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Pat007

Lotus airlocked canopy thoughts?

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It's been about 10 years since there has been any significant discussion about Brian Germain's airlocked canopies. Wondering what the current thinking is among those of you that fly or have flown the Lotus. I'm demoing a 150 now (but with the crappy weather we've had I've only got 2 jumps on it). I've liked the 2 jumps, but they've not been a fair test because they were low altitude and I didn't have time to do more than a couple of practice flares. The flare was much different (better) than my Pilot 168. Would love to hear about your experience with the Lotus.
My Dad used to ask me if someone jumped off a bridge would I do that too? No, but if they jumped out of an airplane, that's a different question...

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I can't comment on the lotus, but I do have a lot of jumps on his airlocked Samurai. I like the Samurai, it was a good progression before stepping up to the Katana and always served me well.

If you are asking about thoughts on the airlocks, I am fairly indifferent about them. They will help prevent wing depressurisation but that is only part of the problem, as you also need airflow for the wing to generate lift. Having airlocks would never have enabled me to jump in conditions that I wouldn't have otherwise jumped in, but in the unlikely event of entering air the causes depressurisation they might be beneficial. The drawback was taking extra time to collapse the wing on landing and squeezing air out during packing.

Having gone to the Katana, I haven't missed airlocks and I haven't encountered a situation where they would've helped. If there was a canopy with the flight characteristics I wanted that happen to have airlocks then I might get it, but they weren't enough of an advantage for me to limit myself to the small set of canopies that have them. You're better off recognising poor conditions and staying on the ground.

If you like the flight characteristics of the lotus, then it'll probably be a great canopy for you.

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I jump a Lotus 170. I like the flight characteristics a lot. Responsive, great flare and plane out. Great glide with a bit of rear riser when you are out there, steeper and faster than a Pilot in full flight. Short toggle stroke to plane out but it is heavy on fronts.
I tend to stand down if it is windy, but in normal summertime bumpy air when other canopies do the accordion, the lotus remains pressurized. I like that :-)
I have had a few squirrely openings but I'm working on that.

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PastorPete


I have had a few squirrely openings but I'm working on that.



Squirrely, meaning what? Line twists, long snivels, off heading openings? Something else?
My Dad used to ask me if someone jumped off a bridge would I do that too? No, but if they jumped out of an airplane, that's a different question...

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Sometimes I get a diving, hard right hand turn on opening. At times this has been sudden enough to cause line twists, but usually I avoid that. Not sure if it is packing, body position or the canopy. Didn't get enough jumps this year to explore it completely. I'm paying more attention to my packing and body position and Brian's having a look at the canopy. Hope to announce the issue has been fully resolved next season :-)

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I have ~25 jumps in my Lotus Max 136. My thoughts:

-It flights awesome. A bit more steep and tapered than Sabre 2, but better flare, shutdown and range in rears. A bit more responsive to harness input, but of course on this size, at this wingload (~1.4) it is not super-responsive. I think it is probably the best canopy in its category, but with 400 jumps my opinion might not be the more reliable.

-It came with a new lineset. Black HMA 400. It looks great, but in my opinion there is no reason to use such thin lines in this canopy. I would be happier with something thicker, but the reline was fairly cheap, so I can't really complain. Brian wanted to upgrade it from Lotus to Lotux Max, so he made me a discount on the reline when we sent it for an inspection before buying it.

-The openings have been quite unpredictable, with frequent line twists. I made a video of the openings and showed it to Brian. He said those openings were not normal, and I sent it in for a check. He added crossports on the center cells and a lip to the slider (the openings were quick but not hard, but he said that quick openings might contribute to the issue, so...). I have yet to try the fix, so I don't know if it was really effective.

Bottom line, if you can get your hands on a Lotus that opens fine you won't be disappointed, it is second to none, and probably outperforms some better known models from other manufacturers.

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I think you'll love the Lotus (I do and I'm sure my minor opening issue will get resolved) It really has great flight characteristics for a canopy of it's class.
Also, I can't help but notice there were at least 4 fatalities this past year from canopies collapsing at low altitude. There was one close to home last year as well, on a very ordinary day. Obviously, I have no idea whether the airlocks would have made a difference in any of these incidents, but I'm betting they wouldn't have made it worse. I like anything that might improve my chances on a bad day.

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I put 7 jumps on a demo Lotus 150 from Brian Germain this weekend. I love the way it flies, and the flare, plane-out, and landings are great! I did have a couple of jumps with line twists that I kicked out of quickly, but I'm suspecting they resulted from sloppy packing on my part. Didn't have conditions that tested the airlock feature, so can't comment on that aspect. It wasn't very windy on my jumps, so didn't have any trouble with deflating the canopy after landing.

Thanks for everyone's input. Still considering purchasing one.

By the way, Brian has been very generous with accommodating my needs about his demo. Great guy!!
My Dad used to ask me if someone jumped off a bridge would I do that too? No, but if they jumped out of an airplane, that's a different question...

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i put ~400 jumps on a lotus 170, at a wingloading of 1.3 or so.

openings were snivelly, probably 800 feet or so. the direction i would end up going was pretty random however. never violent spins or line twists, generally 90-180 off heading though. when observed, you could watch one side inflate ahead of the other which started a turn, then the other side would open and cancel it.

packing was no different than any other zero-p canopy. it will pack larger than a non air-locked main.

flare was great, long recover arc so timing it was easy.

landing, see flare.

windy days can be fun with an air-locked canopy, since they don't like to collapse on their own. using a toggle or riser to get it on the ground helps. i would then walk up the bridle to keep it from reinflating while i gathered it up.

turbulence wasn't an issue. on days when others were getting rough rides and 'accordioning', i would just ride through. please note, this is not a reason to go looking for turbulence, or jumping on a day when you wouldn't with a non air-locked canopy.

very heavy on front risers compared to a my current sabre2 150. couldn't hold it for very long, or very far down.
"Hang on a sec, the young'uns are throwin' beer cans at a golf cart."
MB4252 TDS699
killing threads since 2001

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I have probably 700 jumps on my 170 Lotus. I love the canopy good glide, nice flare it is heavy on the fronts but not much more than my Spectre.

It was a learning experience landing it after putting 1000 jumps on a 7 cell but once I dialed it in I have nice soft tip toe landings every time.

I did have to learn to fly the openings. I had some issues with line twists and wonky openings at first. Once I learned to fly the harness (thanks to Aaron at Flight 1) during opening I have not had any line twists probably the last 250 times I have jumped it.

The only downside is it can be a pain to collapse after landing on windier days.

And yes my last re-line were the black 400 HMA lines. Looks like black dental floss but it still flies the same so I don't really see a downside.
You can't be drunk all day if you don't start early!

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Rick


And yes my last re-line were the black 400 HMA lines. Looks like black dental floss but it still flies the same so I don't really see a downside.



Well, the downside I see to that is durability and snapping risk if you are not diligent with the maintenance of your canopy. I'd prefer to have thicker lines that I can use for 100-200 jumps more.

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Deimian


-The openings have been quite unpredictable, with frequent line twists. I made a video of the openings and showed it to Brian. He said those openings were not normal, and I sent it in for a check. He added crossports on the center cells and a lip to the slider (the openings were quick but not hard, but he said that quick openings might contribute to the issue, so...). I have yet to try the fix, so I don't know if it was really effective.



An update on this: after the fix I was still having some problems. Turns out that the problem was not the canopy, it was how it fitted in my magnetic POD. The magnets had a hard time to keep the bag closed if I didn't squeeze out all the air. I think I was having bag strips, and that caused the twists. I noticed in a couple of jumps where my packing had been rushed and where I had a hard time closing the bag, that the openings were kind of shitty. I changed back to a normal deployment bag and the openings have been awesome. Even with a tube and a less than optimal deployment. So if somebody is planing on using a magnetic POD, be aware of the fact that this bags are less tolerant in tight fits.

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