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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/15/2019 in Gear Reviews

  1. 2 points
    This is the ultimate bicellular elliptic canopy. I tried Semi/fully elliptic canopies before (Crossfire 2, Stiletto, Sabre 2) and this X-Fire is quite the bomb compared to the previous ones. It has na absolutely incredible harness response. I really feel connected to the canopy and the fact it has no stabilizers provides a nice over steer. It's the very first canopy I feel I have full control on. It's a Schuemann Planform designed canopy meaning the leading edge is super elliptic while trailing edge is quite flat. I see it as a bicellular Leia. Rears are super powerful. Fronts are quite hard but nothing unmanageable. Toggle turns (yes I tried those) are super slow but those breaks have like an infinite resource while landing. Openings are very nice but not too slow. Almost always on heading and predictable. You can feel Icarus put some effort on this part! I jumped a stiletto for 400 jumps before the X-Fire so I might be biased . I think I might stick with an X-fire (I own a 102 for now) if I want more in a few hundred jumps instead of going to the cross braced realm.
  2. 1 point
    I have about 700 jumps on a Rage 170. Flights are uneventful. Landings are nice. Even with a conventional landing, the Rage will maintain a horizontal flight for quite some time. Openings were quite hard for the first 50 or 100 jumps. No complaints for openings after the first 100 jumps. Then I had it relined. Now openings are hard again. I am eagerly awaiting until the jump numbers increase and the openings become slower again when the lines age. I would recommend buying a Rage that has 50-100 jumps on the current lineset.
  3. 1 point
    Coming from a Stiletto 135, I was advised an x-fire 119 to be my next canopy. Hated the frontriser-pressure on the Stiletto, and hoped for better on the Crossfire. I liked it very much, till someone let me jump a Katana 120. Now that's what low pressure is about! I instantly sold the X-fire and ordered a Kat 120 from PD-stock. I now have 70 jumps on it and a lot of what people say is true. It can be searchy on openings (X-fire opens like a dream, always, everytime) but I have only had one single twist so far. It really dives like hell once you let it built up speed on fronts, and you better be careful: I've been a few times deep down in the corner because it tends to keep diving after you let go of the risers. The emergency-digging-out on toggles made me swing forward so fast I pitched up some 15 feet above the ground. Well, I survived without injury, and learned fast... Now that I am somewhat used to it's characteristics, I start to feel confident about the Katana. This is really the modern way of flying. You have to be active and keen on every aspect of your flight. No more fun-360's and other aerobatics before you start your landing pattern. You'll be on the ground in no time if you do that. Is that a shame? No way! When flown with dedication the Katana is very rewarding. Fast, clean, yet smooth turns, very predictable. The canopy is diving fast, but puts you exactly where you want to be. Turbulence, strong headwinds, no problemo: It cuts through the air like a razor. Don't be dazzled by it's high speed once it recovers. Don't brake in panick but start your flare gently and higher than you're used to. Once it starts to decelerate you can easily flare it to a full stop, surfing with your toes through the grass forever. I really love this canopy, but handle it with care and respect! Still a lot to learn, but getting there. Starting my 270's at 800 ft and ending up a little high, but that's good for now. BTW: Have to keep my fullface closed, since I wear lenses. The relative wind blows them out of my eyes in a steep turn. A speedy ride, everytime. And big fun! PS: Some extra advice on the openings. Katana has a reputation for it's unpredictable openings, easily leading to twists. After about 150 jumps I have found out wat works for me just right te prevent this. 1) Divide the slider between the line-groups and push it down firmly and tight to the sliderstops and keep it that way until you put your lines on the first stow. 2) Keep your stows fresh. Replace them when they start to wear out, don't wait for them to break. Line dump is a bad thing for openings, but the Katana really hates it. 3) And most impotant: perform a fast and "positive" throw-out of your pc, after that immediatly fix your shoulders and upperarms and look at the horizon. Try NOT to look up at your opening canopy before you feel the snivel has finished. Body position is everything. Perform this way you will experience the Katana is a very smooth, somewhat slow opening canopy (900 ft is normal) that keeps heading quite well and is a relief for your back. Stressful openings are often caused by fear of line-twists, resulting in a quick head-up and/or shoulders-turned bodyposition, making the opening progressively worse.
  4. 1 point
    Dragon is a tapered 7-cell, designed to combine good characteristics from classic 7-cells and elliptical 9-cells in one canopy. My girlfriend bought Dragon 150 as her first canopy, downsizing from student 210 sq ft (she is 160 cm, 50 kg - 5'4'', 110 lbs). But before giving her the canopy, I made first 6-7 jumps, at wing load of 1,25 (I am 85 kg - 185 lbs). Canopy has very smooth, consistent openings, always on heading. It flies great, and I estimated that glide is equal or better then PD Spectre. Toggle inputs are light, but the canopy is quite responsive (also, more toggle input is required then on elliptical 9-cell). It is also stable in deep brakes, and rather difficult to stall. It is also very predictable canopy, no nasty surprises. I tried hook turns, and to my surprise, it was possible to make some very decent hooks, with long flare and enough lift at the end of the flare to climb a little, just enough to touch down softly (no running required). Front risers are a maybe bit harder then on my Radical 135. My girlfriend's transition to new canopy went smooth and without a single problem. She immediately fell in love with it, finding it agile and responsive, and enjoying very good glide, nice flare and great openings (just wanted to share her impressions, of a skydiver with only 50+ jumps). Later I had a chance to jump PD Storm 135, which is kind of high - end tapered 7-cell, and I think that Dragon is not so far behind (at proper wing loading, of course). It is great as all-round or transition canopy, and would be also very convenient for WS jumpers, due to consistent on-heading openings. I would always recommend Dragon to novice jumpers.
  5. 1 point
    Had my Katana for a couple of hundreds jumps...was coming from a Sabre2-120, which i loved, but it was very hard to hit the "sweet-spot" coming out of my 270 because of its natural recovery-arc. Furthermore the riser pressure of the Sabre is pretty hard doing 270-turns. Jumped a Katana 120 for a while getting used to the canopy - which is completely different from the Sabre: Much lighter riser pressure, more responsive on harness (doing all of my turn on harness now), easy to keep in a dive when getting out of a turn to high an still getting the gate. Now I jump a KA107 and I am still in love... Only con is the openings....they are soft..thats for sure....but often off heading (everything between 0 to 360 degrees - if 360 degrees of heading opening actually can be called of heading :-)
  6. 1 point
    Usually jump a Competition Cobalt 85. Demoed a Katana 97 and 83. 83 opened and flew much better. Basically it flies better at 1.9-2.0+ Put 25 jumps on each canopy. Review is based on the Katana 83. Packing- Trash pack. Shake it out-No flaking. Shuffle nose in a little bit. Pull slider Out Opening- Sweet smooth on heading. Not too fast but not slow. Never wanted to spin up or jerk me around. Easy to steer during snivel using harness unput. Smooth opening for such an agressive canopy. Flight- Very steep trim. Canopy wants to be on the ground. Long spots are a little trouble because it still sinks in brakes or on rears. Cant hang out and wait for others to land- Falls out of the sky too fast. Very stable and fun to fly. Fairly hard to stall using toggles. Hard to stall on rear risers. Not super fast responsive but thats good. Makes for smooth flying. Any more responsive would be too much on such an agressive canopy. Landing- Very light front riser pressure and moderate rear riser pressure. Harder to plane out using rears that my Competition Cobalt. Keeps speed and a dive very well. Swooping into the wind is no problem- Cuts right through the wind. On the 83 loaded at 2.0+ started 360 turn at 800-1000ft. Dives like crazy. Come out of turn at 200+ feet and put pressure on rears right away. Planes out very nicely on rears using this technique. If you are late on the rears use toggles because it will not plane out right away on rear risers. Can hold double fronts to keep in a dive if needed. Not a forgiving canopy. Has good flare. Not quite as much flare as my Cobalt and Competition Cobalt. At higher speeds and correct dive altitudes there is much more flare. Lower speed- Decent flare. (Enough to have a nice stand up but you can feel the need for more) Low turn=Not much stopping power. Dont do it because you will not pull it out of the dive even if you are deep on the toggles. 270 turn worked best for me. @600+ft Whether doing a slow carve or a fast dive swoops are great. Fast dive and then hard on rears makes for super fast swoop. Carve makes for a long smooth and fast swoop. Had to do an aviodance braked approach and landing. Landed much better than expected. Almost half brakes until full flare and it still landed me softly. Canopy can be jerky if the transition from rears to toggles is not smooth. Just fly it smoothly. Jerky Motions(Rears and toggles)=Loss of speed and shoter swoop. Not much or really any running out landings. Flies until its almost stopped. Overall- Awesome canopy. Swoop machine. If you like to open low then the spot better be good because you will be on the ground shortly. Most agressive canopy I have flown. Approaching the dive and long recovery of the Velocity. Great canopy to try with 750+ jumps and good canopy control and progression. Not a good idea if you are not current or dont have the swoops mastered on something else. Competition Cobalt is a good transition canopy to the Katana. Main negative aspect is that it doesnt fly as well at slow speeds as my Competition Cobalt. The Cobalt will continue to fly going slow and keep gliding at that slow speed. (End of a swoop) Once the Katana starts to die out it will lose the speed and the swoop is over. Still flies well at that slow speed but comes to a stop sooner. Swoops were longer in distance but seemed shorter in time than my Cobalt. Meaning it is much faster and covers ground in a swoop very fast. Great product from the best in the biz. A+ Canopy
  7. 1 point
    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.
  8. 1 point
    I put most of my jumps on an original sabre and got used to canopies that like to dive. I tried the Stilleto 135 but didn't really like how reluctant it was to really dive. So I was also looking into a Katana. I did some jumps on a Hurricane 135 and a 120 and decided it was the one for me. Some of these PD/Icarus/Precision canopies were over $2000 for a new canopy! My new custom Hurricane 120 cost me just over $1100. The zero porosity coating is different than other companies too. The Hurricane comes with a coating that is not slippery like other new zero P's. It was super easy to pack the first time I packed it. No slippage at all! I've since put 500 jumps on it and it is quite a ride. The toggle turns create quite a dive. You'll be able to see the horizon OVER your canopy when you spin it. It'll keep the speed up longer too. I'd say it has a medium to light amount of front riser pressure. You can really make it float too if you're out on a long spot. It offers you soo much control. The flare is really nice and powerful. You can flatten the canopy and pull out of a dive fast any time you want. My only con is that some canopies can be really forgiving with sloppy packing and body position. Not really this one. If you pack sloppy and don't keep nice body position for and through the open you can get whirly off headings and maybe a spanker (had 2 in 500 jumps on it). It's not too bad though. Just don't expect to be getting those promised nice on heading openings if you pack and pull like sh*t.