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ChuteRequired

Aerodyne Pilot sweet spot

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Just jumped my Pilot for the first time this weekend. It's a 168 ZPX and loaded at about 1.1:1. I am finding that the sweet spot is at elbow level and to flare it you really have to get the toggles ALL the way to the bottom. Is that something that anyone else has experienced?

Mike

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I am finding that the sweet spot is at elbow level and to flare it you really have to get the toggles ALL the way to the bottom.



Yes, it is quite usual. Flare point suppose to be between elbow and shoulder level and you suppose to use the toggles all the way down.

Although it is not clear how your break settings would be. A sign of a good settings are you can not stall the canopy with toggles unless you loop it around your fist, but you should be close to the stall point. Other limit could be that you would not pull breaks along the front risers together.

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I jumped Pilots in the 150, 132, 124 and 117 sizes, at approx 180lbs out the door. On each one I had to go to full arm extension to get the full flare (I'm 5'7"). The flare started to kick in properly around elbow level, then full extension to get the last bit of power for a soft landing.
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I've got about 10 jumps on my Pilot 168 at 1.3 and the sweet spot seems a little deeper than what I'm used to. Also, that spot doesn't seem as pronounced as other canopies that I've flown, such as a Sabre2 or Spectre. Not that it's a bad thing, just a little different.

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If you have short arms, the sweet spot for a Pilot is in someone else's container. The power of the flare is DEEP in the toggle stroke. I much prefer having power throughout the flare, not just at the bottom end.
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monkycndo

If you have short arms, the sweet spot for a Pilot is in someone else's container. The power of the flare is DEEP in the toggle stroke. I much prefer having power throughout the flare, not just at the bottom end.



Agree!

The OP's question/concern is common knowledge for people who have been around a while. Pilots are on the docile side of parachutes. It's one of the reasons new people and women like them.

People who like more dynamic flight and more power throughout the flare don't usually jump Pilots but are happier with canopies like the Sabre 2.
Be the canopy pilot you want that other guy to be.

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I think the Pilot has some great characteristics that many experienced jumpers value.

The factory brake length is definitely too long. After shortening them a few inches, and grabbing the top of the toggle to flare, the flare is really nice IMO.

Some imply that the flatter flying canopies like the Pilot don't have the flare power to "pop up" like the steeper trimmed wings such as the Sabre II. I have only flown a very small number of modern canopies (much greater number of different ancient canopies), but I can get my Pilot to pop up nicely even with my low WL.
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faulk04

I guess I'm a women because I still loving jumping my pilot after over 1000 jumps on them. You can't beat the openings on them and have no problem with the "Sweet" spot being deeper in the toggle stroke



and I'm still new :)
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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It's one of the reasons new people and women like them.



I'll just note that if anyone feels their masculinity threatened by being male and jumping a Pilot, I have seen working jumpers -- full timers at the DZ racking up the jumps -- flying some of the smaller Pilots because they are a reliable canopy that lets them down easily even after a long day of jumping.
(They aren't swoop machines but as one jumper demonstrated, you can still femur quite nicely!)

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Pilot 140 ZPX loaded at about 1.3 Sweet spot is about elbow level and I have to go to full arm extension on the flare. I also find you have to be a little patient with the canopy as it's slowing down. From my own experience with my pilot, If you fly a wingsuit snap up your jumpsuit legs and do not let them flow behind you. If the catch air while they are dangling behind you your forward speed under canopy will be a lot slower and the extra drag will increase your stall speed under the Pilot so a full arm extension on the flare will set you on your rear end. Happened to me jumping in the Netherlands. Fortunately I was landing in tall grass and the landing didn't hurt at all but I always stow my jumpsuit legs after opening now.

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faulk04

I guess I'm a women because I still loving jumping my pilot after over 1000 jumps on them. You can't beat the openings on them and have no problem with the "Sweet" spot being deeper in the toggle stroke



I agree the openings are nice on a Pilot. But have seen way too many people, mostly women, with shorter arms that just can't reach the sweet spot of the Pilot's flare power. They wonder why their landings suck. Simple, either shorten their brake lines till there is no slack in the lines, or take a wrap or two. Both options are less than optimal. For an equally nice opening and better flare, I would suggest the Safire2. Or Silhouette. Or Nitron.
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monkycndo

...Simple, either shorten their brake lines till there is no slack in the lines, or take a wrap or two. Both options are less than optimal...



I am not familiar with the steering lines length of the Pilot (I just jump them a couple of times). But alternatively, for this short of situations, you can see if getting longer risers is a solution for your case. Not so long that you can't reach the slider, but longer than the current ones. This way the distance between the edge of the tail and your arms at the bottom of the flare is increased, and has a similar effect to shortening the steering lines, without some of the problems that it *might* (not necessarily so) cause.

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I guess I'm a women because I still loving jumping my pilot after over 1000 jumps on them. You can't beat the openings on them and have no problem with the "Sweet" spot being deeper in the toggle stroke



While plenty of women may also find the sweet spot tends to be deeper in the toggle stroke, if your pilot is MANgenta then you're good to go dude.

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I have 500+ jumps on Pilots loaded 1.1 to 2.1.

A lot of people interpret a canopy with the flare deeper in the toggle stroke as having less flare. This isn't the case. If you want to pop up, just get down to the meaty part of the flare quicker. I think the Pilot has more shut down than the Sabre2, and it becomes more noticeable at higher wing loadings. You just need to tug the yonkles down to the correct level.

Options include shortening your brake lines.

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I have been jumping Pilots for the last 500 jumps (150-140-132, WL 1.28-1.45). As I was starting to do lots of front riser landings (double fronts and 90 degree turns) I noticed that I had quite some tail deflection and also buckling when I exceeded a certain input level on the fronts. To get completely rid of the input I had to extend the steering lines by about 4 inches on my current 132 (although I should mention that I bought the canopy used with about 50 jumps on it and do not know if there have been any changes made before - anyways I jumped a 132 Pilot of a fellow jumper some time ago and the flarepoint was definitely much, much higher on his canopy). While it is quite an extreme difference to some other canopies I tested and jumped and you really have to flare all the way to get the most out of the canopy it is definitely possible to get nice stopping power even in downwinds around 15 knots.

If anyone of you has problems with hard landings I suppose you let one of your friends film you on landing and check if you really use every inch you have and also do not let your hands up anymore once you are just a few inches above the ground (this is a mistake I notice very regularly on students and novice jumpers). The pilot is a very nice and possibly one of the greatest student transition and intermediate canopies out there and a lack of flarepower is probably caused by bad technique and not bad material.
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A friend of mine had the same problem with his Pilot 210. He checked the steering lines length and everything seems OK. But he kept on complaining about the lack of flare power. First of all you have to check your risers length for if you have 19" long risers, they can be too short to allow you to get a full flare at normal arm extension. If you have 23" inches risers, that can possibly solve your problem.
Finally, at my suggestion, I shortened his steering lines by 2 ½ inches which greatly had him getting better flares.
Learn from others mistakes, you will never live long enough to make them all.

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