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  • Main Canopy Other
    75,88,135,154,265,265,282, & some rounds
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    2* PD143, 2* Phantom 24, Baby Cobra
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    Cypres 2

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  1. at OP: I figure you're just talking about being stopped from jumping in "some weather" due to winds. Not that you're hoping to jump through 10,000' of rain and cloud. (I personally think Skybitch's comments seem a bit harsh if they are a riposte to your comment, but are educational when talking about weather issues in general.) Your being stopped from jumping in higher winds is probably more a function of what is allowed at your license level (assuming you are under USPA rules or similar), than the size of the canopy. One can fly big canopies in strong winds... it just gets a lot more challenging. I have jumped student size canopies where I've backed up right to touch down. Takes a little more planning and of course one can't do a regular pattern. In some locations and cases, tons of wind will lead to tons of turbulence, in which case fewer and fewer jumpers, even experienced ones, will want to be in the air at all. In that case it isn't just about wind speed. So yes you may feel more comfortable when maneuvering around with a smaller canopy when winds are higher, and may indeed be safer. If an instructor grounds you due to winds though, it's likely because they are grounding all Students, and not just because you're on a 280. Still I hope you get to downsize a few sizes quickly from that level - especially when you've already flown smaller. (At a different DZ?)
  2. pchapman

    Monterey Skydive should be called out!

    @RatelSquadron - Every dropzone (unless it just opened) will have had accidents. Maybe not fatal, but there will be injuries. - Dropzones might get just a little unethical or deceptive about accidents because they may be talking about their first jump students, or their students in general, but not licensed skydivers. The DZ wants you to know about the safety of their student programs, not what happens to experienced jumpers who take on more risk on their own. The DZ should be clear what they are talking about. A DZ may be fighting public misperceptions. If a skydiver dies at a dropzone, it often has nothing to do with the school or how students are treated. No more than how a ski school on the bunny slopes may be safe, while experienced skiers take the lifts to get to the backcountry where they do some dangerous things -- unrelated to the novice skier's experience. - Gerado Flores was an idiot, liar,and a laughing stock among just about any skydiver who heard his tale. - Some of the equipment he rented may have been older or worn, but that doesn't mean it was too bad to use. It may also have been less than suitable for some types of jumping (non-belly jumps). Gerado chose to jump it, and jumped it in a manner not consistent with what he told the dropzone he was going to do. - Still, skydivers did debate whether the gear was suitable, whether it was just "older and worn but serviceable", or really was getting "a bit sketchy". Those of us out on the internet can't know for sure as we didn't see the equipment. We can't exonerate the DZ, but can't automatically blame it either. - The gear inspection by the FAA and Allen Silver was an abomination, complete crap. While Allen Silver is highly respected in emergency parachute circles, I believe he was long out of sport skydiving. Maybe he was only given a very short time to inspect the gear. In any case, any experienced skydiver reading the report would see it to be complete crap, being vague or erroneous or missing the point or not putting things in any sort of context. It left so many questions open, and failed to ask various important questions, that I can't draw any real conclusions from it about whether or not the gear was acceptable to jump. (For example, the report completely fails to note when some damage seen on the rig -- broken lines -- might likely be a result of Flores' jump and inadvertent opening, while making the non-skydiver reader think the damage existed before the jump. Two very different things.) - So it was terrible that that FAA report went out to the public and was used in media reports to try to discredit the dropzone. Skydive Monterey should be clear when talking to people, just what they mean when they talk about their safety record.
  3. pchapman

    Using risers with RSL on other side..

    I've seen it done and am OK with it. The mechanics of the RSL pull shouldn't introduce any forces too much different than normal. Have to watch the RSL routing though. Depending on where the RSL is situated (on the reserve risers or under or inboard of them), someone might route the RSL UNDER the reserve risers instead of over top, to get to the outboard side instead of inboard. (Might still work despite dragging the RSL under the risers before the reserve is released. Even weirder and scarier if a MARD were involved.) Plus it just looks weird and is confusing to anyone who is helping with a gear check. So I tend to recommend it as temporary only, until one gets some new risers shipped in...
  4. pchapman

    Toggle fire mechanics

    For others: Skip to 2:25. And turn your volume down. Nice job getting out of spinning line twists. And then dealing with the popped toggle. The video is kind of good in that it shows less than instant & perfect reactions too (not a "See I'm great" video), as it takes a while to reach up far enough to get to the toggle. (Sunk in harness a bit from G's? Wingsuit restricting arms?) Actually he happens to get to the stowed toggle just before the popped toggle. Whatever works!
  5. I thought Branch did pack lines to bottom... since it was bridle towards the "bottom of thereserve container", which is bridle towards the head. Anyway, whatever the confusion over a lack of consistent skydiver terminology regarding directional axes, that sounds like a super tight main if one has to pull up at 25 lbs on the bridle to rotate the bag out... Edit: ninja'd
  6. pchapman

    Stage 4 AFF repeat

    Various ground and air techniques that can help: Wind tunnel works. Tapping heels together in freefall can help, as it helps remind you where your legs are positioned. Trying to point toes in freefall can help, as helps get one to extend the legs. Practice on the ground, lying on belly on floor arching, with legs at the 45 deg position, feet up against a couch -- that way one can push with the legs to get the feeling of pushing against the air. While simultaneously arching, which otherwise might make one pull the legs up too much.
  7. pchapman

    What does 'deep brakes' mean?

    'Deep' is relative to whatever the stall point of the canopy is. Which could be with toggles past full arm extension, or chest level, or whatever applies to you and your arms in that particular harness with that particular canopy. So you can fly with no brakes, shallow brakes, moderate brakes (or medium or whatever term you want), or deep brakes. There's no specific definition (eg, "75-99% of the usable brake range before the first pre-stall rocking"). It's just "a lot of brake, getting closer to the point where you would stall the canopy or have arms fully extended". In deep brakes the canopy will fly a steeper line towards the ground, a steeper descent. The canopy might be dropping vertically faster than in moderate brakes, although possible less than when in no brakes, if it is a ground hungry canopy with a high descent rate in normal flight. It is easier to hit a target on the ground when coming down steeply, rather than skimming by at a shallow angle. Deep brakes is good for that. If too deep, you are getting closer to a stall, and thus susceptible to added danger from turbulence or accidentally stalling the canopy. You also won't have much energy left in the canopy for a flare, which isn't a big issue if doing accuracy with a big canopy onto a soft tuffet. If you do need to descend steeply (e.g., landing into a small field surrounded by trees), but would hit the ground too hard without much flare, you might need to have the room to pick up some speed again (out of deep brakes) before doing a flare with more effect. You might also fly in deep brakes when learning about and practicing approaches to stalls and doing stalls, while up high. Flying in deep brakes is therefore something with some added risk if not done appropriately, and not generally needed for normal flying and landing (excluding the dynamic activity of the flare), but is useful in specific situations.
  8. Students don't need to deal about buying a jumpsuit -- that's normally supplied by the dropzone. When you are going off student status, then you can start worrying about all that. Jumpsuits for flying on one's belly also have grippers so one can dock for formations. Still useful for students, if doing AFF, or learning to fly one's first formations with an instructor or coach.
  9. pchapman

    Aff footage? Is it frowned apon?

    True, stuff happens and the focus is on your jump, not getting the camera footage. Still, at the DZ I'm at, I'm used to the idea that on most AFF style jumps, at least one of the instructors will always plan to have video. These days one expects to have video as a training tool that greatly improves feedback for the student. It is part of the whole teaching process. All video gets uploaded to the computer system where students can review it (and bring a USB stick to download their own at their leisure). So occasionally a student doesn't get video of a particular jump, but ideally there's a copy of every jump available to the student.
  10. Ok I'll bite, you do present an interesting case! If the DZ has some good rental gear for downsizing, maybe you can at least convince them to allow a rapid downsizing. Back in the old days, early in the zero-p canopy era, if you were good you might do a couple jumps on a particular size canopy, then downsize a size, and repeat. If going to a sportier canopy, have a few jumps on a more docile canopy of the same size. Anyway, that was my experience in the early 1990s as someone who also thought they were a special case -- a pilot in my case. Try to borrow rigs as well, if needed to help with the downsizing. At least then you might have an idea what works for you before you spend money on gear yourself. If you're already on a 180 at 2 jumps that's just one 1 to 2 more downsizes to a 150 anyway. I'm not a great source of advice as I don't speedfly (only paraglide). I'm not sure of the glide ratios current speedflying or riding canopies are built for, but I'd warn you to be careful of the more ground hungry skydiving canopies until you worked your way into them. At the same wing loading, there can be canopies of widely varying flight characteristics. I guess they aren't really common at say 150 size, but at 135 and under they start to be more common. They have a steep descent (say, glide ratio of under 2.5) and dive sharply in turns. So be careful of the model of canopy and not just size. Whether you end up buying a 150 or whatever, it is just very difficult to know what to look for (in a rig, reserve, and main) when you've only barely started skydiving. You could probably fly and land smaller than a 150 easily enough, but you would also be learning to deal with packing, body position on opening, and dealing with other skydivers on opening and in the landing pattern. So who knows, maybe a 150 at 1.25 loading or thereabouts might be reasonable to stay at for a little while.
  11. pchapman

    Riser design & toggle fires

    This is a decent design I jump. The key here is that there is a downwards facing tuck tab just below the main tab to hold the brake line. It is resistant to coming out when simply pushed in one direction along the riser -- like by a slider grommet slamming down. Too many toggles have only upwards facing tabs. (Source for mine is a Canadian rigger, Al MacDonald at Flying High. He was already making these 15 years ago.) Mirage for years had toggles with up and down facing tabs but a later one I saw had both facing up. The Racer design with the snap fasteners seem like they would be even better at avoiding accidental release. @gb1 who wrote " they elected to install the ones with an inside diameter of 15/16 in. Real bright. The old style #8's have an ID of 1 1/6 in. ". I had figured that diameter was all that was available for lightweight stainless grommets. Otherwise the full #8 size would certainly have been preferable....
  12. pchapman

    HELP!!! Jumping in Austria.

    Interesting (and annoying) that they want to enforce their rules by Nationality and not simply by Residency. Someone might not have set foot in the homeland of their passport since they were a kid, or since they started skydiving, and suddenly would be required to get all the local licences -- even if just visiting for a weeked and not moving to the country permanently. I wonder to what degree they actually check passports, if you show up and say, "Guten Tag, I'm from Amerika and want to jump!".... but it doesn't sound like the DZ or national organization are very flexible...
  13. pchapman

    Big SOB:)

    Just ask about your weight. It may or may not be an issue depending on the school. Each will have their own student weight limit. Some gear (harnesses, emergency parachute) is only certified to 254 lbs for example, and that's person plus all their gear. That used to be a common standard, which also means that plenty of people technically overloaded their gear. But nowadays there is more gear that's rated to a higher value, so ideally you would find a place that has such gear. It can also depend on the instructors available. For example, for the AFF method of instruction, if they don't have any big burly instructors (or maybe super high experienced ones), they might cap the student weight at a level below yours. An instructor might have a personal limit on how big a fellow they want to try to move around in freefall, especially in the rare occasions when things aren't going all smoothly...
  14. pchapman

    Shelf life on containers?

    20 years of heavy use, getting fuzzed up from wear or heavily faded from sunlight, sure one could have webbing lose half its strength. Look for the "Wilcox Webbing Tests". (Old Skydiving Magazine article and also a PIA presentation. Might still be kicking around the web. ) But there's also data from government and military testing suggesting that one might lose only say under 2% of strength per decade, if not stored in too hot conditions. That's the closet queen scenario, without sun and dirt and wear. (This has been in older threads I've been involved with, but I'm not dredging up the data right now.) Nylon does degrade and oxidize over time, and the chemical processes are speeded up with heat. But it is a slow, slow process.
  15. pchapman

    USPA rule applicability

    Good point. Although first the rule is given, then it talks about voluntary compliance. So it is a bit vague on what exactly is voluntary -- the rule, or the compliance. E.g., "Murder is a crime. Voluntary compliance with this law will protect everyone."