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Noob question! Best canopy brands for a newer jumper?

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I've bought a container/harness and reserve, I've been looking to buy a main canopy and am looking for a 170 or somewhat similar size. The rental gear I've been using is mainly sabre 2's so that's what I'm most familiar with but it's been a struggle to find a 170 for a reasonable price on a sabre 2, is there any other brands that aren't so aggressive and more friendly for newer jumpers?

Found an amazing deal on a 170 stiletto but after looking into them it seems they're more aggressive and for more experienced people (at least based off descriptions) and I'm still a little timid under canopy so I'm looking for something a little more docile.

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Pulses are good for a newbie. Flatter and longer glide path so good for getting back from longer spots insuring you make it back to the landing area a bit easier.
*If you fail to plan, you plan to fail*
*It's not flair, it's flare*
*Please use "your" and "you're" responsibly*

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The Sabre2 is solid, I would even say the "gold standard" to which other non-swooping 9cells are measured against. But that also makes it popular, and preserves its used price. 170 is also the most popular size of any non-swooping canopy from what I hear.

Other new/intermediate fun jumper canopies include the Pilot (Aerodyne), Pulse (PD), and Prime (Fluid Wings). They will all be tamer than the Sabre2 and you will be disappointed by the flare of all 3 if you are use to the Sabre2 (assuming the one you have been jumping isn't ragged out). I've jumped all three and have nothing but good things to say about all of them.

A little off the radar is the Firebolt (Parachute Labs / aka Jump Shack). It is the only canopy I've flown that has a more powerful flare than the Sabre2, it is obvious why, the brake lines affect a larger portion of the tail. As far as flight characteristics (it's been awhile since I jumped one) but it is in the same ball park as the Sabre2 and would feel familiar. The snivel is quite long also.

If you can find a 7 cell cheap, the Spectre and Storm are good options (PD), I've heard a number of people say they love the Triathlon (Aerodyne) as well but I have no personal experience.

I'm sure someone will disagree, but I wouldn't turn you away from a 7cell, but I would also tell you not to hunt for one. They are much more stable in flight and generally lack the forward speed of 9cells. If that is something someone is looking for (some wingsuiters for instance) that's fine. But it is a bit of a crutch. Anecdotally, I've seen people come from long first runs on 7cells and when they get something sportier (Sabre2 for instance) they are intimidated by the speed and responsiveness. There is an adjustment period as it were, I have not seen the same for people going from a 9cell to a 7cell, other than "Wow, this is much tamer than what I am use to."

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I'm personally a fan of Magellan (made by skylark) but I have no idea how to go about getting one in USA...

Otherwise, it's a great canopy and in my opinion it outperforms sabre2 (which quite frankly is an rather old design). Nice range on rears, somewhat flatter glide which means you get back home from long spots and if you feel like swooping then that's good too...

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Here is one of the most comprehensive charts that I found when I was a student asking the same exact question.

http://www.skydivesnohomish.com/Portals/0/Files/Elliptical%20Chart%202015-11-01%20JM.pdf

I found it on Skydive Snohomish's website and I think a few canopies might need to be added on. There are some older ones but that doesn't mean they are by any means if they were well taken care of. I myself fly a Hornet which is very similar in characteristics to a Pilot and its been a great starter canopy for me. And no it really isn't a PISA sh$#, its actually a very decent canopy.

I would talk to your instructors or ST&A about some of the canopies on the list though as some of them are F111 which is a different ballgame if you are used to a Sabre2. I did a lot of research here before making my purchase.

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I personally have a deep lovery for Safire canopies - the Icarus brand equivalent of the Performance Designs (brand) Sabre. Safire (not Safire 2 or 3) are not manufacturered anymore (they're on to the Safire 3 now) so... they're cheap. My advice:
Look ok facebook in the buy/sell groups. PM me and I'll help you get thete.
Put an ISO ad for Safire 169, include that you're open to other 9 cell canopies, and see what responses you get.
The advantages of a used canopy like that are:
Cheap!!! I currently own 3 Safires and used to have another. They each cost around $500. Sometimes they need linesets, as all canopies do. Linesets including installation are $300-$400 and are good for about 500 jumps.
Easy to pack because they're broken in.

Sometimes placing an ISO ad makes people remember things they have stashed away... Good luck (and PM me, I'm good at helping people find things).

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I wouldn't pay attention to that chart. It actually seems dangerously misleading. Petra with 300+ jumps? Really?

And who would recommend to a new skydiver designs as old as some of those? Sure, they might be tame enough and/or designed for students, but it is 2017 already, some of these designs are 30 years old, and the chances of finding some of these oldish canopies that are not dangerously ragged out are pretty slim. I have nothing against old gear, but you should know what you are getting, and for that you need to build up a bit of knowledge, which is not the case for a fresh student.

Somebody else also recommended a Storm. Make no mistake, the Storm might be a 7 cell, but it is not a canopy for new jumpers. It is pretty steep and you can get hurt easily if you don't know what you are doing.

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gunsmokex

Here is one of the most comprehensive charts that I found when I was a student asking the same exact question.

http://www.skydivesnohomish.com/Portals/0/Files/Elliptical%20Chart%202015-11-01%20JM.pdf

I found it on Skydive Snohomish's website and I think a few canopies might need to be added on. There are some older ones but that doesn't mean they are by any means if they were well taken care of. I myself fly a Hornet which is very similar in characteristics to a Pilot and its been a great starter canopy for me. And no it really isn't a PISA sh$#, its actually a very decent canopy.

I would talk to your instructors or ST&A about some of the canopies on the list though as some of them are F111 which is a different ballgame if you are used to a Sabre2. I did a lot of research here before making my purchase.



That list is really scary, I wouldnt use it at all... Or atleast it needs another category for most of the wings listed under +300 jumps right now...

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Blis

it needs another category for most of the wings listed under +300 jumps right now...



There was a time when even Brian Germain was of the opinion that with 500 jumps you were a grown-ass (wo)man and could make your own canopy decisions.

Now that category happens at two thousand jumps under the French association rules, and I am very sure other places will follow suit.

Did we get smarter? Maybe. But we sure invented deadlier canopies as well... When the 500 thing was current, the Velocity was the most (deliberately at least) dangerous thing around. Now we have Petra and Valkyrie and Peregrine, oh my. And I'd still look at you funny if you wanted to jump a Velo with 500 jumps.

Does this make the Stiletto and the Crossfire and the Katana any safer for newer people? Of course it doesn't. The curve has not moved, it just now has a taller bit on the right hand side.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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I bought a Pilot when I was a student and jumped it for about 700 jumps, and I am still jumping a Pilot. I doubt you will find one that is low cost as they are fairly popular.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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There is a Pulse 170 for sale on the Facebook Page for Skydiving gear. The pulse is a nice canopy and fun to fly. I have had both a 190 and a 170 at various times in my skydiving.
Charlie Gittins, 540-327-2208
AFF-I, Sigma TI, IAD-I
MEI, CFI-I, Senior Rigger
Former DZO, Blue Ridge Skydiving Adventures

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Another newbie here, and also a fan of the Pilot.

I haven't jumped the Sabre 2, but from lots of talking and reading, I believe they are not too different. The Sabre maybe dives a little steeper and it's natural recovery arc is a little slower, whereas the Pilot is known for nicer, more consistent openings and is maybe a bit more lively on the toggles. Both have reputations for a nice flare and landing.

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>Found an amazing deal on a 170 stiletto but after looking into them it seems
>they're more aggressive and for more experienced people . . .

I'd avoid Stilettos for now.

Some ideas:

Safire 2/3 - great canopies. Had three of them over the years.

Pilot - Another good option. Best in larger sizes (150+)

Sabre 2 - Good canopy but I've never owned one; just made some test jumps on them.

Silhouette - not popular in the US but I've had two and liked them a lot. Much easier to pack than a full ZP once they get a few jumps on them.

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I hear good things about the Volt. It is much cheaper new than used Safires, Sabres and Pilots and it is somwhere between a a Pilot and a Sabre. It has better openings than Sabre and is a bit steeper than Pilot.

But that's what I heard, I do not have any experience on it yet.

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Blis

***Here is one of the most comprehensive charts that I found when I was a student asking the same exact question.

http://www.skydivesnohomish.com/Portals/0/Files/Elliptical%20Chart%202015-11-01%20JM.pdf

I found it on Skydive Snohomish's website and I think a few canopies might need to be added on. There are some older ones but that doesn't mean they are by any means if they were well taken care of. I myself fly a Hornet which is very similar in characteristics to a Pilot and its been a great starter canopy for me. And no it really isn't a PISA sh$#, its actually a very decent canopy.

I would talk to your instructors or ST&A about some of the canopies on the list though as some of them are F111 which is a different ballgame if you are used to a Sabre2. I did a lot of research here before making my purchase.



That list is really scary, I wouldnt use it at all... Or atleast it needs another category for most of the wings listed under +300 jumps right now...

That link is missing the dz canopy requirements that list minimum wing loading and canopy size according to experience and currency, here:http://www.skydivesnohomish.com/Licensed_Skydivers/Canopy_Policy.aspx Sure you can jump a Petra at 300 jumps, but only with a maximum wL of 1.35 and that Petra can't be smaller than a 135... so you'd first need to convince the manufacturer to custom build a canopy that goes against their recommendations.

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I've been jumping Brian Germain's Lotus 150 for about 150 jumps. It's not radical, being semielliptical, and the flare is wonderful. It's one of his airlocked designs, which isn't everyone's cup of tea. It flies great. He can send you a demo to try out - which is a great idea for any canopy you're thinking of buying. You can find Brian at Bigairsportz.com.
My Dad used to ask me if someone jumped off a bridge would I do that too? No, but if they jumped out of an airplane, that's a different question...

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Blis

***Here is one of the most comprehensive charts that I found when I was a student asking the same exact question.

http://www.skydivesnohomish.com/Portals/0/Files/Elliptical%20Chart%202015-11-01%20JM.pdf

I found it on Skydive Snohomish's website and I think a few canopies might need to be added on. There are some older ones but that doesn't mean they are by any means if they were well taken care of. I myself fly a Hornet which is very similar in characteristics to a Pilot and its been a great starter canopy for me. And no it really isn't a PISA sh$#, its actually a very decent canopy.

I would talk to your instructors or ST&A about some of the canopies on the list though as some of them are F111 which is a different ballgame if you are used to a Sabre2. I did a lot of research here before making my purchase.



That list is really scary, I wouldnt use it at all... Or atleast it needs another category for most of the wings listed under +300 jumps right now...


Why do you consider this list really scary ?

The basis is that lower experience jumpers shouldn't be jumping fully elliptical canopies or canopies at higher wing loadings. This may be a conservative view but after having scrapped enough inexperienced jumpers off the DZ and off to hospital or the morgue the DZ decided to set a policy as to suitable canopies and wing loadings.

Sure there may be some manufacturers/models not on there but I wouldn't consider it scary at all. In fact quite the opposite and consider it conservative.

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Spotty- the link is only to the canopy model list, it doesn't include the wing loading and minimum canopy size information.

From just the link provided, it does say you can jump a Petra at 200 jumps. You'd have to see the wL and size chart to see that the Petra would have a minimum size of 135 and a max wL of 1.35, that's the other half of the puzzle, not to mention using your brain to identify that the Petra is not available that large and that it definitely is not a 1.3 ideal wL canopy.

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Just wanted to drop back in and say thank you so much for everything everybody! I've been reading every reply as they've been coming in over the past few days and I love how awesome and helpful everyone seems to be every time I have a skydiving related question whether it's online or in person, completely different atmosphere than what I'm used to. I usually don't want to ask questions because I feel like every question I have seems basic and always think I'll get a "really dude? just google it" because I don't know what's a dumb question and what's not and try to learn just by reading and listening at the DZ but as I'm sure you guys all know there's just so much to learn about this sport, more so than I ever could of imagined when I decided to get into it, but hearing from people with experience is much more comforting, thank you all so much again for taking time out to help a newbie with basic questions and for all the suggestions!

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Sam - I understand the list just detailed canopy models and nothing more. All the ones detailed above 300 jumps tend to be fully elliptical models which are generally loaded higher providing higher performance. All the ones below tend to be more standard or lightly taped planforms. Are there any above 300 that you think may be suitable for newer jumpers ?

A Petra is not on the list at all so it doesn't really say that. If you wish to interpret it that because its not on the list so it would be ok that would be a really bad assumption as I could name a number of other canopies that aren't there either (No data does not mean OK). And of course, there are the loading and size factors you've detailed.

The canopy policy and subsequent calculations are based upon canopy model (Shape), Size, Wing Loading, Total experience and experience within the last 12 months.

Looking at the policy document - a Petra at 200 jumps irrespective of loading or size would be against the policy as its fully elliptical. If you had 300+ jumps and a Petra above a 150 and below a 1.3 loading and experience then you may be OK. But in reality who's buying a big Petra and jumping on a very low wing loading.

If you on a sub 100 irrespective of loading /shape requires special clearance as do high wing loadings above 2.0.

There are many subtleties in the calculation that Jordan (who created the formula) really thought through and when doing some coding for this had hundreds of test scenarios and all of them seemed pretty valid based upon the inputs and common sense. The information used to come up with the calculation was not pulled out of thin air but based upon what the manufacturers and very knowledgeable canopy people (like Brian Germain) had written about.

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Maybe we're looking at different versions of the thing Spotty?

I did mean to say 300 jumps (not 200) and Petra as was in the example further upthread; the max wL for 300 jumps at SS is 1.35, min canopy size 135. The original question was that this one canopy list approves a Petra at 300 jumps, which I guess it technically does, though the specific Petra to fit the example doesn't exist when you consider the rest of the dz canopy policy.

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Remember if we are talking newer jumper I would consider the canopy models in the under 300 as suitable - at appropriate wing loadings/sizes.

When you are talking above 300 - all bets are off but ellipticals may be applicable at appropriate wing loadings/sizes. Again everyone is different and some individuals may be able to handle a higher loading and others not. I'm sure we can both name some people that may apply.

So any chart/list is really general guidelines. Nothing more, nothing less - people who have bad landings or erratic canopy behaviors may not be appropriate. When downsizing or changing canopy form factor the original poster should have a frank discussion with an local instructor who is personally aware of your performance for more appropriate advice.

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skytribe

Sam - I understand the list just detailed canopy models and nothing more. All the ones detailed above 300 jumps tend to be fully elliptical models which are generally loaded higher providing higher performance. All the ones below tend to be more standard or lightly taped planforms. Are there any above 300 that you think may be suitable for newer jumpers ?

A Petra is not on the list at all so it doesn't really say that. If you wish to interpret it that because its not on the list so it would be ok that would be a really bad assumption as I could name a number of other canopies that aren't there either (No data does not mean OK). And of course, there are the loading and size factors you've detailed.

The canopy policy and subsequent calculations are based upon canopy model (Shape), Size, Wing Loading, Total experience and experience within the last 12 months.

Looking at the policy document - a Petra at 200 jumps irrespective of loading or size would be against the policy as its fully elliptical. If you had 300+ jumps and a Petra above a 150 and below a 1.3 loading and experience then you may be OK. But in reality who's buying a big Petra and jumping on a very low wing loading.

If you on a sub 100 irrespective of loading /shape requires special clearance as do high wing loadings above 2.0.

There are many subtleties in the calculation that Jordan (who created the formula) really thought through and when doing some coding for this had hundreds of test scenarios and all of them seemed pretty valid based upon the inputs and common sense. The information used to come up with the calculation was not pulled out of thin air but based upon what the manufacturers and very knowledgeable canopy people (like Brian Germain) had written about.



Tell Jordan thanks for putting the list together! There aren't any like it that I could find anywhere. Sorry I didn't include the link the other part of the canopy list. Like I said I just used the list as a determination of what is and isn't fully elliptical and is semi/non elliptical. Like I said I just used it as a guideline when I was buying my gear.

Until I found this list I was about to buy a Flight Concepts Pro Series, no one at our DZ had heard of it before and I couldn't find a whole about it. I talked to the owner and he was like "yeah you are good" Good thing I didn't as its fully elliptical from what I know. Even if you look at the reviews on gear on dz.com here they rarely say if the canopy is fully/semi or non elliptical. Not to mention some of the canopies on Jordan's list aren't even in the reviews section. I realize some of them are quite old but its hard to find info on older canopies and easy to find info on the newer canopies.

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^^^ especially true given that newer jumpers are more likely to be looking for used gear and not really know what they're looking for, and on a budget since a complete rig is expensive, so they're more likely to be interested in any canopy that is ____ size on the cheap. Add to that the 5ish year cycle of jumpers entering and exiting the sport and information on older canopies can easily be lost in a given set of jumpers/instructors. It's confusing, I know. Plus most jumpers are eager to say "I've jumped this Jimbo canopy size 170 for 200 jumps and it's the best thing ever! Get a Jimbo!" When it's really the only canopy they've jumped for 200 jumps and they haven't compared it to anything.

I always advise: stick with the big brands. Icarus, PD, UPT, Infinity, Javelin... they have the most information available and can help if there are any issues. What if your Jimbo canopy from some other country is out of trim or worn in wierd places after sitting in someone's rig, in their garage, for a bunch of years, who can help you then? Sometimes the cheap option is not the best. And if at all possible: try a bunch of canopies (and rigs, and each piece of equipment) to see what you like best for you. It's worth a trip to a big dz that has a bunch of demos, try things out.

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