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Bud_T

What's the proper riser length?

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Is there a "General Rule of Thumb" as to what a good riser length for the height of a skydiver? (ie. 19" risers for anyone less than 5'6"; 21" risers for 5'6" - 5'11"; etc...)?? Just trying to figure out if I should get 19" main risers or 21" main risers at 5'6".

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I'm 5'7" and I actually use 18's on my WS rig. The longest I ever use is 21's. What you will experience with longer versus shorter risers is a longer recovery arc when you make your final turn to land. If you generally land straight in with no HP turn, then you won't find any difference at all except for the longer reach to get your slider sorted after opening.

Chuck
D-12501

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Taking the canopy out of the picture, your main differences are going to be ease of reaching the slider and how high you'll need to reach to get good leverage for rear riser maneuvers (post-deployment avoidance turns, riding the rears back from a long-spot, planing out with rears for landing, etc). If they're longer, you'll need to reach higher.

Putting the canopy back into the picture:
Whether you notice a difference on regular straight-in landings depends on the canopy, too. If your main has a fairly long control range with most of its flare power at the very bottom end (like the Pilot does, in the larger sizes), then the combination of short arms and short risers makes it very difficult to get a solid finish to your flare. Conversely, with canopies which have a stall point higher in the control range, and a lot of flare power higher in the control range, shorter risers may make it less likely that you'll stall it during your landing flare, particularly if you have longer arms, because they'll keep you from digging in as deeply. Some mains also have a very large control range in rears specifically, and that may be easier to explore and take advantage of with longer risers.

I'm 5'7" with shoes on, with a 5'3" wingspan (T-rex arms ;)), and used 19" risers with my first rig because one of my coaches suggested it, saying it would be easier to reach my slider. With the Pilot I was flying, that meant a good, shut-down flare was very difficult when the winds were light or nil, even with the control lines shortened a couple inches. I didn't have that problem on the demo Pilot I flew before buying - mainly because the demo risers were 22s. 3 inches can make a lot of difference.

My current rigs have 21" and 22" risers. While I have to stretch a little I can still reach the slider with the 22s, and both of my current canopies are much happier with having the extra few inches at the bottom of the control range when it's a hot, no-wind day (which is about 1/2 the year at SDAZ). The added performance at the bottom end makes it worth having to stretch to reach the slider. Ultimately, if I were buying new risers for myself, I'd go with 21s; for me, with my reach and those two canopies specifically, 21" is a good middle ground in terms of bottom-end power and rear riser leverage.

So take the flight characteristics and the stall point of your chosen main(s) into account as well as your reach. You don't want risers so long you can't reach the slider at all, but beyond that there isn't a "standard" for how long the risers should be for a certain arm length. There isn't even a standard across container manufacturers; Aerodyne demo risers are 22"; VSE standard-length risers are 22" (they charge you extra for any other size). RI standard is short (18"? 19"?) from what I've been told from a couple people who have Curvs (but take that as hearsay; ask RI if you are looking at a Curv); UPT gives you a choice in 2-inch increments from 19" to 25", Mirage standard-length risers are 20"...

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