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Everything posted by RockSkyGirl

  1. Innovative Parachute Technologies (out of Arizona, USA) makes risers with anti-fire toggles which have three tabs. Standard top and bottom but underneath the top one is a third, thinner tab that goes downward. To release the brakes, you pull up-and-out a little bit first (to release the locking tab), then down. Toggles will not accidentally come unstowed - not by your slider hitting them, not by stowing your slider, not by making a rear riser avoidance turn. I have those risers on both of my rigs and I love them. It's the most secure system I've ever seen. Bonus: the excess-brake-line keepers are magnetic sleeves instead of semi-elastic loops. Easy to use and securely keep the excess confined until you're ready to unstow the brakes. I can post pictures of these risers next time I jump this week if anyone is interested.
  2. Whenever an internet search suggests forum posts for the source of searched information, any links clicked go to the main page which lists all the forums rather than to the specific post Google suggests. Even if I type the link in directly, erases it and takes me instead to the main forums page. In addition, the site's own Search feature doesn't seem to give a way to search the forums at all, let alone search a specific one. So I can't figure out how to get to any specific post save going to the forum it's in and scrolling and scrolling through hundreds of posts until I find it. This was not an issue until you all changed the site's format. Is this something you're working on fixing?
  3. I HAVE found the listing all over the web but the only available size has been 2XL. It is promising that they are in the Adams catalog for next year. I'd checked that site but I hadn't checked the 2019 catalog. Hopefully that means they will be available soon. Until then I will need to find something else; my last pair (over a year and a few hundred jumps and several tunnel hours old! They DO last...) finally sprang a hole this past weekend.
  4. XXL are the only size you can order from any supplier right now (unless Paragear has more sizes? Betzilla, any summer-weight mediums left?). But you CAN still find some XXL out there. If that's your size I'd get them fast. Note on the RockSkyMarket page is that the manufacturer is no longer making that product. I can't find a webpage for the manufacturer anywhere. The brand itself is owned by another company.
  5. Neumann gloves - the tackified football receiver gloves with the big N on the back - are no longer being made. I have tried on a couple other brands including Akando and the others all seem to fit like gardening gloves - roomy - and roomy gloves aren't good for gripping. Does anyone have a recommendation for tackified skydiving gloves which hug the hand and fingers and fit skin-tight like Neumanns?
  6. This same question came up last year. Maybe there is something in this thread that will help.;search_string=tandem%20baglock;#4867147
  7. This is what our dz does. They want everyone to make one tandem jump first, to give them a taste of freefall; then they have ground school and 10 minutes in the tunnel (tunnel is on site). After that, the Cat A is a 2-instructor jump but all the others have just one instructor.
  8. Skydive Spaceland Houston, in Rosharon, is right around the corner from you. It has a fantastic reputation; I know a lot of very experienced, awesome people who jump there.
  9. They've changed it to 200 jumps... maybe that will help... Even if you are a little past the requirement, it's worth contacting the dz and asking (email Rhonda at [email protected]) ESPECIALLY if you don't live in AZ and are coming from a dz that doesn't have that kind of opportunity (explain that in your email); the last couple Rookie Roundups haven't filled up and there have been coaches sitting around on the ground, waiting for people to jump with!
  10. In the west/southwest part of the country: SDAZ's next Rookie Roundup is 10/13-10/14. Registration opens in September. If you already have a team, SDAZ is a good place to come to train either sky or tunnel; there are a lot of excellent coaches here who work with teams at all levels. They include all the current members of Arizona Airspeed; Mark Kirkby, Eliana Rodriguez, and Craig Girard; and AXIS Flight School. Current Airspeed plus the other three people I mentioned will all also travel to coach your team if you can't come to AZ for a camp. In addition to private coaching, AXIS does what they call the X-Pansion Project, where they will teach you 4-way at whatever level you're at, with or without a team of your own; if you don't have a team they'll match you with other people of similar ability plus an AXIS player-coach for the day or weekend, for sky and/or tunnel. If you're interested in that, here's a link with more info: Another option besides Elsinore's great Excel series is Perris; contact Christy Frikken of Fury Coaching. She does both tunnel and sky coaching in SoCal and can help find you a team if you don't have one. If you're on the eastern side of the country at any point, check out the tunnel camps and "team for a day" events that SDC RhythmXP does at Skydive Chicago, Skydive Sebastian, and the ParacleteXP wind tunnel.
  11. This is a fascinating topic and I've found myself thinking hard about it over the last day or two. Another thought as to why it's such a hard transition, if you learn in one medium and then shift to the other: -Going from tunnel to sky, suddenly you are dealing with less ROM and the change in your flight surfaces and the airflow across your body due to the presence of your rig. You're also dealing with the hill (granted that effect disappears after a few seconds but can still be initially quite disorienting). Still, once you figure out how to compensate for these things the rest of the skills apply directly. After a few jumps to re-find my balance, the better arm position I'd spent an hour learning in the tunnel was coming naturally. -Going from sky to tunnel it's not just that you're removing the rig as a flight surface (though I maintain that that's part of it). In the sky, you are falling at YOUR fall rate, through air which is not itself moving. At most you are making small adjustments to stay with another person. In the tunnel, the wind speed is fixed in any given moment, and you are trying to change your body position so that you are in equilibrium with it in terms of fall rate. Unless the wind speed exactly matches your natural neutral body position's fall rate, you're either going to be struggling to get off the net, or feeling like the wind is too fast and struggling to maintain control. Which makes learning how to freefly in the tunnel (after you've learned already in the sky) more a matter of learning how to adjust your fall rate to exactly match the wind speed than anything else. With the penalty of the inelastic collisions with the glass if you F up. And what I'm finding so far is that this is far more difficult than taking the tunnel skills and applying them in the sky.
  12. I'm not stupid; I have a secure rig cover which includes separate neoprene covers for the MLW and securely holds the handles. Quite a few people in Eloy have that kind of thing, since our tunnel is (protected)rig-friendly and our local teams train with their (protected)rigs on...
  13. I've just started trying to learn to freefly in the tunnel; I learned backfly and sitfly in the sky, where I can (usually) hold still relative to someone else, change fall rate a bit, turn, move forward and back, and transition easily from back to sit or belly to sit. I decided to get in the tunnel because I haven't figured out how to take docks in front of me in the sky; and because for all I've tried I can't figure out how to get head-down up there. I need to be able to do both to fly MFS... Almost an hour now and I still haven't gotten an off-the-net hover in a sit for more than about 2 seconds - and that at an iFly's 92%. The body position required to do even that feels extremely unnatural, and the tiniest slip-up with my hips sends me slamming forward into the wall at Mach speed. Granted, my sky position at least with my legs has never been ideal - but with my rig on, I figured out how to hold (relatively) still i.e. I'm not skating all over the place or backsliding like mad, and I can stay with someone and maneuver relative to them. Over and over again I find myself wishing I had my rig on; in my mind that's what's making the difference. When you don't have the rig as a flying surface in a sit, you have to exaggerate your torso position from your hips all the way to your chin to get the same effect across your shoulderblades (or at least that's what it seems like to me, a freefly tunnel rookie). At Eloy, I technically could put on a mock rig or put a cover on my own rig, if I wanted and if my coach allowed; a very few other tunnels, like Paraclete, allow covered or mock rigs. I see it with some frequency in Eloy, when teams are training. The iFlys don't allow rigs of any kind - that might be a big part of why we don't see so many people freeflying in the tunnel with rigs on, at least in the US. As Ron says when he talks about belly flying in there - I train 4-way in the tunnel and have noticed two big differences when wearing my rig versus not: that I can't outface as well with my rig on because I can't sit up as much or turn my head as far, and that burble-hopping (e.g. FS block 17) is much more difficult. The rig does limit my range of motion. But with these techniques, I perfected them in the tunnel without a rig before trying them in the sky, and learning them with the increased ROM makes trying to compensate for LESS the challenge. So I'm thinking that with freeflying in the case you're discussing, the problem might be the opposite: if you learn with a restricted ROM (which also allows you to use the rig as a flight surface), and then you get in the tunnel where you have much greater ROM and tiny inputs have a greater effect, it's like cranking the sensitivity way up. Like going from walking around in sneakers all the time to trying to dance in stiletto heels. You can walk fine and dance fine but now your "flight surface" so to speak is much more sensitive. You have to learn how to balance all over again and while you're trying you spend a lot of time falling on your face. Would it really help me to put my rig on? I have no idea. I've thought about asking; I might, next time I'm down at SkyVenture (Eloy). Maybe it would get me off the net at 88% (which is more like an iFly's 84%). If I ask and they let me do it, I'll let you know how it goes...
  14. Night jumps are just awesome, aren't they? Welcome to the select few of us who think they are wonderful instead of just "that terrifying thing you have to do to get your D license." That picture is from the 40-way Night World Record in 2016. In that one and for the 2017 64-way Night World Record, these are the lights we used: There are a lot of different colors. The FAA also requires you to have at least one light that is visible for 3 statute miles, once you're under canopy. The ones we use at our dz for night jumps are these:§ion=product I have a red one and a white one. They are twist on-off and can be set either solid or flashing, though you have to flip the battery over to change the setting so you'll need to decide pre-jump which setting you want. Black Skies!
  15. First off, I wouldn't push past that 1.13 WL - especially if you haven't even jumped a 190 yet. The I-43 CAN take an Optimum 193 reserve tight; so at least you can get a reserve that's at no more than a 1.1 for you (even that puts you into the "experienced" category - read pages 11-12 of the PD Reserve owner's manual for WL recommendations and considerations for reserves But you're not going to (comfortably or safely) get a 190 main into that container, too, and you have good instincts, thinking that shifting straight to a 170 would be too big a step right now. So where does that leave you? Depending on how naturally you take to canopy flying, your progression 210-->190-->170 might not take too long, especially if you work on it through some canopy courses. Depending on where in the country you are, you can contact Flight-1, Alter Ego, or Greg Windmiller for the best canopy coaching in the U.S. (and elsewhere). I was a REALLY crappy canopy pilot for a LONG time; got my A on a Nav280 (only a 0.6 WL!) and wasn't down to even a 210 until jump 96; and made 76 more jumps on that 210 before I went down to a Pilot 188 (which I bought). I took my time, and I rented until I was ready for the canopy which I bought. I didn't have my first container until about 2 months before my 188 arrived. I didn't get down to a 170 (and a 1:1 WL) until I had almost 500 jumps... but I also didn't take my first Flight-1 course until the weekend before I hit #400. It should've been much sooner - I had a lot of bad habits to break. Summary - I spent a lot of money on renting gear before getting my first system, but it was worth it, because I ended up on something that I kept for a long time and I didn't rush my canopy progression, which most likely saved me from injury. I'd rather spend the money on gear rentals than hospital bills. So I wouldn't say you've wasted your money. Why? Because while it's possible you'll get on a 190 and never want to go smaller, it's unlikely. However a 170 will put you at a "sporty" wing-loading, and containers that max out at a Pulse 170 will get you down to a 150 anything and a 135 anything - so you'll have that container for a good long time - once you're ready for it. Until then - keep renting while you work through your progression from that 210 to a 190 and then to a Pulse or Silhouette 170 (or another 170 which is a hybrid ZP-F111). In terms of VSE (Velocity Sports Equipment) gear: VSE makes excellent rigs. I've owned three Infinity rigs; my first was an I-56 and currently I have and love my I-33 and I-34. In two cases (56 and 34), the max recommended canopy size from the chart was already insanely tight. I had to learn how to get and keep ALL the air out of my 170 to be able to close my I-34 without help (and I'm far from new at packing). For some reason a 150 in my 33 isn't quite as tight as the 170 in my 34 and I've never had an issue closing that container; doesn't mean I'd want to try stuffing a standard ZP 170 in it, though. I had a ZPX Pilot 188 in my 56, with a ZPX 210 in it before that; and I wouldn't have wanted to put a regular 210 in it though it was supposed to take one; the ZPX 210 was tight enough. To summarize all that, you can ask Kelly Farrington from VSE (he's on these forums regularly and he and his crew are very responsive to messages from the contact form on their website, but trying to squeeze anything larger than the sizes on the chart into an Infinity isn't a good idea. While some brands list a mid-range size on their canopy compatibility charts, VSE is serious about their max sizes (though you can usually go DOWN at least two sizes from there with no issues; the 170 was just fine in my I-56 and the 150 soft but okay for belly-flying - this in a container that takes a 210 max or a 230 Pulse). Having an unhappy packer (whether it's you packing it or someone else), and having a rock-hard container which is uncomfortable against your back are just part of it and the least important. In terms of safety: Overstuffing the main can deform and damage the container, as Maddingo says. It can also make it harder to pull your pilot chute, because of the pressure against the bottom of the container. I can't say whether an overstuffed d-bag might leave the container unevenly (if so, it could make you more susceptible to line twists), but I CAN say that overstuffing the d-bag can damage the d-bag particularly at the grommets. Overstuffing the container may also lead to a delay in reserve bag extraction in the event of a total (main still in the container) because the two canopies are jammed in there so tightly together. If you're low enough that your AAD fires, that hesitation could be enough to keep you from having a fully-inflated reserve at impact. This issue in particular has come up in other threads on this page. TL;DR: Don't try to put a 190 in the new container; it will likely damage your gear and there are safety concerns as well. Use rental gear and fly a 210 and then a 190 until you're comfortable downsizing to a 170, and then find a low-pack-volume 170 main for your new container. Get some good canopy coaching during this time to help you progress more quickly and safely. While you're working on your downsizing, find yourself an Optimum 193 for that new container. If the container fits you as well as you say you'll have it for a good long time from a 170 on down to a 135 and possibly to a 120, and VSE makes very good rigs. Contact Kelly at VSE with any specific questions about his rigs; VSE has great customer service.
  16. Tickl68 makes great points. And in addition, even if you take break-off tracking out of the picture, all those arguments assume everyone is just falling straight down the hole. Solos slide around. 2-ways slide around. Belly or freefly! Freeflyers can cover a LOT of ground if they are backsliding same as belly flyers. Perhaps even more. I've been in freefall in a sit facing perpendicular to jump-run and watched the solo sitflyer who exited 10 seconds before me facing back along line of flight zipping along backward along a path which would put him right under me right about pull altitude. Knowing my altitude, and gauging he was maybe 1500 feet below me, I got on my belly at 6k and started tracking hard (again, perpendicular to jump-run) so that he wouldn't be right underneath me when he pulled, and so that I'd be tracking long enough that we'd also have some horizontal separation. It was one of the scarier things I've experienced in freefall. Now put that guy out right after the solo belly flyer who decides to pull at 5k; and have him facing the direction the plane is flying instead. Now he's backsliding right toward that high-puller, and he's falling much faster, too, which negates both vertical and horizontal separation. Lovely situation we have brewing there. In a perfect world no one would be facing along line of flight while making a solo or a 2-way jump; people breaking off from larger group jumps would always remember to veer a little bit off the line of flight (if that's the direction they're stuck tracking and if there's the clear space to do so) after they've tracked for 3 seconds or so; no one would go low on a formation and then decide to start tracking early instead of trying to get back up and then end up tracking into someone else's airspace; and everyone would remember to fly their canopies perpendicular to jump-run for several seconds after opening until they can account for everyone in the groups exiting before and after them, before turning back toward the landing area. But this isn't a perfect world and there's a lot of sketchy shit happening out there, particularly at larger dzs with lots of visiting jumpers. So exit after the rest of the belly flyers, but before the freeflyers, and pull at an altitude where many skydivers are still in freefall and you may be putting your canopy right into a place where someone else is falling - that freeflyer who is backsliding without knowing it, or as tikl68 says the freeflyers who are in the midst of their break-off track. At the VERY LEAST, the intention to pull higher than about 4k should be communicated! Our dz has a rule against pulling higher than 4k without informing Manifest AND getting permission. And at that point, you're typically put out after all the fun-jumpers, both belly and freefly. Whether you go before or after students and/or tandems depends on how high you want to pull, what your wing-loading is, and how those instructors want to manage it, so you're asked to go talk to the instructors on the load so they can determine your slot in the exit order. And sometimes, if there are multiple planes flying, particularly at a boogie or if there are 10-5 passes for teams training, you may not be allowed to pull above 4k period. Encouraging a young jumper (or an experienced one for that matter) to go and do something that would be both unexpected and out of the ordinary without any communication of intention is NOT a good idea.
  17. Keith Nugent has a bunkhouse trailer on the dz. There are a few rental trailers on the dz. Some are listed here: There's also a Super8 in Peru a 20-minute drive from the dz for $70/night if you have AAA ($78 otherwise). I stayed there last year and it wasn't bad at all. Quiet. Nice proprietors. Showers that don't smell like sulfur ;-) And when they found out I had all my heavy skydiving gear that I was carting around, they switched me to a ground-floor room for no extra charge (they don't have an elevator).
  18. Taking the canopy out of the picture, your main differences are going to be ease of reaching the slider and how high you'll need to reach to get good leverage for rear riser maneuvers (post-deployment avoidance turns, riding the rears back from a long-spot, planing out with rears for landing, etc). If they're longer, you'll need to reach higher. Putting the canopy back into the picture: Whether you notice a difference on regular straight-in landings depends on the canopy, too. If your main has a fairly long control range with most of its flare power at the very bottom end (like the Pilot does, in the larger sizes), then the combination of short arms and short risers makes it very difficult to get a solid finish to your flare. Conversely, with canopies which have a stall point higher in the control range, and a lot of flare power higher in the control range, shorter risers may make it less likely that you'll stall it during your landing flare, particularly if you have longer arms, because they'll keep you from digging in as deeply. Some mains also have a very large control range in rears specifically, and that may be easier to explore and take advantage of with longer risers. I'm 5'7" with shoes on, with a 5'3" wingspan (T-rex arms ), and used 19" risers with my first rig because one of my coaches suggested it, saying it would be easier to reach my slider. With the Pilot I was flying, that meant a good, shut-down flare was very difficult when the winds were light or nil, even with the control lines shortened a couple inches. I didn't have that problem on the demo Pilot I flew before buying - mainly because the demo risers were 22s. 3 inches can make a lot of difference. My current rigs have 21" and 22" risers. While I have to stretch a little I can still reach the slider with the 22s, and both of my current canopies are much happier with having the extra few inches at the bottom of the control range when it's a hot, no-wind day (which is about 1/2 the year at SDAZ). The added performance at the bottom end makes it worth having to stretch to reach the slider. Ultimately, if I were buying new risers for myself, I'd go with 21s; for me, with my reach and those two canopies specifically, 21" is a good middle ground in terms of bottom-end power and rear riser leverage. So take the flight characteristics and the stall point of your chosen main(s) into account as well as your reach. You don't want risers so long you can't reach the slider at all, but beyond that there isn't a "standard" for how long the risers should be for a certain arm length. There isn't even a standard across container manufacturers; Aerodyne demo risers are 22"; VSE standard-length risers are 22" (they charge you extra for any other size). RI standard is short (18"? 19"?) from what I've been told from a couple people who have Curvs (but take that as hearsay; ask RI if you are looking at a Curv); UPT gives you a choice in 2-inch increments from 19" to 25", Mirage standard-length risers are 20"...
  19. A lot of people have said these same things already in this thread, but it bears repeating. Rushing to downsize often is just rushing to get hurt. I have downsized very slowly over the years, and at over 900 jumps and always super-current, I still fly a 150 and a 170 in my two rigs. Even with lead on my WL is only 1.3ish. And I'm content with that. I also got a lot of grief from a bunch of people for my light wing-loading, especially during the 300+ jumps I spent on the first canopy I bought (a Pilot 188). "You'll have more fun, you'll get down faster, you'll have a better flare..." I heard all of it. I still waited until I had almost 500 total jumps before I bought a 170, which finally put me over a 1:1. I also had a pair of excellent canopy coaches who told me something that I hold to: two conditions for downsizing. One is that you can safely, competently, and confidently fly and land your current canopy in any conditions; and not just that, but that you should be able to wring every ounce of performance the wing is capable of out of it. And only after that, the other reason would be that you're bored with it. And when you think you MIGHT be getting bored with your canopy, go take a Flight-1 course. You'll learn so much that your fun level will increase. You never have too much experience to take a canopy course, or to repeat it every year. I enjoy both my 150 and my 170. I have no problem being more lightly loaded; it means I can hang out in brakes and let most people land before me instead of being in the midst of the traffic; it means I have longer to figure things out if something's weird with the canopy at opening or if the pilot gives us a long-spot or if the first person down set a wonky pattern. I take at least one canopy course every year because you can never have too much canopy coaching. I make high pulls once a month or so and practice canopy drills and just play with the wing. And I'm not even trying to do high-performance landings yet; I can get a lot more out of both parachutes if I choose to pursue that path. I have a pair of canopies which are reliable and fun to fly and there is no reason for ME to keep downsizing, until I've met the conditions set forth by my coaches. As a newer jumper I had to work through feelings of guilt and bruised ego when more experienced jumpers told me I should be jumping a smaller canopy, "what's wrong with you, how come you're still on that beast?" A couple more years in the sport and I've seen friends get hurt - and one died - because they downsized too quickly. And that guilt and "need" to get smaller vanished, and I was glad my coaches support a conservative progression. So if you're content on your current wing, tell your "friends" that you're quite happy on the wing you're flying, thanks; and if they keep pushing just tell them to stuff it. Longevity is more important than looking cool.
  20. I'll also ask a buddy of mine who is an extremely active skydiver with a prosthetic leg just below his knee. He wears the same leg for all his jumps, whether belly, tracking, or hop-and-pop. I'll see if he'll let me message you his email.
  21. What your buddy is really referring to depends on a few things. With small groups in a linked exit, the people inside the plane are sometimes diving and sometimes facing uphill toward the nose. It depends on the exit. For example, if a 4-way group is launching an F (open accordion), the two people inside the plane are aiming out and down at about 45 degrees; both are diving. If the group is launching an H (bow), the inside front is aiming to be completely parallel to the wing at exit (s/he is mostly just falling out, rather than actively diving), and the inside rear is chunking out straight sideways, leading with the hip, with the intention of looking straight up the hill (toward the nose, in your buddy's terms) as the group leaves the plane (like a hop-and-pop exit without climbing out). In this case, neither inside person is really "diving." With larger groups and unlinked exits: "Toward the nose" isn't really toward the nose; it's straight out, parallel to the wing. You're only in that position briefly before you orient down the hill toward the formation. Leaving the plane with the intention of being side-to-earth helps in two ways: you're more likely to be stable; and you're less likely to hit the back of the door frame as you exit. As early divers, in the jam-up in line with the door, especially if we are more forward (i.e. there are people next to us toward the tail aiming to go out at the same time), aiming straight out keeps us from slamming into the people exiting to our left (keeping us from slamming them into the door, because damn that HURTS). As late divers, shuffle-running toward the door, we again attempt to launch from near the front of the door and aim more parallel to the wing as we exit rather than straight down because again, we'll be less likely to hit the back of the door (and it's easier to find the base and aim toward it if we don't exit head-to-earth). The downhill pivot happens almost immediately; you only stay side-to-earth long enough to get out of the plane into clear air. Just to give you an example that sounds a bit like the situation you are describing... Let's say you're doing an organized jump with 8 people. You have three outside (rearmost guy is ungripped, maybe even out on the camera step) and two inside; the two-and-two are exiting in some form of a 4-way chunk. Then you have three more people diving. Those three will either be in a row of three behind the two already in the door, or two and then one. It's an LO'ed jump, so let's say two and then one. Those two will go out together, aiming to go with the chunk when it exits, close enough to tag their feet; and the last guy goes after them. The two set up behind the two already in the door, leaving a solid person's-worth of space between the rearward person and the back bulkhead. They are trying to go out together - so if they dive downward, the front guy is going to knock the rear guy into the back of the door as they go. They both need to aim OUT instead of down, with the front guy shooting to aim wingward. He doesn't actually launch up the line of flight, because the plane is flying that way and he isn't going faster than the plane. But having that intention in his movement keeps him as close to possible to being in line with the front of the door as he passes through it, leaving plenty of room for the guy to his left to get out. The last guy out is closer to in line with the forward of the two before him and is again aiming to leave closer to the front of the door, presenting sideways rather than aiming straight down the hill. Once he clears the door he turns downhill and heads toward the group. He's giving himself the space to clear the door, as well as space for the rearward guy ahead of him (in case HE gets out late). Aiming sideways also keeps him from instantly sliding down the hill, which is good if the 4-way chunk didn't funnel; if it held together the relative wind catches it and it "sails", staying higher on the hill. The later diver is less likely to overshoot on his dive if he exits as close to straight out as possible instead of straight down, tailward. With really large formations, with multiple planes, early divers from the trail planes are sometimes called dive-floaters, because as soon as they dive out they orient back up the hill and start tracking up the hill toward the base (which, since it comes out of the lead plane, is further uphill). However they are still diving out, not hopping out facing forward. Hope this helps!
  22. Many videographers and TIs are private contractors. They work for a dz but are really doing business AT that dz by the dz's rules but under their own LLC. As such, workman's comp, or employer-covered insurance, overtime, all that stuff - doesn't apply. And the cost for medical insurance in the state of Arizona, when you don't have it subsidized by your employer, is sky-high. You're talking more than one pays in rent, every month, for many people - and that doesn't even take into account the thousands in deductible you have to pay before the insurance covers a damned thing. And so there are many people uninsured (and when the state's rates go up 20+% next year, it'll get even worse). Just as example - I make only a little bit too much to qualify for any government subsidy - and I'm healthy with no preexisting conditions, don't smoke, none of that - and yet the lowest cost qualifying plan for me in AZ is still considered BY THE GOVERNMENT to be unaffordable for me, because it is more than 8.16% of my income per month (BEFORE taxes); and the deductible even on that one is more than $7000. And so I stay lightly-loaded, I don't even think about swooping, I stand down in marginal conditions, I'm as careful as I can be; and I know that if I manage to wreck myself anyway, I'm going to be declaring bankruptcy. It's easy to rant about people who don't have insurance, if you make so little that the government subsidies take most of the burden; or if you have really good coverage from your employer. But if you're in the ever-growing segment which falls through those cracks, you're screwed. We're all wishing Mike a speedy and full recovery, and maybe the fundraiser we contributed to was only a drop in the bucket, but when you make your living entirely by jumping out of planes, every little bit helps.
  23. I have the same thing going on, though I use an Atlas instead of a Viso. My Atlas consistently reads lower than my OptimaII audible indicates, both on the ride up (by about 60 feet) and during freefall descent (by 200-600 feet depending on if I'm solo or in formation; for some reason - maybe the formation's burble? - it reads much lower when I'm part of a large formation than it does a few seconds after I've gotten back on my belly at the end of a solo freefly jump). There have also been times, not uncommon, where it is still displaying descent in freefall mode when I am stowing my slider - and it's another few seconds before it clicks over to canopy descent mode. So it's definitely lagging, and when I log my pull altitude I base it off how many seconds it was after my audible started beeping rather than what the Atlas says, because the Atlas always tells me I'm pulling lower than I think I am. I have a FlySight coming in the next week, so I'll be able to start comparing the GPS logs from that with my audible and my Atlas. That'll be the really telling thing, and I'll be able to say "know" instead of "think." Never thought it might be the burble affecting the Atlas, though; it's on my forearm angled in, not on the back of my hand, so there's air both above and below (my arm isn't blocking the wind from hitting the altimeter due to the mounting angle). Though maybe that's different when the burble is huge, as it is in a bigway formation.
  24. As part of my own ongoing research on several safety topics: Flysight users please help me out - how long does it ACTUALLY take (in altitude) from the moment YOU start to flare out of your break-off track (on a regular skydive, not a wingsuit dive) to the time you have a fully inflated, steerable canopy? Your audible goes off at X altitude, you slow down, wave off, pull; canopy deploys, snivels, and finishes inflating with the slider down at least most of the way to the risers. How much altitude does this ACTUALLY take, for you, with the canopy you fly? When you answer, please also state your canopy type and wing-loading. I'm getting a Flysight very soon so I can see this (among other things) for myself with the canopies I fly; but I'm looking to see what the range is out there. I have a feeling that the process in its entirety takes longer than most people think (which is the safety topic I'm looking into with all this). I have an Atlas but it's not nearly sensitive enough to answer this (there are times it is still giving me a freefall descent display a solid three seconds after my canopy is fully inflated); and my Atlas and OptimaII don't agree on altitudes (Atlas reads lower than OptimaII beeps indicate on both airplane ascent and freefall descent, and at times during canopy descent as well). Thanks!
  25. Vented booties won't make you fall faster; they're actually used more to grab air and slow larger people down! Aside from that, getting a tight-fitting competition-style RW suit will do a lot more to help you fall faster. You'll want spandex on the forearms and slick nylon on the front; you'll also want to pay the extra to get inside grippers on the legs (as well as outside). You do NOT need double grippers on the arms (one gripper per arm is just fine). Finally, getting fatter grippers, particularly the cordura ones, is the way to go. They are easier to hold on to which matters for both block spins and exits. My first RW suit had medium booties with a pair of pleats (Bev Magick-style) which kept them inflated no matter what I did with my feet. It was great for basic RW jumps, bigway, and learning 4-way without having to think as much about leg technique - but slowed me down in the end, when I went to a mega bootie on my second suit for competition (which didn't have the pleats). I had to learn how to fly all over again. If you REALLY want to get into 4-way (which is tons of fun) or other competition RW, it is my recommendation to a) just get the larger unpleated booties to begin with and b) find a coach and do some 1:1 tunnel time as soon as you get the suit to learn from the get-go how to efficiently use the booties. It'll save you the headache (and the $) of having to break bad habits later.