This is a very interesting thread as it speaks to a range of canopies that I’m very interested in. Given the time that has passed and the new wings now on the market, I wonder if I can trigger more conversation.
We now see the PD Sabre 3, pitched in a way that seems to narrow the gap between the “predecessor” Sabre 2 and the Katana. We’ve also seen the NZA Crossfire 3 and the Icarus World XFire in circulation for a few years. Finally the Fluid Wings Gangster has become a mainstream contender in this class, and the PD Katana still popular. So five canopies, with various pedigrees, all somewhat overlapping in the performance range.
My experience with them is limited to a few dozen jumps on the Gangster & Katana and a couple of hundred on the XFire at between 1.4 - 1.6 and Sabre 2 at lower loadings (and I have a Crossfire 3 still in the bag from the factory but never even demoed), so I wouldn’t pitch my opinion as expert - or even necessarily particularly well informed, so I won’t share beyond the fact that I found the Gangster to have the most confidence inspiring range and flexibility, the XFire to be heavy on the fronts, wanting to load higher, do longer turns and have a shorter recovery arc, and the Katana to fly very nicely, light on the fronts, allow setup with more altitude thanks to the long recovery arc, but controls fall off sharply at lower speed.
I anticipate that I’ll find the Crossfire 3 to feel like a good training platform as I Continue to build experience, but imagine that sooner or later I’ll want to return to the Gangster, given its long recovery arc, impressive range on rears, powerful flare and manageable fronts, as well as perfect openings and long spot capability.