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  1. Hi G - I think you did the right thing - but for different reasons than those I've seen in response to your question - In the past several months, since rear riser technique has become "in vogue" - I have seen so many supposedly "experienced" skydivers make their canopy a folded-in-half rag at about 10 feet AGL by trying to land with their rears. In AFF I was always told if you lost a toggle, you could land it on rears. I have since learned that this statement is very untrue and unwise. Perhaps it is possible to full flare a Falcon 275 loaded at .6 to 1 by using rears - but with most canopies loaded at 1.3 to 1 and above, it requires quite a bit of skill and training. I will assure you that you CAN NOT just pull down the rears and make the canopy stop. Toggles act as flaps on a plane - reducing the stall speed of the "aircraft" and allowing the pilot to run out the landing at a relatively slow speed. Using Rears only gives you no "flaps", which greatly increases the stall speed that you are accustomed to under your own canopy. Trying to slow your canopy down to the same speed you get when using toggles will produce a violent, high speed stall, which will likely crash you onto your back. There are some talented, practiced pilots who can actually STOP their canopy on rears, but most simply use rears to plane out their canopy before transferring to toggles to stop it and finish the landing. It is very unadvisable to try to land on rear risers without professional training and many, many rear riser practice landings way up high! You did the right thing! Mariann
  2. It's been a week after my return from Panama City, and I wanted to send a public "THANK YOU" not only to Jim and Lyle, and all the PST staff who organized and helped run this event, but also to all my fellow swoopers and family that I had the privilege to hang out with for 5 days. Great courses, great helicopters, great competition, great weather, great DJ, great vibe. And in spite of the Spinnakers staff, we had some of the most kick ass parties to date! But most importantly, I wanted to share with everybody this story. There were several people (friends and family) that traveled a great distance to hang out with me at this event. Some of them had never been to a swoop meet before. By the end of the weekend, they were impressed with the swoops and how good the pilots were, but they were mostly floored by the kind of people they met there. You guys and gals are the most honest, fun, genuine people you could find out there, and it really shows. All my friends felt welcome, included, comfortable, and they had an awesome time. I was so proud to call you all my friends. People understand going to competitions to measure your skills and learn, but it's hard to explain the cameraderie we have when we all get together. It was great for other people to understand what I find most important about going to the swoop meets - spending time with and playing with my swooping family. Oh - and they were also most impressed with our parties. Thanks everyone. Can't wait to do it again!!! Mariann
  3. hey Derek! Tx is great, stuff in general is great! Travelling a lot - which is cool. What's up with you this year? Are you going to any swoop meets at all? I'm leaving tomorrow for Eloy for a training camp w/ Rave - me, Rick, Lou, and Courtney, who's from Denver. Do ya know her? We've got a great team this year! I think the factory pilots would have a lot more to offer new swoopers than I would - although I really appreciate your vote - that means a lot to me!!! Maybe in a year or so - I'm still working my own stuff out (can you say "rear risers?"), and just starting to get comfortable running the water courses. Anyway, good to hear from you & maybe we'll run into eachother sometime this year!!! peace - Mariann
  4. It has been my experience that the truly big canopies and new pilots don't want to get anywhere near high performance pilots - it simply scares the shit out of them! I think if you explain to the general DZ public that if you choose to land in the high performance area, you will be in a very fast, confusing, potentially dangerous landing pattern, you won't have any problems clearing the area of the low-timers and conservative pilots. Your problem is going to be the guy who is about 1 foot away from a double femur every time he lands - and he thinks he's doing great! If the area is merely "handed over" to the "swoopers" to self-police, I do not think it will work. Many swoopers think they are doing well simply because they haven't hurt themselves (yet!), so I can see a lot of arguing and safety issues. Too bad Derek isn't there - I know him, and he knows what's going on (Hi Derek!). An S&TA is NOT necessarily the answer. Many S& TAs know absolutely NOTHING about high performance flight, and what you need is a swooper, not a wanna be who happens to have a rating. Just because someone has 10 years in the sport and 5000 jumps doesn't mean they know a thing about swooping. It is dangerous to look at swooping as just another aspect of our sport. Swooping is its OWN sport! My reccommendation would be to maybe invite one of the Icarus/PD/Xaos factory pilots out there for a weekend of coaching and planning for a safe way to run your high performance area. They would be able to assess your area, decide what might be some danger areas, decide which way the course should generally run, and have a chance to coach all the swoopers who want to use the area. This would give everyone a chance to really learn a lot, plus you'd have a real swooper "in charge" of that area. That person doesn't have to be present to be in charge - after you work with one of those guys, your respect for them will keep everyone honest and following the rules. Hope you have fun swooping!!! Mariann
  5. I have a little under 2,000 jumps under FXs and VXs, about 150 jumps under a Velocity, and no Xaos jumps. I load my VX 70 at 2 to 1 without weights, but when I train 4 way, I load it at 2.35 to 1. As far as turbulence goes - I jump in TX and the winds here suck - 25-30MPH is a normal winter day, and bad turbulence in the summer because it's so hot. I'm always one of a select few idiots who jump in these conditions, mostly because the VX and the FX are ROCK SOLID in winds - even the stupid ones that you shouldn't be jumping in! As far as the openings, I get consistent openings under my VX. They aren't "slow", but I wouldn't call them hard or brisk - I like to think of them as motivated!! The absolute best way I have found to pack it is to separate the lines just enough to make it neat, leave the nose OUT - I just let it hang there - quarter the slider and roll the tail VERY snugly. I used to do all the bells and whistles pack job because I thought I had to - you know - push nose in all sorts of different ways, make a pocket with the slider, etc etc. I got off headings a lot with all that garbage, and if anything, it opened a little faster. With the 5 minute pack job, it's a consistent, NOT SLOW - but never TOO fast - opening. I also jump a camera, and I have never experienced an opening under my VX that has slammed me, hurt me, or injured my neck, even with the camera. However, it's all pretty much what you're used to! Many of my Velocity jumps came after I already had several hundred jumps under FXs and VXs, and those openings scared me! They just took a lot more time to open than what I was used to, and tended to "hunt" around with only a couple middle cells open. I'm not one that likes to hang around at 2000' waiting 800-1000 feet for my canopy to open! I've heard from good friends and good sources that the Xaos is the best opener - meaning slowest of them all. Since I like the openings I'm getting, I've never been interested to start jumping any other models when I love the characteristics of what I've got. that's my 10 cents my 2 cents is free . . . peace - Mariann
  6. Hey guys - thanks a lot for your replies - the info has helped a lot and the links are great!!! :-) Mariann
  7. I have never worn a camera before, and I am going to be flying camera for a freefly team this year. I'd like to have opinions/advice from any experienced camera flyers out there about: 1. what type of helmet you've had the most success with freeflying 2. different types of cameras 3. ways to mount the camera(s) 4. the different sights, and which are most user-friendly I have over 2600 jumps, and am planning on starting out with only a video camera for the first hundred jumps or so - mostly to reduce weight and keep things simple. Eventually, I'll have a still as well. I do not plan on using this setup for anything other than filming my team - so tandem/AFF/4way video is not something I'll be doing. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks - Mariann
  8. Hey Kansas guys - YOU guys rocked! We had a blast having you, and we're glad you stayed, jumped, and partied with us! Come to FusionFest April 26-28! It's a hybrid dive/RW/freefly/tracking boogie - and it's gonna be BIG! Chris Fiala will be here to put the hybrids together, plus all levels of freefly & RW & tracking dives. Plus a mini swoop meet - one round each morning. Hey - and thanks for my hemp necklace - it's awesome - manifest gave it to me Sunday morning! Y'all take care and we hope to see you soon - Mariann