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  1. Is the person leading on their feet or their head? Being able to match a head first angle on your feet is a rare skill amongst free fliers, unless the leader is intentionally assuming body positions that are more friendly to feet first fliers. I would recommend against it until you have dozens of feet first angles. If the leader is on their feet and you have a decent sitfly, I suggest you start from a more static position and moves from there. And double check your confidence about being safe. The best way is to get in an angle camp with a smaller group that is ready to learn together with an experienced leader. Two ways are also great to start playing with it.
  2. That's a strong arch buddy, I imagine you could surprise an instructor with it haha! A faster fall rate allows you to turn effectively with a smaller input, usually, in AFF, things happen in a more "slow motion" way. Don't sweat, you'll be fine.
  3. PD has done a full review video series on line types https://www.youtube.com/user/PDBlog/search?query=line+types, watch parts 1 to 8. Vectran is part 4 and HMA is part 5. It's an 8 years old video, so more knowledge is available since then. The video also contradicts skow's comment on HMA being more stretchy. The extra word of mouth knowledge I have is that Vectran lines are easier to evaluate for wear, while lasting about the same number of jumps as HMA, making them, theoretically, safer to jump. I also heard that depending on where you jump, a line may be preferred over another, because of how they react different due to local climate. Fluid wings (Airwolf, HK), PD (valkyrie) and NZ (leia) all ship their xbraced canopies with vectran lines by default. I couldn't get an information on the Petra and Peregrine, but the HK is also shipped with vectran.
  4. Why do you think ratings exist? To be given away? What purpose would it serve if it doesn't rank and identify what's the minimum skill set that each person with that rating has? You don't need a higher license to jump out of planes, the rating is just there to reflect the basics of your skill and experience. If you travel, it's used as a reference to which landing areas you are qualified to land, which jump sizes you should be doing etc... In multiple countries, like Brazil, two A license holders can't do a two-way, for example. The more jumps you have, the lesser your license means.
  5. I've been questioning that. If you keep the exact same body position through freefall, you'll slow down as you fall and air density increases. I wanted to use visual or audible aid for base speed control in big ways, and in this case, normalizing based on barometric pressure would be ideal.
  6. I took multiple Flight-1 and Alter Ego courses since I started swooping and did the default toggle surge, to double fronts straight to accelerating turn, a lot and it worked really well while I was doing 270s. When I went to 450's I struggled to make it work well with fronts and changed to harness only. Initially the turn was weaker, but I had way more control and feel. Entering from full flight didn't work well, I noticed that without a toggle surge, the max vertical speeds were about 5-10 mph lower than with fronts and I wasn't very steep before the snap, but with the toggle surge, I could get the canopy steep enough without burning rotation for it. I still keep my hands on the fronts to avoid giving input on the rears until after the snap. You have to be more disciplined on the beginning of your turn not to screw this up or you'll be a quarter into your turn still flat. On 270's the theoretical maximum of speed difference might be bigger, as others said, the bigger the turn the least it matters. I suggest you invest some time on both before making a call, I started trying it after I posted some flysight data here and someone pm'ed me about it. Worked really nice for me. Current max vertical speeds are about 87mph on a 2.7 WL at 1000ft MSL. It's also good to have multiple techniques on your skillset, not every swoop would be your perfect comp swoop, and it will be easier to improvise when you need.
  7. I also believe you can have a faster downsizing, but I wouldn't skip sizes. Even a simple malfunction on a smaller canopy can be much more intense than on a bigger size. The extra worry with the canopy may limit your progress in other areas of skydiving. There's just so much you can focus on each jump and variables like how many canopies are in the air, your opening altitude, decision altitude etc are all affected by your canopy choice. Where you jump, if you're willing to do more hop n pops etc... all have an impact on your decision. It's not just that you're capable to land the chute on ideal conditions. Flying a rapido 9m safely is no joke, you probably have skills. I fly a 75sqft canopy myself, and have adventured myself speedflying. I flew a 13m spitfire, did about 50 flights and bought myself a mirage RS 11.5m. I got scared on a launch on my spitfire and never flew the mirage, decided to sell it until I have more experience. So, the crossover knowledge helped me but wasn't a complete replacement.
  8. It's pretty common among skydivers. I only had it to be really bad 3 times, one in the last jump of a pretty important event going higher than usual. In allergy season or if my nose is a bit congested, I already take a Sudafed (decongestant) preemptively. Just like we do with kids on commercial planes, chewing gum on the way up also helps preventing pain both on way up or down. Pain almost always comes around breakoff altitude for me for some reason. If it's just mild, sometimes just letting the saliva in will unblock your ears.
  9. Check the multiple designs too. The icarus ones are the slowest ones to attach IMO, then PD. TST and latest Fluid Wings models are the fastest.
  10. You can try to roll them before you stow or you can ask a rigger or the manufacturer to add collapsable strings to the detachable slider if it really bothers you. Have you done enough jumps with one? I find that I remove them and throw inside my jumpsuit quicker than I can colapse and stow on my back. Installing them back when I land does add 1 minute to the pack job though.
  11. Hum =/, let's report a bug to the moderators. By the way, how are your numbers looking like? I'll try to get the max speeds up-high as well.
  12. There are a good amount of samples here if you're interested on maximum speeds on a landing. if you just want to know maximum theoretical speeds (terminal speed), you can open high and spin several rotations to reach terminal, unfortunately that won't give you terminal speed at ground level due to air density. My max vertical on a turn now is 87mph, ~2.7 WL, Airwolf 75 sq ft, not using full RDS, 450 turn, dropzone at 1000ft MSL. (flysight file linked). 08-37-02 awesome 87.CSV 05-44-00 clean 86.CSV
  13. I paid my 7 AFF jumps before doing any jumps, maybe I could not have liked it and lost money, but I was pretty sure I wanted to reach at least the clear to solo state and the DZ offered a free outside video for paying in full. I used it only on my 10th jump and it was one my favorite jumps ever to plan this 2 way with my previous instructor, way more fun than the AFF videos itself. DZs in North California usually offer you a return offer deal that you must buy on the same day for $100, close to half price. At least Skydive California and Skydance do.
  14. I have put those 3 canopies on my rig: 1) Airwolf 75 with FT 30 on the Top Skin and Ribs (Hybrid type 1) 2) Helix 84 Hybrid (Ribs, Mini ribs and xbraces) (similar amount of sail as a hybrid VK) 3) VK 84 non-Hybrid "3" packs about a size smaller than "1" and "2". "1" and "2" pack about the same size.
  15. There's a pro swooper on my DZ that does it for H&Ps, doesn't for freeflying and told me not to do it for freeflying if I decided to follow his technique. I'm not sure if he experienced the issue himself or not. Just the wind can be enough to "pull" your chest strap. Fast dives like belly angles can make this worse. Freeflying (beginner or advanced) has a lot of "unpredictable touching", complicated exits etc... I agree with the DZO here. On another note, it's usually a mistake to try to squeeze too many things on a single jump or try the maximum swooping performance on busy freefly loads, most people can't focus on everything at the same time. I used to jump a belly band and remove my chest strap on every load. I realized I was bringing my post-opening procedures lower than advisable (RDS, chest-strap etc...), now I only wear my belly band on hop n pop days. I'd say it's not worth to risk it.