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Everything posted by riggerrob

  1. Do lots of relative work, starting on your belly. Get so good that flying CONSISTENTLY 1 yard from others becomes second nature. You want to progress through the cognitive and associative stages until you operate in the autonomous stage. In other words, flying your slot should be a Zen Bhuddist "mindless" activity, without conscious thought on your part. Then repeat all those exercises in a sit, then in a stand, then head-down until you can "mindlessly" fly head-down a consistent yard from your buddy despite his wildest gyrations and fall-rate changes. Good! Those exercise should keep you busy for the next few hundred jumps!
  2. riggerrob

    Articulated harness

    Wings articulated harness only includes hip rings. Hip rings are more comfortable when walking to the airplane, when stuffing big guys into small airplanes and allow greater flexibility in freefall. Hip rings are pretty much the norm these days. While other manufacturers may offer chst rings, improvements in yoke design have decreased most of the advantages attributed to chest rings. All the Wings introduced to my DZ over the last three years have hip rings and all their owners brag about how comfortable they are.
  3. Bummer! Perseverance wove some mighty fine canopy fabric.
  4. riggerrob

    Main closing pin position

    We prefer inserting curved pins 2/3 of the length of the shank.
  5. riggerrob

    Sigma passenger harness slipping

    Sounds like a combination of factors: thinner webbing, loose QC on hardware, etc. The short term solution may be to sew an extra layer of Type 12 webbing on the side strap to thicken the webbing (ala recent Aerodyne Icon Service Bulletin), but you really should discuss this problem with the Relative Workshop?
  6. riggerrob

    Tandem instructor

    If you have 50 or 100 (I forget the exact number) tandem jumps, then you only have to do the ground school and a couple of jumps with a Strong Tandem Examiner. Make sure you have a fresh Class 3 medical when you report for training, fresh membership card for Brazilian Parachute Federation, etc.
  7. riggerrob

    Reserve PC design: fabric to mesh ratio?

    Sidewinder uses a Vector II reserve pilotchute, ergo 100% fabric with no mesh. Most of the rest are 50% - 50%. The Stealth pilotchute installed in Voodoos and post 1993 Talons has more fabric than mesh, but that is because the spring is so long.
  8. riggerrob

    Slowing down openings on other chutes...

    We did not worry about slowing down openings on round canopies. We were just glad when they opened! It was not until the 1990s that anyone figured out how to install a sail slider on a round canopy. Too bad they had fallen out of fashion with skydivers by then. Yes, I know that Starlites (Para-Commander clones) had spider sliders, but they were never very popular. Only REAL MEN jumped back in those days. ... because only REAL MEN could tolerate the hard openings and hard landings. We would do 2 or 3 jumps, then retire to the bar to drink until we forgot about our sore necks and sore knees, etc. ... and the toughest of us jumped Delta IIs. That OSI slowed down openings maybe 1/100 th of a second, so that openings only felt like being tackled by half of a football team! When ropes-and-rings were introduced, sore necks - caused by hard openings - became a thing of the past, however, our hands got sore from packing that 64 foot long rope.
  9. You are correct. I have only put my seal on top of the work of a few other riggers. These were riggers that I had worked with for years and trusted implicitly.
  10. riggerrob

    Opinions on the Student Icon please.

    We have had great results with Sidewinder Student rigs. Flying High builds them as tough as their earlier Bullet harness/containers. Large numbers of faded, frayed and filthy Bullets are still hauling students "back in the hills." I also have Student NARO and Student Javelins in my loft right now. The Student NAROs are in pretty good shape, but most of them need new reserve pin covers because their clear plastic cracked. Fortunately NARO reserve pin covers are only Velcroed on so it will be easy to exchange pin covers, as soon as I sew them. Some of the Student Javelins have been jumped long and hard, so they need new MLWs because of the recent Service Bulletin. I have also repaired dozens of Student Teleis 1 ... a good rig, but too "busy" for my tastes. Fortunately Telesis 2 is much simpler. I definitely prefer AADs that can be checked while students are fully dressed. My DZO and I disagree about clear pin covers. I like the ease of gear checks, but he hates them because they are high wear items. Oh, wait a minute, he pays me to repair them. Hee! Hee! Mind you, some rigs (Student NARO and Student Vector) have slip-in replacement plastics.
  11. riggerrob

    looking for webbing

    Try asking all the harness manufacturers. For example, Strong Enterprises has a side-business called "Packman" that wholesales webbing, hardware, etc. They may have an odd-coloured lot that they are willing to sell for cheap. As for sewing your own harness ... it is a complicated process that would take thousands of words to put on paper. Perhaps you should wait until Sandy Reid publishes his FAA-endorsed textbook on major repairs. Since harness manufacture is such a complicated process, you really should sew your first half-dozen under the supervision of a Master Rigger. This is definitely not a home-study project. And it is always wise to ask a second set of eyes to inspect stuff before you fling it off a cliff.
  12. riggerrob


  13. riggerrob

    Lens Scratches

    Some people use lemon Pledge furniture polish. Others buy glasses-restoring kits off the shopping channel.
  14. riggerrob

    eleven cells

    I have made hundreds of jumps with 11-cell, F-111, Strong Mighty Mack Master 520 tandem canopies. Only the best of packers could make them open comfortably. The only reason we kept them around was because they landed softly with 230 pound students. If you are still interested, I have a shiny silver, blue and pink Strong 520 with about 300 jumps and new lines for sale. PM me to discuss prices and shipping.
  15. riggerrob

    Wings Issue Repaired

    You got off lucky! Be thankful that you only suffered a few line twists. Vector, Javelin, Sidewinder, Talon, etc. owners have torn reserve containers off their harnesses during unstable openings. The first solution was to change packing methods, routing risers and lines straight down the sides of the main container. But since skydivers are notoriously illiterate when it comes to packing manuals, we needed a hardware solution. Troy Loney (RIP) introduced "line guides" when he designed the EOS harness/container for Para-Flite circa 1990. Parachutes de France adapted line guides to their ATOM in the mid-1990s. Circa 2000, I suggested line guides to Flying High. Al MacDonald sent me a pattern so I could retrofit line guides to all our Student Sidewinders and now line guides are standard on all new-production Sidewinders. Line guides have been an intergral part of Aerodyne Icons from the start of production. Now you have talked Sunrise into installing line guides in Wings. Good! Hopefully line guides will become the production standard. Just one more step in the process of skydiver-proofing gear.
  16. riggerrob

    Cypres 4 year check

    Ask your local rigger to loan you a Cypres box. Since cables are easily damaged, it is probably also a good idea to ask him/her to remove your Cypres. Stuff Cypres in box and gently coil cables. Write: SSK 1008 Monroe Road Lebanon OH 45036 on the outside of box and take it to your favorite Include a note with your return address, daytime phone number, VISA number, etc. United States Post Office or courier company. Insure parcel for US$1,000. Wait 3 to 6 weeks, then hand Cypres to your local rigger and ask him/her to repack your reserve. Congratulations on thinking ahead, by doing maintenance during the slow season.,
  17. riggerrob

    Elsinore closing?

    Rumors about Elsinore closing revive every time Southern California gets deluged by serious rains. Fortunately, drainage gets better every year. The downside of better drainage is that unscrupulous real estate developers then try to get permits to sell condos on the DZ because "it has not flooded this week." It is amazing how clueless Southern Californians are about geographical hazards like flooding, earthquakes, land slides, brush fires, tsunamis, etc. Hah! Hah! Hah!
  18. riggerrob

    Buying a new Oddysey, unable to contact Sunpath

    Take it easy on Sun Path. Most of their senior staff were at the PIA Symposium last week. Dave Singer probably had a mountain of repairs awaiting his return. Pat Thomas looked exhausted by the end of the Symposium, considering that she did the lion's share of organizing.
  19. riggerrob

    New stuff at the PIA

    PD introduced a Z-Braced canopy that has far more parts than I can count. However, PD promises that if I guess the correct number of parts, they will give me a free canopy
  20. riggerrob

    Lines - stuck in the 1980s

    Durable lines are available, they are just too bulky to be fashionable. For example, 825 Spectra lines last at least twice as long (say 800) as 500 pound Spectra (maybe 400 jumps), but their larger pack volume loses fashion points. 800 pound Dacron is even more durable, but even less fashionable. Precision has compromised by installing Dacron on the lines that wear out soonest: lower control lines. Big Air has compromised by making line kits mostly out of Spectra, but with Vectran on the corners: which shrink first.
  21. riggerrob

    tandem rating question

    Sure you can take home a copy of the waiver. However some tandem instructors might get offended if you ask to see their credentials. In 19 years of teaching tandems, no one has ever asked to see my rating paperwork, not even my current boss.
  22. riggerrob

    Tandem Racer

    I recently had an opportunity to get re-aquainted with the Racer Elite Tandem. Back in 1997 I earned my Racer Tandem Instructor rating by doing a couple of jumps on thier 500 square foot rectangular main canopy. In the intervening years I did another 1700 jumps, mostly on SET 400s. This past weekend I did three more jumps on a new Racer Tandem, all from Cessnas. I liked the Racer Tandem back then and I still like it today. In the intervening years, John Sherman heeded my advice in simplifying the drogue riser, but little else has changed on the container aside from the double main riser cover tuck tabs and some refinements to the main top flap. The first thing I noticed about the Racer Tandem is how much shorter it is than the Strong Tandems that I normally jump. The greatest size difference is in the reserve container, significantly thinner even with a Jump Shack 400 reserve. The center of gravity is also lower, closer to my own center of gravity. When I picked it up, I also noticed that the Racer is about 20% lighter than the Strong. The harness on the demo Racer Tandem is an "M+1", slightly too long for me, so that I had to tighten the leg straps all the way to the stops for a snug fit. The reduced bulk also made the Racer more comfortable when riding in the Cessna. Type 13 webbing makes the student harness a bit more difficult to adjust, but then it does not slip. The belly band is much lower, making it easier to keep the hip junction at the front of their pelvis. Attaching the side straps was a bit more difficult, but that will probably ease with currency. I had difficulty tightening the side straps for my first jump, but then I was jammed in the front of a narrow-body Cessna 182. Hee! Hee! With loose side straps, it took a bit more finess to fly the exit (read: I used ALL of my long legs), but once the drogue was out, I felt rock-solid laying on the student. Drogue fall was level and surprisingly smooth. The only variable was how much the students kicked. Only one student complained of discomfort under canopy, but she quit complaining as soon as I loosened her belly band a bit. She was also my only student who had any difficulty getting her feet out in front for landing, but then she was 50 years older than them. Openings were not consistent. The Firebolt 390 opened great with a tall, lanky male student, but when I jumped with medium to small women, line stretch was hard (but not as hard as a Strong F-111 canopy) with 4 seconds of slider-fall before the canopy inflated. After opening, I tried a rear riser stall and turns. Slow turns were easy, but it required everything I had to flare the canopy. Riser manuvers required as much muscle as a SET 400, meaning that I would not try landing it on risers alone. Pulling on the yellow main toggles revealed light control pressures and docile turns, slower than a SET 400. Grabbing the red flare toggles as well did not significantly improve turn rate. Toggle pressures were still light, even when my students forced me into an awkward, wide hands position. The Firebolt has the lightest control pressure of any tandem canopy I have jumped (Pioneer High-Lifter, PD 360, PD 421, EZ 384, Galaxy 400, Racer 400, Racer 500, Strong 425, Strong 520 and SET 400). Frankly, toggle pressures were so light that I cannot understand why they complicated the canopy with four main toggles. I have always hated extra toggles, even when I was jumping Strong 520 mains. The last thing I want to do is fumble for extra toggles while am turning onto final at a busy DZ. If I owned a Firebolt 390, the first thing I would do is tie all the steering lines to just two toggles. In terms of handling the Firebolt 390 reminds me of the Aerodyne Solo 270 canopy I test-jumped a week earlier, only more boring. Which leads us to question of how exciting student and tandem canopies should be. To my mind, the more boring the better. If a tandem instructor choses a canopy based upon how much fun it is for him, he is in the wrong business! Practice flares did not seem to slow the Firebolt 390 canopy by much. Despite holding all the toggles all the way down for 7 seconds, I could not stall the canopy like a Strong main. Coming in for landing, the initial 3/4 of the flare felt the same as a SET 400, lots of toggle movement, but the same tragectory towards the planet. Then the Firebolt 390 surprised me. Depressing toggles below waist level resulted in dramatic reductions in both forward speed and rate of descent. It surprised me with a ridiculously easy stand-up landing in 4 knots of wind! After the jump, the Firebolt's lighter weight and lower bulk made it easier to carry back to the hangar. Back in the packing hangar, the Firebolt's hybrid construction made it ridiculously easy to squeeze the air out - easier than a tired F-111 canopy - and the only thing different than packing a sport rig was attaching the drogue. Back in 1997 I concluded that Racer tandem harnesses were more comfortable than anybody else's and their main canopies flew significantly better as well, with lighter toggle pressures. After jumping the latest Racer Tandem with a Firebolt 390 canopy, my opinion remains the same. I like Racer Tandems.
  23. riggerrob


    Today I jumped an Aerodyne Solo student canopy and got bored. The secanrio included: sea level, about 65 degrees farenheit, 10 knots of wind and a test jumper with 4300 jumps and 190 pounds (before dressing). I rolled the nose a little and packed the Solo 270 into a Student Sidewinder container (made by Flying High Manufacturing of Alberta). The new Solo has about the same pack volume as a Manta 290, while its combination of ZP top skin with F-111 bottom skin made it easy to compress, even for a brand new canopy. My jump was a 2 second delay from a Cessna flying at 80 knots, 3,000 feet over the DZ. Opening was so slow that I regretted rolling the nose at all! Line twists were easy to kick out of. Toggle pressures were light. When I pulled a toggle to shoulder level, turns were boring. When I pulled a toggle to hip level, turns got fast enough to be interesting. Stalls were impossible at the factory settings. However, when I took one wrap and held my hands all the way down, the Solo stalled deep enough to fold up and bump the rear corners together. The surprising thing about a deep stall with the Solo 270 was that it continued to go straight ahead, with hardly any buffeting. As soon as I released the brakes, the Solo quickly recovered, with minimal dive and end cells remained fully inflated through the stalls. At about 600 feet, I initiated a half-brake 360 degree turn. I was pleasantly surprised when I was easily able to complete the turn and raise the toggles in plenty of time for a stock standard, one-shot student flare. The Solo hovered! It stopped completely and I hovered with grass tickling my toes for three seconds before it set me down softer than I have landed in years. Next time jump I will not roll the nose at all. This is good, the less you have to do while packing a student canopy, the less likely to mess up on a busy day. I found the Aerodyne Solo 270 to be a boring canopy. Turns are docile with the toggle-to-shoulder technique preferred by first-timers. Packers won't whine, students won't complain about hard openings or hard landings and ambulance drivers will get bored, really bored. In conclusion, I would cheerfully hang a first-jump student under an Aerodyne Solo 270 canopy. Rob Warner, CSPA Instructor since 1982