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Everything posted by riggerrob

  1. riggerrob

    USPA Badges

    Some skydivers sew USPA badges on jumpsuits to hide holes.
  2. ........ Lone Star could live again. ......... Lee ——————————————————————————- Lone Star’s business model was based upon a giant silk screen printer. Unfortunately, the giant silk screen printer was not reliable, so both my Para-Kits were marked by hand. Fast forward 30 years and small CNC cutting tables are available down to even garage-sized models. Many can be fitted with lasers or hot-knives. Many “makers” are bright enough to fabricate their own vacuum tables. Down-load some cut files from the inter web and you can start cutting. For example: Chesepeake Light Craft are the industry leader in small boat kits: canoes, kayaks, sail boats, teardrop trailers, etc. CLC would love to reduce shipping costs by moving to the next stage of selling cut files over the inter web. Then hobbists could take cutting files to a local CNC cutting shop. The problem is that CNC cutting files are too easy to copy and the original designer earns nothing for the year or two it took him to perfect the basic boat. CLC also fears than some pirate will sell sloppy copies of a CLC design and CLC will get sued after someone drowns when their 4th generation sloppy copy sinks. Even if courts eventually decide that CLC is innocent, they still sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into lawyers’ pockets. Finally, we need to consider the cost of materials. Buying fabrics, tapes, suspension ones, etc. in small quantities means paying retail. The retail cost of fabric roughly equals the retail cost of finished, certified canopies.
  3. riggerrob

    “Touching the Dragon” by James Hatch

    A decade after that King Air crash, I still struggle physically, emotionally and financially. This summer I could not hike for two months because of sore knees. I recently joined another group therapy session to learn better coping strategies for dealing with anxiety. Finally, I just wrote an angry letter - to a lawyer - suggesting that they owe me 15 months back wages. The DZ at Chilliwack shut down around 2000 and Pitt Meadows shut in October 2017. The last few summers I have gone to Victoria to do tandems, but only one weekend this year. I have done some fun jumps at Abbotsford. Abby has invested heavily in updates and improvements (pin checks, Kodiak, etc.) now that (son) Jessie is gradually assuming control, but the place has a different emotional vibe that I am still figuring out.
  4. riggerrob

    Military HALO opening altitude?

    The term HALO distinguishes it from HAHO. As an another poster suggested, typical HALO openings are in the 5,000 to 3,000’ similar to sport jumpers. OTOH High Altitude High Opening jumpers typically open within 10 seconds of exit (maybe 25,000’) and fly their open canopies towards their target. With strong tail winds, HAHO jumpers can cover 25 miles, creating too large an area for defending troops to search.
  5. riggerrob

    “Touching the Dragon” by James Hatch

    Retired US Navy SEAL James Hatch has written a book about three distinct phases of his life. The first third - of the book - outlines James’ “Action Man” career as a US NAVY SEAL door-kicker and parachute instructor until he was shot during a capture-or-kill raid in Afghanistan. The bullet shattered James’ left femur and ended his military career. The middle third of “Dragon” details his medical recovery for that crippling gun shot wound. The final third - almost half - of ‘Dragon details his recovery from alcoholism, depression, opiate addiction and a suicide attempt. The wound ruined his self-identity as it left him screaming on the battlefield. James harshly criticized himself for in-professional screaming on the battlefield. Boredom, pain and hallucinogenic drugs made him lose touch with reality and he turned to the bottle for splice. There is a humorous anecdote about why nurses refused him “Parachutist” magazine! Today James still limps and struggles with PTSD, but credits medics, his team-mates and wife with helping him return to reality. James also explains how skydiving can help traumatized veterans find their place in civilian life after wartime service. Skydivers can learn a lot from James’ experiences especially about how important team-mates can be while recovery from injuries. James also emphasizes the importance of wounded jumpers naming their problems, bringing problems out in the open where they can be dealt with.
  6. riggerrob

    Age of active TIs

    It is difficult to set an upper age limit for earning TI ratings. The limit is more about flexibility of mind and body. Younger skydivers are still curious and mentally flexible enough to attempt new techniques. Physical flexibility helps surviving those first few awkward landings. Physical strength and endurance make those long days easier. I earned TI ratings at age 29 and still do tandems at age 61. These days I breeze through tasks (e.g. packing) that I struggled with when younger because - over the years - I have learned more efficient methods.
  7. Also read the book “Touching the Dragon” by (retired) US Navy SEAL James Hatch. The first third of the book outlines his “Action Man” military career as a Naval Special Warfare door-kicker, tandem instructor, etc. The middle third of the book details his physical recovery after being shot through the leg in Afghanistan. The final third - almost half of - “Dragon” details his recovery from opiates, alcohol and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Hatch uses skydiving as a way to help amputees recover from battlefield injuries. He also explains how the focus and fellowship of skydiving help military veterans re-find their place in society.
  8. riggerrob

    How old is too old?

    Dear Mark, A key point is that UPT is still selling PD360 reserves that are built exactly the same way as PD360s were built during the 1980s. Performance Designs has not changed those patterns. OTOH Early (1980s) Strong 425 reserves lacked a reinforcing tape across the tail and were built with a more porous fabric than 1990s-vintage 425R canopies. Strong issued two service bulletins. One SB was about reinforcing the tail and the second was about factory inspections and setting life limits on Strong tandem gear. A second motivation was wanting to get all the first-generation Strong tandems (Dual Hawks) back to the factory for a bunch of updates. Current production Strong tandem reserves are based on their SET 366 main canopy.
  9. Manned - 12 items or less - check-outs provide employment for "socially-challenged" staff. Just put the OCD or control-freaks on those lines. The OCD kid checks 12 items, asks for cash and tips the remaining items into a "re-shelf" cart. "next customer please." Meanwhile, the Nazi, control-freak checks 12 times, then loudly and angrily berates the numerically-challenged customer. On his days off, he volunteers as a drill sergeant for the local neo-Nazi skin-heads. Hah! Hah!
  10. riggerrob

    goin out in style

    At least this guy had the grace to commit suicide without injuring any innocents. That makes him so much better than religiously-motivated school shooters. If mental illness is the root of so many public suicides, how do we channel that energy into night-timme aerobatics versus school shootings?
  11. riggerrob

    Shortening laterals

    ***I saw a rig with a situation like yours. I noticed that someone had put an "S" fold in the webbing and sewn it to shorten that horizontal back strap to see if it would fit better. Not sure how legal that would be. He said he had over 250 jumps on it. I suggest you send it to the manufacturer for proper fix.[/quote ------------------------------------------------------------- That is not a "factory approved fix." Like several other posters have recommended: mail it to Sun Path and pay the $150. Chances are, Sun Path will send it back with a completely new lateral strap because they cannot shorten it without leaving old needle holes exposed.
  12. riggerrob

    How old is too old?

    Is she (your rigger) retiring? When aerobatic pilots call about real king their old rounds, I mumble somethings not about no longer having access to a long table ...... bromocreasol, tensile-testing clamps, etc. Besides, most of the companies that used acidic mesh have issued service bulletins, limited canopy life or gone out of business. The last time I landed a round canopy was 1986. Most students - who learned to skydive in North America after 1990 - have only seen square canopies. Am I being cowardly or lazy?
  13. riggerrob

    How old is too old?

    20 years was a simple number for rigged to quote when refusing to repackage older/obsolete parachutes. After 20 years - in the California desert - containers get faded, frayed and filthy. There was a lot of progress during the 1970s and 1989s. For example, no modern rigger wants to touch round reserves made during the acid-mesh era of the mid-1980s. Our last major revolution in skydiving technology occurred around 1990 with the introduction of collapsible pilot-chutes, ZP fabric, zero stretch suspension lines, electronic AADs, ringed harnesses, free fly friendly, wing-loading a more than 1:1, etc. Since then we have only seen incremental improvements. Another difficulty - when maintaining older parachutes - is finding manuals and Service Bulletins that were published before the inter web.
  14. riggerrob

    Downsizing for first rig

    that's weird , you scare jumping somewhere new , but not scare of downsizing from 200 to 170 ? ——————————————————————————- That downsize might be huge for someone my weight (206 pounds before getting dressed), but less drastic for someone her size. She probably weights less than 130 pounds, so even the 170 square foot canopy will keep her wing-loading less than 1 to 1. As for being scared while visiting other DZs ..... the best vaccination is a thorough briefing by a local instructor.
  15. Aspect ratio is the key determinant in opening on heading. The farther apart end cells are, the greater the risk of one completely inflating before the other catches any air. Cross ports help reduce assymetrical openings. Off-heading openings should not be a problem with skydiving reserves. If you bought a reserve that is dangerous with off-heading openings, then you bought too small a reserve! As for stability ... the larger the end cells, the more stablity in roll. Seven-cells provide the best compromise. In comparison, the last time I jumped a 5-cell reserve, it turned allay but was unstable in roll. I did the bare minimum of turner to land on the DZ. OTOH, nine-cells have smaller ends cells = even less stable. Tapered nine-cells have even smaller end cells.
  16. riggerrob

    Using a Slink to attach bridle at d-bag?

    ***I'm pretty sure UPT is still using that same design, though it's been a few months since I've assembled a sparkly new Vector. This design requires a #4 grommet too (a good thing to know in case you're thinking of putting a UPT PC on some other manufacturer's d-bag). The type 4 stop can pull through a #5 when it gets broken in and softens up a little. ———————————————————————————— I have also seen a few bridles attached to d-bags with fat Dacron soft-links. These were the one-use-only soft links that pre-dated Parachutes de France’s re-useable soft links. Fat suspension line is the key to preventing accidental pull-through.
  17. riggerrob

    Q for Accuracy Jumpers

    Stick with canopies in the 280 square feet area. That will keep your wing-loading around the 0.7 pounds per square feet favoured by BASE jumpers and precision landing competitors.
  18. riggerrob

    Aircraft jumper capacity

    ...... 206 loads. ....... And all those times you'd feel your stomach lift then hear that "thump" as too many people squeezed into the back too soon and it went down on its tail. ————————————————————————- I HATE that sound! Even though I only heard it once when we stuffed 7 guys into a 206. The longest-lived jump-planes are those with the widest margins of error. If you think over-loaded airplanes climb slowly, you will enjoy their stall characteristics even less when they are unbalanced! For some silly reason, they always told me to lean over the pilots’ shoulders when the Beech 18 took off????????
  19. riggerrob

    War bird rides?

    My favourite was the tail-gunner’s seat in a B-25 Mitchel bomber. My grin was wider than that wing-span! We were using the B-25 to test-drop Aviator PEPs for Rigging Innovations.
  20. riggerrob

    AFF Level 1 with one instructor?

    ———————————————————————- Sounds like reasonable preparation for single-instructor accompanied freetalls. I would definitely want to hear the TI’s opinion - first hand - and view video of tunnel time before going one-on-one with a free fall student.
  21. riggerrob

    Canopy Size and Descent Rate

    A decent list. The only canopy I would avoid is the Cricket 145 because it is mid-1980s technology and was never meant to be loaded more than 1 pound per square foot. If you over-load any reserve, we will refer to you as “that stupid, fat white man!” PDs, Optimums and Smarts are all well-respected reserves. I have only packed one or two Icarus reserves. I only have one jump on an R-Max 188. I loaded it right to the corner of the chart, but it still set me down softly. I woukd never buy an R-Max 118, but woukd seriously consider buying an R-Max 170-ish.
  22. riggerrob

    Canopy Size and Descent Rate

    Wing-loading is the most important variable - when predicting rate of descent. Brake position (stowed or flared) is the second, with line trim being the third. Line trim is set at the factory when they cut suspension lines. Some canopies are trimmed more steeply (nose-down) than others. Modern reserves have similar opening and flight characteristics. You made a decent choice with a used Smart 150. I have packed hundreds of Smarts that saved a few customers. I have also packed hundreds of PD Reserves and a handful of PD Optimims. I really enjoy packing Optimums because the fabric compresses so easily. I can consistently pack an Optimum 176 into a container that was snug on a PD 160. PD set the standard almost 30 years ago and all other manufacturers struggle to improve reserve performance by a percentage point or two. The only way to buy a double-digit (say 15%) improvement is buying a low-pack-volume reserve like a PD Optimum, LPV Smart of Icarus Nano. They will allow you pack an additional 15 square feet of reserve into your existing container (175 vs. 160 square feet). If I were buying new, I would purchase an Optimum 190 or LPV Smart 190. If buying used .... a lightly-used PD 176.
  23. Funny! I encountered a similar situation yesterday. Not dangerous advice, just over-cautious. I eaves-dropped on a videographer/Instructor A briefing a free fall student on riser turns and riser flares. Perhaps he talked too much about high performance landings that started with rear-riser-flares but finish with toggles. He ended with “but I have never rear-riser-stalled my canopy.” That was the only point I disagreed with. After I finished harnessing my tandem student, I strolled over and ask “May I?” He nodded, so I threw out “I have rear-riser-stalled most of the canopies that I have jumped.” I was cautious to avoid contradicting the instructor, instead phrasing my advice as filling-in-a-gap. Then talked about variations on rear-riser-stalls for a couple of minutes. I said that rear-riser-flares might not be wise on the videographer’s sub-120 canopy, but were fine on larger canopies. The student had a Falcon 235. I concluded with “.... best to practice rear-riser-stalls shortly after opening, but finish the landing with a regular toggle flare.” to reinforce his instructor’s briefing. After we both landed, I mentioned to the student that I had just practiced rear-riser-flares - with my ICARUS 364 - and concluded that it stalled with my hands at chin level. My ego let me butt in because I have been jumping 35 years longer that the Instructor A and have 6,000 jumps more than him.
  24. riggerrob

    The Last Frontier

    Well written Anita! Why did you not ask for a jump from the Breezy? A while back, I did 4 jumps from a Breezy into an EAA pancake breakfast. That seat truly shrinks an inch per thousand feet of altitude! Exits were ridiculously easy. How far back ...... hint: My canopy was a Delta II.
  25. riggerrob

    Top 5 Tandem Scams

    I am surprised that no tandem mill offers to sell souvenir ripcords or goggles. In pre-Sigma days, DZs that taught students to pull drogue releases routinely lost a drogue-release handle or two every weekend. If they drop their souvenir, manifest can always sell them a replacement souvenir. Similarly, students routinely drop goggles in the grass after landing. If they lose their souvenir googles, manifest can always sell them a replacement pair and they can wear them for the rest of the day. Skydiving googles are great for starting conversions ..... which often generate follow-on business.