Background: At the time of this review, I have 580 jumps. I’ve jumped a mix of demos throughout my time skydiving, but my canopy progression was: a Manta 288 (loaded at .75) for 100 jumps, a Nova 150 (loaded at 1.45) for 100 jumps before it was recalled, a Stiletto 150 (loaded at 1.5, since I weighed more back then) for 250 jumps, a nine year layoff because I got bored, and finally a Sabre2 150 (loaded at 1.4) for the last 90 jumps since coming back into the sport last year. I bought a Nitron 135 (loaded at 1.55) to continue to work on my swooping for a couple hundred jumps. My landings are usually either a 90 or 180 degree front riser carve to final based on traffic.
Ordering and setup: I custom ordered my Nitron from the Skydive Store, and it took 6 weeks (which is pretty fast for any custom gear in this sport). I hooked it up, and set the brake lines with an extra inch of slack. I ended up letting about 3 inches out of my Sabre2 to keep from deflecting the tail while front risering. It turned out that the break settings on the Nitron starting deflecting the tail right at the break line setting mark, so I ended up letting out about 6 inches.
Flight impressions (Comparison to my Sabre2 150): My first jump was a terminal opening at 7500ft to check it out. The first thing is that the openings on this canopy are wonderful. It opened nice and soft, while staying on heading on every jump I’ve made so far. I jump a top mounted video camera, so openings are important to me. Toggles turns are very responsive (it is an elliptical), and it was significantly quicker than my Sabre2. I did my various control tests at altitude on toggles and risers, practiced some flares, intentionally stalled it a few times, practiced dive arrests on toggles, used my Sunnto Observer to measure altitude lost in various types and lengths of turns, etc. Front riser pressure was very similar to my Sabre2, but it turned into the dive a little quicker. Recovery arc was very similar to my Sabre2 as well, and speed at neutral full flight felt a touch faster. I’ve just done double fronts and 90 degree front risers so far, and I’m getting about 10% more surf out of it. Overall, it reminded me a lot of my old Stiletto.
Overall: I think this is going to be a great canopy for continuing to progress with swooping. I’ve done a few high opening jumps, and I’m continuing to do so to get familiar with it. I’m planning on grabbing one of the badass canopy coaches here in Eloy after another 25 jumps, because I want to be comfortable with the general flight characteristics before really wringing it out with a coach. I’ll post a follow up after that.