Firebird

Manufacturer
Purpose
Wing Suit
Material
ZP
The Firebird is a new wingsuit from Bird-Man International. Imagine a wingsuit that you can make your first flight with, it has to be easy to fly and totally care free while opening a parachute. Then imagine falling in love with flying and your suit. Making progress and getting better is a way of life for the skydiver and Firebird will stay up with your development.

Features include:
·Arm-wing grippers
·Front and Back air inlets with Airlocks
·Leather booties
·New Velcro less cut away pillows & loop
·Adjustable thumb loops
·Snaps for booties
·Wind tunnel tested wing design for high-performance and the most comfortable pull in the market.
·L.Q.R.S. (leg wing quick release)

·Air intakes with airlocks on backside to allow smooth flying even when flying on your back.

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alw

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  • 2
Front and back air inlets, air lock, wider leg stance
Customer Service, construction quality, construction materials

After flying a PF track suit on many fights and demo'ing a Prodigy, and GTi I selected the Firebird based on the design at the time of purchase. I was attracted to the front and rear air inlets, airlocks, small grippers and widened leg stance. At the time, rear inlet options were not available on other similar suits.

The order was placed with BM direct for a suit that was reported to be new and in stock, however, after placing the order and paying I was informed that the suit was in transit as a demo and delivery was delayed.

What was received was a suit that appeared to have been jumped at least once. The arm wing cutaway cables were not fitted and needed to be cut to length, a process for which there was no accompanying instructions. There was also an open seam on the right bootie top.

The first 6 jumps were uneventful, and the suit performed as advertised. It is an easy suit to fly, maneuver, and recover from spins. The sweet spot was not difficult to locate and the range of flight was what I had expected for an intermediate suit.

This suit came with bootie snaps and thumb loops which made things more comfortable for me. It was a stock sized suit and using the on-line sizing chart I found that it fit very well. What was disappointing was the quality of the zippers. While other suits I have flown before and since have a heavy duty zip which is easy to operate, this suit's zips are prone to being pressure sensitive and sluggish to unzip under canopy, taking extra seconds and requiring more effort and manipulation.

On the 7th jump a seam on the right arm wing let go. Upon close inspection I noticed a half inch separation of fabric on the stitch line. Other stitching seemed to be loose in both arm wings. Loose stitching "moves" when the wing inflates and deflates, and this moving can "saw" the fabric.

Customer service subsequent to this structural failure was a paradox. While the U.S.A. dealers I dealt with regarding this problem were responsive, the factory seem to miss the point. The suit was returned to a local dealer and the factory notified, yet they continued to respond to my emails that the suit must be returned before they could comment - seemingly ignoring the fact that the suit was in the hands of their dealer and out of my control. In the end I had to retrieve the suit and return it to Slovenia at my expense. It took further prompting to get the repaired suit returned. When returned the open seams had been repaired, but not the loose stitching. I have since jumped the suit about 30 times and it continues to perform as advertised - the zips are still a hassle.

After a few weeks of back and forth with BM I did get a PHI demo to use while waiting. The PHI XL is larger than the Firebird XL. While the construction of the PHI was significantly better than the Firebird, and the zips functioned much better, it is not as much fun to fly. I use a "Fun to Work" ratio to describe this. On a scale of 1 to 10 with sex being 10:1 and eating being 1:1 the PHI is about a 3:1 while the Firebird is 6:1.

In conclusion, the Firebird is a good design that is easy and fun to fly. Zipper quality makes the unzipping task far too cumbersome. Quality of construction and Factory Service was not what I had expected from this company. With the number of competitive products on the market and my experience with some of the other manufacturers I can't in good conscious recommend this product.

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