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JerryBaumchen

PEPs with square canopies

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Hi to all you riggers out there,

Just out of simple curiosity:

1. What percentage of the PEP rigs that you repack/maintain have a square canopy in them?

2. Have you never packed a PEP with a square canopy in it?

3. Do you ever recommend a square canopy to your PEP owning customers?

And a wild a$$ guess for #1 is just fine with me.

Just looking for some unscientific data on this subject.

Thanks for any input,

Jerry Baumchen

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Hi Jerry,

1. Less than 1%
2. Yes I have
3. If they are jumpers as well - Yes

You should make that a poll. And don't forget to include the boobs option :ph34r:
"My belief is that once the doctor whacks you on the butt, all guarantees are off" Jerry Baumchen

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1. What percentage of the PEP rigs that you repack/maintain have a square canopy in them?
5-10%.

3. Do you ever recommend a square canopy to your PEP owning customers?
Always. It doesn't make sense to jump a 5mph canopy in winds more than 6-7mph, which is most of the time. Rigs with skydiving reserves (Ravens, PDRs) should be used by skydivers only, but the "slug" steering on the RI Aviator (disclosure: I have some association with RI) makes it a reasonable choice for someone with no experience or training.

-Mark

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I have a lot of pilots with rounds, and 4 regular customers who use ram air canopies in their PEP rigs.
One had 3 or 4 ram air jumps "20" years ago . The other 3 are not; nor ever were sport jumpers.

I don't recommend ram airs for non skydivers simply because the mfg's and the pilot who hears about them and believe they will have safer landings with one assume they will know the wind direction when they land. A downwind landing on a ram air is (in my opinion) is measureably less safe than on a round, and in the final feet of flight, I doubt that a person without some ram air jumps would be able to avoid the temptation to turn sharply near the ground to avoid an obstacle. = hook turn, or even a "fast turn". I know that all of the ram airs set up in pilot emergency parachutes have limited toggle travel which prevent a stall and prevent severe hook turns. Yes I get that. But...

So, unless the pilot is a skydiver - assume he could land downwind, and probably will. Also, does anyone believe that a pilot will figure out to make a final approach from 300 feet without any significant turns? And even worse, consider a turn in one direction at 200 or so feet, quickly followed by a turn in the other direction?

OK, most landings would be OK. Maybe even stand ups if the pilot knows the ground wind direction and doesn't have to avoid any obstacles. Take these two assumptions away and you have a downwind landing, and possibly add a panic turn under 200 feet or 100 feet. Worst scenario is downwind with a turn one way followed by a turn the other direction under 200 feet or 100 feet.

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1. Only a small percentage of local (Vancouver) pilots wear PEPs containing squares.

2. Yes: Butler, Softie and Aviator.

3. Yes. As many round PEPs age past the 20-25 year mark, I try to talk them into buying squares. I also tell them it will be much easier to find a "square" rigger in another decade because old-school "round" riggers (like me) are retiring.

As for unscientific data .... I admit to being biased. I made up my mind on this subject 20 years ago and please don't waste your time trying to tell me anything new.
I made up my mind during my fourth manned jump on an Aviator 290 PEP (built by Rigging Innovations and Precision.) After a few jumps perfecting the (boring) steering lines, I got bored and deliberately landed it down-wind, hands-off in the tooly bushes surrounding Lake Elsinore.
Ho hum! That landing was easier on the body than half my landings under rounds. My last jump on a round parachute was in 1986. Since then I have done more than 5,000 jumps on squares. The primary advantage was that I could slide off excess speed during landing, versus pounding in vertically.
I tell pilots of squares: "When in doubt, leave the brakes stowed."

As for fear of landing down-wind ... more important is the angle of impact. Humans have millions of years practice at falling forwards.
OTOH humans are far more likely to injure themselves falling backwards. Just ask any old paratrooper.
During the 1980s, I saw dramatic reductions in the number of broken ankles as skydiving schools converted from rounds to squares.

"Generational stagnation" is why warbird pilots buy PEPs containing round parachutes. 50 years ago, they learned that the best engines were round, the best instruments were round and the best tail-wheels were round! And please don't waste your time trying to tell them anything new!
Hummpppfff!

Arrogance is a second reason for sticking to rounds. Warbird pilots can be arrogant, which limits their ability to learn new stuff. For example, they are so confident in their flying abilities they they don't want to waste time on bail-out drills. Even fewer of them want to bother learning PLFs.
In comparison, pilots quickly grasp the concept that steering a square parachute is similar to steering an airplane with rudder pedals.

Finally, round parachutes are cheaper than squares. Warbird pilots would much rather spend money on shiny paint than lumpy, annoying, uncomfortable parachutes that interfer with their "hero" image.

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I only have Softie and Butler owners. None of my customers have an Aviator. As I recall, the canopies in them aren't 290's.
One has a ( I think) a Performance Designs 235 or so and the other one uses the Precision of about the same square footage.

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"Generational stagnation" is why warbird pilots buy PEPs containing round parachutes. 50 years ago, they learned that the best engines were round, the best instruments were round and the best tail-wheels were round! And please don't waste your time trying to tell them anything new!
Hummpppfff!***.....edit to say, my URL failed. It was youtube ...Myth Busters Square Wheels ....but like always, not funny if you have explain the joke.


Those old warbird pilots might be on to something, insisting on round wheels on tail draggers. ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF7odK55gkl
Life is short ... jump often.

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Sure, I would recommend a square PEP for a non-pilot passenger. If they never touch the brakes, they are more likely to walk away from the landing ... then if they jumped around. If they do grab the brake handles (toggles) they are more likely to copy a skydiver they saw on a video.
Most first-timers are pretty timid on the toggles.

Keep in mind that I am only talking about the sort of square reserve canopy we would loan to first-solo-jump student (200 to 300 square feet). Most schools loan 250 square foot reserves to first-solo-jump students.

Initially, Rigging Innovations offered Aviator PEPs with 4 different sizes of square canopies ranging from 175 to 280 square feet. I only jumped the 280 square foot canopy and found it a bit boring, especially with the special control lines that were a struggle to pull below shoulder height (3/4 brakes).
Nowadays, R.I. will build you an Aviator with any size of certified square reserve, though I would discourage going smaller than 200 square feet because: A I don't want to "land off the airport" with less than 200 square feet. ... and B when the canopy gets smaller than 200 square feet, pack volume does not decrease much more while harness volume remains fixed.
IOW tiny canopies in PEPs only aggrandize the pilot's ego.
Hah!
Hah!

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"if they never grab the brakes". hmmnnn...
Why wouldn't they grab the brakes? I'm betting someone would. Why wouldn't they do that? It's a bright yellow handle. And, the worst case scenario of all: Releasing one brake and then getting scared and doing nothing.

I have counseled my pilots and trained them in my loft to never release one brake, and THEN look for the other. Although I doubt that any of the three non sport jumpers still remember what I told them 5 or 6 years ago.

I am not opposed to some pilots having ram airs. Just can't believe that most are ready. Just because they are pilots doesn't mean they wouldn't make every mistake available. What comes natural to us, isn't the least bit natural or intuitive to a first jump experience, pilot or not.

Never would I put a ram air on a passenger going up for a fun ride. Of those who would grab a brake; I think some would probably release just one side and then screw themselves in to the ground. Even with the detented brakes on the ones I have seen, I think the turns would just get worse. If they were open high - being in a 'one side released' turn for a thousand feet could have a bad ending. I think at PIA I heard one mfg said such a turn wouldn't accelerate. Not sure I buy that.

My opinion: Never for a fun ride passenger. (Yes I do recommend a static line - you know, the line connected to the R/C handle for them)

Pilots? OK, only if they are heads up and will listen to training.

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So to educate people, Rob, how do the P-124's brakes work?

I'd guess that it is set up permanently in brakes, and pulling the toggles pulls another line that tugs more on the brake line. But how to do it without excessive slack (creating no turn effect for the first bunch of toggle pull) while preventing a full arms-down position from stalling the already braked canopy? Or is it somehow set up as a turn toggle rather than a flare toggle?

Unfortunately the P-124 web site doesn't make the feature clear, nor does the manual. No help for riggers who might be the ones asked whether the rig is recommended or not. More effective communication would make it less likely that a rigger would for example think that the rig is dangerous if a jumper pulled only one toggle and let go.

The web site does mention "The 246 and 280 sq ft canopies have a unique modulated control system, which allows for their use by aircrew personnel with minimal additional training required over and above what they receive on current round parachute systems.", while in the manual, facing into the wind is mentioned but flaring is not. Nor are brakes 'set' the conventional way. That's about it for info from the company.

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1. What percentage of the PEP rigs that you repack/maintain have a square canopy in them?
A: 0

2. Have you never packed a PEP with a square canopy in it?
A: yes, but for PIA prep/talk only.

3. Do you ever recommend a square canopy to your PEP owning customers?
A: rarely, but I have very few pilot-customers with jump experience.
Always remember that some clouds are harder than others...

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pchapman

So to educate people, Rob, how do the P-124's brakes work?



I'm not Rob, but I'll give it a try.

What would be the brake-set eye on any other canopy is assembled to the rear riser rapide link. The deployment setting is thus also the maximum flying speed setting.

Each toggle line is fingertrapped to the control line, about 15" above the links. If the fingertrap is pulled more than 15" below the link to steer or flare, the jumper is pulling down on the link -- with the same resistance that you would get from doing a rear riser turn or flare. This abrupt change in required control force provides a natural, intuitive place for the jumper to quit pulling down on the toggles.

Mark

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PG chapman
I think I can answer one of your queries: The setups I have seen limit the toggle pulls to the extent that the mfgs say the canopies cannot be stalled. It is a simple type IV square weave piece sewed across the riser, coupled with the same square weave toggle which only allows limited range.
I haven't seen my 4 customers' rigs yet this year yet, so I am going on memory. As I mentioned, none have an Aviator. Paraphernalias and Butlers. They are beautiful rigs and are owned by "heads up" pilots. I doubt they would have any problems. I'm just not sure they are for everyone. I could change my mind with more info. Until then I'm not comfortable with fun passengers using them.
Pilots - maybe some, but not all.

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Here is what I provide to my one pilot friend that is not a skydiver and for whom I set up with a ram-air reserve. I insist that he review it often. The rig is a Softie.

This is a lot of stuff to remember if a pilot has just bailed out of a disabled airplane and is at 500 feet!

Feel free to use it or modify it for your use.

The parachute is a Raven 4. and he is not too big, so he will probably land as well as with a round parachute, plus, he will be able to steer away from obstacles.

http://www.skydivestlouisarea.com/instruction/ramairforpilot.jpg

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Hi Mark,

Quote

If they do this on an Aviator, the canopy returns to straight flight.



The question was: 3. Do you ever recommend a square canopy to your PEP owning customers?

I was not referring to an Aviator rig, I was referring to using a square canopy in whatever rig that they have or might buy, i.e., Softie.

Jerry Baumchen

PS) And, yes I could have worded each question better.

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As to how common they are I would guess 1%-2%. Mostly jump pilots or skydivers.

I think it's a great concept if it's a skydiver. I've never encouraged a non jumper to buy one.

Pep rarely get replaced. Not until you make them replace it. So they are all old tech. And then generally they are looking for the cheapest possible option. I've never had some one ask me what the best system was. What's the cheapest? What will fit the plane? Will it be lumpy like this one? But never what the best system is or even will it work at their airspeed and weight. Using it is the last thing on their mind.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

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Although it it's embarrassing, I just remembered that all 3 of the mfg's canopies don't have releaseable brakes.
So, my concern of one toggle being released, and then let go is something that is taken care of. It doesn't cause a problem as they do not release in the first place. They are just set at about 1/2 brakes and if let go they will fly straight. Nice.
As what's his name already said.

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Yes RiggerLee,

Rarely replacing parachutes is a variation on "generational stagnation."
Since they rarely replace ...... worn out parachutes ..... pilots rarely put much thought into them.
Any new thought comes with a new price tag.

Armies do the same thing every year. They harshly pound into young soldiers the dogma that "x" is the best parachute, your grandfather jumped "x", your father jumped "x", you will jump it for your entire career .... "
Pounding ideas into young soldiers' minds requires a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of fear. That fear is extremely difficult to retrain later on. Most armies find it easier to retire the last generation of soldiers, than try to retrain them on new parachutes.

The same fear-based process affects warbird pilots when replacing parachutes.

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I feel like most pilots would use their pep only after trying to fly the wreckage down to 1000ft. Couple that with a probable unstable deployment I feel like a round could be a better choice. I think a 30% chance of an injury like an ankle beats trading it for a 10% chance of fatality.

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