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Everything posted by wolfriverjoe

  1. wolfriverjoe

    DZ wind limit tdm skydiving

    If your IC contract doesn't have a clause that gives you final say in whether or not to jump, to be able to say 'this isn't safe and I'm not doing it' without punishment... Find a different DZ.
  2. I've seen unleaded auto gas used in 172s & 182s for a long time. I've never seen lead additives added to it. A quick search didn't find any requirement for leaded gas, except in a few specific and rather unusual places (Franklin brand & radial type engines). The 'much less lubrication' is a myth leftover from the time when unleaded was starting to be required.
  3. Comfortable clothing, appropriate to the weather. I usually wear jeans under my jumpsuit. Shorts also work. Lots of ladies wear yoga pants. T-shirt or sweatshirt on top. Avoid collars, hoods or strings. Sneakers (trainers) are typical. Students should wear closed toe shoes, even though there are experienced jumpers who wear sandals or even go barefoot. Make sure you don't wear shoes with hooks (hiking boots usually have them). They are considered a snag hazard. Try to get a good night's sleep the night before (good luck with that). Stay fed & hydrated. Don't eat a huge, heavy meal, but make sure you eat. Pay attention to the instructors and make sure you understand. If you don't understand something, ask. Do NOT, under any circumstances say "but they said on Dropzone Dot Com..." Don't pay a whole lot of attention to what you read on here. You don't have the understanding to know what is good advice and what is crap (and there's a lot of crap on here). As Skybytch noted, there are a lot of training differences between Tandem, AFF & static line jumping. But the above applies to all of them.
  4. wolfriverjoe

    Diff between RW & Competition jumpsuits

    Which companies are those? I've seen a few knock off suits from overseas (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Viet Nam). A couple were 'sorta decent'. Most were pretty flimsy (construction, materials or both). I've also heard of more than a few companies that promised cheap suits, but simply took the deposit and then disappeared.
  5. wolfriverjoe

    Diff between RW & Competition jumpsuits

    Well, there are probably a few differences I don't know about (I don't make jumpsuits), but the folks I know who compete in RW (belly) use RW jumpsuits. Not a whole lot different than 'normal' RW suits. Some of them have some features that aren't on every suit (big booties, vented booties, extra grippers), but those are available for anyone. I also know more than one fun jumper who is jumping an old suit from a top level competitor (SDC Rhythm - You can tell because they have the name of the team member on the back collar). Suits intended for vertical stuff (freeflying) are a bit different. But that's not what you are asking. Used suits are the best choice... If you can find one. But finding one that fits well and is in good shape may or may not happen. If you end up going new, Tony & Bev are both great. Bev is more marketed towards women, but I think she makes them for anyone. Vertical is also good. They make more freefly suits, but I think they'd make a belly suit if you ordered one. If you go new, take some time and talk to the maker. With the cost and time involved, make sure you understand what you are getting and are getting what you want.
  6. wolfriverjoe

    Can You Install a Skyhook Into any Rig? How?

    Oops. Forgot about that. Thank you. Post edited.
  7. wolfriverjoe

    Can You Install a Skyhook Into any Rig? How?

    To expand on that a bit, the Skyhook is a patented item. It's only available in the Vector. It can only be retrofitted to Vectors, and not all of them, IIRC. It would be considered a 'modification' and 'master rigger' territory. Crossing over manufacturers is likely not 'approvable' (or legal). Edit to add: Bill Booth licensed the Skyhook to Sunpath, so it's available in the Javelin too. Not sure if it can be retrofitted into some, or all or even any older ones.
  8. Simplest would be to go to the rig manufacturer's website, find the sizing page. There will be instructions on how to take measurements for ordering a new rig. Have someone measure you (don't try to do it yourself, you can't). A rigger or tailor/seamstress is best, but anyone who can follow instructions and read a tape measure can do it. Get the serial number from the rig and then send both the S/N and your measurements to the manufacturer. They should be able to tell you if it will fit, or if a harness resize is an option, or if it can't be made to fit. 2" of height may not be enough to worry about. If the guy's legs are long and yours are short, the MLW measurement may be the same.
  9. wolfriverjoe

    New SL/IAD "freefall" jump requirement

    That's how it seems to read. I did S/L with a direct bag setup. I cannot see how that jump can be called anything close to 'freefall', but I'm not the one in charge of it. I can see a spring loaded pilot chute S/L setup counting. But the jumper falls a LOT further before having an inflated canopy with that setup.
  10. wolfriverjoe

    Glide Path Nova

    Before my time, but I've heard the stories. I do believe Billvon was around when they came out and subsequently were found to be a really bad idea to fly. What I remember (which may or may not be correct) is that they flew great under normal conditions. But had a tendency for the nose to fold under and collapse the entire canopy in turbulence. Think about that happening in the pattern. Mains are not 'certified' in any way. So my understanding is that the grounding is entirely advisory, not under rule (again, could be wrong on that). However, I can't imagine any DZ allowing you to jump it. The only way jumping it on an intentional cutaway rig would be 'safe'(ish) would be to cut it away on every jump. I do believe we should mark this day on the calendar. A husband was right and his wife was wrong. I would strongly suggest leaving this one for display purposes only. Edit to add: I really don't think you will be 'missing' much. My understanding (and could be wrong on that yet again) is that it was a 'sporty' canopy. You can get the same or better 'sportiness' under any modern elliptical. Just without the 'Russian Roulette' aspect.
  11. wolfriverjoe

    Financing for dropzones

    Well, I was part of a DZ that had a line of credit from a bank. We used that money for 'big' expenses, like rebuilding the engine on one of the planes. Or a new tandem rig (actual purchases when I was part of the club). We had a steady tandem business (maybe 20 every weekend), and a fairly active S/L first jump class (maybe averaging 5 every weekend). 2 182s. The bank had no problem, in part because we had 2 planes for collateral. The LoC would get extended, then slowly paid off. The bank understood we shut down in the winter and would accept 'interest only' payments when we were on winter hiatus. Also, after 4 years of no DZ near me, one started up again this year. The old Green Bay Skydivers reopened as "Skydive Freefall Adventure" on Memorial Day weekend. One of the TIs from the old operation and his wife, who worked manifest at the old place rented the same hangar, leased the same plane and got a pair of tandem rigs from one of the area DZs. I have zero clue what sort of start up money they already had or how much it took, but I know they took out at least some of the money as a loan. Have a business plan. Have projected income (if its already an operational DZ, show the numbers of jumps, each type and the income from them), projected costs, all of that. You can get around the liability question by showing them the waiver and how many successful lawsuits have been pursued against DZs. Do you have any/much experience as a DZO or DZ manager? If you haven't already done this, it's a ton of work. Plan on doing everything, from checking in the cute students to mopping out the toilets. And the standard phrase 'you make a small pile of money in aviation by starting with a big one' is often true. Expenses can be brutal. One way around it is to be as many of your own 'employees' as you can. Do you have a rigger ticket? Commercial piliot? A&P? Those can take a huge bite out of expenses (the bank would like that). I would call this 'difficult but not impossible'.
  12. wolfriverjoe

    Freefly friendly - what exactly does it mean?

    In general, it means pin (main & reserve) protection, bridle protection and riser protection that is secure enough to stay in place during the higher speed and 'unusual' attitudes that freeflying entails. "Unusual" meaning 'other than belly to earth'. Premature openings are the main concern, but it's also possible to have the toggles pop loose if the risers aren't properly secured. That can make for an interesting opening. One other issue is that the rig needs to stay in place on your back. That's more an issue of harness fit than any actual design feature of the container, although a belly band can help keep in place a rig that doesn't fit quite right.
  13. wolfriverjoe

    Dropzone Business Insurance

    What kind of insurance are you asking about? General liability insurance for skydiving is not a real thing. That's why the waiver is as long and detailed as it is. Hire a good lawyer to write one for you (you can ask other DZs for recommendations). "On the ground" liability, stuff that covers spectators tripping and falling, is out there. Some have it, many (big & small) don't. Building and equipment insurance (fire & theft) is available. Given the value of the gear, strongly suggested. But not all have it. Airplane insurance is a somewhat similar thing. Some have it, some don't. Hull insurance covers the airplane if it gets damaged. Liability insurance covers what it hits if it crashes. If you lease a plane, either the owner will have it or he will require that you have it.
  14. wolfriverjoe

    Packing innovations

    Thanks. That says what I was trying to say far better than I did. It has nothing to do with 'respecting experienced jumpers'. It's more that you don't know how to do it right (yet) and you are asking if there is a better way. Not entirely unreasonable, but as was suggested above, learn how to do things the way they are done and why. Then start innovating. Packing is work. Packing when you are new and not very good at it is hard, frustrating and a LOT of work. However, it will get easier. I honestly don't think much about it. I don't worry too much about making it easier, I worry more about making sure the thing will open the way I want it to. Once you get to the point you can pack without swearing in less than 20 minutes, then look at how much work you are willing to put in to make it 'better and easier'. And cost. Don't forget that. The idea of a 'robot packing machine' isn't all that far-fetched. There are some nuances with flaking & quartering the slider that would be hard to do, but the rest of it could be automated, with adequate funding and effort. But (and it's a big but), it would cost. And with pack jobs being $7 for a sport rig and $15 for a tandem, covering the several million dollars needed to design & build one is going to be a problem.
  15. wolfriverjoe

    Packing innovations

    Like what? What specific improvement would you like to see? How much are you willing to pay for it? How would it be implemented? How would you make sure it didn't have any unintended consequences (bad ones)? I know you have done a lot of work with your canopy project. That was truly impressive. So you have a bit better idea of what goes into component construction that the average jumper. So, what would you do to improve it? It wasn't 'beginner bashing' at first. The OP asked if packing could be improved, and (not terribly clearly) if there were innovations that he wouldn't see on his student gear. It sort of devolved into 'packing is hard and takes too much time, there has to be a better way' (not specific). Which is far more of a generalized 'new guy' complaint.
  16. wolfriverjoe

    Packing innovations

    Ok, so you've gone from 'I'm an engineer, is there a better way to pack?' to 'It's too hard, there has to be an easier way.' It won't take '10 years' to get used to packing. Maybe 50 pack jobs, maybe less if you can get a good packer to show you a few tips, tricks & shortcuts. Again, the bag is sized the way it is for a reason. I can't see how a 'bigger bag that squeezes down after the canopy is in it' would work. In the time between getting it in and squeezing it down, the canopy could/would move around. That wouldn't be good. There are effective techniques for bagging a canopy, and a couple of tools that help (look at the thread on the 'Pack Monkey'). Most of it involves managing the S-folded canopy. Some of it involves getting the bag around the canopy, not putting the canopy in the bag. Lines are stowed by rubber bands because they are simple and cheap. And they work. The idea of a system that is big, the bight is put through and then the band is tightened down has some appeal. But will it be reliable? How much will it cost. My rig has 4 locking stows and 8 more on the bag. The 'watch band' latch you envision could be a new way to do it. But 12 rubber bands are next to nothing. 12 of the watch band latches would not be. And you'd still need some sort of 'stretchy' loop so that the lines could pull out. Besides, like bagging a canopy, stowing lines in rubber bands isn't all that hard, once you get used to it. I hook the band around my thumb and middle finger, loop the bight of line, grab where I want the band to be, pull the band off my hand. Similarly, closing the container is more about technique than force. You put the bag in the pack tray, bring the flaps up and close them. Not all that different from putting your foot in the boot and closing the latches. The direction of pull is incredibly important. If you are pulling straight up, it takes a lot more force than pulling directly in the direction you want the flap to go (to close the top flap, pull towards the bottom of the container). This gives you the leverage that Lee was trying to describe. Again, there are a couple tools that can help (Power Tool/Packboy, PUCA tool), but they still need to be used correctly. There have been a number of inventions and 'innovations' over the years. One reason there is serious resistance to change is because many of those 'improvements' ended up killing people and were abandoned. A 'complete redesign' of the entire system may be a good idea. However, the level of testing and certification that sort of thing would require is not trivial. Or cheap. The gear, 'evolved' from the older stuff, is expensive enough. I shudder to think how much an entirely new system design would cost. And as far as what student gear does and doesn't have, it depends on the DZ and the gear. At my current DZ, student gear is just regular gear, sized appropriately for students. Last - If you have ideas, see where they go. Not just 'I want it to be easier', but "I think this particular thing would be an improvement." Make sure you have looked at all the possible failure modes, as well as how it would help. This is far more something that would be discussed over beers at the bonfire than during jump ops. Especially during your student jumps. Be prepared to have it torn asunder, as the people who have seen how stuff can go wrong will identify potential pitfalls and failures that you will miss (and you will miss some). But that's how advancements and innovation happen. Ask Bill Booth (look him up, he's done a lot for the sport).
  17. wolfriverjoe

    Packing innovations

    First off, NEVER stop asking 'can it be done better?' That's where innovation and improvement come from. However, I wouldn't call packing 'primitive'. I'd call it 'simple'. Canopy opening is a dynamic and very chaotic process. Keeping the packing as simple as possible reduces chances for problems. The D-bag is the size it is for a reason. They are sized to the container. They have to hold the canopy securely enough so that it can't shift around. Rubber bands are simple, consistent, fairly reliable and cheap. There are a couple alternatives to rubber bands. Silibands and Tube Stows were popular, but I haven't really seen them much in a while. Stowless is a good alternative. I know a few folks who use that. There's a bit of 'institutional memory' that is against it, but one thing to know is that just about every reserve is a 'stowless' setup (so you do have them at your DZ, just not readily visible). Another thing to remember is that a pack job doesn't have to be perfect. Early on, I had a rigger explain to me that packing was 80% psychological. Lines straight & to the inside, fabric to the outside. Slider to the stops & quartered. Everything arranged so that it comes out in sequence and sort of smoothly. Locking stows solid. Most of the rest is to make you feel better (some of it has an effect on 'quality' of opening). Student canopies are very big. So they are more work to pack (tandems are somewhat similar). Smaller canopies are easier to handle, but they go in smaller rigs, so the D-bag is smaller. Getting the canopy in the bag is partly technique, mostly experience. I can't really tell you how to do it, but I can tell you that once you get better at it, getting a sleeping bag, tent, car cover or similar into the storage bag will be a piece of cake. Same with stowing the lines. You will get better at it. But, if you can come up with a better idea, one that offers more benefits than drawbacks, isn't more expensive, is more durable, is easier to use but still effective at holding the lines, then go with it. That's how the gear improves.
  18. wolfriverjoe

    Avoiding Landing Traffic

    Don't apologize. Sometimes this sort of reminder is very important (and not just for low-timers). It's one thing to see someone get hurt doing something deliberate (swooping is the example at the top of my mind). But when it's a bit of bad luck, a bit of 'circumstances' and that instinctive over-reaction combining to create a really bad result, it can be really tough. I saw a couple people 'do the right thing' on Saturday. One guy saw potential traffic conflicts well ahead of time. He chose to land in the bean field and had to walk a couple hundred yards extra to get back. Another had someone closer than comfortable on final, did a braked turn (not a big turn, just enough to go from 'collision course' to 'diverging') and ended up landing with the canopy draped over one of the runway lights. One of the very experienced staff landed nearby, helped get the canopy untangled, and complimented the use of the braked turn.
  19. wolfriverjoe

    Pack Monkey?

    Have you heard of or seen the PUCA tool? http://www.chutingstar.com/puca-pull-up-cord-assistance-tool Simple little handle that you wrap the end of the pull up cord around. Saw it for the first time at SDC Summerfest last week. Rock Skymarket store had them. Haven't tried it yet (don't pack my own when on vacation), but the person I saw using it said it's a lot better.
  20. wolfriverjoe

    Pack Monkey?

    I posted this (more or less) last year. I saw one of these being used at SDC Summerfest. Older and very experienced lady was using one for a new canopy. She said it made S-folding & bagging the slippery new canopy much easier.
  21. wolfriverjoe

    Container comparison

    The three you have listed are all fine. The difference between the manufacturers is not all that big of a deal. I would be more concerned with fit and condition. Those two would have far more influence on which one I would get, rather than brand.
  22. wolfriverjoe

    First cut-away - line over and/or tension knot

    Thing one - You got your reserve out and landed safely. Things you didn't do: Fight it too long. Think that because it was flying 'ok' with no toggle input that it would be ok to land. Not pull the reserve handle (some folks trust the RSL and don't - bad idea). Get hurt. I agree that not peeling the velcro is 'bad form', and could have resulted in issues, but it worked. I also agree that not looking for the reserve handle is 'bad form' and could have been a problem, but you found it and pulled it. I also agree that losing a handle is a minor issue. Keeping them is ideal, but not required. Things you did: Kept your head and evaluated the situation. Made the decision to chop before it was too late. Landed safely. You are now on the ground and engaging in the extremely important and useful action of 'after action report'. Evaluating what you did right, what you did wrong, and how to make the next time go better. You have enough recollection of the event to make that a fruitful process. As you noted, you can learn and so can others. And last but not least... Was this your first cutaway???
  23. wolfriverjoe

    First main size, with prior canopy experience

    True. Volume vs area (cube vs square) does not really apply to this. But the idea that canopy size vs wingloading isn't linear is true. And that does apply to this. A 'big boy' under a 200+ sq ft canopy at 1:1 is a very different situation from a 'little lady' under a 135 at 1:1. Brian Germain generally considers anything 150 or below to be 'High Performance'. Also the fact that the OP has canopy piloting experience is a double edged sword. As a licensed fixed wing pilot, I had a fair amount of experience & understanding of landing patterns, how a wing landed, judging altitude, flaring, that sort of thing. I had less of a problem learning that stuff. However, there's a lot that didn't transfer and a lot that simply wasn't there. So 'knowing what I didn't know' (more accurately not knowing it) was an issue. Overconfidence was too. I'd suggest being cautious. Far, far easier to be 'slow and careful', even if it means sitting down some days. The potential consequences of going too fast are pretty serious.
  24. Fair enough. Thank you for the correction and detailed explanation.
  25. Opening is far more canopy design and packing than fabric. My understanding (and I could certainly be wrong on this) is that it's the aerodynamics of flying that's where the differences become noticeable. Particularly flare & landing. And the difference between 'new' F1-11 and 'ragged out' F1-11 is more than the difference between 'new' F1-11 and zero-P.