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Sky_doggy

Why are canopies of 150 square feet considered high performance?

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No offense but everyone has there opinion but the majority of opinions are coming from the "majority" which are heavier...usually by alot heavier.....for the relevance of the the original forum poster...experienced lighter people should be the only ones that can give any relevance to this original forum post...it cant be argued or tested any other way..coz people can add weight and experience higher wing loadings on any canopies but heavier ppl cant do the opposite....just how it is....
FTMC

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LOL yeah, righ!
"chord" in Italian sounds like "corda" which means line B| and I couldn't remember the word "span" to save my life, I had been thinking for that word for days now, all I could come up with was "canopy width" which was very confusing. Thanks! :

I'm standing on the edge
With a vision in my head
My body screams release me
My dreams they must be fed... You're in flight.

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.experienced lighter people should be the only ones that can give any relevance to this original forum post..



That's like saying that only people who have stuck their hand in fire know whether it will burn you. My perspective starts years ago with a girl at my old DZ whose very experienced boyfriend put her on a small canopy at a 1:1 ratio and now she has a broken back and now doesn't get around very well.

You can't just say "well, that's like, your opinion, dude" about something every major manufacturer agrees upon. You may as well argue against math.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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I think the proper term for line to span ratio is epsilon or something, but we tend to just call it the canopy arc. Although the lines scale with size, the risers and harness don't. If anything I would guess that wing loading being the same, smaller canopies are twitchier on the roll, and have a longer recovery arc.

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What I find entertaining is peoples attitudes to canopy flight. I started off as a sub 60kg jumper on rounds and then a 288 square footer.

I hear things like going backwards is dangerous etc. Learn to spot and you have a steerable parachute so it is not as big a drama as people make it to be. Smaller jumpers have plenty of challenges that are much higher priority than being on a lightly loaded modern parachute.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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skez

Understood...and also i dont think sabre1the sabre1 150 still handles like a mini base canopy..and i cant even stall it on toggles

well then you're not taking enough wraps;)
i have on occasion been accused of pulling low . My response. Naw I wasn't low I'm just such a big guy I look closer than I really am .


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For me personally, the jury is still out on how much risk is added when one puts someone light on a small canopy.

I've heard tales of people scaring themselves or getting injured (like DJL's example). But I've also heard tales that go the other way, that some small girl loved it when they got a smaller canopy that actually maneuvered and flared decently, that the heavier guys just didn't know what they were talking about, holding them back from a still moderate canopy loading just because the canopy is small. There was one good post about that from a female jumper recently but I can't find it at the moment.

Every jumper is different in their skills and aggressiveness however.


Skimming over other threads about small women and canopy sizes, below there are a variety of different opinions, usually from the smaller female jumpers themselves, to see what they thought. It's a bit of a literature review!

It can still be hard to tell what size canopy is appropriate. Generally though, progressing one size at a time if at all possible is still a good test to see if a jumper is comfortable with the canopy in a range of landing conditions. (Although you'll see below there are still a couple cases where a jumper thought they were fine but one more size down was a little much.)

For each opinion, I've paraphrased what that author thought at the time or what the lessons are:

'Even just one downsize got a bit scary'--
Quote

I can tell you that as a small jumper [...]myself, when I went from testing a 190 to a 150, I barely noticed the difference.. But even at a wing-loading of less than 1:1 on a 135, the difference was shocking



'Small canopies can be dangerous even at a reasonable wing loading'--
Quote

As a super tiny person who has broken myself into pieces under a perfectly good canopy the biggest thing I've learned is that Wing Loading does NOT drive canopy performance.



'A downsize even to .8 wing load for a light jumper was too fast - for someone just on their second or third jump'--
Quote

I weigh a bit under 120 and had my very first jump on a big guy (don't have my log book here, but it was a 240 or 250). However, they moved me down to a 190 for my SECOND jump! And then for my third jump yesterday, I was on another 190 I believe, but a "faster" model and wow did that thing give me some scares. Personally, I wish that they'd put me back on a larger canopy, but the rigs don't fit me AT ALL, so I have to go smaller. That canopy yesterday was squirrely and when I would turn, I felt like I was coming right out from under it (for lack of a better description). [...]I hit some rough air at one point and had a serious fright. [...]. My landing was insane. I had no idea when to flare this guy and ended up coming in for a fast slide on my butt across the grass.



'Being forced to stay likely too conservative due to applying downsizing rules that may be prudent but are not normally applied 100% especially at the novice level'--
Quote

I weigh 140lbs and fly a student rig that is a Nav 260. I started on a Nav 280 and was allowed to go down a size once I'd done a couple of landings on my feet and demonstrated good canopy handling for my experience level. [...]

My wingloading is very small [...] 0.65
I frequently struggle to fly into wind and make any progress. Facing into wind, I have landed backwards once, and have frequently dropped straight down, or been flying backwards until a couple of hundred feet when I started to slowly progress forwards again for a gentle landing.

I asked my CCI yesterday if I could downsize to a Nav 240 student rig and got a huge great lecture on how I should be able to fly my canopy any which way, on front and rear risers, land in the same place consistently under any wind conditions, into wind, crosswind and downwind before any consideration of downsizing.



'Rapid downsizing helped at one point, but eventually the limits were reached and it became a problem -- and that's partially because factors related to skills, and not just jumps/canopy size/wingloading, weren't being taken into account.'--
Quote

The first was so big I was landing backwards and being dragged back as soon as I was on the ground. Same with the 220. The 190 started feeling better because flaring / turning was a lot easier, but the rig itself was still huge - I was afraid of falling out of it (maybe an unrealistic fear, but I felt very uncomfortable). The 150 was dreamy because so agile. By this point everyone thought a 135 was perfectly fine. To me, this is the point at which the canopy suddenly felt very radical. I didn't feel in control - I felt scared.

Looking back, I didn't understand landing patterns. I didn't know when to flare. I didn't know how to do flat turns. I consistently landed wherever the canopy took me, with no notion of where that was going to be until the last minute, I violently plf'd on almost every landing. I landed off the dropzone several times. I had a bad body position on opening, causing line twists on more than one occasion... I was, well, a typical beginner. Unsure The difference being that my canopy skills developped SLOWER because I was changing so much. It took me a long time to learn to fly what I have now - it was definitely a BAD way to go.



'It is about jump numbers too, not just wing load (by a male instructor)'--
Quote

At my DZ, I have male 100 jump wonders loading 170 elipticals to 1.25. A female jumper with 500 dives bought a Crossfire 109 - and caused a mild (but contained) revolt among our Instructors. It was only when I pointed out that she was loading the canopy to 1.15 (She's 103lbs) that they began to shift their moans to the "smaller canopy - more rapid response - shorter lines" argument, and I again pointed out that there were male jumpers at the same experience level on the same size canopies loaded to 1.8. Now they're quieter.

Too heavily loaded is bad, but a moderate (1.0) should be attainable by nearly all jumpers prior to 100 dives, unless they're elderly, frail, in poor shape, jumping at high surface elevation, jumping in hot conditions, are uncurrent, etc.



'After downsizing step by step, an unexpectedly small canopy was actually preferable'--
Quote

my first instructor mike advised that i get a sabre120 for my first canopy... my eyes got wide and i thought he was kidding. but he was right, as i demo-ed the 150 down to the 135, i found that i could actually control a canopy loaded at 1:1. it was night and day. i've come to the personal conclusion that many females become timid under even large canopies thinking they're being safe, but really the parachute is controlling them instead of vice-versa. i agree some people aren't made for shit hot parachutes, but a reasonable .8 - 1.0 wingloading (like bytch stated) for new canopy pilots is ideal in my opinion



'The problem of guys pushing girls too fast at times, and holding them back at times (once the girls have more jumps)'--
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I do believe that men are pretty sexist in skydiving when it comes to girls under big or little parachutes. Everyday I hear people telling girls that they need to fly smaller parachutes to wing load better, but when I hear them tell a girl with 48 jumps at 120lbs that she should get a sabre 120 I kind of want to open my mouth and say something. A 120 is still a 120 whether you're 100lbs or 200lbs. It's still getting into the range of high performance, and someone with 48 jumps shouldn't be getting that high performance until they can land where they want all the time and land standing (almost) all the time. Sure putting her on a 210 would be even more stupid, but going straight to a 1:1 could be lethal.

On the other side, however, yes, guys do put up quite a stink when girls get good at anything they do. I don't think it happens just in skydiving. Being a woman and getting taken seriously for anything, especially if it's in an area that is male dominated, is as hard as finding all the spiders in your walls.



'Guys holding girls back (once girls have more jumps)'--
Quote

The reason the majority of women are out there jumping boats is because most of us lack the agressive attitude and nature that it takes to learn our canopies and downsize. Thats it. It's not because we tend to have poorer depth perception. It's because we're all being a bunch of "pussies" and need to go out there and behave like the bad-asses that we are. We need to quit being so scared and letting the men boss us around.. "You've got 400 jumps, weigh 120 lbs and want a stiletto 120?? Wait till you've got 400 more jumps sweetheart!"
[...]
I love my guy friends in this sport, but honestly? C'mon fellas quit treating us like little girls and maybe we won't interfere with your 270 on our big school bus canopies.



'It can be tough for small women to get the right sized canopies at some DZ's and that impedes having a steady downsizing progression'--
Quote


I think a lot of it has to do with being smaller than men and not having as much upper body strength to flare those 200+ sq ft beasts. Since at .4 you don't fly those things they just kind of float strait down, which means you don't learn much if anything about canopy control. Then depending on the DZ and rental gear you may not be able to rent or borrow gear to put 20 or so jumps on in the 190 range and usually end up jumping down to a 170 for 15 or so jumps cause a smaller guy had one you could borrow. So you didn't learn much on the 200 and are trying to play catch up on the 170, and you may or may not decide to stay there and lets say you already have bought a 150 cause at .8 that is a conservative wingloading (per your instructors). Now you really have to play catch up, you finally have a canopy that has drive, it responds, it's fun, but you aren't use to the ground speed on landing, you have a few bad landings or maybe you don't, but you are scared on landing due to being in over your head.

Now if you are lucky you have canopy coaches and instructors who can help you through those 1st 50 jumps on that new canopy, you over come your fear and by jump 100 you are ready for a 135. If you are not lucky, you continue to biff your landings because you never learned how to fly a canopy on student status and no one is able to help you now that you are on your own.



'Over-conservative recommendations for small women'--
Quote


When I was first looking at gear, I received a wide range of recommendations about what to buy and for me, it was very confusing. I didn't know who to trust, and I certainly didn't want to be unsafe. Some instructors told me I was crazy just to be jumping a 170 with only 15 jumps (despite having okay landings, a wing loading of only .81, and the recommendation of the instructors and coaches I was jumping with). That certainly didn't help to build my confidence as a canopy pilot. As a low timer, I didn't know what to do. Thankfully, I had an instructor and friend who sat down with me and really talked about things and helped me filter through all the information. I only wish this was available to more small women. Don't get me wrong, I know almost all instructors are willing to give advice to newbies, but I don't understand the thinking behind telling a 105 pound woman to buy a 170 as her first canopy when a 170 was available to rent as a student at the DZ (and yes, I've heard an instructor give this advice).



'Small canopies are still small canopies (says an experienced male instructor)'--
Quote

I can count more examples of small woman on small canopies hurting themselves or flying the wings poorly AT LOW JUMP NUMBERS (sub 200) than I know woman who've been just fine under them.

Every single one of the ones that hurt themselves or were having terrible landings were NOT doing any fancy high speed landings. Ironcally the worst injured of the bunch was a girl jumping a 120 loaded at 1:1. Long spot, low turn into the wind, major surgery later.

A small canopy is still a small canopy, no matter what it's loaded at...that is simply a fact, like it or not.


(Note that it sounds like in some cases there was a visible clue that the canopy wasn't right for the jumper - they were having terrible landings)

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I was meaning that heavier people will have different experience on a 150 and cant really relate to weather its starts getting hectic even for lighter jumpers....and I'm not saying that a light jumper should go straight to a 150 sabre coz there not high performance etc so its ok...thats not what i meant its still alot of canopy downsizes for even a lighter jumper...follow the downsizing chart and downsize when your ready and all that.. for me a 150 sabre with my weight is very docile i dont know why people think im talking shit but at they end of the day ill probably hurt myself on anything lol
FTMC

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You are missing the point. It has nothing to do with jumper size/wing-loading.

The USPA SIM (Section 5-3) says:

Quote

Any parachute 150 square feet or smaller is considered a high-performance parachute and falls into the D license guideline regardless of the wing loading.



The OPs question was (quite reasonably):

Quote

Could someone help me understand why canopies of 150 square feet or less are deemed high performance?



The intent of the SIM is quite clear that it is not WL dependent.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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Ok fair enough so someone a little bit heavier then me running the exact same wingloading on a 170 sabre as me on 150sabre is apparently so different i am considered to be flying a high performance canopy but the other person isnt...i just havent noticed this massive high performance transition when i downsized lol i must just have mad skills:)

FTMC

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pchapman

For me personally, the jury is still out on how much risk is added when one puts someone light on a small canopy.



My thoughts also. There are a lot of variables, too many to set a hard and fast rule of 150 square feet. People tend to turn "rules of thumb" into "hard and fast" rules without thinking about why.

Quote

Generally though, progressing one size at a time if at all possible is still a good test to see if a jumper is comfortable with the canopy in a range of landing conditions.



Unfortunately, I think that not many people have that variety of canopies/rigs to work with, and that is too bad, because I think that type of progression is very good.

Quote

For each opinion, I've paraphrased what that author thought at the time or what the lessons are:



Wow. That took a while. Thank you for a very good job.

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DocPop

You are missing the point. It has nothing to do with jumper size/wing-loading.

The USPA SIM (Section 5-3) says:

Quote

Any parachute 150 square feet or smaller is considered a high-performance parachute and falls into the D license guideline regardless of the wing loading.



The OPs question was (quite reasonably):

***Could someone help me understand why canopies of 150 square feet or less are deemed high performance?



The intent of the SIM is quite clear that it is not WL dependent.


All the downsizing charts i have read say that a very light weight jumper can jump a 150 at only 40 jumps its the minimum size but its still allowed? I could be wrong but just seems weird coz apparently any loading of any 150 is high performance
FTMC

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skez

***You are missing the point. It has nothing to do with jumper size/wing-loading.

The USPA SIM (Section 5-3) says:

Quote

Any parachute 150 square feet or smaller is considered a high-performance parachute and falls into the D license guideline regardless of the wing loading.



The OPs question was (quite reasonably):

***Could someone help me understand why canopies of 150 square feet or less are deemed high performance?



The intent of the SIM is quite clear that it is not WL dependent.


All the downsizing charts i have read say that a very light weight jumper can jump a 150 at only 40 jumps its the minimum size but its still allowed? I could be wrong but just seems weird coz apparently any loading of any 150 is high performance

People are just losing their frame of reference with modern canopies.

20 years ago any wingloading on a 170 would have been considered high performance. Canopy performance has WAY outstripped how we teach and deal with canopy flight.

I have quite often heard 135 Sabre 2's referenced as good 'intermediate' canopies recently. The problem is people are no longer referencing flight characteristics and the skills needed to fly a parachute, but rather the fact that 'up jumpers' are on 70-80 sq foot parachutes - therefore something 1.5 times bigger must be safe.

It is misguided and people are blaming the tools for their poor skills.

Side note - a tiny person who struggles to flair a parachute, can they actually cutaway or pull any reserve handle (I know of one case where they couldn't - fortunately caught by the instructors prior to allowing them to jump)
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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nigel99

Side note - a tiny person who struggles to flair a parachute, can they actually cutaway or pull any reserve handle (I know of one case where they couldn't - fortunately caught by the instructors prior to allowing them to jump)



Damn good question (and quite relevant to this discussion too.) Thanks for bringing that up. How many of you have replaced that worn out Velcro on the practice harness recently so that the cutaway handle doesn't just fall off?

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peek

***Side note - a tiny person who struggles to flair a parachute, can they actually cutaway or pull any reserve handle (I know of one case where they couldn't - fortunately caught by the instructors prior to allowing them to jump)



Damn good question (and quite relevant to this discussion too.) Thanks for bringing that up. How many of you have replaced that worn out Velcro on the practice harness recently so that the cutaway handle doesn't just fall off?

Ours has velcro on both sides to make it thougher than real life.
And it was replaced a few months ago.

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skez

I could be wrong but just seems weird coz apparently any loading of any 150 is high performance



I think you are getting way too hung up on the phrase "high performance". Forget about your Stiletto vs Sabre thing for a minute.

The SIM has that in there because we know, or strongly believe, some things:

1) Canopy dangerousness does not scale linearly with wing loading - rather, overall size plays a role.

2) It's a good idea to have this idea written into the safety manual, so people don't just go by wingloading.

3) The place where that curve seems to "bend" is somewhere around 150 (though there are people who would say 135).

4) You gotta choose a number. So choose the slightly more conservative one (or the one that most people who think about this issue seem believe, in this case).

So you can take the idea we're trying to convey as "Don't just go by wingloading; smaller canopies are not a good idea for beginners, here is a point where you should start being wary."
--
"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

***I could be wrong but just seems weird coz apparently any loading of any 150 is high performance



I think you are getting way too hung up on the phrase "high performance". Forget about your Stiletto vs Sabre thing for a minute.

The SIM has that in there because we know, or strongly believe, some things:

1) Canopy dangerousness does not scale linearly with wing loading - rather, overall size plays a role.

2) It's a good idea to have this idea written into the safety manual, so people don't just go by wingloading.

3) The place where that curve seems to "bend" is somewhere around 150 (though there are people who would say 135).

4) You gotta choose a number. So choose the slightly more conservative one (or the one that most people who think about this issue seem believe, in this case).

So you can take the idea we're trying to convey as "Don't just go by wingloading; smaller canopies are not a good idea for beginners, here is a point where you should start being wary."

I catch your drift and yeh i have been told by other people 135 is when things start getting bit more hectic etc....i agree with that more than 150 aswell...but yeh be conservative fair enough i get it i really do...but at the end of the day if someone my weight flies a original sabre 150 and wants to say its high performance then they really have issues flying a canopy and should have never downsized to it early...also it cool classing my old clapped out sabre 150 as high performance i always hated how lame it was but now i can say its high performance and if i ever sell it ill put in the add its a high performance machine just to warn lighter jumpers that must have a deathwish to fly it haha :ph34r:
FTMC

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for me a 150 sabre with my weight is very docile i dont know why people think im talking shit but at they end of the day ill probably hurt myself on anything lol



You also said you have a bunch of ground-launch experience so I'm sure it was no big deal. People do make a blanket statement and it's a good place to start the conversation, it's a benchmark. I've seen light people blow past that benchmark for BS reasons like they're afraid they won't be able to get back from a long spot and need better penetration when it gets windy (Oh, where to start with that one). The truth is that if you can't handle the canopy then hopefully you're smart enough to suck it up and get bored on a larger one.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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Why is it that every time somebody asks about this the experienced posters break out stories of Stilettos and Sabre2s?

The OP was asking about docile canopies like the Pilot or the Pulse.

And for those saying the toggle stroke on a 150 could be X-inches shorter than a 170, have you considered that the arms of somebody jumping a 150 at a <1.0 wingload might also be X-inches shorter than somebody jumping a 170 at a 1.0 wingload?

DocPop

You are missing the point. It has nothing to do with jumper size/wing-loading.

The OPs question was (quite reasonably):

Quote

Could someone help me understand why canopies of 150 square feet or less are deemed high performance?



The intent of the SIM is quite clear that it is not WL dependent.



But the OP didn't ask what the SIM said, the OP asked why. Keep in mind the SIM only applies to the USPA and not to foreign license issuing groups, many of which have differing opinions on the subject, and don't consider 150 to automatically be high performance regardless of any other factors?

DJL

You can't just say "well, that's like, your opinion, dude" about something every major manufacturer agrees upon. You may as well argue against math.



Yeah, well, that's like, just your opinion, dude.

http://www.performancedesigns.com/storm.aspx

Storm 135 - Novice Max Exit Weight 122 (55)

http://www.performancedesigns.com/pulse.aspx

Pulse 135 - Novice Max Exit Weight 110 (50)

http://www.nzaerosports.com/massive-information/choosing-a-canopy

Quote

Class 3 - Mid Range 1.0 to1.25lbs/SqFt

This mid range of canopy is a good bench mark to work from. These canopies are high enough wing loading to start having a little fun yet low enough that a reasonably competent low time jumper could handle one as a first canopy (check with your C.S.O.) and still have a canopy they want to be jumping in a couple of hundred jumps time.



In fact, the only major manufacturer that did restrict their canopy sizes to >150 for novices was Aerodyne. (Which is funny because their Pilot 150 was more squishy, slow, soft and docile at w/l 1.5 than a Sabre2 170 or Safire2 169 at 1.3.)

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Hello all!

Im just reading this interesring post 7 years later..

Is here anyone from the conversation to explain their experiences some years later and if they would change some arguments?

 

150 can be deadly in the bad hands. Its all about learning, training and be humble!

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(edited)

It is really an interesting topic. Lightweight jumpers have this weird problem. Stay safe and fly backwards untill you have enough jumps, or risk a wingload of 1 or 1.1 on a small canopy and try not to fuck up on finals. I've seen some unstable shit in the air when lightweight jumpers hanged under a big canopy in turbulent wind. The canopy pressure is so low it is almost unstable.

Edited by Maddingo

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I have about 500 jumps on sub 1.0 loading on old-style square mains (in those days canopies were bigger and I was lighter). Maybe it was because they weren't zero-P, but I never felt unstable, and the controllability and accuracy of the square were also superior to the round I'd been jumping before that. I have another 1600 or so on modern canopies at loadings up to about 1.4, so I do have some basis for comparison.

I understand the desire to downsize even if you don't want to swoop -- I did sell my perfectly-good old main and get a 150, and eventually go to a 135 for quite awhile. If nothing else, doing FS, I didn't want to be either the first or the last one down every.single.time. Not to mention the gear is lighter etc.

I've felt turbulence just as bad under the smaller canopies as larger ones. That might just be me, though.

Wendy P.

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(edited)

Listen to local jumpers and a local canopy coach.  The internet is full of well-meaning and often stuck in their ways people that offer bad advice for the situation you are in.

I unfortunately know multiple people who have broken themselves by flying underloaded canopies and getting unlucky with winds.  And my wife tore up her ankle ligaments by flying a canopy that was too small for her and getting unlucky with winds.  All at the same DZ.

So there are truly two sides of the coin, the one that you lose on is the one you neglect, and you absolutely should seek the advice of someone that is familiar with your surroundings, can watch your landings and mentor you to a safe progression.

Edited by lyosha
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(edited)

I would like to know the kinetic energy calculations of no flare impact of various canopy sizes at various WL as well as estimates of kinetic energy calculations of impact of various canopy sizes at various WL of mistimed flares after low turns.

If there are any math nerds here who would know how to do such calculations, I’d be interested in working on it with you.

Edited by BMAC615
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