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MickPatch

1.08 canopy loading, number of safe landings?

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Generalist question and I appreciate that any comments are entirely dependent on coaches input but....

How many "safe landings" would you think are the minimum to fly a canopy with a 1.08 loading?

A "safe landing" defined as landing comfortably on feet in winds upto 15 knot within acceptable distance of target

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(edited)

Check this very useful article: 

It depends on you, your age, agility, the type of dropzone you jump at etc. I'm still on big canopy. One time I went to brand new dropzone with new to me landing pattern and jumped unknown, rental gear. I messed up the landing badly. Well, it was on 210 canopy so after all I had sore butt for a week and sore ego. If I had done that on smaller canopy I would have been in much worse shape. Don't rush anything in skydiving, for real mate. 

What's more important is how many landings in variable conditions one had, like 0 wind, strong wind, cross wind, landing with many other people around you on final etc etc. It's better to experience all the first things and errors on bigger canopy than smaller. It's better to face plant landing on bigger canopy than smaller.

  • Have you face planted yet? :)
  • Have you had other people cut you off on final?
  • Have you landed still or backwards on final? That happens if wind is very strong and you get 0 or close to 0 forward speed on final.
  • Have you landed different patterns, have you landed on different dropzones?
  • Have you had any experiences that scared you or other jumpers around you yet?
  • Have you landed down wind yet?
  • Have you had people overtake you in the pattern?
  • Have you landed off dropzone yet? Do you know good and bad places off the dropzone to land if shit hits the fan?
  • Have you ever had to abort or modify a turn in the pattern because you noticed other people last moment?

There are many things that don't happen normally but they do happen occasionally. It's best if you are familiar with these so that way you can operate with 100% focus and 0 panic. Everybody makes mistakes, it's best to experience them in more favorable environment and walk away from them with scratches and bruises than broken bones. If you keep jumping, you will land down wind sooner or later. You will be in busy pattern once and see people too close to you on final. It's likely you will face plant one day etc. etc. Again, best to get familiar with all odd scenarios on bigger canopy.

Everything is fine now, you repeat same or similar comfortable landing in comfortable conditions. There will be that one day when something will happen and you want your brain trained and prepared for that. Maybe you will track too far and can't get back to the dropzone, maybe there will be other people close to you in the pattern and you make the turns late or so many other maybies.

I don't recommend you do anything sketchy on purpose. I'm just making you aware that odd things happen and every time you experience those, you learn and you open little doors in your brain that make you more humble and more prepared skydiver.

Also, if and when you decide to change the canopy, I recommend you do some hops and pops first so that way you are alone in the pattern and don't have to worry about the traffic. That will help you get used to the way new canopy flies in safer environment. 

Edited by CoolBeans

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(edited)

0. Number of safe landings is not a metric for determining readiness to downsize. If I had to put it in a sentence or two it would be you should be well capable of all modes of flight on your current canopy. You should be able to land downwind, crosswind, in no wind, in high wind, at night, during the day, in a backyard or in a parking lot, on rears, with fronts and in all other configurations. Then you can downsize. of course most people dont really meet those qualifications for downsizing until they get to high WLs, but that doesent mean they are not at risk of getting hurt.

Edited by Westerly

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Number of safe landings is not a real metric for anything. Yes, you may land your current canopy well when you are in the safety of your dropzone with plenty of landing space, wind sock, and good separation from other skydivers. But one day, someone will screw up their pattern and will cut you off, a pilot will taxi into the skydiver landing area, the wind will change, you will go to a boogie with tons of people in the air, you will have a bad spot/aircraft failure which will require landing off, and a million of other things will happen. Once you can land your current canopy in any conditions regardless of the wind direction, pull off low altitude course corrections safely, and generally be confident that you can react to changing circumstances safely, you are ready to downsize. 

But from a different angle, 1.08 is a fairly low WL. Depending on the canopy model, a Safire or a Pilot loaded at 1.08 will still allow you plenty of room to make a mistake and walk it off. A lot of people downsize before they acquire all the skills listed above, and get away with it up to a point. Not knowing how to compensate for crosswind on landing will get you a dirty jumpsuit and a bruised knee on a 1.08 loaded Safire. But get to a fully elliptical canopy at 1.8 WL without knowing that skill, and it will probably end wind broken bones. I know that this is an unpopular opinion on these forums, as people publicly advocate being conservative and asking a CP instructor those questions, but it is a fact that a lot of people get away with downsizing that may be too rapid at low wing loadings. Your mileage, of course, may vary.  

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