilot, it falls on you to become intimately familiar with the design, operation and function of the suit you’re whizzing around in. If you’re checking your flocking buddy and you’re not familiar with his/her particular equipment, ask. (If your buddy doesn’t seem to know what the hell he/she is wearing, take that as a warning.)
    Allow your intuition some room to breathe, here. Check for a comfortable range of motion, that the configuration makes sense to you and that you feel good in the suit. You can rest assured that if you don’t feel good in the suit, you’re not going to have a good time.
    *Sound confusing? Yeah. Well. It is. Wingsuit design varies widely by brand and model--sometimes, with some manufacturers, even within the model. Wingsuits are often built to be configured differently, depending on the jump specs, the container design, pilot preference and--I dunno--current mood. You are likely going to have questions. Ask them of your mentors and the manufacturer of your suit.

    By nettenette, in Gear,

    MANDATORY Ripcord / Pin Test

    Capewell Components LLC has received (3) reports from (3) customers of (4) ripcord pins that broke. All (4) pins were reported to have broken under very low force. All (4) pins are reported to have broken on the blade section of the pin, approximately 1/8” (3 mm) from the shoulder of the pin. Two of these ripcord pins that broke were supplied by Capewell as a completed ripcord assembly. Two of the ripcord pins that broke were supplied as pins to Capewell customers who then assembled the full ripcord. The (4) ripcord pins that broke were delivered to Capewell customers in the first half of 2002.

    Capewell has an on-going investigation to determine root cause. No root cause(s) has been determined to date. Affected Ripcord Pins are: MS70107 (angled), PS70107 (angled), 61C4304 (angled); 55A6480 (terminal)
    A defective pin could cause your parachute system to malfunction. Please download the complete service bulletin below which describes two MANDATORY tests. Either TEST 1 or TEST 2 must be performed prior to the next uyse of your system.
    Download Service Bulletin (pdf)
    Gear and Rigging Forum

    By admin, in Gear,

    Introducing the Garmin VIRB Action Camera

    Get ready for the Garmin VIRB, the latest new action camera to be revealed. While Garmin are well known for their GPS navigation devices, the company also boasts a variety of other technology devices, many of which revolve around maritime activity. In recent years Garmin has released several marine radio communication devices, as well as dabbling in the production of camera technology. However, Garmin has decided to take a step in a new direction - joining companies such as GoPro, Sony, Contour and JVC in the production of POV action cameras. It's a brave step by Garmin, but if they manage to effectively integrate the device with their other products, there may well be room for them in the GoPro dominated market.
    Garmin VIRB Design
    Upon first sight the device is quite good looking with an appealing display screen on the top of the camera, and a large power button on the side of the device. For those who helmet mount their action cams, this small change from what other cameras typically offer can really make things easier, allowing you to feel whether or not the device has been turned on or off. The build of the device looks almost like a hybrid between the Contour and the Drift HD action cams. The main concern when looking at the VIRB design, is the convex lens, which seems to extend a fair degree out from the camera. While the Sony AS15 has a similar design, there is no getting around the fact that the exposure of the lens would in turn pose a risk of damage, especially in sports where you'd expect the camera to take a knock. Garmin do show an image of the VIRB with lens covering housing attached, but it remains unclear whether this extra housing is the underwater housing, which is an extra option. The device will be made available in either black or white.
    Technical Details
    The VIRB is as expected, a high definition recording device that will allow video recording in 1080p quality, with a 16 megapixel CMOS processor and allow for up to three hours of filming from a full charge. Data is recorded onto a MicroSD card, with a recommendation of Class 10 - as to be expected with HD recording. The device will also sport a 2000mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. Out of the box the VIRB is waterproof for 30 minutes to a depth of 1 meter, while the purchase of a scuba diving housing device will extend that depth to 50 meters. The display screen is 1.4" large and while remaining on, uses very little battery life. The "WideVü" lens is comprised of 9-element glass and offers the user three modes of recording: Wide, Medium and Narrow. Built in lens distortion correction and stabilization enhances video quality.
    True 1080p HD Recording
    16 Megapixel CMOS Processor
    1.4" Chroma Display
    2000mAh Lithium-ion Battery
    ANT+ Wireless Connectivity
    VIRB Desktop Software
    Waterproofing
    Wi-fi Connectivity (Elite)
    Device Pairing
    It is clear that from the start Garmin would have to provide a form of functionality that separates them from other action camera manufacturers on the market, and this is where device paring comes into play. Using ANT+, the VIRB will be able to connect with other Garmin devices such as watches, remotes and cycling computers. While Garmin hasn't revealed exactly what one can achieve with the pairing of their devices with the VIRB, it certainly opens up a new avenue that most of the other action cameras lack.
    Options and Pricing
    There will be two VIRB options available, the basic VIRB device which will retail for $299.99 and then the VIRB Elite which will set you back $399.99. The differences between the two devices lie mainly in the functionality available. The VIRB Elite will offer wifi connectivity, allowing you to connect the device to your iPhone or Android smartphone. In my opinion the main selling point for the Elite is the ability to track your elevation, speed and other variables. This data will then be able to be overlayed on your video. While certainly limited to a small group of people, when in "Ski Mode" the device will also be able to detect whether or not one is on a chairlift and in turn pause recording for that period.
    With the VIRB scheduled for a September release, there isn't enough video footage to really make a claim as to the camera's quality. Though it's expected that the camera will rank up along with the other action cams out there, and it's certainly worth keeping an eye on. In the mean time, for a preview of the device's recording quality, you can view the official advertising video for the Garmin VIRB below.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Birdman Ninja Wingsuit Revealed

    Seven months ago, Birdman re-entered the world of gear manufacturing with a new website, new products and what was almost a completely new team. Birdman took a hiatus in 2010, when the company went through a change in ownership structure. Earlier this year their website was back up, boasting a new look and advertising some new products, which included the branching out into watches designed specifically for BASE jumpers and skydivers. They immediately released the names of three new wingsuits that would be in development: The blade III, the Ninja and the Samurai. For more details on the resurrection of Birdman, check out The Return of Birman which was published in March. When the site went live they had only given information on the Blade III, while both the Samurai and the Ninja were said to be 'coming soon'.
    The Ninja has now been made available for purchase, along with information about the suit. The Ninja is selling at Birdman's online store for 149, 800 Yen, or $1527 US (at time of publishing). This is about $200 less than the Blade III. The suit seems to be aimed towards the intermediate to advanced flyer and is sold as a suit of high agility.
    Birdman's online store provides the following details for the Ninja:
    "NINJA is a brand new wingsuit concept from BIRDMAN®. It’s been designed to be the master of aerobatics, which means it has sharp and accurate turns, agility, easy recovery from all flying positions and ability to accelerate faster than any other suit in it’s class. Just like a true NINJA. This power is created from it’s drag decreasing quatro-wing design while the agility comes from it's aggressive profile and superior air-inlet / air lock design.. All this sums up to the best performing & funaerobatics wingsuit you have ever flown.. and, it’s BIRDMAN®
    *Recommend to try after completing FFC.
    The NINJA comes all included; Quattro-wing drag reduction, 9 large air-inlets with air-locks, semi-rigid ribs, mini-ribs, two large pockets, inner lining, high collar, easy access leg zippers, extra soft kneepads, extra sturdy booties & 10 mm YKK zipper and over the shoulder zip for easy dressing. It will be offered in 4 color scenes.
    FRONT
    Leading edge: Aerodynamically shaped, transparent reinforced sail material
    Emergency cut-away arms
    10 mm YKK zippers
    Five (5) reinforced air-intakes with air-locks
    Hook knife pocket outside
    Two inner pockets
    Reinforced 2 mm thick leather bootie
    High collar with NINJA and BM logo
    210D double coated extra sturdy nylon
    Semi-rigid long ribs made from BoPET
    Semi-rigid short ribs made from BoPET
    Full, fully breathable inner lining inside
    Thick protective & reinforced knee & bootie area
    Mini-ribs BACK
    Thick moisture absorbing spandex backpad
    Large air-inlets with airlocks
    Back deflector with air-pass
    Reinforced and soft shoulder blade
    Semi-rigid shaped leading edge
    Extra long 10 mm YKK zipper with QR pull tab
    Snaps for booties and leg wing" Also of interest on Birdman's websites is that there is another product on the webstore called the Katana which is said to be coming soon, though there is no mention of the Samurai. It's unclear at this point as to whether the Samurai and the Katana are two separate wingsuits we can be expecting the company to release, or whether there was perhaps a renaming at some point that hasn't yet synced up completely.
    Have you tried any of the new Birdman products? Comment below and let us know what you thought.

    By admin, in Gear,

    2013 Gift Ideas - What to Put Under the Tree

    With under two weeks until Christmas of 2013, I hope you've already done your Christmas shopping. But in case you haven't, we've put together a list of potential gifts, ranging from high end gear (perhaps for those looking to leave themselves, or their loved one something skydiving related under the tree), to smaller stocking stuffers that could be a good gift for friends and fellow jumpers.

    Cookie Fuel Helmet
    This open face helmet can be ordered as the helmet only for use as a basic, comfortable open-face helmet. Or it can be transformed into a full-on camera helmet with a top-mount, side-mount, cutaway chinstrap and outside access audible mount.
    Just as Cookie Composites revolutionized the full-face camera helmet with the G3, the Fuel looks to do the same for the open-face and POV camera helmet markets.
    The Cookie Fuel shell is made of a High Impact ABS / Polycarbonate Blend. It comes standard with pressed foam chin strap (non-cutaway) and blank side and top plates.
    The blank side plates will hold any audible altimeter, but the audible won’t be visible from the outside of the helmet unless the optional audible mount side plate is ordered.
    For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star

    GoPro Hero 3 Black
    Capture and share your life’s most meaningful experiences with the HERO3+ Black Edition. 20% smaller and lighter than its best-­selling predecessor, it delivers improved image quality and powerful new features geared for versatility and convenience. SuperView™ is a new video mode that captures the world’s most immersive wide angle perspective, while Auto Low Light mode intelligently adjusts frame rate for stunning low­‐light performance. Combined with 30% longer battery life, faster built-­in Wi-­Fi and a sharper lens, the HERO3+ Black Edition is the most advanced GoPro yet.
    For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star

    GoPro LCD Touch Bacpac
    Relive Reality Instantly with the GoPro LCD Touch BacPac.
    The LCD Touch BacPac is a removable LCD touch screen for GoPro cameras*. As a removable accessory, the LCD BacPac keeps your camera as small and light as possible, yet provides the convenience of an LCD screen when attached.
    Seamlessly attaches to the back of GoPro cameras
    LCD touch screen allows for easy visual control of camera (frame your perfect shot) and settings
    Preview + playback photos and videos including instant slow motion playback
    Integrated speaker with volume control
    3.5 mm headphone jack For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star
    Gear Bags
    Looking to stash all your gear into a single bag, making carrying a breeze. These gear bags have plenty of room, for your rig, jumpsuit, camera and your accessories.
    For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star

    Pro Track
    The ProTrack audible altimeter/electronic logbook is the standard for audible altimeters.
    The ProTrack continuously stores detailed information about the last 200 jumps and accumulates the total number of jumps and freefall time up to 10,000 jumps. The ProTrack has 3 selectable freefall warning altitudes.
    The Most Popular Skydiving Computer Loaded with advanced features, PROTRACK™ gives skydivers a full plate of information about their skydives INSTANTLY on the large LCD viewscreen.
    Whether you fly on your head, turn points like a banshee, dock first on a big-way, surf the clouds or are just learning to skydive, PROTRACK™ is the perfect audible altimeter solution for you. L&B; has also added special data collection parameters and preset dive types for both WINGSUIT FLIGHT and B.A.S.E. JUMPING making the PROTRACK™ even more versatile for every type of jump and every kind of jumper.
    PROTRACK™ can be easily set for 1, 2 or 3 loud and distinct freefall warning altitudes and will provide you with the ability to log up to 9,999 jumps! See your exit altitude, freefall time, average freefall speeds, maximum speed reached and deployment altitude of your skydive as soon as you land.
    No other audible altimeter available gives you the versatility, accuracy and reliability like PROTRACK™! PROTRACK™ is the most advanced, user friendly, and accessible audible altimeter electronic logbook/freefall computer available to skydivers.
    PROTRACK™is everything you would ever want in an audible altimeter. New technology advances in speed calculation have been developed by L&B; so that skydivers can now record and compare their freefall speeds accurately.
    For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star
    Stocking Stuffers


    Flexvision Goggles
    Flexvision Goggles: the goggles with a friction lock adjustment and without an outer rim to fall off!
    Flexvision are made from a soft, flexible, long-lasting plastic that is scratch resistant. Each pair is individually sanded on the inside for a smooth finish, and offer a wide field of vision.
    A thick bungee strap pulled through a small hole in the plastic allows the user to adjust the tension without need to make a knot, just pull to the desired tension and release. The friction Lock is a unique feature, especially for students and tandems where there is a need to change settings often.
    The Flexvision Goggles come flat, but then conform and mold to your face as you put them on and tighten up the bungee.
    Keep an extra set in your jumpsuit! These are one of the longest-lasting goggles manufactured specifically for skydiving and give you an unobstructed field of vision.
    For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star

    Neumann Winter Skydiving Gloves
    These gloves are the standard for winter hand protection for skydivers from the company that knows gloves: Neumann.
    These gloves have a thermal-lined back for extra warmth in the winter.
    Neumann Tackified Skydiving Gloves are:
    Designed To Fit Like A Second Layer Of Skin
    Meets NFL/NCAA Specifications
    Ensure Finger And Hand Sensitivity
    Tackified Leather Palms
    Machine Wash and Air Dry For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star

    Skydiving Santa Christmas Cards
    What better Christmas card to send to friends from the dropzone than a skydiving Santa Christmas card.
    From Chuting Star

    Sugar Alpha
    "Skydiving and drug smuggling pioneer Roger Nelson lives life out of the box. Fueled by a love for adrenaline and adventure, Roger goes after everything he wants with gusto. But now Roger is ready to retire from smuggling. With a parachute center to run and a family to raise, Roger knows it is time to stop the cat-and-mouse games he has been playing with the authorities for years.
    He and his longtime partner, Hanoi, plan one final run to Belize, where they intend to fill their Douglas DC-3 with enough cannabis to set them up for life. But then Hanoi dies in a plane crash in an attempt to make some "legitimate bucks" flying fish in Alaska while they wait for the growing season to end.
    Left without a partner or plane, Roger remains determined to return to his family for good. To do so, he decides to stay true to himself and follow through with his retirement run. Roger must rely on a colorful cast of characters and the most unlikely airplane for a gig ever-Sugar Alpha, the legendary DC-3 with the secret fuel tanks and not-so-secret paint job-to help him complete the most daring run in the history of smuggling."
    The book has received excellent reviews and would make a great gift to anyone who enjoys a good book.




    Log Book Cover
    An inexpensive and useful gift for your friends who jump.

    For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star
    Beer Mug
    For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    The Skydiving Handbook
    Parachuting, The Skydiver's Handbook by Dan Poynter and Mike Turoff is the one and only how-to, where-to, basic-to-advanced skydiving manual.
    This up-to-date book covers all training methods in great detail: static line, accelerated freefall, Instructor assisted deployment and Tandem. It traces the history of the parachute up to modern skydiving, year by year. The chapter on emergency situations is absolutely fascinating. Full of statistics, it reveals the best solution to every possible emergency situation.
    The book goes on to coach you in your freefall progression, from the basics through advanced relative work and free style, and in flying your canopy, from the basics to advanced canopy relative work.
    The equipment chapter is lengthy because this is where Dan Poynter has always been strongest. He tells you all about your gear, what to look for, what repairs you can make and when to take it to a rigger. Another chapter covers special jumps: at night, into the water, BASE, para-ski, high altitude, Smoke jumping, with cameras and much more. The Appendix directs you to the action by listing clubs, drop zones, equipment companies, books, magazines and videos.
    Never before has so much skydiving information been available in one place-and it can be yours.
    The Skydiver's Handbook. Completely revised, ninth edition, softcover, 5.5 x 8.5, 408 pages, 260 illustrations, four-color cover. Over 82,000 in print.
    For more information and pricing visit:
    From Skydive Store
    From Chuting Star

    By admin, in Gear,

    Safire 3 - Jill Grantham's First Impressions

    Jill Grantham is a travelling gypsy from Australia with 1900 jumps and 12 years in the sport. She has hair like Rapunzel, a penchant for lords and ladies and is as sweet as her favorite candy.
    What is your canopy flying experience?
    I have historically been a consistently terrible canopy pilot due to low confidence (slid in on my butt for 11years). Before I got Lady Safina (my new Safire 3 129 from NZ Aerosports) I was flying a Safire2 139, for 800 jumps. I have now done about 150 jumps on Lady Safina at a bunch of different dz’s with weather etc. But I am loving flying this canopy.
    Lady Safina, how I love thee, let me count the ways:
    Amazing flare! No matter what sort of things I do with regards to my landings (I’m currently learning to do a front riser approach) there is always a good enough flare to stand me up. This is giving me the confidence to try and progress to higher speed landings rather than straight ins and not worry about getting dumped if I come out too high.
    Slightly easier to get on the front risers
    Slightly faster opening than the Safire 2, which is not too fast and helpful to not be hanging up a slow opening canopy in amongst traffic.
    More responsive to harness turns.
    Feels more solid in bumpy wind conditions
    Heaps and heaps of range to get back with the rears from a long spot.
    Plus she is really pretty. Is there anything you don’t like about the Safire 3, sorry, Lady Safina?
    She is a Beta test canopy that was built for me before the Safire 3 was released to the public. I was having inconsistent openings to begin with. After filming some openings and sending some feedback a mod was made to mine and all subsequent Safire 3 models - and now she opens great!
    What do you notice different in the Safire 3 to your previous Safire 2?
    I feel like the Safire 3 is just overall more responsive. I definitely feel like I am more in control and can actively fly her. We work together a bit more. With the Safire 2 I felt more like a passenger. Could have been the difference in size a little too of course!
    The rears are better for getting back from a long spot and the fronts are a bit easier to get on than the Safire 2. She still pulls out of a dive pretty quickly - you can’t hold the fronts down too long before they’re pulled out of your hands.
    Who is the Safire 3 suitable for in your opinion?
    I think she is suitable for beginner and intermediate canopy pilots. Especially good if you are a bit nervous or don’t want to push it, you can have a lovely safe easy flight to the ground.
    You have heaps of range to set yourself up in the pattern, which helps you not become cornered by having too small or too big a canopy...and if you don’t want to do much other than float down softly it will allow you to do that.
    If you do want to start flying it more, and seeing what you can do with it, then it is a really responsive wing and awesome to try out some new things on. But because the flare is so good it doesn't matter soooo much if you don’t nail the landings while you’re learning, because the canopy sort of fixes your little mistakes up :)
    What's the main benefit or advantage to you personally of having a Safire 3 rather than another canopy?
    Aside from her being the prettiest Lady I have seen?
    When I’m flying her I feel comfortable enough that I can choose what is appropriate for the situation and group and fly her how I need to to be safe and keep everyone else safe too.
    The increased responsiveness and flare have made me confident to try more when flying her.
    She has really changed my attitude towards skydiving. I feel more in control of how I am flying her rather than feeling a little bit exposed to the elements. She is basically all those empowering girl songs in canopy form!.
    ** Jill Grantham received early access to the pre-released version of the Safire 3 gratis from New Zealand Aerosports. The article above was Jill's unpaid opinion on her experience with the canopy.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Introducing UPT's Mutant Swoop Rig

    The Mutant is a purpose-built swoop harness and container system that is a swooping game changer!
    Designed by Vince Reffet and Blikkies Blignaut, the Mutant is significantly different than a standard sport rig. The risers connect at the hips, similar to that of a speed flying harness, and control is initiated more by weight input than toggle pressure. The laid back, supine position of the pilot reduces drag which ensures a super long and fast swoop.
    This innovation significantly changes the flying dynamics of the canopy which means the Mutant is not suitable for all flyers. Jumping the Mutant requires training and a high level of experience; those with speed flying harness experience will realize an easier transition than those with no supine harness experience.



    Here's what some of the early testers have to say about the Mutant:
    It only took me a few seconds under canopy to realize that the increase in performance with the Mutant was phenomenal.
    The performance envelope is increased and the sensitivity through the harness is shocking. After a couple of jumps I up-sized to give me time to get used to the increased in control.
    I feel like the harness adds another dimension to the canopy, like it's on steroids!
    -Pete Allum

    The biggest benefit from flying a MUTANT harness is that you can control your pitch angle just by using weight shift , there is no need to pull the front risers to dive neither to use the rear risers to recover if done right, just leaning forward makes you dive and leaning backwards helps you to recover with less wing distortion as you barely apply any input on the rears.
    -Pablo Hernandez

    This harness is so awesome! It is the most comfortable harness period.
    It's the next step up in high performance parachute flying. Relearning to fly using the hip attachments is fun and challenging. The mutant harness automatically makes you feel like you just down-sized. It turns your katana into a velocity and velo into a peregrine.
    -Jarrett Martin





    "I think the name says it all :D Mutant. A hybrid between a paragliding harness and a skydiving one. I have been intrigued by it since the first time I heard about it and when I saw it I realized it is the obvious step ahead. It is very fun to fly but because it is so different, we will have to relearn and redefine a lot of what we know about swooping. The skydivers with a paragliding/speedflying background will have an easier transition to it. I am excited to figure it out even though I know it might take me some time. It is definitely worth the effort. The next generation of skydiving harnesses is finally here!"
    -Cornelia Mihai

    My bro and teammate Vince Reffet has been working on it for a long time and I can only thank him for putting all these efforts into it!! This harness is a door open to a new era of skydiving, it's been a long time that I didn't have that much fun under canopy!!! I did a lot of speed riding and paragliding and the mutant is a way to get the power of the canopy control that you can have under a paragliding wing but in skydiving! such a blast to go from a position that is standing up to seating and then be able to use the weight to move so fast and so powerful!! it is really a new world. thank you vine and thank you UPT!!!
    -Fred Fugen





    Stay tuned for updates about the Mutant release.

    By admin, in Gear,

    Petra Project Episode II: Looking for Leia

    Concept
    Leia is born from a simple idea: bringing the Petra technology to the open market!
    After bringing Petra to the CP competition scene three years ago, we have had many more orders than we could reasonably deal with. Everyone wanted one! But as I was going through the infamous ‘list’, I realized that about half were not the original target market of Petra. People were asking for bigger lines, insisted on a ZP version¹... They wanted the fun of it but were not planning to compete.
    It became quite obvious we would have to go back to the (computer aided) drawing board to infuse some of the Petra DNA into a more accessible canopy and create Petra’s little sister.
    She would have to fit in a small Freefly container and be jumpable every day and so we could see her first curves appearing:
    ZP
    No hassle
    Good openings She also needed to keep Petra’s epic flight characteristics such as a high roll rate, a very long dive, high harness sensitivity and the widest speed range ever covered by a parachute (Petra can fly with a tandem or a wingsuit without trims). The picture was getting clearer:
    High ellipticity
    Powerband²
    Steep trim
    Compact aspect ratio


    Development

    1. Bridget
    We first decided on a 7 cell format and we couldn’t wait to learn more so we cut two cells out of a big Petra. Bridget was born. This was a fun experiment but it wasn’t quite right. The aspect ratio was too small, the toggle range was weird and the flare wasn’t powerful enough.
    Why Bridget?
    In a nutshell, this prototype was a little frumpy looking, but still kinda hot! Her low aspect ratio gave her some luscious curves. And while we love curves, we reckon a sleeker wing might suit our purpose better for this project!



    2. Candy
    We gave it more thought (and more computer simulations) and used our secret recipe… a mix of science, beer, experience, overheating computers, head scratching, experiments, overheating sewing machines and beer. And finally went back to the dropzone with a much better design. We gave it a more reasonable aspect ratio and ditched the Mini Ribs³ that appeared useless on this type of design. She was awesome and the test jumpers were looking for excuses to keep jumping her. When they couldn’t find any more, they started fighting to get her in their personal rigs. And so she started to go around... a lot! We thought that was a good sign.

    She was truly flying like Petra so we thought about calling her Petra Lite but she deserved better than being her little sister forever. She needed a personality of her own to grow big in this world. We called her Candy, for her acid drop colors and sweeeeet openings.
    3. Leia
    We knew we were onto something so we kept looking for things to improve. We changed the lineset, refined the panel designs, put more beers into it and made sure every detail was worth her surname...
    Here is Leia...


    We invited TJ Landgren, Katie Hansen and Nick Batsch to try it while they were visiting NZ this summer and they all loved it. Nick did an impressive 175m swoop on it on his first jump (nil wind and at sea level) confirming the awesome potential of the canopy! He didn’t say much straight away but his smile left us confident that she is better than any other ZP competition wing on the market.
    Target
    We said everyday, not everyone...
    Leia is a very high-end design targeted to the most experienced jumpers out there. The way we see it, Leia will NOT be the best choice for:
    First Crossbraced canopy
    Distance world record
    Wingsuiting But will be an awesome wing for:
    Awesome swoopers who want to fun jump, work and play with their canopy, and swoop the shit out of it too – competitively or not!
    Zone accuracy (currently tested by some of the very best pilots)
    Everyday canopy that flies similar to Petra to stay current while working
    Competition wing
    Mountain flying
    XRW
    Something you guys will come up with.
    Specs

    Cells: 7
    Chambers: 21
    Structure: Crossbraced
    Tip chord to Center chord ratio: 0.4 (!)
    Aspect ratio: 2.65
    Wing loading: 2.2 to ?
    Features: No stabilizers, Integrated slider stops, Powerband², No Mini-Ribs³
    Deployment system: Normal slider, RDS available on demand
    Materials: ZP (maybe a hybrid version later on)
    Lines: Black HMA 400 (maybe HMA 600 later on)
    Sizes: Any
    Price: The price hasn’t been decided yet but it will be around 3100USD.
    Availability: Leia is our current project and we are proud to share it with you but this is not an available product at the moment. We hope it will become available sometime in 2014 or 2015.
    1. Petra is only made out of Sail fabric. This is a generic and misleading name for a range of Polyurethane coated nylons developed for paragliders. It gives more rigidity and a better controlled shape to the competition canopies thanks to its low stretch characteristics. Unfortunately, it also packs bigger and doesn’t last as long as our good old ZP (Silicone coated nylon) so it needs to be treated with much more precaution. To learn more about how to increase its life span, contact [email protected]
    2. We call the Powerband the black part on the top leading edge. It is visible on Petra and makes it easily recognizable. It helps defining and controlling the shape better in this critical area where lift is created making a real difference in performance.
    3. The Mini-Ribs are partial ribs covering about 20% of the chord starting from the tail. They allow better shape control on the tail and a sharper trailing edge decreasing the wake turbulence and form drag. This is a design feature commonly found on paragliders and on some wingsuits but Petra is the first parachute using it.
    Keep checking this space or our Facebook page to check the new stuff we are working on!

    By admin, in 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,

    Performance Designs Announces New Valkyrie Canopy

    Over the past several weeks Performance Designs have been dropping hints about their latest product, with a cryptic advertisment in Parachutist magazine at the end of September, that had a few readers scratching their heads and trying to establish what exactly PD were advertising. Clearly the marketing tactic worked, as interest grew about just what it was about. One community member, "Zlew" - suggested that the advert may be about a product with the name "Valkyrie", based off the design and the style of the 'V' that was present in the image.
    Today Performance Designs have confirmed this suspicion, with the public announcement of their this new canopy, the Valkyrie. The Valkyrie is a mean little 7-cell design with inflatable stabilizers/wingtips, and is quite similar to the Peregrine in both look and planform. It's a freefall canopy with focus on quality openings at terminal speeds.
    - Zero-Porosity material.

    - Standard configuration: Collapsible drawstring slider and 500 Orange Vectran, optional RDS and 300 Orange Vectran (for competitive/subterminal use)

    - Sizes: The Valkyrie

    We spoke to Performance Designs about the Valkyrie, and they addressed some of the questions one may have about the company's new canopy.
    Q: Who is this canopy for?


    A: This canopy is far more responsive than a Velocity or Comp Velocity, and not lacking in power or speed. It was designed for expert skydivers who are experienced and highly competent on high performance, cross braced canopies.

    If you are very proficient jumping a Velocity or Comp Velocity and want to take it to the next level, this is the canopy for you.
    "The openings are amazing. Best opening canopy I can recall jumping. Never once got it to open hard no matter what I tried (freefly to a quick pull, tracking hard to a pull, etc)." - Ian Drennan,PDFT
    Q: How are the openings?

    A: This canopy opens like a dream. Even though it is extremely responsive to input, you will find the openings to be smooth, well-staged and with less tendency to search for a heading during inflation.
    Q: How are the flight characteristics?

    A: The Valkyrie is more responsive on all controls. The flare and stopping power of this canopy is incredible, and it also has great glide capabilities. All around, this canopy is awesome to fly. But don't take our word for it.
    Q: When can I get one?

    A: We will be accepting orders from PD's Authorized Dealers on December 1, 2014. Standard crossbraced production time will apply to the Valkyrie. These lead times are posted on the performancedesigns.com home page.
    Q: How do I buy one?

    A: The Valkyrie will be sold through PD's Authorized dealer network.
    Interested customers should contact their local dealer to discuss if this canopy is right for them, and should be prepared to demonstrate expert canopy pilot skills and/or provide references. Potential pilots should be highly competent on a more traditional crossbraced canopy, prior to considering a Valkyrie.
    "The Valkyrie is a carving machine! You get so much more lift, control, and smooth flight when carving a swoop, than with a Velocity. The toggles are more responsive, and flare a lot more powerful." - Alejandro Ramos, Tribu Freefly
    Q: When will stock canopies be available?

    A: We are planning on producing stock canopies by early February 2015, but are anticipating heavy demand for this stock. The best way to assure a quick and efficient Valkyrie delivery will be to place your order in early December 2014.
    "The feedback we have been getting on this new product is incredibly positive, with regards to openings, flight characteristics and performance.
    We are very excited to make the Valkyrie available to everyone (*with the required experience)."

    Comp Velocity
    With the ever growing trend of people using the Comp Velocity for every day purposes, we have decided to make changes that will make it readily available for non-competition use.
    Introductory Retail Price: $3200

    Additional for RDS: $250 (instead of standard slider/subterminal use)
    The standard configuration of the Comp Velocity will include a collapsible drawstring slider, instead of the RDS, and 500 size lines.
    This will also cause a price adjustment for this product.

    Retail Price: $3050

    Additional cost for RDS:$250 (instead of collapsible drawstring slider/subterminal use)
    "We have also included a number of additional line options for the Comp Velocity. The new order form will offer 300 or 500 Orange Vectran, 500 or 700 HMA, 500 or 750 Vectran. Current stock will remain with 300 Orange Vectran and RDS. We will begin to include the collapsible drawstring slider & 500 line configuration on our stock Comp Velocities in the near future.
    We anticipate these pricing, stock and order form changes to occur on or around December 2014."

    By admin, in Gear,

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