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arm900fj

Any reviews of the S-Bird?

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arm900fj

Can anyone provide a few comments on the S-Bird? Did you transition up from the R-Bird and if so, how does it compare?
Thanks in advance.
Regards,
Dave



With about 60 Rbird flights I borrowed an S-bird and did two flights with it. My desire for a larger suit would be for solo flights and performance. On those two flights, i flew it pretty hard to see what speed, glide ratio, and time I would get.

The suit didn't seem a lot different from the Rbird in the way it felt in flight. On the second exit I bumped my leg on the frame of the doorway, as I did a hop out exit. I could tell the suit wanted to spin WAY more than the Rbird does but I quickly got head down and recovered it before it got going.

My flight times and glide ratios were about the same as my best Rbird flights. Lurch told me that each suit has it's own set if tricks to learn, so I should not expect a sudden jump in performance until I was able to exploit the tricks of the suit.

My primary goal is to be good at flocking, so I just went back to my Rbird and plan to bang out a lot if flights on it, focusing on getting good in a flock.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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The S-bird has been my "go to" suit for the last 1000 or so wingsuit flights (in other words, it's the one I use by far the most, but not the only suit I jump). It's a great suit for flocking and has plenty of power for outside camerawork (where one often needs the ability to "pop up" well over a flock). It is stable, but responds very well to inputs - you fly the suit, the suit doesn't fly you.

The suit has a fair amount of range - in addition to flocking, I've managed to get very strong performance flights out of it. At the Q Boogie (July 4) at Jumptown in 2013, as part of a distance competition, I got a 3.0 glide ratio (far from winning the prize - I think I was in 5th place - but...) I am not a great performance flier - it's never been an interest or focus of mine - so I was pleasantly surprised. But what surprised me more was that I got a better performance from the S-bird than I did from my X-bird. (I attribute that to greater familiarity with the suit, since I jump the S-bird much more than the X-bird, but there was a demonstrable difference in my performance scores between the two suits.)

Having said that, the S-bird it can also be flown slow and with a fast fall rate - I've successfully chased rodeos where beefy dudes rode on relatively smaller female wingsuiters (i.e., the inverse of what Purple Mike does; the photos aren't anywhere near as sexy).

The suit is rightly known for not backflying as easily as some other suits (e.g., it's significantly harder to backfly the S-bird than a Ghost3). It can be backflown, however, it's just significantly harder and the results often aren't as amazing.

I transitioned from an Mach 1 to the S-bird when Tonysuits first released the suit. I liked my S-bird so much that when my old S-bird started falling getting a little thread-worn (after about 900 or so jumps; I'm not gentle with my suits), I ordered a duplicate of it. As an aside, given that Tonysuits evolve over time, it turned out to be trickier than I thought.

Edited to add: The previous poster mentioned that there are some tricks that will allow better performance that you'll learn in time after jumping the S-bird, which may be different from those you might use with an R-bird. I've heard this to be the case from a few pilots, although since I didn't transition from an R-bird to an S-bird, I can't say I experienced it personally.

Try any suit before you buy. The right suit for me may not be the right suit for another person. (This can vary due to body type, style of flying, and a ton of other conditions.) Good luck and have fun!

Disclaimer: I also own a Ghost3 (for aerobatics), X-bird (which I used to use for distance and performance), and have a Rebel2 (for XRW) on order. Through Northeast Bird School, I co-own a fleet of five Phantom 3s that we use for first flight courses.

I am not sponsored by (or a "Friend" of) any wingsuit or skydive manufacturer (although I am Facebook friends with Tony Uragallo and Robert Pecnik), nor do I get a commission, benefit, kickback, t-shirt, baseball cap, pat on the head, pat anywhere else (not for lack of asking), or anything for selling or recommending anyone's suits. I've flow Tonysuit, Phoenix-Fly, Alien, and S-fly products. I've never flown a Squirrel product (I have yet to find a demo suit anywhere), but I hope to if I can find someone who has one that is willing to let me fly it. I'm also a Leo who likes long walks on the beach, hoppy IPAs, and porn.
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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Quote

Disclaimer: I also own a Ghost3 (for aerobatics), X-bird (which I used to use for distance and performance), and have a Rebel2 (for XRW) on order. Through Northeast Bird School, I co-own a fleet of five Phantom 3s that we use for first flight courses.

I am not sponsored by (or a "Friend" of) any wingsuit or skydive manufacturer (although I am Facebook friends with Tony Uragallo and Robert Pecnik), nor do I get a commission, benefit, kickback, t-shirt, baseball cap, pat on the head, pat anywhere else (not for lack of asking), or anything for selling or recommending anyone's suits. I've flow Tonysuit, Phoenix-Fly, Alien, and S-fly products. I've never flown a Squirrel product (I have yet to find a demo suit anywhere), but I hope to if I can find someone who has one that is willing to let me fly it. I'm also a Leo who likes long walks on the beach, hoppy IPAs, and porn.



A healthy disclaimer in this forum...

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S-Bird is a wonderful suit, I am biased, for the longest time I preferred the performance of an S over any of the bigger\faster suits available. Apache Scorpion is now my goto suit but it is modeled on an S.

You have to ask yourself "why" you want another suit. If it is just to have another then go for it but if you have something in mind better to speak up. An S has a lot of range, it takes everything the R does but does them better. It doesn't do anything that the R doesn't already do, it just does them better. If you want to do aerobatics and back fly you should look elsewhere.

In my opinion, performance on an S is directly relative to the time you put in on a smaller suit before you upgrade. Just 50 jumps and you won't get a huge leap, but 200-300 and you will get something special out of an S.
Summer Rental special, 5 weeks for the price of 4! That is $160 a month.

Try before You Buy with Wicked Wingsuits - WingsuitRental.com

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I transitioned from a Mach 1.

I am very light for my height and do not find the S-Bird good for flocking as I have to work too hard to stay DOWN with the flock.

So I still use the Mach 1 (modified) for flocking unless the others in the flock are light like me or have big suits (such as Lurch, or Simon of Wicked Wingsuits)

However, the S-Bird forward drive is good and it is a great performance suit. I broke 4 minutes on my 3rd jump on the S-Bird from a standard altitude exit, and can hold sustained fall rates around 30mph while still moving forward fast enough to cover about 4 miles horizontally.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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kallend


I am very light for my height and do not find the S-Bird good for flocking as I have to work too hard to stay DOWN with the flock.



This is a good point, John. I neglected to mention that I'm about 180lbs (81 kg) and about 5'11" (180 cm). Body size can alter performance.
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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Skwrl

***
I am very light for my height and do not find the S-Bird good for flocking as I have to work too hard to stay DOWN with the flock.



This is a good point, John. I neglected to mention that I'm about 180lbs (81 kg) and about 5'11" (180 cm). Body size can alter performance.

jeff, i have a colugo you are welcome to try out any time you are close
Flock University FWC / ZFlock
B.A.S.E. 1580
Aussie BASE 121

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roostnureye


jeff, i have a colugo you are welcome to try out any time you are close



Excellent! Thanks, Jeremy! You going to either Puerto Rico or F&D 10?
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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Skwrl

***
jeff, i have a colugo you are welcome to try out any time you are close



Excellent! Thanks, Jeremy! You going to either Puerto Rico or F&D 10?

Of COURSE he is going to F&D!!!
Summer Rental special, 5 weeks for the price of 4! That is $160 a month.

Try before You Buy with Wicked Wingsuits - WingsuitRental.com

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WickedWingsuits



Of COURSE he is going to F&D!!!



I guess all the cool kids are going to F&D... Well, and me.

I've been practicing my aim with maritime distress flare guns... I am ready this time...
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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Skwrl

I'm about <<>>> 180lbs (81 kg)

;)

Yes body size can alter performance.... I know all too well as my weight has fluxed up and down (up a little now :P)

Much Like Lurch, the S-Bird has been my go to suit for a good bit of time now. It is trickier to back fly then other suits but the performance I can generate is outstanding.... Went to it from a Raptor and Ghost (1) class suits and it was an easy transition.

The only other thing to note is that the "bird" cut on the arms was to take some drag out of the equation which worked fantastic. It also took a little of what I call "Wing Hang" ability at slower forward speeds. You can defiantly do it in the S but the technique is a little different and the suit performs better in the middle to upper sections of the performance envelope....

Scott C
"He who Hesitates Shall Inherit the Earth!"

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***

We are seriously having a weigh off at F&D. And be warned - I have loaded Journey's Eye of the Tiger into my Spotify playlist for my training montage....
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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The111

***I have loaded Journey's Eye of the Tiger into my Spotify



:|

Skwrl

Journey's Eye of the Tiger



[:/]

Skwrl

Journey



:o :(

Skwrl is a survivor. ;) The road to weight loss may be a little rocky though. 1982 was so long ago.

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The111

***I have loaded Journey's Eye of the Tiger into my Spotify



:|

Skwrl

Journey's Eye of the Tiger



[:/]

Skwrl

Journey



:o :(

Oh man, I conflated two crappy 80s bands! Damn. My credibility on this board is now even less than it was before. :)
(TIL I was living a lie for the last 30-ish years).

Not a defense, but at least I'm not the only retarded person out there: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091104121057AAcVg7n
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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...You rang?

Disclaimer: I am not a Tony suit sales rep but I do work with him a bit as a sponsored test pilot and performance consultant.

S-Bird: been flying one for 4 years or so.
One of the best "heavy-medium" general-purpose suits out there heavily weighted toward the high performance end of the range.

I didn't transition from an R-bird so I can't really compare them except by inference- my suit progression at the time was an old Birdman S-6, which I then modified and enlarged enough to hold its' own against first-gen X-birds. The S-bird was far smoother than anything I could make.

The S is a very technical suit. You can fly it ok starting from basic skills with smaller suits but its got a boatload of hidden ninja tricks built in that aren't obvious unless you fly it for a long time with a heavy focus toward getting best distances and times out of it. For instance: The gripper size is just right- smaller, and they're just grippers. Bigger, and they're just grippers. But on the S-Bird they're of a scale and proportion that they make very effective airbrakes/flaps and can be twisted down into the airflow to slow it down without sinking.

When I first set eyes on it I knew this was the 4-minute suit I'd always wanted, but it took me 2 years of flying it to prove it. Right about the same time I was giving up, decided I'd been wrong and I wasn't ever going to get it to fly that long, I stumbled on a few more ninja tricks hidden about 3 layers deep and got a fistful of solid 4-minute flights out of it from 13.5-14k to 2200 or so. With a 135 lb pilot, it can sustain fallrates of low-30's all day long.

You can backfly in it, but as others pointed out, backflying is the suit's biggest weakness, it doesn't lend itself well to it. Tends to go more head-down on its back than I'd like. Since I'm not a big backflyer this isn't a concern for me and the tradeoff of unusually high performance for its size is more than worth it.

The suit is efficient enough to hold its own against far larger suits. You're probably not going to win any competitions in it if you're up against Apache-class megasuits but if you know the ninja tricks you'll shock the hell out of em. Best I ever got was 3.47 km/glide out of it. Its probably the biggest suit you could fairly compete in "intermediate" class with, but if you're skilled with it, you're likely to dominate against other intermediate pilots flying bigger suits they may not really know how to use yet. I competed in "Open" with it once- didn't win, but did a spectacular amount of damage to the scoreboards with it.

Very flexible and versatile suit. I use it for everything an Apache or bigger is too big for... flocking, instructing, mild acro, (not really suited for acro because when you flip back to your belly the suit produces a disproportionately powerful low-fallrate surge which tends to make acro somewhat clumsy as it necessitates spending half your effort to keep the thing on a leash... its not what the suit is for, but you can do it)

I'm a serious performance freak, the S-Bird is the smallest suit in my currently active fleet, but I always bring it with me to events because if I get invited on any general-purpose flock and I'm not sure of the expected fallrates, the S covers any reasonable need- when in doubt, I go with the S. Having spent the last several years mostly in a heavy Apache XRW (preproduction version of the first-gen Rebel 1) I learned enough scrunchfly tricks from it that when I went back to my S-bird I could easily get it down to any group. Coming from a smaller suit, The S-bird feels like a titanic heavyweight... then coming back from a much larger "dreadnought-class" suit, it feels light and nimble. But by any standard it is a very formidable performer and should not be taken lightly. Inexperienced birds may find it a bit overwhelming.

If getting down to a group is a concern, focus on learning spanwise wing control- jacking up the fallrate by reducing the wingspan laterally. Pulling your arms IN rather than splaying them back in a V shape. I flew mine in the 100-way record in Perris a ways back and it was the perfect tool for the job.

The suit responds VERY well to being flown fast. Most flocks, I'm only using a small portion of the suit's total power and holding it back, and at a much higher fallrate than the suit would default to if I was flying it solo... the result is an enormous power surge when you release the thing at breakoff and turn all that excess speed into usable energy. A few times I got caught out long and low on altitude and ended up making it back to the DZ with loads of room to spare, anyway.

One of Tony's masterpieces. I recommend 'em highly.
-B
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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I'm glad you asked. I spent more than a year gathering the same kind of information that you're asking about. My transition was Birdman Firebird, TonySuit T, R and then S. The T, R and S suits were all rentals from Wicked Wingsuits which I HIGHLY recommend you do; they've got a great product and excellent customer service.

My goal was to stop up-sizing at the S and that's what I've done. My purpose in buying an S was purely for time and distance; no flocking, no base, no funny stuff. I'm the only wingsuiter in the state that I live in so, most of my jumps are solo, from a Cessna @ 12K', on a downwind jump run, 6 miles out. My GR bumps up around 3:1 most days; worst case 2.7:1. Vv in the low to mid 30s mph, Vh around 125 mph all documented by the Flysight GPS. The pull is never a problem, if you do it right: knees bent, feet and knees together generally clears all the fabric out of the way, so the hackey is very accessible. I get long, stable very enjoyable rides with the S. And, it's always amazing to me that I'm going to get out of this airplane way the hell over here and glide this wingsuit way the hell over there!

You'll probably want more diversity in your wingsuiting than the way I prefer to do it, but I am totally impressed with what it allows me to do. Go far, go fast and go long.

That's the long answer. The short answer is that I found the transition from suit-to-suit not difficult at all, but I'm very cautious and don't like surprises. I've always heeded the sage advice of guys like Lurch and taken the process slowly, so the transitions have gone well.

The people at TonySuit said that "you'll love the S" and I really do.

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