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Everything posted by riggerrob

  1. Back to aa1b's original question. Yes Cypres fires are fairly common. Thank God Cypres fires are now common. Re-arming a Cypres is so much easier than attending a funeral. Losing track of altitude is fairly common. Heck, just yesterday, we had a junior jumper dump low because he was concentrating too much on his freefall exercises and did not look at his altitmeter until 2,000'!. Until recently "no pull/low pull" represented 1/3 of the fatalities on USPA's annual fatality summary. Now that Cypri are fashionable, I suspect that a lot of Cypres firings just go unreported. Hm, it would be interesting to hear how many replacement cutters they sell every year. I guarrantee that number vastly exceeds the number of "Incident, Malfunction & Accident Reports" filed. Another example: in the mid-1990s I was rigging for Square One when Kate Cooper hammeredd out a deal with Airtec to install Cypri in all of Square One's rental gear. In short order we had three Cypres firings! We were all amazed that no one had died using Square One rental gear before that!
  2. Will someone please explain to me why every canopy manufacturer insists on using a different method to measure canopies? I could understand the confusion when I bought my Strato-Star - back in 1979 - but somewhere along the way PIA published a standard method for measuring rectangular canopies. Sign me "confused."
  3. marcin, That is news to me. I was under the impression that most Para-Flite canopies were built in New Jersey. The last time I checked, New Jersey was on the East Cost of the USA. Granted a few Para-Flite canopies have been built under license by Parachute Industries of South Africa. Most of those sport canopies were sold on the European market. Irvin Industries of Canada also built a few military canopies under license from Para-Flite. The last time I talked with a PISA rep, he said that his canopies were sewn by little Hindi-speaking women who live on the East Coast of South Africa. Recenltly Performance Designs shifted production to Honduras, but that is an entirely different story.
  4. Gee! Your stories remind me of some mistakes I made when I was a junior jumper. Every once in a while I would get lazy when tossing my pilotchute and it would slap me in the back of the helmet. One of those slaps would usually cure me of my laziness for another season. My worst experience with lazy PC tossing occurred in the spring time, when I was not very current, wearing bulky gloves and several other excuses. I tossed my pilotchute and followed the then-current fashion of watching it inflate. My pilotchute went up about six feet and stopped! A hasty scan of the bridle revealed that the bridle was wrapped around my chest-mounted altimeter! I grabbed the bridle, tossed it a second time and quickly found myself hanging under my main at 1500 feet on the wrong side of the river. That scare cured me of lazy pilotchute tosses forever!
  5. The easiest way to remove blood is to rinse it off with lots of fresh water before it has time to dry. After that, you may want to wash it with a mild detergent such as ERA. But, frankly there is not much point ot worrying about blood on a main pilotchute. Chances are, the pilotchute will wear out before the acid in the blood has chance to weaken it significantly.
  6. At Pitt Meadows, we try to keep the landing pattern simple. If there is no wind, everyone lands to the west. The first guy down sets the landing direction and everyone else follows him. If the first guy down lands down wind, you are still obliged to follow him, but you have the option of kicking his ass after the fact! If you get confused, land to the west. Students and tandems have the right of way. Students and junior jumpers are encouraged to do their S turns over the fence, then do a straight in final approach. Senior jumpers have to steer around students and tandems. Since the tandems open so much higher than everyone else, there are rarely any traffic issues with tandems. Exit order from the King Air is: big ways out first, then small groups. Belly fliers, then freefliers. Junior jumpers exit late, followed by students with tandems out last. This exit order form the King Air usually sorts out the landing sequence. If you pass anyone under canopy, the faster jumper is responsible for steering around the lower/slower jumper. Most people with fast canopies open near 2,000' and spiral vigorously to land first. Most people with slow canopies open at 3,000' or 3500'. This helps to "stack" canopies and minimize "crossing" traffic. The only exceptions are people landing between the air blades. Only senior jumpers are allowed to land between the air blades. They discuss the air blade landing pattern before take off. Blade runners follow all the other rules.
  7. Yes, with slinks, your slider will sometimes stop hiding one toggle. just grab it and pull it down the rest of the way. The only way the slider will tangle with the toggles is if you have old risers built before toggle hoods came into fashion. Your local rigger can easily sew toggle hoods onto your risers.
  8. Call Chris Kelly at Adventure Sports Loft in Perris Valley, California. She will sew you a custom pilotchute in any color you want. But her true specialty is custom applique on pilotchutes. Chris will take almost any piece of artwork (hint: keep it simple) and sew it onto a pilotchute. Besides the usual flags or yin/yan, Chris has sewn some truly sick and twisted skulls! Chris is also a second source for Wind Signs, those banner type thingies that young men with tiny canopies scream between.
  9. Para Flite introduced the Turbo ZX in the early 1990s to compete with Performance Design's Sabre. The Turbo ZX was trimmed a bit on the "tame" side, so it never sold very well. It is a decent canopy, just unspectacular in performance or handling. You should be able to pick up a slightly used Turbo ZX pretty cheap. The Swift Plus series have sold well since their introduction. Swift Pluses are almost the smallest packing reserves on the market and they have saved plenty of lives. There has only been one Service Bulletin on the Swift Pluses. When he repacks your new reserve, remind your rigger to inspect the bartacks at the D line cascades. This Service Bulletin should have been done when it was published circa 1994.
  10. Hmm! 228 square foot canopies. Sounds like they are Comet 228 canopies built under license by Parachutes Australia. The 228 number can be mis-leading. If you measure those canopies by PIA methods, they are more like 200 square feet. but I will have to consult my charts to be sure. The Comet series were designed by Bill Gargano, who subsequently licensed several other companies to build them. The Comet series evolved into the Hobbit, Spirit and Wizard series of 7 cell main and reserve canopies. Strong Enterprises built that line until they introduced their own series of Stellar reserves in 1993. Strong is still building tandem reserves that are "extrapolated" from the original Comet design.
  11. Yes, we expect your PD126 to open in less than 500 feet if you are sub terminal. The only reserves we do not expect to open that quickly are tandem reserves. Because of the extra weight and surface area, tandem reserves are allowed a bit more time to open. I have opened one Strong tandem reserve at terminal, and trust me, you don't want tandem reserves to open any quicker!
  12. You only need an open end wrench. Use the floor to prevent the link from turning. Eliminating the screwdriver eliminates a lot of gouged fingers.
  13. aufreefly, Ask the manufacturer to fax you the trim chart for that demo canopy. Then take the canopy and the trim chart to your friendly neighborhood rigger and ask him/her to compare the two. Chances are, the steering lines have shrunk.
  14. When I worked for Rigging Innovations, we did a series of drop tests from 250 to 300 feet. These drop tests were done to satisfy an FAA requirement that solo reserves open in less than 300 feet/ 3 seconds.
  15. $400 sounds like a great deal, even if it is an old student rig. I am more curious about the canopies. Which canopies came with your Pigmee? Your Pigmee harness/container was built by Parachutes Australia during the 1970s or 1980s. Yes it was manufactured under an American-style TSO. Parachutes Australia were ahead of their time when they introduced the Pigmee with its Single Operation System which used one handle to both release a malfunctioned main and deploy the reserve. There was one Service Bulletin requiring pull-testing the SOS handle, but you can cheerfully ignore that Service Bulletin if your handle has been laying in a paddock for less than a year. Heck, just ignore the Service Bulletin period, unless you have lots of spare handles and dollars. A few Pigmees were built in the United States. I forget whether it was Chuck Embury or Bill Gargano who built them. Either way, the American made Pigmees are good quality. Forget about KAP 3 AADs. KAP3s were the best AADs available in the 1950s! They are made in Czechoslovakia, but no one in North America seems to know where to get them overhauled. You might ask Ralph Hatley of "Call Ralph" about overhauling KAPs.
  16. Your instructors taught you the full glide to full flare landing because that approach works with all canopies. A full glide to full flare approach also produces the fewest injuries, which is what they are really aiming for. Yes, it is a good habit to practice flying in deep brakes, as long as you practice up high. Some smaller, faster, fashionable canopies will stall and fold up in a deep stall, not something you want to learn at 40 feet above the bowl! Accuracy competitors jump specially designed canopies. Accuracy competition is dominated by two canopies: the Jalbert Para-Foil built by North American Aerodynamics and the Challenger Classic series built by John Eiff and New England Parachute Company. These competition canopies have extra vents and extra stabilizers to keep them stable on the edge of the stall. Few canopies generate much lift while they are on the edge of a stall, so accuracy competitors substitute more fabric to soften their landings. Most of them load their specialized canopies at 0.7 pounds per square foot, less than half the wing loading you need to win a pond swooping contest. These huge canopies also pack huge, so you won't win any style points with your big rig. You have also noticed that they only approach in deep brakes when they are going to land in the pea gravel bowl. Too many hard landings forced accuracy competitors to invent a target even softer than a pea gravel bowl. Now most accuracy competitions are done onto a giant air bag called a tuffet. The only way your bones will survive hundreds of hard core accuracy landings is to land on a tuffet. To find tuffets, you have to train at the same dropzones as hard core accuracy competitors, ie. Raeford in the Carolinas.
  17. If buying used, get the Sabre. If buying new, then get the Hornet.
  18. For a first effort/demo film, keep your subject small. For example, you could do a piece on pond swooping. To hold the audience's attention, throw in a few splashes! To hold the skydivers' attention, throw in some advice on how to fly an aggressive approach and survive.
  19. Those tiny pinholes in the center tail are caused by the grommets on the bag and slider slapping together. Unfortunately any fabric that gets in the way gets damaged. The only solution I have heard is to wrap the tail around above the slider grommets, but this can easily lead to a whole other series of problems. The good news is that it takes an awful lot of pinholes before the flying characteristics or structural strength are affected. Pin holes in the center tail are considered normal wear and tear.
  20. How strong is the HAVOK's chin piece? Would it survive a knee-to-the-jaw delivered by a freefall student spinning out of control?
  21. As the first poster said, bombing Afghanistan back into the stone age won't work. It has already been done. Asking the Afghan government to hand over Bin Laden won't work either. Afghanistan has never had a strong central government. Trying to replace the Taliban with a more moderate government won't work either. You would just insert another bunch of fanatics. Moderates don't go to war. As for sending in ground troops .... the greatest empires of this planet have tried repeatedly and failed repeatedly to conquer Afghanistan. Peter the Great failed to conquer Afghanistan. The British Empire failed to conquer Afghanistan. The Soviet Union failed to conquer Afghanistan. The only way to stop fanatics like Bin Laden is to remove their popular support. To remove their popular support, you have to eliminate grievances. Eliminating grievances is far easier said than done. The first thing that we have to do is listen to their grievances. The strange thing about the latest terrorist attacks is that no-one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, much less publically made any demands. I suspect that Western politicians and news media are deliberately shielding us from messages that terrorists have already sent. How about a bit of "conspiracy theory" here? So we are left guessing at what message these terrorists were trying to send. The problem is that many of these grievances are based upon over-population. For example, try convincing a few million Jews to leave Palestine. Ha! Only the Chinese Communists have been able to convince citizens to stop raising children. Don't hold your breath waiting for the rest of the world to follow suit. In the short run, the best we Westerners can do is stop meddling in the internal affairs of Moslem nations. Again, something far easier said than done. Big business is making far too much money to stop meddling. So we are still searching for an answer folks. But if we ignore terrorists, then all those New Yorkers died in vain! Thanks for reading my rant.
  22. The FAA giveth and the FAA taketh away. In July they finally made tandems legal, then in September they make every skydive illegal. When will I ever understand bureaucrats?
  23. riggerrob


    Volo, What do you mean by "pumping out such a large number of canopies in such a short period of time."? At the 1993 PIA Symposium, I was introduced to a parachute designer from New Zealand. His name was Gyro and he was starting to develop a reputation in his homeland as a builder of high performance canopies. Since 1993, Gyro and the Icarus marketing department have introduced Icarus Extreme VX, Extreme FX, Omega, Safire, Crossfire, tandem and student canopy lines. For comparison, during the same time period, Performance Designs has introduced the Stiletto, Spectre, Silhouette, Velocity, Vengeance, Navigator student canopy and a couple of tandem mains. What is the difference?
  24. Before you attend the AFF Certification Course, get lots of instuctional and coaching experience. Get to the point where teaching from a lesson plan and remembering junior jumper's freefall gyrations is second nature before you get anywhere near an AFF Evaluator. For comparison, to become a Canadian Progressive Freefall Instructor, you must have the 6 hours of freefall time, plus Coach 1, Coach 2 and Instructor A ratings. As a coach, you develop all those proximity, observation and analysis skills that are second nature to freefall instructors. The nearest American equivalent would be Skydive University coach certification, but then Skydive U. is headed by Rob Laidlaw. Rob led the Canadian 4-way team to how many world championships? By comparison, tandem instructor ratings are much easier to obtain and the job pays better. Aside from the usual 500 jumps, 3 years in the sport, 1 cutaway and some sort of instructor rating, you need a calm demeanor and and a strong back. The calm demeanor will solve half your students' stability problems before you ever get near the door. The strong back is required for lifting those 45 pound rigs and reluctant students. In the long run, you will find it easiest to tell students "just put your feet on the step, your arms on your chest and let me do the rest."
  25. Yes, Pioneer was a big player in the sport canopy market from 1964 to 1984. They stated making emergency parachutes for the military before I was born. In 1964 they introduced the Para-Commander - a highly modified round canopy - which dominated the skydiving market until squares were perfected in the late 1970s. Pioneer responded by introducing the Viking, which was basically a copy of the popular Strato-Cloud. Pioneer later introduced the Viking Superlight, Merlin, Osprey, and Titan main canopies. Pionner also built plenty of round reserves and a couple of models of square reserve. Their 5-cell reserve was called Reliant and I think the 7-cell reserve was called Phoenix. By the mid-1980s, the legal climate had changed radically, and Pioneer pulled out of the sport market rather than risk loosing everything in a law suit. They were building some fine sport canopies when they pulled out of the market. Pioneer continued building parachutes for the military. The last time I talked with a Pioneer factory rep, he was bragging about how they had out bid Para-Flite to build military freefall rigs. To the best of my knowledge the only service bulletins issued by Pioneer were related to their round reserves, but I will have to re-read Poynter's Manual to refresh my memory. On the other hand, you can count on one finger the number of manufacturers who have not had problems with their round reserves. In conclusion, I have jumped Viking and Titan canopies built by Pioneer and they were some of the better sport canopies built in the early 198os. It is a pity the accursed, scum-sucking, bottom-feeding. low-life, white trash (did I say scum sucking?) lawyers drove Pioneer out of the skydiving market.