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Everything posted by Bluhdow

  1. Bluhdow

    Beginner wingsuit recommendations?

    Anyone flown a Phantom Edge 2 yet? Looks like a little more power out of a great platform.
  2. Bluhdow

    Ever been unable to find PC?

    I have a friend that went straight to reserve on a Freak 2 after he got spun up out of a Sky Van. Pulled pretty high. Just got into some spins and had trouble getting to the PC...perhaps due to the rate of spin. Straight to reserve, long canopy ride home, soft landing. It was only his second jump on the container, so that may have been a factor. He is an experienced wingsuiter and had made a handful of jumps on the suit before this.
  3. 100% agree. Having moved from a Freak to a Rafale I'm finding that Squirrel is able to get more performance per square inch of fabric (hence more fabric on the Rafale compared to the Freak), but the trade-off with PF is in favor of a more forgiving design. My Rafale is a lot nicer to me when my transitions are imperfect and, for me, that trade off is well worth it. I had a great experience working with Robi and Edo at PF so I would definitely not short them on the service side either. All that said, my Rafale is "the best suit in the world" and nothing can be said to change my view.
  4. That's the nice thing about opinions. We all get to have them, and we're all right. =) I've ordered from most, and flown from all. I personally like what Phoenix Fly offers. And when I talk to people, that's the opinion I provide. I would never say something like "noticeably superior," because that's a subjective opinion and not based on fact. There is no single unit to measure which piece of equipment is the best, overall. They all make compromises to find a balance of factors (performance, comfort, extra features, price, build quality, lead time, etc.) which best represents what they feel adds up to the best product. But guess what? Not every jumper prioritizes these factors in the same way. Some people like less pressure, some people prefer lighter weight, some people are willing to wait longer than others, some people etc. etc. etc. If you've found something that you like and meets your needs, then by all means let people know that. Fly what makes you happy, and when someone else likes something else just remember that they aren't wrong. =)
  5. At this point all of the "big" competitors are offering quality gear, solid customer service, and easy ordering systems. It's chocolate or vanilla folks, everyone has a favorite but it all tastes good. PF, Tony, Sq...all will provide you with a wingsuit with more performance than you're (probably) capable of using, and all will answer the questions needed in order for you to give them money. The biggest difference at this point is marketing budgets. Fly whatever flavor makes you happy. =)
  6. Bluhdow

    Strix vs Freak 2 vs ATC

    In related news, Tony Suits is doing a lot of work it looks like. New website, new suits coming out in this category (R-Bird Pro 2, Hog). It's really cool to see them making a comeback (at least here on the west coast, I'm sure they've always been present in FL). The USA has re-entered the wingsuit World Brand Wars!
  7. Bluhdow

    Strix vs Freak 2 vs ATC

    If you follow the Sq "Paths of Progression" by the minimums they can be quick. For example: Freestyle: Gus/S3 (0-5 WS jumps), Funk 3 (50 jumps), ATC 2 (75 jumps), Freak 3 (175 jumps) Obviously they are minimums, and most jumpers are likely being encouraged to spend as much time as possible on a suit before upsizing, but if you follow this recommendation you've bought 4 new suits inside 175 jumps. From what I've seen though, most jumpers move a bit slower than this for a variety of reasons.
  8. Bluhdow

    Wings W13 and canopy options

    I would find a cheap Sabre1 170 and put a pocket slider on it. I've been wingsuiting a Sabre1 135 at about 1.4 for a few years now. No cutaways, no issues, lands like a real ZP sky canopy. Love it!
  9. Bluhdow

    Strix vs Freak 2 vs ATC

    I have owned/own a Freak 1/Rafale, and flown with Freak2s, ATCs, and Strixes. My observations: The Strix 1 is really more on level with an ATC in terms of performance. I would imagine that those two are pretty comparable in terms of performance and acro ability. The Rafale is far ahead of where my Freak 1 was, but appears to be very similar to Freak 2 in performance based on my experience flying with these suits. I think that PF and Sq get to the same level of performance and acro ability with their suits in different ways: PF will ask you to deal with a little more fabric, but in return provides a wing with less pressure and a little smoother handling. My Rafale is more forgiving of a sloppy transition than my F1 was. Sq gives you a wing with less fabric, but asks you to deal with a little more pressure and a little more tendency to smack you when you aren't transitioning smoothly. I think it's personal preference. All are good suits and all (ATC/Strix 1 and 2/F series/Rafale) fly together comfortably. If you can get a sweet deal on a Strix, it's probably worth it. And there are likely to be more available since the Strix 2 is now being delivered.
  10. Bluhdow

    Pilot 7 vs PD Horizon?

    You might consider looking for a used Epicene then. The used market is always pretty flush with inexpensive sq gear, and might be worth trying for the right price. I'd guess that most people getting a sponsored Epicene Pro will be looking to unload their old canopy.
  11. Bluhdow

    Rafale vs. Freak2 ?

    Let's get this thread back on track, eh? Weather permitting I'll get to fly it this weekend. Fit is perfect, per usual, with PF (in my experience, 4 suits so far). Robi was kind enough to build a hybrid version with partial UL construction, and partial non-UL for durability. Basically everything interior (pockets, liners, ribs, etc.) is UL material with the exterior (when zipped up) being standard fabric for more durability and longevity while skydiving. For me it's a great balance between lightweight (for BASE) and durability (in the sky). If it flies half as good as it looks and feels I'll be a very happy camper.
  12. Bluhdow


    Just wait until next year for the Hayduke 2.
  13. Bluhdow


    Just wait until next year for the Epicene Pro Two.
  14. Bluhdow

    Rafale vs. Freak2 ?

    Conclusion: 1. I will still let you know how my Rafale compares to my Freak once it arrives. 2. All modern suit designs are basically Tony Suits from the "Bird" series. 3. Marketing has become a thing in this industry for better or worse. Sounds to me a lot like every other industry as it matures. I mean, what are the fundamental differences between a Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla...really?
  15. Bluhdow

    Rafale vs. Freak2 ?

    There hasn't been any "interesting developments" in wingsuits in about a decade. In about 15 years, L/D increased only by 20% (from 2.5 of V-4 back in 2004 to 3.0 of mattresses; and it's been stuck at 3.0 flat for years now). The prevailing planform is pretty much the same T-design of about 10 years ago. L/D improved mostly due to trivially increased surface area. Dramatic improvement in flare is mostly an automatic consequence of this modest improvement in L/D (flare - effective conversion of kinetic energy into potential energy - is very sensitive to L/D increase). Increased internal pressure is nice for ease of flying, but has virtually no effect on aerodynamics, as long as it's enough to shape the wing (and it was enough 15 years ago in "soft" suits). The multi-million $$$ wingsuit industry is as stagnant as some swamp in Florida. The only thing that is skyrocketing is the marketing. Any new minuscule iteration is presented as a revolutionary breakthrough. "Buy buy buy... we want your $$$... $2K at a time." Winner winner chicken dinner! +1
  16. Bluhdow

    Rafale vs. Freak2 ?

    Different manufacturers will always have different design priorities and philosophies, and then proclaim that their unique balance of design elements has generated the best overall product. In the end it's all subjective and there is no "best wingsuit." There are only "different wingsuits" that make different compromises to achieve (what the manufacturer believes to be) the best overall balance of performance. The best suit for person A will not always be, nor will it ever always be, the best suit for persons B-Z. When Squirrel first hit the scene they pushed back against stiff leading edges, with toggle access being paramount for safety. Over time they have become less rigid (pun!) on this point and moved toward the performance benefits of stiffer leading edges. Thus the narrative evolved from "toggle access" to "riser control." I think they have tried to marry these two narratives with removable foam and variable levels of leading edge stiffness which is a good idea. That said I own a Freak and cannot access my toggles without unzipping. I have no problem with this, at all. For me riser access is adequate and worth the benefits of a more solid leading edge. I also own two different PF suits and have found the riser access on these suits to be similar to my Freak even with their stiffer PF leading edges. On the leading edge I think the design philosophies between PF and Squirrel are converging. I think the biggest difference in design styles is fit. Squirrel suits seem to pressurize more and fit relatively loosely...especially through the torso. The PF is philosophy is that a tighter fit allows for more precise inputs and control. One could argue (I think fairly) that precision is in and of itself a safety feature. At the end of the day, all of the modern suits are really good. I don't think you can go wrong with anything from the major manufacturers.
  17. Bluhdow

    Rafale vs. Freak2 ?

    I should have my Rafale in the near future. Upgrading from a Freak 1, for what it’s worth. I can let you know that comparison after I get some jumps on it. My hope is that the Rafale will provide more power in the BASE environment while still being fun, like the Freak, in the sky.
  18. Bluhdow

    Container WS friendly

    Eh...kind of. I would say that the PC is one of the smallest contributors to the quality of your opening. Like...probably dead last after a whole lot of other way more important factors like body position, airspeed, canopy selection, bridle length...etc. All things being equal, it might matter a little. But for the vast majority of people as long as your PC is in good condition and lacking an overly heavy handle it will work just fine. Most people would be better served taking that $200 and paying a coach to help them with their deployment technique for a day.
  19. Bluhdow

    Container WS friendly

    Pretty much all modern containers work. Nine foot bridles are important, longer containers are nice, docile 9 cell canopies work well and if you're a WS-only jumper then 7 cells have their advantages. As for pilot chutes, you could tie a plastic grocery bag to the end of your bridle and the canopy would come out. An overly heavy hackey is undesirable, but other than that you're good to go. I personally like to tape over the open holes of the PVC designs to prevent finger stick-age, but if you're comfortable with a certain (not super heavy) PC handle then roll with it.
  20. Bluhdow

    Sticking on a 2 piece tracking suit

    Official answer: Coaching is always better when it's an option. Real world answer: With that experience a classic TS should be no problem. Enjoy!
  21. Bluhdow

    Have you ever had an arm trapped?

    Having flown suits from all "big 3" manufacturers (PF, Tony, Squirrel) I personally like the PF solution best. The stiff leading edges allow for very precise inputs, and there's a cutaway provided for emergency purposes. I've never had to cutaway a zipper, but it's nice to know it's there. Even with the stiffest PF leading edges I've never had a problem reaching the bottom of my risers.
  22. As someone who works for a manufacturer I think this is critical. Always get your hands on the gear you're looking at investing in and trusting your life to. Good websites do not equate to good product, in skydiving or in any other business for that matter. We are not buying medical services, or financial services, or products that come from a highly regulated and scrutinized industry (comparatively). Any manufacturer can say whatever they want in their marketing materials to compel you to buy. Talk to customers...not sponsored athletes...and get unbiased opinions from people who have paid for their gear. And even then take it with a grain of salt. Everyone likes to feel like they bought the best gear possible, and a good way to reassure themselves that they made a good decision is to get others to follow in their footsteps.
  23. Bluhdow

    Wingsuit airglide Rage/Horus

    If we were to apply this logic across all manufacturers, Americans should only be jumping suits built in Florida by Tony.
  24. You are on the right track. Apparently a signature was collected, but not by the resident. We've got a claim in. That said, we'd rather have the canopy! It's a beautiful UL black and white Lynx 280, brand new, and literally the only one of it's kind (so far)!