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  1. Ken, There should be two sets of marks on the needle bar. One set for a 135 X 7 Needle (DP X 5) and another set for a 135 X 17 needle. The machine comes setup for both sizes of needles from the factory. As far as the Thread/Needles, run 18-20 sized needles for B thread and 19-21 for E thread. Also, Use B thread on Sport canopy lines and E thread for Tandem canopy lines. Always use E thread for stab attachments for both Sport and Tandem canopies. MEL
  2. Text Sent... MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  3. I do not impose any age limit on reserves. If it is good with a thumb test, no stains, etc... It is good to go in my book. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  4. So was the Lightning taken to terminal?? Also, the was questionable xVX a standard VX, a JVX, or a "converted VX" with a JVX line set installed? This is not normal wear and tear BTW unless the lines are not coated. Technora is very wear resistant, but at the same time very supple and soft. It needs a coating to help prevent picking. It also is very easily damaged by UV. This is why we coat our lines. The bottom line is this. If you are buying canopies with Technora that is tan in color (uncoated);expect a short life of the lines. They simply will not last as long as ones that are coated. This is a known fact. ...and yes there are two manufacturers that I know of using uncoated lines. With regards to Vectran; it is a very wear prone medium but we know this up front. We coat the line in a clear polymer dip after manufacture to help bind the bundles together. This helps keep the grit out of the inside of the braid. It also adds to the life of the line material by being a "buffer" if you will. If the buffer takes a 100-200 jumps to wear off, this is 100-200 jumps that the material itself does not wear. We coat the line in two methods. The first is a clear poly coating. The second is a combo of the same poly and also a UV inhibitor for the Technora. Lifespan of both materials should be at least 400-700 jumps if properly coated. Well it depends on the canopy. If it is a slow opening canopy - Vectran always. If it is a small pocket rocket - Technora If it is a bigger canopy Like a Navigator - 525-600 Dacron If it is a Safire II or III, Crossfire II or III - 580 Vectran ...and etc... Hope this helps, MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  5. Chris, I hate to disagree with you on this; but unfortunately I do. With all of my research on fatal, hard openings, 99 % of them were Spectra lined main canopies. The top five list goes like this from my accounts of the fatalities. BTW, all were Spectra lined canopies except for a Vectran lined tandem canopy. 1.Sabre II 2.Spectre 3.Triathlon 4.Sabre I 5.Stiletto As we see more and more canopies lined with line mediums other than Spectra, the number of recorded hard openings is diminishing at a rapid rate. Spectra in my opinion, is the worst line medium to ever be installed on main canopies period. My experience working with different line mediums for the last 20 plus years lead me to the above opinion. It is also why I brought "other" mediums to market as you know. You might note that I pointed out just "mains" and not reserves. This is because reserve canopies are best suited for Spectra because: 1. It speeds up the openings compared to the other mediums. 2. The number of jumps on a reserve line set will not even be a factor in regards to line trim. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  6. Mike Fury was the designer and Lloyd "Red" Payne (who now owns Flight Concepts International) was a co-designer that worked for Mike. Mike started SunPath in late 1986-early 1987 as I recall and yes they had Velcro riser covers. Replacing the Velcro was pretty easy on those containers. We still have a couple that we use for student packing in DeWolf's course. Great Rigs BTW... MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  7. There are actually five configurations possible. 2 X 6 - with Primary and Secondary lower control lines going to two sets of toggles - Secondary toggle (Student) goes to #1 and #2, the other 6 go to the Primary toggle. 6 X 2 - with Primary and Secondary lower control lines going to two sets of toggles - Secondary toggle (Student) goes to #1,#2, #3,#4. #5,and #6, the other 2 go to the Primary toggle 4 X 4 - with Primary and Secondary lower control lines going to two sets of toggles - Secondary toggle (Student) goes to #1,#2, #3, and #4, the other 4 go to the Primary toggle This is not a standard NZ set up BTW; but is used at some DZ's. 8 X 1 - Uses one Primary lower control line and uses all 8 USTs. The fifth option is very simple and is used by several dzs. If you have a setup that has both a Primary and Secondary lower control line, you simply route both lower control lines to the primary toggle on each side. Both control lines go through the same guide ring like a Strong rig does. This takes zero modification to the steering line configuration. I also like it better than the 8 X 1 set up.It is not as hard to pull for some odd reason. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  8. Postive results of what???? Slower openings for sure. Maybe not by much but definitively slower than a two stow freebag because each stow causes a bit of deceleration during its release. All the other manufacturers use the 2 stow freebag without any issues and use the safety stow to its fullest advantage. This advantage is completely removed when using a Speed Bag. I put these videos up because it shows the advantage of a two stow bag with the possibility of getting the canopy out of the bag if you do have that scenario over your head. This is real life stuff because it happens more than one would think. That possibility goes away when you use a Speed Bag. I task you to show me one video of a Speed Bag in the same set of circumstances that also has the same outcome. I know this leaves me out of the MANY because I am very educated on the Racer and the Speed Bag. I might not personally pack them for use but I do get my hands on them while training riggers. Also,I started educating myself with Racers in 1990, helped test drop/jump the Racer Tandem in 1992, and have owned many Racers in the past. I have 11 or 12 reserve rides on a Racer, but they all had the two stow freebag. I stopped jumping and packing them when the Speed Bag came out. This is where I get a LARGE opinion..from lots of experience. With that said, I would still pack them today if they had the old two stow bag. MEL . Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  9. Rob, First let me say I respect your opinion and thanks for the comments. You are absolutely correct with regards to rolling the dice.But here is the difference when you roll that dice. The normal two stow freebag has a bungee that has a 50% greater chance of NOT having a bag lock. If one stow is captured and locked down and the second one is released, the bungee will pull out with the locked down stow and you will have canopy out of the bag. With a Speed Bag you have to remove all of the locking stows to get the canopy out of the bag, If the bag is spinning around up in the mess, I think you would agree that mathematically it is less likely to happen. All it takes is one stow to get caught up and its over. If you look at the videos I posted, both jumpers hand pulled the lines out of the freebag along with the two locking stows. This is what got the reserve out of the bag and into the air stream. To simple things up a bit, let's say you have a cutaway, tumbled and got the reserve P/C wrapped around your foot. The system is now in a horseshoed configuration. Which system would you rather have; a standard freebag with two stows and a line free stow pouch or one with 10-12 rubber bands??? I personally am going to rest my chances with the standard 2 stow freebag every time. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  10. No problems with the standard bag. The new Freebag was geared to the head down people. Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  11. Talk to Dave DeWolf about it. He investigated it for the DZ as I recall. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  12. Both rigs in the videos were other than Racer rigs.Thank goodness! They probably would be dead if they had a Speed Bag instead of a standard type freebag. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  13. If it has a speed bag instead of a standard freebag...No I will not pack it. The Speed Bag uses rubberbands instead of a stow pouch. This means that is is more prone to a freebag lock than the standard freebag simply because it has more locking stows. It was not long after the release of the Speed bag that a girl died using one in NJ which attributed to the death according to the investigator on site. If you end up with a mess like this, the last thing you want is a bunch of locking stows to have to pull out before you can get the canopy out of the bag..... or this one: I used to train riggers on the finer points of the Racer. No longer since they went solely to the Speed Bag. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  14. Terry, So you caught it during inspection before packing... correct. Do you know of any reserve canopy that failed during use that was not affected by a SB or AD? I do not recall any during use. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
  15. No. My reasoning is simple. I treat every canopy the same no matter how old it is by inspecting it thoroughly myself. Now add that to the fact that I have never known a reserve parachute to fail from normal use and/or old age. At least not any that did not have known issues like acid mesh. That is again never to my knowledge..ever. MEL Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC