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Rhino4406

Student Navigator 300 to pilot 230 or another Manufacturer

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Thinking of just making the jump from my student navigator 300 to a 230 to go inside my new Wings Vision Container. Im 230 lbs without gear on. Just looking for some knowledge on what to expect and how much of a difference between the 2 there is. Maybe what the difference in flare capabilities there is. It seems like on the student Navigator 300 the flare takes a while to react and in no winds I'm moving pretty fast still even with a well timed flare. Any & All advice is welcomed.. I appreciate it. thanks in advance

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First of all, you'll be exceeding the 1:1 wing loading maximum generally recommended for <100 jumps (you'll be close to 1.13:1). So it is an "aggressive" downsize. Figured I would go ahead and get that out there.

It is doable but will take some getting use to. I'm 220 naked and my progression went something like this; Nav300(~30 jumps) Nav260 (~20 jumps) Nav220(~50 jumps) then bought a Pilot 210, probably put about 100 on it and other 210s before going to a 190 briefly, then a 170 where I'm still at several hundred jumps later. I wouldn't have wanted to do it much differently.

The biggest thing you'll notice is forward speed landing, it will be much faster, your flare will also be more dynamic and touching down with little to no forward speed will be a thing of the past, you'll be running and/or sliding for a while. Practice your PLFs. The flare will also be stronger (more speed=more energy, so more potential lift).

If you're going to do it I would say make the first 5-10 jumps with at least a 5-10mph headwind in a good direction for your LZ, and pull high to get a feel for the turns (toggle and riser) as well as make lots of practice flares. Really put it through its paces on those first 5-10 jumps.

The only downside is that you'll probably transition to a 210 or 190 within 100 or so jumps (where you should probably settle in for a while). At any rate, I wouldn't buy a new 230 unless you have money to burn because you probably won't have it for a super long time.

Also, the Navigator flares poorly compared to other sport canopies, so I would recommend a Pilot/Pulse/Saber2 (is the 3 out yet?) if you're going to buy one (Take the opportunity to demo a 260 and a 230 for a more gradual break in).

All of this is assuming you are an active jumper, 100+ jumps per year, and of course, I know everyone likes feedback from multiple sources but you should talk to your instructors and look into taking a canopy course. If they tell you that you should downsize more slowly, they aren't crazy.

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I would not recommend it in a single step. Not only are you skipping 2 sizes but you also are going to a completely different type of canopy. (I don't know the pilot well, but assume it's quite different from the Navigator)

I am around 225 lbs and started on a Nav 300 for my first AFF jumps. I went to a 280 after that and then skipped a size and went to a 240. These transitions weren't extreme and, while I'm glad I did it step by step in about 30 jumps, I would probably have been fine doing it in one step. (although I DID hurt my sit-bone once, sliding it in and I can still feel that a bit even after 18 months...it re-activated a snowboarding injury in the same area)

Anyway: After getting comfortable at that size, I tried a number of other canopies at 230 to 240 sqft, and that difference (to the navigator) was much bigger than the simple size difference. Completely different flare. Different openings too, on some of them--mostly better, though)
If at all possible I would downsize on a Navigator, get real comfortable at that size and THEN try different types of canopies. Also: I would not decide on a canopy to get, if I previously had only jumped Navigators.

I am jumping at 5000ft+ AGL though, so that also makes a difference. Still: After all that I got a Spectre 230 and LOVE!!!! it. If I never had tried any other canopies I probably would have bought a Sabre2 (because that is what everyone jumps at my DZ) or a Pulse (because I liked the descriptions of it on the PD website) and now I know I wouldn't have been as happy with them as I am with my Spectre.

You are right about the flare taking a while to react on the Navigator. That was one of the biggest differences I felt when going to a sports canopy. Someone told me though--and that made quite some sense to me--that this was partially related to the lines: The lines on student canopies are the ones that are quite elastic and therefore the whole thing takes a while to react.
Oh, and definitely take a canopy course! ;)

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Someone told me though--and that made quite some sense to me--that this was partially related to the lines: The lines on student canopies are the ones that are quite elastic and therefore the whole thing takes a while to react.



Do not trust anything this person says.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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mbohu

Someone told me though--and that made quite some sense to me--that this was partially related to the lines: The lines on student canopies are the ones that are quite elastic and therefore the whole thing takes a while to react.
Oh, and definitely take a canopy course! ;)



That is false. Also, not all student canopies have elastic Dacron lines. Many do not especially considering 'student canopy' really just means some large, lightly loaded semi-elliptical or square canopy of some sort to most drop zones.

I absolutely would not jump straight from a 300 to a 230 unless your wingloading on the 300 is absurdly light, like less than 0.5. Going down that fast would be a great way to get hurt on your first jump. I only downsized 20 square feet at a time and each time I did it the first 20+ jumps felt faster than the previous 20. Just a 20 square foot difference made a rather noticeable difference in the landing speed. Dont downsize more than one size at a time and do a minimal of a half dozen jumps on each size as you do it.

Dont be in a hurry to downsize as the cons can far exceed the pros if you dont do it correctly.

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That is false. Also, not all student canopies have elastic Dacron lines. Many do not especially considering 'student canopy' really just means some large, lightly loaded semi-elliptical or square canopy of some sort to most drop zones.


OK. Makes sense. The difference in reaction time between the Navigators (at any size I jumped, all with Dacron lines) and everything else I jumped was staggering, though. So, this would then be related only to the canopy design itself?

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mbohu

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That is false. Also, not all student canopies have elastic Dacron lines. Many do not especially considering 'student canopy' really just means some large, lightly loaded semi-elliptical or square canopy of some sort to most drop zones.


So, this would then be related only to the canopy design itself?

I would say so, yes. Different canopies flare differently. This is well-known. The lines type does not have much influence on how the canopy flares. Dacron lines arnt as elastic as people think either. Dacron is polyester and polyester rope and webbing is typically intended to be inelastic. Polyester static ropes used in rope access are among the lowest stretch lines available. It's just that polyester stretches a lot compared to other high tech fibers like HMA (Technora), Dyneema, and Vectran which is why they get coined as being elastic, but in reality compare to other types of rope (like nylon), polyester is not that elastic.

If you took a 10' piece of Dacron line and tied one end to a car and pulled on the other end, it's not going to be like a bungee cord. It wont stretch nearly as much as you think it will and chances are you could only get it to stretch a few inches by pulling on it, if that.

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mbohu

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Do not trust anything this person says.



How come?



Because it sounds like the ramblings of an engineer wannabe that knows just enough to be really wrong about a lot of stuff.

Plenty of people, including me, prefer and continue to use dacron lines despite them causing more drag, bulkier and heavier. The little bit of stretch that occurs under the tension while flying is definitely not significant for larger canopies. When I got my canopy relined, I chose dacron and don't regret it at all. I'm sure that some teeny canopy being swooped hard would suffer worse flight characteristics with dacron but that doesn't apply to my Pilot 210.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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mbohu

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Do not trust anything this person says.



How come?



The responsiveness of a Nav 300 is slow because it is huge, and also likely because the planform and/or airfoil are not designed for flying fast. A smaller canopy, or a 300 with a more elliptical planform will feel different.

The stretchiness of dacron lines has nothing to do with it, beyond the slightly higher aero drag, which is not significant for those of us with low WL.

edit-I suggest finding some dacron lined canopy and getting a feel for it, pulling on a single line by hand. It is actually not as elastic as you might think.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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There is no Navigator 230. So the first question is what kind of 230 are you talking about? The second thing is that this is not a good question to expect a good answer from on this forum. Talk to the instructors and coaches who know you.

Your profile says you jump at Perris. I'm pretty sure their rental program has Navigators available in a variety of sizes. Try some smaller Navigators out first. And seek advice from the highly experienced people at one of the world's leading DZs.

Navigators all have Dacron lines. And extra reinforcing. This is because they need to be strong enough to last a long time and take the abuse they get in student operations. You probably do not want to buy a Navigator as your first canopy. It is not designed for that mission.

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I would probably have been fine doing it in one step. (although I DID hurt my sit-bone once, sliding it in and I can still feel that a bit even after 18 months...it re-activated a snowboarding injury in the same area)



Not directed at you or your choices but if a person's top priority is to stay healthy and keep jumping, even a minor injury can ground someone. No one wants to be hurting for months.

I reached out with my foot on landing #8, and took a little shock to my heal that was sore for a number of weeks. He didn't keep me from jumping. Many jumpers have somewhat minor accidents that take them out for the season. You can't be too careful if your main goal is to jump.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Thanks for your response... Ya I am trying to get 10 lbs lighter and get to 220 myself. Sounds like you and I will have similar progression stories. I am at 32 jumps as of now, right when you went from 300 to the 260... I was at the DZ on the 4th and they were supposed to put me under the 280 but it was getting serviced so I couldn't. I wanted to ask about the 260 but I hate being told no, haha and I'm very impatient... But do you think I need to try the 280 first or do you think I should be ok trying the 260 next?? I'm just thinking that the difference in 300 and 280 will be minimal and not enough to get me a good feel for the differences in smaller mains. and I've been asking em to downsize a while now and they finally said ok to the 280 after several days of decent landings.... also like i mentioned in my post, the flare is really slow and wondering if the 260 will give me a better feel for how smaller mains will flare.. not sure yet obviosly but I odnt think I'll ever be under anything smaller than a 210.. thats why i pulled the trigger on buying a new container to fit 210-230 ( Wings Vision ) .. thanks again man!..

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The responsiveness of a Nav 300 is slow because it is huge, and also likely because the planform and/or airfoil are not designed for flying fast. A smaller canopy, or a 300 with a more elliptical planform will feel different.


You're right. It doesn't seem like the lines are THAT elastic.

The funny thing for me, though was, that the Navigators (all the way from size 300 to 240--which was just above 1:1 for me) all behaved in the same way on landing:
If you just wanted to slow the canopy down for landing and keep it flying at the same angle, it was real easy and you'd usually land softly enough.
However, if you wanted to plane it out first, it was extremely hard to time: The first stage of the flare had to happen as a very sharp pull of the toggles about half way down--it had to be timed perfectly, and it felt that the plane-out would happen with some delay, after you pulled the toggles for the first part of the flare. (Admittedly I was a complete beginner, so some of it might have been me...but then again: I did not have that problem once I changed canopies)

More experienced jumpers (not jumping Navigators) kept telling me that I should be doing more of a dynamic flare (adjusting as I went along) rather than the very defined 2-stage flare. I never got this to work, as it wouldn't plane out, if I did not make the first part very strong and defined.

As soon as I tried other canopies (at 230 sqft, so essentially the same size--I tried Saber2, Storm and Spectre, none of them very elliptical) this changed: I could easily plane them out by a smooth toggle stroke and they would respond so immediately, that I could adjust the speed and depth of the stroke dynamically as I felt the canopy respond. There was no delay.

Anyway, based on the OPs original post, he seems to have the same experience with the Navigator.
I still think he should downsize on the Navigator first and then try other canopies at the same size before deciding on any one.

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Rhino4406

Thanks for your response... Ya I am trying to get 10 lbs lighter and get to 220 myself. Sounds like you and I will have similar progression stories. I am at 32 jumps as of now, right when you went from 300 to the 260... I was at the DZ on the 4th and they were supposed to put me under the 280 but it was getting serviced so I couldn't. I wanted to ask about the 260 but I hate being told no, haha and I'm very impatient... But do you think I need to try the 280 first or do you think I should be ok trying the 260 next?? I'm just thinking that the difference in 300 and 280 will be minimal and not enough to get me a good feel for the differences in smaller mains. and I've been asking em to downsize a while now and they finally said ok to the 280 after several days of decent landings.... also like i mentioned in my post, the flare is really slow and wondering if the 260 will give me a better feel for how smaller mains will flare.. not sure yet obviosly but I odnt think I'll ever be under anything smaller than a 210.. thats why i pulled the trigger on buying a new container to fit 210-230 ( Wings Vision ) .. thanks again man!..



Hey, so yeah I don't think there would be much difference between the 280 and 260, not enough to matter anyway. But ask your instructors (and for the love of God don't tell them you got advice on here or I told you it would be ok, they will treat you like an idiot for a very long time if you do), they may want to err on the side of caution, which is fine, and if they want you to put 10-20 jumps on a 280, that doesn't change much for you. My memory of going from the 300 to the 260 was a "moderate" increase in speed (we didn't have a 280 so I've never jumped one).

I'm not going to argue with anyone on here, but basically what you're experiencing with the slow reaction time of the 300 (which is correct, it takes a good little bit to respond) is probably a combination of 3 things, the Nav is a good student canopy, but it kinda flys like a dog, second the bigger the canopy (at least in the 150+ range) the longer the lines, meaning the greater the pendulum swing when you start the flare necessary to change the angle of attack (more distance to cover to change the angle of attack means it takes longer to happen), third, and contributing to both of the previous things, is the 300 is slooowww, which means all that stuff gets exaggerated even more.

There are two big take aways here, 1- take a canopy course (best if from a professional group like Flight-1 or the Bartholomews (aka AlterEgo) but if you take one at your DZ that is better than nothing. 2- the biggest part of the flare is changing the angle of attack of the wing, it bites more air and generates more lift, but it can only do that temporarily before it starts to sink again (why timing is important), what happens when you pull the toggles is you increase drag on the canopy (it slows down), then your body starts to swing out in front of it, thus making it "pitch up" for lack of a better word, that is what is generating the majority of the lift. The harder and faster you pull the toggles, the faster the canopy slows down (oxymoron I know) in relation to your body, so the faster and the greater the change in AOA, thus a "stronger" flare. But on the 300, both you and the canopy are going pretty darn slow, so there isn't a lot of energy to work with. Play with it up high.

Also, Google some basic fixed wing aerodynamics, just remember you don't have an engine so whenever you do something that makes you lose energy, the only way to get it back is to fly faster toward the ground (which the canopy does for you thanks to physics and geometry; that's the surge you feel when you flare and then release, up high of course ;) ).

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