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tamumech87

Firebolt: A good first purchase?

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Hi all,

I've been shopping around for my first rig the past couple of weeks, and I came across what I think is a good first deal. It's a Firebolt 200 main, Angelfire 180 reserve, and Racer 2k3 container. DOM is 2005. This price asked for it all is $3200 (including a Cypres-2). The previous owner was 6'1'' and 180 lbs, I am 6'2'' and 175 lbs.

My only concern with this purchase is that the Firebolt has an aspect ratio of 2.65 . I've only had 40 jumps... would this be too much for me? I've had good canopy control so far and soft landings. I don't plan on doing any fancy maneuvers anytime soon.

Thanks for the help,
-Tim

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DISCLOSURE: I work for the manufacturer of that equipment

I jump a Firebolt sport main and a Firebolt tandem main and I don't think you'll have any issues with it as long as you respect the equipment. The Firebolt is very capable of flying sedately and calmly, but it is capable of some more exciting performance when heavily loaded. I weigh 170 lb and jump a 164 and I can float it back from a long spot and get excellent landing flare. Just my $0.02c
Pete Draper,

Just because my life plan is written on the back of a Hooter's Napkin, it's still a life plan.... right?

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I would not get too caught up in the aspect ratio. Call Nancy at JumpShack to talk about the right sqaure footage for you. Then, demo it (or one from Jumpshack) with help from the instructors at your DZ. Feedback from the 182 demo I brought in to my DZ this summer was positive.

R

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An aspect ratio of 2.8 is normal for a modern 9-cell canopy.
In comparison, most reserves have aspect ratios of 2.2.

The real question is "planform?" Icarus has published an excellent explanation on their website.

IOW how much is it tapered?
How small are the end cells compared with the center cell?

Tapered "elliptical" canopies now dominate the market, even for first-time jumpers
And then there are a whole slew questions about line trim, airfoil, nose opening, etc.

So if aspect ratio and planform do not scare you off, the next question to ask is about wing-loading. Again, Icarus has some good advice on their website and national organizations like BPA have published guidelines matching wing-loading to experience level.
For example, most students start at wing-loadings of 0.8 pounds per square foot, while most first purchases are in the one pound per square foot range.

Remember that wing-loading calculations start with "exit weight" (jumper, helmet, altimeter, clothes, weight of container, reserve canopy, main canopy, etc.).

In conclusion, as long as you load a Firebolt less than 1:1, it will be fine for a junior jumper ... with the usual caveat about asking the opinions of local instructors and riggers before you plunk down any money.

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2 brake lines and elliptical.....40 jumps.......I say find something else.:S


Have you jumped with PD Navigator? FYI thats not a square canopy. So what?

Have you heard a canopy called Space? It has the very same airfoil that my Cobalt 135. Space is a student canopy too...

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2 brake lines and elliptical.....40 jumps.......I say find something else.:S


Have you jumped with PD Navigator? FYI thats not a square canopy. So what?

Have you heard a canopy called Space? It has the very same airfoil that my Cobalt 135. Space is a student canopy too...


I'm just saying that with 40 jumps a Firebolt is a bit complex so to speak. I've seen problems in the past with the brake lines requiring special attention. I've jumped a Firebolt and it certainly is of an elliptical planform. Generally it is smart to have at least a couple hundred jumps on a less aggressive planform before "downsizing" to an elliptical due to the high performance nature.
I am sorry but I can't agree with you that ANY 135 sq ft canopy would be considered a student canopy. I've never jumped a Cobolt but I know two of the Atair canopy pilots personally and both of their high performance swooping canopies are Cobalts. I hardly believe that would be considered a student canopy.:S

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I purchased a Firebolt 218 at around 30 jumps. i've put around a hundred jumps on it since and i've never had a problem with it. I did call and talk with Nancy a couple of times before I ordered it. The dual brake lines have never been a problem for me, but I also take my time when packing.

I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid!

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I am sorry but I can't agree with you that ANY 135 sq ft canopy would be considered a student canopy. I've never jumped a Cobolt but I know two of the Atair canopy pilots personally and both of their high performance swooping canopies are Cobalts. I hardly believe that would be considered a student canopy.Crazy


Read me post again. I did not state that Cobalt is a student canopy. Size does matter. Canopies does not scale linear and stabily or agility of a canopy is not just about the planform.. :S

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I have a DOM April 2005 It's a Firebolt 218 main, Angelfire 220 reserve, and Racer 2k3 container.

It flys real nice.. I load it 1:1 lots of flare on landings..nice soft landings and like Sid said I often make it in from those long spots too....

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I purchased a Firebolt 218 at around 30 jumps. i've put around a hundred jumps on it since and i've never had a problem with it. I did call and talk with Nancy a couple of times before I ordered it. The dual brake lines have never been a problem for me, but I also take my time when packing.



Maybe they have invented some groundbreaking canopy, that can fly both as Intermediate and as advanced high-performance swoop-beast.... But all this sounds a little bit strange... on their website they state recomended wingloading range 0.5-2.3 lb/sq ft!!!!! I mean up to 2.3!!!! that's X-brace territory

Now, I just can't imagine the situation, when somebody would call PD and ask if he can buy Velo 200sq ft for sub 1.0 wingloading and get a positive response from them:)))))) ohh, they don't make one in that size:)

And what is that dual break line system? maybe that's their secret weapon:)

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on their website they state recomended wingloading range 0.5-2.3 lb/sq ft!!!!! I mean up to 2.3!!!! that's X-brace territory


So? There are non crossbraced canopies you can load over 2.0 and they perform well....

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Now, I just can't imagine the situation, when somebody would call PD and ask if he can buy Velo 200sq ft for sub 1.0 wingloading and get a positive response from them:)))))) ohh, they don't make one in that size:)

Your double netgated logic won't prove you. the fact that you can load some canopies heavily does not have implication about the minimum load of other canopies. You would be surpised if you would know what other properties the crossbraced canopies have other than crossbraces.....

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Your double netgated logic won't prove you.



my point was, that it is very hard to have the best of both worlds:))) and I haven't seen such a wide range of wingloadings for other canopies... for instance for Crossfire and Katana lower recommended by their manufacturers wing-loadings are around 1.4...

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for instance for Crossfire and Katana lower recommended by their manufacturers wing-loadings are around 1.4...


... for instance scaling canopies are not trivial
One goal can be all size perform similar manner, other can be scale for different market segment.

I jump Pilot150 WL 1.3 to 1.5, than moved to Cobalt 135 WL 1.6+. It was not a big step. Once I had even compared those canopies. Cobalt has a bit more tail taper than Pilot. Wingspan was about the same.

I believe that even some intermediate level jumper can handle a Cobalt 135 on lower wing loads line 1.0-1.3. Even Atair states so. Who can be the best source of canopy performance than factory pilots?
Why do you think that the saying "it flies big" come from? Firebolt can has similar properties.

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I believe that even some intermediate level jumper can handle a Cobalt 135 on lower wing loads line 1.0-1.3. Even Atair states so. Who can be the best source of canopy performance than factory pilots?



Ok, but how about loading that standard Cobalt or Pilot up to or exceeding 2lb/sq ft??? and then trying to get a decent performance out of it (landings, getting back from far-away spots, predictable openings etc.)???? will it work?

You are right, Atair stretched the range for their Cobalt canopy... but why they didn't stretch it even further, making it one-good-for-all canopy? Why they decided to make a Competition model dedicated for higher wing-loadings? and then went further to creat an x-brace Onyx? Why modern Atair has introduced 7-cell Dragon for moderate wing-loadings and Radical as high-performance elliptical? only marketing???

Or maybe optimizing every model for their performance envelop...

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Ok, but how about loading that standard Cobalt or Pilot up to or exceeding 2lb/sq ft???


Ask people here around. Some prefer to jump wing suit with Pilot or Sabre2 quite heavily loaded.

For Atair, check their pages. They jumped Cobalt upto WL 3.5 if I remember right.

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Why modern Atair has introduced 7-cell Dragon for moderate wing-loadings and Radical as high-performance elliptical? only marketing??? Or maybe optimizing every model for their performance envelop...


Still an older design of all around canopy still can serve good today if it does not have serious flows, although they might not be the most polular canopies.

For the record: I have not jumped Firebolt yet. I'm willing to jump almost any canopy.
;)

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Hi Tim et all,

The FireBolt can be a great first purchase if you choose your wing loading wisely. We've had several novice jumpers "jump right into" FireBolts shortly off instruction. Reccommended wing loading for novices is .60 - .90 pounds per sq ft.

The FireBolt is a relatively flat trimmed canopy - not a lawn dart. It gets it's long glide, tremendous flare and efficient flight characteristics from the elliptical wing. When lightly loaded the FireBolt is quite docile and forgiving. When heavily loaded, the FireBolt becomes a high performance swooping machine.
It is not designed for rear riser landings. It's trimmed rather flat for that to be effective. We're working on a different canopy with that kind of flying in mind...

With regard to the dual lower control lines, the brake setting and the concept are really quite simple. There is one brake eye (per side) leading to the outside, upper control lines. Set that brake and stow the excess in the usual fashion according to your riser/toggle setup. On Racer risers we provide a dedicated type III loop on the front of the rear risers through which to route the excess LCL. The excess then loops around the nose of the toggle before it is stowed in the nose keeper. The inside LCL is pushed up to the tail. Only the wingtips are braked. The center of the canopy spills air, softening the opening.

The FireBolt is probably the only canopy out there that is truly scaled. From 75 sq ft up to 396 sq ft(Tandem), it is essentially the same canopy. That is what is so ingenious about the FireBolt. Flight characteristics are similar from size to size as long as the wing loading ratio remains the same.

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>The FireBolt is probably the only canopy out there that is truly scaled. From 75
>sq ft up to 396 sq ft(Tandem), it is essentially the same canopy.

What does that mean? Does it mean that the dimensions maintain exactly the same ratios, just scaled to the larger size?

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It is not designed for rear riser landings. It's trimmed rather flat for that to be effective. We're working on a different canopy with that kind of flying in mind...



sounds like it's a high-performance swooping machine of the Stiletto era:)

Which doesn't make it a bad canopy... judging from the videos on your website it opens really softly and without much snivelling! just what camera-guys dream of:)

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