davelepka

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Everything posted by davelepka

  1. This is a bad excuse for a bad idea. Dropped toggles are a huge problem, and your best chance for avoiding them is all of your fingers through the toggle with the thumb locking your fingers closed - period, end of sentence. You won't drop a toggle when things are normal and going as planned. It's when there's some sort of unusual situation on landing that you drop a toggle, the very time when what you think is 'ok' becomes very far from 'ok'. Your rigger, with 35 years in the sport is a liability in that sense. He's been jumping long enough to remember when toggles were made of wooden dowels, and meant to be held that way. This is also when canopies were MUCH slower, and a dropped toggle was far less of a problem than now. There's a reason that EVERY SINGLE MANUFACTURER ships their rigs with full-loop fabric toggles, and it's because they're good and they work. Adjusting your steering lines is not hard or time consuming. Either make the drive to your riggers house and watch him do the work, give your rig to your rigger to take home for the week to do the work and bring it back to you the following weekend, or find another rigger to do the work. You're making a stupid mistake by using a Band-Aid fix (a shit one) for a small problem that's easy to fix, and can also easily become a huge problem. Get your gear straight, and properly configured for your body type before your next jump.
  2. See if you can find the 35mm equivalent focal length for your video camera zoomed all the way out. Sometimes it's in the manual somewhere. Now take that number and split it in half to account for your .5 wide angle lens, and that's the focal length you want for your still camera. You want them to match as closely as possible so your framing is the same for video and stills. You're asking some pretty basic questions. If you don't have camera flying experience, ditch the still camera and spend some time shooting fun jumpers with just the video camera. Get used to the idea of using your body to fly around and frame shots, and just build some general 'camera awareness' before adding the weight and complexity of the still camera.
  3. Downsizing would not be a solution in this case. If she is having trouble flaring, going faster is not a good idea. Exercising is key, and she needs to be doing it in such a way to build strength. Higher weights and lower reps are going to get her the results she needs, she is looking to build muscle for power, not endurance, she only needs to fly a canopy for a few minutes at a time, and only needs to flare once. That said, work on her technique as well. I've worked with several ladies who have had this problem, and one solution that helped them was to keep the toggles close to their bodies and rotate their elbows upward for the last part of the flare so they're pushing straight down on the toggles. They have more leverage/power in that position, and can generally finish the flare better as opposed to what most jumpers do which is holding the toggles out away from their body and flaring with a straight arm.
  4. Some hard work, and some low prices afforded by not doing required maintenance on his aircraft for long, long periods of time. Aircraft in his ownership were flown for 1000's of loads beyond the factory mandated life limits on control cables, and without factory mandated inspections of critical structural portions of the airframe. Aircraft in his ownership and maintained by his staff have had engine failures caused by incomplete maintenance when simple inspections of critical components were not performed. Yes, it's a fact he's been in business for a long time and he does turn a lot of loads, but if we're going to post the facts, let's be fair and post them all, yes?
  5. Your premise is retarded. So just because the fatality rate is close to that of other sports, the poster you replied to should not be upset that some jumpers are engaged in clearly stupid and dangerous behavior? I'm sure if I dug long enough, I could find a sport with a much lower fatality rate than skydiving, that would make skydiving look terrible. I'm sure I could also find one with a higher rate that would make skydiving look great. Neither one would justify the stupid behavior in the photo that spawned this thread. Here's the other MAJOR difference. There is very little stopping 'anyone' from buying a kayak or a rope and going out to paddle or climb on their own. Rivers and rocks are just there for the taking, and it's not tough for people to access them. Compare that to skydiving. At a minimum, you need an airplane owner and a pilot, both of which have a lot invested in being an airplane owner and/or pilot, and don't want to see that harmed by being a part of someone making an amateur skydive. Then you need a rig, which not something you can just pick up at the local outfitters. A lay person would have a very hard time getting a hold of a rig, having assembled, and having the slightest idea how to operate it. So the end result is that that VAST majority of jumps, like something on the high side of 99.9999999%, are made at a DZ which has it's own interests to protect, and thus is going to be keeping a fairly close eye on the actions of all the jumpers. Given the fairly strict controls over jumpers, and the severely limited access to jumping, it's not surprising that the fatality rate is similar to that of other sports. Can you imagine the safety record of paddling if every river was privately owned, and every paddler had to go through a training course in order to paddle there, and then was watched over before/during/after every time they got in the water?
  6. Yep. Corn eats gear like there's no tomorrow. It's hard enough to get yourself out 8ft high corn, let alone finding anything that landed there. I'm not saying that this tech in the OP is workable, just that 100ft range could really simplify the idea of a grid search in a corn field.
  7. That seems like an odd statement. Wouldn't a lens with a wider FOV offer more of the 'scenery', more of the time as opposed to a narrower lens? Beyond that, how does the FOV of the lens relate to the 'suckiness' of the camera flyer? As long as their framing is good, what difference does the FOV make? Truth be told, there are quite a few aircraft or step/handle configurations that do not allow good pictures in the door prior to exit without a wide angle lens. Sure, if you have an Otter with a large step and camera rail, you can climb way back and be able to frame them up nice in the door without a wide angle lens. but short of that a wide angle lens offers you a more complete FOV in the door, and like I mentioned above, provided you adjust your flying to the lens and your framing is good, what difference does it make?
  8. Keep in mind that you have to 'prove' yourself in the tunnel before they'll crank up the speed and let you freefly in there. Time on your belly, time on your back, time spent on the net 'freeflying' with low airspeed, etc, all before you'll be really 'freeflying' in the tunnel. Nothing you can do about it, just a heads up. You'll get further, faster in the tunnel with a coach. Find one ahead of time, and talk to them about the progression so you know what to expect in terms of how much time you'll need in there.
  9. Yeah, probably a better deal for the DZ, but I know we have trouble finding and keep good editors, so the per-video deal seems to work out better as they have more earning potential. When they can edit themselves into $100+ per day on a busy day, it's easier to get them to show up and sit there all day. As an aside, I also share tips with my editor. There's no real formula, but I'll generally just give every 3rd or 4th tip straight to the editor. If we get an editor who works the whole season, shows up every day, and really puts a good effort for the benefit of the 'team', I'll take up a collection from the video staff and we'll tip them at the end of the season. It's usually good for a couple hundred bucks.
  10. You did mention that you thought it was an expensive sport, so I figured that might a something to keep in mind. If you buy used gear that's considered 'modern', and don't hang onto it for more than 2 or 3 years tops, you can get most of your money back out of it (of course, provided you take care of it). So what you do is buy your first rig, then pay for (mostly) your next one by selling the first one. This way, you make the one big investment, then just cash it out when you want to jump something else. Now the end-game is another story. One mistake people make is that they quit skydiving slowly. They stop jumping, but are in denial and keep insisting that they'll be back. Good for them, but bad for the value of their gear. If you buy a 3 year old rig and jump it for 2 seasons, you have a nice 5 year old rig you can sell. If you stick in your closet for 5 years, while you insist that you're going to jump again, now you have a 10 year old rig and the value is going to be way down. The long and short of it is that if you manage the situation properly, you can jump and own used gear for not too much dough. Yes, you do have several thousand dollars you need to tie up in the whole thing, but you can get the bulk of that back out in the end if you play your card right. Again, the AAD is another story. It's just a cost to own one and the extra layer of safety it provides. Again, figure about $125 per year to have an AAD in your rig, but you may have to tie up the full $1300 while you're jumping to make it all happen.
  11. That's a valid point. However, what exactly you're going to need in a first rig will have nothing to do with the price. You can put together almost any sort of used rig for between $2500 and $3500 without an AAD (the AAD is the little computer that cuts the reserve closing loop if you're in freefall at too low of an altitude). If you want an AAD, you might be able to find a used one and the price will reflect the age of the unit. The Cypres 2, the one you want, has a 12 year life span, so it loses value every year. You might find a 10 year old one you can buy for $200 or $300, and jump it for 2 years. The other option is to buy a new one for $1300/$1400, and plan on it losing about $100 in value while you jump it, but you can sell it easily for the remaining value without too much trouble if you get out of the sport. If you keep jumping for 12 years (or more), the AAD can be installed in any rig you buy in that time frame. But in terms of the harness/container (these are one component), the main canopy and reserve canopy, $2500 to $3500 is a good budget for a 'nice' used rig with fairly modern components. There are rigs for less, and rigs for more, but if you can work within that range, you should have no problem setting up a rig. One other thing to keep in mind, if you spend $3000 on a used rig and you pay a fair price for it, you can jump it for a year or two and 100 or 200 jumps, and then be able to sell it for $2750 or better. A used rig that has already depreciated in price from new won't really depreciate all that much more while you jump/own it, so it's really not a bad 'investment' in that sense.
  12. $20 to $40 refers to the pay for the video guy. Sometimes the video guy is also the editor, as they have to edit their own videos. In the cases where there is a separate editor, they usually get between $5 and $10 per video. I would guess that most DZs charge about $100 for a video. Sometimes that's video only with stills being an added cost upgrade, and sometimes that's for both video and stills. In terms of how much the video guy gets paid, if it's on the low end, I would hope that the DZ is providing everything short of a camera helmet. Their memory card, editor, edit suite, DVD, thumb drives, etc. If it's on the higher end, maybe the video guy needs to provide his own media and edit suite, and do his own editing.
  13. That one? Have you contacted the seller and confirmed that the harness and container will fit you and the canopies you can safely jump today? Not much detail in that ad. No sizes, no serial number, no pic........
  14. Again, you're making the mistake in thinking that your final purchase price will be that much less than the price that 'joe jumper' off the street could get from a dealer without a certificate. In order for you to make any profit, your asking price would have to be so close to the 'market price' that any buyer would just order their own new rig for $100 or $200 more, in the exact colors and sizes they want.
  15. The actual 'value' of those certificates varies from deal to deal, but most of them are good for about $200 or $300 off the final price. When they say '50%' off, that's generally off the list price. There's not a dealer on earth who charges list price, most of them give you 30% or 35% off, or something like that. So when you really sit down and do the math, design your rig and price it out with all the options, using the certificate only saves you a couple hundred bucks vs just buying one through a dealer. I'm not one to balk at saving a couple hundred bucks, but the 'value' of those certificates are just not what they appear to be. I always get a kick out of the guys trying to sell them in the classifieds here, and they ask something just shy of the 'face value'. Unless you're in the market for a new rig, or in a position to order one anyway, I can't see any reason not to just pass it on to someone who is. The certificates are often given away as door prizes, so the winner has nothing in it besides being lucky. Easy come, easy go.
  16. 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.
  17. Send a PM to 'likestojump' on this site. He (Paul) sells a ton of used gear, and while he's US based, he does a ton of overseas business. Do a search on his user name, and you'll see multiple threads indicating that he's an honest, reliable seller who sells good gear at good prices. He can find you your best option within your budget.
  18. Speaking of that, it's not as simple as it used to be, where you just plugged your camera into a VCR or mixing board and edited up a vid. With everything being digital now, there are different formats of video and not all of them are compatible with the various editing programs that DZs are using. Before you spend dollar one, get a firm commitment from a DZ that you have a slot on the video rotation, and then have then tell you exactly what you need to work within their system. What you want, and what you think is the best may have nothing to do with what you actually need in order to work at a given DZ. As far as the money goes, Spot was right on, anywhere from $20 to $45. Also, be sure to ask who provides media, like memory cards to shoot the videos and DVDs or thumb drives to deliver the product to the customer. Are those your costs, or the DZ? Likewise with editing. Do you edit your own, or is there an editor available? If so, who pays the editor? The DZ, or does it come out of your cut? If you edit your own, is it on their edit suite, or do you have to provide your own?
  19. As others have mentioned, defer to medically trained people, be available to help them if they ask, but otherwise look for a non-medical way to make yourself useful. Gear needs to be dealt with, secured (if it's windy) or moved/hauled in. Crowds need to be controlled. You can hold up a canopy to shade the injured/responders. Has someone called an ambulance? Is there someone standing by the road to direct the ambulance to the scene? Is there a clear path for the ambulance to the injured? If not, is there a clear path for the medics to get in/out on foot? We had a jumper land hard behind a line of heavy brush. Some jumpers were able to wiggle through, asses his condition, and call the ambulance, but there was no way a medic with gear and a stretcher was getting in there, so I organized a handful of jumpers to grab shovels etc from the hanger and clear a path. I'm not medically trained for anything, but I can do yard work like a pro, and it turned out to be a valuable asset.
  20. This is the only real 'problem' with 'modern' rigs, and even then it's just a 'possible' problem in some cases. In any respect, an overstuffed container is not the fault of the container, it's the fault of the owner or rigger who chose/packed those canopies. The tapered pack trays and protective flaps make the gear work better. The designs are tested and proven to work with canopies falling into the 'normal' range in terms of fitment. Let's face it, if a container failed to work in an 'average' scenario more than once or twice, it would be quickly singled out, and black listed by the community. Nobody wants to jump a rig with a bad track record. When a rig is operated outside of the 'average' conditions, like when the largest canopies you can manage to stuff in there are used, then you can't blame the design of the rig. Are you surprised when you snap an axle after putting 2500lbs of gravel into the back of your 1/2-ton pick up truck? That's not the trucks fault. Try putting 1000lbs of gravel in there, and watch that truck perform flawlessly, and for more miles using less gas then a 1/2 ton truck from 20 years ago. Ditto with the rigs. Use them as designed, and they will work more reliably and for longer than gear from 30 years ago, guaranteed.
  21. Well that's the dumbest, most short-sighted comment I've heard about square canopies in a long time. How about squares are there to expand on the spot? You don't need to be within 1/4 mile of 'the spot' to make it home, now you can be 3/4 or a full mile from 'the spot' and still get back. But that's just because we're so dumb and can accurately spot, right? Nope, it's because we're not all jumping 182s (or smaller) with 4 jumpers and a 60 knot jumprun speed. If you want to jump something bigger and faster, you need a much better canopy than a Para Commander. If you want to get 23 jumper out of an Otter with a jumprun speed of 80 or 90 knots, you simply can't count on a round to get you home, it's just not going to happen. News flash pal, just like you were pushing the limits of spotting and load capacity trying to get 4 rounds on the field out of a 182, we're doing the same with our planes and our canopies. Most loads are flown with the jumprun being used to it's fullest capacity, with the first and last groups being as far apart as possible while still making it safely to the field. What this does is allow us the most time between groups for a given load and the boost in safety that provides. In any case, it doesn't allow a lot of 'wiggle-room' for the spot, making the ability to spot just as critical as it used to be.
  22. You're forgetting a few key points. First up, fitting the largest canopy that the manufacturer says will fit in a rig makes it a bitch to pack. Likewise, if you pick a rig that will hold a canopy small enough for you three canopies down the road, how big of a reserve do you think it's going to hold? Do you really want to stuff the largest main and reserve into a container? If not, do you really want to short yourself on reserve canopy size on your first rig? None of that is mentioning that you're buying gear for yourself several years and several hundred jumps down the road. Do you really think you know what you want that far down the road? Do you really think you know enough about gear to make that sort of call today? Let's look at this another way. What would you say if a 16 year old kid told you that he wanted to buy a brand new car with the idea that he could drive it for 10 years and really get his money's worth out it. Do you really think a 16 year old kid is going to stick with a car for 10 years? Will he really have the same needs and wants at 16 that he will at age 23 or 24? Is there a chance you might advise him to buy an affordable used car, and see how that goes? Then maybe sell it for another affordable used car in a couple years? Maybe gradually work his way up to a 'nice', brand new car after a couple of used ones and several years of driving/life experience? In the world of skydiving, you're the equivalent of a 16 year old kid. Buy a used rig, jump it for a season or two, learn 500% more than you know now about gear and skydiving, then revisit the gear issue. If you buy 'smart', you should be able to sell your rig for at least 80% of what you paid for it. Some people have sold them for even money, and some people have even made a profit selling used gear. Buy something that will easily fit the 190 main you want to start with, and easily fit a 190 (or larger) reserve.
  23. Seems more like you thought you would ask, and then ignore the multiple people telling you it's not a feasible idea. First off you have fitment issues. Does the harness fit the renter? What about the canopies? Those are sized based on the jumpers skill, and choosing the wrong size can lead to injury or death. Second, what about the configuration? Being able to safely pack and operate a rig means knowing 100% about the various parts the make up the rig. How do you make sure every renter knows about every rig? Finally, nobody wants to rent out their gear. It's a life-saving device, and having it out of your hands, and out of your control is not what you want. I don't want someone else touching and using my gear. I want it handled my me and my rigger only, and then safely stored away between jumps. As mentioned already, it's not a bike or snowboard. You are 100% guaranteed to die if you jump out of a plane and don't successfully operate a parachute. Many, many injuries, deaths, and scary situations have occurred based on people borrowing gear, let's not make a business out that, eh?
  24. I disagree with your idea of proper brake setting. Priority #1 has always been preventing a stall on landing, and that's why the 'rule of thumb' has always been that your canopy should stall when the toggles are pulled to full deflection with the wrists rotated so the thumbs are pointed down, and held there for several seconds. It makes the stall difficult enough to achieve, but allows the jumper to reach 100% of the flare power of the canopy. Yes, if you have long arms you should have longer steering lines. The amount of response the canopy will provide in comparison to the range of motion of the jumpers arms will always be relative to one another, provided the brakes are set as I described. If 100% of your arm motion provides 100% of the pre-flare toggle stroke, than regardless of your arm length, pulling your arms halfway down will provide you with 50% of the pre-flare toggle stroke.
  25. This is horrible advice regarding canopy flight. To flirt with a stall while still airborne because you assume that it 'cant' happen is just asking for trouble. Even a stall at a low altitude can result in a jumper falling on their back from several feet up, and this has lead to tailbone injuries and broken wrists if they reach back to 'catch' themselves. The comparison to airplanes is fundamentally flawed. The stall horn on an aircraft is calibrated to go off well before the stall, as a warning that you are close to a stall. It does not mean that the airplane is stalled and about to fall out of the sky. When the wing stalls, it just stalls. There may or may not be a buffet just before the stall, but that's dependent on the pilot recognizing and reacting fast enough to prevent the stall. Otherwise, when the angle of attack reaches the critical angle, the wing just stalls, period. All of that applies to a rigid wing, like on an aircraft. When you translate that to a 'soft' wing like a canopy, you add in a ton of variables that makes it even less wise to say that it 'cannot' stall. The line trim, brake line settings, condition of the wing, the WL, and the jumpers performance all add to the 'performance' of the canopy. This is why, unlike every aircraft ever produced, there are no published numbers on the performance of a certain canopy. Even in an aircraft, it's common to add a few knots to an approach in certain conditions, and that's to buffer you further from the stall speed. The need for this is magnified with a canopy, because again, the performance numbers of the canopy are not 'hard'. I'll repeat my position from further upthread. Each jumper needs to set-up their brake lines to fit their exact gear configuration, and make it so a stall is difficult to achieve, but possible. This will limit the likelihood that it will occur if things should go 'off plan' on landing, and the jumper starts to do more 'reacting' than 'thinking' at a low altitude. When jumping borrowed gear, they need to make themselves aware of the stall point on jump #1, and be as mindful of that as possible the entire time they are flying that rig.