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Posts posted by riggerrob

  1. Back during the 1990s, various fabric mills tried to duplicate Parachutes de France's zero porosity fabric ... with varying degrees of success. Gelvenor Fabric Mills in South Africa introduced their ZP fabric that was less slippery than competitors. Gelvenor depended more on calenderizing than silicon coating. Calenderizinf involves pressing the fabric between two heated rollers to partially melt threads and encourage threads to better fill in gaps between them, reducing porosity. This form of calenderizing created a less-slippery fabric that was easier to pack. It also needed less silicone to reduce porosity to zero.

    Gelvenor's disadvantage was wide variations in fabric bulk. Early Triathlons (sewn by Parachute Industries of South Africa) varied as much as 30 percent in volume. This drove container manufacturers to drink!



    • Like 1

  2. Koji learned a bloody lesson so that we don't have to.

    Koji re-used the same set of main Slinks on 3 or 4 different line sets. Eventually a sharp edge on a slider grommet cut off the tab and the Slink separated as he turned on to final approach. Koji is spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

    Granted that was a maintenance problem.

    But hand-tacking reserve Slinks is still a good habit ... er ... best business practice ... to doubly ensure that a Slink does not separate. Hand-tacking Slinks may be over-kill, but I still do it on every reserve. I only tack the tab and try to leave enough slack to allow pulling the tab close enough to the edge to allow the next rigger to inspect the Lark's Head knot during every subsequent inspection.

  3. I echo the OP's experience.

    I started skydiving back in 1977 and earned my first tandem instructor rating in 1986. From 1992 to 2010 (18 years) I worked full-time in the skydiving industry, often "8 days a week." I did tandems on weekends and rigged from Monday to Friday. It was only after 10 years, that I was able to negotiate 1 day per week as a rest day. Otherwise, I had to be on the DZ everyday and ready to jump with students. If weather turned nasty, I busied myself in the loft.

    A few years back I heard a younger TI complain that she was exhausted by the end of July and just dragged her ass through August and September. When the rainy season returned in October, she suffered major depression.

    Over the winter, I supported myself rigging and preparing 50-some-odd school rigs for the next season. For many years, I was the only Canadian skydiver collecting a salary 12 months out of the year.

    It was not so much burn-out that forced me to leave the skydiving industry as it was injuries suffered during a plane crash. I recovered from most of my physical injuries after a year, but never recovered psychologically. I was more bored than stressed 3 months after the crash, but then too many lawyers, bullies and fiercely competitive skydivers reminded me of the crash too many times, burning that miserable crash into long-term memory.

    The worst part of leaving the skydiving industry was sociological. Working those long hours prevented me from forming social connections outside of skydiving, so when I no longer worked as a full-time skydiver, I lost my social circle and huge part of my identity.

    • Like 1

  4. Dear ChrisHoward,

    What if the manufacturer no longer makes spare parts?

    For example, Rigging Innovations quit building Talon 1s during the mid 1990s and no longer supply Talon 1 spare parts. What is a rigger to do if a Talon 1 is only "lightly used" but loses a freebag and a replacement freebag cannot be found? 

  5. Amazing how polarized American politics have become.

    I fear extremists on both sides of the aisle.

    Russia proved that hard-core, left-wing communism did not work.

    Hitler and Musilinni proved that hard-core, right-wing fascism did not work.

    While I might agree with some of Antifa's goals, I fear their violent methods. TV news reports portray Antifa protesters as violent, anarchist thugs.

    The ultimate Antifa foolishness (a few months back) was masked Antifa thugs harassing an American citizen waving an American flag on the sidewalk outside a coffee shop that refused to serve coffee to police. Sorry if I sound narrow-minded, but if you object to waving an American flag in the USA, I suggest that you leave the USA.

  6. Not sure what the OP is complaining about. Yes, they sound a bit unprofessional.

    My only confusion is over no response to the transiting private airplane. Were both jump planes shut down when he flew over?

    The scary, un-professional, dangerous thing is when cross-country airplanes fly directly over a DZ without listening to the local radio frequency.

    • Like 2

  7. Some ejection seats use tear-strip bridles to even out surges in opening sequences. Tear-strips function the same way as the cotton break-cord used to stage openings on military static-line mains. Lazy skydivers switched to Velcro, then rubber bands, than sili-stows, then tuck tabs, then magnets, then  ... quick! invent another gadget ....!

    Once airspeeds exceed 200 knots, even the slightest pause in opening shock is quickly followed by a massively harder load surge as different components struggle to match speeds. Those surges tear parachutes and pilots.

    The simplest tear-strips involve a piece of (full strength) webbing folded over on itself and zig-zag sewn with E-thread. Tearing E-thread is more consistent than the rubber bands suggested above. Since the E-thread consistently fails at 8.5 pounds, it is easy to calculate when it will tear.

    The problem is protecting that tear-strip until it is needed. Protection is easy inside a sealed ejection seat or reserve container, but more difficult on main risers that are expose during every jump.

    Perhaps you add a tear-strip just below the 3-Rings and protect it with a fabric cover. ???? Mind you, the most painful openings tend to force all the opening shock onto one side of the harness.

    This challenge requires a brighter mind than mine.

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  8. On 5/23/2020 at 3:50 PM, riggerrob said:

    The other day, a cop pulled me over.

    "License and registration please sir."

    "Why can I smell weed?"

    "Because you are not demonstrating proper social distancing."

    A few minutes later, the cop was putting hand cuffs on me.

    "Sir, you have the right to remain silent ... because you have already annoyed me enough today."

  9. 19 hours ago, kallend said:

    Follow the money.

    The land of the free and the home of the brave has more of its citizens imprisoned than any other country on Earth.

    Poverty has always been against the law, in most contries.

  10. The other day, a cop pulled me over.

    "License and registration please sir."

    "Why can I smell weed?"

    "Because you are not demonstrating proper social distancing."

  11. Ripley's "Believe it or Not" published a published a sketch of Chinese soldiers marching, with the caption something like "If Chinese soldiers marched ten abreast through a gate, they would never all march through it … birthrate … blah ..blah … blah"

    Chinese will always out-number any other army.

  12. There are 3 reasons why the US Army won the battle of 73 Easting.

    First: Iraqi command was inflexible.

    Second: troops were so poorly trained that generals only trusted them to fight from hull-down, dug-in positions.

    Thirdly: US aiming/fire control systems were far more advanced, infrared, thermal imaging, etc. Iraqi armour and guns were almost as good, but Iraqi tankers could not see half as many targets as American tankers. 

    Similar variables to the Israeli defense of the Golan Heights in 1973.

    Recently, the USSR decided that their latest Armata tank was too expensive to manufacture in large numbers. Instead, they decided to upgrade aiming systems on existing T-92 tanks. Even back during the Cold War, there was a huge market for upgrading existing tanks with more reliable diesel engines, automatic transmissions, bigger guns, better sights, applique armour, etc.

  13. Dear Gowlerk,

    Surely you remember how different the early 196os were from today.

    I grew up in a small, conservative, college town a 3-hour drive from Montreal (then the biggest city in Canada).

    Living-in-sin was … a sin against God. Divorce was frowned upon. Priests encouraged women to return to their abusive husbands. Single mothers were frowned upon. Abortions were definitely illegal. If an un-married woman got pregnant, she had to sneak a ride to Montreal for a back-room abortion. Complications from botched abortions killed too many women.

    Dr. Henry Mortganthaller was jailed repeatedly before abortion was de-criminalized.

    If a woman needed an abortion, she needed an alibi. Blame the blacks, ukranians, gypsies, polacks, migrant farm workers, sailors, etc. who left town yesterday. Heaven forbid that she admit to voluntary sex with a local teenaged boy!

    Fortunately, abortions are radically different during this century. My good buddy: J.P. Forest (retired military police) guarded Dr. Romalis - the busiest abortionist in Vancouver - for 6 years. The doctor survived a stabbing and a rifle shot to the leg. Sometimes, J.P. even "scrubbed in" to the operating theatre. He reported that the bulk of abortions were performed on married women who already had children. The primary motivation for abortion was malformed fetus.

    The last time a federal Conservative politician suggested re-opening the debate on abortion, I told him that boat sailed 50 years ago. I also told him that if he wasted Parliament's time re-opening the debate, I would wonder what other mischief he was doing outside of Parliament. 

  14. General comment: face masks should not be worn in freefall because they might slip up and cover your eyes ... obscuring vision temporarily.

    We have seen loose toques blow over jumpers' eyes.

    The best way to avoid obscuring vision is to secure your buff or neck-warmer snuggly under your chin strap. I have done that during hundreds of cold-weather jumps.

    • Like 1

  15. All those fancy CIWS, Phallanx, etc. AAA systems can be defeated by large swarms of incoming missiles, airplanes, torpedoes, etc. Even if the first swarm does not sink the ship, tomorrows swarm has a better chance … especially if the swarm arrives before the AAA has time to re-load.

    Also consider that the most likely confrontation will be in the South China Sea with the USN at the end of a supply chain as long as the Pacific Ocean is wide. OTOH the Chinese Navy will be fighting in home waters.

    Who will re-load quicker?


    Communist China has always been able to out-number NATO or the Warsaw Pact, or any other conceivable enemy. With recent improvements in their weapons systems, Chinese weapons quality is getting closer and closer to USN capabilities.