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Performance Designs Skill and Operating Limits

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Hello Forum,

I find really interesting how Performance Designs is adjusting its skill and operating limits for the same canopy over the course of years.
I address this to making it more appealing for end customers, but also to canopies getting smaller over the years in general.

I'm wondering what other skydivers think of this?

Below are attachments of 135ft Sabre2 from 2002. and 2015. Also a Sabre3 from 2020.
P.S. - I know Sabre3 is not the same as Sabre2, but I would still put it in similar bucket. Never the less, I personally would maybe even label it as a bit more advanced wing than Sabre2 and put lower suggested weights than Sabre2, which is opposite of current Sabre3 label.

Looking forward hearing from you!

P.S. again - Apologies to people I took screenshots from Facebook ads.

sabre2 2002.png

sabre2 2015.png


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Nice comparison.

To transcribe a few of the numbers as examples:

For 135's:

Sabre 2  2002      Intermediate 128 lbs     Expert 176 lbs         Max 216 lbs

Sabre 2  2002      Intermediate 149 lbs     Expert 216 lbs         Max 230 lbs

Sabre 3  2020      Intermediate 149 lbs     Expert 236 lbs         Max 250 lbs                

FWIW I checked archive.org for PD's 2006 page on the original Sabre   ("Sabre 1") which was a slightly less advanced canopy, and indeed had weight ratings typically but not always slightly less than what the Sabre 2 started with.

Sabre 1  2006      Intermediate 128 lbs     Expert 162 lbs         Max 203 lbs                

I do kind of shrug and just say times change, expectations about jumper skill change over the years, and how conservative a company is with its labelling, is all a factor.

(When it comes to "following manufacturers instructions", I have seen the problem that outsiders take manufacturer's info as gospel.
E.g., there was a workplace safety investigation in Quebec after a camera flyer died "on the job" when he hooked it low coming back from a long spot. While I don't think it was a huge problem in the end, it was awkward for the DZ when the commission was critical of the facts that were something like, "His licence is considered Intermediate. His wing loading on the main canopy is considered Expert. So why did the company allow him to go to work using unsuitable equipment not approved by the manufacturer?" )




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@pchapman in your transcribe, you missed to note the "Advance" category, where the difference is a lot bigger than intermediate.

Sabre 2  2002      Intermediate 128 lbs  Advance 135 lbs   Expert 176 lbs         Max 216 lbs

Sabre 2  2002      Intermediate 149 lbs  Advance 169 lbs  Expert 216 lbs         Max 230 lbs

Sabre 3  2020      Intermediate 149 lbs  Advance 203 lbs   Expert 236 lbs         Max 250 lbs    

I don't want to comment on "following manufacturers instructions" part of your comment as I don't want this thread to turn into something that it shouldn't :`D

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2 hours ago, riggerrob said:

Dear pchapman,

Lawyers are at best: monday morning quarterbacks.

At their worst, lawyers are self-centered, greedy, money-grubbing, etc. who do not care if the wounded live or die.

Or would you prefer to hear the whole truth?



Actually, I would figure that if the manufacturer was being driven by the lawyers the max weight in each category would be going down, not up.

While I would never speak for PD, my _guess_ is that their comfort level has evolved over time as:

 - line trims have been adjusted to optimize (and are being replaced/fixed more often now?)
 - jumper's understanding of canopy performance is better (more experienced instructors, more industry knowledge at the DZ, canopy classes, etc...) for how these models perform.
 - factory's observations of how jumpers in the field are handling the limits (and over limit) behavior.
 - numbers of hours flown by x number canopies with minimal issues due to experience/weight combinations.

Finally - maybe its just me, but I also never really correlated the canopy experience with license levels...  However, if you do, then maybe you could argue that they were adjusting as the average jumper was conforming to the higher number of jumps/license.  (ok, old folks... remind me cause I don't remember... when did they bump up the #jumps/license level??  I was already at 'D' and had 500 when they bumped it up to there...)



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