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Ares6701

Need recommendations for first main canopy.

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I’m a new skydiver (A license 25 jumps) and want to test a few main canopies before I buy. Money is not much of an object so for the purpose of this post, cost should not be a consideration.

I am presently 236 lbs and planning to be 200 lbs by jump season (Upstate NY). I have a harness and container (Mirage) and a reserve (tempo 210). I am going to buy a cypress 2 when I get my first main to test.

My question is:
I know I need at least a 200 sqft. canopy (1:1 when I jump again) but I want to know what is the best parachute system as far as design, durability, control, softest openings, and forgiving. Also I want the best track record in my main.

I don’t want to be replacing lines 50 jumps in if I can help it or replacing the whole canopy because of rips or wear and tear.

PLEASE LIST A FEW OF YOUR TOP PREFERED MAINS FOR NOVICE

I haven’t found any recent forum posts on this and there have been many new designs and reviews since the last posts I’ve seen.

Thank you for your time. Any and all opinions are appreciated.

Joseph Adams
A-84138

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I know I need at least a 200 sqft. canopy (1:1 when I jump again)



Then you will looking for a 230 ish sqft canopy. Wing loading includes the weight of all your gear, clothing, etc...

Also: don't shop for what you think you will need down the road. You may lose 40 lbs, you may not. And after you buy that 190 because, well, "I'll be 200, and that 190 was a great deal", you'll be tempted to jump it, even if, because life got in the way, you're still 235.

As far as what model, everyone has a favorite. Once you get to your target weight, get a hold of the manufacturers and try a few.
Remster

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Every manufacturer has a semi elliptical canopy aimed at newer jumpers, and all should last hundreds of jumps before needing new lines or any repair. If you can, demo a few and see which suits your taste.

I've jumped Pilots, Safires, a Sabre 2 and a Pulse over the past few years and my personal favorite of the bunch is the Safire3.

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Hi Ares...you say you have a container with a tempo 210 reserve...you need to find out from the container manufacturer what size main will fit in it.....if it could take a 190 to 210 size main I'd recommend a Pulse 230 as this is a low bulk parachute that would pack up around the size of a 210 or slightly smaller...but I'd check again with the container manufacturer if that would work. You say your weight is 236....that puts your exit weight at around 266 give or take a few pounds....the a Pulse 230 would be more appropriate for you IMO.....just my thoughts...good luck and have fun.

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Welcome to this addictive sport!

Details:
That Tempo 210 supports a max of 226 lbs. Right now you'd be overloading it. At 200 lbs you'll still be overloading it. So you should buy a more recent reserve first off. Here's an example of a modern manufacturer's reserve weight limits:
http://www.flyaerodyne.com/canopies/smart/smart-specs/

My suggestions for a main would be a Pilot or Sabre2. I'd request Spectra lines for either of those. HMA, Vectran, and ZLX are the lines that may need replacing soon.

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Hi there!
I'm currently 215lbs (took me a season to get from 225 to 215, so good luck! :P ), am pretty new (80 jumps) and still rent, as there are relatively good options at my DZ and I wanted to be sure to know what I want before buying.

Currently, I love the Spectre (a PD canopy). I jump a 230 (which I would recommend based on your weight), although I mostly jump at 5500ft + (that's where we land, not where we get out of the plane!)

I did try the Sabre2 as well and did not like it as much, but probably haven't tried it enough to be sure. The reason I like the Spectre:
1. It opens super-soft
2. So far it opens "on-heading" every single time
3. It lands great.
4. It's fun to fly

In details:
1. That one actually bothered me at first. It DOES take longer to open than other canopies (at least it feels much longer than the student Navigators I jumped before.) So figure between 700-900ft from throwing the PC to being under a fully inflated canopy. But: Ever since I had my friend, who jumps a Sabre2 have one of his shoes ripped from his foot on a hard opening, I started to appreciate the soft openings.

2. Again, I noticed the difference when I jumped a Sabre2 recently. As it opened, when I looked up, I could see it starting to turn left, then right and then again in some direction, never going quite into line twists, but certainly I ended up under it heading a different direction than where I started out. On the Spectre, I look up and I see it sniveling for what seems like an eternity, but it stays perfectly in place during the whole process. Not sure how important that is, since I'm not BASE jumping with a cliff behind me, but it feels strangely reassuring.

3. Once I figured it out (at the higher altitude, we come in at quite some speed even at this wing-loading), the landings are great and easy. Even at no wind (which is common here) I can stop it as long as I use every last inch of its flare. Once I was just sliding with my heels barely off the ground and lots of horizontal speed, thinking I already flared as hard as I could and then realized I had a couple more inches left, stabbed down the last 2 inches and it stopped in its track, allowing me to stand up with no need to run it out.
When I flew it at sea level I touched down with 0 speed every single time.

4. That was the unexpected thing: When I tried a Sabre2 I was expecting it to fly more aggressively--as that was what everyone was saying--but for me, it felt less fun in the air. When I burry a toggle on the Spectre, it starts out turning as expected and then gets steeper and steeper as I keep holding it down, building up speed and verticality. On The Sabre, somehow that didn't happen so much. It started the turn and then just kept turning the same way. (But maybe that was a fluke or just my personal impression. Everyone can't be wrong about this, can they?)
I also love how it digs out of turns: I generally end my toggle turns not by releasing the inside toggle, but by pulling the opposite toggle down and enjoying the positive Gs. That works much better too than with some of the other canopies I've tried.
The only thing maybe: The rig I rent most often doesn't have dive loops on the front risers, and so I haven't used them much. If I try to hold them down without loops, I can't hold them long at all--way too much pressure. So, there might be lots of front riser pressure, even with loops--if you care about such things.

Anyway: If you have a container and money: Why not use the demo program of PD and the other vendors to try every single canopy you think might fit you, before you commit? Should be fun!
But: Check into your reserve's weight limits: I borrowed a rig with an old 210 reserve once--thinking I might buy it--but when I checked the data card on the inside of the reserve flap it specified a lower exit weight than mine as a MAXIMUM weight for the reserve (and that wasn't even considering my relatively advanced age, my inexperience and the higher altitude at which I jump.) I never jumped it, even though I considered a reserve ride as very unlikely.

Good luck, man!

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parachutist

Welcome to this addictive sport!

Details:
That Tempo 210 supports a max of 226 lbs. Right now you'd be overloading it. At 200 lbs you'll still be overloading it. So you should buy a more recent reserve first off. Here's an example of a modern manufacturer's reserve weight limits:
http://www.flyaerodyne.com/canopies/smart/smart-specs/

My suggestions for a main would be a Pilot or Sabre2. I'd request Spectra lines for either of those. HMA, Vectran, and ZLX are the lines that may need replacing soon.



Could you tell us a bit more about why you recommend spectra lines instead of the other options? Is it just because of the longer assumed life span?

Just asking becouse from a rigger point-of-view I cant really recommend spectra because it goes out of trim very quickly and even thou it "lasts" maybe twice the jumps compared to other lines the trim should warrant changing the lines at the same time as other lines (vectran lasts maybe 400 jumps give or take)...

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Blis

***Welcome to this addictive sport!

Details:
That Tempo 210 supports a max of 226 lbs. Right now you'd be overloading it. At 200 lbs you'll still be overloading it. So you should buy a more recent reserve first off. Here's an example of a modern manufacturer's reserve weight limits:
http://www.flyaerodyne.com/canopies/smart/smart-specs/

My suggestions for a main would be a Pilot or Sabre2. I'd request Spectra lines for either of those. HMA, Vectran, and ZLX are the lines that may need replacing soon.



Could you tell us a bit more about why you recommend spectra lines instead of the other options? Is it just because of the longer assumed life span?

Just asking becouse from a rigger point-of-view I cant really recommend spectra because it goes out of trim very quickly and even thou it "lasts" maybe twice the jumps compared to other lines the trim should warrant changing the lines at the same time as other lines (vectran lasts maybe 400 jumps give or take)...

When Spectra goes out of trim on a big canopy with low wing loading, the typical symptoms are increased off-heading openings, harder openings, and less effective flares. Those are pretty mild consequences IMO. They're indicators that it's time for a reline.

HMA, Vectran, and ZLX lines can quickly get abraded to the point of breakage. Many newer jumpers don't have the knowledge to watch for the wear spots, or they simply don't pay attention. They get very little benefit from those lines but high risk. Vectran lasts maybe 400 jumps under ideal conditions with a jumper who pulls the slider down past their toggles every time. Newer jumpers have their attention maxed out already worrying about separation and merging into landing patterns. I don't think they need to be pushing toggles through #8 grommets after opening, or dealing with an RDS system.

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When Spectra goes out of trim on a big canopy with low wing loading, the typical symptoms are increased off-heading openings, harder openings, and less effective flares. Those are pretty mild consequences IMO.
I lost a good friend because of those mild consequences. He was jumping a old saber 1 i think a 190 and he was around 165 lbs and it opened so hard it tore his aorta and they think he was dead before he hit the ground. >:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(so no they are most definitely not mild consequences.>:(

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skyderrill66

When Spectra goes out of trim on a big canopy with low wing loading, the typical symptoms are increased off-heading openings, harder openings, and less effective flares. Those are pretty mild consequences IMO.
I lost a good friend because of those mild consequences. He was jumping a old saber 1 i think a 190 and he was around 165 lbs and it opened so hard it tore his aorta and they think he was dead before he hit the ground. >:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(so no they are most definitely not mild consequences.>:(



Fast openings are known to be the nature of the Sabre 1. If that nature were combined with very out of trim lines, I could see it resulting in an extreme situation. I did mention that harder openings are one of the indicators for needing a new line set. They start out very mild on the canopies that I specified, and they progress gradually. Canopy owners have time to recognize the changes in their canopy's behavior.

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Spectra doesn’t change that much jump to jump. Saber1’s can open hard. Slider control during packing and the jumper’s speed are the most likely causes of the very hard opening. Line trim could contribute to harder openings, but that doesn’t happen quickly.

Derek V

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My suggestions for a main would be a Pilot or Sabre2. I'd request Spectra lines for either of those. HMA, Vectran, and ZLX are the lines that may need replacing soon.



Chris,
I hate to disagree with you on this; but unfortunately I do.

With all of my research on fatal, hard openings, 99 % of them were Spectra lined main canopies. The top five list goes like this from my accounts of the fatalities. BTW, all were Spectra lined canopies except for a Vectran lined tandem canopy.
1.Sabre II
2.Spectre
3.Triathlon
4.Sabre I
5.Stiletto
As we see more and more canopies lined with line mediums other than Spectra, the number of recorded hard openings is diminishing at a rapid rate.

Spectra in my opinion, is the worst line medium to ever be installed on main canopies period. My experience working with different line mediums for the last 20 plus years lead me to the above opinion. It is also why I brought "other" mediums to market as you know.

You might note that I pointed out just "mains" and not reserves.
This is because reserve canopies are best suited for Spectra because:

1. It speeds up the openings compared to the other mediums.
2. The number of jumps on a reserve line set will not even be a factor in regards to line trim.

MEL
Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
www.Skyworksparachuteservice.com

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masterrigger1



Chris,
I hate to disagree with you on this; but unfortunately I do.



No problem, and I'm glad to hear what you have to say.

Going back through my experiences on DZs, I've been present on 2 occasions when hard openings caused fractured neck bones, and 2 times when the force seemed strong enough to cause injury, but luckily didn't. The lines involved were Spectra (almost new Pilot loaded at 1.2), Dacron (Lightning loaded at 1.3), Spectra (Silhouette loaded at 1.2), and Technora (xVX loaded at 2.2). Causes for 3 of those were attributed to packing techniques, and the Lightning one... Could be air speed, body position, packing, and canooy nature all mixed in.

Very often I see damaged HMA and Vectran lines after 100-iah jumps on a new canopy. Sometimes owners notice, sometimes packers notice for them, but often they aren't recognized until a reserve repack. Or sometimes a line breaks during canopy opening or flight. To me these dangers seem more common than an extremely hard opening. Spectra isn't perfect, but breakage is something it avoids very well.

What would you say is a better line choice for low-experienced jumpers?

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Here’s a short list I’ve compiled of appropriate canopies for beginners. It assumes proper wing loading, and of course talk to your local riggers and instructors. This list does not cover all the canopies that would work, it’s just the short list of currently made canopies that you’re also likely to find on the used market:

Performance Designs:

Sabre 2 (NOT the Sabre 1)
Spectre

Aerodyne:

Pilot
Pilot 7

Icarus/NZ Aerosports

Safire 2
Safire 3
S-fire

IPT

Axion


Avoid Sabre 1s unless the slider has been addressed by a qualified rigger. Don’t let anyone tell you “you just have to pack it right”.

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Going back through my experiences on DZs, I've been present on 2 occasions when hard openings caused fractured neck bones, and 2 times when the force seemed strong enough to cause injury, but luckily didn't. The lines involved were Spectra (almost new Pilot loaded at 1.2), Dacron (Lightning loaded at 1.3), Spectra (Silhouette loaded at 1.2), and Technora (xVX loaded at 2.2). Causes for 3 of those were attributed to packing techniques, and the Lightning one... Could be air speed, body position, packing, and canooy nature all mixed in.



So was the Lightning taken to terminal??

Also, the was questionable xVX a standard VX, a JVX, or a "converted VX" with a JVX line set installed?

Quote


Very often I see damaged HMA and Vectran lines after 100-iah jumps on a new canopy



This is not normal wear and tear BTW unless the lines are not coated.

Technora is very wear resistant, but at the same time very supple and soft. It needs a coating to help prevent picking. It also is very easily damaged by UV. This is why we coat our lines.

The bottom line is this. If you are buying canopies with Technora that is tan in color (uncoated);expect a short life of the lines. They simply will not last as long as ones that are coated. This is a known fact.
...and yes there are two manufacturers that I know of using uncoated lines.

With regards to Vectran; it is a very wear prone medium but we know this up front. We coat the line in a clear polymer dip after manufacture to help bind the bundles together. This helps keep the grit out of the inside of the braid. It also adds to the life of the line material by being a "buffer" if you will. If the buffer takes a 100-200 jumps to wear off, this is 100-200 jumps that the material itself does not wear.

We coat the line in two methods. The first is a clear poly coating. The second is a combo of the same poly and also a UV inhibitor for the Technora.

Lifespan of both materials should be at least 400-700 jumps if properly coated.

Quote


What would you say is a better line choice for low-experienced jumpers?



Well it depends on the canopy.
If it is a slow opening canopy - Vectran always.
If it is a small pocket rocket - Technora
If it is a bigger canopy Like a Navigator - 525-600 Dacron
If it is a Safire II or III, Crossfire II or III - 580 Vectran
...and etc...

Hope this helps,
MEL
Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
www.Skyworksparachuteservice.com

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skyderrill66

... I lost a good friend because of those mild consequences. He was jumping a old saber 1 i think a 190 and he was around 165 lbs and it opened so hard it tore his aorta and they think he was dead before he hit the ground. >:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(so no they are most definitely not mild consequences.>:(



I’m really sorry for your loss.

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parachutist

***When Spectra goes out of trim on a big canopy with low wing loading, the typical symptoms are increased off-heading openings, harder openings, and less effective flares. Those are pretty mild consequences IMO.
I lost a good friend because of those mild consequences. He was jumping a old saber 1 i think a 190 and he was around 165 lbs and it opened so hard it tore his aorta and they think he was dead before he hit the ground. >:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(>:(so no they are most definitely not mild consequences.>:(



Fast openings are known to be the nature of the Sabre 1. If that nature were combined with very out of trim lines, I could see it resulting in an extreme situation. I did mention that harder openings are one of the indicators for needing a new line set. They start out very mild on the canopies that I specified, and they progress gradually. Canopy owners have time to recognize the changes in their canopy's behavior.

One of the jumpers at Lancaster was making his first jump on his brand new canopy and ended up in ICU with serious internal injuries. A couple of years earlier when it was still Taylor Air Sports a friend demo'd one. He got maybe three normal openings then the fourth opening was so hard to tore up the upper skin. He expected to get a real ass ripping from the company when he sent it back but said he didn't hear a single word, as though it had never happened.

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Here’s a short list I’ve compiled of appropriate canopies for beginners.



I'll take the liberty and add some good beginner canopies (in italics)

Performance Designs:

Sabre 2 (NOT the Sabre 1)
Spectre
Silhouette
Pulse (I tend to think the flare is weak, but some people love them)
Storm



Aerodyne:

Pilot
Pilot 7
Triathlon[/]

Icarus/NZ Aerosports

Safire 2
Safire 3
S-fire

IPT

Axion

Flight Concepts

Sentry

=========Shaun ==========


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Unstable

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Here’s a short list I’ve compiled of appropriate canopies for beginners.



I'll take the liberty and add some good beginner canopies (in italics)

Performance Designs:

Sabre 2 (NOT the Sabre 1)
Spectre
Silhouette
Pulse (I tend to think the flare is weak, but some people love them)
Storm



Aerodyne:

Pilot
Pilot 7
Triathlon[/]

Icarus/NZ Aerosports

Safire 2
Safire 3
S-fire

IPT

Axion

Flight Concepts

Sentry



I don't recall ever seeing a Sentry out in the wild. The Axons I've seen primarily in Eloy.

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I'd add to the list of good canopies for beginners:

Lotus from Big Air Sportz

Volt from Parachute Systems
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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