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jcolborn48

7 Cell vs 9 Cell for Beginner

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I just received my A license and am starting to shop around for my own rig. My question is, as a beginner who is used to jumping a 230-250 9 cell student rig, will I be happy with a 7 cell, if the price is right? My current goals are improving landing accuracy, and canopy control. Will a 7 cell suit my needs for now?

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Will a 7 cell suit my needs for now?



Sure it can. Although there are a lot of other factors that are more important than deciding what differences between a 7 and 9 cell would effect you more.

Is it of an appropriate design and size?

A Velocity is a "7-cell" canopy, so is a FX, but neither are good for you right now. A VX is a "9-cell" canopy and that wouldn't be good for you either.

A Spectre or maybe a Storm could be good choices, but something like a Diablo would be a very bad choice.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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It's always a good idea to demo a canopy before buying so try some rentals and/or demos to get a feel for the various 7 and 9 cell choices that would be appropriate like Safire2, Sabre2, Spectre, Storm, etc. I think 7 vs 9 cell canopy is mainly a personal preference and you won't know which one you like more until you try both.
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We all used to have 7 cells. Then we mostly all switched to 9 cells because they fly better and land better (very high performance canopies excepted).
My experience over the last 15 years or so is that there is usually a plethora of intermediate jumpers trying to dump the 7 cell they got dumped on them when they were juniors.
Some people will howl with outrage as they defend the 7 cell, but the dumping of 7 cell canopies on juniors continues unabated.

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Maybe it is time to try to talk less about cell count, and more about aspect ratio.

While some say that the Velocity is a 7 cell, it has an aspect ratio of 2.69 (or higher) to 1.

The Spectre has an aspect ratio of 2.14 to 1.

Making generalization about performance or the strengths and weaknesses of a canopy used to be fairly well aligned with cell count.

But as materials and construction move forward, we may find that such generalizations based simply on cell count will not work so well.

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Some people will howl with outrage as they defend the 7 cell, but the dumping of 7 cell canopies on juniors continues unabated.



I've jumped both and I prefer 7 cells. Does that make me a bad person?



Perhaps it would be helpful for the low-timers reading this if you'd explain why some experienced jumpers prefer 7-cells.

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I have 7000 jumps and much prefer how 7 cells fly over 9 cells. More stable, easier to be accurate with, and generally fly nice. Better for CRW. I don't mind 9 cells, but I feel like I have far more precise control - especially on accuracy - when I am on a 7.

And if you can't land a modern 7 cell (Spectre, Storm, Triathlon) that's pilot error not a problem with the canopy.

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Some people will howl with outrage as they defend the 7 cell, but the dumping of 7 cell canopies on juniors continues unabated.



I've jumped both and I prefer 7 cells. Does that make me a bad person?



Perhaps it would be helpful for the low-timers reading this if you'd explain why some experienced jumpers prefer 7-cells.



Well, there are some classic statements that can be made, among them, things like -

  • 7 cells stall less sharply
  • 9 cells have more power in the flare
  • 7 cells can sink better
  • 9 cells fly faster

  • The problem is that we are in an era where these classic statements are being rewritten.

  • Modern 7 cells have more flare than earlier 7 cells.
  • Modern 9 cells don't stall as radically as earlier 9 cells.


  • It does seem that, for generalities, it is reasonable to say that many many, maybe most, people like a 9 cell canopy for all around happiness. It also seems that people who grew up with the performance characteristics of 7 cell parachutes find that a modern 7 cell parachute is simply more of everything they ever wanted from a canopy.

    In the end, people really need to invest in the learning experience surrounding canopy selection. Jump different canopies. Demo canopies that you are considering for purchase. Each person's likes and dislikes are his own. One man's most hated canopy is surely another man's dream canopy.

    (PS Andy - please read your dz.com email)

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    Me " why did you pick up that specter?"
    newbie " i ve heard that it packs the easiest, and opens nice."

    At this point im thinking the person is retarded.
    No, not all 7 cell are easy to pack, in fact i find specter and storm hardest canopy to pack, and they don't open nice, compare to what is out there.

    And surely enough the other guy who sold it to the guy is enoying something 9 cell, thinking " hell yeah, i got rid of that spectre."
    Bernie Sanders for President 2016

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    If a spectre doesn't open nice, either it needs a reline or you really need to learn to pack. The spectre opening is almost proverbially excellent.
    Also, it's still the best canopy around for wingsuiting IMO, I also used mine for CRW, filming CRW (try that with a sabre2 or stiletto), it's a good demo jumping canopy, etc. A lot of cameraflyers (world class) fly spectres. The only reason I got rid of mine was that getting a spectre relined at the time was quite expensive, and a 2nd hand Fusion or Safire was way cheaper :S

    Anyway, I wouldn't knock 7 cells in general, makes you seem kinda dumb ;)

    ciel bleu,
    Saskia

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    >My current goals are improving landing accuracy, and canopy control.
    >Will a 7 cell suit my needs for now?

    Yes. 7 cells are a good choice for both improving landing accuracy and learning canopy control. There are a lot of 7 cells out there; make sure you try whatever canopy you are going to buy _before_ you buy it.

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    I started jumping a 7 cell exclusively at about 20 jumps.

    The best way that I can describe the manner in which my Spectre (7 cell) is "docile": It behaves well when I don't. It has bailed my stupid arse out of a number of sorry situations without harm.

    I find my Spectre to be rock solid in slow flight with the barkes at the factory settings... that stability gives me lots of options when the going gets wierd.

    Demo, Demo, Demo before you buy.

    Side note: Almost all modern ram air reserve canopies have only 7 cells.
    The choices we make have consequences, for us & for others!

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    I appreciate all the responses. The other reason I was asking about 7 cells is because budget is an issue, I am looking at buying used, and some of the more affordably priced canopies seem to be 7 cells. However, from what I am reading just because it's a 7 cell, does not make it any lower quality than a 9.

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    No, not all 7 cell are easy to pack, in fact i find specter and storm hardest canopy to pack, and they don't open nice, compare to what is out there.



    This makes me think you have never jumped a Spectre. Many camera folks love them for the openings. Last I checked, Tony Hathaway was jumping a Spectre (and he stayed in my spare room last night).... Of course with 15k jumps and being one of the best camera people on the planet.... what the hell would he know right?:S
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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    It's pretty obvious he included that statement to show credibility.

    IE Last I knew, which was last night.

    Not that difficult to figure out...

    As far as 7 vs 9 cell, I am a noob and just received my A at the end of the last season. I was in the same situation as you, so I can offer my thoughts. Take them for what they are worth (not much).

    I did the first 20 jumps or so (would have to check my log book) on a 9 cell 220 Navigator. I have since been jumping a 7 cell spectre 190. I am very happy with the change. It seems much easier to land accurately (after a few jumps of getting used to the change of glide angle), and also seems a bit more stable in turbulence (again very little experience) Granted, I have only flown it 15 or 20 times since then, but from the limited experience I have had, I dont have any regrets about going with the 7 cell.

    Again, I'm brand new to all this, but I personally would have no regrets buying a 7 cell that was in decent enough shape to get a few hundred jumps out of it. Especially at the prices you can pick them up.

    Best advice would be to talk to your instructors.

    Dont forget to smile!

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    Side note: Almost all modern ram air reserve canopies have only 7 cells.



    yup, and all they're basically good for is bringing you down to the ground safely.

    i think there's a reason why almost all MAIN-canopies have 9 cells. :S
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    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    The larger the number of cells, to a limit, the thinner the airfoil and thus faster and more efficient.
    As I understand, this has to do with the number of ribs allowing for designers to better shape the wing and provide vertical and lateral rigidity.
    And as such it can be "assumed" a 7 cell has a thicker cord and thus has a slower ground speed when compared to a ubiquitous 9 cell.

    But what it provided is lower ground speed it also gives up in glide in that a 7 cell "sinks" at a significantly greater rate than a 9 cell. Thus spotting becomes more important.

    Further more with this loss of forward velocity the ability to plane out, ie flare is slightly diminished.
    However due to a thicker cord the 7 cell is significantly more stable at lower speeds.
    Life through good thoughts, good words, and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay.

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    thats funny,,,what does the fact that he stayed in your spare room last nite...have anything to do with canopy comparisons..?



    That I spoke to him the very day I typed that post. So saying he stayed with me was showing "last I checked" was less than 6 hours ago. Not a difficult post, sorry it confused you however.
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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    i think there's a reason why almost all MAIN-canopies have 9 cells.



    Nonsense. Your statement is made from a myopic view of only looking at your own little part of the skydiving world. Just look at PD:

    "The lightly tapered seven cell Spectre is one of the most popular canopies we have ever produced."

    Hell, PD just released a new 7 cell called the Zero.
    They released a 7 cell canopy about a year ago called Storm.

    And you seem to be forgetting that a Velo is actually a 7cell with Xbraces.
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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    Side note: Almost all modern ram air reserve canopies have only 7 cells.



    yup, and all they're basically good for is bringing you down to the ground safely.

    i think there's a reason why almost all MAIN-canopies have 9 cells. :S



    My weapons of choice are a Velocity, a (small) Triathlon and a Foil. For different purposes. I also have a Stiletto and a Lightning.

    Counting the cells would be useless; I use them for the specific attributes they exhibit. Every canopy is a trade-off. The number of cells is only one factor in that trade-off. Other design decisions like line length, aspect ratio, size, loading, planform shape and airfoil shape are also factors, and they all interact.

    Unnecessarily, arbitrarily limiting yourself to 9-cell or 7-cell designs is, well, limiting.
    Johan.
    I am. I think.

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    I thought the guy is jumping velocity now



    Spectre 120 with Dacron lines for the last ~10k jumps. He put only about 20 jumps on a Velo, had thousands on Stilettos.... Even had an Excal back in the day.
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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