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  1. 7 points
    I have an update from Jimmy's daughter (October 19th). She said he is making great progress. He is eating solid food now and his trach is out. He is able to walk with the help of a walker. He is anxious to leave the hospital and go home but he still needs some rehab. They are hoping he can head to rehab next week!
  2. 6 points
    Hello To ALL..... Just checked in here, to find this thread.....Thanks to Each of your for your posts and good wishes......The worst Is now Over. I was discharged on Oct 20th.. " They turnt me Loose " " said I was Well " …. And I AM.... I had gone to Skydive The Falls on Saturday September 14th and after a bit of a wind hold it calmed down and they started sending up loads. I enjoyed a Nice 2 way from 12 grand with a long time buddy....The view of Niagara Falls during the climb to altitude was Fantastic . While Packing my rig afterwards, I found it to Be, a bit of an effort.. and I had to stop 3 times and sit to rest...… Hmmmm. Got home that night and was just feeling wrung out... No real pain, no numbness, but I felt lousy..It was around 10 or 11 pm and Nancy had already gone to sleep. I saw NO value in waking her and having her SIT in an E R waiting room, wondering and Waiting,,,, so I wrote her a note , left it where she could Easily Find it. and said " I am going to the hospital " Got there in a few minutes because it is only a couple of miles away. It was NOT busy and they took me in quickly. They did an EKG on me. and the next thing I knew they were calling for an anesthesiologist AND a surgeon !! Yikes !!!! Well they did a big time bypass on me , had me on a heart pump and a respirator throughout... I was out of it for a few days... and feel terrible about putting my FAmily through those first few days, post Op... I got great care from the doctors and nurses and a few in particular were top shelf, in their encouragement and insistance that I "get UP and get Moving"... I was walking around and improving each day, by about 2 weeks post op and little by little they removed the trach... and the drainage apparatus and the nasal feeding tube and got me back onto swallowing and a bit of a sense of normalcy... I have been Home now for 10 days or so, and I am pain free and no longer need the walker I had been using. Kind of glad we are coming into the end of the year as I am on a hiatus from work and will be doing Physical therapy and building up my appetite the next few weeks. I lost 22 pounds and was Under 170, for the first time since high school..... Anyway things are improving. I am proud that I Did NOT ignore my sense of malaise and instead sought medical care...... I was told I was getting close to a cardiac arrest..... Follow your instincts my Friends No One is bulletproof and certain issues CAN sneak Up on us... I feel blessed that in addition to Great Friends and Family, I also have a Guardian Angel or Two... sitting on my shoulders... Thanks skymama,,, for initiating this thread. I am glad that I checked in here,,, to Find it.... skydive often, skydive safely, skydive with friends . jimmytavino uspa # 9452 A3914 D12122
  3. 5 points
  4. 4 points
    I did not want to be limited to just one hand when I was trying to get out of the situation alive...
  5. 4 points
    Yup. Hey lady, not unlike you; I'm getting a little long in the tooth. Couple of major surgeries and a back and knees that has just crumbled into pieces from years of military jumping. Many of us dinosaurs contributed countless articles on safety, training, etc. to this site in its infancy to help the young'uns. Not unlike you, I don't tread in the skydiving community too often anymore and when I do it's relevant no matter what the timeframe. EP's target fixation, etc. I think the information given here would be more focused from dinosaurs who've been there, done that - than what they'll get from the land of facebook. Respect, Keith
  6. 4 points
    Some people don't finish AFF. Some people never get their license. Some people get their license and drift away soon after. Some people jump for a year or two and then disappear. Some do it until they decide to become 'responsible' and quit. That may be their own decision or they may have 'help' with it. Some jump until they realize how much time & money it takes to stay current and reasonably safe, or to progress beyond 'sorta good'. Some jump until they get hurt, or see someone they know get hurt or killed. The danger isn't 'real' until then. So they quit. Some become Tandem Instructors (or packers or even DZOs), then get burned out by the grind. Of course, some of us keep on despite all of the above and refuse to quit.
  7. 4 points
    Lawyers have a high rate of misery compared to other professions. A 2-second google search revealed that attorneys have the 11th highest suicide rate by occupation. I'm sad that people immediately piled on the OP. I suspect skydiving has saved a LOT of people from depression, and I think there is HUGE value in people sharing openly about their struggles with mental health. That's undermined when people are jerks to each other when they could just as easily say nothing.
  8. 4 points
    It’s Not What You Do (Or the Size of Your Dropzone): It’s How You Do It Jen Sharp -- since 2017, the Director of IT for the USPA -- is a woman of note for a long list of reasons. Jen’s a font of wisdom, a truly badass skydiving instructor and a businesswoman of uncommon strength and clarity (proof: she spent 21 years owning a successful small drop zone in Kansas). When she speaks, one should do themselves the favor of listening. If you don’t already know her story: Jen has been jumping since she was 18 years old. She opened Skydive Kansas directly after her college graduation, when she had a full-time teaching job and only 300 jumps. (Even then, she’d already been working as a static line jumpmaster, instructor, packer, rigger and radio-wrangler. Supergirl, basically.) Since then, she has traveled extensively as a jumper, an instructor and a public speaker. It was 1995 when Jen opened her dropzone: the days of saving up your vacation days for the World Freefall Convention; of spending Friday night to Sunday dinnertime on the dropzone; of single-plane 182 dropzones all over the place and, like, eight places you could go to fulfill a turbine craving. The close knit of those intimate little club-format dropzones has, of course, steadily unwound since then in most places. Adding skydiving to the schedule has become much more of a surgical strike: you get to the DZ at 10am and manifest immediately so you can make it to Crossfit by 4. You sift through regional skydiving events on Facebook, few of which require more than a handful of minutes’ worth of planning. You drive hours for a turbine. Jen takes on her alter ego, “Stu,” as a student (get it?!) on an AFF eval jump. It would be easy to mourn the loss of the small dropzone as an entity -- there are precious few of them left, proportionally to their previous numbers -- but Jen refuses to. For her, the “small dropzone feel” is the culture we should all be striving for, even if there happen to be seven Skyvans in the hangar archipelago. “The best vibes are at the places that keep the actual perspective, not just the party line, that we are all just people and all just want to have fun,” she begins. “The ones that embody safety in the active choices to care for each other. The places that assume the best in people. Luckily, that’s really simple to do.” Simple? Yes. Easy? Not necessarily, but according to Jen, that’s what we are really going for here: an inviting culture. Example after example proves that business success will follow that beacon significantly more reliably than it will follow volume. “What that culture is not,” Jen clarifies, “is the culture of the burned-out tandem instructor, hauling meat; a culture where an instructor never connects with their student; where they don’t even call them students, but passengers. If you call them a passenger, they are one-and-done. They know their place with you. But if you call them a student -- and you truly think of them that way -- the whole dynamic is going to be different.” How do you change the dynamic? By changing the way you see the person in the harness. “The public we meet is awesome,” she continues. “And we forget that! We totally forget this as instructors -- especially, tandem instructors. We forget that the person we’re taking is amazing. Why? Because they are not on the couch. A normal person is just sitting there on the couch on the weekend or maybe vacuuming or making snacks, drinking beer and watching TV. But this person is okay with being uncomfortable; with putting their life in your hands. They are excited about it, and they are trusting you. That already makes them a really cool person.” Doing an interview at PIA 2015. “If you want to see the average person, go to Walmart,” she laughs. “That’s the ‘average person.’ The person walking on a dropzone for the first time is not the average person. They are already living on a level that we should resonate with, especially since they’re new and they need our guidance.” For Jen, in fact, the “passenger” moniker is no less than a dishonor. “Homogenizing everyone who walks in the door into a ‘passenger’ has a couple of outcomes,” Jen explains. “It burns tandem instructors out. It burns the public out against skydiving when we make the assumption that they don’t know anything. Where did we even get that idea in the first place? Sure, they don’t know anything about skydiving, but they probably know a lot about something else.” “When I would take tandem students, I didn’t know who they were, necessarily,” she muses. “I would always ask ‘why are you here today,’ but they weren’t always going to tell their life story. I would find out later that we had just taken a brain surgeon, or the senator from some western county in Kansas. You never know who that person is. They’re just walking around in their sweats because you told them to dress comfortably. So -- if you’re starting to feel the burnout, try allowing yourself to be curious about them. And, if you’re a dropzone owner, strive to instill that curiosity in your instructor staff.” Who knows: That curiosity, manifesting as totally authentic friendliness, could end up defining a regional dropzone’s niche. “If drop zones realize how many kinds of niches there are to occupy,” Jen says, “I don’t think we’d ever talk in terms of ‘small,’ ‘medium’ and ‘large’ dropzone. You can occupy a really strong, functional cultural niche without being the biggest DZ around, or having the most airplanes, or doing the most tandems. As a dropzone, your niche really comes from whatever it is that you want to bring to the table -- and your resources and your passions -- and you succeed when you fulfill that to the max. I think a lot of places are figuring that out, and that’s contributing to the fact that we now have more of a variety of dropzones than we ever have before.” Y’know that bit about a cultural "niche"? Jen insists that it’s not just about feels. It’s about returns, too. A strong niche can turn into a marketing advantage. “Not every dropzone should compete on price,” Jen notes. “It's conceivable for a smaller DZ to actually make more profit by doing less jumps. Profit is not the same as gross.” “It’s as straightforward as reaching the fullest manifestation of what you’re capable of doing,” she adds, smiling, “and, of course, always trying to get better.”
  9. 3 points
    HIPPI CHONKER ADVARNING Oof. This is a big topic. Hits me right in the chonkeratøs. When I was in my 30's I decided to tell the "fuck offs" to a well paid and "highly respectable" career path, went back to college, sold my city apartment and moved my shit back to my parents house. Wish there was some kind of training on this. There isn't. You want advice on how to determine the future. You can't have it. You won't know. You might do 100's more. You might do 1000's. Who cares. Just exit the fucking plane. Do what you enjoy. Feel it. Appreciate the sensation, the people you meet, the places you visit, and those you connect with. Tell them. Accept what you cannot control but take charge of what you can. And if you ever get caught up in a waterboarding situation, good luck with that.
  10. 3 points
    A "little" late, but I wanted to provide some insights for everyone, to learn / improve nonetheless. The mentioned hesitation did not leat to a fatality, I am still alive and came out of it with just some bruises... After opening I recognized a flip-through malfunction, which was caused by myself due to packing directly on a field after an outside landing the jump before. In hindsight, I could have most likely landed it without issues, but in that moment decided otherwise as the canopy above me was not "good". As practised, I grabbed both handles with one hand. I pulled my right hand until full arm extension and tried to pull my reserve handle after that but I was unable to pull the handle at all, it did not move even a little. I turned my head to the left and saw my main still attached by something and my reserve pilot chute being out. My first thought was, that it might be that I did not pull the cutaway cable all the way, so I cleared the cutaway cable from the housing completely. But I was still hanging from my main by something I could not identify in that moment. I instinctively grabbed that thing from what I was hanging, tried to pull up and just before I wanted to pull on my reserve bridle to get my reserve out, the hangup cleared. I saw and recognized that I was no longer attached to my main but due to my body orientation and possibly low speed, my reserve could not be extracted. I turned back to my belly and waited for the reserve to come out, which it thankfully did after a moment. Basically my reserve cable and pin was not able to pass the RSL ring to which the extension cord was attached. It looks like the edge of the pin got stuck at the back of the knot of the extension cord and due to the tension locked there. So I was still connected to my main by my reserve cable and RSL. I just grabbed whatever I was hanging from and thankfully the pin cleared the ring possibly due to me grabbing the pin or releasing some tension. Trying to find the root-cause for this incident myself, I also tried misrouting the reserve-cable through the knot, but this does not happen easily. You have to put way more effort in misrouting it, than in doing it the right way. In the end, Sunrise Manufacturing issued this service bulletin for it.
  11. 3 points
    Less youtube. More actual jumping or tunnelling.
  12. 3 points
    The best way to keep things fresh is trying to learn a new skill every year. I only made 4 static-line jumps my first year. Over that winter I earned a private pilot license. The next summer I flew a bit and only made two jumps. The third summer I made 60 jumps and earned my A license. The fourth summer, I did about 50 fun jumps. The fifth year, I passed the army static-line course and tried out for the Canadian Army parachute display team. The sixth year, I earned a static-line jump-master rating. The seventh year, I did another 50 fun jumps, plus a stack of exhibition jumps. The eighth year, I earned a rigger rating and started flying jumpers. The ninth year, I flew more jumpers and learned how to drop IAD students (1985). The tenth year, I earned an Instructor B rating and tandem instructor rating and did a couple of BASE jumps. I did not jump much while at university, but worked full-time in the skydiving industry for 18 years afterwards. Every year I tried to add a new rating or renew an old rating: Master Rigger, PFF instructor, Cypres installation rating, PIA Symposia, lecturing at PIA Symposia, wing-suit, Rigger Instructor, Rigger Examiner, Tandem Examiner Rating, etc. Eventually, I had to take a year off for knee surgery and cut back to only doing tandems on weekends. I finally quit jumping after the local CSPA DZ shut down and I disagreed with a non-CSPA DZO about seat-belts. If you try to learn something new every year, you will never get bored skydiving.
  13. 3 points
    I have no idea how this got so complicated. I'd just do it. There are some basic rules like don't use a slider with grommets significantly wider then your cell. Depending on the length of your stabilizers your slider should not be setting on your bottom skin when packing. If it's so much wider that it's just crumpled on the bottom skin the fabric will not be holding the grommets up the lines till they slide low enough to lift the fabric off the bottom skin. Only then will the wind be holding it up. That's a fairly extreme limit but I have seen people make that mistake. Don't people futz with there gear any more? Lee
  14. 3 points
    Well please hurry and put the correct manual on the website. As a rigger I can assure you my customers never supply me with the manual that came with their product. I always have to find the manual on my own.
  15. 3 points
    Show up, ask at the front desk if there's anyone looking to jump with other newbies. It might be a newbie, and it might be an old fart who likes jumping with newbies. Slow days increase your chance of jumping with the same person twice is more likely, and doing that will really make it easier for you to figure out what you're doing, so that you can either do more or less of it. But slow days decrease your chance of having someone at all -- ask at the front desk if there are people whom you normally should be looking for. Be honest that you can't afford to pay for coaching right now. And if you can afford to stay at the end of the day, do so, listen, and feel free to contribute beer if it's needed. There's no guarantees, but it beats nothing. Wendy P. (old fart who likes jumping with newbies)
  16. 3 points
    jump. as much as you can afford. be honest with the folks at the dz and you will gain experience by doing it. log them all and don't downsize too early. be safe.
  17. 3 points
  18. 2 points
    Long time DZO of Lake Wales and Phoenix Z-Hills passed away this morning. She did a lot for our sport and she will be missed.
  19. 2 points
    I made my first jump in 1980. still not sure if I like, so I better keep trying.
  20. 2 points
    Probably, that would be best. Your personal sense of right will never let you be quiet if you see a dangerous thing. Obviously, if it's an immediate thing you have to speak up, even at the risk of being wrong. If it's not or if it's being offered more for your ego than anyones benefit and safety then inform staff or the most experienced and current local jumpers you can find. The reality is that after a few, or several, thousand skydives and decades in the sport currency is a different thing. But one or two jumps a year shouldn't be emulated. And, really, even if it's at the same DZ you'd be a transient jumper at best. Sure, just like back in the day, we still have a cutaway handle, a reserve ripcord handle, a reserve and a main and, maybe, an AAD. But it's not all the same, including how we use the things. As I see it, it's not about you or me or any other old timer. Pass the torch and the authority to the ones who are current and there every day. It's their turn to be senior now, give them their due and their turn to earn respect.
  21. 2 points
  22. 2 points
    I haven’t jumped in 7 years. Doing a recurrency jump tomorrow. Wish me luck and some blue skies!
  23. 2 points
    The average skydiver only remains active for 7 years so a lot of times we "reinvent the wheel" because there is no history of what has already been done experimentally. I see and hear novices all the time using and doing things that they were told is the most modern technique without any clue of the actual mechanics involved. It is important to keep that information available. I no longer do any rigging or instructing (beyond a little impromptu coaching) but I when I see a novice struggling with something simply because they are trying to keep up with "what's cool" I am happy to point out any known solution that might already exist. Sometimes thats amusing, such as the time a fellow instructor asked to use my unpacked rig to demonstrate some things to his FJC class. My SOS, no RSL, bungee pilot chute, B12 snaps, equipped rig didn't quite fit the bill for what he needed to teach and he himself was confused with some of those features. For info this occurred in '99. There is a post on here right now, talking about lubricating the soft loop of the 3 ring to prevent hard cutaways. Ever since mini rings and risers came out, hard cutaways have been a topic of discussion. My last new rig, they called to make sure I actually wanted standard rings and risers and not the "cool" mini's. For a new gear buyer, I could see them accepting what their gear dealer recommends and not what is best for them in the moment. We are seeing it all the time now with jumpers flying canopies that they cannot land and the community response has been mandatory canopy training. Go out and watch a big-way land during no-wind conditions and you'll see from the circus carnage that that hasn't worked! But it keeps the jumpsuit repair people in a job. I recently had an old-time jumper, that was returning to jumping, ask me what happened to the days when you pulled down the toggles and the canopy stopped. He referred to it as the "golden age of parachute landings" and he was referring to the mid to late '80's when grass stained, dirty jumpsuits weren't the norm. I see novices with fall rate and tracking problems because they didn't learn the basic body positions before throwing in mega-booties, weight belts, and competition grips. I got my AFF rating without booties and am still one of the few at my DZ that does FS, up to 40 ways, without them. Yes! Keep offering your advice and opinions even if some may think they are outdated. If nothing else it will keep the "skygods" grounded in reality and points out the differences of what really works and what is the latest faddish technique. Sorry, long post. Rant over!
  24. 2 points
    Both are in the desert, so yes, both have dirt................. Try both. You'll likely prefer on over the other/
  25. 2 points
    Sometimes new jumpers get to be overcome with the excitement of their new sport. Sometimes they need to express themselves here as keyboard warriors. You have now stepped into the territory of someone who really needs to lurk more and post less. You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last.
  26. 2 points
    Betty's face was one of the kind faces I always looked forward to seeing at Lake Wales when I went through my student progression there in the early 2000's...She will indeed be missed.
  27. 2 points
    He may be a legal adult, but it sounds like actual adulthood deferred. You are obviously living under your parents roof, and the discussion about not having access to the funds makes me wonder whose money it actually is. Maybe I am off base, but that is how I interpret your comments. Skydiving is an adult sport for adults that sometimes like to act like children, but for the most part we are all living under our own roofs, or on friends couches, and we get to make the choice to waste sums of money on a awesome yet needless expensive and dangerous activity. it isn't going anywhere, when you are actually living like an adult you will be free to follow your skydiving dreams.
  28. 2 points
  29. 2 points
    No video recording for 2019 but the 2018 talk is here:
  30. 2 points
    Madigan... I'm over 50... and one of the things that makes me most nervous is listening to someone tell me how they have it all figured out. Do you know what you can teach someone who's got it all figured out...? Not a damn thing. Where as someone who is teachable, never has to stop learning. If I thought there was a trick to all this, I'd say the trick was to learn to love learning. I had to put booze down about the time I was 24. It was a problem for me. At 24, I wasn't a grownup and I wasn't a man. Not by any definition of those terms that I was able to articulate. I'm past that now and that particular story is perhaps long and boring to anyone not in a similar situation. The point of THAT... is I believe I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I believe that today. I also believe that I'm gonna be fine. As long as I remember a few things. What those things are might vary a little from person to person. What they are for you, I don't wanna speculate, since we don't know each other. But I don't think you can't go too far wrong if you start with these 3 things; 1-try to remain teachable. If you have an interest in skydiving, I'd say that's a good start. Not because skydiving is great... tho I think it's pretty great myself and I'm pretty new to it. But because I THINK there's a LOT to learn about it. 2- find the willingness to ask questions. There is nothing wrong with the answer "I don't know", and it's not a bad way to find out what you don't know. 3- happiness is an inside job. If I can't find a way to be happy on my own, no person and no thing is gonna do the job either. Last thing I'd like to say. I'm not sure about other families, but in my family I'd guess that what they find irreplaceable about me isn't any THING I'm outstanding at... except for maybe being me. No one else could do it nearly as well. Blue skies sir. Hope to meet you up there sometime.
  31. 2 points
    Love it. Years of both Harley & skydiving shit would go in mine. The "Last Load Lounge" would HAVE to have the requisite cable spool table for ambience. My only question is - Where ya gonna put the stripper pole?
  32. 2 points
    Yes Gowlerk, I have had similar dreams many times. They started with pulling my main handle lower than normal, then a really slow opening. I usually impact at line-stretch, stand up, dust myself off and hope that nobody saw my landing.
  33. 2 points
    You hit it on the nose Joe. Those are accurate and legit scenarios I have seen. My dad was a jumper in the 70's into the late 80's and was a static line instructor for the last 8 years in the sport. So it did burn him out. The other side of that is some of the people he jumped with are still in the sport and now I jump with some of them, and they are in their 60's and 70's. Bud Lewis jumped in to his late 70's (79) to be exact. Pat Moorehead made 80 jumps in a little over 8 hours in one day for his 80th birthday and that was in 2015 if memory serves me right( I was part of the ground crew/support) and he still jumps, and packs for himself. He started back in the 60's. His wife also still jumps. So it is up to the individual to find ways to keep it interesting.
  34. 2 points
    It's a different journey for every different person. Enjoy yours.
  35. 2 points
    For judges, grips are much less visible when using suits with grippers. Especially with figures where on flyer is on the back, and the other on the belly, the actual dock tends to be occluded by the gripper. In our experience, the added 5 to 10 seconds freefall a bigger suit gets in comparison to Havok-sized suits, is not worth the almost 50% working speed in docks/maneuvers you when compared to small/mid sized suits. Tight fit, and clean lines are important on acro suits. Loose fit around hips/arms tends to result in more sloppy flying, especially when it comes to lateral motion. Regardless of brand, make sure you get a suit with a good tailor-made fit. Havok/Magister is the combo our team flies (weight related difference, dress for succes)
  36. 2 points
    His son Gary had 6969... Wendy P.
  37. 2 points
    CYPRES units do not have a reputation in the industry for doing what you say. You are mistaken. I would suggest you not post things like this if you are not sure. You may give other people the wrong idea. There are three main AAD manufacturers today. All three make a very good product that people can depend on to perform as advertised.
  38. 2 points
    Steve Kalvelage is presented with a statue by Dick Nazarro recognizing his selection as the 1980 Soldier of the Year for A/1/11th Special Forces Group, Fort Devens, Massachusetts"
  39. 2 points
    Hi OWB, For the trivia folks: Nate got that D number when you could request any number that had not been already taken. In other words, that is the number that he wanted. Jerry Baumchen
  40. 2 points
    Be aware security may demand you open the main and reserve. It does not matter if you have the X-ray cards and USPA letter and all, they can demand it and you can't expect to change their mind. Be aware that carrying your rig around exposed might cause some nervous Nellie to get security involved. No matter how cool it might seem to get on a commercial flight with your rig on your back, it draws unwanted attention and could result in skydivers being treated worse in the future.
  41. 2 points
    Seriously. People who work full time jobs and spend their weekends instructing (and even making instructors like someone I know well) have NO right to steal from those who choose to "live the dream". Doesn't matter how much experience the part timer has (although I guess it's worse if they have more than the OP). Those non-"professionals" should go back to their real life jobs and leave the skydiving... or do I mean ride operating? - to those who have dedicated their lives to it. </sarcasm>
  42. 2 points
    glad to hear you are getting back to normal Jimmy. You had us worried. Love you brother. Get lots of rest and take care of yourself.
  43. 2 points
    My husband has a Pilot 132; he likes it, but on no-wind days he's having to run more than he'd like (we're all getting older). He had a Stiletto 120 before that. But if you're currently jumping a 150 and considering you're getting older and jumping less, do you really want to downsize? Wendy P.
  44. 2 points
    I'm also an older jumper with shitty landings. I PLF a whole lot; that saves me from injury. I have no pride whatsoever . They're not getting better with age, but, well, my PLF's are still good. I've taken three or four canopy classes. I just don't care that much any more, because I walk back from all my landings. My default landing is a PLF, which I alter to a standup at the last minute if everything looks perfect. Your statement about ground hungry and two-stage landing makes me think that the ground looks the same coming at you (even at 45 degrees, etc) as it does to me. The faster the landing, the worse, for me. Every now and then I nail it, but I'm not sure that good landings will be in my skill set until I upsize to about a .7:1 BASE canopy or something like that. I currently have a Stiletto loaded at just over 1:1; I've also jumped a Pilot and liked it better; I might break down and get one if I get sick enough of the Stiletto. If you really liked the landings on a Sabre, can you maybe get one with a pocket slider? They're supposed to be magic. Have someone test it for you a couple of times. We're in the age range where a small pack is only useful because it weighs less walking to the airplane, and that's outweighed by a whole lot of other things. I'm in the same size range as you. I upsized my rig a couple of years ago, and bought a container that will allow at least two more upsizes. I'd rather be ungainly than broken. Wendy P.
  45. 2 points
    Ground hungry... I wouldn't list the Spectra as being a particularly ground hungry canopy. There are certainly other canopies out there that are steeper trimmed. Keep in mind that any canopy that is designed to land easily and be forgiving on the flare will have to have an excess of flare authority. It has to be trimmed a little steeper to have the ability to increase it's CL to give you that powerful flare. If you were to fly a flatter canopy, one with a flatter glide, less ground hungry, you would find that the flare is some what less forgiving. I actually prefer flatter canopies and the way you generally land them is with a little extra speed. Even just a bit of front riser, so in a since you trim it more nose down, ground hungry, to get an easy landing out of it. One thing that was noticeable about the specter, is the way it pitches front to back. It was noticeable on landing as you descended in to the stiller air near the ground. When you passed through a wind shear between two layers. Think end of the day as the ground cools off and the ground winds die but the wind is still blowing a couple hundred feet up. Well there is a wind sheer as you drop from one layer to the next. Some of your airspeed goes away. Interestingly the larger the canopy is for you the more noticeable this is. 5 knts is a larger percentage of your air speed and when that head wind dies you are 5 knts slower. The canopy wants to correct that. It wants to speed up. It feels like it takes off surging forward and down toward the ground. Flaring dosen't seem to help because the canopy is pitching forwards and can not make lift to support you till it pitches back above your head. The larger the canopy and the longer the lines the more dramatic this can be. You see it with student canopies. They induce it all the time. If you make a small turn with a break, the canopy pitches back and then when you let up on the toggle the canopy surges forward. Not a lot but enough to ruin your flare. Worse is the student that flares high and then decides to let up because miss judged it. When he tries to flare again the canopy is well in front of his body. These are more dramatic examples but the same thing happens when you come in to land. If the wind drops off you get a surge in the canopy. Some canopies do this more then others. Line length is one factor but I think the airfoil also plays a part in it. It really depends on the pitch stiffness of the canopy. I don't understand all of it. But it's noticeable in the specter. You might try a Triathlon. They are not as prone to this. Back when these canopies came out they were neck and neck and we had jumpers that went back and forth between the canopies. It was the same market. They loved the specter but had noticeable more trouble landing them under some conditions that they had no problem landing their Tri in. I would not categorize a specter as a bad canopy you just need to learn to land it. Under those conditions I like to carry a little extra speed, front risers, or a small turn but hook a bit high. The idea being to to have a bit more speed when you enter that still air. You could also barrow a saber 2 from some one and give it a try. They also have a forgiving flare. Or go up a size. But with the specter I think it may just be a mater of learning to reconise the wind conditions. Or just use it as an excuse to hook that bitch down wind on the last load of the day. That way the wind sheer acts in your favor. Or at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Lee
  46. 2 points
    I'll add just this little bit. If everyone considering downsizing at 70 jumps had your thoughtfulness and wisdom we'd have a much safer sport.
  47. 2 points
    You know there are a lot of facets to the sport. I've found my self drifting from one to the next over the years. skysurfing, freestyle, CRW, base jumping, rigging, manufacturing, now I'm working on rockets and it looks like we are going to get the money to expand it into an orbital system. I don't think I could have done any one of those things for thirty years. Life is really more about growth. Some time that means turning in a new direction but in the end you may find that all of these things are interconnected. What you do is informed by all that you have done before. Every thing you have learned will carry over into what ever you do next. Maybe you'll build a container next. Maybe a pilot rig. One with low pack volume fabric. A better smaller canopy for them. Don't want to deal with a TSO? Maybe build a base rig. Want to do some thing new? Maybe build a modern version of a Sorcerer for the wing suiters. They jump slider up all the time. Maybe it's time they started carring a reserve? Or if you want to stick with canopies, how about doing some thing commercial. High percesion cargo is a thing. Militaries are investing large amounts of money in it in all sizes. There is a contract for a powered one to extend cross range. How about a high altitude eye in the sky, an air deployed aero stat. High altitude balloon. You can shoot down a drone even a big one at 30,000 ft but it's a lot harder to hit some thing at 80,000 feet. Who know were life will take you. Right now I'm actually taking an on line course. Fundamentals of space vehicle guidance, control, and astrodynamics. It's been a while since I stretched my brain cells this hard. Loving it. Getting into math I'd never dived into before. The only real secret in life is to not allow your self to become stagnant. And I still say the solution to all of your problems is to take out an ad in Parachutest or what ever you have over there selling canopies. You are now "Manufacturer" and blow a big fat raspberry at them. They don't want to run your ad, fine put it in parachutist and sell them here. Let me know and I'll renew just to have a copy of your ad to frame. Lee
  48. 2 points
    I don't think ZoeJD's post really was advertising, more like a product announcement, so calling that out was unnecessary. Having said that, I don't think what Lisa said was actually negative. ZoeJD, if you read this, this site could use a little spicing up, so I for one hope you don't run off.
  49. 2 points
    Do not change your decision altitude. You should not depend on the Skyhook or any other MARD to open your reserve canopy more quickly. Most of the time they do, but sometimes they don't.
  50. 2 points
    Harnesses: Fitting to your body and effects to consider... During part 1 (take a look here) we described the different parts of a skydiving harness and the materials used on it. On the second part we are a bit more practical. Here we will go through most (all?) harness options and designs, independently of the manufacturer. We will see what they are and which purpose they have, so you can decide if they are for you or not. Most manufacturers are open to offer non standard options if the buyer asks about it. However, there is a significant number of options that are specific for a subgroup of manufacturers, and therefore you can't freely mix and match every single option explained here. To keep things ordered we will go from top to bottom of the harness. Let's go! Risers Going from top to bottom, the first thing you find are the main risers. As simple as they seem to be, they have a significant number of options. Webbing The first thing to decide is which type of webbing you want on your risers. In this time and age there is little debate: If you are not an outlier you'll want type 17 risers. There are multiple reasons. The main technical reason is that it makes it easier to pull down the slider to stow it behind your head. Type 17 is also preferred to type 8 because of its lower bulk and cooler appearance (which is, of course, not a technical reason). It typically comes paired with minirings, which are also less bulky than traditional rings and "cool" looking. Regarding webbing, a second option is to have risers sewed in half, reducing its cross section and drag. This option is only available in type 17 risers and has a very specific audience: hardcore swoopers. They need to reduce drag as much as possible, to squeeze out all the performance in their canopies. If you are not a hardcore swooper you can ignore this option. Moreover, some manufacturers advise against these low profile risers if you are going to deploy at terminal speed. The last bit regarding webbing on risers is its length. 21" (53 cm) is the standard length of many manufacturers. As usual, check first with them to ensure that is true. You can also order them shorter (if you have short arms) or longer. It is normally recommended to have them as long as possible, but allowing to reach the slider. That's because with longer risers the canopy can "open up" a bit more, and you'll have more range in all your controls, particularly in toggles. That also means that you can stall your canopy easier, so the whole system has to be in balance. Diving loops Diving loops are nowadays kind of standard, and even rigs targeted at newly licensed skydivers have them. There are, however almost as many kinds as manufacturers. The simplest type is a loop of type 17 webbing sewed close to the top of the front risers. These loops are easy to manufacture, cheap, and play no role on hooking your main canopy. On the flip side, they lay flat against the risers, making them more difficult to grab and causing distractions, and are harder on the fingers. Another common type of loop uses tubular webbing. The advantage of this type of loop over the simple type 17 is two-fold: It is easier on the fingers, allowing to hold the front risers longer, and the loop tends to stay open, making it easier to grab. Sometimes these loops have extra material inside (stiffeners or bungee cords) to ensure they stay open when you need them. It is also possible that the tubular webbing is sewed in the inside part of a regular type 17 loop. In recent years the so called "louie" loops have become more popular. These loops have a double layer of webbing, and stay easily open. But their most distinctive feature is that they wrap the loop used to connect the canopy to the risers. That implies 2 things: First and foremost, they require more attention when connecting a canopy. The soft links (these loops do not accept hard links) have to go through the diving loops and the connecting loops. Routing the soft links just through the diving loops can have serious consequences. The stitching could break and the whole line group could be released. The advantage of these loops is that it allows the canopy pilot to pull from the highest point of the risers, giving more range and a more comfortable pull. Diving loop with tubular webbing on the inside for added comfort and to keep it open. Louie loop. Note how the soft link has to go through the link loop and the dive loop. The last thing to comment here is that CRW dogs typically have dive blocks instead of dive loops. Dive blocks are easier to grab and release, which makes them more useful than loops in that environment. Toggles Manufacturing techniques vary wildly between different rigs. So much, that we won't cover them in too much detail here. What is important is that the toggles stay secured until you grab them. To the best of my knowledge, that is true for every modern reputable manufacturer. Nevertheless, we can analyze the different components/options, even though each manufacturer uses its own technique and rarely offers changes to it. Brake line retainer: That's the part of the toggle that goes through the cat's eye in the brake lines. Normally it is a "hardened" piece made using multiple layers of webbing. Some manufacturers use a straight pin instead. While this seems like a good idea, it opens the door to misrigging, since the pin fits through the guide ring. That could result in the brake line pulling on the pin and its pocket, which could be easily damaged. Toggle retainers: The toggles need to be secured in place. This is achieved with either stiffer parts inserted in pockets in the risers (just like the brake line retainer), straight pins inserted in tighter pockets, or snaps. The number of stiff parts and pins varies between 2 and 3. The orientation also varies. That is why some cases require an upwards motion before pulling the toggles down to release them. Should snaps be used, it is important to remark that the snaps should perforate an extra piece of webbing sewed in the risers, not the webbing of the risers itself. Slack retainers: These are loops sewed on the back side of the back risers. They can be a simple piece of tape (which tend to let the slack a bit more loose), or a elastic (which secures the slack better, but makes the slack stowing more tedious). Toggle with stiffener on top and pin on bottom, tape slack retainers and closed top pocket. Other options are stiffeners on top on bottom, pin on top, extra stiffener pointing downwards on top, elastic retainers and open (at the top) top pocket. Additional guide rings Some riser manufactures have the option of placing an extra set of guide rings at the top of the risers. This way, during full flight, the brake lines go through this set of rings, but not through the normal guide rings. To stow the brakes the cat's eye has to go through the normal rings, the toggle has to lock the brake in place, and the excess can be normally stowed. The benefit of this option is to have a smoother transition to rears, and reduce the length that the brake line is traveling, since it doesn't have to go down to the guide ring and up again towards wherever the pilot has his/her hands. If you are into canopy piloting, or if you need to have very short brake lines, this might be an interesting option for you. 3 rings The last set of options in the risers is the 3 rings system. The first thing to decide here is if you are happy with today's standard: Minirings. The vast majority of sport rigs have them today, mostly for aesthetic reasons. They work just fine, and you rarely see rigs with large rings nowadays. But the pulley minirings form is slightly less effective than in large rings. That means that the force needed during cutaway might be higher. Modern risers have extra housings for the cutaway cable -sometimes with teflon inserts-, to avoid them from being pinched in twists, and make cutaways more difficult. The usage of these housings in modern risers offsets the extra force required to cutaway with minirings in most cases. Another thing to consider is that typically minirings come with type 17 risers, and large rings with type 8 risers, even though other combinations are possible. So the type of webbing you want on your risers might tip the balance for you, if you are undecided. Aerodyne, to keep the aesthetics of minirings but without compromising on pull forces, designed a modified 3-ring release system. The "miniforce" rings system is essentially the same as other minirings systems, but with an enlarged middle ring. That improves the pulley efficiency and reduces the load in the white loop. If you want to use these risers in a container not manufactured by Aerodyne, check first with your manufacturer about component compatibility. We will talk a bit more about this at the end of the section. Aerodyne's "miniforce" 3-rings system. Lastly, you can decide the hardware finish. There are 3 main options in the market: Cadmium plated steel: This is possibly the oldest type of hardware used in skydiving that is still sold today. It works well will all kinds of webbing, the plating offers corrosion protection and it is generally cheaper, despite the extra costs associated to dealing with cadmium's toxicity. However, the plating can flake off over years, and then corrosion might happen, depending on the environmental conditions and how you treat your gear. Moreover, it is not shiny, which goes against one of the (sadly) first principles of skydiving: You have to look cool. Cadmium plated steel 3-rings system after more than 1000 jumps. Stainless steel: This kind of hardware is the most commonly used today. It offers better corrosion protection than plated steel, since there is not plating that can flake off. It is and stays shiny. And it slips more. 3-rings release system can lose about 5% efficiency (more force transmitted to the small ring) because of the reduced friction. Arguably, in well manufactured miniring systems, it doesn't play a role. Stainless steel 3-rings system after 100 jumps. Black hardware: This is the latest addition in hardware finish. It is steel hardware with an oxide layer, that gives it its matte black color. It is relatively recent, so field experience is more limited than stainless steel and cadmium plated steel. Some people claim that after hundreds of jumps it doesn't have significant usage marks. However, at least in some cases, marks are pretty visible (see also the pictures of chest rings). Black 3-rings system after 100 jumps. The chosen finish will affect the 3-rings system, buckles, chest and hip rings, and RSL shackles. However, whatever you choose, it won't affect the grommets or housings of your rig. Maybe something to consider. Some people mix risers with different hardware materials and from different manufacturers. This works fine in most cases. However, you are stacking the odds against you if you are not careful. On one hand dimensions and placement of all the parts should match. RSL ring side, cutaway cable inserts and length of cable, large ring dimensions -that can be different even among minirings systems-, large ring placement -higher or lower in the MLW-. All these are things to consider. There have been already fatalities rooted in a poor mix of components (reverse risers on a Javelin container). On the other hand, NAS-804, the specification required by TSO-C23b, states "The use of dissimilar metals, especially brass, copper, or steel in intimate metal-to-metal contact with aluminum or aluminum alloy, shall be avoided, whenever possible.". So, in principle, unless you know better, you should avoid mixing types for extended periods of time, as you might cause premature degradation of your hardware. Also, "miniforce" risers work fine with Aerodyne rigs. But the enlarged middle ring might not release cleanly in other rigs. Check compatibility with the manufacturer of your rig before using that mix. Chest rings Exploring down our harness we get to the chest strap junction. Most manufacturers -but not all- add chest rings to articulate their harness, either by default, or as an option. A fully articulated harness (with chest and hip rings) is supposed to be more comfortable, as the webbing doesn't need to bend and fold as much as a non-articulated harness. However, the chest is an area where these deformations are not really pronounced. As much as your body moves and twists in freefall, your upper torso stays pretty rigid. Nevertheless, chest rings help to avoid awkward and uncomfortable webbing twisting when the harness has been made for a larger person than the wearer. In these cases, the tendency is to overtighten the chest strap to compensate and secure better the jumper. That brings both chest junction together more than they should, and without rings the webbing would be unnaturally bent at that point. Of course, in an ideal world, every skydiver would have a harness that fits them properly, so this would never happen. Besides the arguable increase in comfort, chest rings are an excellent investment if, for whatever reason, the harness needs to be resized or repaired in the lower MLW. With chest rings the area affected is reduced to the webbing between the chest and hip rings. Without chest rings, the amount of work (and price) for this would be significantly higher, since the MLW is sewed to more components that would need resewing or replacement. Like the 3-rings release system, the chest rings can have different finish. More unique to chest rings is their orientation, and its influence on fitting and chest strap width. The chest rings used in every modern harness/container system are always very similar to the large ring in the 3-rings release system. The only possible difference is the bend in the slot where the MLW is threaded, which might or might not be present. In the chest, manufacturers orient the ring in 2 different ways: With the threading slot towards the upper MLW, or towards the chest strap. There are a few subtle implications: Rings with a vertical orientation (threading slot towards upper MLW) accept more naturally type 17 chest straps. In roughly half the circumference of the ring, the manufacturer has to accomodate the lower MLW and the chest strap, so commonly type 17 is used for the chest strap. That doesn't mean that type 8 is not possible. It is, but being it more bulky, it is less convenient. Rings with a horizontal orientation (threading slot towards chest strap) accept more naturally type 8 chest straps. I have yet to see this configuration with type 17, but it is, in theory, possible. Looks would be compromised for no reason though, so it is unlikely you'll see it either. Another thing to consider with this configuration is the range of motion of the upper MLW. Here, it can slide to the sides easier (the ring stays in place and the upper MLW can slide on it) than in vertical configuration (where the whole ring has to move and overcome the friction with the chest strap and the lower MLW). What that means is that when flying steep head down angles, the harness can slip down (up?) your shoulders easier than in other cases. Black chest ring after 1000 jumps. Note the shiny side on the right. Chest ring with the threading slot towards the upper MLW and a type 17 chest strap. The last option to consider regarding chest rings is the use of padding under the rings. Not many manufacturers offer it, but it is nevertheless possible. Chest ring with the threading slot towards the type 8 chest strap. The additional tape keeps the padding secured under the ring. Chest strap As we mentioned already, there are two chest strap widths to choose from. Regarding strength, there is no real difference, since the weakest point is the friction adapter, which is rated at 500 lbs independently of the width. Type 17 is less bulky and has less drag, which some swoopers would care about. It is also true that these same swoopers, the ones that can notice the difference, would completely remove their chest strap after opening and stow it away (while using a belly band to secure themselves). So this is also a moot point. At the end, this is one of these options that are completely a matter a personal taste. Another option regarding chest straps is their length. Most manufacturers have a standard length, which is typically around 19" (48cm). Normally this can be extended at no cost. Long chest straps allow the jumper to open up their harness and therefore their canopy, for increased efficiency. With a long chest strap it is also possible to lean forward during landing for a more active canopy piloting position. Regardless the length of your chest strap, if you are going to loosen it as much as you can, you should pay attention to its termination. Type 8 chest straps have a folded end that acts as a stopper and prevents the chest strap from being accidentally unthreaded. Type 17 terminations are sometimes not that effective, depending on how it was done. Termination of a type 8 chest strap. The tip has 4 layers to make it stiffer and the tab prevents the strap from being accidentally removed. Terminations of type 17 chest straps. The top picture has an extra tape, that creates a tab. The bottom picture has a stiffener at the tip. Note how fuzzy they are, specially the one on top. That's the effect of rubber instead of the normal elastic bands. Lastly, some manufacturers offer wide webbing loops in the chest strap to stow it. That replaces the default elastic bands, that tend to stretch over time loosing effectiveness, and can also get lost. This option is more common on type 17 chest straps than on type 8. Whatever you choose (elastic band or webbing loop) avoid rubber bands anywhere in contact with webbing. Rubber bands are fairly abrasive. As a result they will weaken your webbing and make it look fuzzier. Handles The next decision point coming down the harness affects the cutaway and reserve handles. The most common combination is a pillow for the right side (cutaway), and a metal ring for the reserve ripcord. But there are variations. Pillow handles are popular among freeflyers, because they are less snag prone than other options. Many of them use pillows for both the cutaway and reserve handles. The obvious downside, is that they make grabbing and pulling them more complicated. A pillow requires your whole hand to grab it. On top of that, it has a similar texture to your jumpsuit fabric, so if you are not looking and you have a loose suit you can grab part of your jumpsuit by mistake. To make them easier to grab, some manufacturers make sure they have a harder core. Others make them extra fat. And others sew an extra layer of a less slippery material. You can also embroider pillows for extra "flashiness", which is not possible with other types of handles. Reserve pillow handle, with embroidery, a pocket between both pieces of webbing on the MLW, and a spectra ripcord. Metal rings have been around a longer time than pillow handles. They are easier to grab (you can simply hook your thumb through them) and have a very distinctive feeling, so you can't possibly grab your jumpsuit fabric by mistake. On the other hand they are easier to snag when your buddy is grabbing your harness or with a small camera during exit. To mitigate that, some manufacturers offer low profile D rings, that stick out less than traditional D rings. Reserve D ring with a pocket between both pieces of webbing, and a steel cable ripcord. The last option is having a webbing loop with a stiffener inside to retain its open shape. These handles are very common in tandem rigs. However, in sport rigs they are rarely used. They are compromise between pillow and D ring handles. The reserve ripcord has been made of a steel cable for a long time. It works well in most cases, and most manufacturers stick to it. Others give the option of using a spectra ripcord with a bungee inside. In some cases this is the default for new rigs. The claimed advantages are many. Since spectra is more slippery than steel cables, it reduces the pull force required. In case of a dislodged handle, the bungee will keep it close to the housing and minimize the area in which it will be bouncing around. It is also cheaper to manufacture and inspect in some cases (steel cables have a hidden swage inside the pillow to keep them connected to the handle). However, it is slightly easier to misrig (the reserve pin can be threaded through just some fibers of the ripcord, instead of through the loop) and can be damaged by a sharp edge in the housing easier than a steel cable. The next option here is the material of the cutaway cable. Almost every manufacturer offers "lolon" coated cables. These are the standard yellow cables that most people are familiar with. They are reliable if the user/rigger ensures proper length and maintenance. The maintenance requires regular cleaning and lubrication of the cables. This is often neglected, which can result in increased pull forces during a cutaway. An alternative material is teflon coated cables. These are orange or red, and are currently in use just by Parachute Labs and their Racer harness/container. The advantage is that they don't require periodic cleaning and lubrication. However, getting them right is more complicated, as teflon doesn't stick easily to the cable. That resulted in the past in the core of the cable detaching from the coating, leaving the sheath locking the 3-rings release system. Regardless of the material you chose, it would be smart to check regularly your cables for cracks or other issues to avoid similar situations, as in theory it could also happen with "lolon" cables. Finally, there are a few ways to construct the pockets for the handles. The most common ways are either sandwiched between the 2 pieces of webbing of the MLW, or with a specifically manufactured pocket made of fabric wrapping the MLW webbing. As long as the velcro is in good condition, both are equally secure. On rigs with chest and hip rings the pocket wrapping the MLW is more common, as there is extra stitching necessary to secure the MLW in place, right where the handles are. Another advantage of the fabric pocket is that velcro is placed further away from webbing, avoiding possible contact and damage. On some older rigs, the cutaway handle might be attached just with a simple velcro strip, without extra pockets or in between the MLW. This is easier to disengage accidentally. Reserve pillow handle, with pocket wrapping the MLW and a steel cable ripcord. Cutaway pillow handle, with a simple velcro strip on the back side of the MLW. Hip rings More important than chest rings, are hip rings. However, they are more difficult to evaluate for a variety of reasons. The most important one, is that each manufacturer puts together in that junction a different set of harness components. Let's see this in more detail: MLW, laterals and front and back leg straps: Some manufacturers might connect together in a single round ring 4 different components. This has a couple of disadvantages, and that's why it is not a common configuration. First and foremost: it connects the leg straps too far up. The angles then could be a bit more awkward and less comfortable, particularly if you are a tall person and want to sit on your harness during canopy flight. Secondly, with 4 connected components there is little room for a belly band. Round hip ring connecting 4 different components (lower MLW, laterals and front and back leg straps). MLW, laterals and a single leg strap junction point: This setup is far more common than the previous one. Having the front and back leg strap junction working independently from the ring, and therefore placing this junction further down in the harness, allows to have a more comfortable fit. The angles of the leg strap become more natural. Nevertheless, the consequence of this is that the leg strap becomes slightly more stiff. There is a non-articulated junction between front and back leg straps, and they move as a single component. Most manufacturers design the geometry of this junction in a way where the back leg strap connects to the ring, and the front leg strap connects to the back leg strap. Rigging Innovations does it the opposite way in their Curv. There these roles are reserved and the front leg strap is connected directly to the ring. As a result, when the leg strap moves forward, it pulls in a bit more on the hip ring, and consequentially on the whole container. Round hip ring connecting 4 different components (lower MLW, lateral, belly band and leg strap) MLW and front and back leg straps: This arrangement is also very common. The ring is placed further down than in the previous case, which allows to connect independently the front and back leg straps, while preserving comfortable angles. Laterals are connected to the MLW above the ring in this setup. That junctions is very stiff, and right above it is the handle pocket. The small area in between absorbs whatever angle change you induce by leaning forward, so it ends up bending sharply. Another effect of this arrangement is that having the rings below that junction makes belly bands sit further low than in harnesses with rings connecting laterals. But the positive side is that both parts of the leg strap can move independently. Some people like them to move "at once", and so opt for a setup that adds an extra piece of fabric that softly links front and back leg straps and slightly covers the ring. Hip ring connecting 3 different components (lower MLW and front and back leg straps linked with an extra piece of fabric). Note how further up is the lateral junction. Each arrangement is a tradeoff. Depending on your body type and chosen discipline, you might prefer one setup or another. Part 3 will focus on body types and will explain how theses tradeoffs might affect you. As with chest rings, repairs are easier on harnesses with hip rings than without them. Another thing in common with chest rings is that hip rings are also affected by your choice of hardware finish. An option related to hip rings is the belly band. This component can have 2 different functions. Most people that use them do it in their swoop setup. They undo completely their chest strap, and stow it away. To stay secured in the harness they use belly bands. The second group of people interested in belly bands are people whose harness has laterals that are too long. With a belly band they can pull their hip rings a bit forward, making their container stay closer to their lower back and move less in freefall. That is particularly important while freeflying. Of course moving the hip rings too much forward can distort the harness geometry and affect comfort. If you are in this situation chances are that you should get your harness resized. Hip ring connecting 4 different components (lower MLW, front and back leg strap, and belly band). Note how this setup places the belly band lower than in a setup with a ring connecting to the lateral. Laterals As we saw in part 1, the laterals are the part of the harness that connect the back of the harness with the lower MLW. They are critical for comfort during freefall and under canopy. Too long and you will have a huge gap between your back and your container. Too short and they'll make your harness feel too tight and uncomfortable. The default construction, with the laterals coming straight out of the edge of the backpad, works fine if your back is significantly wider than your container. But in many cases that's not true, the container and back are about the same width, and there is a measurable gap between the back side of the laterals and your back. Many manufacturers try to find a way to contour to the side curvature of your back (back to front, at the belly level). That makes the container more comfortable and it stays in position without moving around much. There are essentially 2 schools for that. The most common is to find "cut-in" laterals, where they are inserted in the backpad not at the edge, but somewhere more centrally. This style of laterals are in contact with the jumpers back, and typically they are padded for extra comfort. Another type is to have the webbing coming straight from the edge, get to the hip junction, and come back a bit more towards the center of the backpad, wrapped in padding. There are alternatives to the two main approaches. Infinity and Sife provide floating laterals as an option, where the lateral webbing goes through the webbing slot of the hip ring, which moves freely. Sife adds padded stabilizers to that configuration. Mirage has the laterals coming straight out of the edge of the container, but has two elastic bands coming from the center of the backpad, acting as a sort of elastic stabilizers. Lastly, as in some student rigs, SunPath added adjustable laterals to their Aurora wingsuit rig. Straight laterals coming out of the edge of the container. Padded stabilizers. The outermost component is simply an stiffener wrapped in fabric, without major structural purpose. Floating laterals. Note how the ring can move freely through the webbing of the lateral. Elastic stabilizers. Leg straps Leg straps are the remaining piece of the harness. And of course, there are multiple options here as well. In part 1, we already saw multiple adapters. Each manufacturer has its default set of adapters. Nevertheless, some of them, can install an alternative style if you ask them. These adapters are also affected by the chosen hardware finish. As it has been mentioned before, stainless steel is more slippery than cadmium plated steel. The teeth of the adapter could also be harder and sharper if they were the same design as plated adapters, which could damage the webbing and make the whole system work differently. That's why both types of hardware have slightly different designs. These effects are also part of the reason to have double layer straps, to make them thicker and slip less. Besides this, adapters are normally thread-thru. But it is also possible, even though not common, to order B-12 snaps. They allow to clip-in the leg straps, instead of having to put your legs through them. We have seen lots of options targeted for swoopers in the upper side of the harness. The bottom side also has options for this discipline. It is possible with some manufacturers to order wider leg straps, so sitting in your harness for long periods is a bit more comfortable. The tradeoff is that they are more uncomfortable during freefall and on the ground. Since swoopers tend to slide during their landings, the leg straps suffer a great deal of wear. That's why it is also possible to use leg strap covers, that can be easily replazable once they are worn out. That way, your harness stays intact. The last optional bit is the freefly bungee. It's functionality has been already discussed in part 1. There are basically 2 designs: Connecting the inner part with 2 webbing loops and a bungee; or connecting the outer part, with the bungee routed through a channel that hides the knots and distributes the tension. Freefly bungee connecting the inner part of the leg straps and knots exposed. Freefly bungee connecting the outer part of the leg straps and knots hidden in the channels. More harness options There are even more options than what we have covered so far. But they are difficult to classify going from top of the harness to bottom. For instance, embroideries. Laterals, leg straps, mud flaps (right below the 3-rings) are all areas were you can include any embroidery. Mind you, the embroidery is done in fabric, not in webbing. So for instance, to add an embroidery to your laterals, they have to have a piece of fabric covering the webbing. Other example are hook knifes. There are 2 common pockets for hook knifes: In the mud flap, or in the leg strap. Some manufacturers also add a hook knife pocket integrated in the fabric that makes their handles pocket. There are multiple models of hook knifes: Cheap plastic handle with a single blade, harder plastic with single or double blade, metal handle and single or double blade, or full metal knifes. Even though it is unlikely that you'll need it, it is recommended to avoid the very cheap knifes made of brittle plastic. Some manufacturers make contoured yokes, that adapt better to your shoulder area. It is also possible that they offer an "inverted yoke", where the container seams are inwards, looking a bit neater and slightly more comfortable on that area, since the sharper binding tape won't be rubbing against you. Every manufacturer also offers padding. Some include full padding (yoke, backpad, stabilizers and leg straps) as a single option. Others separate it in 2 or 3 areas, allowing you to choose with more granularity. Besides the standard padding, made normally out of some spacer foam, some manufacturers also offer "deluxe" padding in their backpad, made of a more comfortable material. Rigging innovations has gone an extra mile in the harness design of their Curv container, and offer 3 unique things. The first is what they call the bio yoke. There, they essentially separated the part of the yoke in contact with your shoulders, and the part of the yoke that connects with everything else inside the container (risers, reserve risers and housings). This way the part in contact with your body is more flexible and comfortable. The second is what they call the bio curve. This is a half container half harness feature. It simply contours the container so it follows the curvature of your back, avoiding gaps there. The third thing is a new leg strap geometry, which has been already discussed in the hip rings section. End of Part 2 This concludes part 2. As you can see, there are tens of options, which create hundreds of combinations. Each manufacturer has their defaults and their common options. If you are buying a new container and want an option not listed in their order form, ask them. You might be surprised. If you are buying an used container, hopefully this will help you to decide on which harness designs and options are important for you, to narrow down your search in the wild second hand market. Part 3 will be the last part of the series. There the focus will be on how different harness designs might fit different body types, and how the wrong dimensions in parts of the harness will affect your flying, comfort, and potentially even safety. So if you enjoyed part 1 and 2, keep an eye out for part 3!