jumping the UT-15 rig

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On the weekend I got around to jumping my UT-15 rig & canopy -- the name applies to both the Para Commander style round canopy and the fore-and-aft rig.

Some in the East considered the UT-15 better than the Para Commander. I guess a few UT-15 canopies made it to the west during the Cold War?

The rig, though, having parts incompatible with American rigs, and not being TSO'd, would be quite rare on this side of the Atlantic.

Well, Beatnik has one, but that's no surprise to any regulars here. His uses the "upside down" 3-ring mechanism, with 2 rings on the harness, one on the riser -- there's some sound logic to that.

Some noteworthy things about the UT-15 system:

OSK canopy releases
My rig, built in 1983, a "series 5" model, uses the previous generation of releases, the OSK. While the mechanism is different, it would be in the Capewell class: Big hunks of metal at each shoulder, intricate mechanisms, operated by one hand on each.

Their operation is seen in the photo sequence attached. I've heard of a couple different ways to place one's hand on the mechanism, but the way I practiced was to get ready to squeeze the knurled plates on either side of the OSK, with the index finger on the tab that sticks out in front of the OSK. Pressing down on a rocker button on the tab allows the tab to rotate down, removing the safety for the mechanism. Then one sqeezes the plates on the sides, pulling downwards on the mechanism to rotate that part of it down. This allows two other hinged bar pieces to move, releasing the bar that is attached to the riser.

I was told not to use any oil on the OSK's, but to clean them with vodka. ;)

One source said the OSK's are good, while another guy told me (just before I jumped) he had one lock up so I'd better take a big hook knife along. I'm still trying to learn more about the OSK's.

The harness has the usual eastern look, with webbing having a loose weave and stitching using different patterns than normal over here. Hardware tends to look lightweight compared to US military hardware. The harness is of the continuous sling type, rather than separated leg straps.

The reserve for the rig was a Rogallo PZ-81 canopy. Although it has a good reputation, the one I have seems to have some wear from use as a main, so I instead hooked on a Z-5 round reserve. It has no pilot chute, which here would not be used with a rig where one cuts away. However, it has large pockets around the top of the canopy that effectively act as a pilot chute to drag it all out.

The reserve attaches in the usual Russian way, not with a snap onto a ring, but with a heavy pin slid through the loop on the end of the risers. A spring clip inserts into the mounts for the pin, to prevent the pin, which pushes and turns to unlock, from coming out.

Main deployment handle
The slack in the ripcord very neatly feeds into the rounded handle, so that there is no slack hanging out. A hole in the handle allows for inspection of the hidden part.

Canopy sleeve
In North America, one normally had a cotton sleeve, often quite heavy, for a round sport canopy. Nylon wasn't normally used, to avoid burns. Yet the UT-15 has long used a thin nylon sleeve -- a very different design philosophy. Line stowage is conventional for anyone used to Para Commander sleeves. One minor change is that bungees are used instead of elastics. Another is that the cover over the lines slides down over that area and has an elastic mouth, instead of being a velcro closed flap.

The top of the sleeve has a couple pockets that catch air, presumably to help lift the sleeve. Two pilot chutes are used. One doesn't try to close the 3-pin rig with all flaps shutting over the two pilot chutes. That would be a bit of a struggle. Instead there's a sequence where a pin is put in, and a pilot chute is compressed and slid in underneath the partially closed flaps.

The opening at the top of the sleeve is closed with a drawstring that one ties off.

As for flying the UT-15, it is essentially like a Para Commander, but beyond that I can't tell based on my limited experience with the canopy.

The after landing photo is just for fun, to show I hit the tuffet on a light wind downwind approach, the canopy settling in front.

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I jumped a UT-15 for accuracy before I converted to a square and it was one of the finest accuracy canopies going. The next best for me was the French Pap.

This particular one was a dog...not saying they all were. It malled regularly. Prolly built wrong in the first place, like a Friday afternoon or Monday morning car.
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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