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shadeland

Pilots and Safire 2/3s... The Flare Issue

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I started jumping Safires and Pilots early on. I rented Safire 2 169s off of student status, and my first canopy was a Pilot 168. My next canopy was a Pilot 150. And then I got a Pilot 132.

I liked the openings on the Pilots, and loved them on the Safire 2s. They also had a really nice glide, where forgiving, and great for long spots.

But man, with the exception of the Pilot 132, the flares on them all sucked. Especially when I moved to Crossfire 2s (and now 3s).

But I think I've figured the issue out. I've got a working theory: The flare isn't bad, but Safires and Pilots, for whatever reason, are very susceptible to brake line length issues, more so than many other canopies (such as Crossfires and Sabre 2s).

The pilot and safire 2s and 3s that I've jumped seem to have a pretty deep spot to get that last bit of shut down. If a brake line is a bit too long, even by an inch or two, you're going to miss that key bit of flare.

The flare on the Crossfire seems to be strong even at 3/4 of a flare, so even if the lines are a bit too long, there's still enough tail deflection/AOA change/drag to get the job done.

I've been taking wraps (usually about 500 feet, too long to cutaway) on my Pilot 150, and I've been able to get that strong flare point out of it. I've not tried it with Safires, but I imagine it's the same. I've tried stalling up high, and it takes 2/3 wraps to get my 150 to stall, so I know I won't stall it 10 feet above the ground.

There may be other canopies with a reputation for weak flares, but that's something in particular I've noted with Pilots and Safire 2/3s.

Thoughts?

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You definitely have a good point here.

I have deduced that many people will not stall their canopy and by not doing so, they have no idea whether they can actually perform a landing flare.

Also, i have found that people will just jump the canopy and "assume" the steering lines are set properly at the factory.

Key point here is piloting, if the stall point is unknown, the flare point is also unknown. Unfortunately, this gives some canopies a bad reputation.

I have 5 or 6 jumps on a Safire3 119, it has a strong easy flare :)

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julius


Also, i have found that people will just jump the canopy and "assume" the steering lines are set properly at the factory.



That is definitely something I assumed.

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I have 5 or 6 jumps on a Safire3 119, it has a strong easy flare :)



I did about that many on a Safire 3 129, loaded about 1.4, and it flared like dogshit. But I had assumed it the break lines were correct (or rather, were not a variable).

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There is no "correct" brake setting point for a main canopy. It's a matter of preference that you need to figure out for yourself. Usually with your rigger to advise you. If you make them shorter to get the last bit of flare you may find yourself pulling down the tail of the canopy when you are front risering. If you make them longer to avoid that problem, and especially if you don't have long arms, you may need to take a wrap to get a full flare. If you like to use the fronts on final approach you won't have time to take the wrap safely. Some people rarely use fronts. That makes the calculation easier for them.

On top of all that is the fact that if you have Spectra lines they will surely shrink with use.

Life has it's compromises, you need to find the ones that work for you.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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julius

I have deduced that many people will not stall their canopy and by not doing so, they have no idea whether they can actually perform a landing flare.



There is no "stall point". There is a "stall line" where on one axis of the graph you have forward speed and on the other axis you have angle of attack.

When in the bottom end of a landing flare, you may find it advantageous to go deeper than a stall point at a slower speed in order to get extra lift out of your canopy through deflection.

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gowlerk

There is no "correct" brake setting point for a main canopy. It's a matter of preference that you need to figure out for yourself. Usually with your rigger to advise you. If you make them shorter to get the last bit of flare you may find yourself pulling down the tail of the canopy when you are front risering. If you make them longer to avoid that problem, and especially if you don't have long arms, you may need to take a wrap to get a full flare. If you like to use the fronts on final approach you won't have time to take the wrap safely. Some people rarely use fronts. That makes the calculation easier for them.

On top of all that is the fact that if you have Spectra lines they will surely shrink with use.

Life has it's compromises, you need to find the ones that work for you.



Also:
Riser lengths differ and human bodies differ. Long arms (doesn't require that you're tall) can make a big difference, as can how your rig fits you and how much you sink into your leg straps.

I recently sold a canopy and the new owner is shorter than me but has longer arms and bigger thighs (more sink) and the brake lines needed to be lengthened a few inches for him, he had a nice stall on his first landing.

Never assume a canopy has the correct brake line setting for you.

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There is no "correct" brake setting point for a main canopy. It's a matter of preference that you need to figure out for yourself. Usually with your rigger to advise you. If you make them shorter to get the last bit of flare you may find yourself pulling down the tail of the canopy when you are front risering. If you make them longer to avoid that problem, and especially if you don't have long arms, you may need to take a wrap to get a full flare. If you like to use the fronts on final approach you won't have time to take the wrap safely. Some people rarely use fronts. That makes the calculation easier for them.

On top of all that is the fact that if you have Spectra lines they will surely shrink with use.

Life has it's compromises, you need to find the ones that work for you.



Great post and really good info. But it's important not to conflate "brake setting," with the position of the toggle on the steering line.

Brake setting is specific to each make and model of canopy, and determined by the manufacturer. The position of the toggle on the steering line, which is what @Gowlerk's post discusses so well, is recommended per canopy at the factory, but people often play with it a little to meet their own needs and flying style (I certainly do!)

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Great post and really good info. But it's important not to conflate "brake setting," with the position of the toggle on the steering line.



You are absolutely correct. I used the wrong term. Brake line length is was I should have said.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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julius

I just made 17 jumps on a Safire 3 119 at Perris, it was hot and had many no wind landings.

The Safire3 119 has a nice plane out followed by a Strong flare. I easily stood up with little effort.

Wing loading about 1.6



This highlights some of the challenges we have with these types of issues: The inconsistency. I had a crap flare, you had a great flare, on the same size and model of canopy.

There's control line length, parachute age, length of risers, length of arms, perhaps there's also inconsistencies in the manufacturing process for the same model and size of canopy, I'm sure there are a few I'm not remembering as well.

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I have a Pilot 188 loaded at about 1.2. I also found the flare to be very lacking. I had my rigger shorten the steering lines by 3.5 inches. I had little hope that it would help because the flare was so poor. But lo and behold, it seems to have made a huge difference. It flares fine now. By fine I mean it planes out at half brakes and finishes normally at full brakes.

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