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  1. I’m extremely excited to go on a big tour of different DZ’s around Europe. Im planning to hit up a lot of the bigger/well known spots like Empiriabrava, Algarve, Skydive Spain, Interlaken, but also want to check out a lot of smaller spots in other countries. I do have a couple concerns. Within the last couple years I read about major plane crashes in Hawaii and Sweden which were the result of plane failures and which killed everyone onboard. Obviously I’m not trying to do down that road. I remember one AFF instructor telling me that when funds are tight on a DZ, the first thing that lacks is plane maintenance. I’m wondering how to assess whether a small DZ is safe to jump at. Parachutist Magazine from the USPA lists “Foreign Affiliates” which are supposed to have at least 1 USPA member on staff. That seems like it could be a good start. When looking on Dropzone.com there are lots of other DZ’s in a given country not listed there. How would I know if I’m good to go there? Reading reviews? Calling and asking certain questions? It sounds absurd but I’m obligated not to get seriously injured or killed; recently had a near-fatality in the immediate family, my parents made me promise I’d be as safe as possible, especially in countries where no one speaks the same language as I do. Please note, I’m still under 100 jumps. I do plan to knock out about 25 a week while there so I’ll get my numbers up quickly. I’ll also be taking a Flight-One course. I plan to have my C-License before I seriously take off to different smaller DZ’s. ALSO, What kinds of safety measures do you guys take when jumping at a new DZ? I feel like standard ones are knowing the landing pattern, knowing the winds/exit separation, knowing when each group is exiting/exit order, and knowing alternative landing spots if necessary. I’m not too keen on doing much spotting on my own, would rather go shortly after another group. Also, re-calibrating altimeter, and not turning on AAD until you’re on the DZ. What else can you guys think of? Again, I’m trying to play if safe. Also if you guys have any suggestions for great DZ’s in Europe please provide any info on them. thanks!
  2. I visited Perris for the first time where they have free load organizing and coaching for any discipline you may be trying to improve in. Obviously, coaching can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on a few variables. My predicament is, I’m gonna be in Spain for a couple months before I’m back in Southern California. I want to jump a lot out there and get my skills up, but I don’t want to break the bank if I can get a similar service for free when I’m back. So how to go about it? I was thinking that I should just ask to get on 2-way/4-way jumps without them specifically being coach jumps. I’m fresh off my A-License and have no experience in 4-way and minimal in 2-way. I’ve heard that you want coaching or at least jumping with other people ASAP so you don’t develop bad habits (backsliding, etc) on your own. I’d love to learn to freefly, angle fly, formation fly, what have you, but can’t be spending $1000 on a 10-block of coach jumps, which is the price at some DZ’s in Europe. Thanks
  3. Title is self-explanatory; are there any mains that are particularly high-pack-volume, to the point that I could potentially fit a 135 into a rig designed to fit a 150? Based on some different container sizing guides it seems like the Flight Concepts Sentry and Aerodyne Pilot might pack up slightly big. Let me know if you've heard of others, particularly 135's.
  4. Paratec seems to agree. General consensus from most riggers I've asked is that the Speed 170 or Op 160 should be fine
  5. Thanks for the responses everyone. Yeah although the Speed seems pretty unheard of in the US people seem to love it in Europe and Germany in particular. Great to hear confirmation that it packs as small as advertised. I'm planning to call Paratec as well as some of their US dealers to ask what size they think is best. Skybytch, it was admittedly a dumb initial purchase. I saw the low price that ParachuteSystems offered for the full setup and got too excited without really researching gear or safety features in-depth. Am now paying the price literally and figuratively. Good lessons though, learned the hard way.
  6. I'm trying to choose a reserve to fit into my Vortex V-4 150, which is designed to fit a 135 or 150 Decelerator (pack volumes 305 and 350 cubic inches, respectively). The 150 that came with the rig packed tight so I'm looking to sell it and get a newer, slightly bigger, low-pack volume reserve (I realized after a couple reserve rides I'd like a bigger reserve anyways...Obviously, because the 150 Decelerator was tight, this is difficult to pull off.) I've narrowed it down to the Speed 2000 190 or 170 by Paratec and the PD Optimum 160. The Speed 2000 manual clearly says that the pack volume is 322 cubic inches. Based on that number, it should fit perfectly into my rig (supposedly designed to fit 305-350 cubic inches). I know there's more to it than just pack volume, but that's the main measurement I have to go off. Can anyone verify that the Speed 2000 190 actually fits into a 150 reserve tray? I've read on some forums that it does, while others say Paratec's numbers are exaggerated. I've also read that it's a good canopy overall despite being extremely hard to find in the US. Any opinions on this would be great. The other option is the Optimum 160, which should fit pretty tightly into my rig, but is a highly reputable canopy from a reputable brand. I've read past forum posters say the two reserves pack similarly. My overall philosophy is the bigger reserve the better so long as it fits. On a side note, do you guys know if there's any sort of warranty policy in the even that the canopy does not fit? Could I return it back to Paratec? Thanks
  7. I do already own the Vortex. I got another response from the manufacturer asking if my rig was made with a Sky Hook sub flap already in there. If so, it’s apparently pretty easy to install the skyhook, he just needs to supply a free bag with the skyhook on there and the lanyard. Again, the idea of making any major modification to the rig sounds off to me. Rigs without Skyhooks are perfectly fine, and I wouldn’t want to disrupt that. But if I can install one fairly easily without making some huge modification to the rig, I’d obviously want to. It looks like I can, which is music to my ears. Thanks again for the responses everyone. Best regards
  8. The Vortex is DOM 2018 so hopefully it’s pretty easy to retrofit. Definitely would still plan to cutaway at away at the same altitude with or without one. Nonetheless based on what I’ve researched skyhooks seem to have all advantages and no disadvantages if you’re planning to use an RSL, which I am. My question was more if installing it would affect the TSO of the container as a couple of commenters mentioned. My thought process is...Tens of thousands of rigs have been manufactured without a skyhook, and the cutaway/RSL system has worked well for decades. I wouldn’t want the installation of the skyhook to be sketchy/complicated and interfere with the more essential and standard features of the rig. Not sure if retrofitting it on a rig that wasn’t initially meant for it could lead to it threatening the more standard safety features.
  9. Thanks for the responses everyone. I’m trying to retrofit a Skyhook into a Vortex V-4 150 container. Vortex’s can be manufactured with a skyhook in them. At the time I bought it, I didn’t know what a skyhook was. I contacted the manufacturers (Parachute Systems) who said “You can have a Skyhook fitted - these are not standard - should have been ordered. You need to buy a free bag with skyhook and the rigger can fit.” Anyone want to weigh in on this? How much does a free bag w Skyhook cost, and where should I get one? Evidently it is possible...The “non-standard” thing makes me hesitant. I’m debating whether or not getting one is safer at this point than just planning to cut high and trusting the RSL alone.
  10. Is it possible to install a skyhook or other MARD into any rig? If so, how does it work, how much does it cost, and how long does it take?
  11. If I'm 5'8" and the guy selling me gear is 6'0" and the gear is sized to fit him, how serious of a potential problem is that? What is the best way to fix it without breaking the bank?