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Westerly

Is there any point in me downsizing further?

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I have about 160 jumps with a WL of about 1.06 (1.1 if wearing weights for RW). At my DZ downsizing seems to be a major focal point for a lot of jumpers. Most of my friends spend a good portion of the day talking about training to downsize. I fly a square 170 and I have been fine with it so far but on occasion I get a bit of friendly grief about not trying to downsize further to a 150.

So am I correct in my assumption that downsizing my case would mostly be risk without much reward or am I just not in the know and I am really missing out not flying a 150? I dont have much interest in swooping and I dont attempt HP landings of any type.

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It's a personal choice, but I find canopies to be a lot more fun when loading them up. More dynamic, faster etc. If this ain't your cup of tea then stay on your current wing. I'd suggest you try a 150 for a jump if you are curious. If you don't like it ... well you can always go back to 170. :) I don't swoop either but smaller canopies are not meant only for that from my perspective.

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I'm sure you'll get varying points of view on this question. For my tuppence worth, I have no intention of downsizing. The older, less experienced jumpers like me will have one point of view, the younger jumpers, probably another. I've been flying a Spectre 190 for about 7 years. I know it, I like it, it packs well and opens nicely and most importantly, I feel safe under it and landing it. I've also had the same jumpsuit, alti and helmet for even longer, so maybe that tells it's own tale!

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Short answer: No there isn't.

The decision to downsize is (or rahter should be) a balance between whether it is safe to do so, and whether it is more fun.

Basically it boils down to how many jumps you plan to make and what your focus is. If you are über current, making 4-500 jumps every year then you might at some point feel that a more sporting canopy is an option.
If you see your canopy purely as something that's there to survive the freefall (direct quote), please stay on the larger wing.
Obviously these are extreme examples.

I mostly do CReW jumps with a WL of 1.35-1.37, which is the norm for the groups I usually jump with.

For the rare occasions that I do a freefall, I jump a 190 at 1.1-1.2ish.
Why? Because
1) I have it lying around
2) I do so little FS that when/if I pick it up again I want to be able to fully focus on that part of the jump. The 190 is nice and forgiving and a welcome "reset moment" during the jump.
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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Does downsizing solve a problem you currently have? If not, there is no reason to downsize. If it does, go ahead and downsize, but try not to create other problems down the road.

Possible problems to consider can be: Being bored out of your skull under your current canopy (image you flying a Navigator 280 for 500 jumps). Not being able to jump in certain weather conditions (higher winds being one of them). Stopped learning under your current wing (with the wing being the limiting factor, not your mentality).

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Westerly

I get a bit of friendly grief about not trying to downsize further to a 150.



Tell them to piss off. Downsizing always carries an increased risk. If you have no interest in flying smaller and higher performance wings, that's totally legit. Downsizing is not a requirement of any type, and for a lot of people is a road leading to scary stories.

I am on my 4th downsize as licensed skydiver (170->150->136->120->113), so I am saying that as someone with a different approach than you. You and your friends need to see that your approach is totally valid, and in many ways better and more reasonable than the "let's downsize as fast as we can" trend. One of my buddies downsized once in 600 jumps. His wingload is roughly 1.2. He's one of the most heads up guys I know and doesn't care about all these fashion trends. I respect him heaps for that. Don't hesitate to be like him.

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Westerly

I have about 160 jumps with a WL of about 1.06 (1.1 if wearing weights for RW). At my DZ downsizing seems to be a major focal point for a lot of jumpers. Most of my friends spend a good portion of the day talking about training to downsize. I fly a square 170 and I have been fine with it so far but on occasion I get a bit of friendly grief about not trying to downsize further to a 150.

So am I correct in my assumption that downsizing my case would mostly be risk without much reward or am I just not in the know and I am really missing out not flying a 150? I dont have much interest in swooping and I dont attempt HP landings of any type.



The only practical reason for downsizing IMO is to achieve better penetration in higher winds, but even that is debatable since many people who prefer to stay lightly loaded are also the type of people who simply don't jump in high winds.

Tell people who give you grief about not downsizing to pound sand. It is the "you need to downsize" mentality that contributes to the sport's ongoing canopy carnage.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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chuckakers

The only practical reason for downsizing IMO is to achieve better penetration in higher winds



Collapse resistance in places where rotors are an issue is a big one.

Too many of my lighter (mostly female) friends have suffered broken backs.

My bit of advise is to ask experienced jumpers (i.e. S&TA?) at your DZ if there are practical reasons to downsize, and demo canopies when the opportunity presents itself (i.e. at a boogie).

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I agree with everything the others have said.

I'd also add if you ever decide you want a canopy with more performance you don't have to downsize. There are plenty of manufacturer offerings in a 170 that are tapered/ semi-elliptical or even fully elliptical. And they all have great demo programs.
diamonds are a dawgs best friend

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No need to downsize unless you yourself know your ready, there's a lot at stake when downsizing such as reaction time in the event of a mal, landing conditions and field elevations, different locations and formations, enjoy the flight while you have the canopy.after all the years ive been jumping the same size canopy, I've actually gave some consideration to moving up in size as I get older and I don't jump as much as I use to,Blue Skies

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Quote

I've actually gave some consideration to moving up in size as I get older and I don't jump as much as I use to

I just did exactly that. Upsized both main and reserve.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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wmw999

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I've actually gave some consideration to moving up in size as I get older and I don't jump as much as I use to

I just did exactly that. Upsized both main and reserve.

Wendy P.



+1

About 3 years ago I decided jumping a Velocity at 2.2:1 was becoming more work than I wanted to put in. I flew Velo's for 15 years but on the day my wife asked me if saw how beautiful downtown Houston looked from under canopy and I had to remind her that I didn't have time to focus on anything but traffic and setting up for landing, my decision was made. I realized that all those years I had been having fun at the expense of having fun.

I put a lot of thought into what to get and decided on a Stilleto 135, a canopy I jumped for many years as a working skydiver before going to cross-braced. At 1.6:1 it's a medium-ish wing loading by most standards, but between the decrease in loading and the insanely flat glide it was a dramatic change from the Velocity and one I have truly come to enjoy.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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My home DZ has a different attitude on this subject. Most of the experienced/HP canopy pilots are willing to talk to younger jumpers about this topic. Having the right reasons are important, but people busting your balls for not down sizing are not "friends" in my opinion. ONE of the things that the exp. canopy pilots say is, to know WHEN to down size, you should be able to land the canopy you are currently flying, consistently in any wind condition, ie, cross wind,down wind,strong winds,and no winds. And like previously stated, do it for the right reason, being cool, or because your so called friends say you should, is definitely not a legit reason, specially with 160 jumps, and is dangerous. This is a mentality that needs to be reeled in.

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A lot of people have said these same things already in this thread, but it bears repeating. Rushing to downsize often is just rushing to get hurt.

I have downsized very slowly over the years, and at over 900 jumps and always super-current, I still fly a 150 and a 170 in my two rigs. Even with lead on my WL is only 1.3ish. And I'm content with that. I also got a lot of grief from a bunch of people for my light wing-loading, especially during the 300+ jumps I spent on the first canopy I bought (a Pilot 188). "You'll have more fun, you'll get down faster, you'll have a better flare..." I heard all of it. I still waited until I had almost 500 total jumps before I bought a 170, which finally put me over a 1:1.

I also had a pair of excellent canopy coaches who told me something that I hold to: two conditions for downsizing. One is that you can safely, competently, and confidently fly and land your current canopy in any conditions; and not just that, but that you should be able to wring every ounce of performance the wing is capable of out of it. And only after that, the other reason would be that you're bored with it.

And when you think you MIGHT be getting bored with your canopy, go take a Flight-1 course. You'll learn so much that your fun level will increase. You never have too much experience to take a canopy course, or to repeat it every year.

I enjoy both my 150 and my 170. I have no problem being more lightly loaded; it means I can hang out in brakes and let most people land before me instead of being in the midst of the traffic; it means I have longer to figure things out if something's weird with the canopy at opening or if the pilot gives us a long-spot or if the first person down set a wonky pattern. I take at least one canopy course every year because you can never have too much canopy coaching. I make high pulls once a month or so and practice canopy drills and just play with the wing. And I'm not even trying to do high-performance landings yet; I can get a lot more out of both parachutes if I choose to pursue that path. I have a pair of canopies which are reliable and fun to fly and there is no reason for ME to keep downsizing, until I've met the conditions set forth by my coaches.

As a newer jumper I had to work through feelings of guilt and bruised ego when more experienced jumpers told me I should be jumping a smaller canopy, "what's wrong with you, how come you're still on that beast?" A couple more years in the sport and I've seen friends get hurt - and one died - because they downsized too quickly. And that guilt and "need" to get smaller vanished, and I was glad my coaches support a conservative progression. So if you're content on your current wing, tell your "friends" that you're quite happy on the wing you're flying, thanks; and if they keep pushing just tell them to stuff it. Longevity is more important than looking cool.

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lyosha

***The only practical reason for downsizing IMO is to achieve better penetration in higher winds



Collapse resistance in places where rotors are an issue is a big one.

Too many of my lighter (mostly female) friends have suffered broken backs.

My bit of advise is to ask experienced jumpers (i.e. S&TA?) at your DZ if there are practical reasons to downsize, and demo canopies when the opportunity presents itself (i.e. at a boogie).

That is the one advantage I have heard. Winds and rotors are a concern at my DZ and I have had issues with both in the past. However, that's also why I bought an airlocked canopy on my last downsize and so I am presuming I am safer in winds on an airlocked 170 than I am on a non-airlocked 150. I am kind of under the assumption that an airlocked canopy cannot collapse from turbulence unless said turbulence is so extreme that even the most experienced shouldent be jumping. I still sit it out if the winds are too high (about 17 MPH with turbulence is my limit), but feel confident that if I get caught in something nasty that the airlocks will prevent the canopy from collapsing regardless of whether I am at my current WL of 1.05 or I downsize. As such, it seems that downsizing to a non-airlocked canopy will make things worse, not better and the only wind advantage I would get if if I downsized to another, smaller airlocked canopy.

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lyosha

***The only practical reason for downsizing IMO is to achieve better penetration in higher winds



Collapse resistance in places where rotors are an issue is a big one.

Too many of my lighter (mostly female) friends have suffered broken backs.

My bit of advise is to ask experienced jumpers (i.e. S&TA?) at your DZ if there are practical reasons to downsize, and demo canopies when the opportunity presents itself (i.e. at a boogie).

We do not have rotors/dust devils at my DZ.

But the thing is, a smaller canopy isn't just about WL - it is also more sensitive to input due to shorter lines.
When the word "downsizing" is used, usually a different, more agressive canopy is implied.
So the larger WL might help in turbulence (though I have never seen a Manta 288 collapse), but the other side of the coin might very well be that the small(er) canopy behaves more nervously in turbulence.

My Storm 190 might shake, rattle and roll - but so far it stayed overhead. Even in the jumps that scared me enough to stand down for the rest of the day.
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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tikl68

My home DZ has a different attitude on this subject. Most of the experienced/HP canopy pilots are willing to talk to younger jumpers about this topic. Having the right reasons are important, but people busting your balls for not down sizing are not "friends" in my opinion. ONE of the things that the exp. canopy pilots say is, to know WHEN to down size, you should be able to land the canopy you are currently flying, consistently in any wind condition, ie, cross wind,down wind,strong winds,and no winds. And like previously stated, do it for the right reason, being cool, or because your so called friends say you should, is definitely not a legit reason, specially with 160 jumps, and is dangerous. This is a mentality that needs to be reeled in.



I like your drop zone. Where do you jump?
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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"As a newer jumper I had to work through feelings of guilt and bruised ego when more experienced jumpers told me I should be jumping a smaller canopy, "what's wrong with you, how come you're still on that beast?" A couple more years in the sport and I've seen friends get hurt - and one died - because they downsized too quickly. And that guilt and "need" to get smaller vanished, and I was glad my coaches support a conservative progression. So if you're content on your current wing, tell your "friends" that you're quite happy on the wing you're flying, thanks; and if they keep pushing just tell them to stuff it. Longevity is more important than looking cool. "


And the loss of jumpers isn't just from injuries. A jumper is doing fine and having great time but gives in to pressure to downsize. Now every jump scares them, sucking all the joy out of skydiving, and they start showing up less and less often until eventually someone says "whatever happened to..." and the Sport gets a little smaller.

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wmw999

Quote

I've actually gave some consideration to moving up in size as I get older and I don't jump as much as I use to

I just did exactly that. Upsized both main and reserve.

Wendy P.



I'll be 55 in a couple of months and have 9,899 jumps. I've been out of the "ten jumps a day, work jump" mode for two years now and I'd GLADLY trade both of my tiny "sub 100" rigs for ONE rig with a 120 main/143 reserve. I'm dead serious.

Chuck

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Hi Chuck. My home DZ is Elsinore. We have a few of very experienced canopy pilots that also call Elsinore home. I was also very fortunate to know Jonathon Taggle as Elsinore was also his home. I did video from the ground a couple of times for his flight 1 course and had the benefit of sitting through the debriefs. JT was very approachable and had no problems talking to some one. I was a pretty conservative pilot when it came to progression, and listened to people like JT,JC, Andy Malchiodi, etc. If you're ever in so cal stop by.

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