elreg

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Gear

  • Main Canopy Size
    295
  • Main Canopy Other
    Pulse 210
  • Reserve Canopy Size
    205
  • Reserve Canopy Other
    Techno
  • AAD
    Cypres 2

Jump Profile

  • Home DZ
    Maubeuge (FR)
  • License
    D
  • Licensing Organization
    FFP
  • Number of Jumps
    2400
  • Tunnel Hours
    2
  • Years in Sport
    40
  • First Choice Discipline
    Style and Accuracy
  • First Choice Discipline Jump Total
    1200
  • Second Choice Discipline
    Formation Skydiving
  • Second Choice Discipline Jump Total
    200
  1. I have done 2400 jumps since 1978 and never cutaway. I landed twice under a torn canopy, but each time, it was playable. It's not that I am philosophically opposed to cutting away, it's just that I had time to analyse and test the situation. Most of what I do is accuracy or instructor jumps, with some RW. Both my canopies operate with a reasonable load (1.1 for my Pulse 210, 0.77 for the Zero). And I always, always open belly flying, so I have never found myself in a crappy situation. I'm not crowing about the performance. It seems to me a cutaway situation starts with something that went wrong, compounded by choice factors such as wing load or way of packing. If you pack soundly and always open face down, there's no reason to to cutaway.
  2. elreg

    Para 71 Chalon/Soane

    Great skydiving spot for beginners and advanced skydivers. Operates two Pilatus, so even in busy week-ends, you don't wait long. Of note: there is a wind tunnel on site, a bit small (will take two), but very convenient for an AFF student who needs some extra coaching. Also freeflyers can practice in parallel to actual jumping. The packing area is brand new and spacious. The instructor team is very professional and friendly, will cater to any needs, from beginner to intermediate to advanced. Food is terrific, operated by a very efficient couple, at very decent rates. Basically, you don't need to go shopping (and in any case, it would be some distance). Housing is a bit old and pretty cramped quarters, possibly allowing for 20-30, 3-4 per room. But bedding is new and tidy. Better bring your own sleeping bag. Showers, more generally, the sanitation area are decent and functional.
  3. Hello Nick, I never, ever remove the camera from the housing (though it is easy enough to do: just scratches). I purchased a USB cable that is permanently latched to the camera and remains coiled in the helmet (left ear). And I use the wireless control to operate the camera in flight. Before take off, I can activate the bluetooth function of the camera without taking it out, from then on, all I do is with the remote control. That said, there is access to both buttons just as you have on the standard GoPro case, so if the remote does not work, you can still press both buttons without taking the helmet off. Once I have landed and I want to debrief my student, I just put the helmet near the computer, pull out the cable, and do my things. Incidentally, that is also how I reload the battery. By the way, the top of the helmet is completely flat, on purpose, to accommodate other mounts. So putting the camera head down on the table ensures it is perfectly stable (no rollover). As for the angle of the camera, this is a non issue. The camera looks at where you are looking, end of story. Before I got this helmet, I used an outside mount on a Gath helmet. It took me some time to figure out the best angle (full down, as it were), but from then on, I never thought about changing it. I film exists (static line), RW teams, and my own landings (accuracy), which accounts for three pretty different contexts, camera wise. Yet there is no reason whatsoever to change the angle in view of this or that kind of exercise. So the basic idea is this: the camera is set to look where you are looking, period. It works.
  4. Have a look at a new design by a Frenchman, on skyvisionpara.com. The camera is completely inside the helmet. I have one since last month, it's brilliant. It is designed specifically for the GoPro 3 and 4 series.
  5. The issue of helmets with cameras interfering with the deployment sequence is well-trodden, to include on dropzone.com. In France, new safety regulations produced by the Federation Française de Parachutisme, the sole, recognized sports authority for leisure skydiving, have become extremely stringent regarding camera mounts, and in particular, the way they protrude. So a French skydiver, Olivier Hiolle, developed a helmet specifically integrating the most current cameras of the day, i.e., GoPro 3 and 4 series. The result is astounding. The GoPro is fully inside the helmet, which has a frontal window. The top of the helmet is flat in order to accommodate other cameras. Of course, that would be a departure from the initial idea of having no protuberance, but there is no other way to carry larger devices. The helmet itself is a "true" helmet, in the sense that it is made of strong, resilient fabric and serious cushioning that will effectively protect the head in case of shock. We are well beyond the degree of protection afforded by basic helmets, in moulded plastic, whose protective function does not go much further than just providing a convenient attachment for a camera. I have ordered one and flown with it a dozen times. The fit is extremely comfortable and natural. I have a GoPro 3+. I purchased, as an extra, a USB cable that remains coiled inside the helmet. That way, I never manipulate the GoPro directly, apart from activating the bluetooth by slipping my little finger into the lodgment of the camera. From then on, I use the remote control. When I wish to download the pictures or load the battery, I just pull the cable out of its lodgment and plug it where it needs to go. The angle is perfect, no vibration whatsoever, and good sound under canopy (in the sense that I can hear myself grumbling and commenting on the approach). This is a new one-man firm, who makes each helmet by hand, to include the color. Prices are reasonable, including options such as color (other than white or grey for the fiberglass version), cable, chin strap. By design, the strap, whether chin or basic, has a quick release handle. This is the website: http://www.skyvisionpara.com/index.html, which, at present, is only in French. Be aware that the photos I lifted from the webpage are not as good as the current product. It is a much more polished work than that. But the photos do give an idea of the design.
  6. Hello all, I am French and have been on the accuracy circuit for five years now. We are about 150 competitors in France, year in, year out. We all pack flat, it is standard practice over here. Nothing compulsory, you do as you wish, but we all happen to do it that way. My own accuracy rig is a PD Zero 295, so holding it at arms length for a pro pack is a bit challenging. That said, most of us own a second rig, more "normal" (for me, a Sabre 210) and we routinely do pro pack. Why flat pack, beyond the requirement of controlling the material? First of all, it allows for consistent flaking of the fabric and full control over tension of the lines. Also, we all have our little habits and, given that we do team jumps with very little spacing, we tend to be very precise in the delay factor. I am not sure of the right words in English. The idea is that you want to be very precise in how much time it will take to open, especially when you do a hop-and-pop, with low wind speed at the time of opening. Now flat pack, as opposed to pro pack, is asymmetric, since you lay down the canopy on its side. From the very beginning, I have taken the habit of changing side on every jump, i.e;, I pack to the left on one jump, and to the right on the other. That way, even after a few hundred jumps, I presume my canopy is not accumulating more opening stress on one side than on the other. On my harness, an Atom Axis, I have a pocket for the packing loop on each side. So, after closing the flaps, I put the loop in the pocket that will be on the side of the front of the canopy when I pack it next. That way, even after a few weeks, I do not need to remember which side I last packed.
  7. elreg

    Cahors

    Cahors is a tremendous DZ for beginners all the way to competitors. The amenities are great and inexpensive, to include 12 euros per day for three meal deals, cooked on the spot by a wonderful lady and her team. Super large DZ means virtually risk-free landings. Two Pilatus and very competent pilots mean you never wait for long. Open all days during a long season (May through early October), otherwise during week-ends and seasonal holidays (Easter and so on). Splendid weather (this is the South of France). Beginners can do AFF (the French version, called PAC) and also static line (means you pay half price, basically, as compared with AFF). A number of teams train here, they also have competent instructors for FF and wingsuit. Also CRW - a relative rarity - and lots of traditional RW. So you seldom wait. Since it is a bit difficult to get there, most people (like me) organise to spend a full week on the spot. It is comparatively inexpensive, to include free accommodation and cheap (but very tasty) food. I definitely recommend.
  8. elreg

    Beni Mellal

    I have been there three times in winter (2011 to 2013), for a week or so. The team is a mix Moroccan-French, operating under French Federation regulations. All very friendly. The drop zone package goes with the hotel in town (reasonable rates, some 30 euros per day with breakfast and dinner included), lunch on the spot (traditional Moroccan cuisine at 6 euros per day), ferry to and fro for 2 euros per day. People come here to jump, period, which means everyone from breakfast to last drink is fully devoted to skydiving. In practice, you depart the hotel at 0800 and come back at 1900-2000, after a busy day at the DZ. With two Pilatus, there is no wait, I have done up to ten jumps in a day. There are good coaches but people who want to do RW should mostly expect to self-coach. The packing area is large enough (and sheltered), the landing zone comfy (grass), lunch is fun, weather fantastic, and the people on and off the DZ are wonderful and welcoming. There is a large assortment of rigs for rent and the packers (all locals) are very professional (though I never use one). Great zone to do an AFF, or for a team to log lots of jumps. The area is not the most touristic of the country by far. Basically, people come here very focused on jumping and nothing else.
  9. elreg

    Flying Techniques for New 4-Way Teams

    Really a great piece of work. Congratulations from a French old timer who wants to start 4-way seriously (but for fun). Mischka Yakovleff
  10. elreg

    Starting a FUN 4-Way Team

    Here again, great information for a would-be 4-way guy. Mischka Yakovleff
  11. elreg

    St Florentin Sports Parachutisme Innovation

    DZ St Florentin is a bit lost in the middle of nowhere, but it has all the attractions of a remote sanctuary for RW. Polo (Grisoni), Manu and others provide an unparalleled quality of coaching, at very affordable prices. People who make the journey here expect to raise their standards by two or three degrees and they are not disappointed. Coaching is world class, with time and attention for all, beginners as well as competitors. Besides, the atmosphere is very chummy, with a club house run by a bunch of extremely devoted and friendly chums. Being in the middle of nowhere has some advantages: the aircraft can take off until sunset and jumps at 6,000 meters (20,000 ft) are organised regularly. If you are serious about improving, this is the place.
  12. Closest DZ to Paris, though somewhat complicated to reach. This is the home of Polo Grisoni, maverick RW4 vice world champion (2006), twice winner of the World Cup RW8 (2002, 2007). Superb coaching for RW, RW vertical. In 2013, the centre was open for 109 days. For 2014, the agenda is much more ambitious, with a total of 127 days of operation - weather permitting of course! Here are the details. DAYS OPEN 2014: March 15-16, 22-23, 28-30 (long week-end) April 5-6, 12-21 (full week), 26-27 May 1-11 (full week), 17-18, 23-25 (long week-end), 29-31 (long week-end) June 1, 7-15 (full week), 21-22, 27-29 (long week-end) July 5-13 (full week), 19-27 (full week) August 2-10 (full week), 15-24 (full week), 29-31 (long week-end) September 6-7, 13-21 (full week), 26-28 (long week-end) October 4-5, 10-12 (long week-end), 17-19 (long week-end), 25-26 November 1-2, 8-11 (long week-end), 15-16. Also be aware that the team of Polo Grisoni operates a winter DZ in Morocco, at Taroudannt, 60 km from Agadir airport, from 6 January to 15 March.
  13. elreg

    Sabre

    I bought my Sabre 210 in 2006, after the sudden death of my first canopy. At the time, I had logged about 300 jumps over the course of more than twenty years, with long interruptions. So I was looking for a canopy that would be reliable and predictable, since I had mediocre experience. Also, I was considering doing fifty jumps per year, so anything too tricky or temperamental was out. I was not looking for the adrenalin rush as I land, I wanted something that could fly smoothly, straight, at half breaks, and with a little release in the last ten seconds, find the oomph to land softly. Ah, and also, not too expensive. I decided for a Sabre after reviewing comments on dropzone.com, and having asked for advice on various DZs (in France). The Sabre had an excellent reputation. I weigh 88-89 kgs (195 lbs). I thought 210 would be the right size (my previous, a seven cell, had been 220). I bought one second hand, with about 600 jumps, pretty old (DOM 1991). I have done 180 jumps with it since. Every jump has been a pleasure. It is fast, takes you long distances, is very easy to handle, I have found it very predictable in all circumstances. I have read comments about brutal openings. Frankly, I am surprised. Either I am accustomed to ill treatment, or my canopy is reasonable. To be sure, I pack meticulously and I use little tricks to delay openings. Incidentally, I use a pull-out. It may be those who experienced hard openings were not under the optimal size canopy. Just a suggestion. As for landing, well, I find it easy. I do nothing of the exotic type, I am not attempting flares or swoops, I do a classic U pattern with half brakes, choose my landing spot and let it fly a wee bit before landing. I am not sure that is what the designers had in mind when they produced it, but it works for me. My style doesn't stun the boys or turn on the girls, but then, I am 53 and intend to live a long life jumping. Last point: quality of fabric. Ahhh... that is something. My friends and experienced packers who have a look at my canopy, when they are told it was born more than twenty years ago, are astounded. Fair enough, it has been handled with care by its two owners, both in the air and on the ground, but there is a general feeling that "you don't make them anymore like that" - though this may be slightly insulting to PD, who, hopefully, go on producing with the same degree of perfection. I do mostly accuracy nowadays, with another canopy (PD Zero, actually), but for style and the occasional RW, I intend to go on logging a few dozen jumps per year. I trust my beautiful, friendly, humble Sabre 1.
  14. elreg

    Zero

    After fifty jumps with my brand new Zero 295, I need to correct the initial impressions I had logged last month. Openings They are consistently safe and regular. That said, I make sure I pack according to the type of jump I will be doing. If I plan on a low altitude exit and swift opening, then I pack as indicated in the owner’s manual (flat pack) without using the Dual Mode Pocket Slider in extended mode. The opening is on course and relatively soft. If, as happened during a competition where I did Relative Work, exiting from 13,000 ft, I plan on a long freefall, then I pack in a kind of flat-rolled pattern, which I picked from the Moroccan team who use Parafoil 2000, using the DMPS in extended mode. In that case, the packing is pretty intricate, but I have consistent and soft openings. All that to say that the Zero is perfectly suitable for any kind of skydiving, but that it is better the owner develop some sophistication in the art of packing if he wants to enjoy his canopy to the full, under any circumstances. In my initial review, I had mentioned the fact that the slider generally hung half way up after the canopy was fully inflated. After fifty jumps, it still is the case, so I have honed my skills in quick slider recovery. I pull hard on the rear risers with my thumbs on the toggles, the slider comes down in one bound and, with my thumbs over the toggles, the D-rings stop where I want them to stop so that I can guide them passed the toggles and down the risers. In total, it just takes a few seconds to pull the slider down and roll it behind my neck. Flying Initially I had been concerned about the physical exertion of controlling a large canopy. I tried 285 and 295 and did not sense much of a difference in terms of muscular activity. Now, after fifty jumps, I can say the toggles do require some physical effort, especially in a long pattern, holding at half-brakes or more for two or three hundred meters (800 to 1,000 ft), but nothing that I could not manage. I have learned to fly sparingly, if I dare say, so there is no worry that I could find myself exhausted in the last leg of the approach, just when you need extra control and stamina. In my initial report, I mentioned the slow rate of turn of the canopy when in full flight. This is not correct. The canopy turns quite fast in full flight, all it takes is more determined, I would say virile action on the toggles. At lower speeds, with half brakes, it turns fast enough, with no loss of altitude. A number of people who tried it confirmed my own impression: that it is incredibly stable, with no swinging reaction as I stop turning. A Moroccan friend of mine, who is accustomed to the Foil 2000, says it is significantly more stable when one stops turning. As you release the toggles, it just resumes straight flight with absolutely no swaying or yawing. It is capable of flying fast, but also of flying very slowly, even with no wind whatsoever. I found out that, as I completed my last turn and realized I was a bit far away, just releasing the toggles gently made the canopy pick up speed almost instantly. What was really nice is that I could see the new angle of descent immediately, and while I thought I was a bit too far out, very soon I found myself flying full speed towards the tuffet. Then, in the last twenty-thirty meters (a hundred feet), I pressed the toggles full down and stopped the canopy instantly, floating gently above the tuffet. Transition into the descent was smooth and instantaneous, with no swinging of the body in the harness. It was very comfortable and predictable. In other approaches, at a much steeper angle, since I was doing OK, all it took was holding the canopy at a virtual stop, inching towards the tuffet. At no moment did I feel uncomfortable, with the idea that the canopy above me was on the verge of deflating and slamming me to the ground. I could hold it for thirty seconds or more, on a constant rate of descent, and once I was above the tuffet, there was not much more to do to aim at the pad. I can say this canopy is very forgiving. As long as you have a hundred feet to go before touching ground, the range of options is astounding. You can hold it as is, if your last turn was a bit on the short side, or fly full blast towards the tuffet, if the turn was on the far side, in full confidence that you can stop it when you want to, without adverse reaction. This feeling was confirmed by experienced accuracy buffs who were watching me from the ground. They were much impressed by the variety of angles of descent and by the fact that you can shift from one to the other without the reactions that other canopies have when the pilot has to change his pattern of descent significantly. In all instances, the last, vertical moment of flight concluded very softly, I never slammed on the tuffet and generally concluded my landing standing on both legs. It is really reassuring to realize that, whether you land on the tuffet or not, you are not overly concerned about hurting yourself. Even if I had not landed on the tuffet, I would still have landed softly and in full control. So, in conclusion, I can say this canopy has incredible potential. It is remarkably stable, under any configuration, it can recover speed and fly at a shallow angle, it can stop instantly, or it can be controlled at a steep angle for whatever time it takes to reach the target. When you change the angle, from steep to shallow or the other way round, the new angle is perceptible immediately, as soon as you have stabilized the toggles, without any perturbation in the harness. Everyone who saw it or tried it confirmed this: the PD Zero is the most stable and the most reactive accuracy canopy. It can fly faster than the others, and therefore bring you back from afar. It can also fly vertical, for longer, and with less hesitation, than any other. In terms of aeronautical engineering, the range between the steepest and shallowest angle of descent is called the “envelope”. Well, it has the largest envelope of all.
  15. elreg

    Skydive Fretoy

    Fretoy is a very friendly paraclub, pretty good at getting you in the air provided weather is OK. When the weather is so-so, they have problems filling the plane for a try. That is true of many joints, of course... When the weather is fine, then they are quite good at doing about 20 Pilatus-loads in a day. The accomodation is austere but intimate: basic wooden huts for 2 or 3 and a central bungalow for amenities. The club house is run by a bunch of volunteers who get sandwiches on order for midday and generally organise a bbq or other nice food for those who stay over Saturday night. I have often seen crowds of 30 to 50 and raucous parties. Which means that Sunday morning is not always very efficient, unfortunately. The DZ is just out of the hangars, it is quite small but has a tuffet. No problem for beginners, though, because of the fields all around. Rates are on the lower side of the French scale. I recommend for leisure jumping with friendly people, probably not for a team preparing for the World Meet.