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Station24

Downsize: 170 @ 1.0 to 150 @ 1.1

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Hi all, I'm currently jumping a rental Sabre2 170 at 0.97:1 WL, and recently purchased a new Micron with a Sabre2 150, which will put my WL at 1.1:1. I won't have the new rig in hand until September, and I plan on getting in about another 30-40 jumps on the 170 before then. I've put about 30 jumps on the 170, felt comfortable on it from the first jump, and can flat-turn, flare-turn and land with rear risers. I feel like I'll be ready for the 150, but I want to be very careful about downsizing. The rig can fit a Pulse 170, and I'd buy one if I felt it necessary, but I would very much like to fly the 150 as it will cut through turbulence more effectively, and make for a much more fun ride :) No swooping planned, btw. Any and all wisdom/opinions/thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

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I'm limited in experience but i would do a canopy course if your DZ offers one and then ask the instructor to evaluate your canopy skills to determine if your ready to downsize. It's not so much the jump numbers but how proficient you are under canopy. Do you stand up all landings? Can you land the canopy exactly where you want? Can you flat turn below 100 ft comfortably? etc....

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but I would very much like to fly the 150 as it will cut through turbulence more effectively

that's not really a good reason to downsize, in fact my 150 @ 1.35 or so still gets rattled pretty good in turbulence

a 150@1.1 isn't really "danger zone" but, that said it's about to get hot in SoCal and the landings are going to be fast on no-wind days with the density altitude factored in as well due to the heat increase... just bear that in mind

plenty of non-swoopers have augured in under all sizes of canopies so just because you aren't hooking it doesn't mean you're off the hook... ;)

btw, get downsizing advice from people who have actually seen you land; math and the wingload charts are just a general guideline
NSCR-2376, SCR-15080

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Any and all wisdom/opinions/thoughts appreciated.



Have you done enough jumping with others to get a sense of whether you'll be someone who will likely need to wear weights on some or all skydives? If so, make that a consideration in your wingloading choice.

You don't want to put yourself in a position where you're afraid to wear weights if you need them to be able to fly comfortably in the middle of your range.

(This may not be relevant at all depending on your build/frame, but I thought I'd throw that out just in case as I was just having a similar conversation with a newer jumper who is on a 170 now and considering whether/when to move down to a 150, and who has a build such that he'll likely need weights on a lot of jumps).
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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mattjw916

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but I would very much like to fly the 150 as it will cut through turbulence more effectively

that's not really a good reason to downsize,



+1. If that means you might make a decision to jump in more turbulent conditions then that is a huge negative.
"What if there were no hypothetical questions?"

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@Southern_Man Agreed - I know my limits with turbulence and I'm not looking to push them, at all. As I've gone from a 230 to 210 to 190 to 170, I feel more stable in the air and my glide path feels more predictable. My goal is to find a balance of stability in the air and a safe landing speed. Am I thinking about this in the wrong way?

I'll have some of the experienced folks at the DZ watch my landings and get their thoughts - thanks for your feedback, really appreciate it.

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Station24

@Southern_Man Agreed - I know my limits with turbulence and I'm not looking to push them, at all. As I've gone from a 230 to 210 to 190 to 170, I feel more stable in the air and my glide path feels more predictable. My goal is to find a balance of stability in the air and a safe landing speed. Am I thinking about this in the wrong way?

I'll have some of the experienced folks at the DZ watch my landings and get their thoughts - thanks for your feedback, really appreciate it.



Sounds like you've downsized 4 times in 60 jumps? That's 15 jumps per canopy? Sometimes, putting it into perspective sheds new light. B|
Birdshit & Fools Productions

"Son, only two things fall from the sky."

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skyjumpenfool

***@Southern_Man Agreed - I know my limits with turbulence and I'm not looking to push them, at all. As I've gone from a 230 to 210 to 190 to 170, I feel more stable in the air and my glide path feels more predictable. My goal is to find a balance of stability in the air and a safe landing speed. Am I thinking about this in the wrong way?

I'll have some of the experienced folks at the DZ watch my landings and get their thoughts - thanks for your feedback, really appreciate it.



Sounds like you've downsized 4 times in 60 jumps? That's 15 jumps per canopy? Sometimes, putting it into perspective sheds new light. B|

Maybe he's a natural at this [:/]

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I know! Well technically I've downsized three times but nonetheless you're right. The S&TA signed off on each downsize, and each downsize has felt safer to me - better control over the canopy, and more predictable, stable flight. I weigh just under 150 lbs. The 230 felt like I was steering a bus, and tossed me all over the place. Only flew it twice before switching to a 210.

I know there's a critical point at which the safety gained in terms of stable flight will be outweighed by the dangers of too fast of a landing, and I'm hoping to get people's opinions on it. Also, if I'm thinking about it all wrong, let me know as well :)

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... 150 as it will cut through turbulence more effectively ...

...................................................................................

Careful with that logic ... just because you can buy a fancier canopy does not justify taking increased risks.

Sure, the other young jumpers will brave winds 20, gusting suicidal ... but you will see POPS sitting out the gustiest part of the afternoon. Those POPS sport an assortment of scars, stitches, knee braces and limps from when they exceed their gust limits.

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GooniesKid

******@Southern_Man Agreed - I know my limits with turbulence and I'm not looking to push them, at all. As I've gone from a 230 to 210 to 190 to 170, I feel more stable in the air and my glide path feels more predictable. My goal is to find a balance of stability in the air and a safe landing speed. Am I thinking about this in the wrong way?

I'll have some of the experienced folks at the DZ watch my landings and get their thoughts - thanks for your feedback, really appreciate it.



Sounds like you've downsized 4 times in 60 jumps? That's 15 jumps per canopy? Sometimes, putting it into perspective sheds new light. B|

Maybe he's a natural at this [:/]

I was trying really hard not to make any assumptions here. I simply was doing the math out loud.

To the OP... I'm not buying the "it's too big and slow" line. That 170 is a great canopy to learn a lot about canopy flight. Play with it up high. Get it to turn, dive, spin, and stall. Find it's limits. (ask an instructor how to do this)

Have you pulled the right toggle slightly while also pulling the left Front riser? See what that does. Have you figured out the best way to get back from a long spot with that canopy? There is soooo much more to be learned from that 170.....B|
Birdshit & Fools Productions

"Son, only two things fall from the sky."

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Since you asked (and my opinion is worth what you paid for it): Not a good idea and I wouldn't recommend it to a student of mine.

Two reasons right off the bat:

- 1.1:1 is a pretty sharp wingloading for someone with less than a hundred jumps (and some people well beyond that).

- 150 is getting into small canopy territory, where wingloading stops being a linear prediction of performance. A 150 at 1.1:1 is a very different beast to a 190 at 1.1:1.

When there are two 'bad idea' factors, it's definitely time to think very hard about what you are doing and why. I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that you have one now, and it's looking at you saying go on... I'll be fun... I'm right here... :P

(Also, I agree with the various people who are worried about your 'cutting through turbulence' position. There might be reasons for you to get that 150, but that is not one I would feel all right about telling someone.)

The Sabre2 is actually an aggressive canopy, for the class. There is a reason people train swooping on them! If you absolutely must jump your Micron, then I would strongly recommend putting something else in there - either a more docile 150, or (really for preference) a low pack volume 170.
--
"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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Conventional wisdom would caution you against downsizing that fast, but conventional wisdom needs to account for everyone, to include the pilots with aptitude and skills to the left of bell curve center.
You should be asking people at your DZ who can evaluate your landings and ultimately asking yourself how much risk you would like to assume.

If you wanna fly a smaller canopy it's on you.
If you can land the smaller canopy well, fly it well, build/maintain a good situational awareness in the shorter/faster canopy ride, do all of the same on a smaller reserve, and are comfortable with the fact that any trees, fences, or people you hit will be at a much higher speed then you should be fine.

Ask yourself honest questions.
SCR 15081, SCS 8334, TDS 893

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OccupytheSky

Conventional wisdom would caution you against downsizing that fast, but conventional wisdom needs to account for everyone, to include the pilots with aptitude and skills to the left of bell curve center



If we are talking about the same source of 'conventional wisdom', then it's aimed at the talented kids who are getting coaching as well as the average Joe. It says so right on the tin.

Claiming otherwise is almost done by people who want to ignore it and pretend there is justification... and because we all think we're above average, the results are predictable - a population whose canopy choices all gradually creep further and further to the north of OK.

Full disclosure: I was that guy too. Looking back, forcing myself to be honest? Luck. Just blind luck. And getting crap advice including the words "you'll probably be OK on it, just fly careful."
--
"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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@Joellercoaster and skyjumpenfool: Solid advice, thanks. It's not here yet, but it's on order, will be in hand in Sept. I've been playing around with the 170 and learned a lot with it this weekend. I've done a few long spots, and I'm going through Bill von Novak's downsizing checklist. I'm going to be jumping with instructors next time, and I'm going to see what they think as well. I've made great progress on the 170 Sabre2, but I'm leaning towards picking up a low pack volume 170 for the new rig, based on your advice. I'll see how I progress over the next few months and see what instructors have to say about it after seeing a few of my landings. Thanks again all.

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