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benlangfeld

New-to-market canopy

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Hello all! I live in Rio de Janeiro, and a local manufacturer has recently released a set of sport canopies (http://www.verticaldoponto.com.br/paraquedas-esportivos.html) after having being focussed for 28 years on military gear. I would like to try their products at some stage, particularly to support local manufacturing (all other sport rigs in Brazil are imported) but am unsure of what particular issues I should consider regarding a new model canopy that hasn't been on the market long.

What factors do you all take into account when a new canopy is released, particularly from an unfamiliar manufacturer?

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How do you feel about being a test jumper?

It's really hard to build up enough test jumps on a design before it goes to market. Keep in mind that there will be numerous iterations in the design over the course of it's development. All have to be tested and when you move on to the next change it all starts over again. So when they say that they have put x0000 test jumps on this canopy that may be split over x0 iteration of the design. Some of those changes are small, some not. And then there are all the different sizes. The honest truth is that no manufacturer, even PD, can really afford to truly adiquitely test their designs prior to release. Until it's out in the wild with thousands of people jumping it every weekend you're not really going to know the full story on it. If you buy a new canopy design you are a test jumper. I for one enjoy shit like that. If this makes you uncomfortable do not buy a canopy that has been on the market for less then 24 months. In this case with such a small/new manufacturer selling to such a small customer base, Brazil vs. America, it will take even longer and when they make changes, not uncommon, the real clock starts over again. The designs of such a small company may never truly mature at least not for years.

Having said all of this. I would be first in line, but that's me. I would be volunteering to help with their test program before they ever went to market. I'm not saying you shouldn't consider their canopies. I'm just saying, realize what you are getting into. And if you want to have a local manufacturer you need to support them. That includes buying and jumping their prototypes.

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

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Having a lot of experience building for the military market is a plus. Looking at the photos on the web site they have a range of models and sizes. Nothing about any of them looks exotic or innovative. I suspect they are very similar to many existing canopies, but you really need to have riggers and experienced jumpers have a look at them.

You might ask them if you can demo the canopy. Or if a group of you can try it. If they want to break into the local market, then they should be eager to let people try them. Merely having good prices isn't enough.

-- Jeff
My Skydiving History

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