• Content

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Feedback


Posts posted by riggerrob

  1. The Strong manual shows the old military pilot-chute compression tool.
    I just wrap my molar strap around the Pop-Top, route pull-up cords through bodkins, etc.
    I also make my own adjustable bodkins out of Cypres cord ...... but those are more relevant when packing Cypres into Racers

  2. Whenever I get the urge to swear, I stare at the pretty pictures in the manual.

    Councilman is correct in stating that 80 percent of warbirds use seat packs.
    A few civilian KITPLANES accommodate seat packs, but 80 or 90 percent of aerobatic civilian airplanes use back PEPs. Modern gliders have such cramped cockpits that they can barely squeeze in long backs. Low-volume modern canopies have encouraged many glider pilots to buy reverse wedge back PEPs (3” thick across shoulders but tapering to zero at the bottom).

    Seat packs were originally developed for open cockpit biplanes with deep fuselages, but small cockpit coamings/openings. Biplanes are especially tight between the seatback and instrument panel. When air forces transitioned to enclosed cockpits (fighters and trainers) they continued the tradition of issuing pilots with seat packs. Seat packs remained in service until ejection seats became standard. Early ejection seats required pilots to wear separate back PEPs, but modern ejection seats store parachute canopies in headrest boxes.

    Military-surplus containers really should be a separate certification category for civilian Riggers. Military-surplus PEPs have faded from Canada since the last intact military-surplus PEP was sold circa 1980.

    To clarify my earlier statement: CSPA certifies Riggers to pack 1-pin sport back reserves or 2-pin sport back reserves, etc. “Sport” differentiates modern skydiving piggyback containers from antique, military-surplus PEPs.
    CSPA only retains the “chest” rating for historical reasons.

  3. FAA and CSPA only care if there is an accident or written complaint about quality of workmanship on type-certified parachutes.
    Hang-glider reserves, drag-chutes for hot-rods, etc. are rarely certified.
    While working for Butler, I helped test-fire a spin-recovery chute. Designers had to demonstrate spin characteristics before the FAA would certify their new airplane. Butler insisted that all repacks, explosive cartridge replacements, etc. be done at his factory in California City. Returning chutes for maintenance was easy because Cal. City is mere minutes away from Palmdale, Mojave, USAFB Edwards and barely an hour from USN China Lake.

  4. Canadian rigging regulations are similar to American FARs. The only difference is that Transport Canada delegates responsibility for training and rating Riggers to the Canadian Sports Parachuting Association’s Technical Committee. The practical difference is zero.

    Yes, I was dancing on that razor’s edge of legality. First I have attended several of Betty’s PIA seminars on repacking hang glider reserves. Secondly, I have a stack of manuals for other emergency parachutes for hang gliders and ultralights. Thirdly, I have repacked dozens of similar reserves. Finally I copied a factory repack.

    On a similar vein, what do you think of me packing Talon 2, Telesis 2 and Aviator PEPs without the manuals?
    Hint: I wrote those manual for Rigging Innovations after packing prototypes dozens of times.

  5. Good point wmw999,
    Canopy flaking varies big time between military-surplus and civilian seat packs. MILSPEC containers usually say the only long fold the canopy until it is the same width as the container. Fortunately young Riggers need not bother learning military packing techniques because the US military and (Canadian) Crown Assets Disposal quit selling intact surplus parachutes back around 1980.
    I rarely repack any parachute more than 25 years old. The last time an aerobatic pilot asked me to repack his back PEPs, I replied that I no longer had access to a long table. Nor do I have bromocreasol green or clamps for tensile-testing. The whole truth is that I wanted nothing to do with his Natonal Phantom reserve seen during the acid mesh era.

    OTOH Civilian PEPs require a wide variety of flaking and bulk distribution techniques.
    Most civvy seat packs need canopies long folded in fifths so the canopy goes into the container on its edge .... like a Wonderhog.
    Back PEPs require a much greater variety of packing techniques. Instructions usually start with long-folding the canopy to half the width of the container. Then bulk distribution changes depending upon whether it is a simple back container, long back or wedge.
    A few wedge, back PEPs start similar to seatpacks with the diaper laid cross-wise in the thick end and folds leaning more and more as you approach the thin edge.

  6. There is another option.
    The last time I repacked a recovery chute for an ultralight (forget which brand, but the cpanopy was sewn by Free Flight Enterprises) I did not have the specific manual. Fortunately, the last repack had been done by FFE.
    We took a series of photos while stretching out the canopy. Since the old pack job followed industry best-practices, I just copied the old pack job. The biggest hassle was remembering which corner to rout le the bridle out. Reviewing photos reminded me of the original corner and I was satisfied with my second pack job.

  7. Can we agree that Americans have not been updated to accomodate 1980s-vintage skydiving gear?
    Every decade or so, the Canadian Sport Parachute Association updates our rigger training and rating program.
    CSPA issues separate ratings for round or square canopies.
    CSPA certifies Riggers to pack 5 classes of containers: 1-pin sport (Vector and Javelin), 2-pin sport (Wonderhog), Pop-Top (Racer and Teardrop), chest and pilot emergency parachutes. Canada has no lap rating because the Royal Canadian Air Force never issued lap parachutes.

    Many these different type ratings are included purely for historical reasons. For example, since chest-mounted reserves disappeared from Canadian DZs by 1990, no young Riggers want to waste time learning how to pack them.
    Similarly, after round reserves disapearred circa 2000, no young Riggers want to bother learning how to pack canopies they have seen in the air. Round canopies are now limited to PEPs.
    The PEP type rating includes seat and chest .... a bit broad for my taste, but when you consider that 80 percent of PEPs are backs or long backs ..... Modern seat type PEPs are easy to pack if you have already packed a bunch of rounds into 2-pin sport containers (Wonderhog).

  8. *** ........

    Back in the day, I think it was para flight, that had a special "Square Certification". They at least reconsidered how radically different the technology was at the time. I wouldn't mind seeing the old system scrapped and rather go to Round, Square ratings. I think they do some thing like that in Canada?
    When Para-Flite introduced the first square reserve, it was radically new technology requiring radically new packing techniques. Since Para-Flite did not want military-surplus Riggers fumbling with their reserves, Para-Flite introduced a “square reserve training program for Riggers. USPA took over that program for a few years, eventually dropped it when square reserves became the norm.

    When I rigged for Butler, I packed a few Para-Flite reserves into seat-packs. Since the customers were “corn fed Texans” they needed military-pattern square reserves certified for more than (the usual) 254 pounds.
    I even sewed a few freebags for Butler-made PEPs. When he introduced rounds with sliders, Butler dropped the niche market for squares in PEPs.
    A couple of years later, I helped Rigging Innovations drop-test the Aviator (back) PEP that is only certified for square reserves.

  9. Who wrote your ‘bucket list?’
    You or them?

    I have seen a few junior jumpers injured after letting other jumpers buy canopies too small for their skills. Skills are only loosely related to number of jumps.
    Sometimes the seller just wants to unload his old canopy. Sometimes the seller wants to talk the junior jumper into buying this year’s fashion.
    Sometimes the salesman tries to talk the junior jumper into buying the canopy that the salesman wants to buy next. After the buyer femurs, the salesman will be able to buy the canopy at a deep discount.
    Sometimes people talk junior jumpers into buying a heavily-loaded canopy “because they will want to downsize soon.”
    Ultimately, your choice of canopy should be based on your skills and which canopy you can fly safely and comfortably.

  10. Many years ago I went shopping for life insurance. One agent told me that if I made less than 50 jumps per year, I would be a low risk and did need to tell them. He also said the more jumps I made, the greater the risk.
    I countered with Transport Canada’s attitude that pilots who flew less than 50 hours per year were high risk, needed refresher training, etc.
    I did not any insurance from him.

    These days I advise prospective Tandem Instructors to do 50 tandem jumps or not waste my time.
    In some countries exhibition jumpers are also required to do a minimum of 50 jumps per year.

  11. Yes,
    Wing-loading is the dominant factor.
    If you loaded a Raven at 1.3 pounds per square foot, you would complain about the abrupt flare.
    The second factor is line length. Any canopy smaller than 150 square feet gets “twitchy” .... er .... quickly responsive.

    If you worry about line twists, abrupt flares or being too responsive, you bought too small a reserve.

  12. Westerly

    ...............I have heard the answer that it takes so long to make this stuff because it's custom and it's a niche market. I call BS on that. There are hundreds of niche sports and activities out there that requires custom gear. I participate in a few of them. Yet manufacturers in those industries can get your gear out in a reasonable amount of time. I am not aware of any other industry that takes so long to make something that can be made in a small fraction of the time we actually spend waiting for the gear .........


    ..... having worked in 3 different parachute factories and done a bit of ‘boutique’ manufacturing myself ..... may I offer some insight?
    Skydiving is a niche market and it is based on custom production of uniquely-coloured and sized, certified components. Ergo, manufacturers offer a bewildering array of options.
    I often thought that best way to simplify the order process would be to start with a default list of options: narrow main risers, dive-loops, brightly-coloured Velcro-less toggles, mini 3 Rings, brightly-coloured cutaway handle, steel reserve ripcord handle, RSL, Cypres pockets, BOC, thread through leg straps, medium width leg pads, loops to attach free-fly bungees, etc. all based upon last year’s production.
    Sizing prediction is more complex when you try to match different canopy pack volumes to different harness-sizes.
    Add in custom colours and there is little incentive to pre-cut fabric.
    Compair this to the personal computer industry which sells huge volumes of stock parts. Manufacturers of “custom computers” can afford to stock thousands of the most popular components and merely bolt them together at the last minute.

    As for retailers pre-paying for production slots ..... That can dramatically reduce wait times for customers. Up until the cut-date, they can add or delete options. If the retailer has not specified options before the cut-date, they risk getting stuck with only two options. They might receive the ugly-coloured, oddly-sized rig left over from last year, or they might receive a medium-volume, basic black rig with a medium-sized harness.

    From time-to-time, manufacturers offer discounts on semi-stock rigs. They pre-build a stack of basic black containers in a few of the most popular sizes. The only colour option might be the mid flap .... that is traditionally sewn on last. They sew harnesses 3/4 of the way and wait until the customer specifies length and width before sewing the hip junction.

  13. Under-ambitious air traffic controllers and overly-ambitious airport management.
    As Vancouver International Airport gets increasingly busy, they require jump-planes to phone ahead to reserve a time to enter Class B airspace (above 3,000 feet over Pitt Meadows.

    The second problem is overly-ambitious local air port management. When they got the money to extend the main runway, they decided to do upgrades during the 2017 summer/dry season ..... which is also the skydiving season. The main runway is 08R-26L. Previously - when jumpers were in the air - the Pitt Meadows control tower shifted all traffic to the main runway: 08R-26L, but with renovations, all traffic and was shifted to runway 08L-26R. Unfortunately, the parachute landing field is directly under the approach to runway 08L-26R.

    In a rather sneaky move - last winter - the airport banned skydiving when runway 18-36 was being used for take-offs and landings. The parachute landing field is close beside runway 18-36, separated only by a taxiway and a few dozen metres of grass. In the 11 years I worked there, I only saw a handful of skydivers land on that runway. Unfortunately, 2017 winds were more frequent from the north or south.

    In 2017, the DZ was prevented from flying so many days that the business was no longer profitable.
    I was on the last Navajo load: 23 September, 2017.

  14. WingBug was just introduced at Sun ‘N Fun. It is a portable pitot tube that can be quickly attached to ultralight airplanes via a GoPro like mount. WingBug can be linked to a (cockpit mounted) computer tablet via Bluetooth. WingBug also records key data for download after you land.
    You would need specialized software to determine glide ratio (airspeed over rate of descent).

  15. I wear a similar knee brace made by Donjon. It helps stabilize my knee after (permanently) tearing 3 ligaments in my left knee. To avoid entanglements, I always wear it inside my jumpsuit. Few students even notice that I wear a knee brace.

  16. As an aside, several antique (built 1947) Repunblic Seabees have been retrofitted with LS1 engines from Corvettes.
    While Seabees are sluggish seaplanes with their original 200 hp Franklin engines), 300 hp LS1 dramatically improved performance, while dropped fuel consumption by 40 percent!

  17. Frappe hats were only one step in the development process leading to modern skydiving helmets.
    Early show jumpers (1920s) wore un-padded leather helmets borrowed from pilots (of open-cockpit biplanes.)
    Leading up to WW2 a variety of padded motorcycle, football and tanker helmets were developed. During WW2, a few specialized helmets were developed for static-line paratroopers, but their steel shells were primarily designed to slow shrapnel.

    Post WW2, state-funded skydiving schools - in France - developed a variety of progressively lighter cloth and leather helmets, leading to the 1960s-vintage, padded leather frappe hats.
    During the 1970s, freefall formation jumpers experimented with a wide variety of ways to lighten gear, including trading their Fiberglas motorcycle helmets for lighter, padded leather frappe hats. Frappe hats became fashionable as lighter, more reliable, softer-landing square Parachutes dominated the market during the 1980s.
    Frappe hats dominated skydiving until freefall formation teams started turning 20 or 30 points per jump (early 1990s.) Then the fear of getting kneed in the face by a team mate drove the trend to full face helmets.
    Modern full-face skydiving helmets are too thin to accommodate much shock-absorbing padding, but they keep the wind off your hairdo and provide plenty of pockets for electronic gadgets and the mandatory camera! Hah! Hah!

  18. To summarize: most of taboos against double-stowing were invented when bulky Dacron lines were fashionable. Now that bulky lines have disappearred from most DZs we need newer methods to stow lines. Stowing methods vary with THICKNESS of lines.

    All the tandem ma its turrets have invented different solutions to a common problem: line slump/dump. Strong added an Anti-Line-Slump flap - secured with bungees. If you use fewer than (factory recommended) 3 bungees - or bungees that are too long - openings get harder.
    Both Parachutes de France and Jump Shack added extra (standard-sized) locking stows. Extra lock it stows reduce the risk of any single failure dumping lines or letting the canopy out of the bag prematurely.
    UPT tandem d-bags can be packed with three different sizes of rubber bands: standard, double-wide and triple-wide. Even though UPT discourages them, standard rubber bands work well with the skinny Spectra or HMA lines in Icarus canopies. I always double-stow those. UPT recommends double-wide rubber bands on civilian tandems and triple-wide on military tandems. Hint: military tandems often start with 500 pound barrels.

  19. The Stingray prototype, inflatable airplane flew a few times in May 1998. It was built by the Swiss company Prospective Concepts AG to demonstrate their inflatable structures. It was called Stingray, because it resembled the fish when seen from above. From the front it resembled a typical ultralight with an open tubular fuselage supporting the pilot, engne(s), motor and wing.

  20. In Canada, the USA and most European Union countries, the repack cycle - for ALL skydiving reserves - is 180 days. In colder countries, this becomes once a year.
    This usually becomes a mad rush the week before the skydiving season opens, which explains the 6 reserves in my apartment, all due for repack.

  21. Your's is a common- and well-understood - problem for skydiving students. We did not understand the problem u til tandem was perfected during the 1990s. It was also a 1/100 problem for static-line students.

    Sounds like you started your tandem jump under-nourished. Then adrenaline rapidly burned most of your blood sugar. After opening, you relaxed and low blood sugar made you feel faint.
    Dehydration and low oxygen at 14,000' can exacerbate the problem.

    Fortunately, your problem can be controlled by diet and anxiety control. I encourage you to concentrate on lowering your arrousal levels during subsequent tandems or tunnel time. When you are alert enough to steer a tandem all the way to landing (coached by your tandem instructor), then you are ready to jump solo.