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  1. I’ll agree that canopy flying skills are very important. There are lots of good suggestions for that. I’ll add that you can get canopy and tracking experience on every jump as long as you plan ahead of time what you want to practice. Here is a link to Norman Kent and Guy Manos’ Kinesthesia, The Art of Body Flight. It is a series of drills you can do in free fall or in a wind tunnel. Memorize the concepts. You should have demonstrated the basic maneuvers during your journey to A license, but, I recommend you revisit those translations and movements in a wind tunnel (fall rate, forward/back, side to side and heading control/eye contact). Then, work your way through the progression with a coach or experienced skydiver and ultimately with another pup in three-way RW jumps. I went through the progression myself and have successfully coached many through the program. It may look outdated, but, the concepts and information is timeless and I haven’t found anything updated that does a better job. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BACK, SIT OR ANGLE/HEAD DOWN until you’ve at least been through the Kinesthesia program and have at least 100 jumps and have practiced back flying in the tunnel.
  2. Yes. There is rumor of one coming to the US. Land and construction costs are $5M-$10m+ and the market for such a niche is undetermined.
  3. What size harness? Do you still have the build sheet to post?
  4. This is odd as SunPath is known for having the best customer service in the industry. They are shut down for the holiday, though.
  5. This is an interesting topic that I’ve been following for a long time - in 1987, at age 12, I converted my liquid fuel R/C airplane to electric and around that same time, I converted my gasoline lawn mower engine powered go cart to electric. I’m also an early adopter of the Tesla Model S and am on my 2nd one, so, I have some experience with electric vehicles. I’m very excited about the potential of Magnix’s electric 208B conversion revolutionizing the skydiving industry. With that in mind, I haven’t read this entire thread, but, I do know there are a few things to know about BE aircraft: Charging from 0-50% happens very quickly compared to 50-90% and the last 10% takes forever. There are ways to charge a very large amount of battery storage very, very quickly compared to the way EV cars are currently charge with one cable - by compartmentalizing the pack and charging with 2, 4 or 6 cables/power sources for example. So, you could charge to full over night, fly until the battery is down to 10%, shut down to charge to 50% and just fly between 10 and 50%. How long that would take will be difficult to determine. I also know fast charging the packs puts a lot of stress on them and accelerates degradation. You’ll typically lose about 3-5% capacity soon after delivery and will eventually get to 10-15% capacity loss. As battery technology advances, expect these numbers to improve, but, not by much. The main hurdle I see is that high power demand during climb to altitude is exponentially more kWh consuming than level flight. So, whatever numbers they are putting out for testing, they will be far, far worse. Right now, the eCaravan configuration is just putting batteries in the passenger area and that allows it to fly for 30 minutes of level flight - No where near required capacity for skydiving operations. Also, as the transition to BEV for terrestrial transportation unfolds, the demand for battery materials will be limited as the control of resources for battery production is already being locked up. I’m much more keen on the idea of hydrogen powered fuel cells for aviation and the obvious advantages behind it. ZeroAvia recently demonstrated full flight in a Piper M-Class and Airbus is working on several fuel cell designs. Magnix is also working with Universal Hydrogen on a Dash-8 conversion in a very exciting way! Hydrogen fuel cell conversions could be much more cost effective than conventional power plant replacement/overhaul. I could see a 208B using a compartmentalized liquid hydrogen storage tank in a belly storage configuration where the fuel would be loaded as cartridges with a forklift. Now, all the cost advantages of switching is dependent upon conventional aviation fuel costs remaining high. I believe as the transition to BEV for terrestrial transportation and a general transition away from petroleum based plastics to plant based plastics occurs, the cost of aviation fuel will drop as demand for petroleum based products drop. Aviation will be the last to transition to alternative fuels and the remaining supply of refined oil will become incredibly cheap as the long tail of supply plays out. Skydiving operations’ short flight requirements may turn out to be a perfect test bed for development of BEA (battery electric aviation) and FCA (fuel cell aviation) applications.
  6. Nice, welcome back! Get 10 minutes of block time at an iFly tunnel if you can!
  7. Cool, he will be the best person to give you canopy choice instruction as he knows your skill and ability level. Since you’re looking for internet advice, you’ll want a main canopy like a Pulse or Spectre 190 and a PDR 193 at the smallest. Fly those for 100 or 200 jumps and then decide what do do after that. That canopy and size is always in demand, so, you should be able to sell without much depreciation.
  8. Your instructor and/or coach should be able to best guide you. Typically, you want to be less than .8 pounds per sq ft. Going to a smaller canopy will not improve your landings - learning to flair properly on any size canopy is the only thing that will improve your landings. .8 W/L is based on your exit weight. 155+30lbs of gear puts you at 185 lb exit weight. Different canopies with the same sq ft fly much differently. The condition of the canopy also dictates the flight characteristics. A crispy 9-cell 240 will fly much sportier than a clapped out 7-cell 200. Moving to the 200 is not recommended unless your instructor or coach signs you off to do so. Flying smaller canopies is not a badge of honor or a rite of passage. Fly a .8 W/L until you can consistently land exactly where you intend because, eventually, you’ll have an off DZ landing and those accuracy skills will come in handy. As for buying your own gear, buy it whenever you are ready. Choose the main and reserve first and then find a container to fit those sizes. Again, IMO, a docile canopy with a .8 W/L for your first 100 jumps will serve you well in the future. Here’s an article by John LeBlanc in the subject. and here’s a calculator:
  9. What height and weight was this built for?
  10. Similar situation as you as I came out of retirement after leaving in ‘00. I have several thousand jumps and worked full-time as Tandem and AFF-I. The last canopy I owned was a PISA 97. Coming back I thought of at least one death and two more who smashed themselves up with low turns. All three were people coming back after a long layoff who made a dozen or so jumps and felt like they had their old swooping skills. They didn’t. Before coming back, I focused on the fact that most skydiving injuries and deaths occur under a perfectly functioning/flying canopy and that minimizing risk is my top priority. I decided to advise myself as if I’m someone with 50 jumps. How high would I advise them to pull? What canopy would I advise them to jump? What type of skydives would I recommend they do. Like you, I took a refresher course and made a couple coach jumps with an AFF-I. Everything came back under canopy and landing w/ student gear was on target and uneventful. After a half dozen jumps, I moved to a Spectre 170 that puts me at a 1.25 WL. All approaches are student pattern with no more than 90* turns below 1000’. So far so good. For the near future, I plan to just look at the canopy as a life saving device. Good luck and welcome back!