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Posts posted by pchapman

  1. On 11/29/2019 at 9:20 PM, SivaGanesha said:


    I believe that in both the USA and Canada, each category of license numbers starting from 1 (when licenses started in the 1950's or so) up to the present time.

    That's generally true I guess, but I know there have been exceptions in Canada. Off topic for the thread in general, but to be overly-picky for the record:

    1. With some licence level, someone at the CSPA made a mistake and jumped over a block of numbers. I think they subsequently left them blank. This was maybe 20 years ago.

    2. When the CSPA overhauled the licencing to match better with the FAI (mid 2000's?), they jumped up to the next block of 100 or something like that, for licences issued using the new qualifications. (E.g., I am D-1014 under the old system shortly before they changed. They might have restarted at D-1100 for anyone submitting the new paperwork.)

    (PS - Bob Wright was my first jump PFF instructor at the end of the '80s!)

  2. On 11/26/2019 at 5:09 PM, sfzombie said:

    considering how many times i have heard about a cypres firing when it wasn't supposed to i would hesitate to call it 0 errors.  i understand they changed things to reduce them but i seem to recall they still happen, not sure about that though.

    I see you might have been responding to my post. I was giving a hypothetical example of Cypres vs. Mars based on recent years and wasn't talking about prior issues that have been resolved.

    For example, some old issues for the Cypres that I can think of, in case this helps:

    RF & static interference early 1990s when it was the only electronic AAD (yet Vigil had its own static electricity issues when introduced later), firing when it was supposed to but on a swoop at a time Airtec arrogantly dismissed the idea of it happening (2005), defective sensor & 2 misfires (~2008),  supplier changed a component that led to certain units becoming unresponsive after going thru the startup cycle and showing ready to jump (~2013).

    Do you have any good examples of unintended firings? It is an area where we unfortunately don't have any sort of database but most people are going only on individual memory and published bulletins.

    And of course there's from time to time some up and coming swooper who manages to fire their AAD before realizing they need the extreme swoop mode instead. (Eg, wasn't there a swoop M2 firing recently on some other thread?)

  3. Plenty of AFF style students have problems locating the ripcord and getting the pull correct the first time. And that's on the actual AFF1 jump. Not everyone gets to practice once on a tandem beforehand.

    So yes you'll have to get it right to progress much in the AFF stages, but you've already gotten more practice than most.  Second time will be easier. (Although you'll want to do plenty of ground practice as the handle location will be shifted somewhat on a real AFF.)

  4. Just from what I've seen of rigging customers, Vigil has been upgrading control units and software whenever someone sends their unit in for the 10 year service. Very nice of them. Not sure about the cutter but I doubt it would change.

    But the Vigil will only be good for the original life. Don't they put a sticker on the unit now, to make clear when it life expires? (Instead of having to find the paperwork or start going to the INFO screens.)

    So people do end up with Franken-vigils with a different eras of body and control unit.

    I guess for the body, if still a Vigil II, for example if the filter gets wet, according to a service bulletin, the unit has to be sent in for a check. (Wasn't that way originally, but I guess they had issues so issued the bulletin.)

    I did recently email Vigil USA to ask if there are any other things people need to be aware of, when they have a Franken-vigil that has a Vigil II body but a Cuatro control head. Will post if I get a reply.

    Yeah, do read up on the Cuatro. Some things changed over the life of the Vigil II and into the II+ and Cuatro era -- like the 14 hour shutoff being introduced, and the addition of a 1000 ft arming on the flight up (making it more like a Cypres, to prevent the door-open-firings that Vigil had a couple of). Those changes can be significant for the user!

    I once posted a quick review of the 2+ versus the II when the former first appeared. The screen does some different flash when getting into airborne mode, and it displays freefall speed & time for 2 minutes after landing which it didn't before. The manual is also more extensive on altitude adjustments for different takeoff and landing spots, but I don't recall if behaviour is different.

    Anyone else think of other notable differences a user should remember? (Don't own one myself but do rig for plenty of customers with them.)


  5. I'll offer slight adjustments to some of the calculations already made:

    - Mars retails for $999, Cypres for $1200 at a popular online retailer

    - Mars life used to be 15 years, but in recent years has been changed to 15.5 years (Presumably to give that 'extra bonus' and match Cypres).  Cypres is 15.5 years and doesn't need to be sent in for maintenance either.

    So then the Cypres costs a miniscule $13 more per year (again, ignoring time value of money and having to pay the dollars up front).

    - Although the issue of Warranty comes up. Yes, Cypres extends their full warranty only to those who send the units in for maintenance ($160 *2 plus a bunch of shipping costs especially if sending across borders etc.)



    Airtec GmbH & Co. KG provides the 2 year war-
    ranty required by law, and 3 additional years where
    all repairs are free of charge, except resulting from
    intentional or negligent damages.
    Thereafter, on a voluntary base Airtec will be very
    open to provide repairs or replacements for all non
    intentional or non negligent damages free of charge
    to all those customers who submit their units for
    maintenance on schedule.
    This is a CYPRES practice already since 1991.

    Mars says:


    The manufacturer grants a warranty of 24 months from the date of purchase on all parts used in the m2multi device and its proper operation within the specified limits. The warranty does not cover damage resulting from normal use of the device, its improper installation or non-standard and rough handling. The manufacturer reserves the right to decide whether to repair or replace the device.

    So technically Cypres is at least as good, although in real life all the AAD companies seem to be very good about providing free fixes for units that accidentally went bad or got damaged throughout their lives. We don't really have much info yet though about how Cypres will act if you have one of the new 15.5 year units and don't send it in for maintenance. Will they be harsher than the other companies, or try to match them to maintain their good name?

    This uncertainty is why one poster included the Cypres maintenance costs in the Cypres vs Mars comparison, while I didn't.

    Now as far as this goes:


    Can you point me to a case where a Mars unit failed to do one of those two things?

    Generally they have been good, so that's a positive thing for them.

    Although Cypres still has had a larger user base than Mars (tho' the Mars has become popular recently). I'd rather have, to make numbers up, 0 errors in 10 million jumps than 0 errors in 1 million jumps. Even if as you say, 0 is a good number in any case.

    I personally still trust the Cypres algorithms a little more, for despite the lack of info provided publicly for any of the AADs, they sound like they worked it out in more detail. We know the Vigil algorithms for example are a little crappier. (Only they seemed to have the "slammed car trunk" firings. The firings "with the door open in the plane near firing altitude" should be mostly solved now that the II+ and Cuatro don't go active until climbing through 1000 ft.)  I'm not sure about the Mars but haven't heard anything bad. Hopefully since they are newer on the market with the M2 they thought through the algorithms better, but I haven't seen much written about them either.


  6. 2 hours ago, padalcek said:

    Serial number and DOM should be a dead giveaway.


    Well, only if one knows what to look for. Do you have some numbers to share, without me searching? 

    The manuals don't say, "This device was first introduced on date xxxx and with serial numbers of format yyyyy starting with number zzzzz"

  7. It is great that Vigil upgrades seemingly every unit that goes in, to the Cuattro control head & new software. That brings a lot more Vigils more up to date -- There are some real differences between the old Vigil II software, and the newer stuff in the Vigil 2+ and Cuattro. (eg, the new 1000ft arming altitude on the climb up -- removing the door open restriction when not in Student mode).

    But it would be easy to forget that such "new Cuattros" are actually franken-Vigils, with a different main body. (Eg, Vigil II has to be sent back in if the filter gets wet for a short while, not the case with the 2+ and Cuattro.)

    The differences aren't important in most cases, but users and riggers should try to notice when a unit is half Vigil II and half Cuattro.

  8.  One gets a somewhat decent view of the canopy in that video from the other jumper. (Even if it gets a bit confusing with full speed, zoomed, and slow mo at different times.) The canopy does look pretty symmetrical; looks like brakes set as you confirmed later.

    Could still be a tension knot; they don't always cause a big deformation in the canopy. Could it have been an uneven opening sequence that snapped the canopy into a diving turn as it took flight?  Although Pilots especially at low wing loadings are fairly stable canopies that don't use a lot of brake on opening, so I would have thought they would naturally pull out of the spiral on their own fairly quickly. (You could test that some time, pulling risers to spiral with brakes still set after opening.)

    Sometimes one just doesn't know what the mal was, if one didn't have time to look at the canopy closely or have video. At 2700' one still had time to grab risers or toggles to try to slow or stop the spiral. But just plain chopping when you are spiralling down after opening is perfectly OK too...


  9. 1 hour ago, JerryBaumchen said:

    Hi Peter,

    From memory only ( so it is not perfect ), I seem to recall a version of their manual in which they had a copy of the letter from the FAA granting them the USA TSO.

    Makes sense if they were selling in the USA before '17 but hadn't put out a fully revised manual yet.

  10. Hi Jerry, to follow up a bit more on all this:


    And no TSO that I know of has any wording on just how to do this.

    That issue has left me scratching my head at times. Is "putting it in the manual from day 1" considered "at time of certification" or does it have to be within some un-seen TSO document that the user can't confirm, if such a document could even exist? But in any case there are plenty of riggers who are scared off if they can't follow manufacturers' recommendations, no matter what is actually mandatory legally.


    FWIW I went through my manuals:

    The 2004 Performance Variable manual said JTSO  C23d only.  (European Joint TSO)

    The 2006 Firebird (Germany) manual said ETSO  C23d. (I think just the new name for the JTSO)

    The Firebird (USA) manual is dated Sept 2017, revision 0, and is current on their website. Now it just says FAA TSO C23d.

    (Don't know when they started producing for the US market, but I know guy who has been a Canadian dealer and he was using a Firebird here in Canada -- no TSO required -- in 2013.)

    I see the manuals also say that one "should" do  30 lb tensile tests each year on the reserve canopy -- much like what Performance Designs dropped a few years back.

  11. " allowable service life is 15 years "

    That is a deal breaker for North America. (Although then you can get into the arguments about how the FAA interprets service life requirements & TSO's, given that their 2012 letter to the USPA was unclear.)

    Curiously, my old Rush manual from '04, when it was still Performance Variable and only with a JTSO I think, didn't have any assigned life -- Although maybe some of the European national skydiving organizations had limits so nobody thought of putting a limit in the manual as well.



  12. I haven't seen anything really scientific or based on manufacturer recommendations or tests on this subject. So opinions are all kind of vague and unsubstantiated, certainly including my own. Maybe some others out there will have better info!

    If stored unpacked, I tend to put canopies in a cloth bag to let them breathe (not retain any excess moisture) and not have them say pressed up against some unknown garbage bag plastic for months. (That's assuming a dry environment. If the environment were unavoidably moist, a sealed & taped shut plastic bin might be better!)  Also keeps the light out. Not that interior lights are anywhere as strong as sunlight, but there is a little UV in fluorescent lights for example.  But that's all just what feels right for me, and others ideas  may differ. The usual "cool dry place" rules apply. Nylon deteriorates more over the decades at higher temperatures, although it is still a slow process. (It isn't as if jumpers in hotter places have main canopies blow up all the time when others don't. Desert dust is more likely to reduce canopy jump lifetime.)

    Packed is usually OK too, if space is limited. After all, those who have less winter or take a winter skydiving trip, they usually keep their rig packed up all year.  If stored packed, one might take the main PC out of the BOC elastic. As a rigger I certainly replace stretched out BOC's from time to time. So it seems not unreasonable that if one is away from the sport for a good fraction of the year, to relieve the stress on the elastic fibres in the BOC,  and try saving a tiny bit on long term maintenance costs.

    As for the reserve PC spring, some might pop the reserve to keep the spring uncompressed. I'm not sure that matters a whole lot, but might actually matter a little. Springs do seem to lose a some power with age, but that's just anecdotal. It isn't as if people jumping year round with a 15 year old rig all bounce if they have an AAD fire, while those who take a winter off still have a great PC spring.

    Generally for convenience I just keep unused rigs & their reserves packed up. 

  13. 57 minutes ago, SkyDekker said:

    Erdogan threw the letter in the garbage. Do you think the tone may have a little bit to do with that?

    Sure, I'll grant you that. 

    I don't know what Erdogan responds to, what his style is. I'll leave that to diplomats & psychologists. No simple answers.

    e.g., To go Godwin on this, which of the following would be more effective ... or equally useless:

    "Dear Mr Hitler, I am writing you to respectfully inquire about setting up diplomatic meetings to explore options looking for common ground, in regards to some of your policies involving ethnic and religious groups, which some may regard as unfortunately inequitable."

    vs. "Dear Mr Hitler, think about how you'll be viewed in history as a mass murderer. Between east and west, our industrial capacity & manpower is such that we'll crush you and your armies one way or another. Don't be an idiot!".

  14. While we are sharing Reflex loop info, here's more:

    1.  Basically the same thing but from the Trident folks who I guess took over the TSO later. At least that shows updated manufacturer info is the same.

    2. A two page instruction set unlike the single sheet one seen so far. It has some early scribblings of mine all over it, which can either be distracting or useful. When I first had to build the loops, it was all a bit confusing what each of those A,B,C,D and other marks or sections would correspond to in the final assembly....          


    Reflex closing loop - PChapman annotated sheet scanned 1 v2.jpg

    Reflex closing loop - PChapman annotated sheet scanned 2 v2.jpg

    Reflex Reserve Loop (reflex closing loop jpg)(Trident's page) -same thing.png

  15. As much as Trump is a self-centred grifter, and the Syria pullout is an bizarre about face for US "policy", I gotta give him credit for getting straight to the effing point in that Erdogan letter.

    It may be "undiplomatic", lacking any nuance, and he might change his mind the next time he blinks, but it does have both stick and carrot aspects to it.

  16. You STILL have difficulty jumping homemade parachutes?   Still jerks out there trying to restrict peoples' canopy choice, beyond just wing loading and similar... Are they worried about liability? Plenty of people under normal parachutes hurt themselves. I recall the rigger rating thing was an issue of the BPA, an organization that is always fun to make fun of for its conservative stupidity, but it sounds like the current problem is more local.

     I guess I should re-read all 21 pages of this thread before commenting on the problems you face, but anyway.

    You've had tons of dedication to go through the whole process of designing and building your own canopies. Sorry to hear you aren't that enthused about regular jumping but you've put more time into the sport than some who come and go. There are other parachutes out there that are fun to learn to fly or rig up too, whether getting into swooping or putting vintage gear back in the air, but you've had your own thing going.

    (For example, I've had fun with weird canopies, whether jumping rounds or Rogallo wings or doing intentional cutaways or using belly mount reserves or modifying a canopy to make a tiny cutaway-only canopy. All these activities are enough to scare some DZ owners too!)

    By the way, what do you do in 'real life'? 

    • Like 1

  17. That Win 10 Photos app feature is handy to know about. Although it is set up more for editing videos together, so it takes a few more clicks to get to editing a video -- one can't just drag a video onto the app.

    Have used AviDemux but found the interface a little confusing and awkward.

    I like Free Video Editor, by DVDVideosoft. Quick and easy trims without re-encoding. Only for single videos, not putting together multiple videos like the Win 10 Photos app can. Great for cutting down the nowadays huge GoPro videos of a jump to keep just the good bits.

    Caveats are: 1. De-select the crapware it tries to install when installing the software, 2. Someone online said that the later versions wouldn't save without re-encoding, but the company still states that it does, as one of its features. Not sure what that's about or what is true. I'm running an older version 1.4.4 that works fine.

  18. Don't think it is an issue. Just the way canopies are made. Front and rear grommets are not always lined up at the same level. Given that canopies are built pitched down at the front, grommets certainly wouldn't line if there were no stabilizers, as the C/D's would be further from the links than the A/B's. With stabilizers, results vary. Ideally grommets would all line up so the slider would be better aligned perpendicular to the relative wind during opening.

  19. 10 hours ago, ZoeJD said:

    Honestly I don't give a fuck. Just - how do I delete this and get out of here?

    If it helps:     Although advertising isn't technically allowed, a little bit of occasional product announcement tends to be tolerated. So it shouldn't be a real problem to mention a skydiving related book that is new to the market. But that's just my opinion.

    If someone from a company wants to mention their totally new product and let people discuss it (for better or worse), I think people are OK with that and the post won't be deleted or anything. If they want to talk about how they just released version 3.2.11a, or how they have a 5% sale this month, that's going too far. So it tends to be a "Just don't be a jerk about it" sort of rule. Although you are now tending slightly in that direction...

  20. 17 hours ago, Rsaaronson said:

    I’m currently using a altimaster and have a hard time seeing those ity bity numbers when altitude really matters during my landings.

    Go ahead and buy a digital alti that you like. But just remember that we all used to have analog ones, and that was no problem. Altitude doesn't matter, except when you actually flare to avoid hitting the ground.

    There was never any big need to turn onto a particular part of the circuit at a particular altitude. We used to have suggested numbers for altitudes for the start of downwind, base, and final, but nobody expected to follow it exactly. Only nowadays are newbies fretting about whether they actually started to turn base at 600'+/- 50 '. Who cares. An accurate circuit is all about ANGLES not altitudes anyway.  If there's lots of traffic, fit in with the traffic, which is likely to be approaching at a variety of angles and altitudes anyway.

    You'll get a feel for the circuit over time. Maybe 20-30 seconds on final, time to adjust a little and plan your flare and landing area. Maybe another 20 seconds on base, enough to judge drift and separate the downwind to the side of the landing area. I'm just making the numbers up, but you don't need an altimeter at all for a circuit.


  21. Even the manual for the older ProTrack says:

    LO: +110 dB +/- 2dB measured at 1 inch (2.5 cm)
    HI: +117 dB +/- 2dB measured at 1 inch (2.5 cm)

    But similar to what others are saying, alarm sounds are only that high so that the alarms can be heard in the first place over the wind noise. And such  numbers were chosen when open face helmets were more common. So use earplugs if you like. Even the airplane noise isn't great. Maybe not at the 'clearly harmful' level, but it isn't bad to keep the noise level down when jumping a lot. (There have been studies published and some data presented on dz. )

    If you have some fancy-ass closed face helmet, and the volume is too loud, and the helmet liner isn't enough to reduce the volume, and you don't use ear plugs ... it shouldn't be too hard to come up with a little extra padding or covering over the sound port on the audible to lower the volume.

  22. Wow. So that's not just some odd reflection in the photo, but the middle ring is actually like top and bottom halves of a bagel stuck together, with the top half smaller?  Or what is it that we're seeing?

  23. 2 hours ago, SethInMI said:

    I see in Sept 2019 Parachutist that USPA has clarified that all jumps are freefall jumps (even static line and IAD), so this change is a moot point.

    I have no real involvement in all this, but:   Really? Wow. That goes against the way we all have defined things in North America for the last 100+ years of parachuting. What counts as NOT freefall? Direct bagging from the aircraft? Pull-off from the wing? Getting pulled out the door by an accidental opening?