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  1. Aerodyne has a offer for skydivers buying new gear in July. Depending on the purchase the customer will receive a cash rebate up to $300. The offer is valid for all orders whether placed via a distributor or directly on Aerodyne’s website. When ordering a main canopy or an Icon Sport container the customer will receive a $100 cash rebate. This is good for the Pilot, Vision and Triathlon main canopies. When ordering an Aerodyne main canopy AND Icon Sport container the customer will receive a $200 cash rebate. When ordering a complete Aerodyne system including a Smart Reserve the customer will receive a $300 cash rebate! Products like the A2 tandem canopy, the Solo student canopy and the Icon Student are excluded from the offer. Visit www.aerodyne-int.com for more information. New Icon designEffective July 1st the Icon is sold with a new design. The new design does not only sport all the latest updates to our harness/container system but also boasts a new mid-flap design. The new mid-flap design features four elements that make up the design. The reserve top flap The Aerodyne “A” The point of the triangle applied to the center flap. Embroidered ICON on the yoke.Our engineering staff has also made it possible to offer a new option on the Sport Icon, the fully articulated harness. Chest rings are now available at an additional charge of $200. The hardware for the chest rings is the same flat stainless steel D ring as we use for the standard hip rings. The flat D-ring doesn’t dig into the hip like the bent D-ring which is commonly used for the 3 ring assembly and therefore offers more comfort. The A2 – 350 tandem canopy makes its debutOur big boy gets a little brother! In line with market demand we have expanded the A2 range to include a 350 square foot version. Perfect for drop zones that have high wind conditions, or that cater to typically light passengers. The A2 350 was extensively tested in several places around the world and we have reason to believe that the our newest addition to the A2 line will be greeted with lots of smiles and soft stand up landings. 1500lb Spectra lines: Less pack volume, longer lasting than Dacron, with fewer incidences of tension knots. Super lightweight stainless steel grommets. Extremely soft, predictable openings. Light toggle pressure and excellent flair characteristics in both the single and duel toggle configuration. New light version of ww.aerodyne-int.comIn an effort to assist customers who do not have flash installed on their computers, and/or have a slow modem connection, we have released a new light version of our website. It is now possible to browse a simplified and fast loading version of the most relevant information. Note that the online ordering menus are not present in the light version, as the coloring applications require flash technology. You can see the lite version at: www.aerodyne-int.com/sportlight
  2. admin

    2003 US Nationals DVD

    The 2003 US Skydiving Nationals reached monumental success last October; The Florida Skydiving Center commissioned AirZoneXtreme to produce the official event production with a premiere scheduled nationwide over the Memorial Day weekend. The 2003 US Skydiving Nationals was a success due to a combination of factors. The weather was beautiful! Betty Kabeller-Hill, owner of the Florida Skydiving Center, was a fabulous host. Air boss Paul and brother Bud Fayard, of Fayard Enterprises, led their superior fleet of aircraft to fly 918 loads making 13,926 skydives during the course of the event. Never was a 4-way competition so close as when DeLand Majik, Golden Knights Gold, and Arizona Airspeed scored at the end within three points of each other. DeLand Majik won the gold with 213 points. Because of the ease and success of the event from the very beginning, Event Director Scott Smith, Jack Jeffries, & Harry Parker led in the first ever Formation Live Judging, which brought the competitors & spectators together to watch the outcome of points turned and the judges decision using Omniskore! Throughout the entire event, competition in 4-way, 8-way, 10-way speed, & 16-way freefall formation was challenging, fun, and full of surprises. The competition from the Artistic Event divisions amazed everyone who was present during the week and at the Awards Banquets & Ceremonies. Woman competed in each division. Eliana Rodriguez of Arizona Airspeed became the first woman to win a gold medal in 8-way formation skydiving. Elisa Feldt took first in a tough competition with 21-time woman's national accuracy champion, Cheryl Stearns. Among the female competitors was guest, Pauline Richards, champion skysurfer from Australia. AirZoneXtreme's goal in the US Skydiving Nationals DVD production was to provide useful tools to help challenge & motivate each and every division of the event, inform the general public, and entertain the skydiving community. There are three DVDs, organized by discipline: Formation, Artistic, & Canopy. Each DVD is about 2 hours in length and includes, "Meet the Champions", a complete, 35-minute event documentary. The remainder of each DVD is devoted to edited competition footage, which includes: team pictures, scores & scoreboards, & music with all production rights. Formation - 4-way, 8-way, 10-way speed, & 16-way Over 100 competition dives of top teams Artistic - Freefly, Freestyle, & Skysurf Each Artistic team represented, Over 100 competition dives Canopy CRW - 4-way Rotation, Sequential, & 8-way Speed - Over 30 high scoring dives 13 minutes of Style & Accuracy plus interviews, & 2 Rounds of Sport Accuracy"Meet the Champions" and celebrate the victory once again! DVD previews and details are available at www.airzonextreme.com. Get the DVD
  3. So you want to try a new canopy, and you have already asked what your friends, gear dealer, and local sky gods think about the subject, and they have given their opinions-repeatedly. When it comes to gear, pretty much everyone has a strong opinion on the matter. Unfortunately, as you have probably found, opinions have a tendency to be subjective rather than objective. Lucky for you, most manufacturers now have demo programs, such as the Performance Designs Demo Program, so that you can sift through others' perceptions, and create some of your own. The basics: The Performance Designs Demo program sends out the canopy of your choice directly to you to be used over the course of two weekends. The cost is currently $30. You receive it, you jump it, you send it back, the canopy is re-inspected, then put back into the demo program; lather, rinse, and repeat. The details: It's a rather simple process to get a demo. Go to www.performancedesigns.com and fill out the demo request form which can be found on the "support" page. Otherwise, use the direct link, http://www.performancedesigns.com/demorequest.asp The demo form will ask some questions pertinent to your jump history, to better enable PD's Demo Queen, Anabel Durham, to assist you with your demo needs. As a side note, yes, it is official, the most beloved Demo Queen of all time, Kolla Kolbeinsdottir, has relinquished her throne. Shed no tears, though, as Kolla has moved on to other projects within marketing at Performance Designs, while leaving the demo program in Anabel's capable hands. But, I digress... Following the submission of the demo request, you will be contacted by Anabel. She will discuss your options and the availability of the requested canopy. If it is available, she will ship it to wherever your little heart desires. After a few days of longingly gazing out the window after the Fed Ex truck, the truck will stop, and with that stop will come the knowledge that you will soon feel like a kid in a candy store with your very own PD Demo to use over the next two weekends. Though PD does understand the sort of bond that is forged between jumper and canopy, we do request that you refrain from sleeping with the canopy as it may result in the degradation of the material-save it for the one that you buy. Following the two-week romance, you will say that sometimes tearful goodbye, and ship the demo back to the PD Factory, where it will begin its journey all over again. How to best make the program work for you: When selecting a new model of canopy to try, it is a good idea to select the same size as what you are currently flying. This will make it possible for you to make a legitimate comparison between the two canopies. Having a controlled aspect between the two canopies, such as size, will better enable you to determine the true differences in the flight characteristics of the canopies. If you change both the size and model of canopy, there is nothing in common to compare. You now have apples to oranges for your test group. When downsizing, try to avoid downsizing by more than one size at a time, as each size has valuable lessons for the avid skydiver. The fear factor: Many jumpers feel trepidation when considering the possibility of that first reserve ride. Or you just aren't sure of whether or not you are going to be comfortable under that smaller reserve that would fit so much more nicely in your cute, new backpack-sized container. The PD answer to this and many other uncertainties? Try it!! The Performance Designs Demo Program also has PD Reserves set up as mains so that jumpers can give their reserve a whirl, too. It is a fantastic opportunity to try out your reserve in a controlled environment. *Sigh* You really can't put a price on reassurance… oh wait, you can, and that would be $30, as well!! That's a bargain for peace of mind. ; ) Be realistic about your abilities. The one certainty about skydiving is that there will always be another load and another day, if you conduct yourself in a safe manner. Rush into jumping that canopy that is pushing your limits, and you are decreasing your odds of making that next load, and quite possibly, that next day. By learning how to fly your current size more efficiently, you will be ensuring that you will be able to maximize your canopy's performance once on that smaller size. The recap: Pick a canopy, fill out the form on the website, be nice to Anabel (bribery never hurts), cough up the 30 bucks, jump until your little heart is content (as long as it fits into the 2 weeks), send the demo back, lather, rinse, and repeat if necessary. **Unfortunately, the demo program is currently available only in the United States at this time. If outside of the U.S., please feel free to contact us so that we can direct you to one of our remote demo centers, or check our events calendar to see when and if Performance Designs will be in your area. Photos by: Joao Tambor
  4. The Skydiving season is starting to come to life as spring approaches and boogie calendars start to become published. New canopies & gear, new drop zones and new faces... What's more, there will be another change in 2004: You will now discover a whole new www.aerodyne-int.com. The actual version of the website appeared in 2002 and gave us the opportunity to increase our audience by offering complete news coverage and interesting features. Now is the time to introduce an improved version of the website, giving you faster access. A more user friendly version with optimized features that lets you browse more easily on the new and improved aerodyne-int.com. Check it out! www.aerodyne-int.com
  5. Aerodyne recently started to ship demo’s of its A2 main tandem canopy. The A2 is an elliptical 9-cell canopy with a surface of 389 square feet. It is a so-called hybrid construction, meaning that the top skin is made out of zero-porosity fabric while the bottom skin is constructed from a 0-3 cfm F-111 type fabric. Initially Aerodyne baptized this canopy with the name "Gemini", but having been confronted with a claim that this name is already used for a parachute canopy by the Canadian company Canadian Aero Sports we decided to change the name to "A2". The A2 caters to tandem equipment owners who are looking to replace only the main canopy. With this goal in mind Aerodyne decided to ship each A2 with a set of miniforce™ tandem risers. "By supplying a set of risers with each A2 canopy we are preventing any compatibility problems with the various tandem rigs on the market", explains Edward Anderson, who is Chief of Operations at Aerodyne Research in Florida. "The tandem owner can easily install the A2 into any rig and is not confronted with the issue of steering line lengths or the position of the steering line guide ring on the riser. And of course there is the added benefit of the unique miniforce™ risers. The "elongated" middle ring of this 3-ring release system significantly reduces the pull force required to cut away. Especially in the tandem environment we feel this feature greatly enhances safety." The airfoil and the conservative planform factor of the A2 guarantee superb handling characteristics minimizing the workload of tandem masters. Not only will they find the toggle pressure, turn response and flare power they have been seeking, but they will be pleasantly surprised by the soft on-heading openings. The turn recovery and ability to slow the canopy in no wind conditions are additional features that will be greatly appreciated by all tandem masters. The A2 is equipped with Spectra suspension lines which make for considerably less bulk and a more compact container on the back. Because of their lower weight the Spectra lines also reduce the risk of line dump and subsequent premature opening of the deployment bag, a significant cause of malfunctions. We have designed this canopy to maximize safety, but at the same time we made it an economical tool that will maximize the number of jumps per day. To reduce packing time we chose a hybrid construction. To reduce air time we built a wing that will fly slowly in brakes, but gives you a significantly higher rate of descent when flown at full glide. The A2 comes standard with miniforce™ risers, Spectra 1500 lines, a slider with lightweight stainless steel grommets and #6 stainless steel rapid links. For more information about Aerodyne and our products please go to www.aerodyne-int.com
  6. Aerodyne is happy to announce that it secured FAA TSO C23d approval for its Icon harness-container system. Although we have already been displaying the Icon rig at various events in 2003 and have started to take orders some time ago, we are now able to launch the official introduction. It looks good Design, comfort and fit are of paramount importance. The design team of Aerodyne have worked hard to find the perfect mix of these elements. We have received a lot of good response to the Icon and we are confident it will help us to gain a place in the rig market. Safety firstThe Icon is a modern harness-container system that relies on many industry standards, but also includes new features such as the miniforce™ 3-ring system. This patented 3-ring system, designed by Aerodyne’s head of R&D; Michel Auvray, reduces the pull force required to cut-away the main canopy. With today’s smaller and elliptical main canopies, malfunctions often lead to rapid spins with higher loadings and many skydivers have been experiencing difficulties to cut away. The miniforce™ 3-ring system, coupled with “anti-twist” metal housings on the risers and a shaped sure-grip cut-away handle, considerably reduces the likelihood of cut-away problems. Other safety features of the Icon include: “Link-Stop” panels inside the main container to prevent the risers from wrapping around or catching on the corner of the reserve container; A line stow retention system on the reserve freebag to help control reserve deployments at high speeds, while not sacrificing low speed requirements; A solid platform in the reserve container to maximize the launch of the pilotchute with one of the strongest spring coils in the industry (23 kg). A base price that includes pretty much everythingIn its standard configuration the Icon offers all the popular items, such as a harness with articulation hip rings, all stainless steel hardware, choice of wide or narrow chest strap, a hand deployed pilotchute with “kill line” bridle and an aluminium hook knife. Each Icon rig is also equipped to receive a Cypres or similar type of AAD as well as a Stevens RSL system. Consequently it is very easy to retrofit an Icon rig with a RSL system, just by adding the actual lanyard. This greatly increases the second-hand value of the rig. Relatively few options are charged for additionally: They only concern the choice of a Hackey Sack or Freefly handle on the hand deployed pilotchute, a Stevens RSL lanyard or custom embroideries. A range of sizes and colors to customize your rig For the Icon Sport, not less than 5 different container sizes are available, while the harness is always made to measure. Customers can choose from a range of colors in Parapack and Cordura fabrics. Icon StudentFor instruction purposes the Icon comes also in a Student version with adjustable main lift web. The standard configuration of the Icon Student includes a BOC hand deployed pilotchute. To configure the Icon Student further for a specific method of instruction the available options include a direct bag with staticline, a BOC or hip located ripcord with spring pilotchute, as well as secondary AFF jumpmaster handles. Online ordering As is true for all Aerodyne products the Icon can be ordered either through one of our distributors or via our website www.aerodyne-int.com We offer an on line coloring program enabling customers to visualize their custom Icon before they confirm the order. Try an IconAerodyne representatives will demo the Icon harness-container system over the Christmas period. Meet us at one of the boogies in Ampuriabrava, Eloy, Capetown or Margate and we will be happy to show you the Icon. Naturally this will also be an occasion to test jump one of our main canopies. Aerodyne Research Corporation Submit a Review of the Icon Gear and Rigging Forum
  7. Riggers (and owners), please be sure that the Sky hook hardware is sewn to the white free bag bridle correctly on all sky hook equipped rigs shipped between October 12 and December 1, 2003. There is a drawing of the correct installation and set-up sewn right next to the Sky hook on every rig, and the Sky hook itself is labeled. However, if the Sky hook hardware were sewn on the bridle backwards during manufacture or subsequent repair, (with the pointed end of the hook facing the pilot chute, instead of the bag) then you would tow your reserve pilot chute if deployed in response to a main total malfunction. As the instructions state, this pilot chute in tow can be fixed by pulling the yellow RSL tab. Remember, this situation can only be caused by an installation error at the factory, or during a rigger repair of a damaged bridle. It cannot be caused by a packing error. A PSB (PSB#20031203) has been issued in regards to this issue. Download the Service Bulletin Relative Workshop Web Site Gear and Rigging Forum
  8. Performance Designs has released safety information regarding control systems and related issues that may result in malfunctions. The text below is the conclusion from that paper. For a more detailed discussion go to the education section on the PD web site and click on the article "Control Systems Malfunctions Information Sheet". Research ConclusionSetting a canopy’s deployment brakes correctly, which includes the proper stowing of the excess steering line, is an important part of the packing process. Failing to do this correctly may cause a control system malfunction or other type of equipment malfunction. Every time you deploy a canopy you must make sure it is fully controllable, with no unusual friction, binding, or drag on the control system. You must perform this check at a high enough altitude to allow the use of proper emergency procedures if necessary. Many jumpers do not perform control checks on every jump, and some even wait to release their brakes until they reach a fairly low altitude. If you do not perform a full controllability check after opening, or if you wait to reach lower altitudes before releasing your brakes, you may not discover a control problem in time to respond correctly. If you need to let go of your toggles in flight after releasing the brakes, you should place them on the risers against the guide rings before releasing them from your hands. Letting go of the toggles suddenly while they are pulled away from the guide rings may allow the toggles or steering lines to entangle with part of the riser assembly or some other object. A misrouted steering line, entangled steering line, or any other type of problem involving the control system may severely limit your ability to control the canopy and should be considered a serious, life-threatening malfunction. As with any malfunction, you must follow proper emergency procedures if you experience this situation. Jumpers have been severely injured and killed while attempting to land canopies with malfunctioning control systems. Even if you are using a canopy size or wing loading that is considered “conservative,” you may be severely injured or killed if you attempt to land a canopy that you cannot fully control. You should understand how to properly use every component of your parachute system, and understand any instructions, manuals, or other information supplied by the manufacturer. If you have any questions about a particular component of your parachute system, seek the advice of a qualified rigger or contact the manufacturer. If you have any questions concerning canopy deployment, canopy control, or emergency procedures, ask a qualified instructor for assistance. Download the Information Sheet Performance Designs Education Section
  9. Relative Workshop would like to thank everyone that entered the essay contest. We would like to congratulate the runner-ups for their entries; SSG Brian Heft, Maggie Downs, and Al King. A big congratulations goes out to Ben Liston for his winning essay and the recipient of the free Vector. Ben's essay is posted below. Why I Want to Jump a VectorI still own the first rig I ever bought: a Vector II. My friends and I refer to it as "Old Blue" and it has taken me through each license, to my first gold medal (Collegiate Nationals 1996), through countless video and coach jumps, and traveled with me around the world. When I was jumping in other countries, the language barrier was sometimes tough to get through, but gear checks were never a problem. I remember a moment in Italy when I sensed that the locals were a bit skeptical of me, but after I pulled out "Old Blue," the owner of the DZ nodded at my rig, went into the hanger, and emerged with his own Vector. In broken English, he turned me and said, "Okay, we jump." It turned out to be an incredible day of 8-way, pasta, and wine. This is just one of many times I’ve been glad to have a Vector. Whether I was jumping over the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or filming my best friend’s first AFF jump, the rig has never let me down. As a rigger, I’ve always appreciated the craftsmanship, functionality, and clean lines of Vector rigs. I like that every feature of the rig is well designed and constructed with precision. For instance, the main pilot chute’s support tape is sewn at a 45-degree angle to mesh. Sure, it would be easier to sew it in line with the mesh, but the Relative Workshop sews it to minimize the stretch and increase the pilot chute’s efficiency. There is also simplicity and ingenuity in the reserve system. I don’t know why every manufacturer doesn’t use reserve pilot chutes that create drag regardless of the angle from which they are launched and springs strong enough to clear burbles and find clean air, but I’m glad The Relative Workshop does. Packing reserves into some containers is more like a wrestling match. With Vectors, the free-bag and pilot chute close into the container cleanly, exactly as they are going to leave it if they need to be used. Every time I pack up a Micron or M-Series for one of my customers, it’s hard to give it back. I want one of my own. Most importantly, Vector Microns are safe. I appreciate that Vector rigs are designed to be as snag free as possible, that the riser covers will stay closed in freefall, and that both the main and reserve containers stay closed until the handles are pulled. It’s also comforting to know that the cut-away system is made to the standards of the original inventor and that no creative liberties have been taken with this crucial aspect of the rig. From hard housing riser inserts to pin protection, the Vector Micron and M-Series are clearly the harness/container systems that all others are measured against. Yes, there are other manufactures out there, but in a sport that has a zero tolerance for error, I want the best. On top of all of this, I want to jump a rig made by a company that stands behind its products and provides great customer service. Every interaction I’ve had with The Relative Workshop has been outstanding. Whether during a visit to the factory or getting technical assistance over the phone, everyone at the company is professional, friendly, and knowledgeable. I’m at a point where I’m ready to take my skydiving to the next level and I know a Vector Micron can help get me there. The ergonomic harness will give me the mobility to perform my best in freefall and keep me comfortable under canopy, and the design innovations will keep me safe. I work in education and whether I’m training hard, or supplementing my "four-way fund" by doing video or coach jumps, I want a Vector on my back every time I get on the plane. Skydiving is changing, and while "Old Blue" needs a replacement, I won’t let it be anything but a Micron. The Relative Workshop makes the most dependable container in the world, so the question isn’t really "Why do I want to jump a Vector?" but rather "Why would I jump anything else?"
  10. There's only so much real estate on or around your head for camera gear. The average Joe/Jane tandem camera person will fly a helmet with a 35 mm SLR and a miniDV video camera. Each camera can be mounted any number of ways, but the sum total of their weights is still enough to make your neck tired. The more advanced camera flyers involved in record jumps, night jumps, etc. are attaching more equipment in addition to the usual video and still cameras, such as lights and battery packs. Suddenly, the weight of the helmet goes from 5 or 6 pounds to 15 or 20 pounds. Aside from all the weight issues, there are the dozens of stories of snag incidents. The more junk you bolt to your melon, the more your chances increase for a line snag. It's pretty cool to see an expert camera flyer with a finely configured helmet, but it's still scary to see the number of potential snag hazards and the amount weight balanced on that camera flyer's neck. Enter the "lipstick" or "bullet" camera. The bullet camera is simply the imaging sensor of a standard video camera mounted inside a groovy little metal tube. It has a lens at one end and a cable at the other. Most of the models available are only 50 to 70 mm in length and roughly the diameter of a nickel. Nowadays, the picture quality is basically equivalent to any miniDV consumer camcorder on the market. Some models include the ability to change lenses, filters, and mounting hardware. First, a word on resolution and media (as in, recording media: tapes, DVD's, memory cards, etc.). We won't go into the bits and bytes or the exact specifics, just the general terms and numbers. (If you're a video expert, forgive the simplicity or lack of depth.) The standard format for video storage on today's small camcorders is "miniDV." The newer video recording technologies in camcorders are DVD disks and "microMV" tapes. DVD is great quality, but the jury is still out on whether a DVD camcorder will hold up well in freefall. The microMV tapes are tiny, to say the least, but microMV uses video compression to allow it to store an hour of video on a dinky little tape. The compression in microMV compromises the quality of the picture. The quality of microMV lies somewhere between miniDV and VHS. The miniDV standard stores frames of video at a resolution of 720 pixels by 480 lines. It, too, uses compression to store video, but doesn't sacrifice as much quality as microMV. miniDV is still a great choice overall for skydiving video. It's small and it provides great video quality. Television in the US and some other countries is based on a standard called, "NTSC." NTSC defines a television screen's resolution to have 525 lines from top to bottom (the number of pixels across isn't really an issue here). The closer your camera gets to saving 525 lines of resolution, the more your video will look like a professional or "broadcast" quality picture on an NTSC television. For more details on the standards that define different video formats, do some searching on Google.com. In order to replace your miniDV camcorder, you're going to want a bullet camera that at least matches the resolution and picture quality of your miniDV camera. There are several different resolutions available in bullet cameras. As of the writing of this article, 380 lines and 480 lines are typical. 380-line cameras contain 20% fewer lines of resolution than 480-line cameras. If the picture quality isn't that important to you, you might be interested in a 380-line model. This would be equivalent to a VHS, microMV, or maybe even a Hi8 recording. The ideal camera for the best quality is a camera capable of 480 lines of resolution (matching miniDV). The size of the little image sensor chip in the bullet camera also makes a difference in the clarity of the picture. Many lower resolution cameras use a quarter-inch chip. The better quality 480-line cameras use Sony's new third-inch chip, which is also happens to be capable of very low light and infrared (or "night vision") imaging. The bigger the image sensor, the more accurately it can differentiate between pixels in the picture that's coming through the lens. This equates to better contrast and color in the video. This is precisely why you see bigger lenses and imaging sections on professional cameras. A bigger imaging CCD is just like having more megapixels in the digital still camera world. There are a couple of tiny cameras available specifically for skydiving Ranging in price from $360 to $900 and up, each with their own selection of accessories. The "monkeyKamera," by monkeyKam, is based on Sony's ExView CCD chip and has an imaging resolution of 480 lines. It's the same chip technology found in late model Sony single-chip CCD camcorders. The monkeyKamera starts at $359, according to the web site. The other camera is the "SportsCam" from Mike Swain. The SportsCam is a "board" type mini camera that has a resolution of 380 lines of full color ("board camera" means that the circuitry and lens of the camera head are all mounted on a little circuit board in a little black box). The advertised price for the SportsCam is $899 and up. These tiny cameras weigh no more than 6 or 7 ounces and takes up very little space on your helmet. They add no noticeable weight in freefall. The camera "head" (the bullet or the little black box with the lens) provides a video signal to an RCA-type connector, which is connected to your camcorder's A/V input jack. An extension cable runs up from the camcorder to your helmet. The connector at the collar or base of the helmet allows the cable to break away in case your helmet is lost in action. Your camcorder is usually carried in a belly pouch and run in "VTR" or "VCR" mode. Camera kits typically include the hardware required to rig the camera head to most any helmet. Also included are a battery pack (batteries not included), connectors and cables, and even a pouch for your camcorder (check the manufacturer's web site for what is included in the base camera kit). Any "fanny" pack can be used for your camcorder, but check with the camera manufacturer for any custom built pouches they may offer. For instance, the "monkeyPak" from monkeyKam is a belly pouch that holds your camcorder, batteries, and switches for controlling the camcorder and bullet camera. The monkeyPak is specifically designed to make using your camcorder in a belly mount configuration easier. It gives easy access to the CamEye button and monkeyKamera power button, as well as a clear vinyl window that makes it easy to watch your camcorder's screen without having to remove it from the monkeyPak. The bullet camera requires its own power. Power is usually supplied by a battery pack. Most bullet camera battery packs use 8 AA batteries to provide 12 volts of power to the camera head. In tests, Duracell NiMH rechargeable batteries purchased at a local retail store were used to power the monkeyKamera and were found to last over 10 hours of continuous use! In an average skydive, the camera will probably only be turned on for a few minutes, so a fully charged pack of batteries should last for weeks and weeks, if not months. When flying a bullet camera, there's nothing new to learn, except for your procedures in the airplane. The CamEye is a great tool for controlling the camcorder without having to remove the camcorder from the belly pouch. An LED indicates the status of the camcorder (on, off, or recording). When you're waiting for the door to open, connect your helmet to the belly pouch cable, don the helmet, wake up your camcorder with the CamEye, turn on the bullet camera, wait for the door to open, then click the CamEye button to start recording and zip up your suit. If you wish, you can even rig the CamEye to the outside of your jumpsuit through a button hole (or grommet) OR you can even wear your belly pouch on the outside of your suit. In this author's humble opinion, it's wiser to wear the pouch on the inside of the suit. Less is more on the outside of your suit and around your rig's handles, when it comes to safety. Save your neck! Try a bullet camera and see how comfy freefall video can be. :) monkeyKam Web Site
  11. admin

    Derek's Gear Tips

    Derek Vanboeschoten is a Senior Rigger, Tandem Master and AFF instructor with more than 3300 jumps. Derek also moderates the Gear & Rigging forum on Dropzone.com where he first posted this list of Gear Tips. It is republished here for your convenience. Use Performance Design's Slinks for the main and reserve canopies instead of Rapide links. Slinks are stronger, lower bulk, easier to install and remove, and won't damage the slider grommets. Clean cutaway cables every 30 days with Ace Pure Silicone Lubricant, sold at Ace Hardware stores, to keep cutaway pull forces low. Inspect cutaway cables every 30 days and replace nicked or kinked cutaway cables with a new cutaway handle/cables. Flex 3-rings every 30 days to prevent them from taking on a "set" and hanging up during a cutaway. Inspect Rapide links and bumpers or PD Slinks every 30 days. Always use slider bumpers with Rapide links to prevent damage to the slider grommets, "Lock-Tite" to keep the link from loosening, and nail polish to torque-stripe Rapide links. Use metal, capped, and tacked riser inserts for the excess cutaway cables, regardless of main size or type. They prevent difficult or impossible cutaway resulting from the channel "gripping" the cables or from line twists that include the excess cutaway cables. Replace the main closing loop early and often. Adjust main closing loop so that the closing pin is snug. Use a stainless steel washer thick enough that it won't bend when closing the container. Have Velcro replaced every 100-200 uses. Use a kill line pilot chute, regardless of the size/type of main canopy you have. Check the length of your main pilot chute kill line every 30 days. The kill line should have a little slack in it when the pilot chute is "cocked" and the bridle is under tension. If it doesn't, have it fixed. Replace a damaged or old kill line pilot chute with a new one. "Cock" a kill line PC after laying the cocooned canopy on the ground and just before putting the canopy in the deployment bag. Take the twists out of steering lines every jump or, at a minimum, after the last jump of the day. When setting the brakes, set them so that the steering line is to the inside (between the risers) and the excess is to the outside. This will put the excess to the bottom of the riser channels, helping to protect the excess steering line. Keep gear out of the sun as much as possible. Use Velcro-less toggles/risers. Velcro requires replacement every 100-200 uses, and Velcro damages the steering lines, risers and anything else it comes into contact with. Replace mini-risers every 500 jumps or less. Inspect them every 30 days for wear. While packing, check your line trim every 30 days or less. When new, all the "A" lines are the same length (on 'most' canopies, check with the manufacturer). Spectra shrinks from the heat from friction with the slider grommets, pulling the canopy out of trim. Pay special attention to steering/control lines. Replace line sets that are significantly worn or out of trim. Use the proper size rubber bands, 'Sky Bands', or 'Tube Stows' and do not double wrap them. Have your rig washed every 500 jumps or so, more if jumping in a sandy or salt-water environment. What to do After Landing Your Reserve:First, place the toggles back on the Velcro. This will prevent the hook half of the Velcro from damaging the lines. Second, daisy chain the lines. Use the slider to keep the daisy chain from unraveling. This will keep the lines neat and untangled. If you have an RSL, remove it from your main canopy and re-mate the Velcro to keep the hook Velcro from damaging your gear. Be very careful with the canopy. Get it out of the sunlight and into a large plastic garbage bag and then into your gear bag. Be careful when zipping the gear bag shut to not get any fabric caught in the zipper. As long as it is clean, put the reserve pilot chute and free-bag in the center of your rolled up reserve. This will protect the spring inside the reserve pilot chute from damage. Do not take the main canopy off of the risers to untangle it. It got tangled on the risers, it will come untangled on the risers. Taking the canopy off the risers, or worse, the lines off the links, will only make the job of re-assembling the main more difficult. Put the cut away cables and reserve ripcord back into their housings and the handles back in their pockets. This will prevent any dirt on the cables from getting on the reserve or the Velcro from damaging lines, the container, or the reserve. If you lost one, or both handles, order them and have them shipped to your rigger. Also, if the free-bag and reserve pilot chute was lost, order a new one and have it shipped to the rigger. Make sure when ordering handles or free-bag to order the correct size for your harness/container. In the gear bag, put a card with your name, address, phone number(s), and any special instructions, such as "install/replace soft links", "wash the container", "remove/install RSL", "I need the rig by this weekend", etc. If you have a Cypres, check your reserve packing data card to see when the scheduled maintenance and 2 year battery replacements are due. If the maintenance is due (4 and 8 years +/- 3 months (+/- 6 months for Cypres "2") from DOM), make arrangements with your rigger to ship the unit or have your rigger remove it and ship it yourself (your rigger will need the original Cypres box to ship it). If your batteries are due (two years since installation for the Cypres1), check with your rigger to see if they have new batteries or if they will need to be ordered. The batteries will have to be replaced if there is less than four months remaining in the two-year cycle, for a Cypres "1". Cypres2 batteries are replaced at the 4 and 8 year maintenance by the factory. Gear & Rigging Forum
  12. Russell Jackson from Preyor Pins recently launched a new closing pin necklace design especially for the Dropzone.com community. This small new company makes a beautiful line of quality skydiving jewelry. You can now order your Dropzone.com closing pin necklace straight off their web site. When you order the Dropzone.com piece, reference the coupon code "DZCOM" and it will give 4 dollars off the set price of $28.00 Russell says: When starting out on the first design and team lines, I wanted to be absolutely assured that they were the best quality and most unique beads from around the world, finest Greek leather, first quality components, .925 silver, best quality fresh water pearls, and of course authentic parachute parts. That each of the pieces has great wearability, were jump safe and durable. As my Mom says: "We are proud of our quality and innovation in the design and production of our jewelry." I wanted first and foremost that each of the pieces "represented", and that they conveyed the expressiveness that all skydivers do in the air and on the ground. that the individuality and commonality that we all share can be easily seen by all. My day job is an Executive Chef in San Francisco, so I live by the creed of "Service, first and foremost", that ultimately we are here for you. I believe in my Mom, I believe in my skydiving family and will always look out for your best interest and be there to serve your fasionata needs. "Represent" with Preyor Pins. Preyor Pins web site Dropzone.com piece
  13. admin

    Inspecting your Gear

    Most jumpers realize the importance of having their reserve parachutes repacked every 120 days in accordance with F.A.A. regulations. We know that this is not just a reserve repack but is also an inspection of our reserve canopy and also our harness and container assembly. Most parachute riggers will gladly accept your complete rig and inspect the main canopy and its components as well as inspect and repack the reserve (and will rightfully charge extra for this service). However, some of us do not give our main canopy to our rigger and more importantly some of us make so many jumps between reserve repacks that even a thorough inspection every 120 days might not be often enough to find potential problems with our gear. It is for these reasons that we should know the procedures for checking the parts of our gear that get the most wear. The following is a list of items on your main canopy assembly that you should inspect occasionally. This inspection should never be a substitute for a periodic inspection by a rigger but should supplement your rigger's inspection in between reserve repacks. If you find a problem with your gear, your rigger will be glad to advise you on what to do. A special note for those of you who usually have someone else pack your main parachute: Unless you have made some arrangement with your packer to do this inspection while they pack and unless they know what to look for, you are giving up this opportunity to check your gear each time they pack for you! Pilot Chute-Your pilot chute is one of the most critical items on our list of things to check on our gear, after all, the pilot chute is the thing that starts the deployment sequence at pull time. The pilot chute is also one of the most likely things for us to abuse. How many of us have left it dragging when walking in from the landing area? First check the handle attachment at the top of the pilot chute. After a number of jumps the stitching can loosen and come out. If this happens and the handle comes off it will probably happen at the worst possible time. For those of you that have had your handle converted to a custom handle like a Hacky Sack, pay particular attention to the modification. Some of this stitching will be inside the pilot chute. Check the seams of the pilot chute and the condition of the fabric. This is very important for those of you that have a large grommet in your deployment bag to allow it to slide over the pilot chute to collapse it. A very small tear or burn in the fabric may result in a large rip at 120 miles-per-hour. If your pilot chute blows up and you have a very tight container, there may not be enough drag to pull the pin. Bridle-Your pilot chute bridle has several important areas to check. The top of your bridle may be permanently sewn to your pilot chute or may have a loop sewn at the end. In either case you should check the stitching for security. Further down the bridle is usually a section of Velcro to secure your bridle to your container and it should be in good condition. Your bridle needs to be firmly attached to your container so that there is less chance of snagging it on anything that could pull your pin and cause your container to be opened prematurely. Next on the bridle is the pin that holds your container closed. The most important thing to check is the attachment of the pin to the bridle. This is the area that has the most stress, especially if your container is tight. Most manufacturers attach the pin with 3 bar-tack stitches which is very secure, but even bar-tack stitching can loosen. If your pin is attached by any other type of stitching it would be a good idea to have a rigger look at it as well. Continue by looking at the closing pin itself. Some pins were manufactured with a plating that tends to chip off making it harder to pull through the closing loop and also causing excess wear to the loop. Stainless steel replacement pins are available and work much better. On the other end of the bridle check the stitching on the loop where it attaches to the main canopy and check for wear at the point where it rubs against the grommet in the deployment bag. For those of you that have collapsible pilot chutes there is one more area to look at. Check for wear on the line that runs inside the bridle and pulls down on the top of the pilot chute. Fortunately most of these designs are fail-safe, and will still deploy your canopy correctly although not collapse the pilot chute later. If you have any problem at all with your bridle and it is a standard non-collapsible type, keep in mind that you can get a new and complete assembly from the manufacturer at a reasonable price. If you have the type of bridle that loops through the pilot chute attachment point it will also be very easy to replace. Bag-Your deployment bag is a straightforward item on the list and seldom requires much work, but it does take some abuse from dragging and forcing a canopy in it when you pack. You need to check the seams and stitching for this stress including the loops that the rubber bands attach to. Check that the grommets are securely in place and that they have no rough edges inside, particularly the one that the bridle passes through. If your bag has Velcro, make sure it is in good condition. Canopy-Although your main canopy is made up of many parts, this is a short list of the items that need the most attention. A more complete inspection should be done by a rigger periodically. First check the bridle attachment point at the top center of the canopy. This area gets a good deal of stress during deployment. Check the stitching and for stress around the attachment point. Check the general condition of the fabric. There may be some tiny snags or pin holes but there should be no rips or seams that have pulled out. Check the general condition of the suspension lines. A little roughness in the lines is not unusual but if any of the fibers in the line are broken have a rigger take a look. Check the slider fabric and seams like you did for the canopy and then check the condition of the grommets. The grommets should be securely seated in the edges of the slider and they should have no rough edges inside. Check the connector links to make sure the barrels have not turned and loosened. Slider stops are a good idea here because they not only protect the slider grommets, but they also prevent the barrels of the links from turning. Risers-The risers are the final area of your main canopy assembly to be inspected. Check the security of the large harness type stitching at both the top loop and at the rings. Make sure the grommets near the rings are securely seated and have no rough edges inside. Make sure the Velcro on the toggles and on the risers is in good enough condition to secure the toggles onto the risers. The risers should occasionally be released from the harness to check the operation of the release system. The webbing should be flexed enough to take the stiffness out of riser and the release cable should be checked for cleanliness and ease of operation. The manufacturers of harness and container systems devote whole sections of the owner's manual to describing the operation and maintenance of the 3-ring release. Read the manual and understand how it works. Rig-Your rigger will inspect your harness and container assembly when repacking the reserve, but several items should be inspected more often. The Velcro that the bridle is attached to should be in good condition as well as the pilot chute pouch. Be sure that the pouch contains the pilot chute well enough that it cannot come out accidentally but still allow it to be comfortably extracted. Lastly and very important is the closing loop. It should be the right length for the size canopy packed into the container and should not be worn so much that it could break from the pressure and cause a premature opening. In Conclusion-This inspection list has included the items that are most likely to show wear and need further attention from a rigger. Although it seems like there are a lot of things to look for, just remember that almost everything on this list is something that you look at every time you pack. Simply taking the time to look closely and knowing what to look for will go a long way toward keeping your gear safe and in good condition.
  14. Federal Aviation Regulations covering skydiving operations within the United States were updated two years ago. One of the key changes allows the use of otherwise unapproved equipment by foreign parachutists. The new rule has received very little official explanation, and has created confusion among foreign jumpers and United States drop zones. Some drop zones treat the equipment of foreign visitors with open arms and an "anything goes" policy, while other drop zones strictly apply the relevant federal regulation (105.49). United States drop zones and visiting jumpers should understand what Federal Aviation Regulations actually require with regard to foreign equipment, and should be prepared to comply with those requirements. USPA has published a paper that outlines the specific regulation covering equipment use by visiting jumpers, and the complete regulation is readily available in the USPA SIM, and in Federal Aviation Administration publications. Based on the USPA report, and original research, it appears that in order for a foreign jumper to use unapproved equipment in the United States the following FAA standards apply: The equipment must be owned by the foreign jumper. The jumper can NOT be a citizen of the United States, or a resident alien. A dual citizen (example: Canadian/US) must comply with the United States standards. Either the reserve or container must be UNAPPROVED. If both components are TSO'd and can be used in the United States by a United States citizen, then United States standards apply. So, a French citizen jumping a Javelin and a PD reserve in the United States must comply with all United States regulations, including a 120 day repack by an FAA rigger, with a seal applied to the reserve. If the reserve OR the harness/container is NOT approved for use in the United States AND the equipment is approved for use in the jumpers home country, it can be used by the foreign jumper/owner in the United States under his home country rules. Understanding The Regulation:FAR 105.43 requires that a reserve parachute and the harness/container must be approved by the FAA (TSO'd), and that the reserve must have been packed within 120 days by an FAA certificated rigger. This part governs parachute systems that are approved (reserve and harness/container). FAR 105.49 allows a foreign parachutist to use his own unapproved foreign parachute system if it is packed "in accordance with the foreign parachutist's civil aviation authority…" and if the foreign parachutist is the owner of that equipment. This part applies only to foreign parachutists, and only to unapproved equipment. FAR 105.3 defines a foreign parachutist as "a parachutist who is neither a U.S. citizen or a resident alien and is participating in parachute operations within the United States using parachute equipment not manufactured in the United States." FAR 105.3 defines an approved parachute as "a parachute manufactured under a type certificate or a Technical Standard Order (C-23 series), or a personnel-carrying US military parachute…" The key term to understand is "unapproved foreign parachute system" The regulation that allows a foreign parachutist to use unapproved foreign equipment (105.49) is based on exemptions that had been granted under a previous version of part 105. The change to allow this use without an exemption was proposed and published in the Federal Register on April 13, 1999. In the preamble to the proposal the FAA stated the following: "The FAA proposes to permit foreign parachutists to conduct jumps in the U.S. using their own equipment provided that they use single-harness, dual-parachute systems which contain a non-Technical Standard Order (TSO) reserve parachute or a non-TSO'd harness and container…" The FAA repeated this position in the section-by-section discussion of the proposed changes under 105.49, saying" This proposed section addresses equipment and packing requirements for foreign parachutists. Only single-harness, dual-parachute systems which contain a non Technical Standard Order (TSO) reserve parachute or non-TSO'd harness and container would be allowed to be used in the United States…" The FAA received several comments about the proposed rule, but incorporated the original proposal into law with only limited changes to the specific labeling of the regulation. The final rule was published in The Federal Register on May 9, 2001, and became effective on July 9, 2001. Thus, the stated intent of the FAA is to exempt systems from 105.43 that are owned by a foreign jumper and are at least partially unapproved, but to require the 120 day inspection and repack by an FAA certificated rigger if the equipment is entirely approved for use in the United States. There is some confusion in the language between the country of manufacture, and approval (TSO), but it appears that the intent of the FAA is to require the standard 120 repack by a rigger if BOTH the harness/container and reserve are approved under the TSO process, regardless of where they were actually manufactured. Making Sense of The Regulation:The FAA appears to be saying that if BOTH the reserve parachute and the harness/container are approved in the United States, then the FAA has knowledge of the equipment and believes packing should comply with 105.43. If either the reserve or harness/container is NOT approved, then the FAA does not know enough about the equipment to form an opinion about maintenance or packing, and thus the FAA defers to the jumpers home county civil aviation authority, as listed in 105.49. What it Means:Foreign jumpers visiting the United States with a reserve and harness/container approved for use in The United States (TSO'd) should be prepared to comply with United States packing requirements, including the 120 day repack by an FAA certificated rigger. Drop zones should adhere to the foreign jumpers home country rules only if either the reserve OR harness/container is unapproved by the FAA, and the drop zone has a solid understanding of the rules issued by the foreign jumpers civil aviation authority. Many drop zones are not familiar with FAR 105.49, and very few drop zones have direct knowledge of the civil aviation authority requirements of other countries. Visiting jumpers can assist drop zone owners by having copies of their home country requirements written in, or translated to English. The drop zone is responsible for making sure unapproved equipment is in compliance with the civil aviation authority of the jumpers home country under 105.49(a)(3), so foreign jumpers should be prepared to explain their local regulations and show at least this level of compliance. All skydivers and drop zones should understand that a violation of Federal Aviation Regulations can be levied against the jumper, the pilot, the drop zone, or just about any other entity involved in the parachute operation. Information Resources:FAR Part 105 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfrhtml_00/Title_14/14cfr105_00.html USPA Skydivers Information Manual with all relevant Federal Aviation Regulations and USPA policies: http://www.uspa.org/publications/manuals.pdf/SIM.2003.pdf Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Federal register): http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=1999_register&docid;=99-8753-filed Final Rule with Comments (Federal Register): http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2001_register&docid;=01-11726-filed USPA White Paper on Foreign Parachutes Tom Buchanan is a Sr Rigger, S&TA at The Ranch Parachute Club and author of the book JUMP! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy.
  15. Capewell Components LLC has received (3) reports from (3) customers of (4) ripcord pins that broke. All (4) pins were reported to have broken under very low force. All (4) pins are reported to have broken on the blade section of the pin, approximately 1/8” (3 mm) from the shoulder of the pin. Two of these ripcord pins that broke were supplied by Capewell as a completed ripcord assembly. Two of the ripcord pins that broke were supplied as pins to Capewell customers who then assembled the full ripcord. The (4) ripcord pins that broke were delivered to Capewell customers in the first half of 2002. Capewell has an on-going investigation to determine root cause. No root cause(s) has been determined to date. Affected Ripcord Pins are: MS70107 (angled), PS70107 (angled), 61C4304 (angled); 55A6480 (terminal) A defective pin could cause your parachute system to malfunction. Please download the complete service bulletin below which describes two MANDATORY tests. Either TEST 1 or TEST 2 must be performed prior to the next uyse of your system. Download Service Bulletin (pdf) Gear and Rigging Forum
  16. Mirage Systems has received 2 reports of reserve ripcord pins breaking under apparently normal wear. Although the company and the subcontractor who manufactured the ripcord assemblies have not been able to identify the cause of the failures, Mirage has issued the following mandatory Product Service Bulletin: MIRAGE SYSTEMS - Product Service Bulletin Issue date: 28 April 2003 Bulletin number: 280403-01 Subject: Soft Reserve Ripcord Recall Status: Mandatory. Compliance date: Immediate. Identification: Mirage 27” Soft Reserve Ripcord, part #SH01-27, batch #M005128, mfd. 11/25/2001 – 5/10/2002 Background: Mirage Systems has received 2 reports of reserve ripcord pins breaking under apparently normal wear. Mirage Systems, working with the subcontractor who manufactured the ripcord assemblies, has not been able to identify the cause of the failures. Detailed microscopic and metallurgical examinations have been carried out with nominal results. Further investigation is ongoing. Both failures occurred in a single batch of ripcord sub-assemblies manufactured in November 2001. Other assemblies from the same batch were tested and were normal. However, because both failures occurred in the same batch, in lieu of the discovery of a definitive cause and in the interest of safety, Mirage Systems and the subcontractor, Capewell Components, have decided to recall all ripcords from this batch for inspection and possible replacement effective immediately. Action: All Mirage owners with soft reserve ripcords should check the ripcord data panel, found on the soft handle opposite the attachment Velcro. Suspect handles are marked “S/N M005128”. Affected owners have 2 possible courses of action: 1. Return the ripcord ONLY together with identification and rig serial number to Capewell Components ATTN: Mark M. 105 Nutmeg Road South S. Windsor, CT 06074 Capewell will conduct non-destructive testing and inspection and, if necessary, Mirage Systems will replace and return the ripcord assembly, free of charge. Assemblies which pass inspection will be so marked and returned, cleared to jump, by Capewell. 2. Contact Mirage Systems with the serial number of their rig to place an order for immediate replacement at: Mirage Systems 1501A Lexington Ave. DeLand, Fl 32724 386-740-9222 [email protected] Customers returning their old handles at time of order will be charged $15. Other orders will be charged $64, but will be eligible for a $44 refund upon receipt of the old handle. Customers shipping handles to either Capewell Components or Mirage Systems may use UPS account #E8E841 (Capewell Components) to cover shipping charges or use another service at their expense. Soft reserve ripcords bearing batch numbers other than M005128 and all metal handled ripcords are NOT affected. Because Capewell Components makes assemblies for other container manufacturers, all skydivers are recommended to check all hardware assemblies for unusual wear, cracking, scoring, marking or bending. All skydivers are reminded to check all their equipment for problems frequently. Authority: Daniel Thompson, President, Mirage System Jeff Johnston, QC Manager, Mirage Sysetms Mark Magdalenski, QC Manager, Capewell Components Distribution: FAA, Mirage dealers and customers of record, Parachutist, Skydiving, Int’l periodicals. Download the PDF
  17. Long Island, NY - April 24, 2003 - Atair Aerospace was one of five manufacturers honored by New York State’s Empire State Development and the Long Island Forum for Technology during their COMET expo and awards dinner at the Long Island Business & Technology Center on April 10, 2003. The event was created as a way to feature the numerous high-technology manufacturing companies of the Long Island area, with a particular emphasis on defense related companies. BAE Systems, EDO Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Empire State Development, Fleet Bank, and Margolin, Winer & Evans, LLP, judged the over 70 participating companies in five categories: Innovative Products, Precision Parts, Electronic Assemblies, Complex Integrated Products, and Unrestricted. Atair was honored with the 2003 Manufacturer of the Year Award for Innovation for their ONYX family of Autonomous Guided Parachute systems. Conflicts in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq have demonstrated the wide spread use of inexpensive surface to air missiles by enemies. The United States Military has at the highest level recognized the critical need for the development of guided parachute systems to replace current, obsolete airdrop delivery techniques. A $3000 shoulder fired SAM can put in jeopardy aircraft flying up to 25,000 ft. Conventional military airdrop techniques release cargo under round parachutes from altitudes below 1,500 ft. At such low altitudes placing cargo at the intended landing target is accurate, but puts the carrier plane and personnel in grave danger. Using such airdrop techniques at altitudes of 25,000 ft. to 35,000 ft. provides safety for the aircraft and personnel, but makes delivering cargo to the landing target impossible. With funding for guided parachute systems now coming from the Secretary of Defense level, government and military agencies appear primed to dedicate serious resources to resolving this critical strategic military requirement. Having foreseen this need and begun the development of guided parafoil systems several years ago, Atair Aerospace continues to develop the state-of-the-art, advanced-design parachutes guided by Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and Inertial Navigation Sensors (INS) for the precise, reliable and cost-effective airborne delivery of material and ordnance to remote locations in fulfillment of critical military, relief and rescue missions. Atair has been a pioneer in bringing forth new technological advances in military and sport parachute systems since 1992. For more information please contact Mark Montalvo at [email protected] or visit Atair Aerospace’s website at www.extremefly.com. Read more about Atair's Autonomous Guided Parachute systems
  18. I've been jumping for more than 20 years, but I still remember my very first skydive, and I'll bet you do too. Likewise, I remember the anxiety of trying to find a drop zone, and I remember my concern about the safety of the school, and my own ability to handle this exciting sport. In the years since my first jump I've earned instructional ratings in IAD, SL, AFF, and tandem programs, and am now the Safety and Training Advisor at The Ranch. Last spring I was approached by McGraw-Hill to write a book about skydiving targeted at beginners in the United States. That book, "Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy" has now been published and should be available soon at local booksellers. It is already being shipped by major web retailers such as Amazon.com. "Jump!" has more than 128 pages and 86 illustrations, including images from 19 photographers. I think this is the first comprehensive book about skydiving training to be commissioned by a major publisher like McGraw-Hill. I'm really proud of "Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy" and am confident it will appeal to our new students. "Jump!" is designed to answer all the common questions presented by prospective students, as well as offer guidance to those that have already made one tandem jump. While "Jump!" is designed for beginners, it will probably also be of interest to experienced jumpers for use as a gift…I think it's a great way to quickly handle inquiries from coworkers, family, and friends. "Jump!" is also a great book to share with local government and airport officials who might not otherwise understand our sport. I'm also betting drop zones that send a copy of "Jump!" to their local newspapers and television stations along with feature ideas will have an easier time arranging free media coverage. "Jump!" is loaded with statistics and includes lots of detail covering training methods, costs, regulation, drop zone evaluation, and much more. My hope is that "Jump!" will help to educate consumers about our sport, and drive interest in student training. Readers will find themselves excited by skydiving, but they will also be well informed about the risks of our sport. As I prepared to write "Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy" I spoke with hundreds of instructors and students, and read a vast number of posts on this site and others. Likewise, I chatted with many drop zone owners, checked their web sites, and spoke with leading experts including TK Donle, Jim Crouch, Paul Fayard, Rob Laidlaw, Nancy LaRiviere, Bill Dause and (Dr.) John DeRosalia. "Jump!" is a significant collection of wisdom gathered from these experts. While the specific information in "Jump!" is based on USPA programs in the United States, it should appeal to many international jumpers interested in comparing programs across borders. It is also a great guide for prospective students from other countries who are thinking about doing their skydiving training in The United States. I hope you will have a chance to read "Jump! Skydiving Made Fun and Easy", and I hope you will recommend this book to beginners who are looking for basic information about our sport. "Jump!" with a list price of 14.95, is now on sale for 30 percent off at www.amazon.com, and is also available at significant bulk purchase discounts directly from McGraw-Hill. If you would like more information about those bulk discounts for resale through drop zone stores or web sites, please let me know and I'll be happy to coordinate the contacts with McGraw account executives. Blue Skies Tom Buchanan/D-8514 Buy from Amazon.com
  19. My name is Nick Miller, and I'm 11 years old. I am on special assignment for Dropzone.com, reviewing a new line of skydiving toys by Action Products. The toys are for ages 5 and up and consist of four different three inch plastic skydiver figurines. Each one includes a detachable parachute and a target. Special Correspondent: Nick Miller They have cool names like Free Fallin' Fiona (my mom was really happy they included a girl), Hot Seat Harry, Sky Eye Skylar and Tailspin Tyler. Each one of them also has an extra detachable toy included. According to the packaging, Fiona and Harry are on the "high flying rescue team" and Fiona has a grappling hook with rope, and Harry has a shovel because he's a smokejumper. Skylar and Tyler are on the "extreme sports team" and Skylar has a camera and Tyler has a board. I played with the toys with two of my friends and my older sister. We played with the skydivers two different ways. First, my sister and I stood on the second floor inside our house and we tried to drop them onto the targets on the first floor. It didn't work very well! The parachutes did inflate a little, but we missed the target every time. I don't think we had enough room indoors to play with them properly. Next, my friends and I took them outside. It worked much better this way. First, we laid the plastic targets on the ground. The targets have a bulls eye on them and areas with different point values, so you can add up your scores against your friend's. Then, we folded up the parachute, wrapped the thick line around it, made sure it was attached well to the skydiver and threw it up as far as we could. If there was wind, the parachute did a good job inflating and it soared through the sky pretty well. When there wasn't wind, the parachute was a little bunched up and the skydiver had to do a PLF. Once we figured out how to make adjustments for the wind, we were able to hit the targets about half the time, just like in real skydiving! Some good things about these toys are the fact that the parachutes detach from the skydivers with just one click, so you can play with them in other ways besides just throwing them up in the air. The extra toys that come with them are cool too, and I even took the board with me to the pool to play with it there. Also, the head, arms and waist are movable on each skydiver, making them a little more fun to play with. I think it would be neat if they talked, but my mom said that being skydivers they would probably say too many bad words. The only bad thing about one of the toys was that the line became unattached from the parachute on one of the guys, but it is something that my mom can sew up if I ask nicely. In conclusion, I think they are fun toys to buy a kid who is under the age of 14.~ Nick About Action ProductsSince 1977, Action Products International, Inc. has been servicing museum and educational specialty retailers. This company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the edutainment megatrend. Action has formed strategic relationships with many of the leading industry buyers, strengthened our lines of supply all over the world, and developed a range of products in the important educational themes which are of interest to this marketplace. The company is focusing on brand development, e-commerce strategies, and merchandising, including retail packaging and point-of-purchase display systems, designed to provide the retailers with the tools they need to present our product lines to the consumer in a consistent and effective way. Action Products is a member of the Toy Industry Association (TIA), American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), Museum Store Associsation (MSA), and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Action Products International, Inc. 390 North Orange Avenue Suite 2185 Orlando, FL 32801 344 Cypress Road Ocala, FL 34472 Call Toll Free 1.800.772.2846 Fax Toll Free 1.888.232.9228 Action Products Web Site Buy from Square1
  20. Icarus Canopies are releasing 3 new products for the summer season. These designs incorporate new plan form shaping techniques that Icarus designers have been working on for the past 18 months. 7 years ago, Icarus designers pioneered a new plan form shape with the EXTreme FX. The Icarus Safire, Omega and EXTreme VX followed incorporating similar shaping techniques. The Icarus Crossfire expanded on that principle integrating additional surface shaping. These designs incorporated many innovations including full surface shaping, constant cell proportions, and lowered wing tips. All engineered to reduce drag, increase lift (at high and low speeds), increase rigidity and create even cell pressurization eliminating the perceived benefit of airlocks. These shaping techniques took parachutes beyond standard ram air designs and created true wing shapes with increased performance at both ends of the spectrum. A bi-product of this increased performance and control range was an increased toggle stroke making the toggle control range longer and flare point deeper than other designs at the time. While this longer control range was labeled a disadvantage by some rivals at the time, many have released competing designs with similar characteristics due to the increased efficiency these more precise wings create. With similar parachutes entering the market, our design team has been engineering plan form shapes which integrate the benefits of these designs plus further increasing the parachutes efficiency by incorporating precise and immediate toggle and riser control. Our 2002 products incorporate varying shaping techniques depending on the specific target audience of each design resulting from this program. Upon completion of this program these 3 designs have been undergoing market evaluation over the past few months. Specifically we have been comparing them with other products in the same target markets to ensure supremacy when compared with competing products. Now confident that we have once again solidly achieved this goal, we are releasing 3 exciting new designs. The Icarus Omni is the latest innovation in 7 cell canopy design. 7 cell canopies such as the Icarus Omega, PD Spectre or Aerodyne Triathlon gained popularity because of their ease of use and gentle characteristics. The disadvantage with 7 cells is their reduced lift making it difficult to get back from long spots and inferior flare characteristic when compared with 9 cell designs. While this is often no issue for beginners or at lighter wing loadings many seasoned skydivers also prefer the ease of use that comes with 7 cell canopies and are prepared to sacrifice lift and glide for this benefit. The Omni answers these issues offering the largest range of flight currently available on an all purpose 7 cell canopy. The Icarus Omni is a 7-Cell, Semi and lightly elliptical, Zero Porosity canopy. It has been designed as an all purpose canopy with soft on-heading openings, predictable flight characteristics, light toggle and riser pressure and with the added advantage of an increased glide ratio and greater flare power when compared with other 7 cell designs. The result, a 7 cell with an increase operating range, usable for all facets of modern skydiving. At lighter wing loading (below .9 PSF) it is a good transition or first canopy or for someone who likes to take it easy. At heavier wing loading (up to 1.5 PSF) it will have noticeable performance while maintaining soft openings and better landings than other 7 cell designs. We recommend it for wing loading from .75 PSF to 1.5 PSF. 4 years ago we released the Icarus Safire. A revolutionary canopy, being the first all purpose 9 cell canopy to include a lightly & truly elliptical platform shape offering superior openings and flight characteristics compared to competing mid-performance range 9 cell designs at the time. We new that the superior characteristics of this design, such as a lightly & truly elliptical platform shape combined with constant cell proportioning would not be ignored by other canopy manufacturers. This style of design would become the benchmark for mid-range performance canopies and other manufacturers would build similar designs as we have recently seen. The Safire 2, like the original Safire is a truly elliptical canopy with a light shaping incorporating a constant cell aspect ratio which consistently controls the airfoil shape across the canopy, maintaining increased rigidity and reducing drag. The Safire 2 is an enhanced version of the original Safire incorporating new trim and plan form shaping techniques. Its openings are arguably the sweetest of any canopy in its class. So much so that you'd swear it was a 7 cell opening above your head. We have also integrated an even greater glide ratio, more nimble and very predicable flight characteristics, responsive flight controls both on toggles and risers, a shorter recovery arc to maintain a higher level of safety for mid-range jumpers and a powerful flare. The Safire 2 is designed to fly best at wing loading of .75 to 1.6. At the lower end, the Safire flies forgivingly and is an ideal transitional canopy. At the higher loading, it is a fast-moving smooth-handling ride that outperforms other canopies in its class. 2 years ago we revolutionized what was possible with a 9 cell (non-cross braced) canopy. The Icarus Crossfire is categorically a step up in performance from any other 9 cell in the world. Its swoop capability almost rivals cross-braced canopies such as the EXTreme FX and Velocity while maintaining many other more desirable flight characteristics. Our target audience with the Crossfire has always been the many Stiletto pilots wanting the next step in canopy evolution. PD did a great job with the Stiletto and it remained un-rivaled for years. However, design concepts and construction techniques improve and we were able to release the Crossfire, a canopy aspiring to this market with increased performance characteristics, a longer recovery arc, an incredible swoop distance and with openings that are unparalleled. With our latest design innovations we are able to take the Crossfire performance even further. The Crossfire 2 has the same impressive opening and swoop capabilities with some of the most responsive toggle and riser turns of any canopy in the market. It has a light riser pressure and an incredible recovery arc. The Crossfire 2 is a highly elliptical, constant cell aspect ratio, closed nose, fully and surface shaped inflatable wing capable of unrivaled performance. It will out perform any non cross-braced 9 cell available; Openings, toggle turns, riser turns, dives, swoop distance and flare -period! Recommended wing loadings are 1.4 - 2.2. Icarus Guarantee:Icarus is the only company in the market to offer an unconditional 31 day satisfaction guarantee. Icarus guarantees that our products perform as advertised with superior characteristics to competing products. If for any reason a customer is not entirely satisfied we will replace the product or refund the customer, no questions asked. Refer www.icaruscanopies.com for details. Full details of these products will be available on Icarus Canopies website www.icaruscanopies.com from 10 May 2002. For additional information contact: Simon Mundell [email protected] (630) 562-2735 Photos: Crossfire2, Omni – Steve Utter Safire2 – Mike Sanders
  21. These quality swivel clamps were machined precisely to hold a ring sight in place. Most machine shop clamps are made to hold gauges, etc. and can't take the high torque that your sight goes through with random bumps and knocks. This clamp has a semi circle binding ring (see the arrow above) that ensures maximum holding power. The aluminum post is slightly longer than most hardware store posts, and milled to exact dimensions for precise fit. This design is NEW! We have improved the design to replace the old knurled thumbwheel with a low profile Allen screw. This makes the clamp less likely to snag a line during an unstable deployment. The clamp comes with an Allen wrench for your toolkit. Pricing is as follows: Mounting kit (Clamp and Post) $30 + shipping. Clamp without the post is $25 + shipping. Call Brent Finley at 480-855-7779. Send Check or Money Order to Brent Finley, 3102 S. Marigold Place, Chandler, AZ 85248 www.brentfinley.net Brent's Galleries
  22. The 'Diamond .3' wide-angle video camera lens is now available. The lenses are handmade in Japan. The Diamond .3 wide-angle lens gives a video camera a 110-degree field of view with very little barrel distortion. The lens is NOT a fish-eye. The lens has no vignette (black corners in the field of view). The lens is perfect for freeflying, flat flying inside video, relative work and AFF coaching (from the instructor's angle), CRW, canopy swooping, BASE jumping or anything that an inside, wide-angle view is desired. Capture up-close shots with a crystal clear, non-distorted view. The size of the lens is very low profile. The diameter is 44mm (1 ¾ inch.) and the length is 8mm (5/16inch). The small size has many benefits. It puts less stress and wear on the camera's frame and standard lens. It minimizes vibrations and camera shake since it is more than ¼ the size of other lenses. The chance of a riser strike on your camera's lens is decreased, as well as contact with any other object. It is available in two different thread sizes, 30mm (pc-1, 3, 5, 9, etc.) and 37mm (pc-7, 10, 100, 110, etc). In most Sony camcorders, no adapter ring is needed. The retail price of the lens is $200 US. Summer Sale Price of $175 (plus s/h) For more information, contact Max Cohn at: [email protected], or at 201.538.4652, or visit http://generationfreefly.com/diamond.3/ for more pictures and information.
  23. Many of us since the attack on the World Trade Center have been asking how this could have been prevented. And if it could not have been prevented, how then could we have had more survivors? As daunting as it is to think of, a parachute appears to be a logical and effective means of escape. After all, Leonardo DaVinci conceived in 1485 the first parachute specifically for the purpose of escaping safely from fires in tall buildings, and there have been countless other inventors and engineers who have worked on similar ideas since his time. Why then have we never seen this technology in use? Simply put, it is not necessarily a good idea. The recent events have led the public in a state of helpless anxiety to seek protection, reassurance, and a means to escape. Thousands of gallons of water have been sold, as well as a multitude of flashlights, antibiotics, gas masks, and now, personal parachutes. Several companies have taken advantage of this new demand by marketing parachute systems to office workers, hotel guests, emergency workers, and high rise tenants. One example, “The Executive Chute” is being advertised as a “last resort” when fleeing a structure over 20 stories. While the idea of marketing an emergency escape system itself is an admirable idea, it is highly irresponsible to sell these parachutes to people without adequate training. Their web site makes it seem like anyone could just pop it out of their desk drawer at work and saunter out to the nearest ledge and leap to safety. Another company, Precision Aerodynamics, is marketing the “Emergency Building Escape Parachute System”. They compare the need for an EscapeChute for people in high rises as similar to the need of a life preserver when traveling beyond swimming range from shore. People need to understand that this is not as simple as putting on a life vest. While their web site does say “training required”, they also promote the EscapeChute as an easy and obvious choice: “By following simple instructions, the parachute is automatically deployed for you. All you have to do to initiate deployment is to jump out the window and away from the building. Simple steering and landing techniques can deliver you to the surface with confidence”. A video is provided with purchase of the canopy, which may falsely lead people to believe that this is all the training they need. B.A.S.E. jumping, for the most part illegal in this country, is the extreme sport of jumping off of stationary objects (Building, Antennae, Span (bridges), and Earth). Buildings are the most difficult, even for a highly experienced jumper. Morpheus Technologies, which provides one of the only legal US training courses for B.A.S.E. jumpers, will not even let anyone sign up for their courses unless they are already a licensed and experienced skydiver with a minimum of 200 jumps. Even then, their training is intensive and rigorous. Kathy Gillespie-Jones at Morpheus says “As a manufacturer of B.A.S.E. specific equipment, we feel a responsibility to the general public. There is no quick fix in this situation. A background in skydiving and a very thorough training course are needed to even begin to pursue what we look at as a SPORT. Even then, we can die!” B.A.S.E rigs contain only one parachute and there is no back up, as typically altitudes are so low that it would not be possible to deploy a reserve in time. Packing must be perfect as well as your body position when jumping off the building to provide for the best chance that the parachute will open properly, on-heading, away from the building and with adequate horizontal separation. There are so many other variables that need to be taken into consideration when executing a base jump just under good conditions, such as exit height, wind patterns, piloting the parachute, just to name a few. An experienced and trained B.A.S.E jumper under good conditions is going to be a highly different model than a panicked inexperienced office worker, who would in all likelihood be severely injured or killed using a parachute to escape from a building. For a novice even with training, the lack of conditioning would cause a sensory overload which could prevent them from being able to react and properly use the equipment. Fire within a building would take this to an entirely different level of risk. Greg Yarbenet, the inventor of the slider which made modern parachuting possible, did studies about fifteen years ago, researching the effectiveness of escaping from a burning structure with a parachute. ”Parachuting from a burning building has to take into account the very unusual wind patterns that develop from a very hot rising air mass that is being replaced by the cooler, lower air that is now funneling upwards to replace the hot air.” He clocked the thermal updrafts at over two thousand feet per minute at the top of a test burning building. Air near the ground began to swirl upwards in a small vortex that changed the velocity and direction according to doors, windows, and other building shapes that allow the air to find the easiest path to the flames. Rising thermals off of the top created sudden downdrafts on the leeward side. Yarbenet found that any normal size parachute would not function well in such turbulent conditions, and could be pulled back up in the strong updrafts or collapse in the multiple vortexes along the sides of the building. Daniel Preston, of the New York based parachute company, Atair Aerodynamics, has mixed feelings on the subject. When asked if he would work in a high rise without his B.A.S.E. rig Preston answered “definitely not”. He believes that people should be given all the facts, allowing them to then seek training and make an educated purchase. However, he is against the selling of escape parachutes to the general public. As a New York company, Atair finds the ads for these products to be in horrendous taste, dangerously misleading and opportunistic. One company, B.E.S. even showed a banner of one of the towers being hit and people falling to their death. “It is specifically the way these products are being marketed that is irresponsible”, says Preston, “B.A.S.E. jumping requires training, period. It is not something you can just learn in a few hours from reading a book or seeing a video. The first step is to learn how to skydive. With a couple hundred jumps under your belt, you could consider learning B.A.S.E.” Preston estimated the survivability rate of some of these personal escape parachute systems to be less than 50%. That means that half of the people jumping would probably die. Other industry leaders estimated the survivability rate to be less. By comparison in skydiving where everyone is trained and licensed, fatality rates are less than one in one hundred thousand jumps. The majority of those fatalities are caused by pilot error under a fully functioning parachute. While it would be arguable that one should take any chance in the case of extreme emergency, the difficulty with that is determining what exactly is a last ditch situation. “I could envision many situations where people would be likely to jump when they don't have to”, says Preston. It is estimated that 70% of the people in the World Trade Towers escaped the through the stairwells. According to Cliff Schmucker, president of the Parachute Industry Association, “there’s obviously people out here trying to make a quick buck in a bad situation….At least one person was looking into congressional relief for the liability issue.”. This would be disastrous, as it would remove accountability for improperly designed, tested and marketed products. Dan Poynter, a well known publisher and writer of educational and technical texts on sport parachuting, says “sure, if you are a base jumper and on the 28th floor, keep your rig at the office, but for other people it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense”. Poynter believes “a parachute could work for some people in some cases, but there are many, many questions to be answered with regard to practicality, cost, training and design.” Atair manufactures a B.A.S.E. parachute called the Troll and states that the parachutes accumulated one thousand live real world jumps before it was offered for sale. What is being marketed by many companies as escape systems, is untested technology. The way that it is being marketed is misleading and sensationalist. “While I am not against the possibility of escaping from a building with a parachute”, says Preston, “there are so many things that need to be taken into consideration, and which seem to be overlooked in these current products.” “you can not just take an off the shelf para-glider reserve parachute, put it in a container and market it for a wholly different, far more complex and demanding application…its not safe.” The systems being marketed at this time have appeared on a variety of television shows and are gaining a lot of publicity. “From what we have seen”, says Gillespie-Jones, “The harness seems to be extremely awkward and the point in which the static line connector is located is very prone to cause an entanglement with the body. We witnessed complete failure by a company representative to put this system on properly. This was done on the Today Show in a controlled environment. There is no way that a person in a panicked state could begin to equip themselves properly in a timely fashion.” It is very frustrating to see the direction that this whole thing is going in. Companies seem to be jumping on the bandwagon, offering parachuting equipment that in any other application would take months if not years of research and development, drop testing and live testing in a variety of environments before there would even be a consideration to sell to the public. What transpired in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania is absolutely tragic and it was horrifying to see those people jump from the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, jumping with many of these escape systems that are being marketed in the aftermath under those same circumstances may not have saved lives, but only extended them by a second or two.
  24. Two gear major skydiving manufacturers recently launched new products - Sky Systems and Parasport Italia. Sky Systems launched the Hurricane. This new freefly helmet together with the NVERTIGO will lead Sky System's attack on the ever growing market and demand for freeflying head protection. Parasport Italia (Parasport Skydiving Equipment) launched the Skytornic FX. The new Skytronic is being positioned to compete with the Pro-Track and Pro-Dytter in the heavy-weight audible altimeter and skydiving computer class. It's about time. Hurricane Freefly Helmet from Sky Systems Ltd Hurricane is the new freefly helmet from Sky Systems Ltd. (the makers of Factory Diver, Sidewinder and OXYGN skydiving helmets). This carbon fiber, Kevlar reinforced helmet is by far the most comfortable freefly helmet available on the market. Sky Systems has taken your thoughts and designed a new freefly helmet to meet your needs. The Hurricane introduces a new shape for a more comfortable fit, and has external audible ports over each ear for a more clear sound transmission. Utilizing similar technology as the Nvertigo, the Hurricane features the Sky Dial tightening mechanism to tighten the forehead and neck areas. Sizes are currently available in S-M and L-XL. More sizes may be offered soon. Links: See the Hurricane listing in the Gear section Visit the Sky Systems web site Buy a Hurricane from Square1 Skytronic FX by Parasport Skydiving Equipment Finally released the new Skytronic FX! Several months of studies and tests, together with the experience developed in the past years with the Skytronic and the Skytronic Pro, allowed Parasport Skydiving Equipment to develop this new instrument. Features include: Three programmable warning altitudes PLUS a countdown timer, all in a single instrument Loud and easily recognizable alarms Signals go off only if necessary (only the breakoff alarm goes off if not in freefall) Metric/English units in a single instrument Electronic logbook stores data about the last 200 jumps Totals freefall time and number of jumps Statistics on altitudes Low battery indication Can be connected to a PC (external interface optional) According to the Parasport web site the computer interface for this will be ready and available in June 2001. The Skytronic FX can be installed on the polycarbonate version of the Z1 STI just replacing the metal plate with the one designed for the FX. It is also available the replacement holder for the Z1 Alpha STI. The Skytronic FX should also fit comfortably into most popular skydiving helmet designs. Links: See the Skytronic FX listing in the Gear section Visit the Parasport Skydiving Equipment web site
  25. After more than a year of testing, the engineers at Sun Path Products Inc, are proud to release the Javelin "Odyssey" harness/container system. In keeping with the tried, tested, and proven reliability of the world-famous Javelin, the Javelin "Odyssey" takes comfort, strength, performance, and fashion, to a new level. The "Odyssey" will be tested under the FAA TSO category C 23 (d), meaning that it will be drop tested to weights in excess of 300 lbs. The new rig features longer riser covers, eliminating any exposure of the main or reserve risers, but not hindering the opening characteristics of the canopy. New "anti-twist" technology main risers, incorporating plastic riser tube inserts, are featured on this container. The tubes are of a composition that meets, or exceeds, the test conditions required by the FAA TSO. The advantage of plastic tubes is that they can be "crushed" in a car door/trunk, and continue to function. The new "Odyssey" will also feature the Oetiker clamps, which clamp the release and reserve housings in place, thus eliminating the need for hand tacks. The "Odyssey" will touch you where no other rig can with its new "cut-in" backpad (the lateral straps exit the backpad closer to the center of the main container, instead of at the corners). This feature of the Javelin "Odyssey" allows for the lateral strap to contour around the lower back, keeping the container snug against the jumper. The jumper and Javelin "Odyssey" move as one. High-speed free flyer, competitive formation skydiver, or weekend warrior, the Javelin "Odyssey" stays snugly in place. The Javelin "Odyssey" features a new quilted-look, extra comfortable backpad, affording unsurpassed luxury while sitting in the plane or waiting for your load. New legstrap geometry is currently under evaluation and will become available as soon as testing is complete. The Javelin "Odyssey" also features split leg straps as standard. By splitting the webbing, and making the leg strap wider, the weight of the suspended jumper is dispersed through a larger area, providing exceptional comfort under canopy. The Javelin "Odyssey" will be available in new "space-age" durable fashion fabrics, previously unavailable to the general public. These new fabrics have been tested for over a year, before officially debuting on the 2001 Javelin "Odyssey". These new "space-age" fabrics include a leather-look fabric, available in black, navy, green, and brown. The colorful "houndstooth", a checkerboard pattern, is available in a variety of colors. Also new to the market, is our "Diamondback" fabric, which is a ribbed parapack fabric, where the ribs are in the shape of diamonds. The "Diamondback" is available in six different colors. We will have a limited supply of a funky "hologram" plastic fabric, which will be available for the pop-top and midflaps. Promotional material, and fabric samples, will be available in the near future. The Javelin "Odyssey" offers exceptional safety, performance, comfort, and fashion, from a company that has proven itself an industry leader in skydiving harness and container manufacture over the last decade. The Javelin "Odyssey" will premier at the PIA Symposium, and will beavailable for order after January 27. The retail price of the Javelin "Odyssey" will be $1650 and include all of the above mentioned features. For more info, contact a Sun Path representative.