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keithbar

Squirrel ATC

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Just flew one for the first time a couple days ago. Surprised how fast forward the suit is, and has good glide and very impressive flare given its size. Didn't back fly it, but it barrel rolled very nicely. I feel like this suit is a better stepping stone to large acro suits (freak/strix) than a funk. Definitely worth a fly if you can get ahold of a demo and looking for a suit in this category.

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have put about 30 jumps on mine now and cant love it more! when I first got it I was unsure about it because it had so much power and the whole premise of being a suit that can be used in big ways and teaching students but after playing aroud with it I can't be happier about this suit!!!!
big enough to do xrw even as I did multiple xrw jumps when i first got it and also some 40ish ways and it kept up perfectly, recently also did some FFC's with it and it handled and kept up beautifully with a lead brick student. the backfly on it is VERY easy to transition in and does pretty well back flying.
overall it is exactly what they say it is on the website, and it for sure is a baby freak!

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Would it make sense for someone to own an ATC and a Freak 2? If not, what should be the criteria for choosing one or the other?

I'm trying to get a better understanding of the pros and cons of each. The Squirrel website says that the total surface area of the ATC is similar to the Funk, but it doesn't really look that way from the photos, and it doesn't seem much smaller than the Freak either. Is there a significant difference in pressurization or other design factors that aren't obvious from photos and videos?

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mxk

Would it make sense for someone to own an ATC and a Freak 2? If not, what should be the criteria for choosing one or the other?

I'm trying to get a better understanding of the pros and cons of each. The Squirrel website says that the total surface area of the ATC is similar to the Funk, but it doesn't really look that way from the photos, and it doesn't seem much smaller than the Freak either. Is there a significant difference in pressurization or other design factors that aren't obvious from photos and videos?



I'm gonna chime in without complete info, I haven't flown a ATC. I have talked to several people who have and their experiences correlate with SQ's advertising, on that side tangent I have found their advertising for their big suits is spot on, not so much for their little ones or their non-wingsuit lineup.

Anyway. The Freak is a BIG suit, and I've seen lots of people strap one on without sufficient experience and white knuckle the first 20 or so jumps and just when they think they are comfortable get into a nasty spin and have to panic pull or blow 6k ft getting out of it. I'm guilty of this too, but I did it several years ago when the R/S/X-Bird line was leading the pack.

The ATC seems to be a tamer beast but is more in the fast forward and steep class that big WS have moved toward (in part because of BASE demand) I'm not complaining though, I like going fast. That is in contrast to the Funk. Sure you can fly it steep and fast but that isn't it's forte.

(Tangent time and total IMHO: I believe that there is a divergence occurring in big suits, basically revolving around a thin airfoil and steep/fast stability. Back when the X3 was new people were like "OMG a 3 min flight!" slow and floaty was the name of the game. Now it is going toward fast forward speed to generate lift rather than a huge wing, I don't know about the giants of the Phoenix line though, haven't flown them, dat tail though. Anyway, there just isn't enough wing to go really fast with little suits, but once you get to and above the Funk range there is. The ATC seems to be about the size you can start cashing in on it, the Freak is the next step up. So not only are you changing size going from a Funk/Havok to a ATC or Freak, you are changing flying style. I think this is what burns a lot of people who jump to a Freak too early.) For example, when I first got my Colugo2 I was coming from an X-Wing, I laid them on top of each other and the C2 was ever so slightly smaller (1/2 inch or so in the tail, the wings were almost identical) but the C2 is MUCH faster, I also can't float in it like I could the X-Wing. I would cruise in the high 20mph vertical in the X but have to work HARD to do that in the C2 and can't really sustain it.

So when picking between the two I'd say there are two things to consider, first is experience. If the Freak seems intimidating or an aggressive upsize and you aren't pining to fly an Aura or the like, then you should probably get an ATC.

The second is who you are flying with:

If you want to fly mostly with smaller suits, you should probably get an ATC, it will just be easier.

If you are heavy and/or you want to fly with maxed out Freaks, Colugos, Auras and the like, then you should probably get a Freak.

If you already have big suit experience and a Freak is no problem, and you want to fly with big suits (or XRW), you should probably get a Freak.

All of this just depends on the person. Just like I came to realize in the tunnel, someone with enough skill can fly in pretty much any position at any reasonable airspeed. But that doesn't mean it's fun or easy. The same is true with wingsuits.

I'm not especially skilled but I've flown with trackers (slick) and intro suits with a Colugo2, but it was a lot of work and not something I'd like to do regularly. I'm heavy so when I fly with other big suits I have to push hard. It's all about where you'll sit on the performance curve and how hard you will have to work to fly with the people you want to fly with.

If money is no object, sure get both. The ATC will be better for flying in mixed flocks and chasing newbies, but you won't be able to keep up with big suits unless you're special. The Freak will let you fly with the big boys but will make you work more with those mixed flocks and small suits.

If hardcore Acro is your game, I have no idea, I'm not there yet.

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Anachronist


If you are heavy



Very good read Anachronist

I'd be careful, however with such statements. Many people think they should buy bigger suit right away just because they are heavy. I personally know a person with less than 10 ws jumps experience who bought a Havoc Carve because he's heavy and needs more wings. Personally I think he's a talent-less idiot and just doesn't get it.

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Yeah I've seen a number of people do the same. The Havok/Funk range is a big step up from the beginner suits. I know a few years ago Phoenix was recommending 80 jumps for the Havok, that is a pretty good mark in my book.

If there are any newbies out there reading this, get a Phantom3/Edge, freaking best all around intro/intermediate suit, period full stop. Put 50-100 jumps on it then go from there. If you're heavy, too bad, learn to bleed every ounce of performance out it before moving up. Build a solid foundation and you can upsize a lot more quickly, rather than every upsize being a white knuckle adventure. I really like SQ's big suit range but they don't have anything like the P3, and yes I've flown a Hatch and Swift (after several hundred jumps on a Havok) and hated both.

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Well its always interesting to read reviews from people who never tried... Anyway Anacroist is not far off. I agree that the suits seem to become thinner and adept to steep flying - which is great in IMO. I think the whole discussion centering around performance is not interesting when comparing. A suit is developed by test pilots having a certain mindset and certain requirements for that suit. That shows in the result. I think for me having flown a lot of different suits small and big, it is more that specific feel which is put into a suits design, that can make me say; this is a little cool or this is super cool. A remark on the small suits, Phantom/Shadow Edge best full stop. It is just one opinion. Locally we have people who have both Edge and Swift 2. It's a hard pick. I have flown both :) , and I can't say which is best really. I will say the Edge's are easier to learn as a student, the Swift2 packs more punch and can maybe satisfy your needs for performance better while still being a superb backfly suit. I did try the original Swift, did not like it. The Swift2; a whole different ballgame sir. Back to the ATC, I have put some jumps on it now. I have most of the range; including the Freak and Race models. Yes the Freak has more power than the ATC, but the large power range of the ATC is amazing, I have flown with small suits, it was S-Fly small suits - and it is super easy to depower the ATC for that. I did not open internal zippers or anything. I have also flown with a CR+ and we flocked nicely, CR+ flying normal no bent legs or diupped knees, but then again he could certainly fly faster for sure. Flarepower is there, I can actually climb in the flare, which is amazing for a suit that has same size legwing as Funks/Carves. Freak climbs more (I would say easier), as in the ATC having much less wing, you need to provide more and better timed body inputs to achieve it. Flying steep, the ATC is as fast as any suit out there. Rolling, backflying is easy but I would not say it is as easy (if you are starting to learn acro) as in the Funk/Carve type suits. ATC is positioned btw that range and bigsuits, but actually flying the ATC it feel more like a big suit. If the guys you flock with really punch it, then yeah you would have to work harder to stay in the group, mostly because of horizontal speed. It can hover vertically super good, so I see very slow vertical speed if I want to - like a Freak almost. I think the text Squirrel put up on the website describing the ATC is spot on. So that is really the better description you can have. If you want to choose btw the Freak2 and the baby Freak2: The ATC, well, it is simple. Do you want to mingle with Havoks/Funks and even smaller suits often? Yes? Get the ATC, else get the Freak2

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So let me clarify. I don't want to jump a P3 anymore. But it serves a purpose, and that is building a foundation for new WS jumpers. It is both extremely forgiving but has enough performance to be "fun" for scores of jumps. IMHO small suits are for developing basic skills, "performance" is irrelevant over the minimum to develop said skills. So yeah, if you're looking for a "high performance" small suit the P3 isn't that, but to me that is an oxymoron.

I have not jumped the Swift2, it might be better. The problem with the Swift is it is not forgiving enough for new jumpers and the tail is too sensitive. They initially marketed it as a FFC suit, it is not, and there was some controversy about that. (Just because high achievers can FFC the Swift doesn't mean it is good for that; example: I personally witnessed this WS progression, and the jumper did ok.

1st jump: I-Bird.
2nd jump: My Havok.
3rd: X-Bird.

Freaking stupid, but he pulled it off.

The strength of the P3 is that it is great for FFC, big enough that you aren't just tracking with wings (Like a I-Bird) but still very easy to control and big enough that you don't outgrow it in 10 or 15 jumps like an I or T-Bird. In reality the T is probably good for 20 or 30, but not enough to justify buying one. The P3 is actually worth owning.

This is a total guess, and maybe the newer versions are better, but I think the initial rough start SQ had in the small suit market was that everyone there is/was a high level WS base jumper. They forgot what putting on a wingsuit for the first 50 jumps is like. "This feels totally tame/boring and easy" to a proxy flier might be "Holy shit this thing is twitchy!" to a new jumper. When I jumped the Swift and Hatch I already had over 100 jumps on a Havok, maybe 200, I don't remember. My first impression was "these are both way too slippery in the tail and way too sensitive for the size that they are." They are(were) "high performance" small suits, which like said before, just doesn't make sense to me. At the time I felt like the Swift took more skill to fly than the Havok, which is counter intuitive. But that was years ago, and it has been hundreds of jumps since I jumped them (or the Havok) so maybe going back now I might feel differently.

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Anachronist


The strength of the P3 is that it is great for FFC, big enough that you aren't just tracking with wings (Like a I-Bird) but still very easy to control and big enough that you don't outgrow it in 10 or 15 jumps like an I or T-Bird. In reality the T is probably good for 20 or 30, but not enough to justify buying one. The P3 is actually worth owning.



Couldn't agree more.

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Did my first couple jumps on this beast yesterday and it is just that! It likes to go fast/steep. YES it flares well. I was flying with a swift2 and had no problem dusting him with forward speed and the ability to gain altitude... Pretty fucking happy. to echo another fliers thoughts on the matter, it really does come down to who/what other suits you plan to fly with AND your experience level.

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[Disclaimer, I teach wingsuiting at Perris and LO there. We're pretty pro-squirrel around those parts, and I flew two prototypes of the ATC. Mine shows up later this week.]

If you're asking if you should buy a freak or an ATC, buy an ATC.

I get the appeal of flying freaks. I really do. It's a fucking incredible suit with an appalling amount of performance in a pretty manageable package.

The issue is that it's a lot of performance in a pretty easy to fly package.

I've seen a LOT of people upsize too quickly and end up either screaming through a group or have it step out on them and either have to panic pitch out of a spin or spun through like 5k of altitude. If your response to "How do you get out of a flatspin" is anything along the lines of cannonball / arch / close the wings, you're not ready for a freak.

Personally, I've found it way more fun to fly a Swift 2 with freaks and outdrive people who don't know how to fly a suit and instead are just relying on surface area.

With all that said, the ATC dives faster than a Freak, and flares nearly as well. Apply a little brakes and you'll be cruising with students without much work. I have no issues in an ATC flying with a Freak flock unless it's super slow, in which case I'll sink out.

But hey, i'm just a guy on the internet.

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I think what itsdevlin meant by that is if you have to think through an order of operations in order to get out of a situation instead of actively flying yourself out of said situation, it's just not time yet. But that's just how I understood it and I could be way off.

that being said, I did my first 3 jumps on an ATC yesterday and was really happy with it. I was flying with a funk, havok carve, and a swift 2. The ATC has a naturally higher speed on its belly than any of the other suits I was with, but on it's back it was noticeably slower than on its belly, even at the same pitch angle.

It was very comfortable to fly on its back, with no tail flutter or loss of pressurization during the transition. It felt like the internal pressure on both the arm wings and tail wing remained constant in either orientation. While on its back the swift 2 kept up pretty easily without me needing to consciously adjust speed.

on it's belly it was very stable in a dive with zero dihedral, responsive in turns without any sliding, and the flare was much more powerful than I would have expected from a suit in this class.

my initial reaction was that it felt like what I imagine my swift2 would feel like if I lost 40 pounds. meaning, I really liked it.
I'd wait for you outside the courtoom.
Taunting; when all of your appeals were declined.

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dandandan

I think what itsdevlin meant by that is if you have to think through an order of operations in order to get out of a situation instead of actively flying yourself out of said situation, it's just not time yet. But that's just how I understood it and I could be way off.

that being said, I did my first 3 jumps on an ATC yesterday and was really happy with it. I was flying with a funk, havok carve, and a swift 2. The ATC has a naturally higher speed on its belly than any of the other suits I was with, but on it's back it was noticeably slower than on its belly, even at the same pitch angle.

It was very comfortable to fly on its back, with no tail flutter or loss of pressurization during the transition. It felt like the internal pressure on both the arm wings and tail wing remained constant in either orientation. While on its back the swift 2 kept up pretty easily without me needing to consciously adjust speed.

on it's belly it was very stable in a dive with zero dihedral, responsive in turns without any sliding, and the flare was much more powerful than I would have expected from a suit in this class.

my initial reaction was that it felt like what I imagine my swift2 would feel like if I lost 40 pounds. meaning, I really liked it.



HEY, someone with something constructive to say! ;) I guess what I'm saying is that some people naturally come off douchy while banging away on the keyboard... Positivity!!! How about that FLARE, right?!?! lol The Squirrel guys are getting things dialed in pretty nice with the current fleet.

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dandandan

I think what itsdevlin meant by that is if you have to think through an order of operations in order to get out of a situation instead of actively flying yourself out of said situation, it's just not time yet.



OK - it read like "collapsing the wings / balling up will not help you recover from instability" - which I've never heard anyone say before about any suit.

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