Northern Lite III Modifications

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In 1987 I bought my wife a new Northern Lite III, with a Para-Flite Cruselite main, and a Strong LoPo Lite reserve. The rig has been stored away for years and only has about 150 jumps on it. Our 18 year old daughter has started jumping and I would like to update it for her. I want to replace the round reserve with a square reserve, install an AAD, a RSL, and move the TPC from the right leg strap to the BOC.

Strong lists their LoPo Lite pack volume as 442 cu in, PIA list it as 426 cu in. After the installation of a Vigil II – Two Pin AAD I would like to replace the round with a new Strong Stellar 180 @ 385 cu in. Does this sound like it could work? I would like to go smaller if I can she is a small girl at 5’-2” 105 lbs. North American Aerodynamics makes an Eagle 160 that packs at 365 cu in. Would the Eagle 160 reserve be too small for the container?

After I select and buy the new equipment I need a Master Rigger to install the AAD, Square Reserve, RSL, and move the pilot chute to the BOC. I Live north of Seattle, WA and don’t have any Master Riggers in my area. I could ship the rig via UPS anywhere in the USA to get good work. Who would be a good Rigger for this job?

Thanks the help.

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I'd start out and contact Kelly at Velocity Sports, he owns the TSO on the Northern Light containers and at the least VSE would need to certify any changes such as installing an AAD pouch into the rig for what ever master rigger that would do the work. Since they own all the drawings to the design of it they I would think they can also do any other work needed also.

Talk to Kelly about the correct size of reserve since you might have many options including PD, Ravens, Strong, or Aerodynes beyond the ones you listed.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery


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I've owed and worked on a number of Nothern Lites over the years. The previous manufacturer of the rig was from my area.

I'd like to suggest that modifying a 20 year old rig for your daughter to use might not be the best idea. Even though it doesn't have a lot of jumps there are many riggers that would simply chose not to work on it due to it's age. (There are also many for whom that wouldn't be an issue.) But, although I liked the Northern Lite, still own two old ones for water and other jumps, I wouldn't choose to put one of my daughters on one. All of the changes that need to be made, the need for a two pin AAD (I'd choose to jump a cypres and recommend them), the two pin reserve design, the need to add an aftermarket RSL and change the throw out, etc etc make it possibly a poor substitute for a modern rig. You will also need a free bag for a square reserve. I'm not sure where you can find one of these. I don't know whether Kelly would be able or willing to make you one or not. You'll either need one from him or have to find an old 'surplus' one. With the freebag you'll probably easily have over $200 just in the modifications to the rig. More if the harness needs to be resized. (I may be able to find a free bag around here, the local now closed DZ used Northern Lites since the 80's and may have some spare parts still around.)

While most riggers could put together an RSL for the rig, including me, it really needs to be the manufacturer or be approved in the field by the FAA. One master rigger managed to get a RSL design approved for any rig although some manufacturers do not approve of his adding it and refuse to support rigs with it added. BUT, this was for a one pin design and isn't appropriate for a two pin. Adding an RSL won't be trivial legally, again unless Kelly is willing to do it from old drawings.

In addition, I'd expect a rig that holds a cruselite and a strong lopo to be awfully big on a 5'2" 105 lb girl. The harness may fit but the containers will be awfully big on her back. Newer canopy designs mean that she can be comfortable with a much rig and still be conservative.

Also you don't say anything about changing the main. I also wouldn't choose a Cruselite for anyones first canopy, especially someone that small. A conservative, newer design ZP canopy would still be much smaller and easier for her to wear and use.

I'd suggest selling this rig to an older school jumper who wants a quality third or fourth rig and starting over. Not with new gear but with newer designs and more appropriate in size.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban

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