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Posts posted by riggerrob

  1. The best way to keep things fresh is trying to learn a new skill every year.

    I only made 4 static-line jumps my first year.

    Over that winter I earned a private pilot license.

    The next summer I flew a bit and only made two jumps.

    The third summer I made 60 jumps and earned my A license.

    The fourth summer, I did about 50 fun jumps.

    The fifth year, I passed the army static-line course and tried out for the Canadian Army parachute display team.

    The sixth year, I earned a static-line jump-master rating.

    The seventh year, I did another 50 fun jumps, plus a stack of exhibition jumps.

    The eighth year, I earned a rigger rating and started flying jumpers.

    The ninth year, I flew more jumpers and learned how to drop IAD students (1985).

    The tenth year, I earned an Instructor B rating and tandem instructor rating and did a couple of BASE jumps.

    I did not jump much while at university, but worked full-time in the skydiving industry for 18 years afterwards. Every year I tried to add a new rating or renew an old rating: Master Rigger, PFF instructor, Cypres installation rating, PIA Symposia, lecturing at PIA Symposia, wing-suit, Rigger Instructor, Rigger Examiner, Tandem Examiner Rating, etc. 

    Eventually, I had to take a year off for knee surgery and cut back to only doing tandems on weekends. I finally quit jumping after the local CSPA DZ shut down and I  disagreed with a non-CSPA DZO about seat-belts.

    If you try to learn something new every year, you will never get bored skydiving.

    • Like 1

  2. Those 4 ring risers remind me of Parachutes de France tandem gear. Geometry is a bit off, explaining the incomplete cutaway.

    However, the harness rings are not from Parachutes de France. P. de F. or Strong Enterprises who both use a single large forged 3D ring (Wichard) to connect main risers to student shoulder hooks. 

    The pair in your photo are actually two different pieces of hardware strapped together, but not strapped the same way as RWS/UPT or Eclipse. The exposed harness webbing is also missing from the Type 12 external buffer (to prevent abrasion when dragged across a packing mat). I suspect that this tandem rig was made in Eastern Europe.

    The reserve ripcord is silver metal, in the same location as a Strong Dual Hawk ripcord. You are looking at it edge on. The loose end of the ripcord cable dangles just inboard of the shiny metal handle.

  3. May I suggest that you visit a doctor who examines pilots for the Civil Aviation Authority?

    I have sent several aspiring tandem instructors to the same doctors who do Transport Canada medicals for pilots, but I told them not to bother with the paperwork needed to get an official aviation medical certificate. Both Strong Enterprises and I were satisfied with a doctor's note saying that the TI was healthy enough to skydive.

    You will probably still have to pay out of your own pocket.

    • Like 1

  4. Butt bungees only became fashionable during the mid-1990s. They became fashionable for two reasons. First: sit-flying became fashionable in North America.

    Secondly: this  was about 5 years after Rigging Innovations introduced hip rings. Now ringed harnesses were being jumped by second owners who were different sizes than people the harnesses were originally built for. Hip rings allowed greater flexibility, making it easier for leg straps to slide toward knees.

    Butt bungees don’t prevent people from falling (butt first) out of harnesses) rather they prevent leg straps from sliding away from your buttocks.

    • Like 1

  5. Few regulations, but you will score the best at classic precision landings with a large, specialized accuracy canopy like a Para-Foil, Eiff or PD Zero. Specialized PL canopies are usually low aspect ratio, 7-cells with huge stabilizers, keels, flares, vents, etc. The low aspect ratio reduces heading changes near the stall. Low wing-loading reduces the number of broken bones when you stall vertically onto the tuffet.

    By large, I mean wing-loading in the 0.7 pounds per square foot range. Suspended weight includes your body, plus helmet, clothes, harness, canopies, etc.

    Your second best choice is a large BASE canopy.

    Third choice is a large, 9-cell ZP canopy like those jumped by students.

    If you try to jump a small, 9-cell, ZP canopy at a serious accuracy competition, judges will politely suggest that you enter the sport accuracy category.

    With practice, any canopy can be landed, consistently within a metre of target centre, but faster canopies require far more practice. I earned my CSPA Exhibition Jump rating on a Stiletto 135.

  6. First off: please do not use the word "legal" around me because I am allergic to lawyers who  shamelessly argue any side of a case as long as they get paid. Lawyers and courts do not care about the letter of the law.

    Without written laws, you have to revert to "best business practices." If Strong Enterprises tells you not to jump tandems in winds exceeding "X" knots, you are morally obligated to stay on the ground. When forced to chose between slightly different standards (from two or three sources) work to the tightest, most conservative standard.

    The other vaguery is local wind patterns. For example, a dz may be safe to jump when winds remain steady from most directions, but winds get turbulent from the south. Then you have a legitimate reason for refusing to jump in southerly winds. 

    Similarly, if southerly winds increase the risk of landing on a obstacle (e.g. lake), you have a valid excuse to stay on the ground.

    My personal standards are maximum 23 knots wind or gusts exceeding 5 knots. I watch the wind sock or wind-meter for 30 minutes before making that decision. Major vertical turbulence is also a valid excuse for not jumping.

  7. This thread started with a simple product announcement … perhaps not within the letter of dz.com policy, but almost harmless.

    If the OP used "fucking sexy ass skydivers" as a verb, that is correct English, Dutch, etc. However the choice of vocabulary might offend some of the delicate flowers in the audience. Back in the good-old-days, skydivers were lewd, crude, vulgar, etc. and the dz was a safe place to vent our frustration with the "real world." many skydivers prided themselves on their "dirty biker" image. Sadly, most dzs have become more and politically-correct during this century. Boring! 

    I have used skydiving as a cure for depression for almost 40 years. I started as a sport jumper back when sex was safe and skydiving was dangerous. Sadly, I was kicked out of the skydiving crowd after a plane crash. Bullies started the pushing, then my boss parked airplane wreckage where I had to look at every day on my way to work, then lawyers insisted on dragging out a simple lawsuit for 8.5 years.

    The odd thing was that I worked hard at physical rehabilitation during the year immediately after the crash. I could not explain clearly why I was working so hard, just knew that I had to "get back on the horse." I only lasted a year and a half until the airplane wreckage was permanently parked near the airplane gate.

    Since then I have been diagnosed as: insomniac, anxious, depressed,acid reflux, heart murmur, PTSD, etc.

    I have read dozens of books about PTSD and earlier today watched Sebastian Junger's videos on PTSD.

    Hopefully this new book offers advice on how to recover from that sort of long-term depression.


    • Like 1

  8. When in doubt, ask Parachute Systems.

    If they say that your Vortex is easy to retrofit with a Skyhook, great! Buy a new free bag and lanyard from Parachute Systems and ask your local rigger to install them. Make sure to provide your rigger with an updated version of the Vortex manual. Then you have a fully TSOed rig according to Parachute Systems factory drawings.

    OTOH most Master Riggers are reluctant to retrofit RSLs to older rigs unless they can do a close copy of the factory RSL. Skyhooks are just fancy RSLs. Honest riggers refuse to retrofit Skyhooks to older rigs because they lack precise dimensions. We think it far wiser to ship the entire rig to the factory for Skyhook updates.

    Most riggers flatly refuse to do RSL, AAD or Skyhook retrofits to rigs that never had them. RSL and Skyhook retrofits require precise dimensions only available at the factory.

  9. Steeply banked turns increase G-loading. Increasing Gs fools the canopy into flying like it has double or triple the suspended weight. If a jumper weights 200 pounds at 1 G, then he weights 400 pounds during a 2 G turn and 600 pounds during a 3 G turn. Increased G-loading is similar to increasing suspended weight in that it increases forward speed.

    OTOH increased G-loading also increases rate of descent. Increased rate of descent kills if the canopy flattens out/recovers from the dive too late.

    Ironically, increased G-loading does not change glide angle by much. Glide angle remains much the same independent of speed.

    Swoopers translate the extra speed/energy - generated during steep turns - into extra lift during landing. They only need small riser or toggle inputs to start their landing flare. Once their flight tragectory has levelled off, they gradually trade extra speed for lift.

  10. I jumped Nova 150 about 50 times and enjoyed it.

    Openings were a bit harder than modern ZP canopies, but about the norm for the early 1990s. The only problem occurred when I pulled down on a front riser, then the leading edge folded under!

    I also have a few hundred jumps on an Ariel 150 along with many hundreds more on Sabre 170, 150 and 135. Eventually I graduated to a Stiletto 135. I weighed about 190 pounds (naked) back in those days.

  11. People are forgetting how much main canopies have diverged from reserve canopies over the last 30 years.

    Many younger riggers refuse to repack reserves older than themselves. Even grumpy, old, grey-bearded Master Riggers like me (62 years old and rigging for the last 35 years) want nothing to do with reserves built during the 1980s. Heck! I no longer even have the tools needed to inspect round reserves made during the 1980s.

    Back in 1989, zero-porosity fabric and zero-stretch suspension lines had only been recently been invented. Most skydivers loaded their 7-cell, F-111 fabric mains about 0.7 pounds per square foot. The range of main sizes was severely limited and only petite women jumped 176 square foot mains. Only a few brave souls loaded their reserves more than 1:1.

    Early BASE jumpers just used their regular skydiving canopies (e.g. 7-cell, 220 square foot Cruiselite made by Para-Flite).

    Anyone who expects soft landings under a 7-cell, sub-150 square reserve more than 30 years old should ..... buy the best medical insurance available.

    • Like 2

  12. On ‎9‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 5:06 AM, Elpnor said:

    "I was looking over this thread again because I've put maybe 100 jumps on my domed slider and I'm very happy with it, except for the longish openings. I chuck at 4 and am open at 2700 feet.  I've been thinking about talking to PD about putting a mesh hole in the middle to speed up the canopy inflation. This strikes my as a good design.  A domed slider to catch more air and prevent the slider from slanting down the lines, and an air feed in the middle to speed up inflation of the canopy.  ......."


    PD already does something similar with Katana sliders. Katana sliders are slightly domed, but they also have two strips of mesh (running fore and aft)..


  13. On ‎3‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 2:22 AM, Elpnor said:

    ".......  Perhaps some sort of slider attachment to the stops would work as well.  A snap system or magnetic connect seems promising.  I do wish this issue could be addressed by the manufacturers ....."

    Performance Designs already installs slider snaps on their Zero precision landing canopy and a few tiny swooping canopies.

    They are tiny plastic snaps that hold the slider against the bottom skin until line stretch.

    I thought about installing magnets, but could never figure out a way to have them consistently stay attached to the proper bottom skin magnet versus each other.  


  14. Russian paratroopers pull a drogue release handle a few seconds after exit. Dumber Russian paratroopers wait until they scare their KAP3 AADe. That drogue ystem softens openings when the jump plane flies faster than 130 knots. It also allows pseudo-free fall from high altitudes, with minimal training.

    American smoke-jumpers copies the Russian drogue system.

    Back in the early days of tandem, they used the same F-111 canopies as both main and reserve. Strong Enterprises was already sewing drogues for American smoke jumpers; so adapted a drogue to their Dual Hawk Tandem. Hard openings suddenly became a minor problem along with far fewer torn canopies, reserve rides, etc. An unexpected offshoot was the slower free fall allowed free fall photographers to keep tandems in frame and, a new revenue source for DZs.

  15. On 6/26/2019 at 9:40 PM, J-Mad said:

    I'm going to be operating from a heli soon and I'm looking for advice or resources on procedures and technique.

    I believe it will be an A350

    Anyone got anything?


    I have done a few tandems out of Jet Rangers and an Alouette 3. I have also skydived solo from Chinook, A Star and Huey.

    Start by asking the pilot to reverse the co-pilot’s seat (left side, front). Seat tandems as normal and fasten seatbelts. Belts work best with original seats installed. Above 4,000’ start your normal hook-up procedure. Slide the left door open a minute or so before exit. Slide your butts towards the door. Tell the student to cross their arms on their chest and try to kick you in the butt. Push off gently and wait until 4 seconds after exit before tossing frigid.

    Yes, you might be tempted to ask the pilot to hover as you exit, but he/she will burn far less fuel (and be able to fly higher) if he/she maintains at least 40 knots.

  16. Sailtrite makes great little sewing machines. They will sew E-thread through multiple layers of Corduroy or webbing, similar to a Singer U20.

    I have been using a Sailrite for the last 4 years and live it!

  17. 2 minutes ago, meat.missile said:

    So vague. 

    Er ..... jumping single-canopy rigs - from aircraft - was deemed STUPID back during the 1920s or 1930s.

    Those regulations are written in blood!

    You may call me grumpy, but I still think that jumping single-canopy rigs - from aircraft - is STUPID.

    If the aircraft can lift you high enough to use a reserve, then you are foolish to jump without a reserve.

    Is that blunt enough for you?

  18. On ‎7‎/‎31‎/‎2019 at 11:09 AM, meat.missile said:



    If you don't know the technical difference between a BASE jump and a skydive, you should not make the jump.


    signed: Grumpy old grey-bearded Master rigger

    • Like 1

  19. Look at DZ listings in “Parachutist” magazine (USPA).

    Visit German DZs close to you and ask them about other DZs. Many well-educated Europeans speak two or three languages, so communication should be only a minor hassle. In the long run you will want to learn how to speak basic German.