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skybytch

Glide Path Nova

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We picked up a Nova 150 for the collection a few years back from an old friend. It's in great shape, probably because it didn't have many jumps on it when they were grounded.

I know they were grounded because people died, but I don't remember the exact issues the canopy had. This is a long shot, but any old farts out remember anything about it?  Maybe jumped one back in the day (billvon?)?  

Can someone remind me why this canopy should never be jumped again (other than the whole grounding thing)?  If it were jumped today, would a person be breaking any "rules"?  How about in an intentional cutaway rig?

I'm know it's a stupid idea, but I'd really love to jump it even though it's probably way beyond me even at a 1.0 wingloading. It'd be one for the logbook, for sure! But the husband won't let me (smart man he is)... so I'd appreciate it if someone could tell me what I'm missing. ;)
 

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(edited)

Before my time, but I've heard the stories.
I do believe Billvon was around when they came out and subsequently were found to be a really bad idea to fly.

 

What I remember (which may or may not be correct) is that they flew great under normal conditions. But had a tendency for the nose to fold under and collapse the entire canopy in turbulence. Think about that happening in the pattern. 

Mains are not 'certified' in any way. So my understanding is that the grounding is entirely advisory, not under rule (again, could be wrong on that). However, I can't imagine any DZ allowing you to jump it. 
The only way jumping it on an intentional cutaway rig would be 'safe'(ish) would be to cut it away on every jump. 

I do believe we should mark this day on the calendar.

husband was right and his wife was wrong.

I would strongly suggest leaving this one for display purposes only.

Edit to add:

I really don't think you will be 'missing' much. My understanding (and could be wrong on that yet again) is that it was a 'sporty' canopy.
You can get the same or better 'sportiness' under any modern elliptical. Just without the 'Russian Roulette' aspect. 

Edited by wolfriverjoe

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42 minutes ago, wolfriverjoe said:

The only way jumping it on an intentional cutaway rig would be 'safe'(ish) would be to cut it away on every jump. 

Agree. I can't see anyone jumping it more than once. Kinda like a round; another canopy to add to the "I've jumped that" list. 

 

43 minutes ago, wolfriverjoe said:

I do believe we should mark this day on the calendar.

husband was right and his wife was wrong.

Happens all the time around here.  But I'm not the typical wife, so... :D

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38 minutes ago, skybytch said:

Agree. I can't see anyone jumping it more than once. Kinda like a round; another canopy to add to the "I've jumped that" list.

Okay, if you must.  Do not attempt to land it.

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(edited)

They would fold up on users too low to do anything to save your ass, after a number of people were killed they got banned.  I used to know someone who had one and he would land it post ban.  Everyone thought he was an idiot for jumping it.  Cut away rig would be a good idea if you plan to jump it. 

Edited by stratostar

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I had many jumps on a Nova.  The design was sound, but the canopy had to be made to the specifications, and at the time that proved to be challenging.  So as a result the canopies that were out of spec had problems, and the problems happened close to the ground.  Glide path bought by canopy back, then I got a Johnathan.  Look that one up.

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I do remember these but it was at the very beginning of my jumping so I can't say that I had full understanding of the issues at the time. Here is what I can put together from my current understanding crossed with my spotty memories of that time. Keep in mind that this was around the time of transition from F-111 to ZP canopies. It was not uncommon for people to still buy F-111 canopies at least as their first canopy. The saber had been out for a while. Precision was building the Monarch. I'm trying to remember if the Stiletto was out yet but I don't think so at least not where I was at. Glide path needed a new canopy. They had been playing with a design called Ariel in various forms. I knew a big cameraman guy from canada that had been doing some test jumping for them and still had one of the prototypes. The Nova was another design that they were playing with. Paragliders were getting better and I once heard that the air foil was based on one? Rumor. CFD was getting better and I heard that they had hired a consultant to help them with the new design. Rumor. What I actually know. One of our instructors went off to Quincy and jumped a bunch of their demos that year. He came back to Texas and we got a couple in that he and others were jumping. For Glide path they were supposed to be the hot new canopy better then the Saber. I don't think I jumped any of them. They were out side my skill set at the time. But I remember that Scot liked them. I packed them for him and he had good openings then one bad one. It of course happened when he was shooting video Which was a lot more chalenging back then when the cameras weighed over 7 lb. I'm trying to remember if he bought one but he got sick with ball cancer and quit jumping. No one considered  them to be bad canopies. There were no problems with them around here. Then there were a couple of incidents. High profile very public incidents, I think in FL but I don't recall which drop zone. Collapse on approach to landing, possible turbulence. Suddenly people started to get gun shy of them. Glide Path went into panic mode and recalled them. I'm not sure if they ever really came to a conclusion as to the root cause of the issues on those canopies. And I  don't think it was wide spread. There were not a lot of them out there but they were out there and people liked them and were not dieing. They didn't have flares like most of there canopies. I heard that the tape they put in the bottom seam to spread the load was shrinking and distorting the airfoil. Rumor. Line shrinkage was not a widely known concept at the time and I have heard since then that the collapses were caused by them going out of trim. Rumor. I don't recall it having a nose on it like you see on many canopies today. PD had some kind of patent on how they sewed their nose lip, I recall that later Flight Concepts was trying to work around that in their construction on newer canopies. I've heard theories that the issues were with how the canopy pitched front to back, when a canopy surges forwards it loses lift on the front of the canopy and the front can roll under. I herd that this was a product of the airfoil, the max thickness being farther back then on other canopies. Rumor. None of it really mattered. They pulled the cutaway handle. I don't know if there was a lawsuit or just the fear of one but Mike Furry got out. He was done. Some of the other people there went on to buy him out and start over with a, legally, unrelated company, Flight Concepts. They went on to build many good canopies including CRW canopies. They have kind of fallen off the stage as far as sky diving is concerned which is a shame. 

 

I don't think there was any thing special about the Nova. It was just another of the post Saber ZP nine cells. It was an early attempt at a "high performance canopy" and it seemed to be a good canopy but I don't think it would be any thing to write home about to day except for the mystique that has grown up around it. I wound up with one years later. A 170 or maybe a 190 I think. Too big for me never jumped it. I was surprised how many people were interested in it. Gave it to a CRW guy that was smart enough not to jump it in turbulence and he never had a problem with it. I think he sold it to his DZO, lost track of it sense then. I think people blow them out of proportion both their porformance and there problems. If you want to jump it, I'd say do it. I'd advise you to play with it up high testing it's stability. I'd advise against jumping it on a turbulent day. But if it behaved up high I would probable land it. See what the fuss is about but I think I think that you will find that there is no fuss and if you a sencable about where and when you jump it I don't think you will be in any real danger. 

 

Lee

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15 hours ago, skybytch said:

We picked up a Nova 150 for the collection a few years back from an old friend. It's in great shape, probably because it didn't have many jumps on it when they were grounded.

I know they were grounded because people died, but I don't remember the exact issues the canopy had. This is a long shot, but any old farts out remember anything about it?  Maybe jumped one back in the day (billvon?)?  

Can someone remind me why this canopy should never be jumped again (other than the whole grounding thing)?  If it were jumped today, would a person be breaking any "rules"?  How about in an intentional cutaway rig?

I'm know it's a stupid idea, but I'd really love to jump it even though it's probably way beyond me even at a 1.0 wingloading. It'd be one for the logbook, for sure! But the husband won't let me (smart man he is)... so I'd appreciate it if someone could tell me what I'm missing. ;)
 

In 2012  I bought a Nova 120 (DOM 1992) on ebay. It was like new, probably 10 jumps on it when it was grounded and never jumped again. I did a few jumps with it without an issue. As far as I remember I gave it to Brian Vacher from PDFT afterwards.

 

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Self packing parachute, bad voodoo.

I have only been in the sport 14 years, but I ran into one or two messed up jumpers with nicknames like Nova Jeff, who had their Nova's wad up too low to do anything about it, but two high to get away without some serious injury.

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I jumped Nova 150 about 50 times and enjoyed it.

Openings were a bit harder than modern ZP canopies, but about the norm for the early 1990s. The only problem occurred when I pulled down on a front riser, then the leading edge folded under!

I also have a few hundred jumps on an Ariel 150 along with many hundreds more on Sabre 170, 150 and 135. Eventually I graduated to a Stiletto 135. I weighed about 190 pounds (naked) back in those days.

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