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  1. Wind tunnels have obviously grown in popularity with the last few years. Personally, I started skydiving in 2013 which I feel was the start of a mass movement towards tunnel training. Now that tunnels are abundant, there is a “fast track” option for learning freefall skills. However, tunnel also introduced a “pay to play” or “keep up with the jones” sort of vibe. I did an hour of tunnel a few years back, but in the end, dropped out because of the cost. As much as I enjoyed it, I couldn’t justify $800 an hour to learn flight skills. So, I committed myself to tracking/angle because it was the least tunnel impacted discipline. I’ve seen many people become highly skilled in a short period of time due to tunnel. I’ve also seen the quantity and attendance of fun jumpers decline. I feel on any given weekend back in 2014, my home drop zone was bustling. You could just show up and find an abundance of people to jump with. Now, it’s hard to just show up and expect a group to be there. I’ve seen a decrease in competition for load organizing. I’ve also seen a trend locally where smaller aircraft are being utilized more often than larger aircraft. All these things indicate to me that there is a decline in attendance; at least locally. My observation is this. Tunnel has been a brilliant tool in helping those committed to the art of flight experiment and learn. It’s fun, but it can be expensive. Skydiving, which has always been kind of niche, seems to have gotten even more niche due to the introduction of tunnel. I would assume, that the post A- license dropout rate has gone up as well. This is an assumption, but I’d imagine that if a student feels like tunnel is a cost barrier that is required progress (on top of buying gear), it could feel out of reach for them. It also seems that there is a growing separation in overall skill levels as well. I’d like to hear the community’s thoughts and observations on the subject. In specific, are the trends I’m noticing accurate? What trends are you noticing in your area? What does the future of skydiving look like? **Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece based on observation. It comes from a fun jumpers perspective. Southern California. **
  2. I have a CYPRES and I increased the deployment altitude +200ft. For me personally, it makes a lot of sense. However, everyone must weigh the pro's/con's individually and decide for themselves. Explanation from my point of view: The USPA lowest opening altitude for C-D license jumpers is 2,500ft (waiver-able 2k). However, C-D licenses used to be able to open at 2k without a waiver. This is probably why AAD makers have the firing altitude set so low. Why this matters: You want a fair margin between your lowest opening altitude and your AAD firing altitude. The logic behind my decision: I personally want at least 1000ft margin between my lowest opening altitude and my AAD firing altitude. Since I increased my firing altitude +200ft, that would place my AAD firing altitude somewhere near 950ft instead of 750ft. That allows for an extra 200 feet for my reserve to open in the event of an AAD fire. I like the idea of that! The argument against increasing your firing altitude: If I open my main below 2000ft and my main takes 1000ft to open, my AAD could fire at 950ft and I could find myself in a "2 out" situation. Not good. However, that scenario should NEVER happen if I follow these rules. I have a D license and my deployment altitude is somewhere between 3-3,500ft. My decision altitude for my main is 1800ft. If, I am disciplined and deploy by 2500ft, cutaway (if needed) by 1800ft, I should never encounter an AAD fire with a two out scenario; which is really the only potential negative of increasing your activation altitude. This article addresses the question well. Also, kudos to you for asking the question. Klaasic
  3. Wingsuiters. How many of you have a separate rig just for wing-suiting? I've reached a point where I want to downsize my main for traditional freefall jumps but keep my Safire 2 159 (1.25WL) for wingsuiting. I'm sure others have run into the situation. I don't want to exceed that 1.3WL mark for wing-suiting and I believe swapping canopy's all the time can create additional risk. However, the alternative of having to buy a whole new rig is expensive. Has anyone found themselves in this situation? If so, what do you recommend? Thanks in advance! Klaasic
  4. I did not have a rigger inspect the Aerodynes demo canopy. The canopy was already attached to risers when it was sent to me, so I hooked it up to my system, did a continuity check on the lines, but missed the fact that there was no stitching in the right front riser. After this incident, I ended up buying a Safire 2. I had a rigger do a full inspection on the canopy and do the hookup. I will now always ask for a riggers help when buying new gear or using someone elses gear. That includes demo canopies. Klaasic
  5. Welcome to the sky sbuchan! The sport keeps getting better and better. If you need some skydiving content to fuel your addiction during the work week, check out the "Jump Twenty Six - The Skydive Podcast". Lots of good information for newer skydivers and skydivers in general! Link: Klaasic
  6. Here is my full interview from Jump Twenty Six the Skydive Podcast. Contains a bit more detail. Klaasic
  7. I'm not going to lie. I am not happy I received a faulty piece of equipment. The reason I did not catch the stitching issue is in fact because I've never inspected risers before. It wasn't part of my gear check process. Three ring system...yes, I think there are a couple important take away's from this situation. 1. Manufactures need to understand that mistakes like this can kill. Newer skydivers are generally overwhelmed with the amount of information they receive. Many of us don't know that we should be inspecting the stitching on our risers. The broken riser obviously missed proper inspection. This now creates a situation where the last person to perform the check (the jumper) may or may not know what he/she is looking for. 2. Knowing that our own lives are on the line, it is our responsibility to not leave these things in other peoples hands. Pointing fingers after you are dead or seriously injured won't do you any good. So, we should take responsibility and learn as much as possible about our life saving gear. I think you have an interesting point about the glue. It can give the riser a false appearance of completion. I like the comment above where @marde suggested having a larger color contrast in the riser and the stitching. This would at least make it a little easier to identify. Klaasic
  8. I plan on following up with them in regards to what changes are being made to insure this sort of oversight doesn't happen again. Hopefully this audit will allow for that. Klaasic
  9. I have spoken with Aerodyne. Here is a statement they issued publicly. They have also stated they are refunding me for the demo rental fee, jump, and reserve repack. Klaasic
  10. The reserve lines had about 6 twists in it. The slider was hung up at the top and it left my head pinned to my chest for a quick minute. I recall it taking about 800-1000ft to fix the reserve. It was long enough for me to think to myself..."If I don't fix this, game over. I don't have any more handles to pull." Ironically, this was my first time I've ever had line twists as well. All in all, the reserve flew fairly stable while I was fixing the problem. ~11,000 - Pull Altitude ~8,500 - Cutaway Altitude ~7,500ft - Reserve Line Twists Fixed It took 3,000-3,500ft for me to fix everything. I'm just glad I was doing a high pull when this happened. Klaasic
  11. Hey Dropzone, I want to share my story with everyone. For learning and accountability purposes. I rented a Pilot 168 from Aerodyne and they included a set of risers with the demo. I hooked it up to my rig, and went for my first jump on it. Luckily, I decided to do a high pull in order to feel out the new canopy. I pulled sub-terminal out the door at 11,500ft. I was immediately thrown into a violent spinning malfunction on my back. I realized something was very wrong with the canopy. I cutaway and my sky-hook extracted my reserve while I was on my back. However, since the spinning malfunction was so violent, it left me with slider up line twists on the reserve. Both malfunctions took ~3000ft to fix. After I recovered the main, I took it to the loft at Skydive Elsinore and had a master rigger inspect it. After inspection, we discovered that the right front riser was tacked with glue, but it was not sewn. On opening, the riser broke which is why the malfunction was so violent. My first and only cutaway was due to defective risers and poor inspection. I am sharing this so that others can learn from these mistakes. I now realize that I should have inspected the risers before using them. However, I think we can all agree that we expect a certain level of quality control from equipment manufactures; which, at least in my case, this riser was not up to par. Had this jump been a standard freefall jump, I'm not sure what condition I would be in. Or, what if the riser didn't break on opening but broke on final approach instead? These scenarios didn't happen and I feel I am honestly lucky. I'm sharing this story so that the community can learn from Aerodynes and my mistakes. Stay safe. Inspect your gear. Trust no one but your own eye. I've attached links to the photos of the defective right front riser. I have also attached a video where the master rigger talks about what happened. I will post updates here as the story progresses. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Broken Riser Image: Inspection Video: Klaasic
  12. Basically, the pattern for anything 150 or above seems to be in 20sqft increments. (PD: 150-170-190 / Icarus: 149-169-189/ Aerodyne: 148-168-188) I guess to clarify, an off size would be any size that falls outside of that pattern. Basically a size that the manufacturer doesn't build for stock. Klaasic
  13. Hey DZ, My plan is to downsize from a 190 Pulse to a 159 Safire 2. My only concern, is the fact that it might be harder to sell an off sized canopy when I'm ready to move on. Or, at least this is my assumption. I'd like to hear the pros/cons of buying an off sized canopy. I've received some advice advising against it. The recommendation has been to either go 169 or 149 and to NOT split the difference with a 159. I'd like this thread to focus on the topic of off-sized canopies rather than turn into a conversation about "downsizing". Thanks All! Klaasic