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Isfrael

Should I get a Factory Diver?

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I'm a student jumper right now, and my DZ stays open all year round. I live in the mid-west around Chicago so it gets pretty cold round here; plus I have a feeling that were going to get hit hard this year by mother nature... anyways, I need to get a full face helmet, and soon! (I'm jumping this weekend, and it snowed today!!!!) I've been looking at the factory diver, it looks to be not the fanciest of helmets, but it appears to be one of the most durable. The design looks good, the shield is screwed into place, so no flip ups in free fall. it also looks quiet and warm :) which is what I need. any thoughts and opinions? Anything and everything is much appreciated!!!

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it looks to be not the fanciest of helmets, but it appears to be one of the most durable. The design looks good, the shield is screwed into place, so no flip ups in free fall.



It's a good helmet, but the inability to "flip up" can be a problem when the visor frosts over. Be prepared to take it off very quickly if needed. Drill some vents along the edges and lay in a good supply of cat crap. :P

PS... "durable" and "safe" are not the same, eh?
Owned by Remi #?

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I've never ever had the visor fog up. Ever. I've jumped it in temperatures ranging from below freezing, to 106F, in various humidity conditions. It has a vent in the front, so I don't think it will happen. The only time it's been a problem was when I jumped in the rain (which you can just wipe off with your hands).

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I have a Mamba. If i were to buy again.. I'd get either a Z1 or a Mamba. They are both good helmets and have solid flip up visors. I think the Z1 looks better than the Mamba.. but they are both good helmets and good choices.

I've never had the Mamba fog on me enough to effect the skydive or canopy ride except once on a high pull, but all I had to do was crack it open and it was just fine after a few seconds.. i wouldn't let it deter you, but I have heard of people who have had fogging issues with the visor..

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Before you spend any money, see what is available to try on at the DZ. By asking around, you can probably find somebody with the size and model helmet you are interested in.

Also, find out when you will be allowed to wear a full-face. You may not be able to use it until you are licensed.

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***

PS... "durable" and "safe" are not the same, eh?



good point. Also, the Mamba and Z1 coincidentally were my other two options I was thinking about.

As for trying them on, I was actually going to go to a shop that's pretty local, (Para Gear), to get a feel for them. And I will definatly place a phone call to the DZ tomorrow to see if they will allow me to get a full face helmet, thanks for the tip!

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>I've never ever had the visor fog up. Ever.

I've had Factory Divers, FP-1's and Oxygn A3's fog over on me. So far the only one that hasn't is the Freezr2, but that's probably just luck so far.

I strongly recommend an openable visor. Crack it after you open and you won't have a problem.

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I have been jumping a Z1 for more than ten years and I love it. I tried an Oxygen (which is the flip up version of the Factory Diver) for a few jumps but didn't like it so I gave it to my son. I like the ability to flip the visor all the way to back of my head for several reasons.

First: I have to clear my ears soon after opening or they start hurting as I descend under canopy. Of course I do this by holding my nose and blowing gently. You can't do that with a Factory Diver.

Second: I really like not having anything in my line of sight while under canopy (not even googles). I can flip my visor completely out of my way behind my head. You can't do that with the Fatory Diver and the Oxygen flips up just enough to get into your line of sight. I just don't like how anything plastic distorts my vision. Especially on landing.

Most people don't replace their lenses as often as they should. And they do get scratched up. I'm just as guilty. I've seen some guys with such scratched up lenses I don't know how they can see through them at all. And we wonder why we have canopy collisions.

I have never had my Z1 open on me in freefall and I don't know of anyone else who has.

As far as fogging up: If you get a Z1 don't treat the lens with anything. They come treated from the factory. They advise that you only use clean water to clean the lens. That's what I do.

Interesting note: I was on a pretty big Big Way in Eloy a couple of years ago. We were going to high altitudes and it was in December so it was cold. On one of the jumps many of the people had serious fogging issues on their full face helmets. Several people even ripped off their lenses in freefall so they could see. It was quite dangerous. After landing and debriefing, the organizers suggested that eveyone take off their lenses and use googles. They also told everyone that visors fogging up from that point on was no longer an excuse for not doing your job.

Most people started using googles including everyone in my sector except for me and our sector captain. There is a technique which all but assures you won't fog up. Because we both wear contacts and have problems wearing googles, we both gambled and it paid off. We did not have any fogging problems.

I don't think you would go wrong with a Z1.
Be the canopy pilot you want that other guy to be.

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I also like the Z1 but everything works and people generally like whatever they have. But the oxygn visor does seem a lot more finicky than the Z1 visor. Seen a lot of people that have to tape them closed. I was shooting video for a 4-way team last week... one guy had his oxygn visor open in freefall and it quickly broke apart, nearly departing the helmet altogether. I've left the plane with my Z1 open a few times and it's no big deal. I've also closed a few Z1s in freefall for other people.

The mamba looks nice but the visor is much more prone to scratching than the Z1. Seen some that were so scratched up that they looked foggy, and they weren't that old. Z1 visors can last years, depending on how many scratches you can tolerate.

I'd personally get another Z1 if I needed another full face. Mine's probably 8 years old now and still working fine with no repairs other than occasional visor replacements.

Dave

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When I started skydiving I bought a used Factory Diver and landed with it propt up on my head more than once my first winter. The following winter I bought a A3 so I wouldn't have to prop it on my head any more. It never fogged or iced up freefall but it would under canopy. I think I ended up opening the visor once last winter on the A3. My guess is that it had something to do with the new visor on the new helmet.

I agree with Sandy: We don't change our face shields as often as we should.

Make sure you breath through your mouth through the mouth hole and not through your nose or into the mask. And don't yell the count when you're on the outside of the airplane. Always have a plan on what you're going to do if it does fog up.

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Most people started using googles including everyone in my sector except for me and our sector captain. There is a technique which all but assures you won't fog up. Because we both wear contacts and have problems wearing googles, we both gambled and it paid off. We did not have any fogging problems.

I don't think you would go wrong with a Z1.



Can you elaborate a little on this technique for not fogging up please?

Also, to the OP, Im not sure if the rules are the same by the USPA but in the UK you have to be a B License jumper with a minimum of 100 jumps to use a full face helmet (note// I could be wrong on the number of jumps...it may be more?)

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The technique is no secret but there is something that most people don't think about.

Many people walk around, dirt dive and even sit in the plane with their helmets resting on the top of their heads. They do this because it's convienient and they are less likely to leave it on the hooks at the mock up. (some do it because it looks cool)

Now most of the time this wouldn't matter. But when going from warm ground temps to cold alttitude temps is does matter. Much of the body heat is lost through our heads along with a great deal of moisture.

By wearing your helmet on your head you heat up your helmet and capture a lot of moisture in the proccess. Then you just pull it down on jump run and out the door you go. The sudden change in temperature causes the moisture to rapidly condensate and freeze on the lens.

So, I don't put my helmet on my head except on jump run. Instead I hook the chin strap on my chest strap to carry the helmet around. You can only do this if the helmet has a chin strap which the Z1 does and the Sky Systems (Factory Diver and Oxygen) helmets don't.

If there is a huge difference in temps (like on the Eloy big ways) I will even open my lens up in the plane to assure that it is cool and dry.

This really only matters when jumping at altitudes that are very cold or in the winter.

Now for the technique: No secret:
Simlpy concentrate on breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. It helps to purse your lips and gently blow through the mouth hole in the helmet. Again this limits the amount of body moisture captured in the helmet during the freefall, thus greatly reducing or even eliminating the chance of fogging or freezing.

On the big way in Eloy it also helped me stay relaxed in freefall. The best way to stay relaxed regardless of the activity is to concentrate on your breathing.
Be the canopy pilot you want that other guy to be.

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I have been using an old Z1 with the all medal hardware. I have seen the new ones and I think production quality has diminished. There is one jumper that has had some bad luck with her brand new one. The neck liner is coming unglued much sooner than anything I have seen. I really like my old Z1, but might you want to reconsider with the new ones out there. Just my 2 pesos.
Sky Canyon Wingsuiters

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I bought a Mamba halfway through AFF and have used it for about 15 jumps, I know it's not many but so far I haven't had any problems with it, it also has a chin strap and a visor that locks in place, after being under canopy it's nice to be able to flip it up and it isn't in your field of view so you can clear your nose or whatever, I just close it before I land

but so far it hasn't fogged up

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I wonder why you can't wear a full-face with an A licence.
I bought one as soon as I could afford.
It's a Factory Diver and I love it. In my opinion it looks cool, very comfortable and I enjoy the excellent view it gives in free fall and under canopy as well.
Sometimes it got a little fogged around my mouth in the plane but the wind then wipes it off very quickly.
It also keeps my head and my face warm, which I love.
The only disadvantage is that it's not very easy to change the visor. It may crack if you are not careful enough. But it won't open in free-fall.
I've been to a wind tunnel where the instructor was wearing a Z1. It looks also very cool and at first sight I thought it could be great to have a visor that you can easily flip up. But he struggled with fogging and he did open it many times to clean from the inside. I had no problem with my FD.
You also can remove the visor and use it with goggles if you like.

And it also comes at a good price.

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>what were the conditions?

In general, two sorts of conditions.

One is high humidity. WFFC was the classic case. Exit at 13,500, open at 2500, and go from 30F to 85F 90% humidity. In such cases I'd often get fogging around the edges and by my nose.

The other is low temps on exit. I've gotten fogging in temperatures from about 0F to -35F. (Well, freezing is probably more accurate.) Once it was 100% icing within a few seconds of exit; that was scary.

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I'm still jumping my 'old 1st generation' Factory Diver from 1994. I've gone through less than ten lenses. But there was a period where I was wearing just goggles with it.

I never liked the flip-up option. Only because I was around for the first generation of those and I saw people having some problems with them. Problems have been solved but I just like things simple. I always say, "The whole helmet is 'flip-up'."

When the FD's first came out there were a lot of warnings about not wearing them on your head to altitude. Information that seems to have gotten lost along the way. I have made a habit of not wearing on the way to altitude. Once it's on, I always inhale with my nose and exhale out my mouth through the vent. I don't know how much this helps but you can feel the 'new' air coming in and I have yet to have it fog up on me.
"Any language where the unassuming word fly signifies an annoying insect, a means of travel, and a critical part of a gentleman's apparel is clearly asking to be mangled."

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I've never ever had the visor fog up. Ever.



Really?? Mine has/does. I damn near bought a Mamba just for winter jumping, but then I tried some anti-fogging gunk which solved the problem.

That said, I love love love my factory diver. Cheap, comfy, visor no flip up in freefall.

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