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  • Main Canopy Size
  • Main Canopy Other
    Crossfire 3
  • Reserve Canopy Size
  • Reserve Canopy Other
    PD 143 R
  • AAD
    Vigil 2 Control Unit

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    Skydive Spa (Belgium)
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    Freefall Photography
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    Formation Skydiving

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    Master Rigger
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    Master Rigger
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    Master Rigger

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  1. Nice and very informative article, Damian !! Jean-Pierre at Skydive Spa
  2. Here are line trims for different sizes. I only have them in metrics, sorry.
  3. The problem of ripping the reserve loops is known at least with the Next Tandems. At Skydive Spa (Belgium) in 2007/2008, we decided to change our Tandem equipment supplier from Performance Variable / Firebird to Paratec. We then bought 4 complete rigs (Next Tandem harness/container assembly, 370 Tandem Speed reserves and Icarus 365 main canopies. First rig, delivered by the end of 2007, was fitted with a Cypres II Tandem AAD; the other three, delivered early 2008, were fitted with Vigil II AAD’s. At the occasion of the first periodic reserve repack, I was surprised enough finding a quite severely damaged reserve loop. I immediately opened the other 3 rigs and found the loops also, more or less, severely damaged. At the occasion, shortly after, of a visit at Paratec premises with the Belgian Parachute Riggers Association, I mentioned my concern to Paratec, who incriminated the length of the reserve loops (they were 155 mm long) and also the Vigil cutters. They did not insisted much on the cutters when I mentioned that the first (and the most) damaged loop was coming from a rig fitted with a Cypres 2. Back home, I decided to open again the 4 reserves to adjust the loop length to the recommended value (145 mm) and also to have a closer look to the construction details of the rig. I was rather surprised with what I discovered: Normally, on a reserve pack tray, the grommets on all flaps are all oriented the same way, i.e. with the long shank located on the top face of the flap and the crown side located on the bottom face. But on the Next, the grommet located on flap 3 (left side flap – the one holding the cutter on its bottom face) is oriented upside down, i.e. with the long shank installed on the bottom face of the flap and the crown on the top face; all the other grommets are installed the normal way. Now back to our problem : why did Paratec changed the orientation of the flap 3 grommet ? The reason is as follows : When grommet is installed, the long shank is rolled by the press creating a kind of a protruding lip half a mm high and 0.7 mm wide around the hole, this lip appearing on the crown side of the grommet. That means that this lip should, be the grommet installed the normal way, be in contact with the AAD cutter and as the grommet is made of stainless steel, the lip is “eating” the soft brass Cypres cutter. See 1. Damaged Airtec cutter They have then turned the grommet upside down, presenting by the way to the cutter the shank face that is a lot smoother than the lipped face and then does not damage the cutter anymore. See 2. Next cutter But now, for flaps 3 and 4 (the two lateral flaps), crown sides with the lip are now facing each other, creating two small contact points as grommets are not exactly on top of each other and vibrations created by the drogue free fall increase the friction on those small points creating very small burrs that damage, with time, the loop. See 3. Slightly damaged grommet. but after a longer time, damages can increase and grommets may look that way : See 4. Heavily damaged grommet. Paratec finally admitted the reality of the problem (as it had been also mentioned in UK by BPA Rigger Paul Stockwell , in Luxemburg and most probably in other countries) and in December 2012, they issued a mandatory Service Bulletin (Ref. 2012-11-NT- Reserve loop) requesting the installation of type 12 webbing buffers to be installed on the inside and outside of reserve flap 3 and inside of reserve flap 4. They however limited the problem to the Tandem rigs but it could be possible that your rig has the same problem maybe is your reserve loop a little bit long.
  4. I have one original issue of the Stratostar flight manual I received when I bought mine. As I have no use of it, I will be more than happy sending it to you. Just PM me your postal address and it will be soon on its way.
  5. I have also got some rigs with paper seals for repack coming from Russian jumpers being now in Germany or Belgium. There is also a tendency in Europe to use - and that is what I now do - instead of lead seals, nylon ones (just same diameter and shape than the lead seals). They have in my opinion some advantages : no pollution when thrown away after opening, a better printing capability - the symbol is more easily readable and remains so all the time, it allows me to change the color of the seal each year, making possible, at first glance, to see that the rig has been packed in the right interval of time and finally, they are cheaper to buy and more easily available than the lead seals.
  6. I had 37 (including 7 tandems). It looks very much but I am the only rigger - on a drop zone making more than 30.000 jumps (from which over 4.500 are tandems). No need to say that it is a real full time job (over 600 repacks per year ).
  7. Tape and webbings come from either DJ Associates or Para Gear. Threads were coming from the Belgian BST Company. They most probably had the best Type E available but they have unfortunately closed by the end of last year. I will now buy Nylbond from Coates in the UK. Hardware also come from Para Gear but some specific items can be bought in France from Wichard. Fabrics also mostly come from Para Gear. The only problem with what comes from the USA is that it takes usually 3 x more time to travel through the Customs offices in Brussels and do the 110 km from Brussels to my loft at Skydive Center Spa than it takes for Para Gear to receive the order, prepare and ship it and for the goods to travel across the Atlantic.


    Canopy just re-lined with HMA 550. Not installed on risers but on PD cardboard.
  9. To make my BOC pockets, I use a doublelayer elastic fabric that I buy at Raibow Jumpsuits in Germany. It is made of two layers of a strong kind of Spandex, sticked back to back (the shiny side facing out). Those pockets are very durable, elastic in both directions and do not get loose after time. In addition they are easy to sew in and for installing binding tape. JPD
  10. I found this picture in my old files. Location : Spa (Belgium) Date : August 1967 for the Challenge Pitz Competition. First row : Team I (left to right) : Dal Pagetto, Gutshall, Bob Donahue & Claude Callahan. Second row : Team II (l. to r.) :John Womack, Thornsberry, Blackshere, Baguette. Nice guys against whom I had the privilege to compete at several occasions in the late 60ies. JPD
  11. Most probably not, even if you send it to the manufacturer, I am not sure that they will give you the information. If you want that sort of information, buy a Vigil, it is possible to download your last 16 jumps, giving both speed and altitude diagrams. All you need for that is to plug the Vigil download box on your computer and have the download program installed. Most of the Vigil dealers Worldwide have that device. JPD
  12. Many years ago (1993 if I remember well), we had a Cypres Student fire when the pilot of our Cessna 206 lowered the flaps in final approach before landing. The parachute was on the back of a passenger and the pilot chute exited the cargo door and pulled the passenger out at a (very) low altitude. Fortunately enough, she was just slightly injured (broken clavicle bdue to the contact with the door frame) as the reserve opened quickly without interfering with the plane tail. In that time the warning instruction asking to shut off the Cypres Students before landing with the plane was written in small letters in the Cypres booklet. Later on, when similar firings occured, happily most of the time without injuries, the writing in the following editions of the Cypres Instruction booklet appeared in bold than in bold bigger and bigger, with additional Caution marks. I only know about one firing in Germany where the passenger was also pulled out but unfortunately the reserve get caught in the Pilatus tail and the plane went in killing the pilot and the passenger wearing the parachute. On an other opportunity, we had a plane with 6 students on board (Cessan Caravan with a roll door) that had to land on an other airfield due to the bad weather. The jumpmaser did not switched off the Student Cypres' and it resulted in 6 reserve popping out at the same time within the plane, with no problem as, as said, the door was closed. The only one who was more than embarrassed was the jumpmaster when they came back to the drop zone, who had to explain to me (the rigger) why I had to repack 6 reserves . As far as Student modern AAD's firing due to spiraling under an open main, I only have seen it once, but the jumper had already quite a few jumps and was jumping again after a stop (and that is why he was using a student gear). When FXC's were used more extensively, I have seen quite a few firing under spiraling canopies, often with jumping having some paragliding experience, and it hapened more often withe the European version of the FXC that was activating at slightly lower descending speed than the original FXC. To come back to the modern AAD's in Student configuration, all manufacturers precise clearly in their instruction manuals that they must be switched off if it is intendended to land with the airplane (but it is for sure still a good practice warning the pilot to avoid high descending speed under 2500 ft) but they also recommend that the control unit for student gears should be easily reachable without removing the equipment (on front main lift web or on the ouside of the yoke).
  13. Older Decelerator had the tendency to stall pretty quick when flaring. Later on, they have extended the lower brake length. Now, according to their trim chart, the length BL-Tog (Brake loop to toggle) is, for the Decelerator 120, 620 mm. Last week, I have had one of the very first Decelerator to pack (SN : 044 from 1996) and the BL-T length was only 500 mm. When I asked to the owner, he said that it is the way it came from Parachute Shop. We find more and more Decelerator's in Europe as that is the reserve normally supplied with the Vortex system so if you have one Decelerator to pack, check on Parachute Systems website at products/decelerator for the correct brake length and adjust if needed. JP
  14. I have it, Enclosed is the form I use for checking line trims according to PD recommendations. I have one specific form for each type of the most current canopies. It took me a little bit of time to prepare them but as I prefer to use mm than inches (I am Belgian) it finally saves me a lot of time. JP
  15. As far as Belgium is concerned, if your equipment is approved in your country,you may jump it. The reserve repack cycle in your country is also accepted The only limitation is that an AAD is mandatory to jump in Belgium. We look forward to seeing you JP