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Gear Reviews posted by woppyvac

  1. Bought a FUEL for tandem work and the occasional fun jump with a go pro. It's very comfortable. I have a XXL (typically wear an XL with most other manufacturers) and it fits like a glove (I suggest sizing one up than normal for a FUEL). The chin strap adds an additional layer of comfort as well. It has a slew of options you can order with or add later BUT it's limited on camera compatibility. I jump a GoPro2 and I have no issue but a contour or sony camcorder would be hard pressed to fit. If you are looking for an excellent overall open face this is one.

  2. History: I was on my 2nd custom rig (no need to disclaim whom) for the last three years but wanted a backup rig for camera work. Looked around and got a 'steal deal' on a 3rd hand Racer Elite set up. Over the next few months I gradually found myself wearing the Racer more often than my custom rig because it was just that much more comfortable. After awhile I made the custom rig my backup and my 3rd hand Racer my go to ride. Eventually I decided I'd rather just have two Racers and ordered a Shadow 2K3. BINGO - made one of my better skydiving decisions!

    1st - COMFORT - I fits like a glove! I'm 5''11, 200lbs, jump a 150 main/reserve and this thing was cut perfectly to my measurements. It molds to my back and hugs over my shoulders like only a Racer can. I've put on/jumped numerous rigs but my 2K3 trumps them all.

    2nd - COST - $1,500.00. BINGO! Parachute Labs & company were also kind enough to allow me to tag on a custom reserve pilot chute cap to my rig for a few more bucks. So even though it's like a Ford Model-T when it comes to color, "You can have any color you want - as long as it is black,' I was still able to give it my own personal branding and for relatively cheap.

    3rd - CONSTRUCTION - Very Solid. I inspected and tugged on every part of this rig. It's going to hold up and for quite awhile. This is going to be my main ride for the next 5-10 years.

    Other Pros: Along with my customized cap I was able to get a low profile ripcord handle, a pull out pilot chute and pud handle, kill line pilot chute, snap toggles (LOVE THESE), and it comes with magnetic riser covers (LOVE THESE). It is definitely freefly friendly and tops all around.

    Cons: As I stated it comes in one color and you are limited on any other bells and whistles. However, it's still a ton of bang for not that much buck.

    All in all this was a great buy and I strongly encourage folks to take the Shadow 2K3 into consideration when looking for their next rig. It's an impressive set up and for the sales tag it's being marketed at - worth the look.

    Blue ones.

  3. I've got just over 20 jumps on a 146 Firebolt. Wing loaded at 1.55. I highly recommend folks to demo this canopy!

    Openings: This is the biggest selling point. SOFT. It's just amazing how wonderfully this canopy opens and is the reason I had to have one. You've gotta experience one to understand it.

    Packing: It's F111 bottomskin and ribs make packing the Firebolt easy to control. I found it easier to pack than the Sabre 2 150 I had before ordering the Firebolt and the Sabre had 200 jumps on it. Additionally, I had a jumper with less than a hundred jumps pack it for me in between loads today and he had no problem getting it in the bag. There are two brake lines. Only the out board lines get stowed and the excess inboard lines get pulled back toward the canopy meaning you aren't spending time stowing excess line - thats a plus onto itself by saving time.

    Flight: It does exactly as advertised. At 1.55 wing loading it's a spirited wing and wants to get back to the ground quick. Long spots may be the only semi con I could think of...

    Flare: Good and strong. I like to pick up speed for my landings and it's sweet spot is easy to find and creates great glide across the ground.

    Price: All the above and it beats out the competitors on price.

    Demo: Do It.

    Edited 9.23.2013 ---- update.

    I've put over 150 jumps on my Firebolt. The craftsmanship of this canopy is excellent - minimal wear. It's still opens amazingly (i've yet to have a hard opening). Flare is still strong. It's the only canopy I'll buy from now on.

  4. I'm 175lbs in my jumpsuit and about 195lbs out the plane fully rigged putting me close to a 1.1 wing loading on my Fusion 175. I have her packed in a Mirage G4 M4 and it's a perfect fit.

    Openings: SOFT! My first 10 jumps with it I was experiencing 1,000-1,500 ft. snivels. Spooked me something awful on my first jump which was a hop n' pop. I've altered my packing technique by favoring the slider more towards the tail and not pushing the nose into the middle. I'm not constantly having openings at 1,000ft. HOWEVER - almost ever opening is off heading! After 35 jumps I haven't figured what it is that is causing this but will continue to tweek both pack jobs and body position.

    Flight: Simply excellent! She does it all. I truly enjoy how much ground I can cover if need be from bad spots or if I just need more room to set up good landing patterns.

    Landings: In docile winds you have to give her a good full flare jerk and then your set. If not your gonna come in a smidge fast on low wind days. But overall - I love em.

    Packing: Packs like every other new chute... pain in the rear! But after your first 10 pack jobs you should be able to have her pretty well figured out. She uses HMA lines - I learnt that using a mixture of large rubber bands for the Dbag flap and small rubber bands for the remainder of the stows gave me quicker openings.

    Customer Service: They've been good to me when I've called - each and every time.

  5. My DZ has an abundance of Sabre 2's for students and rentals and I've given most of them a try. I'm only posting this because I wanted to focus on their slow openings at lower weight ratios. I'm 190 out the door and taking a 210+ for a spin can get interesting once the pilot chute is out. I know a lot of beginners like jumping lower wing loads but at a .9 wing load I found the sabre 2 will snivel 1,000 -1,400 feet. Granted it's soft - but when pulling at 3,000 feet it can get concerning quick.