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Joellercoaster

Low-maintenance small canopies?

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Hey all.

I've decided to downsize my container, to the point where I can still fit a decent-sized reserve in there and maintain maximum mobility in freefall. The main will be a 120, loaded somewhere between 1.8 and 1.9 depending on how fat I am. I'm happy on that size canopy, but haven't decided 100% on what flavour my new one will be.

I have historically mostly jumped Pilots and loved them, but am unhappy about their landing performance when loaded this heavily.

What I am looking for is something that will land well straight-in. I don't mind the odd 90 or double-front approach, but don't want it to be necessary and have no real interest in bigger turns. "Fun to fly" is nice but secondary, and the older I get, the more I think that it's kind of unnecessary compared to opening well.

The front runners right now are Skylark Odyssey 120 and Crossfire 119; I've demoed them a bit and like them both. But I'm curious about other people's experiences and alternatives... how well do Safire2s cope with high loads? What about Sabre2s? PD don't have it in the recommended range but maybe they are expecting people to want a Katana at that point (and I really don't want a Katana).

Any suggestions will be explored, I have a temporary solution so I have time :)
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"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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Any suggestions will be explored



My suggestion is that you don't load a canopy at 1.8 or 1.9 unless you need that loading to go faster. If you're not planning to swoop, there is just no need to load a canopy at that level. Jumping at higher WL is a trade-off where you put up with the downsides of the highly loaded canopy because you want the upside, that being the speed. If you're not planning to use the upside, then why take on the downsides.

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I've decided to downsize my container, to the point where I can still fit a decent-sized reserve in there and maintain maximum mobility in freefall



If you're a big enough guy to load a 120 at 1.9, then I don't know what you mean by 'max mobility' in freefall. A rig built for a 135 would still be smaller than you are, and I don't think you would notice one bit of difference in-air between that and a rig built for a 120.

It would be one thing if you were a smaller person jumping a rig that's huge on them, and hangs over the sides of their body and such, but I can't imagine that's the case.

If your current container is on the bigger side for your 132, then just get a new one that fits the 132 'snug' with a perfectly sized harness, and you'll be all set.

It comes back to the old saying that you sometimes hear about reserve sizing, "You're never going to look up and wish that you had a smaller reserve". That applies to your main too if you're not planning to push the canopy to the edge of it's performance (via swooping).

So I haven't jumped anything bigger than my 103 in about 5 years. Every time I borrow a rig it has a smaller Velo in it, and that's just fine by me. Anyway, I had my pick of rigs to use at Bridge Day this year, from 240, 260 or 280. It's a wide open LZ, you open plenty high to set up for landing, and it's the middle of the day, so it's not a tough landing situation. Despite that, I went with the 280 because speed was not my goal that day, and in that case the extra square footage could have been an advantage in a whole bunch of situations. (True, it can be a detriment in certain cases, like higher winds, but then we wouldn't be jumping. In your case. considering that your 'bigger' choice is still loaded at 1.7, I don't think that's ever going to be a problem for you).

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Hmm, certainly food for thought. The pack volume difference between a new 120 and an elderly 132 is not enormous. I may be overreacting to my current container sized for 160/160, long and flat.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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davelepka

If you're a big enough guy to load a 120 at 1.9, then I don't know what you mean by 'max mobility' in freefall.



Specifically, back and shoulder flexibility doing 4-way. It's not an aerodynamic consideration at all.

(Secondary consideration: lugging a bulky rig around for extended periods in the tunnel sucks.)

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If your current container is on the bigger side for your 132, then just get a new one that fits the 132 'snug' with a perfectly sized harness, and you'll be all set.



I hear ya. And I appreciate the replies.

[edit to add, in response to PM: my problem with the Katana was not about performance, it was about having jumped a borrowed one for a while earlier this season and disliked it.]
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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I'm 5'4" and jump a container designed for a 150/150, and don't find it to be too big for anything (have done 4-way, 10-way, and bigways). You can do 4-way with any size that fits your canopy-flying style.

You might want to demo some other manufacturers -- it might be that particular container.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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The main will be a 120, loaded somewhere between 1.8 and 1.9.....I have historically mostly jumped Pilots and loved them, but am unhappy about their landing performance when loaded this heavily.



1. I was unhappy with the flare of the pilot at any wingloading.
2. Any conventional canopy at that WL is not going to be great. My Stiletto at 1.8 needs speed or high winds to get a good landing. So I have to double front, or hook, or thud in and prepare to PLF.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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I think the idea your container is too large is all in your head. :P

Honestly, doing RW I don't even notice mine and it's sized for a 135/150 main and similar reserve... and you have around 20lbs on me probably. ;)

Based on bonfire discussions, etc I'd go with an Xfire2 up at those loadings but if you aren't swooping why not just stick with a 135 and an Optimum in a right-sized container? Nitrons fly great straight in (and swoop nice) but I don't know what happens to them when you load the crap out of them. Max weight is listed as 210 for a 120 anyway... a 135 would probably work well and they open great... better than a Sabre 2 at least. :P
NSCR-2376, SCR-15080

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My Velocity 90 loaded @ 2.3ish lands wonderfully straight in. The Velo 84 @ 2.4ish lands beautifully straight in. In fact, every single modern ZP canopy I have ever jumped has landed exactly the same while doing a straight in approach...like it was designed to be able to land properly with no added speed for landing.

What I have learned, however, is that most non-crossbraced non-fully elliptical canopies loaded greater than 1.8:1 suffer greatly and do not perform at thier best. Some do, but most, especially the semi-elliptical, aren't the canopy I would choose for a higher wingloading.

I have only jumped 30ish different modern ZP canopies (some same planform in different sizes), though, so it could be a fluke.

If someone tells you a canopy needs speed or a turn to land properly, they may not be the best person to listen to for canopy advice. While a canopy pilot might like the speed, the canopy doesn't need it. Consider this...if a canopy pilot completes a turn high, then they have essentially done a straight in landing. I have seen people who say a canopy "needs" speed repeatedly turn high and have a more than 10 second recovery after completing the turn (which negates almost all added forward speed in these cases) and then stand up their landing. Think about all the swoopers that plane out high and stand it up...

In fact, the Stiletto Flight characteristics document specifically states: ": An aggressive approach should not be required on either canopy, with
proper technique. The Stiletto lands nicely when making a straight, full glide approach and
carefully executing the flare. The result is similar to what can be achieved with a Sabre, but is a
little less forgiving of poor technique than the Sabre, especially in the case of over controlling."
http://performancedesigns.com/docs/stiletto.pdf

Please read this article from PD, specifically section V, before making a choice about canopy/rig sizes based on perceived comfort. http://performancedesigns.com/docs/packvol.pdf

If you have an issue with mobility, perhaps the better option would be to look at different rig manufacturers or change your body shape/flexibility via working out or reducing bulk/adding flexibility in your workout routine.

You may consider demoing a canopy such as the Pulse, which has a low bulk bottom skin. This, combined with a reserve made of low bulk fabric, would allow you to have a rig sized for a 126 reserve/135 main with a 143 reserve/150ish main. I personally didn't care for the Pulse that much, but I know many that love it. I believe Aerodyne also has a low bulk fabric, and there may be others.

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I would recommend you to read on the specification and for what the canopy was made for.
I jumped a pilot 117 loading it at 1.9, never had a bad landing, but as I was done flaring the canopy was behind me collapse, then read about it and it is not recommended to load it pass 1.6.
Then I flew a Velo 111 and it was WAY way better than the pilot, coming straight in or doing harness turns.

I think for the loading and not planing any HP landings a saber2 and a safire2 will do you wonders. a crossfire loaded at 1.8/1.9 will be on the less forgiving side than the saber/safire, but the openings are awesome.

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I don't know what you mean by 'max mobility' in freefall.

Specifically, back and shoulder flexibility doing 4-way. It's not an aerodynamic consideration at all.



That's not related to the size of your container, that's a problem with the size of your harness. It's two different things, just like (in your case) the size of your container isn't related to the size of your canopy. Just like you can get a different harness with the same container, you can also get a different container with your same canopy. You could have both a better fitting harness and a smaller container without having to downsize your canopy.

What I'm hearing from you is that a faster canopy is not something you're really 'wanting'. You might be willing to jump one, but all of the 'reasons' you stated for wanting to downsize were related to harness/container issues, not the desire for a faster canopy. When you combine that idea with the facts that you're already at a fairly high WL, and that you have no plans to really 'use' a faster canopy, it just doesn't make sense.

It would be like a guy who drives Subaru WRX somewhere it snows for 5 months out of the year, who then decides he wants a Ferrari, but that he has no plans to drive it any faster than the WRX. The WRX is a nice car, pretty fast, and does OK in the snow, where the Ferrari is also nice, more expensive to buy and maintain, and will be shit in the snow. If you were planning to drive the wheels of the Ferrari when the roads are dry, it might be worth all the downsides because the performance would be sublime, but it you're not planning to do anything more with it than you already do with the WRX, why take on the all the downsides?

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You are right.

I do not particularly want to go faster under canopy - I just want a less bulky rig on my back - specifically, I find my current container (V347, long and wide and flat) annoying when I am moving around in my fairly upright mantis during 4-way.

My current canopy is fine.

With this in mind I'm heading in the direction of a specific container size, from a manufacturer that offers a short/narrow option. It'll take an Optimum 143 and should fit my well-broken-in Pilot, or potentially a 130-ish "whatever", and will be dramatically less hungry for back real estate.

Thank all of you for your replies, this is exactly the kind of input I was hoping for.

(To the people who point out that I do not need this because better 4-way jumpers than me deal with proportionally larger rigs, you are right too. But I need a second rig to train with next season so I am in the market; why not get one that I like to spend a lot of time flying in?)
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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Overall, you're making a very good choice. It's a real 'turning point' in a jumper career when they decide that their canopy is 'small enough', and they end the drive to keep going smaller.

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To the people who point out that I do not need this because better 4-way jumpers than me deal with proportionally larger rigs, you are right too.



No, they're not. Again, it's not the size of the rig, it's the harness that you're having issue with. Restriction in the shoulder/yoke are (as you indicated) is all harness related. Every container is about the same up in that area, but harnesses can be vastly different.

If your rig was wider than your body, or was so long that your butt was touching your BOC when you tried to arch, that's a container size issue for sure.

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If someone tells you a canopy needs speed or a turn to land properly, they may not be the best person to listen to for canopy advice



4,000 jumps on a 1.8+ loaded Stiletto makes me a pretty good resource on what a 1.8+ loaded Stiletto will do in pretty much all phases of flight.

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Consider this...if a canopy pilot completes a turn high, then they have essentially done a straight in landing.



And when they do that, they need to make other plans for the landing.

From your own source: "Both canopies have been frequently flown at wing loadings over 2.0 lbs per square foot for thousands of jumps at sea level, including straight in landings in no wind. We do not recommend such extreme loading and actually feel such extremes may compromise both safety and performance"

CAN it be done? Yes, is it a good idea? NOPE.

In fact PD does not recomend the Stiletto over 1.7
http://www.performancedesigns.com/stiletto.asp

I have landed an FX 88 straight in, and it works great, landing a Stiletto at that same WL without speed would be a bad idea. I have a few jumps on the Stiletto 89, and I don't think I would have tried it. I never landed the FX69 straight in, but I *think* it could have been done safely. But it was so easy to keep in a dive it was never an issue.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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maybe demo a few different rigs.
So far I am pretty happy with the voodoo Curve, we had many people jumping all sizes for that container and everyone is really, really happy for what they got.
They are really comfortable and they look sharp.
I have jumped wings, javelin reflex and stuff and so far the Curv is like a dream.

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