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Everything posted by michaelted57

  1. I suspect this person is trying to sell stolen gear (user name Gabe_harr). He has listed a brand new AAD, brand new Main canopy and a brand new reserve. He has only been on the site for 2 days. He doesn't show any knowledge of parachute equipment. He has blocked out the serial numbers of all the items he is selling. SABRE2 by PD - Main Canopies - Dropzone.com OPTIMUM by PD - Reserve Canopies - Dropzone.com Vigil Cuatro AAD - Aads - Dropzone.com I hope I am incorrect, but the ads are just too suspicious.
  2. I LOVE to see this article. As someone who has been around for 36 years in the sport, I have seen so many silly and stupid decisions by people just as Bill describes. I hate to point out that I started in this sports 36 years ago, and Bill was already a gear manufacturer, had already invented the hand-deployed pc and 3-ring release, and was making rigs that would accommodate square reserves. He says he's only been in the sport 35 years... Sorry Bill. Most of us know it's been longer than that!
  3. Very good article! I have been skydiving for 36 years and working in high-noise environments for most of that time as well, and I now wear hearing protection on all my jumps. but I didn't start wearing hearing protection until it was too late... Now it is difficult to understand what people are saying and I have a constant ringing squeal in my head that is loud enough to drown out the sound of the motor running in my car. One thing that the author didn't mention is that freefall (even with a full-face helmet) is well over 100 decibels. In order to protect what hearing I have left I wear earplugs with a string between them so I can pull them out after my canopy opens. These cost about $0.25 a set when you buy them in bulk. Trust me, it is well worth it. I tell all my students to wear hearing protection as soon as they are off the radio, and to keep wearing it for their skydiving career.
  4. That's a very easy test and a great idea (which should probably be done anyway). Thanks! If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious
  5. This is a GREAT idea. If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious
  6. "Rest Assured"? I am one of the ones out here trying to use this thing. "More User Friendly" is only true if the USERS find it so. The smaller font is harder to read, the layout makes it harder to find a specific category, Categories with new ads are not highlighted anymore, and there is no place for manufacturer, DOM, component model and number of jumps for complete rigs being offered for sale. I don't see anything advantageous with the new format. How much user input did you get before changing it? If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious
  7. What happened to the format of this website? This new format is absolutely terrible and a HUGE step backward for the users. The classified section is hard to read, doesn't have the same detail, most of the ads do not open without an error message and the whole thing looks like the way it used to be back when it started; PRIMITIVE! I can understand updating a website now and then, but for Christ's sake don't do it until the new version is better than the old one! If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious
  8. I have had a couple Reflexes over the years, and pack several for friends that have them as well. Some have had the Catapult on them and some have had it removed (the Catapult installed IS the standard configuration for Reflexes, by the way). I had two reserve rides on mine, and have seen several others over the years. The one (small) advantage of the Catapult that I have witnessed (I have not witnessed an instance where the catapult saved anyone) is that without the Catapult, once the reserve PC and freebag have left the reserve canopy and are drifting to the ground, the PC tends to turn over and plummet to the Earth due to the heavy cap. The Catapult acts as additional drag so the whole thing drifts to the ground at about the same speed as a regular PC and freebag and a cutaway main, thus usually making it easier to find (near the main) than it would be if it fell at a much faster rate and thereby drifted a different distance in the wind. I am not joining the argument over the merits of the Catapult in a lifesaving situation. I am only making this one observation from experience. Take it for what it is worth (not much).
  9. Ditto If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious
  10. I was at Skydive City for the first time this last March for the Z-team sequential jumps. This is my new favorite DZ! Anything you need to survive and jump is on the DZ. You literally NEVER have to go into town if you come relatively well prepaired. The staff of the DZ is friendly and competent. It is a real pleasure to jump in a place like this.
  11. An aquaintenct of mine at our DZ happens to be a sponsered PD canopy flyer, and so he gets all the cool stuff. This weekend he brought the new 126 Optimum Reserve (set up like a main) to the DZ for those of us who might want to try one out. I had just jumped a standard PD-126 last summer when the PD Tour came to our DZ, so I felt I could make a fair comparison. This new reserve packs up tiny! It looked equavalent to a 109 in pack volume when I put it in my rig. This is great for those of us who like the idea of a bigger reserve; with an Optimum Reserve we can get more parachute in our container than we could before. For reference, I weigh 180 lbs without clothes, and about 205 out-the-door, and I have about 4300 jumps. This loaded the 126 to about 1.6 to 1, which is way high for a reserve. I took the Optimum 126 on a relative-work jump with a recently graduated student because I wanted to see what the opening shoke would be like at terninal. I make a lot of camera jumps, and the opening shock at terminal is a big concern for guy (or gals) with a lot of weight on our heads. I watched my digital altimeter when I pitched to check my altitude loss during opening. I pitched at 3400 ft exactly. The opening was very firm, but not uncomfortable at all; certainly not any worse than some popular mains. The interesting thing was that as soon as I saw an open canopy over my head, I checked my altitude again, and it read 3150 ft! The opening felt like a very firm, STEADY pull on my harness, but there was no real "shock" as I expected. So this translates into a 250 ft opening with no trauma as is usually associated with such fast openings. NICE! We had a very stiff upper wind, so we had drifted a long ways in free-fall, and I found myself thinking I probably would not nake it back to the field (even if I had jumped my regular main). I did my CCC and was pleasantly surprised with the powerful flare and responsive turns. I went into half brakes to try to stay aloft in order to get closer to the DZ. The canopy floated very nicely, and I realized that I would make it back easily, so I tried to find the stall point so I could get a better feel for the canopy. I am 5' 10" tall, and I had to take a wrap of brake line on my hands to cause a stall. This thing could be landed in a very tight space if needed. Very quick recovery from the stall too. . . I then applied some rear risers to try to gain some of the lost distance from the stall and to see how the canopy flew in that mode. Rear toggle pressure was not light, but the amount of float gained was impressive. After I got back over the landing area, I decided to not turn into the wind because I was really too low to be making 180 turns on an unfamiliar canopy, so I landed downwind off to the side of the Dz out of the landing pattern. This parachute has a very fast forward speed for a reserve! This could be bad if you have a high wing loading and land unconcious, but you would probably still have the brakes set, so it would be slower than if you had released them. I was able to land the canopy standing up with only about three or four steps out of the landing (downwind with a wind speed of about 4 knots). I am confident that if I had landed into the wind it would have been a one-step landing. The only thing about this reserve that concerns me is that some will buy an even smaller container thinking they can get a very small packing reserve in it. This will make for some very fast landings under reserves. The idea should be to stay with the same size container, and be able to fit a bigger reserve in it. Remember, this is a FAST parachute. I would jump this parachute as a main, and like it (alot). It performs more like a main than a traditional reserve, the openings are fast, but not hard, and it packs up very small. This would be a GREAT main parachute for wingsuit flyers or for people who do a lot of big-ways (those of you who do big-ways will understand). The cost for this reserve is about $300 more than PD's traditional reserves. In summary: Packs up VERY SMALL, fast but not uncomfortable openings, POWERFUL flare, practically stall proof, fast forward speed (at least at high wing loadings), Slows down in toggles and floats wonderfully, flies like a main, lands more like a main than a traditional reserve, costs about $300 more than a traditional reserve. When Can I get mine?
  12. There is nothing wrong with Red & Lemon (yellow). Those are the colors I chose for my canopies because they grab your attention in the sky (read "traffic") and because they are easy to see from the air (read "cutaway"), and from the ground. I would try to balance them a bit more though. Mostly Lemon with two red cells somewhere on the canopy seems to be not too busy, and has all the advantages of the noticability you are looking for. just an opinion. If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious
  13. I live in the USA. I have a Cookie helmet, and all I did was fill out the form on the website. In a week my helmet was in the air taking pictures and dragging me along with it. While there may be taxes and import duty and all that other stuff, it was pretty transparent for me. The Cookie Composit guys reall seem to have their act together. I met them at the PIA symposium last week, and they are really nice guys too. Hope this helps. If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious
  14. I have parachutes like some women have shoes, and I jump everything I can get my hands on whenever I get the chance, so I feel my input may be more valid than someone who has jumped only one type of canopy for a long time. The Crossfire2 is a step up from the original Crossfire, which is also a fine canopy (I have three original Crossfires in different sizes, as well as a Crossfire2, a Sabre2, a Safire, a Spectre, a Velocity, a Falcon, a Triathlon and a Cruiselite, and I have jumped almost every other parachute that is out there on the market right now). Toggle pressure is remarkably light, as is riser pressure, while response to input is much greater than it was with the original Crossfire. Response is not as quick as a Stiletto, but the recovery arc is (much) longer and the flare power is in a different league altogether. There seems to be no end to a well timed dynamic flare, and a jumpers arms are not as long as the available flare. Done right, the landings come to a dead stop before lift is lost. The Crossfire2 is not as fast as a similar sized Velocity, but what is? I make mostly work jumps (Camera, AFF, Coaching, etc.) and I do not like having to pay more attention to flying my parachute than to watching students or traffic, and I find that me Crossfire2 affords me a good balance between high performance and predictibility. This parachute does not exactly fly itself, but it does not require as much attention as some of the other high performance 9-cells out there. One of the best things about the Crossfire2 is the consistant, on-heading, soft opening. It does take about 700 to 1000 feet from pitch to CCC (canopy control check; What? You don't do that anymore? Shame on you!), so you Sabre lovers will have quite a surprise, and should probably throw out a bit earlier than you are used to. For the experienced canopy pilot, this is a very good, well balanced, fun to fly parachute. Go Get one!
  15. While I certainly agree with Airtec that an AAD should be 100% reliable, I would remind readers that the Cypres went through some problems in it's earlier stages. Some have faulted the Vigil for the problem they had with static electricity causing a premature activation on the ground (while the reserve was being packed on nylon carpet in cold, dry conditons), it should be noted that the Cypres also had some accidental activations due to radio interference. The Vigils that were affected by this problem were fixed by the factory, and subsequent versions have had no problems to date. I personally like all the things I listed in the "Pros" section at the beginning of this review, but my favorite feature of the vigil is the way it determines if it should activate or not. Unlike the Cypres Expert, which decides at 1000ft to activate at 750ft if the parameters have been met (a person who deploys at a low altitude and snivels through 1000 ft at a speed greater than 78 mph will get a reserve opening at 750ft even if their main canopy is fully deployed at 900ft), the Vigil measures the speed of descent and calculates the estimated time to activation altitude every 8th of a second. The result (as I understand it) is that the situation that would result if a two-canopy-out situation in the example with the Cypres above, would not have the same potentially desaterous consequences with a Vigil. This wold have eliminated at least three two-canopy-out situations that I have witnessed over the years. This feature alone makes the Vigil a better choice in my opinion.
  16. In the summer this is a great place to be for the experienced skydiver or the newby. In the winter the level of individual attention almost outweighs the long waits between jumpable weather days. The staff is very professional and competent. There are several world record holders in several disciplines who call this DZ home, and they are always available to help. With my job I could live anywhere and jump anywhere, and I choose to live here because of this DZ.
  17. I love my Neptune. I just put it on and forget it. It turns itself on in the plane, changes to Freefall mode when you leave the plane, and turns itself off after a few minutes on the ground. Big numbers are easy to read in freefall. Canopy mode (comes on automatically at opening) shows feet above take-off point not in hundreds, but in feet! This is great for canopy pilots who want consistant start altitudes on their turns. I have been trying to edit my earlier review of the Neptune and Paralog software, but am having some difficulty. The software writer and I had a misunderstanding early in a correspondence regarding a problem I had with the program, and I wrote a review that was harsh on him and the software before I understood that he had misunderstood what I was trying to convey to him, probably due to my not being clear enough. We have since figured out the misunderstanding and he (Klaus) was willing and able to help me fix the problem. I would recommend this altimeter and the Paralog program to anyone who wants to log their jumps with a computer.
  18. I normally jump Crossfires and a Sabre 2, and I was evaluating the Safire 149 for a friend of mine. I made a few jumps on it and was favorably impressed by the consistant on-heading openings and very light toggle pressure, but especially by the very nice (and fun) landings. This canopy has the very powerful, and seemingly endless flare I have come to love in my Crossfires, albeit with a little more civilized manner. The Safire seemed not quite as fast as the Sabre 2, but it did not have the tendency to turn on opening that the Sabre 2 has, and the flare is superior in my opinion. Toggle pressure is light and riser inputs are easier than with my Sabre 2. For those wanting a little flexibility in thier canopy flying style, this is a very good choice. As an AFF-I and Camera flyer, I have come to appreciate canopies that allow me to concentrate on my job and not worry about the parachute, but I also like to have fun when I can afford more attention to the canopy flight. The Safire is a very good parachute for this kind of flexibility. I like the soft openings too, but they consistantly take 1000 ft. So if you like to do a lot of hop-n-pops from low altitudes, you may have to consider a higher exit altitude.
  19. When ordering the rig for a certain canopy size, you are limited to about one size up or down from the size it was designed for. The custom fit rig is very comfortable, and the workmanship is excellent. Being a rigger, one of my main concerns is ease of packing. The Infinity is as easy to pack as any other rig out there, and much easier than some that are touted as being "rigger friendly". As a long-time jumper who has had many reserve rides, I really appreciate the great pilot chute launch and the high-drag reserve pilot chute. The Infinity is a very nice looking rig with lots of thought going into the design and production of the details as well as the general function of the system.
  20. If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious
  21. My first parachute was a 28ft double L, but I don't think you are going to want to jump one of those if you don't have to. The parachutes you listed are all good choices, but what is more important is the way you wing load it. Another good choice for people new to the sport who are on a budget would be an old style used Sabre. I have lots of jumps on Sabres, and they are a great canopy. Watch out for the occaisional quick opening though. I have never had a hard opening on a Sabre, but many people say they have. Another good main for a newbie might be a Triathlon. Very good openings, consistant landings, predictable handling. I would be very cautious about what some people say you could handle in their estimation. Generally as a relative beginner you should not even consider loading your canopy more than 1:1. Even then you can get into real trouble real fast if you are not very aware of how high you are and what is going around you in the sky. Another thing to condider is color. Most people select the colors of their parachute based on what they like. This is OK if the colors they like are highly visible in the sky and also on the ground. You want your canopy to be seen easily by people who are in the air with you, by people looking up from the ground, and by people looking for it after a cutaway. A friend of mine who had about 3000 jumps at the time cut away his Red and Black Stelletto 97, which landed in a corn field where the corn was only about 8 inches high. I happened to be the one who found it, but only because I actually stepped on it as we were searching. It was nearly invisible. My friend now jumps the brightest, ugliest colors he can find. I also jump very bright colors for the same reasons. Good luck, be careful, and welcome to the family! If it comes easy, I'm automatically suspicious