ljwobker

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Gear

  • Main Canopy Size
    132
  • Main Canopy Other
    Sabre2 150
  • Reserve Canopy Size
    176
  • AAD
    Cypres

Jump Profile

  • Home DZ
    Raeford, NC
  • License
    D
  • License Number
    28955
  • Licensing Organization
    USPA
  • Number of Jumps
    4100
  • Years in Sport
    16
  • First Choice Discipline
    Formation Skydiving
  • First Choice Discipline Jump Total
    4100

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    Yes

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  1. In the past 6 weeks I've put 55 jumps on an X-fire 124, which I load at ~2.0 lb/sqft. I'm mostly an FS team jumper, no experience with or desire for competitive/serious swooping: my standard landing is a front riser 90 with toggles rather than rear riser inputs. I also travel a lot so having something that opens reliably regardless of who packed it is incredibly important. As background, I have >4500 jumps, most recently spread across the following canopy/wingloading combinations (from my log excel spreadsheet). 1036 jumps Zulu-132 @ 1.8; 326 on Velo-120 @ 2.1; 798 on Katana-150 @ 1.6 and once beyond that a couple of thousand on Sabre2's @ 1.4-1.6. My thoughts/impressions so far: Openings are generally quick but not hard, reliable, and on-heading. There is very little if any snivel, the initial inflation feels positive and well controlled. I did notice that the slider is quite a bit larger than the one on my Zulu, and had a tendency to hang up just barely above the slinks, which on this particular demo setup is about two inches longer than my arms, so I have to open up my chest strap for the slider to drop down to where I can comfortably reach/stow it. I only have data from this one setup so this may or may not be a consistent thing. I'd consider 53/55 openings to be "nearly perfect" with two outliers: I had one with pretty substantial line twists which I was able to recover without too much drama, the canopy inflated normally and was parallel with the horizon so I just had to wait out the twists. At this wing loading and planform I expect anything that twists AND dives will likely need to be cutaway VERY quickly. I also had one opening where the slider stayed up at the base of the inflating canopy for perhaps 7-8 seconds, which in hindsight isn't much longer than my Katana sniveled on almost every jump, but compared to the normally very-quick-to-start inflation of the Zulu and X-fire was definitely an uncomfortable exception. The jumps were spread across AT LEAST seven different packers (plus me) and the openings all felt more or less the same regardless of who packed it. Full flight seems flatter than my Katana, certainly flatter than the Velo, and probably a little steeper than my Zulu. Getting back from long spots didn't seem terribly hard - I couldn't tell much difference in glide ratios for toggles vs rear risers but also don't have a ton of data there. Toggle input is what I'd expect from a highly-elliptical but not cross braced - it will snap into a turn aggressively if you want it to, but it's not hyper-responsive to inputs, either. Harness input is similar - of all the canopies I've jumped this one might be the "most ideal" degree of harness responsibility for me, although this is obviously a highly subjective and personal preference. I can easily get it to go where I want just by shifting weight, but it also never felt "hypersensitive" or "harness twitchy" like some canopies I've jumped (I'm looking at you here, Mamba and Sensei). On one jump I actually stalled the wing (unintentionally, I was trying to stay with a much slower canopy to shoot some video) and the recovery was less exciting than I would have expected from a canopy this size and loading... but given those really short output chords I wouldn't want to let this thing get anywhere near a deep stall, either. Barrel rolls and aggressive toggle inputs gave exactly what I expected - at no point did the canopy ever feel like it was getting mushy or that it was running away from me. On landing, mine has what I'd call "really good but not phenomenal" flare power. I've yet to jump anything that flares like my Velocity did, but engineering a canopy is like everything else in engineering: a series of tradeoffs that people have to make. The flare seemed a little better than my Zulu (possibly because of the slightly higher wing loading) and probably about the same amount of "raw lift" as the Katana, although the sweet spot is in a very different location. My personal view is that the location of the flare shouldn't matter as long as it's consistent and you can find it on your particular rig/riser setup -- I contend that if you're experienced enough to be considering a wing like this you should be good enough not to care whether landing it efficiently requires moving the toggle four inches in one direction or another compared to a different canopy. But hey, I'm a judgemental fucker that way.... I jumped in density altitudes ranging from about 2500ft elevation and 85F temps down to sea level and ~55F... other than the slightly higher speeds it didn't seem to be particularly sensitive to this. I don't land/flare on rears so can't provide any input (pardon the pun!) there. Editorial comments: I really, really like this wing. I think it flies and lands a little better than my Zulu and opens better than my Katana or Velocity ever did. I travel a lot and team train many different places with a lot of unknown packers, so having something that opens consistently and is ... uh... "highly tolerant of suboptimal packing technique" is very important to me. As much as I loved my Velo, I eventually sold it because I couldn't reliably trust that the openings were going to be what I wanted and with the long snivel and inflation I didn't want to be solving those types of problems at 1800 feet. I spent the last 1000 jumps on Zulus in large part because they were easy enough to land, but mostly because I felt completely comfortable pitching a PC at 2200 feet with 200 other people in the air and not worrying that I was going to get some snilvelly, unsteerable during inflation, likely-off-heading ball of crap. The X-fire seems very "packer proof", in this regard it's very similar to the Zulu. It's definitely not a wing for the inexperienced, but it also never seemed truly unforgiving. If you're looking for a really good everyday wing and don't want to be bothered with the extra work that comes with really really high performance canopies, I can highly recommend this one.
  2. It’s extremely dependent on canopy. I have over a thousand Katana jumps on KA-150’s that would take 8-10 seconds to fully inflate. Add about 4 seconds of stopping the track, waving off, and getting the PC out and this is easily a 1500 foot opening sequence from “start” to stop. I also have almost a thousand jumps on a Zulu-132 where the inflation starts almost immediately once the PC is out: this is more like a 7-8 second sequence (total, meaning 3-4 seconds to inflate) and takes about 700 feet total.
  3. I have a storm 2620, which fits a rig and two jumpsuits easily, plus other small stuff. I also have a 2750 which can easily fit a rig, my helmet bag, two jumpsuits, and some other junk. You can also get two rigs (snugly) into ththe 2750. I got the "storm" versions instead of the "pelican" versions because they are a couple of lbs lighter, and with my gear I'm always bumping right up against the 50lb checked bag limits when I fly. Mine have at least half a million miles of commercial flights on them and they're pretty much indestructible...
  4. It'll fit but MAYBE it's a little on the snug side. How "full" the reserve tray is might also affect how it packs- if you also have a big reserve in there it's going to be tighter.
  5. I'm on my sixth infinity, all have been -44's, -43's or -33's. With an OP160 and your Safire2 149 you should be fine. You can easily go down a size but a 170 main in that rig would be pushing it. The line type can make a significant difference also, but assuming you didn't get huge Dacron lines you shouldn't have to worry about packers bitching at you any more than normal. :)
  6. The last I checked (which means this may not be 100% correct) there were no places other than the north shore of Oahu that would take regular fun-jumpers.
  7. Equipment keeps getting better (AADs, canopy and container designs, audible altimeters, etc etc etc). This probably reduces the fatalities from other categories (low, no pull, badly managed malfunctions, etc) The canopy designs keep getting faster, and jumpers with lower experience are learning to fly high performance canopies. The canopies are so good that many jumpers can now land anywhere they want, so many of them try to land as close to [whatever] as they can. This creates congested airspace, which increases the chance of collisions. I don't think we can underestimate the impact of very high speed canopies in the pattern on this. If you're doing a high performance landing, the airspeed in a turn is probably 60-70mph or maybe more. If there are multiple canopies in the area, you're talking about closing speeds of well over 100mph. That leaves very very little time to react if you realize you're pointed at something you don't want to hit.
  8. Opening video : https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8WOnozpsK7qV0ZDR2lpTEtpZFE/view?usp=sharing shot with a rear-facing GoPro, the main thing here is that this is pretty typical - it opens pretty much on heading, with minimal snivel. It's 3-4 seconds from the pilot chute hitting the air until the slider comes down. My sabre2 is about 6-8 seconds and my Katana is closer to 9-10.
  9. Some ideas to consider... Which canopy has a higher chance of malfunctioning? Which canopy would you rather be flying if you're put in a situation where you may be forced to land in a suboptimal (perhaps VERY SUBOPTIMAL) location? What is the downside of leaving the plane, deploying your main, and immediately thinking "man, I wish I was on my reserve right now!" ? What is the downside of leaving on your reserve and thinking "man, I wish I was on my main canopy now?" Hopefully this make it clear where my opinions lie... My guiding philosophy is that unless I have time to check my altimeter (more than once) *and* I have enough time to verify that I have a decent spot, I'm going out on my reserve. Another way to think about it... "If you have to think about which canopy to use, the answer is the reserve." All that said, learning about how/why canopies open at different speeds and take different amounts of altitude based on terminal vs sub terminal, etc can only make you a better, safer skydiver. But until you feel like you have a really good grasp of all those variables, you'd rather be safe than sorry.
  10. Randy- A ZPX Pilot 188 will absolutely fit into an I-45. I've had two different ZPX 188's packed into an I-54 and an I-44 as demo/rental rigs. They're snug but fit perfectly fine in those, which are one size smaller than you're asking about.
  11. Some thoughts that may or may not be relevant... I'll ignore the money part, that's your business not mine. Just remember that another rig implies double the maintenance as well as the acquisition costs... plus you may jump a lot more so make sure you have the ongoing funds and aren't jumping LESS trying to pay off your new rig... ok so I didn't totally ignore the money part. I have multiple rigs that are nearly identical - same manufacturer, colors, options. They all have the same deployment bags, risers, pilot chutes, handles, etc. This greatly simplifies my life when I need/want to do maintenance or swap canopies in or out of a rig. I'm about your size: my particular container is an Infinity I-34, they have Optimum 176 reserves and in the main tray I've put everything from a Pilot 188 down to a Velo 120 in there. I have different mains, and going back and forth between them from jump to jump can either be challenging and fun (when I'm focusing on canopy flight), or challenging and miserable (alternating between a Katana 135 and a Pilot 150 on a hot day of training in texas heat and humidity)... when I'm training now I try to keep two canopies in the rigs that are at least similar in flight characteristics. Most of my jumps are team training, so we use packers. In mine, I keep each main on a different color set of risers, so I can always tell just by looking at the rig which canopy is in it. Not many places will have rental gear that fits you well and has the canopies you want... long term if you're going to be jumping a LOT then having a 2nd rig is definitely the way to go.
  12. it's hard for me to say because I wasn't jumping them both at the same time (as I was with the Katana/Sabre2). I couldn't accurately describe the Stiletto vs. the Zulu other than the comment that the first thing I thought was truly "this reminds me of the stiletto". Sorry for a less-than precise answer... my gut feeling is "they're pretty close" but I also can't say that with nearly as much confidence as the comparisons between the other canopies.
  13. new canopies from Aerodyne are shipped with their soft links, so if you're buying one used from someone you should make sure they are included. The advice above to check them for wear before installing is always a good idea. Risers are part of the container/harness system and are generally NOT included with a main purchase, but you can ask. One thing to request is that the seller keep the links on the canopy and use a "continuity card" when shipping - this will keep the line groups together and save whoever does the reassembly a lot of time and headache.
  14. I was one of the test jumpers, I probably have ~100 jumps on the canopy over the last year or so. I'm about 230lbs out the door and was jumping a Zulu 132 - so a wingloading of ~1.75. My normal canopies are a Sabre2 150, a Katana 135, and a Pilot 150. I also jump a Velo 120 but that's not even remotely close so I won't do that comparison. ;-) My very first impression was "this thing reminds me of a Stiletto" - but that's not a complete picture by any means. Openings: are quick but not hard. It opens much much faster than my Sabre or Katana, but I've never had one that even remotely "hurt". If you're used to the long snivel that you get from the Katana/Sabre you'll be surprised, but when you realize you get probably 300 feet of vertical distance back at the bottom of a skydive, there are times (cough, cough: BIGWAYS) that this is really really nice to have. My experience is that it opens mostly on-heading, it's easier to control through the opening sequence than my Katana, but a little more twitchy than the Sabre2. Full flight airspeed seems about the same forward speed as the Katana (maybe just a touch slower?) but what you really really notice is how incredibly flat the glide angle feels. I'm not sure of the exact trim angle, but this canopy is MUCH flatter than anything I've jumped from PD. The stiletto might be close, but this might be the flattest "normal trim" canopy I've ever jumped. This is also a great thing to have when you're working back from a long/bad spot, or when you want to stay up above the crowd. Riser pressure is higher than the Katana, toggle pressure seems roughly equivalent. Rolling into turns feels similar to Katanas or other ellipticals. The zulu does roll OUT of turns a lot more quickly, though. The dive, however, is COMPLETELY different. The Zulu has a much, much shorter recovery arc than the Katana and is also noticeably shorter than the Sabre2. This is NOT to say that it's boring or slow - you can definitely build up a good bit of speed if you load it up, but given that my reference point was the longer dive of the katana and sabre2 I ended up rolling out of my final turn consistently high. Landings: Once I made enough jumps to get the landings dialed in, they're *really* nice. The canopy has substantial flare power, and generates good speed from a front riser turn without a tremendous amount of pressure. At 1.7 wingloading it wasn't possible to get it completely stopped with no wind, but my contention is that if you're jumping an elliptical at 1.7 you better be good enough to run/slide out your landings if there's no wind anyway. I've noticed no really bad habits on final/flare, and the control range on toggles seems to be about "medium" - contrast this with the stiletto which seemed like it went from full-flight to full-flare in about 8" of toggle movement. Packing: relatively easy to pack for a brand new canopy: the fabric isn't as slippery as brand new ZP. Pack volume was a little larger than my Katana 135 but smaller than my KA-150. Who would want this canopy: a competent canopy pilot looking for something that opens quickly with little or no snivel (again, NOT hard), flies very flat across the ground, and lands well. I can't speak to how it behaves at lower wing loadings, my gut feeling is that if you're not loading this at at least 1.4 or 1.5 you're probably on the wrong canopy anyway. Who would not want this canopy: someone who wants to generate maximum airspeed in a high-performance landing. It does NOT dive like a Katana will, and the much shorter recovery arc is a very different feeling. Completely editorial comment: one mistake I made when testing this out was bouncing back and forth between the katana/sabre2 and this wing. This is a bad idea because the PD canopies have a very "similar" feeling through the landing turns and flare - but that feeling is VERY different than the Zulu. Bouncing back and forth made it really hard to keep "dialed in" for how they behaved respectively. Now when I train with two rigs, I try to make sure I'm jumping either an all-Aerodyne combination (Pilot/Zulu) or an all-PD combo (Sabre2/Katana). They are all really good canopies when loaded correctly and flown competently, but the two manufacturers have very different feel and very different turn initiation and recovery arcs.
  15. I've got maybe 1500 jumps on an I-44 that I bought in 2000, and that rig now serves as a student/rental for the local DZ. Over those years, I've had the following combinations in it (below). That particular size and shape is incredibly flexible, you can put just about anything from a 190 to a 135 in there, with 150-170 being the sweet spot. Reserve : Tempo 210, which packs very close to a PD176 with dacron lines. Mains: PD 190 (the original 7-cell F111) : a little snug Hornet 190 : a little snug ZPX Pilot 188: tight ZPX Pilot 168: normal/medium Pilot 168: snug Sabre2 170: snug Sabre2 150: perfect Katana 150: close to perfect, maybe a little bit smaller than the Sabre2 150 Sabre2 135: easy with a short closing loop Katana 135: easy with a short closing loop Velocity 120: normal/medium