Manufacturer
Purpose
Main
Material
ZP
Cells
7
Designed primarily for precision accuracy competition and accuracy-type demonstration jumps, the innovative and highly capable Zero is great for the traditional accuracy competitor. And with proper coaching, it is a great choice for those new to the discipline.

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elreg

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  • 5
Very predictable, packs smaller than comparable canopies
Well, it's an accuracy canopy... not for fun rides

After fifty jumps with my brand new Zero 295, I need to correct the initial impressions I had logged last month.


Openings

They are consistently safe and regular. That said, I make sure I pack according to the type of jump I will be doing. If I plan on a low altitude exit and swift opening, then I pack as indicated in the owner’s manual (flat pack) without using the Dual Mode Pocket Slider in extended mode. The opening is on course and relatively soft.
If, as happened during a competition where I did Relative Work, exiting from 13,000 ft, I plan on a long freefall, then I pack in a kind of flat-rolled pattern, which I picked from the Moroccan team who use Parafoil 2000, using the DMPS in extended mode. In that case, the packing is pretty intricate, but I have consistent and soft openings.

All that to say that the Zero is perfectly suitable for any kind of skydiving, but that it is better the owner develop some sophistication in the art of packing if he wants to enjoy his canopy to the full, under any circumstances.
In my initial review, I had mentioned the fact that the slider generally hung half way up after the canopy was fully inflated. After fifty jumps, it still is the case, so I have honed my skills in quick slider recovery. I pull hard on the rear risers with my thumbs on the toggles, the slider comes down in one bound and, with my thumbs over the toggles, the D-rings stop where I want them to stop so that I can guide them passed the toggles and down the risers. In total, it just takes a few seconds to pull the slider down and roll it behind my neck.


Flying

Initially I had been concerned about the physical exertion of controlling a large canopy. I tried 285 and 295 and did not sense much of a difference in terms of muscular activity. Now, after fifty jumps, I can say the toggles do require some physical effort, especially in a long pattern, holding at half-brakes or more for two or three hundred meters (800 to 1,000 ft), but nothing that I could not manage. I have learned to fly sparingly, if I dare say, so there is no worry that I could find myself exhausted in the last leg of the approach, just when you need extra control and stamina.

In my initial report, I mentioned the slow rate of turn of the canopy when in full flight. This is not correct. The canopy turns quite fast in full flight, all it takes is more determined, I would say virile action on the toggles.
At lower speeds, with half brakes, it turns fast enough, with no loss of altitude.

A number of people who tried it confirmed my own impression: that it is incredibly stable, with no swinging reaction as I stop turning. A Moroccan friend of mine, who is accustomed to the Foil 2000, says it is significantly more stable when one stops turning. As you release the toggles, it just resumes straight flight with absolutely no swaying or yawing.

It is capable of flying fast, but also of flying very slowly, even with no wind whatsoever. I found out that, as I completed my last turn and realized I was a bit far away, just releasing the toggles gently made the canopy pick up speed almost instantly. What was really nice is that I could see the new angle of descent immediately, and while I thought I was a bit too far out, very soon I found myself flying full speed towards the tuffet.

Then, in the last twenty-thirty meters (a hundred feet), I pressed the toggles full down and stopped the canopy instantly, floating gently above the tuffet. Transition into the descent was smooth and instantaneous, with no swinging of the body in the harness. It was very comfortable and predictable.

In other approaches, at a much steeper angle, since I was doing OK, all it took was holding the canopy at a virtual stop, inching towards the tuffet. At no moment did I feel uncomfortable, with the idea that the canopy above me was on the verge of deflating and slamming me to the ground. I could hold it for thirty seconds or more, on a constant rate of descent, and once I was above the tuffet, there was not much more to do to aim at the pad.

I can say this canopy is very forgiving. As long as you have a hundred feet to go before touching ground, the range of options is astounding. You can hold it as is, if your last turn was a bit on the short side, or fly full blast towards the tuffet, if the turn was on the far side, in full confidence that you can stop it when you want to, without adverse reaction. This feeling was confirmed by experienced accuracy buffs who were watching me from the ground. They were much impressed by the variety of angles of descent and by the fact that you can shift from one to the other without the reactions that other canopies have when the pilot has to change his pattern of descent significantly.

In all instances, the last, vertical moment of flight concluded very softly, I never slammed on the tuffet and generally concluded my landing standing on both legs. It is really reassuring to realize that, whether you land on the tuffet or not, you are not overly concerned about hurting yourself. Even if I had not landed on the tuffet, I would still have landed softly and in full control.

So, in conclusion, I can say this canopy has incredible potential. It is remarkably stable, under any configuration, it can recover speed and fly at a shallow angle, it can stop instantly, or it can be controlled at a steep angle for whatever time it takes to reach the target. When you change the angle, from steep to shallow or the other way round, the new angle is perceptible immediately, as soon as you have stabilized the toggles, without any perturbation in the harness.
Everyone who saw it or tried it confirmed this: the PD Zero is the most stable and the most reactive accuracy canopy. It can fly faster than the others, and therefore bring you back from afar. It can also fly vertical, for longer, and with less hesitation, than any other. In terms of aeronautical engineering, the range between the steepest and shallowest angle of descent is called the “envelope”. Well, it has the largest envelope of all.

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