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  1. I haven't figured it out completely. There actually needs to be two for my family, and one for jumpers. Right now I'm just writing down everything I can remember, mostly in order. I'm up to the invention of the hand deployed pilot chute. Trouble is, a lot of this stuff happened over 50 years. There were also no cell phones, so I don't have nearly enough photos to back up the stories. So I do hope other people can add some memories, insight, and photos.
  2. Hi there. Bill Booth here. I'm finally getting around to writing an autobiography, and could use some help. If any of my former employees, customers, or friends have any stories or photographs they would like to share from the period 1970 -1985, I would love to hear or see them. This was a very important period in the development of our sport, and I want to get the facts right. Thanks. My email is: [email protected]
  3. Jeanice Dolan of Skydive Ocean City (MD), reports 5 years and 15,000 jumps with no malfunctions on their Tandem Sigmas. This involved several Tandem Instructors and a half a dozen rigs.
  4. I put the center line tapes, what you called "limiter tapes", in the original hand deployed pilot chute for two reasons: 1. To make the pilot chute open faster. (Without the initial "holding open effect" of a spring, the shapeless hand deployed pilot chute tended to streamer for a second or so.) 2. A pilot chute (or any round) with a pulled down apex creates 11% more drag, and could therefore be make a bit smaller and less bulky. But, opening speed was the main reason.
  5. "Who's on first" will never be surpassed, but the Johnny Carson/Jack Webb "Copper Clapper Caper" routine is right up there with it.
  6. When I started jumping, 53 years ago, one of the first things that struck me was how primitive and simplistic stowing lines in rubber bands seemed to be. There just had to be a more modern, technologically better way to do it. I tried everything, but kept coming back to the good old rubber band. It seems that, as usual, the simplest way turned out to be the best way. The "modern" semi-stowless bag is just a re-hash of the original Para-Flite reserve bag, except that we use tuck tabs or magnets instead of Velcro to stow most of the lines in a pouch. But the good old rubber band remains the best way to lock the bag shut. To quote the Bible: "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be...Magnets make for great riser covers, but in this particular game of rock-paper-scissors, it's obvious that rubber bands trounce magnets. Trying to reinvent the wheel is not always a good idea.
  7. Gary; Perhaps you're right. I used the term "Line Dump" (it is a rare beast, but something more easily understood by most jumpers) rather loosely to cover the litany of problems that come from high separation velocity at line stretch, such as high snatch force and the general disorganization of the pack job it produces. I just know from conversations with legendary canopy designer Theo Knacke and decades of observation, that nothing good comes from separation velocities over 50 fps, which equates to line stretch times of about 0.5 seconds for average sized sport canopies deployed at terminal. As I have written here before, it is rather easy for a jumper to determine line stretch time by simply having someone video one of their deployments. Just count frames from container opening to line stretch.
  8. Pilot chute drag is very important. Depending on design and materials, the drag to two identically sized pilot chutes can be very different. This is one reason why buying any component after-market can be risky. You must communicate to the seller exactly what you will be using the component for, so that you get a truly comparable part. A correctly sized pilot chute should get you canopy to line stretch 0.5 to 0.7 seconds at terminal. (A bit slower on a hop and pop, of course.) Too big can cause line dump, and too small can cause a bag lock from lines blowing over the bag. What size rubber bands or tube stows you use, and whether you use a full-stow or semi-stowless bag can also alter your deployment time. But when you put all those considerations together, 0.5 to 0.7 seconds is what you should aim for. A pull out probably would not have made any difference in your situation, because I suspect your pilot chute, even though too small, pulled the curved pin (which should only take around 5 lbs. of force) opening the container. Your PC just didn't have enough oomph to pull the bag out of the container because of your low airspeed. Pilot chute hesitations, reserve pulls, and fatalities because of pull outs were numerous in the 70's when a lot of people first tried them. That's why hand deploys became the dominant system. When all is said and done, hand deployed systems simply have far fewer problems in actual usage.
  9. Great Job. A trip down memory lane. I'd love to get reprints of the articles introducing the hand deployed pilot chute (Sept '76 and Nov '77) and the 3-ring release (Aug '77). Does anyone have these issues?
  10. A while ago, I got back the first rig I ever made. It contained a PC which had been packed for over 25 years. What the hell I figured, let's put a jump on it and see if it still works. In two words, IT DID! One caveat: We DID replace the rubber bands, which had long since rotted, but we did not touch the packed canopy in the bag.
  11. I've said it before, but I'll say it again. After watching hundreds of videos of people cutting away from spinning malfunctions with Skyhooks, I firmly believe that the chance of reserve line twists is lessened with a Skyhook because of the speed of the reserve deployment. Line twists happen all the time on mains, and they (of course) are deployed without MARDS. "Getting stable" after a cutaway from a badly spinning main can take many hundreds of feet. While it is very unlikely that line twists on a reserve after a Skyhook deployment will kill you. It IS highly likely that hitting the ground without a fully opened reserve will.
  12. I'm missing more than I can remember...and it's been 52 years since my first jump, which by some miracle, I remember well. It's the 70's I'm a little foggy about. After all, it was the era of free love and even cheaper drugs.
  13. Damn you guys are getting soft! "In the old days", we really did have to contend with "Capewell Welts" from those 1 pound hunks of metal pounding us on the front of the shoulders on opening. You could actually see the bruises after a hard weekend jumping. However, this is the first time I've heard someone complain about a little bitty 3-ring biting them. Seriously, most rigs today have spacer foam under the 3-rings to help make openings as easy on you as possible. But proper harness fit, canopy and line choice, and packing technique can have an even greater effect on comfort.
  14. I did a solar eclipse jump back in March of 1970. There was a low broken layer under us, so I could see easily the moons shadow coming at us at 1,000 mph. We exited just before the shadow "hit" us. It was an amazing feeling physically as well a mentally; going from day to night and back to day, all in one jump. It was far better than just looking up at the sun. It was one of those "once in a lifetime" experiences that I now have a chance to do again, and I'm not going to miss it.