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Everything posted by ctrph8

  1. When I ordered my rig there was some confusion about how to get a correct measurement from the instructions on the chart. By "confusion" I mean I interpreted the instructions incorrectly and told the person who measured me the wrong thing. The rig didn't fit. I sent it back so they could look at it to see what kind of remedy there was and they ended up building me a new harness. Through the process they were just plain cool. Each and every time I spoke with them they were professional, VERY knowledgable and easy to talk to. A lot of companies could take lessons from these guys. I have a feeling that there might be more to this story.
  2. I seem to remember that one of the canopy manufacturers was working on a low bulk reserve parachute to rival the Optimum... Icarus maybe? Does anyone have any current details?
  3. So I got my Optimum installed. It feels like a different rig. The PDR 160 does fit but the Optimum 160 fits sooo much better. My rig feels lighter and less like I'm carrying a brick around on my back. To surmise, an Optimum 176 will probably fit in there but the Optimum 160 would feel like the perfect fit. I like this so much I'm going to sell my PD reserve and my Tempo and start angling towards another Optimum.
  4. One of the concepts that helped me in my early days of belly flying was the idea that I was never just falling straight down. I was always going to be pushing a little bit towards the center of the formation, even if that formation is just two people. If you look at pictures of big way formations, those guys are completely focused on flying their slot as perfectly as they can. They are pretty much all driving in with their legs a little even though they are in the middle of a huge formation and they are not trying to "go" anywhere.
  5. I'm going to be shopping for a container in the next year. That design would go with NONE of my stuff now but I'm really thinking about it. Maybe orange stitching and pinstripes?
  6. I saw pictures of a rig that I thought was really cool. The rig was essentially all black but it had red piping wherever piping was available and all of the stitching was red. Somehow the red thread on black binding tape looked really tricked out. On this one I threw in a red back pad too. You'll have to use your imagination with the red stitching but the piping is there.
  7. I have a W-10 with a PD 160 in it. Right next to it is my new Optimum 160 that I plan to install this week. From what I can gather, an optimum 176 would fit about as well as my PD 160.
  8. I think they have things worked out on the Sabre 2, but the Sabre 1 is a completely different animal. Until I got a lip sewed onto my slider, it was Russian Roulette at opening time. Most of the time it behaved nicely. The rest of the time it was trying to kill me... just a little at a time. Once the lip got sewn on, everything mellowed out.
  9. The center A lines take a lot of abuse during the opening sequence. If memory serves, I don't think I've ever seen broken lines on a tandem that were not center A lines. I seem to remember seeing some kind of problem with a worn out brake line once but I don't think it actually broke.
  10. I've bought used gear through Chuting Star but I've never sold anything. Chuting Star has a cool program. They take a look at the gear, figure out what it's worth, sell it, take a small commission and send you your money. It's a good deal for everyone because they inspect everything and give an honest outside opinion of what it is worth. They put it on their website and mail it out to the buyer. Also, because they have a reputation to maintain, they are very honest. I bought a used reserve from them and they listed out everything that made it less than perfect. It had a patch and they included pictures of it in the description. When I got it there were no surprises. Just call them, arrange to mail them your stuff and wait for your money!
  11. The less a canopy comes in contact with water, the better. If you absolutely have to (like you landed in the ocean or covered it with mud) use fresh water. I've heard of people using things like a very small amount of Woolite but I wouldn't. Each manufacturer has worked out the least invasive way to wash their canopies. Call them! Try not to wash the seams too vigorously. There are lots of different materials in a canopy besides 0-P or F-111. Sometimes they shrink but the materials around them don't. If you have no other choices, soak the canopy and keep the lines out of the water as much as possible. Empty the water and soak it again to rinse. If I am trying to get the salt out of a canopy from being in the ocean, I actually taste the canopy in a few places to tell if all of the salt is off of the fabric. Let the water do the work. The less you scrub or agitate the canopy the less you will mess with the coatings on the fabric. Hang the canopy by the tail (as opposed to the lines) to dry it. Try not to let any one part take the weight of the entire wet canopy. All of that water is heavy and can distort the shape of a canopy. If it is a small canopy, a distortion can make for some really exciting moments. Hang it in a cool, dry, ventilated place. Fans help. The seams will dry much more slowly than the fabric. If the fabric is dry but the seams feel damp, let it hang. Don't pack that wetness into your rig. Mold sucks! Ivory soap is probably not a good idea. Again, try not to wash the coatings off of your canopy. To the OP: You really can jump the stink out of it. Sometimes rigs just smell rank if they have been sitting for a while. The more you jump them the less they stink.
  12. The Neurosurgeon is definitely the place to start. Chiropractors are fantastic and certainly have their place, but I'm betting that if that had worked, we wouldn't be having this discussion. As a rule, the Neurosurgeons are not looking for reasons to do surgery, but this sort of thing is what they deal with every day. Chances are that they will start with pain management and physical therapy before moving on to more invasive treatments. Every person is different so what was appropriate for one person might not be appropriate for anyone else. This means that you will hear a thousand stories from well meaning people telling you exactly what they did and what you HAVE to do. Take it all with a grain of salt. I had spinal surgery almost 4 months ago and have been skydiving regularly for the last 3 months. I'm not 100% pain free but I can work and play and have taken nothing stronger than Advil since then. The methods they are using have improved so much over the last few years. They sent me home that day and I didn't even have a bandage. It was amazing. 6 or 8 years ago that would have had a much different ending. One of the lessons that I learned though this was that if the physical therapists tell you to do something (and it will almost always be something unpleasant), do it. If they tell you to do something 3 times a day, do it 4. If they want 10 reps, do 15 of the most perfect reps you can do. The conditioning they will want you to do is really important. In my case, the pain didn't go away but my mobility got MUCH better. I also suspect that the conditioning helped speed my recovery. Again, my condition, surgery, recovery and treatment may not relate at all to your current situation but from someone who has been down this long road, there are options out there.
  13. I've had great landings out of both manufacturers but have never landed one of their reserves. What did you mean?
  14. I've been using a velcro keeper on the collar of my jumpsuits for years now. It's not a perfect system but somehow I liked it better than on my rig.
  15. With most modern canopies, the manufacturers have tamed the openings quite a bit. I'm sure there are exceptions but most manufacturers don't recommend rolling the nose on modern canopies. From what I can see in the Aerodyne manual, they don't mention it. Just flake the nose and keep it neat and orderly when you are packing it. The same principals for any good pack job still apply regardless of which packing method you are using. The end result of your pack job should be very symmetrical, the slider should be firmly seated in place and your lines should be straight and neat. One of the things that I've learned is that when I go to lay the canopy down, I do it very gently. Flopping it onto the ground can undo all of the careful work you just put in to it. Something else you might consider is that your body position on opening can have a lot to do with the way your canopy opens. You should be flying your body all the way through the opening. You might be surprised at the trend your openings take if you are really mindful of being relaxed and symmetrical through those last few seconds of freefall.
  16. Definitely find a better rigger. More than that though, see if you can put a couple of jumps on the rig. If it fits and the gear is appropriate for you size wise, this could be a good thing. Go play with it before you make any decisions. There are plenty of riggers out there who will talk with you objectively about your gear questions. If you are not getting real answers, that's a clue. Talk with the last rigger who packed it. They were the last person to inspect the gear and can talk with you about the general condition of it.
  17. Weights might help but my first thought was that the right suit might help more than just adding weight. Go for something slick and tight. Also, as you progress you are going to get better at flying your body and controlling how much of it is out in the wind. You can get really small without going into a hard arch. I've seen people attach things to the MLW that could either mess with the handles in free fall or make for an awkward pull if you had to use them. Things shift around in free fall that looked great on the ground. Better to wear them as a vest. At this point in your learning I don't think that attaching them to your harness will change your experience much except to possibly impede some of your emergency procedures.
  18. I was thinking that Hand Gliding was when you drove fast with your arm out the window and making airplane noises... In which case the goggles would be perfect. I was more worried trying to figure out how the goggles might save you if you tried to go 'hand gliding'.
  19. There are a lot of variables there. Assuming the rig is well maintained and is in good shape, I'd say that it should work as well as a newer rig and the malfunction rate should be the same. I'm not addressing older main canopies at all here. Each one has it's own temperament. There is a limit to this though. Really old rigs obviously are not as safe as the newer ones. Belly band pilot chutes, capewells and 5 cell reserves all worked... most of the time, but I'm grateful that technology has moved past these. The newer rigs probably have some technologies built in that the older ones don't have that will significantly improve your chances. RSLs, MARD systems, modern AADs and some tweaks in the reserve pilot chutes have all pushed things in the right direction. YMMV. Of course none of those things will prevent malfunctions but if you do have one, your odds go up. The newer rigs are built for higher speeds and present less opportunity for a premature deployment. I'd say that if you are looking for a rig, try for the newest rig you can afford but don't discount an older one without talking with a rigger about it. Pretty much anything (that is well maintained and in serviceable condition) within the last decade would be a good bet but again, you really need to be doing this with the help of a rigger. There is a lot of cheap gear that is cheap for a reason or just not right for you.
  20. I had a lip sewn onto my Sabre 150 and it fixed all of that. It became a very well behaved canopy afterwards. Got one sewn onto a foul tempered Para Flite Turbo Z too.
  21. This isn't exactly what you are talking about but here goes: When I was going through my rigger training I borrowed an old Racer that had lived a heroic and hard life to practice packing. During the inspection I found that all of the hardware had rusted and that some of it had been slowly sawing through the harness in places until it was retired. Nothing was cut all the way through but if memory serves, I'd guess that there were places in the webbing that were 25% degraded. I also seem to remember a Vector where the adapter for the chest strap had done the same thing and was cutting through the attachment point.
  22. The question is, what are they basing that perception on? I can base my perception of how different canopies fly on my experience flying them, and seeing the differences. Unless you've flown 'them all', you can't really say which ones are, or aren't, good for you. You could guess, but if you guess wrong, the consequences can be dire. So even if someone has education, their ability to handle a canopy remains unknown until they try it. So the best method to dealing with this is to ensure that jumpers start at an appropriate level, and move one step at a time while taking an appropriate level of time at each step. Without the steps, and some sort of requirement for time on each step, you could have jumpers making 5 or 10 jumps on one size before downsizing. In my book, that hardly 'proves' their ability to handle that size, and certainly doesn't allow them sufficient time to truely acclimate to the new canopy. I think the key here is that they will have done the work first and then have the option to downsize. It might even be more than one size down too. If a guy my size went from a 230 down to a 190 it might (or might not) be a bit of a stretch but not unreasonable. I just think if someone is willing to go through the training and demonstrate a proficiency with the concepts AND execution of it, that should count for something towards being able to choose the canopy that is right for them. Also, every one of us who tried a smaller/different canopy has had a time in their lives when they had not tried that canopy. The remedy for that is actually getting out there, trying things and learning. I only speak for myself here but I've tried lots of canopies and purchased many fewer. Jump numbers alone are not the answer. Education and demonstration of that knowledge is the answer. We all know a version of "that guy" who has a ton of jumps and no clue. I still hold that if someone can show that they have mastered the skill set, they should be rewarded for their work with the freedom to make a wider set of choices for themselves.
  23. How is that different than we have now? Currently, jumpers have to pass the opinion of the 'powers that be', be that the S&TA, the DZO, or head instructor. The end result is that someone is in charge of what is inappropriate, and that person's opinion becomes the standard. If a jumper is dedicated enough, they'll blow through the WL chart in short order, and be up to a 'sporty' WL in 300/400 jumps. I think that's kind of the point. If someone is willing to put the time and energy into really learning to fly their canopy, we should reward that with letting them fly a canopy more suited to what they perceive as the best canopy for them. There is a lot of education that goes into it. That isn't to say that they WILL need a smaller canopy, just that they could if that is what worked best for them. Also, I like that there is a human factor in determining some of these things. I can't speak for other drop zones, but the ones I've spent the most time at have very active S&TAs. I think this is a much better idea than an arbitrary number.
  24. This whole thing sticks in my craw. Jumping at a high wind drop zone, these requirements would be prohibitive and particularly so for the lighter jumpers. I don't have the numbers to back this up, but the wing loading here is higher than the proposed limitations and this generally works well for us. What I would suggest would be a way to test out of the requirements... or at least into a higher bracket. If someone has the skills and has done the work, let them prove it and move into a more appropriate canopy as they see it. The arbitrary jump numbers as indicators of ability could be a base line but if someone can test out early, let that be an option. When I first bought a Saber in 1992 I was the only person at our drop zone with a zero P canopy. These discussions were rampant except instead of wing loading, it was canopy material.... That I was a 100 jump wonder and was jumping a Wonderhog was entirely beside the point.
  25. I loved my Stiletto. I moved on to Crossfire 2s and won't ever look back but I still think the Stiletto is a good canopy. My openings were getting ugly. They canopy was on it's last legs and I blamed it on that but when I got my Crossfire I was still occasionally getting erratic openings. When I changed pilot chutes (by moving it to a different rig) everything clicked. My pilot chute looked fine and the kill line was still in great shape but the mesh had elongated in places and the pilot chute wouldn't hold it's original shape under load. My theory is that the openings were not as staged because the pilot chute was not holding the load evenly. When I got another one (Jim Cazer actually traded my old one in on a new one) everything smoothed out. I bring this up only to say that you should check your pilot chute when you go through it with your rigger. If you get it relined, I just got great service and an excellent reline from MEL at Skyworks Rigging. Sending it to PD has it's advantages too.