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Everything posted by davelepka

  1. davelepka

    Container Differences?

    From a technical point of view, they're all fairly similar. It's like looking at similar car models from Ford, Chevy or Dodge. A lot of comes down to personal preference, as they all do they same thing in about the same way. Shop used. Find a rig that will for you and the canopies that you can comfortably jump on the day you buy the rig (not something that will fit the canopy you 'hope' you can jump in 6 months). Once you find 'x' brand of container that fits you, your canopies and your budget, ask about that specific one. Ask here, ask your instructor, and ask your rigger (get a rigger), 'Hey, what do you think about Javelin made in 2003, with a ringed harness and stainless hardware?' When you have a specific container in mind, we can help. When you're just asking 'general' questions, there really is no answer aside from getting the personal opinion of anyone who wants to respond.
  2. davelepka

    Few ? about continuing training???

    It's all on a case-by-case basis. Factors include having all of your 'paperwork' in order, how long it's been since your last jump, how well you do on a re-currency test, and how well you perform during your re-currency jump. 13-15 jumps is not a huge number. With enough time having gone by, you could cut that number in half when it comes to actual, real, retained knowledge/skill. The worst thing you can do is walk onto the DZ with some preconceived idea of what they 'should' do with you. The better bet is to show up ready to play along with whatever they want to do with you, and just trust that they are the experts and know best how to proceed.
  3. davelepka

    Low-maintenance small canopies?

    My suggestion is that you don't load a canopy at 1.8 or 1.9 unless you need that loading to go faster. If you're not planning to swoop, there is just no need to load a canopy at that level. Jumping at higher WL is a trade-off where you put up with the downsides of the highly loaded canopy because you want the upside, that being the speed. If you're not planning to use the upside, then why take on the downsides. If you're a big enough guy to load a 120 at 1.9, then I don't know what you mean by 'max mobility' in freefall. A rig built for a 135 would still be smaller than you are, and I don't think you would notice one bit of difference in-air between that and a rig built for a 120. It would be one thing if you were a smaller person jumping a rig that's huge on them, and hangs over the sides of their body and such, but I can't imagine that's the case. If your current container is on the bigger side for your 132, then just get a new one that fits the 132 'snug' with a perfectly sized harness, and you'll be all set. It comes back to the old saying that you sometimes hear about reserve sizing, "You're never going to look up and wish that you had a smaller reserve". That applies to your main too if you're not planning to push the canopy to the edge of it's performance (via swooping). So I haven't jumped anything bigger than my 103 in about 5 years. Every time I borrow a rig it has a smaller Velo in it, and that's just fine by me. Anyway, I had my pick of rigs to use at Bridge Day this year, from 240, 260 or 280. It's a wide open LZ, you open plenty high to set up for landing, and it's the middle of the day, so it's not a tough landing situation. Despite that, I went with the 280 because speed was not my goal that day, and in that case the extra square footage could have been an advantage in a whole bunch of situations. (True, it can be a detriment in certain cases, like higher winds, but then we wouldn't be jumping. In your case. considering that your 'bigger' choice is still loaded at 1.7, I don't think that's ever going to be a problem for you).
  4. davelepka

    AFF D1 Jump Video

    Nice. I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this, it might go better in 'Safety and Training'. The 'Photo and Video' forum is more for threads about jumping with cameras, editing and related topics. With that said, check out your leg position. It's a little 'in and out'. Sometimes they look good, and other times they're not out far enough. What's nice about the video is that it gives you a great shot of your legs and the effect it has on your body. Note in the side-view that when your legs are up, your body tends to sit a little head-high. This allows air to spill off of your chest/upper body, and you slide backwards. Compare that to when your legs are extended. and you'll see that your torso sits more level, and you're falling straight down. Just to take the concept one step further, imagine if you put your legs all the way out (straight), it would tip your body head-low, allowing air to spill off your legs, and you would move forward. That's the basis for forward motion and it's big-brother, tracking.
  5. davelepka

    Freefly Skydive City (ZHills)?

    Now. The winter is their busy season. Call the DZ to see who is currently offering freefly coaching at the DZ, they always have a few great freefly coaches around you can work with.
  6. davelepka

    Jumped Cat-C1 Today

    Generic answer - relax. The wind is not perfectly smooth, so your arms and legs need to be able to 'absorb' some of the 'bumps', or you get bounced around a little. More specific answer - ask your instructor just to be sure there wasn't some other factor at play.
  7. davelepka

    Chinese native jumping in Chicagoland?

    I'm guessing your friend speaks Chinese? Maybe she could go along and interpret for the instructors? I'm assuming she would want to do a tandem, and if your friend could help out with the training, and teach her mom a handful of key phrases, I'm willing to bet one of the TIs would be game.
  8. davelepka

    Jump Pilot Pay

    182/206 pilots get anywhere from $10 to $15 per load in normal operations, meaning jumping all day and working on a regular basis. Sometimes when our DZ is 'closed' during the week, the staff will get together from some hop n pops, and what we generally do is have everyone kick in $10 or $15 to pay the pilot, but we usually have 6 or 8 people jumping. If there are 4 of you splitting the costs, I'd say everyone kicking in $15 or $20 should cover it. The price per jump should still be less than regular DZ prices, and you get the luxury of your own private DZ/plane/pilot.
  9. davelepka

    Which camera/camcorder?

    I'm not 100% sure on the different CX models. I know the 100 is a winner because that's what I have, and I think it's the only one where the memory card loads from the side and not the bottom. So if you need to switch cards for every load and have to take your camera off to get to the bottom, maybe a used 100 (off ebay?) is the way to go. I'll let the more informed comment on the image stabilization on the other models. For the still camera, I recently saw the new Canon SL1 in person and it is sweet. It's a 3/4 size Rebel and it uses the standard EOS lenses. If you're buying new, get one of those. I've had good luck with the 18-55 kit lens for everyday tandem/student work. It's light weight and cheap to replace (under $100 on ebay/craigslist). It's fairly wide and will match up with a .45-ish wide angle lens on a CX video camera.
  10. davelepka

    Pond Use Procedures

    I've heard of all three of those being used, or some version of those. A pond is a huge magnet for every low time swooper, and a bunch of jumpers who are not swoopers, but for some reason want to fly over it and land right next to it (on purpose). Target fixation comes into play, and people have a bad habit of being extra stupid when there's a pond around.
  11. davelepka

    Hello! Newbie here with first rig questions.

    Look for a used rig that will hold the canopies you want, then get measured for that model rig as if you were ordering one new. Take those measurements, and the serial number, and contact the manufacturer for a quote on a harness resize. For between $300 and $500, you can have a new harness built for the rig that will be made to your specs, so it's essentially a custom fit. Even if you found a used container for $1000, for $1500 total you would end up with a custom fit rig with a new harness, which is still $500 to $1000 less than you would pay for a brand new rig. That savings is enough to buy a used reserve.
  12. davelepka

    Banning hook turns.

    Just to be clear, are you suggesting that in your above example, if the DZO lifted the 90 degree limitation and allowed any kind of swooping, that the end result would be newer jumpers would not downsize so fast, but just throw bigger turn on larger canopies in their quest for speed? If that's what you're saying, that's pretty fucking dumb. What would happen in real life is that those jumpers would be on those same canopies and throwing bigger turn with them. The guy you spoke to was already jumping a 109, and openly told you that he wanted to go faster than the 90 degree turn would allow. Hint - the way to go faster is by making a bigger turn, not by upsizing and then making a bigger turn. The only way to get a handle on the situation, as proven by countless other countries, is by regulating canopy size and type, and tying advancement in canopy size/type to jump numbers and continuing education. It's not a guess or a speculation, it's a proven concept that's been in place in other countries for years (maybe even a decade) and it works. People seem to spout the 'freedom of choice' card, or the 'no nanny state' card, but when skydiving was born, canopy choice was not a problem. All of the regulations we have today were the result of the early jumpers finding out that certain things were overly dangerous, and that it made sense to reign those things in with some solid regs. Adding regs (wingsuit, camera, etc) shouldn't be looked at as a bad thing, it should be looked at as a sign that the sport is growing and developing. New facets are coming into the fold, and as this happens we learn how to deal with the pros and cons of each of them. When you're dealing with skydivers, you're dealing with the tip of the 'type A' personality spear. These are confident, aggressive people, who if you give them an inch will take a mile. It's what got them to jump out of a plane in the first place, and then pour countless hours and thousands of dollars into the sport. Given the performance level of the canopies out there, and the level of what 'we' as a sport know what to do with them, you can't take those 'type A' people, and those 'type A' canopies, and just them freely intermingle.
  13. davelepka

    Severe Opening Shock Protection

    This idea has been considered before, but the problems outweighed the benefits. If the 'fail safe' let go when it wasn't wanted, you just opened yourself up to the risks of a cutaway when one wasn't needed. If the 'fail safe' let's go under canopy at a low altitude, you just rendered your canopy un-landable below your do-not-cutaway altitude. I think what it comes down to is some very basic preventative measures that most people will be too busy, too lazy, or too cheap to implement. Note: I'm not suggesting that any of these factors played a role in the recent incident in Deland. Hard openings can happen anytime for any reason, these are just some steps you can take to minimize that risk. 1. Packing - this is a no-brainer. Learn to pack. Learn to pack your rig neatly and correctly, even if it means practicing at home and taking your time at the DZ. Bagging the canopy is, for most, the hardest part of packing and it's also the time where the flaking/organizing you did can come undone as you try to shove the canopy in the bag. Keeping the slider up at the stops, the line tension even, and the nose/tail preparations intact are key to getting good openings, and if you lose them bagging the canopy, the whole pack job is a waste of time. The other side to this is properly sizing your container for your main canopy, because if you're trying to squeeze your main into a tiny rig, your chances for success go down. 2. Maintenance - keep your rig in good shape. Worn closing loops and BOC pouches can lead to premature deployments, and if you're not in a good body position, it can lead to a hard opening. Likewise, keep your lines in trim can also go a long way toward keeping your openings good and consistent. This isn't a mystery, you can measure your lines against the factory trim chart, and see how far out they are. Since nobody wants to be without their canopy in the middle of the season, this where sometimes you have to look 'into the future' and bite the bullet for an early reline. If you lines are 'close' to being out of whack in January, but still 'ok', what are they going to look like in 50 or 100 jumps in the middle of the season? At that point, it's either send it in mid-season, or jump the rest of the season with 'questionable' lines. The solution is to send it in for the reline in Jan, and do the preventative maintenance. This is skydiving, it costs money, just get it done. 3. Body position - first off, let's remember our pull priorities in order, 1. PULL, 2. Pull at the correct altitude, 3. Pull while stable. You can see that pulling while stable is last on the list, it does contribute toward getting a good opening. You want to be level on all axis (not head low, or leaning to one side) and going at a 'slower' speed in the flattest position that you can still be comfortable and in control. The trick is that getting to that position at pull time takes planning and sticking to that plan. If you bust your break-off altitude from a jump, and end up low and trying to get away from the group, it becomes tough to meet all of the pull priorities. The way to prevent this is with conservative break off altitudes where you have time to track sufficiently, slow down, and get into an 'optimal' pull position by the time you reach your pull altitude. This is where, again, you have to bite the bullet and sacrifice 500 or 1000ft of freefall and move your break-off up enough to allow time for you to be careful on the bottom end. Those three areas are where you can do your best to prevent hard openings, but sadly it's probably a lost cause. I'm willing to bet that if you went to the average DZ and watched the proceedings, you would see more people than not who either use a packer or rush through a sloppy pack job, put off gear maintenance/relines based on the cost, and plan skydives with lower break-offs adding pressure to the bottom end maybe making them choose between a 'clean' pull or an 'on time' pull. Sad, but true.
  14. davelepka

    USPA B Water Training

    Now you have two things to learn, skydiving and swimming.
  15. I'm willing to bet that's not going to be the case.
  16. davelepka

    New Rig - Questions

    Buy your main canopies used. New ones are a bitch to pack, and from the sounds of it your first set-up with the 150 is going to be a tighter fit.
  17. davelepka

    learning to pack...

    Find the stabilzer to start. It's the 'side' of the canopy, and there's usually some sort of label over there with the name of the canopy. If you're holding the canopy correctly to flake the cells, the stabilizer should be laying against your legs. So if you know you're starting at the 'beginning', you can follow the top edge of the canopy (which is now facing down because you have the canopy over your shoulder) and just follow that seam along until you get to the other stabilizer. Remember that a cell has two 'sections', and that you want to count the 'middle' section of the cell. So start at the stabilzer, with that being the outside of cell #1 and follow the leading edge until you come to a seam. The first seam you come to will be the center rib of cell #1, so count it. Now keep going, and the next seam you come to will be the wall between cell #1 and #2, and you don't count that. Keep going to the next seam, which will be the center rib of cell #2, so count that. Keep going, and you'll end up with 7. It does. Talk to your rigger (or any rigger) and they can provide you with a 'safe' marker to label the attachment points. Those are the little white square tabs that the lines actually attach to at the canopy, and they are just big enough for a mark. Again, it can be done, just ask a qualifed professional for help to make sure you don't harm the canopy or mis-label the lines (how confusing would that be?).
  18. davelepka

    Any riggers in the North East?

    If you need your ticket, you're going to need a DPRE, so why not eliminate the middle-man (a regular rigger), and contact Dave Dewolf directly? He's in central-ish PA, and could be a one-stop shop for your needs. If you have enough cash, I'm willing to bet he can get you up to speed and put you through the practical/written tests in short order. http://www.paraloft.com/Riggers_course.htm
  19. davelepka

    New jumper/big guy gear dilemma

    Click on this link - http://www.dropzone.com/classifieds/Detailed/Containers/Big_Mans_RIG_J5_Javelin_PD_218_Reserve_BONUS_STILETTO190_141843.html -you're welcome. By the way, listen to the ad and plan to never jump the Stiletto that comes with the rig. Sell it and buy something bigger and more square.
  20. davelepka

    Harness size question

    C/18 means it has a 'C' width yoke, and an 18" main lift web. There are other factors that will influence the fit of the harness, like the length of the laterals and length of the legstraps. What you need to do is get your serial number, and the serial number from the rig your are considering, and get the detailed measurements from Sunpath so you can compare the two, beyond the yoke/MLW size.
  21. davelepka

    AFF Student Thoughts

    Welcome to the sport. No joke, making sure your shoes are tied tight and double-knotted should be a part of your gear-up routine. I go so far as to take the loops/tails, and tuck them under the criss-cross of laces to make sure the wind doesn't blow them around and untie them. Is it a big deal? Generally no, but it's one less thing to worry about if they are all squared away. Good on you, and I hope you remember the most important lesson - that your current level of expertise in the cockpit took 17 years to achieve, and that it has nothing to do with your ability as a skydiver. Often times we see people will accomplishments in other sports, sometimes unrelated to aviation, sometimes aviation itself, and they seem to think that it gives them some edge over 'everyone else' learning to jump, and that is a sad mistake they're making. Don't get me wrong, your aviation experience will help you to be a better student/skydiver, within the confines of the regular progression. It doesn't give you magical powers above and beyond the other students/newbies, or qualiy you to do things that your experience/time-in-sport don't suggest you should be doing, it just gives you perhaps a better chance for success along the same road everyone travels. I mention this more as a cautionary tale, and really for the benefit of everyone reading, not just yourself. On top of that, nothing you said specifiacly suggested that you felt as if you had any advatage over erveryone else, so don't take it that way. Consider it a public service announcement, nothing more, nothing less.
  22. davelepka

    possible stolen gear on craigslist????

    I don't know, the ad is informative with plenty of details and correct 'lingo'. There is no attempt to conceal the identity of the 'model', or the indentifying marks on the suit. Combine that with the age of the suits, and it looks like someone is just cleaning out their closet. Actually seems like a good deal for 3 barely used, name-braind suits.
  23. davelepka

    Great Progress

    This can be tough. There aren't many rigs around with a harness that small which will hold the bigger canopies you're going to need to start with. What you should do is look around for a rig that will hold a 150-ish main and reserve, and that has a medium or smaller harness, and then contact the manufacturer about a harness resize. It will add $200 to $400 to the cost of a rig, but the overall price will still be far less than the cost of a new rig. The resized harness will fit you perfectly. Do not buy a rig that is 'close enough' in harness fit. Too big is too big, and you should not spend any additional time in a oversized harness than you need to. Beyond your student jumps where you're jumping a student rig, get your own stuff and make sure it fits right. There are some drawbacks to being smaller (or larger) than average, and the gear issue is one of them.
  24. davelepka

    Spring Break Jumping

    Deland is 20 min from Daytona, right up Intl Speedway Drive.
  25. davelepka

    Optik illusion helmet

    Bonehead makes great products. The Optik is only going to work if you plan to side mount one camera, as the top platform is really small. In any case, there's a ton of work to be done to any camera set-up. None of them come 'out of the box' ready to run, there are no mounts or holes drilled on the helmet. You'l need to chose the exact mounting locations, the type of mounts, how/where to run the wires/switches etc. How you set up the helmet will have a lot to do with how well it works for you. Take the time to study other camera helmets at your DZ, and really think about yours before you start drilling. Get all the parts front of you, and mock them up in different configurations to see what seems like it makes the most sense. Think about things like keep the helmet compact, the weight centered, and maintaining access to buttons/switches and card slots.