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Everything posted by lurch

  1. lurch

    big suits, little plane?

    Depends on the weight of the wingsuit pilot and which aircraft. Jumping an S-bird from a PAC 750 in Germany was scary but doable. I wrapped my wings about me tightly, balled up in a crouch and hopped out sideways. Recently jumped what I'm pretty sure was a base model Cessna Caravan at Spot's place in Elsinore. I'd never seen or jumped one before... just the Grand version. The itty bitty one was the cutest little plane. But this time I was in an Apache XRW and I hadn't launched it from anything smaller than an Otter yet. I watched the others exit and noticed a bunch of em would sit on the floor facing backwards and roll out. I was last out, and being fairly experienced, started to set up for the same exit I'd used in the PAC. The seated exit looked studentish and undignified. Then I hesitated, took a good long look at that tail, first over my left shoulder, poised for exit, then turned and looked at it harder... and thought it through. The exit I'd just seen was slow and clunky, but it had one thing going for it... it was SAFE. Spot wasn't even in the plane but I recognized his handiwork immediately. My older small plane-close tail exit style had been just barely adequate in a smaller suit. The tail is CLOSE on that caravan. And I was in a much... MUCH bigger suit this time... which I've launched from balloons, otters, helis, CASAs, Skyvans... basically everything BUT a very small plane. I know an ego trap when I see one. I sat my ass down facing backward and rolled out like they did. Worked fine. When in Rome... Especially if you're light, take NO chances. The maximum suits can get an amazing amount of loft off surprisingly little airspeed. As it is, the rollout exit felt like falling facefirst onto a mattress 3 feet below the doorframe. The megasuit starts flying -immediately- with NO significant drop. To exit a 152 or similar I'd suggest sitting in the door, planting your feet on the step, hands up in front of you, elbows pressed to ribcage in front of your belly, go for the strut just for support, and allow yourself to topple out off the step at 90 degrees to line of flight while still all hunched up mostly in a ball. Its clumsy as hell but it'll get you clear of the aircraft. It's what I'd do. You can learn to make it look good, later. I'd start off with a technique 100% designed around surviving it and nevermind how pretty of an exit it ain't. Launching a suit that big from a plane that small is a rather sketchy proposition no matter how it is done but if that's the only plane you got, that's the only way I can think of to be absolutely sure of a clean exit. Biggest suit/smallest plane, with a close, low tail and a step preventing a rollout, is the most unforgiving possible combination available. You just don't have a helluva lot of options, here. By far the most important part is keeping your elbows tight against your ribs. If you allow anything like your full wingspan to open, you're screwed and you probably took the pilot with you. The way I just described is how I always exited a small Cessna with my S-Bird. I've seen people do strut-hang exits but their suits were smaller and they were heavier. If you're flying one of these megasuits you can sort out heading and orientation AFTER exit without losing more than a few feet of altitude. -B
  2. lurch

    big suit progression question

    I did both. Got years in on Birdman Gti and S-6, didn't get in real trouble till the S-6, handled it ok but butched the reserve landing something wicked, (ICU for the night wicked), end of following year moved up to S-bird, 2 years on that, moved up to Apache XRW by which time I'd worked my way up to freeflying the thing headdown. The thing to do is to get used to dominating your smaller suit. Get comfy with it, then get radical, do acro, or rough and tumble burbley flocks with your mates... flip and spin till you can recover from anything in a half-twist. Keep at it and you'll get quicker and quicker on the recovery. This makes you essentially flatspin-proof... things start to rotate you just flip over and stop it whenever you want. Then you're ready for the big suit and when it gets you, it might take another flip or two for you to catch and tame it, but you'll have the tools, tricks and skills to do so, it'll be just like what you mastered in the little suit only more so. -B
  3. lurch

    ordered my phantom 3

    I'm part-owner of a fleet of these things with our local wingsuit school. P3 is one of the best light general-purpose suits out there. You can learn pretty much everything in it. I don't fly one myself most of the time, being partial to the heavier high-powered suits but anytime I need a lighter more flexible and versatile suit for tight fast fallrate work or acro, I grab a P3 for that. Think you'll like it. -B
  4. lurch

    Different wave off technique

    First, I think this is a very bad idea. Depending on the suit and pilot that "waveoff" you describe which is really just a deliberately prolonged pull causes far, far more unpredictability and instability than current methods do. Second, making the act of signalling the pull the same as the pull itself is just nuts. If I saw that in the sky after being told "now we signal this way" I wouldn't know if they were just freaking out and pulling in my face unexpectedly, or if they were trying to pull and couldn't find the hackey, or just folding their wings to dive to a lower level, or just signalling, or what? Theres no sequencing or communication of timing with that... all I'd know if I see that is that maybe there will be a pilot chute in my face any second. A heelclick signal unmistakably says "This is stage1 deployment warning. There will be a brief delay and the next act will be a standard deployment initiation." Nobody does the visibly deliberate double/triple heelclick UNLESS they're about to deploy which is the POINT. People fold their wings and go back to some variant of nonwinged freefall for all KINDS of reasons so making the signal something easily mistaken for a dozen other events or motions makes NO sense at ALL. You come off as if you think the either/or idea makes it a good idea...the whole point of having one universal pull gesture is that it is specific, it and only it says one particular thing, the LAST thing we need is to make it a multiple-choice guessing game! "Is that a maneuver? a pull? a signal? a stuck pilot chute? WTF?" You want to take a simple, effective, universally known procedure and make it confusing and uncertain and easily mistaken for a double dozen other possible events right at the part of the skydive where we can least afford to introduce any more of such elements already...WHY!? Third, even the tightest armwings are easily collapsed. The tightest tailwings are not. A normal pull, whether you succeed in totally collapsing the tail or not, is, properly executed, so brief that the movement doesn't trash your flight attitude -too- badly. But there is an almost unavoidable element of imbalance in every pull move because the nature of the act means the armwings are almost always entirely collapsed but the tail is almost always at least partially -NOT- collapsed. Your proposal, combined with the large tails typical of modern suits, would guarantee an amazing epidemic of deployments executed by people entering steep headdown spirals or dives of some sort right at the moment of the throw. Fourth, if there is any suit in existence capable of pressurizing so hard that waving off with the feet is "impossible to do" I have never heard of it. So far as I am aware there is no such thing and if there were it would be unflyably, uncontrollably rigid because nothing short of absolute body-cast rigidity could make a waveoff "impossible to do". If "difficult to wave off" is an objection to the suit, you have no business flying that suit. You could jam a leaf blower in my Sbird's inlets on the ground with the airlocks closed, inflate the sucker to 25 PSI and you STILL could not prevent me from making enough of an absolutely unmistakable "close/open 3X" movement that anyone seeing it in flight would know in an instant that THAT was an unmistakable imminent pull signal and NOTHING else. Even if I don't squeeze the air out of it, the wing will buckle and fold in half anyway. I could keep going because there are about 900 other reasons why this may be the worst idea I've heard in years but I'm sure others will pop up to mercy-kill this suggestion far more thoroughly and eloquently than I have. This idea desperately needs to be taken out back and shot. Preferably before it breeds. Hey, you asked. -B
  5. lurch

    S-Bird Question

    I'm a bit of an S-bird performance freak. Weight: 135 lb. Height: 5 foot 10. Current max: 13,200-2400, 4:00. Pulled 76 seconds for 1k in competition, but the suit won't sustain speeds like that, though. That was a carefully calculated energy buildup and burnoff timed to burn out when my altitude and arms did. Shortly after exiting the comp window I would have stalled out and dropped like a rock if I didn't put my head down. Suit's got its limits. Tell me your height, weight, current max time including exit and opening altitudes and approximate wingsuit jump numbers so I can get a feel for how deep -your- feel for it is going to be. When I know your height and weight I'll know exactly what your theoretical limits are in that suit and can tell you how to reach them. A little detail about the techniques you're currently using wouldn't hurt either. There are some very subtle tricks built into that suit that can get you another 20-30 seconds, no kidding. Maybe more, maybe a LOT more. But you're going to need to put in some serious zen wingsuit understanding to get it. Most pilots don't. -B
  6. lurch


    Personally I suggest dry cleaning. Tried it on an S-6 that was hopelessly destroyed by getting soaked with motor oil from a container that burst in my jeep during a rough moment while dodging a car accident. A dozen washings had no effect at all. The suit was totalled. The suit was returned to me in gleaming white like-new condition. As if they had somehow remanufactured it. Weirdest thing I ever saw, all frayed and beat up, but so screaming pure white it simultaneously looked as if it had never been used. Even the booties and the patches on the knees were pure white. No smell either. I paid em double what they charged me for saving my suit. It was worth it. -B
  7. lurch

    First wingsuit?

    Someone, somewhere, right now, is reading this for the 302,471st time. Whoever it is, their head just exploded.
  8. lurch

    A little bit scary

    This sounds like the kind of story bad examples are made of. Who is this new manufacturer? No facts=can't judge. Seems terribly unlikely though unless somebodys info is inaccurate. Nobody bright enough to be involved with a new manufacturer is likely to be dumb enough to do a thing like that. -B
  9. lurch


  10. lurch

    Chip Steele

    This is unexpected and hurts like hell. Chip was my Tandem Master for one of the early tandems I did long before I took AFF seven years ago. He was there as a mentor long enough to see me make my first 60 jumps or so. Taught me how to pack. About the most important things to keep in mind while skydiving. "Remember, every skydive is the most important skydive of your life. Whatevers on the ground, stays on the ground." Back in the day I called him Master Yoda and he was the closest thing to it I ever met in the sport, represented everything I wanted to be in a skydiver and later, instructor. I've chosen very few role models in life and he was one of them. Long after he'd left my home DZ I ran into him at a bigway wingsuit event-by that time I'd "grown up" in the sport and graduated to things like wingsuit design and instruction-and I had the chance to let him know that the same stuff he taught me I was now passing down to the next generation of up-and-coming wingsuiters. Now I'm glad I took that opportunity to say that when I had the chance. Wish I'd known that was going to be the last time I saw him. He was one of the highest quality people I've known and I am going to miss him. So long, man. Seeya by the fire on the far side someday. -B
  11. lurch

    Balloon Wingsuit

    Believe it or not my next appalling aerial hackjob was going to be a tailwing for the Hardcase made of soft floppy freefly pants... A balloon wingsuit. Sorta. I put another testflight on another revision of the now somewhat-dated zipon godzilla wings today... singleskin from trailing edge of stock S-6 wing to ankle-ish or thereabouts. Very touchy getting the tension right, but it delivered about 3:15 from 13.2-2.8... nothing revolutionary but its a bit closer to a flockable megasuit. Is that balloon enough for ya? -B
  12. lurch

    Charlie Burgess

    So long, Charlie. Gonna miss you, man. God I hate losing friends. DZ feels emptier now. -B
  13. lurch

    Bring On the Flock N Dock 3.5 Videos

    Hey... Loved the youtube vid... can you tell me what was the music you put in there? I'd go to considerable lengths to find somewhere to download it if I knew its name or where to find more of it... Its good! -B
  14. lurch

    Near bird strike

    Holy shit, Scott. I figure the only thing running through those birds heads was "...!!!..." Pity the camera fogged on you. That sort of close encounter will never, ever happen to you again... Unless you've routinely got buzzards. LOTS of buzzards. -B
  15. lurch

    Pepperell flocks October 14'th

    My final comment for the weekend: -Owie! My arms hurt- Last jump of the evening tonight 121 seconds from 10,300 feet open by 2100 so I don't get scolded again. Highest fallrate was 53 mph right before I pitched. Nothing I couldn't do in my GTI, but where the GTI maxes out of available lift, the 6 is just getting started. The S6 was worth waiting for. I can fly it, but man does it whup my ass. When I get my arms used to the loading I bet 3:30 from 14 is doable... More flocks this weekend! And we got a bunch of jumpers here closing on the 200 mark who have stated intentions of joining the flock... I bet by next season's end we can do an entire 20+ bird planeload... Nik got some AWESOME exit shots... I had a blast exiting last, standing on my tail and dropping to the group watching it form up... Flying with more and more birds has been forcing me fly in some really creative directions and I haven't had this much fun since crowd-surfing the security people in front of the sound stage in the mosh pit at the Nine Inch Nails show at The Centrum in '96. Hell yeah! Tweet! -B
  16. lurch

    new england 10 way or bigger

    Steve... I'll be showing up right about 11:30 AM, get one, maybe 2 jumps before I got to scram for work by 2:30... -B Stacey... do we got tandems scheduled?
  17. lurch

    Wallpaper for the day

    Thanks, Matt. I look at that image, feel wind and think "Home". Beautiful. -B
  18. Hmmm... nope. Can't argue with any of that. But what exactly is so special about Hanwags anyway? Why Hanwags specifically? I figured my own experience with Caterpillar boots was exempt from Robi's evaluation of "crap" because they aren't rigid. Cats are my combat-stompers of choice because they're both totally bulletproof and easy to run in with plenty of ankle support but plenty of flex to them, although whether or not their weight and trim effects actually help still was subjective and open to debate and verification. But what makes Hanwags a self-suggesting enough choice that they've been done before anyway? Now I'm REALLY baffled, and inquiring minds want to know. (starts googling Hanwags in fulfillment of role as Principal Investigator of Mystery of Clown Shoes...) Do they have little wings on em or something?
  19. lurch

    New England wingsuit formation record

    This is going absolutely nowhere. I feel like a guy trying to organize a baseball game-in an empty field. Ok, then. Looks like it'll be itty bitty miniflocks or whatever we can scrounge. Check back in 5 years, hopefully we'll have more birds by then.
  20. lurch

    New England flock?

    I'll be unable to join you next week due to this factory I have to deal with, but in 2 weeks I'm wide open... Want to offer a big congratulations to Ben Lowe, first WS flight yesterday, flew like awesome, cleanest exit, kickass flight right out the door. Woohoo! Hey, Medusa!!! Now we got a Birdman with a mohawk up here, too! NE flock just got bigger.... The question now is can we gather em all in one place at one time.... I figure I'll float it up here first, it'll be awhile, but... I'm going to be attempting to organize some sort of WS gathering for the boogie in Pepperell this year... Dave? Ben? Ken? Nik? PJ? I doubt we can match the scale of the flock and dock but can we find enough birds to build a solid 10-way?
  21. lurch


    *sound of crickets chirping....* Hello? (looks around empty field, hears crickets) Anybody home? (crickets) No birdmen at all? (more crickets) Damn. (addresses the oblivious crickets) Well if nobodys ever flown Birdman in the philippines the I suppose I'll go do it myself. Somebody ought to handle it. (Checks watch, addresses crickets) I'll get back to you guys in about 4 weeks let you know how it all worked out. Keep chirping, huh? (Crickets...)
  22. lurch

    Canopy choice

    Second that for the Sabre2. I bought one brand new at a ridiculously conservative loading (0.9) over 2 years ago specifically to optimize my chances of surviving my first few years of wingsuit flying. Was a good investment, and paid off well when things went weird on me a few times. That puppy gets me home every time unless I brainfart and fly 5 miles in the wrong direction, and pretty much ignores line twists while you learn how to not get twisted. Thing DOES like to hunt for a heading sometimes, kinda bobs its nose around and occasionally gets it into its head to hang a randomly chosen turn right after opening if I'm a bit asymmetrical. I think there is a brief window in time during deployment during which it is extraordinarily sensitive to body position. When I learned to stop overcontrolling and sit back and ride through the deployment as opposed to actively flying the deployment its performance became much more consistent. Overall I found it a perfect canopy for my first few hundred or so, and gets me back from longer spots and bigger errors than a Triathlon will. Most likely will get another smaller Sabre2 for my next ride.
  23. lurch

    Screaming with joy

    Fucking awesome, isn't it? Done it at night yet? Pure 100% fantasy moment made real, flying along above a glittering carpet of ten billion orange and silver city lights. Closest thing to immortality I expect to ever experience. !