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# 7 Cell vs 9 Cell for Beginner

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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.

you seem to be forgetting that the velo is rather a 21-cell rather than a 7-cell, because it is x-braced; and from myopic view of the little part of the world i jump in, the majority of people do NOT jump velos..

and to adress YOUR myopic view of the world, there are actually other manufacturers than PD, too!

and i'm sort of sure that way more rounds were sold back in the days until the advent of square canopies. just look at the progression, i think it went from 5-cellss to 7-cells, then guess what, someone clever though of a 9-cell.

and if you want to keep going that way, paragliding-wings have what, 37 cells? of course they serve a different purpose, but a paragliding-wing actually CAN go up. unlike skydiving-wings. if my logic is not completely flawed, i'd dare to say that the more cells you have, you will end up with a better performing parachute.
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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you seem to be forgetting that the velo is rather a 21-cell rather than a 7-cell, because it is x-braced

From Icarus (the people who made the first viable ZP xbraced) describing the FX: "Cross Brace Tri-cell means the cell is divided into three chambers instead of two and the chambers are diagonally braced to force each cell back into shape." and "    * There is less drag because there are less lines. In effect the canopy is a 7 cell not a 9 cell, yet is almost an 11 cell in shape"

So, they call them 7 cells.

And they call the VX "The #1 fully x-braced ZP 9 cell canopy on the market.

But what would they know huh?

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and to adress YOUR myopic view of the world, there are actually other manufacturers than PD, too!

Yep, and THEY make 7 cell mains as well. I used PD as an example, but hell, now let's look at Icarus:

Omega and Omni, both 7 cells.

Wanna look at other company's?????

Precision makes 2 7 cell mains as well.

Flight concepts makes around 10 7 cell main designs.

I used PD as an *example*, but now I have provided others as well.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Hi v-b,

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i think it went from 5-cellss to 7-cells,

And you would be thinking wrong.

The first ram-air canopy on the market was the Para-Plane ( now commonly referred to as the 'baby' Para-Plane ) was a 7-cell.

Just to keep it factual,

JerryBaumchen

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anyway..

you seem to be bashing 9-cells, while, even if it's only in my view, they are pretty much the norm. and mostly "older-school"-jumpers seem to favor 7-cells. for whatever reasons..

i'm just saying, dont dosh a 9er over a 7er.. for whatever reasons!
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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Hi v-b,

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i think it went from 5-cellss to 7-cells,

And you would be thinking wrong.

The first ram-air canopy on the market was the Para-Plane ( now commonly referred to as the 'baby' Para-Plane ) was a 7-cell.

Just to keep it factual,

JerryBaumchen

might have been wrong there, but there WERE 5-cell reserves out at some time.. right!?
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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Hi v-b,

Quote

i think it went from 5-cellss to 7-cells,

And you would be thinking wrong.

The first ram-air canopy on the market was the Para-Plane ( now commonly referred to as the 'baby' Para-Plane ) was a 7-cell.

Just to keep it factual,

JerryBaumchen

might have been wrong there, but there WERE 5-cell reserves out at some time.. right!?

I actually just bought one last month (hey, it was cheap).

ciel bleu,

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Hi v-b,

Quote

i think it went from 5-cellss to 7-cells,

And you would be thinking wrong.

The first ram-air canopy on the market was the Para-Plane ( now commonly referred to as the 'baby' Para-Plane ) was a 7-cell.

Just to keep it factual,

JerryBaumchen

might have been wrong there, but there WERE 5-cell reserves out at some time.. right!?

I actually just bought one last month (hey, it was cheap).

i actually bought an optimum last year (hey, it's the latest hype!; AND it's orange, so goes well with the rest of my colour-coordination!)

“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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>i'd dare to say that the more cells you have, you will end up with a better performing parachute.

So you jump an AR-11, then? If not, why are you OK with a poorly performing parachute?

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>i'd dare to say that the more cells you have, you will end up with a better performing parachute.

So you jump an AR-11, then? If not, why are you OK with a poorly performing parachute?

nope, i'd end up jumping some sort of paragliding-wing for BEST performance; i might end up with some shitty openings tough, that is if my lines dont rip.

modern 9-cells are probably the best performing chutes with the best openings.. my saf2 opens VERY nicely, yet, it has an all-around nice performance, AND it has some glide, too!
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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you seem to be forgetting that the velo is rather a 21-cell rather than a 7-cell, because it is x-braced

From Icarus (the people who made the first viable ZP xbraced) describing the FX: "Cross Brace Tri-cell means the cell is divided into three chambers instead of two and the chambers are diagonally braced to force each cell back into shape." and "    * There is less drag because there are less lines. In effect the canopy is a 7 cell not a 9 cell, yet is almost an 11 cell in shape"

So, they call them 7 cells.

And they call the VX "The #1 fully x-braced ZP 9 cell canopy on the market.

But what would they know huh?

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and to adress YOUR myopic view of the world, there are actually other manufacturers than PD, too!

Yep, and THEY make 7 cell mains as well. I used PD as an example, but hell, now let's look at Icarus:

Omega and Omni, both 7 cells.

Wanna look at other company's?????

Precision makes 2 7 cell mains as well.

Flight concepts makes around 10 7 cell main designs.

I used PD as an *example*, but now I have provided others as well.

If I could interrupt your bonding w/VB for a minute? You cited PD's reference to the Spectre. I like the Storm. I need the softer openings. PD states that the Storm has a greater speed range, & stronger flare than the Sabre2. How much of a grain of salt do I need to take that with?

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>modern 9-cells are probably the best performing chutes with the best openings.

Well, there you go; everything is a tradeoff. Most AR-11's opened like crap. Most 7 cells open better than most 9 cells. Most 9 cells have better glide than most 7 cells.

Given that the few 11-cell canopies didn't open well, and given that 5 cells died away (due primarily to their glide performance) the 7 to 9 cell region seems to be a sweet spot. If your goals are accuracy, resistance to turbulence, low bulk or opening performance, a 7 cell is probably a good goal. If your goal is swoop distance or glide performance, a 9 cell is probably a better choice.

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Hi v-b,

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might have been wrong there, but there WERE 5-cell reserves out at some time.. right!?

Yup, and I never said that there were none.

In my background I have a very nice stand-up under a 5-cell reserve.

JerryBaumchen

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you seem to be bashing 9-cells

BS. Find one post where I 'bashed' a 9 cell. I have two 9 cells in the rigs that I normally jump and have over 3,500 jumps on 9 cell mains.

You have bashed 7 cells. "mostly "older-school"-jumpers seem to favor 7-cells"".

The difference is I also have over 1,000 jumps on 7 cells and you seem to be bashing them with no idea about them.

How many jumps do YOU have on 7 cell skydiving mains?

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i'm just saying, dont dosh a 9er over a 7er.. for whatever reasons!

If I am doing CRW or a demo.... I'll take a 7 cell over a 9 cell anyday.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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>modern 9-cells are probably the best performing chutes with the best openings.

Well, there you go; everything is a tradeoff. Most AR-11's opened like crap. Most 7 cells open better than most 9 cells. Most 9 cells have better glide than most 7 cells.

Given that the few 11-cell canopies didn't open well, and given that 5 cells died away (due primarily to their glide performance) the 7 to 9 cell region seems to be a sweet spot. If your goals are accuracy, resistance to turbulence, low bulk or opening performance, a 7 cell is probably a good goal. If your goal is swoop distance or glide performance, a 9 cell is probably a better choice.

given the limited experience i may have, given the safire2 (9-cell) i jump at a fairly high WL, and given the fact that it snivels for looooong.. yet, even far spots dont bother me much, yet, i do get a VERY comfortable opening, and yet, it's fast, stable in turbulence, bla-bla-bla..

i'm all in for 9-cells; but what i dont like is people bragging about how superior their 7er's are, even i can land my "chute" within 10ft every time, yet, i wouldnt put a "spectre" down. i just dont like "fanboys", be them for PD, 7-cells, knickerbockers or black socks. to each their own, and if you want to be "unique", just be that, and dont believe the hype..

that's all i'm saying..
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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you seem to be bashing 9-cells

BS. Find one post where I 'bashed' a 9 cell. I have two 9 cells in the rigs that I normally jump and have over 3,500 jumps on 9 cell mains.

You have bashed 7 cells. "mostly "older-school"-jumpers seem to favor 7-cells"".

The difference is I also have over 1,000 jumps on 7 cells and you seem to be bashing them with no idea about them.

How many jumps do YOU have on 7 cell skydiving mains?

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i'm just saying, dont dosh a 9er over a 7er.. for whatever reasons!

If I am doing CRW or a demo.... I'll take a 7 cell over a 9 cell anyday.

fair enough
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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I've put most of my jumps on a spectre. Pretty damn good canopy.
It was easy to land it. Tons of flare (You can easy pop-up if you flare too fast).
Packing wise is the best thing for a beginner. Eaaaasy to pack. It has less ribs (less volume) and it forgives a lot of packing errors.
I've land it on rears. On my WL 0.9:1 it didn't stall on rear risers and this gave me a lot of confidence to play with rears on landings.

Is it a good canopy for the 1st 100 jumps?
Even if you end up loving a Sabre2 it accelerates the learning curve a lot.
Lock, Dock and Two Smoking Barrelrolls!

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This all started with a low jump number guy asking for help and turned into a pissing match. This is a big problem all round at many Dz's. What canopy is right for the new guy? Get back on topic.

You've already been jumping a 9-cell so stick with that. I'm not saying there arnt some great 7-cells, I had a triathlon for years and loved it. Just watch how fast you downsize, it can kill you trying to keep up with your friends or trying to be cool.

I find it odd that wing loading hasn't become a a big part of this. You should talk to your rigger and fellow skydivers and figure out what a proper wing loading is for your experience level. Then start looking for a canopy, 7-cell or 9-cell.

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PD states that the Storm has a greater speed range, & stronger flare than the Sabre2. How much of a grain of salt do I need to take that with?

IDK.... I have not jumped a Storm canopy. But I tend to trust PD when they say something.

All the data I have seen and heard says that the Storm is a little higher performance than a Spectre. They say it has almost the speed of a S2. And they say it has a good range of control... Meaning the difference between fast fight and slow flight is larger than you would expect... An example is how a Velo can go slower than the same sized conventional canopy.. so much so that it is shocking if you are not ready for it. But it could also mean that they managed to speed up the top end and it will still stall at the same speed on the low end.

This document http://www.performancedesigns.com/docs/StormCFStormFAQFlightCharacteristics.PDF

Shows some good info.... I did not see the section you were referencing.

It seems like the Storm is a canopy that is faster in full flight than a Spectre, but slower than a S2. That it turns slower than a Stiletto, but lands better than the Spectre.

So it seems like a upgraded Spectre with a better glide ratio that lands better and can be flown in deeper brakes.

One of the characteristics that I personally didn't like with the Spectre was its glide ratio when I am far out due to an AFF that took longer in the door. Seems this canopy maybe worth a look if I decide to get a wingsuit.

But honestly I am thinking of getting two more Velos.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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This thread has been helpful to me. Don't want to hijack, move if needed, but it seems along the same lines and is based on the prior postings.

I was looking at a Sabre 170, and wound up choosing a used Triath 175 instead, as my rigger and instructor agreed it would be a good choice for me (ok, and I loved the colors, and it was a bit cheaper.. yeah yeah lol), and I was told it would be a bit more docile which is definitely good for me right now as a beginner.

I understand 7 vs. 9 cell via this thread and other discussions, in that it is NOT just number of cells that matters, but so much more than that, and have gained a lot of valuable feedback and things to discuss with folks at my dz already.

I am sure my instructors were speaking specifically because we were discussing two specific canopies, NOT simply generalizing "7 vs. 9 cell" (i.e. they said either is good for you now- i said i am leaning towards the triathlon- they said, more docile tri is probably a good choice and that they would support that canopy for my first)

So, I have only ever flown 9 cells. And I can logically understand certain things, but I understand to really "get" it, I have to experience it in the sky. But I am used to jumping the obvious AFF student Navigators (unless I am totally oblivious and student canopies are 7 cells but I am thinking not and too lazy to search to find out now, so forgive me if I look like a dumbass, but I am reasonably sure I have jumped all 9 cells including student canopies!), then mostly Sabre 2s (like those a lot) and also demo'ed a Pilot for three or four jumps (loved that one), and now I am nearly lacking currency due to the f'ing snow and my general laziness with winter jumpage in WI- but the rig I own now does have my 7-cell tri packed in there for next jump occasion.

So-- any tips, beyond the theory of it, and testing things out in the air, up high, for someone who has only ever jumped a 9 cell and has now purchased a 7-cell triathlon for a first canopy? i assume since it is a bit bigger and slower than what i have been jumping there are not huge safety issues in that general realm, but if certain things need to be handled differently or pointed out, I'd love to hear more.

Blue ones, and thanks again for the time you guys spend posting info like this thread for folks like me to soak up!
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

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So-- any tips, beyond the theory of it, and testing things out in the air, up high, for someone who has only ever jumped a 9 cell and has now purchased a 7-cell triathlon for a first canopy?

Nah, remember that all experience is relative to the person background. What you may think of as a fast canopy may be slow as hell to the guy that rides a crotch rocket to the DZ on one wheel.

That does not mean that the ability to control the canopy transfers... Just the feeling.

So, just open a bit higher and play around on the canopy.

1. See how much altitude you lose in a full turn 360* turn and compare it to a half braked 360*

2. Practice a few flares up high to see how long it will take for the canopy to react. Listen for the drop in airspeed.

3. Try to see if you can stall the canopy so you know when it will stall (A 7 cell should stall more gently than a 9 cell everything else being even... but it could still hurt you if done wrong.)

4. Look at the ground and see how much penetration you are getting for a given drop in altitude. (In most cases, a 9 cell will have a better glide ratio than a 7cell.)

Take it easy and enjoy it.... The Tri is a good canopy.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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So-- any tips, beyond the theory of it, and testing things out in the air, up high, for someone who has only ever jumped a 9 cell and has now purchased a 7-cell triathlon for a first canopy?

Nah, remember that all experience is relative to the person background. What you may think of as a fast canopy may be slow as hell to the guy that rides a crotch rocket to the DZ on one wheel.

That does not mean that the ability to control the canopy transfers... Just the feeling.

So, just open a bit higher and play around on the canopy.

1. See how much altitude you lose in a full turn 360* turn and compare it to a half braked 360*

2. Practice a few flares up high to see how long it will take for the canopy to react. Listen for the drop in airspeed.

3. Try to see if you can stall the canopy so you know when it will stall (A 7 cell should stall more gently than a 9 cell everything else being even... but it could still hurt you if done wrong.)

4. Look at the ground and see how much penetration you are getting for a given drop in altitude. (In most cases, a 9 cell will have a better glide ratio than a 7cell.)

Take it easy and enjoy it.... The Tri is a good canopy.

Thanks Ron! I'll certainly consult the folks at my dz too, but it's nice to have some concrete ideas from folks for specific maneuvers to try up higher that will give me a distinct feel for the important differences, compared to what I have jumped prior. Appreciate the reply, and can't wait to finally jump it!
So-- do most folks then have different wind limits if they know they are on a canopy with less penetration than what they've jumped in the past or than other similar sized canopies, and are not that experienced or comfortable with landing out if avoidable? (that was worded strangely; you know what I mean hopefully)

I currently feel comfortable (well, at least when on the 9-cell, 170-range) around 15-19 for higher wind days, if not turbulent or gusting higher, sudden shifts, etc.
Into the 20s, I feel a bit iffy at times (on the 9 cells I'd been jumping that is)

I did jump a couple times in that range- lower 20s, or gusts into the low 20s- once I had to land out and just did a straight in, and the other time, I landed where I wanted to land, on the lz, a bit far out (intentionally, I always do that cause I am not that confident under canopy and in traffic yet), but was going 100% completely straight down, no penetration at all (but, at least not backwards!) I was pushed backwards/zero penetration one time at my home dz on a 9 cell larger canopy as well with lower winds, but as I got closer to the deck, the penetration increased, so I have (so far, knock on wood) never had to land backwards...

And of course, I don't want to push it, being inexperienced and jumping an entirely new set-up and new type of canopy/main.

So- what are typical wind limits for experienced jumpers in general, and are there set guidelines or recommendations for 7 vs. 9 cell, or other canopy types other than WL/size? Or is that too much to generalize?

I know that each individual canopy has to be learned by it's "master" haha but of course it takes awhile to get a feel for that, and things can change between take-off and opening time... Is it just something where you start conservatively, as with any new canopy, and then get the feel for it over time, or is there a more general trend of lower wind "thresholds" for jumpers on 7-cell due to less glide/more sink? Ways to maximize this if needed (rears yeah??) And good ways to judge, or just experience with that particular canopy over time and different conditions?

Thanks again!!
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

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I'll certainly consult the folks at my dz too

Best thing to do IMO.

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do most folks then have different wind limits if they know they are on a canopy with less penetration than what they've jumped in the past or than other similar sized canopies, and are not that experienced or comfortable with landing out if avoidable?

I think most people have (or should have) a max wind limit they will jump in. For ME, that limit is whatever speed is the MAX I can get out of a canopy in full flight. So for *ME* if my main will do 25, my max winds are 25. But it would be MUCH safer to limit that to say max -5. So with a 25 MPH canopy that would be 20 MPH max winds.

My main will do over 30 and I normally do not jump if the winds are 25. And this depends on the area. If I am in AZ where the tallest object near me is a 4 foot cactus and I have miles and miles around me of fairly open fields.... I am more likely to jump. But put me in a place where there are few outs and lots of bad areas, and my wind limit goes down.

Also need to look at turbulence. In Dallas I jumped in 28 MPH winds. But it is a very open area. In Zhills I normally stopped around 22MPH.

Frankly, I just do not enjoy jumping in high winds.

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I currently feel comfortable (well, at least when on the 9-cell, 170-range) around 15-19 for higher wind days, if not turbulent or gusting higher, sudden shifts, etc.
Into the 20s, I feel a bit iffy at times (on the 9 cells I'd been jumping that is)

The key is comfort. If you have any doubt it is always better to jump next weekend than get hurt and sit on the ground for a few mths. With experience, your comfort level will dictate what conditions are OK... always side a little bit on the cautious side.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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I started flying a triathlon 190 after I got my A-license. The flare felt different from 9 cells but once I got used to it flares were awesome. I loved my triathlon 190. Now I am jumping a Pilot 168, which is a 9 cells, and I love it too. I think you should demo both (7 cells and 9 cells) and see what you think. I have friends who love 7 cells and others who love 9 cells.

Blue Skies

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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.

There are lots of 7 cell canopies out there that you will enjoy flying. If that is what you can afford then go for it. Get your local rigger to have a look at it before you buy. Just remember that it is not a bargain, it is just a less pricey canopy.

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