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  1. This year the stars aligned to bring the right people to the right place at the right time. The result was official FAI recognition of Wingsuit Competition for Performance and Acrobatics disciplines. Then without any loss of momentum, the announcement of the 1st FAI World Cup of Wingsuit Performance Flying to be held in the UK this year. This competition is now just a few weeks away. If this is the first you’ve heard of it and want to get in on the action then you need to act fast and continue reading. IPC Plenary in Bulgaria 2015Wingsuit competitions have been around for many years. In January this year, the IPC were presented the highly developed competition formats for both Performance and Acrobatics for consideration. The IPC delegates voted in favour of adopting both sets of rules and also unanimously accepting the bid for the UK to host the first Wingsuit World Cup. We now have an IPC Wingsuit Committee, can declare World Champions and set new World Records! The EventOn the 25th May 2015 the Wingsuit World Cup will commence at the World’s longest continually operated airfield. This is located just a few miles from the historic site of Stonehenge on the outskirts of the small Wiltshire village, Netheravon, UK. It will be hosted by the Army Parachute Association, a not-for-profit skydiving club who have successfully run this competition with the same format for the last three years. Athletes from all over the World are currently making travel arrangements for their opportunity to represent their country on the world stage. As a recently recognised World Cup event the opportunities to set new world records are to be amongst the main attractions. Top of the billing however is a chance to be immortalised as the first FAI World Cup Champion of Wingsuit Performance Flying. The goal of this competition is to find the flyer with the best all-round performance flying capability using Time, Distance and Speed tasks. A fixed competition window of 3300ft (1000m) is used, measured using a Flysight GPS logger and evaluated using the Paralog software which provides real-time results on-line. In 2014 there were 20 competitions and over 300 participants worldwide. New to 2014 was a World Series incorporating four events held in the UK, Hungary, Germany and the USA. The World Series 2014 winner was declared following the USA competition in Lake Elsinore last October and is the organiser of this inaugural World Cup. The outline programme for the 2015 World Cup is as follows: Sat-Sun 23-24th May All Day DZ Open as normal for early registration and practice Mon 25th 08:00 All day 17:00 Judges’ Conference & Start of Judges’ Training Course Arrival of Delegations, Registration, Practice Jumps until 15:30 Opening Ceremony Tue-Thu 26-27th May All Day Competition days. First call 07:00, competition continues until sunset. Fri 29th May 07:00 All day 18:00 20:00 Last Competition jump take-off at 14:30 End of Judges’ Training Course at 16:00 Closing Ceremony Banquet and Evening Celebration at The Stones Hotel How to get involved Competitors should read the official Bulletin by following the links below and then contact their country’s national governing body to apply to enter. The deadline for preliminary registrations is 25th March but there is still some time as final registration is not due until 25th April 2015. All other enquiries about participating or exhibiting at the event should be made directly to the organiser whose contact details are also listed below. Thank you This article isn’t long enough to credit all the people who have made this happen. You know who you are, you’ve made history, now let’s fly! Links FAI Website: http://www.fai.org/ipc-news/39178-wingsuit-performance-flying Organiser Webpage: www.netheravon.com/wswc2015 (Registration, Bulletin and Rules) Competition Rules: http://www.fai.org/fai-documents (Sporting Code Section 5) Organiser contact details: Jackie Harper can be reach via email at: [email protected]
  2. The latest addition to the Squirrel inventory has been made available for pre-order this week. The Aura 2 will be the successor to the originally Aura suit, which saw favourable reviews and quickly established itself as a popular BASE jumping suit. While no information has been provided yet by Squirrel, as to the specifications and features of the new suit, it's expected that the Aura 2, like its predecessor - will be a BASE focused wingsuit. Even with the original Aura design though, Squirrel ensured that the suit was catered as much as possible to skydivers, with several features including a 'Skydive Mode'. More information about the Aura 2 will be provided when it's released by the company. But for now, all we have is 40 seconds of teaser footage.
  3. The expansion of iFly indoor skydiving centers continues, this time with development planned for the Middletown, Ohio area. Start Aviation LLC and iFly Corp recently signed an agreement that would see a vertical wind tunnel build in Middleton. Though the exact location of where the tunnel will be built is still undecided, Middle Regional Airport has been listed as a potential location. Start Aviation LLC is the operator of Start Skydiving, a dropzone that has in recent years shown itself to be one of the best in the country, while iFly has shown its dominance in the global wind tunnel market with more than 20 wind tunnels located around the world, and the company continuing to show impressive growth. While still in the early stages, aspects of the project have been released; such as the plans for the indoor skydiving location to include a restaurant, classroom and an office. With the development of the Middletown tunnel, there will be a total of 15 iFly tunnels in the United States, several of which have been established in the past couple years. With the next closest tunnel being located in Chicago, the city hopes that the new attraction will bring in visitors from surrounding locations.
  4. Many factors determine the way your canopy opens. The design of the canopy and the way it is packed are two important factors, but body position also plays a major role. We learn to deploy our canopies in a basic, stable position as students, and many of us don't give this skill much more thought after that. Unfortunately, we sometimes develop a few bad habits that have a negative effect on our openings. Even after making thousands of jumps, people have been surprised to find that a few small adjustments to their body position during deployment can significantly improve their openings. This article is about deploying a parachute, one of the most important things you do on every skydive. It might be a good idea to practice these techniques on the ground before trying them in the air. You might even want to make a solo jump and try some practice pulls using these techniques before it's actually time to deploy. If you are not a licensed skydiver yet, or have just recently earned your license, you should discuss this article with your instructor before trying anything you read here. He or she may want you to focus on more important skills, like altitude awareness and basic stability, rather than adding anything new to your pull sequence. No Need for SpeedThe speed at which you are falling when you deploy your canopy can have a large effect on the forces generated during the opening. As your airspeed increases, these forces also increase. Many of today's canopies are designed for relatively slow openings, and some will not be affected greatly by a little extra speed at deployment time. Some jumpers even find that their canopies open better when they are falling a bit faster. This is not something you should take for granted, though. Higher airspeeds might not cause a canopy to open hard as long as everything else is just right, but small variables tend to have greater effects at higher airspeeds. If you rush your pack job one time and let things get a little sloppy, or if your canopy is starting to go out of trim, extra airspeed could make the difference between an opening that is slightly abrupt and one that really hurts. Slowing down before you deploy can provide a greater "margin of error" and reduce the effects that other variables have on your openings. Slowing down can be especially helpful if your openings are frequently or even just occasionally faster than you like them to be. Vertical or "freefly" body positions like head-down or sit-flying allow you to reach much higher airspeeds than "flat" body positions. This extra speed makes flattening out and slowing down before you pull particularly important. Both beginners and experienced freeflyers should keep this in mind when planning their dives. Even if you don't freefly, simply tracking at the end of a belly-to-earth jump can significantly increase your airspeed, and you may still find it helpful to "flare out" of the track and slow down before you deploy. To flare out of a track, spread your arms and legs and de-arch slightly for a second as shown in. This will help bleed off any excess speed. Keep your arms and legs spread out and maintain a slight de-arch while you wave off, remembering to look around for other jumpers. As you finish your wave-off and start to pull, relax back into a normal arch. If done correctly this doesn't take a significant amount of time and becomes a natural part of your wave off. What Are You Looking At?Take a moment to notice where you are looking while you reach for your pilot chute. If you jump with a video camera, look at some of your openings on tape. What do you see in the video as you pull? Are you looking up at the horizon, or down at the ground below you? Do you look back toward your pilot chute handle as you reach for it? Do you look over your shoulder after you pull? Older skydiving rigs used spring-loaded main pilot chutes activated by a ripcord. Even in the late 1990's this type of system was still used on most student rigs. Those of us who were trained using this type of system were taught to look for the ripcord handle before grabbing it. We were also taught to look over one shoulder and "check" after pulling the ripcord. Looking over your shoulder changes the airflow over your back and helps clear pilot chute hesitations, which are common when using a spring-loaded main pilot chute. Most licensed jumpers use hand-deployed main pilot chutes, and these are becoming the standard for student training as well. Even if years have passed since they transitioned to a hand-deployed pilot chute, many experienced jumpers still have the habit of looking for their pilot chutes as they reach for them and checking over one shoulder after they throw them. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to look over your shoulder and keep your shoulders level at the same time. Looking over your shoulder also tilts your container to one side. Although large, docile student canopies may not get offended if your shoulders and container are uneven, more responsive sport canopies will be much happier if you keep your shoulders level. Having your shoulders and container tilted as the canopy deploys can cause off-heading openings, line twists, and can even cause a hard opening. Most of us have our pilot chutes mounted on the bottom of the container, so trying to look for the handle is really useless. Even if you still use a legstrap-mounted pilot chute, you probably can't see the handle very easily in freefall. Since hand-deployed pilot chutes are thrown into the clean air next to your body, pilot chute hesitations rarely occur and checking over your shoulder every time isn't necessary. Some people have a habit of looking straight down as they deploy. This tends to put you in a slightly head-low attitude, which can increase your airspeed slightly. It can also amplify the opening force your body feels, since this force will mainly be transmitted to your shoulders when the canopy reaches the end of the lines. Also, your legs may swing through a wider arc as the canopy sits you up in the harness, making the opening feel more abrupt. Instead of looking for your handle or looking down at the ground, try lifting your head up and looking out at the horizon as you reach for your main deployment handle. This puts you in a more head-high attitude. The opening forces will be transmitted farther down through the harness instead of being concentrated at your shoulders.Looking at the horizon also helps keep your shoulders and container level as you pull. After throwing the pilot chute, bring your arms back into a neutral freefall position and think about keeping your shoulders level as the deployment bag lifts off of your back. You can also push your hips down slightly and bend your knees just a bit, as if you were in a very slow backslide. This keeps your head and upper body high. In the past, some jumpers have recommended "sitting up" during the deployment. This can actually work well as long as it is done correctly, but if you sit up too much or too soon there is a risk of increasing your airspeed or even becoming unstable. Simply lifting your chin, looking at the horizon, arching a bit more, and relaxing your legs slightly has a similar effect to consciously sitting up, and you're less likely to overdo it. Some people who jump with side-mounted cameras believe it's necessary to keep their heads down when they deploy, to prevent a riser from hitting the camera. This might be an issue if you have narrow shoulders or wear your chest strap very tight, leaving less room between your risers. It also might be a problem if your camera sticks out from the side of your helmet quite a bit. It's best to minimize this problem by keeping side-mounted cameras as small, streamlined, and snag-free as possible. If you're convinced it's necessary to keep your chin down, at least keep a good arch and relax your lower legs to keep your shoulders higher than your hips, and also focus on keeping your arms and shoulders level in the relative wind. Back in the Saddle As soon as the canopy sits you upright in the harness, try putting your feet and knees together for the rest of the opening . Putting your legs together helps keep your weight even in the harness and reduces the chances of an off-heading opening. This is especially effective if you are jumping an elliptical-type canopy. Just the weight of your legs swinging around or a small weight shift in the harness can cause some of these canopies to start turning. If you grab your risers as the canopy is opening it's best to hold the lower part of the risers, just above the 3-Ring system. If you grab the risers up near the toggles you might make the canopy turn by unintentionally pulling one riser or releasing one brake. If you hold on to the bottom of the risers, you can still slide your hands up quickly to steer with the risers or release the brakes if necessary. Some jumpers try to keep their openings on heading by actively steering with their rear risers while the slider is still up against the canopy. This works with some canopies, but other canopies don't like it at all. You may get better results if you just relax, sit still, focus on keeping your weight even, and wait until the slider starts to come down before making any corrections with the risers. Watch Where You're GoingIn a first jump course we are taught to check our canopies to make sure they open correctly. Although this is important, it can also create a very bad habit. Many jumpers look up at their canopies as soon as they start to open, and continue watching the canopy through the entire opening sequence. Some people continue looking up for several more seconds while they collapse their sliders and release their brakes. If another person opens close to you, you may only have a second or two to react in order to avoid a collision. Staring up at your canopy for five or ten seconds after you deploy is like driving down the highway while staring up at the roof of your car. Fortunately, a few techniques can help you avoid this problem. Many students are taught to count out loud while their canopy deploys, saying "arch, reach, pull, one thousand, two thousand, three thousand…" If you don't do this already it's a good habit to create, and can help you keep track of time during the deployment sequence. You will hear and feel different things during each stage of the deployment. A second or less after you throw your pilot chute, you should feel the snatch force pull you upright in the harness. This is the force of the canopy fabric hitting the relative wind as it comes out of the deployment bag. The canopy will then snivel. The snivel is the portion of the opening where the slider stays against the bottom of the canopy, reducing your airspeed before the canopy starts to inflate. There will still be a lot of wind noise during the snivel, and you will still have a sensation of falling. This may last for a second or two, or even for several seconds. The inflation occurs as the slider moves down the lines and the cells fill with air. Things become quieter once the canopy inflates. Even under a canopy that inflates very slowly and smoothly, you will still feel the transition from falling to gliding. You may also hear the slider flapping above your head once it comes down. Once you become more aware of these sensations you will find that your other senses can tell you as much about your opening, if not more, than your eyes do. Soon you will feel comfortable looking out in front of you during the entire opening, rather than watching the canopy itself. This allows you to watch for other jumpers, and many people find this reduces off-heading openings as well. "But," you may ask, "if I don't watch my canopy open, how will I know if I'm having a malfunction?" Take the advice of someone who has cut away a number of misbehaving canopies: you will probably know right away if you are having a malfunction. They tend to feel very different from a normal opening, and you will probably know something is wrong before you ever look up. If you start to count after throwing your pilot chute, and reach "two thousand" or "three thousand" without feeling the snatch force, there is obviously a problem. This would be an acceptable time to look back over your shoulder and check for a pilot chute hesitation or pilot chute in tow. Once you know how many seconds the snivel usually lasts on your canopy, you will also know if that part of the opening is taking longer than normal. You can usually feel line twists right away, and if you start spinning wildly you'll surely want to look up at your canopy and see what's bothering it. What if the opening feels perfectly normal? Unless you need to avoid another jumper right away, you should still look up and check your canopy right after it inflates. You might not notice a tear, broken line, or similar problem until you look up. Even in these situations, if the opening felt normal then the canopy is probably flying well enough to give you a low rate of descent. Assuming you deployed at a reasonable altitude, you should have enough time to do a control check and execute emergency procedures if necessary. If you've been watching your canopy open every time then you might not feel ready to stop doing this during your very next jump, but you should start developing better habits as soon as possible. Start counting when you throw your pilot chute, and notice how long each stage of the deployment sequence takes. Pay attention to what you are hearing and feeling during the opening. Soon you won't need to watch the whole deployment, and will be able to pay more attention to your body and your surroundings. Improving your body position and increasing your awareness when you deploy your canopy can produce great results. You might not remember everything in this article during your next jump, but at least think about trying these suggestions one at a time, at your own pace. You might be amazed by the difference a few small changes can make. About the author: Scott Miller runs the Freedom of Flight Canopy School at Skydive DeLand in Florida (www.freedomofflight.tv) and holds canopy skills camps at other DZ's throughout the year. He has worked at several drop zones as an AFF instructor, tandem instructor, and freefall photographer, and also worked as a test jumper for Performance Designs. This article first appeared in Skydiving Magazine, Volume 25, Number 7, Issue #295, February 2006. Printed here by permission of the author.
  5. Despite having occurred late last year, a recently uploaded Youtube video showing an extremely close encounter between a tandem instructor, passenger and the jumpship they just exited from, has gone viral. The 4 minute long video (including editing) was shot in October 2014 and shows a tandem instructor, from what has been determined as a Thailand based skydiving operation at an estimated 13 000 feet (a typical exit altitude for tandem jumps). Twelve seconds after the TI and passenger exit the plane, the plane comes into view of the camera and can be seen diving quickly in their direction. The camera speed is then slowed down and shows the plane moving closer, with one frame showing the bridle and drogue of the TI wrapped around the wing of the plane. It appears as though the drogue bridle was cut when it wrapped over the wing and can be seen waving behind the TI in some of the frames. He then deploys the reserve shortly afterwards. The passenger appears for the most part, unaware of exactly how close the pair came to death during the incident, with the video later cutting to text on screen suggesting that the TI had just explained what had happened, while they were under canopy. There has been quite a bit of conversation around just how this happened, whether it was purely pilot negligence - or whether perhaps a close fly-by is something that is pre-arranged with the TI and pilot, in order to give the passengers a more thrilling experience. While there is no clear evidence to lead one to make such a damning assumption, several individuals have noted the TI's apparent eagerness to get the passenger to look in the direction of the descending aircraft, even before it has entered the frame of the video. Others are calling the TI a hero for the professional way in which he handled the incident, staying calm and getting both himself and the tandem passenger safely on the ground. Regardless of the details behind the incident, it's clear that those involved are lucky to still be alive. A discussion about the event is currently taking place in the forums in an incidents thread.
  6. Image by Ben NelsonNiklas Hemlin of Arizona Airspeed ventured out with a goal in mind and captured his first World Record - but not in belly flying, in the new category, Head Up. Not many long-term and committed belly flyers transition over to freeflying later in their skydiving careers. Especially one that has invested most of their lives into belly flying. It's refreshing to see that the boundaries of belly flying and freeflying are starting to blend. Name: Niklas Hemlin Jumps: 15,500+ (just below 16,000) RW Jumps: 13,000+ Freefly Jumps: 100 ML: How many competitions have you been to? Niklas Hemlin: I have attended 35 national and international recognized competitions. You couple probably double that number if you were to include local and none recognized events. ML: How many medals have you won? Niklas Hemlin: More than 35. ML: Do you have any previous world records, if so, which ones? Niklas Hemlin: I do not have any belly big formation world records J This would be my first big-way world record. I have an un-official world record with Airspeed for the highest 4-way average from when we won the World meet in Dubai 2012 at 27.9 average points. ML: What motivated you as a young jumper and how did you get the idea to tryout to be on Airspeed? Niklas Hemlin: What motivated me as a young jumper was the next jump. I was head-over-heels in love with our sport and the whole nature of it…jumping out of a plane, plunging towards the ground in freefall, pulling your parachute, and safely land to do it all over again. Since then, my love is all the same and more intense than ever. I seem to effortlessly find new ways to keep my passion and intensity for our sport. It has so much to offer me and it is literally limitless. To me, it’s a lifestyle and way of life. ML: What is your new position on Airspeed? Niklas Hemlin: I used to be the inside center and now moved to the point position on Airspeed. Each position on a 4-way team comes with its own style and characteristics. Throughout my 4-way career, I have been floating around all the different slots and found that each offer its own challenges and satisfactions. It is always fun to be put in a situation to learn and refine a new style and to push yourself. To me, it keeps it all fresh and motivating. Performing any slot on a world-class level requires absolute dedication and focus. ML: You're more known in the community to be an RW skydiver, when did you start freeflying? Niklas Hemlin: I seriously started to freefly January 2014. I did do some freeflying back in 1997 here at Skydive Arizona after spending three months in Florida training with my Swedish 4-way team. Since then, I haven’t done any freeflying until I started up in the tunnel this year. I have managed to accumulate about 50 hours in the tunnel YTD and around 100 freefly jumps. I hope to meet my goal of 52 hours of tunnel for this year and 150 jumps. I’m a very goal oriented person and find it hard to keep my competitive spirit at bay. I had a goal of getting to a level in my freeflying that I could go and fly in the tunnel and in the air for fun and hold my own. I remember very vividly seeing people fly in the tunnel and in the air and wanted nothing more than to fly like them, effortlessly float through the air on all angles and on all their body’s flying surfaces. I looked so appealing and fun to me. Airspeed is my heart and soul and takes up a lot of time and dedication. It takes all you time and devotion to become a world champion or a world class flier in any discipline. That being the case, I felt I had to spend the 2014 season to learn freeflying before I transitioned back onto the team as an active member from being an alternate for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. ML: What motivated you to participate in the upright world record? Niklas Hemlin: To put myself in a situation where I HAD to perform. I remember seeing and hearing about the upright record and the headdown big-way scheduled for the fall at Skydive Arizona. I used it as a goal to progress enough to where I could at least participate in the upright warm up weekend. That was enough motivation for me to keep my focus and training. The warm-up weekend went well enough that I was asked to participate in the record attempt. To be honest, I was, and in my opinion still am, not very good on my headup. It is a challenge for me because I really struggle with getting the hang of it and become as comfort and fly as effortlessly as I see others fly. Image by Ben NelsonML: Can you tell me what kind of struggles you had on the record jumps and how you overcame them? Niklas Hemlin: The most overwhelming part of the headup warm-up and record was my visuals. What is left and right headup is right and left headdown. Wow, flying headdown to the formation from exiting head up and then get there to transition back into headup. Oh boy, that was a mind f*#ker (teaser). To be honest, I did not figure than one out until the second day of the record. The second biggest challenge for me was to keep my mind at bay. I was filled with excitement and anxiety and had to calm myself and focus on my basics. Freeflying is not all instinctive and I have to think about what I’m doing and what I need to do. So, if I don’t keep calm and anticipate my flying, it all goes to shit. ML: How much of the Upright World Record principles were like belly fly big ways? Niklas Hemlin: I would say a good 99.9%. That was a huge advantage for me having so much experience with big-ways. That was the easy part. At least I didn’t have to stress out about that. ML: What would be your advice to other belly flyers about getting into freeflying? Niklas Hemlin: Lower your expectations and embrace the whole process of sucking. Do it for fun and understand it is nothing like belly flying, but at the same time, it is just like belly flying. For me, it was very healthy and humbling to “suck” at something again. It was very refreshing to be a student again and having to learn and unlearn. Being the guy in the room with the least amount of experience and, literally, being a safety hazard was a lot of fun for me. Just something about being in the early stages of something new and falling in love with it and not being able to get it out of your head. Oh yea, and it will improve your belly flying tremendously!
  7. Name: Roberta Mancino First Jump: 2001 Skydives: 7500 + Home Dropzone: Skydive Fano Turbolenza Base Jumps: 230 Tunnel Hours: not sure 100+ Cut Aways: 6 Container: Vector Canopy: 107 spectre Reserve: 106 PD AAD: Cypres Wingsuit: Scorpion Apache Tonysuit wicked Wingsuit Helmet: Tonfly DZ: You've been jumping for 12 years now, in that time which jumps stand out as the most memorable? RM: The jumps for the HTC commercial, IronMan 3, The freefly world records, Lodi sequentials, and those made at the many beautiful locations around the world. DZ: You're no stranger to tunnel flying and despite the media often presenting you as the attractive BASE jumper, you had already won some tunnel competitions by the time you started BASE jumping, correct? Can you give us a bit of your history with regards to tunnel flying and how active you are in the tunnels at the moment? RM:Yes I did. I started in Orlando many years ago when nobody was flying in the tunnel. When I started there were only a few of us able to fly head down and it was difficult to do 3 ways in such small tunnels. Now days I'm very busy with work, training other things. So unfortunately I can't spend much time in the tunnel anymore, if I'm lucky I can get in maybe 2 hours a year. But I really love being outside much more. DZ: With the expansion of tunnel centers, the increased use of tunnels for training, and younger generations being able to learn to fly and even compete. How do you think this is going to change the progression of competitive skydiving? RM: I think people will be much better flyers and in competitions it will be impossible to win against a team that does lots of wind tunnel training. One thing I really like about wingsuit and base jumping is that you don't need as much money for training, compared to if you have to buy hours and hours of wind tunnel time. DZ:What kind of training regime do you put in for a competitive BASE event like the ProBASE World Cup? RM:I was supposed to be training, but since I was so busy filming work related things over the summer, I didn't have the time to train at all. My training was the competition jumps. The last competition, I had a new suit and I was much faster with my scorpion, I realized that I've only done about 15th wingsuit base jump all summer. I hope I am able to train more next year. DZ: What is the most difficult aspect of competitive training? RM: In base jumping it's the risk. I think it's good to do many training jumps, but the risk can also be higher depending on the location. For example if you jump in The Valley, Switzerland the risks will be a lot higher than if you jump in Brento, Italy. In Brento you can do as many jumps as you want, since after the exit it's almost like a skydive. I find it's more difficult mentally than skydiving, especially when you're not feeling great. DZ: As a skydiving coach, what are the biggest challenges you face when coaching? RM: I love teaching girls, guys can be much more stubborn and rigid than the girls. Again, my work now doesn't let me have much time for coaching, but I do like my students. DZ: In the past 10 years you've won a number of competitions and been part of a few world records. Are there any competitions or world records that you currently have your eyes set on? RM: Not really. I don't think I'm a competitive person, I just love to fly and be a part of the events, for fun. I prefer coming up with ideas and filming something beautiful. It would be nice to jump from space or do the longest wingsuit flight, but those records take years and there is so much stuff to fly out there. I also love the ocean, so I'd rather put my energy into other things where there is not a really big sponsor to talk about. DZ: Between being a professional model, a skydiver and a basejumper. Which of these activities consumes most of your time, and which has allowed you to travel the most? RM: Probably base jumping now and all the underwater stuff that I've done for GoPro. I haven't wanted to just model for years now. I like to skydive in new places. DZ: Outside of your home dropzone, what is your favorite dropzone to jump at and why? RM: I love Puerto Escondido and I just went to skydive in Panama. I've been jumping at Perris just this month for work and it was very nice and easy if you like to do many jumps. My favorite drop zone still my home dz in Fano, because is very relaxing, people are nice, the food is amazing and many of my really good friends are there. DZ: In an interview with the USPA a few years ago you mentioned how you preferred group activity over freeflying. Have you seen a shift in the kinds of disciplines you're more interested in partaking in over the years, and where does your heart lie currently with regards to skydiving disciplines? RM: I just skydive for training now and to fly with my friends, I can't skydive every day like before and I think I spent too much time at the DZ so now I just want to go out in a beautiful place and fly over incredible locations that not many people have flown before. I love to freefly with people or wingsuit. I like to do fashion freestyle pictures and videos. DZ: Do you ever find that titles such as World's Sexiest Female Athlete distracts people from recognizing your skills as a flyer, or do you find that the modeling aspect runs parallel to your skydiving and BASE Jumping talents? RM: No, I don't think so. When people see me, it's because I'm flying. For many magazines, everything is amazing to them, even things that don't require much skill - like naked skydives. They don't understand how difficult different types of skydives are. DZ: In your opinion, which aspect of skydiving safety doesn't receive enough attention? I think skydiving is very safe, though it depends on what people do and if they are distracted while in the air. DZ: Which skydivers currently inspire you? RM: Jon Devore, Norman Kent, Joe Jennings, Graig OB, Jeff Habberstad - basically all the skydivers that made a beautiful career and success in our sport with something that is just so fun, and they all such nice humble people. DZ: Describe yourself in 6 words? RM: Funny, sweet, friendly, outgoing, passionate and caring.
  8. Sony FDR-X1000VSony have started off the first quarter of 2015 with a couple of action camera announcements that are likely to excite fans of the Sony series. At CES 2015, which was hosted last week, Sony unveiled two new models of action cameras, venturing into the 4k action cam market. Sony are no newcomers to 4k recording products and have been selling 4k recording devices for a few years already, but moving in the direction of smaller and cheaper recording devices such as action cameras is a big step towards general consumers. Along with the new announcement for the 4k action camera, was the announcement of a new HD action camera, a new version of one of the company's popular cameras. The first of the two cameras announced at CES is the FDR-X1000V, the 4k action cam product that will aim to compete with the new GoPro Hero 4. The X1000V will be able to record 4k video (3840x2160) at 30fps, with focus also being placed on enhancements to the HD recording options, stabilization and frame rate. The enhancements in stability come from an upgrade to the company's trademarked "SteadyShot" technology, which is promoted as being 3 times better at handling certain vibrations. With stabilization being such an important part of recording skydiving footage, it will be interesting to see how the X1000V does in comparison to the other Sony action cams on the market. Also beneficial, especially to skydivers - is the new, enhanced wind noise reduction. While the focus of the X1000V definitely appears to be the ability to record in 4K, the camera also boasts some impressive recording abilities at both full HD and standard HD. Up to 120fps is supported for Full HD recording, while Standard HD allows for 240fps recording. Sony HDR-AS200VThe second camera to be announced is the new HDR-AS200V. Last year Sony unveiled the AS100V, which in turn became quite a popular action cam. The AS series of Sony action cameras have in fact probably been the most used Sony product for skydivers, with the releases of the AS15, AS30 and AS100 in just a few short years. We've done extensive testing on some of these models in the past, and they have always performed well, with the Sony AS30 coming out on top in our Action Cam Shootout last year. The AS200V will receive the same boost in stabilization and noise reduction as the above-mentioned X1000V, while offering recording in 60fps at 1080p, 120fps at 720p and 240fps in the WVGA video format. New Features For X1000V and AS200VSony have extended most of the new features they have developed to both of these cameras, and it appears that the only real differences between models will be the ability for 4k recording on the X1000V, as well as a more enhanced underwater casing that is provided with it. Built in GPS & Action Cam Movie Creator Action Cam Movie Creator is software that is included with both the models and allows for the easy creation of videos, which can also use the built-in GPS to display the GPS details in an overlay of the video. Highlight Movie Maker For those who don't want to spend the time creating a movie from a series of clips, the Highlight Movie Maker will offer the ability to quickly and easily produce smaller mp4 video format highlights of a video, along with being able to add music to the video. The Highlight Movie Maker uses an algorithm to detect where the action is happening within the video, and then cuts out scenes which it detects as unimportant. Live View Remote With the new cameras come a new live view LCD remote. The Sony RM-LVR2 is a waterproof (to 3 meters) offers extensive control over both the AS200V and the X1000V, with the ability to control recording, playback, deletion of files. The live view functionality also means that you'll be able to get a clear preview of what is being recorded. Release Dates & Pricing: The X1000V and AS200V will be available from March with the X1000V being priced at $500, packaged with the enhanced SPK-X1 waterproof case. For the live view remote bundle, you will be paying $600. The AS200V will go for $300, and include the SPK-AS2 waterproof case and tripod mount. The live view remote bundle will also cost $100 extra, and set you back $400.
  9. A group of tandem skydivers, as well as a pilot managed to come out alive after a near disaster over Lake Taupo in New Zealand this week. Media sources reported on Wednesday that a group of 6 tandem instructors along with 6 clients were looking to perform jumps at Skydive Taupo, when the aircraft that they were traveling in began to experience problems, forcing them to evacuate. All thirteen individuals, which included the pilot had to leave the aircraft mid-flight while the recognizably pink PAC750 aircraft crashed into Lake Taupo. The plane was reportedly flying at just over 4000 feet at the time of the incident, which is said to have been engine troubles. While 4000 feet is well below the general altitude for a tandem skydive, it was enough altitude to ensure that all the passengers, including the pilot landed safely and that everyone escaped serious injury. A loud noise was heard coming from the engine just seconds after it was evacuated by the pilot, the plane then crashed in the lake below - managing to miss boats and individuals swimming in the lake. Skydive Taupo is a tandem focused dropzone which opened in 2003 and offers customers tandem jumps at 12 000ft or 15 000ft. The pilot who ordered the evacuation of the plane prior to the incident had only recently started working with the company, but is an experienced pilot. Skydive Taupo has since posted a message on Facebook giving thanking people for support and giving props to those involved on their handling of the situation. Post by Skydive Taupo.
  10. admin

    Turned On by Hypoxic

    In May of 2014 the skydiving-focused electronics company Hypoxic began a Kickstarter campaign that sought out a goal funding of $30,000 in order to develop a status indicator for the GoPro action camera. Despite dominating the market for several years, neither GoPro or its primary competitors come with a feature or piece of hardware that allows the user to easily determine the status of the camera or its recording. For sports where the GoPro is mounted out of sight, such as the popular helmet mounting method, this can often cause hesitation when trying to remember whether you may have pressed record or whether you put the SD card back. Hypoxic's goal was to try and provide a useful and easy way of determining whether the camera is functioning as it should, while also removing that hesitation from the minds of the jumper. As quoted from the Kickstarter page: "In our sports, these uncertainties are not just unsettling: they’re dangerous. As an athlete, you know: before riding down this line, starting this race, jumping out of this plane, launching down this mountain, you need an absolutely clear head. Nothing good can happen when personal safety takes a backseat to a blinking light." By the end of June last year, the Kickstarter campaign had raised $43,049, more than $13,000 over the original target amount. Incentives for backers ranged from stickers for those that pledged $5 or more, to Turned On units with early shipping for backers that pledged over $180. Over the past 6 months the Kickstarter units have been sent to the backers of the campaign and were well received. The Turned On units have now begun shipping to outlets and are available for public purchase. What Does It Do?The Turned On unit makes use of 3 colored LED lights to provide information as to the status of the camera. When the camera is recording, the light will be solid red. When it is on standby a blue light will be displayed. When an error is present it will display either a solid yellow or a flashing yellow light. When the light is flashing yellow, it indicates a potential impending interruption to recording, such as low card space, low battery or high temperature. A solid yellow light indicates an error and in this case, the camera will not be able to record, such as in situations where the card is missing or corrupt. The device will work in all modes, and show the active recording light whether you're recording video or shooting a series of images in burst mode. What separates the Turned On indicator from other indicators on the market is the detailed level of information provided. Most other indicators simply use an on/off system that will display whether or not the camera is recording or even just whether the power is on, which is often unreliable - especially in cases when the camera may be in stand by mode. Compatibility and SupportCurrently there is limited compatibility with the Turned On, and will require one of the following GoPro cameras: GoPro Hero 4 Black, GoPro Hero 4 Silver, GoPro Hero 3+ Black, GoPro Hero 3 Black. Supported Versions GoPro Hero 4 Black - v1.02.00 GoPro Hero 4 Silver - v1.0.2.00 GoPro Hero 3+ Black - v1.04.00 GoPro Hero 3 Black - v3.00.00 There are two build of the Turned On available, the H3+/H4 and the H3. The H3+/H4 is designed for use with the GoPro Hero 3+ and GoPro Hero 4 cases, while the H3 model is for use with the GoPro Hero 3 case. Hypoxic are already looking to expand the development to include more of the GoPro models and claim to be exploring compatibility that goes back to the GoPro Hero 2. Where to Get One?Dealers that are listed with selling the Turned On units are as follows: Chuting Star - Skydive the Farm, GA Patrick Kaye - Skydive Dubai, Dubai, UAE Para-Gear - Skokie, IL Ranch Pro Shop / Tonfly USA - Skydive the Ranch, NY The Drop Shop - Skydive Chicago Gold Coast Skydivers - Gold Coast Skydivers, LA Sunshine Factory - ZHills, FL Rock Sky Market - Chicago Skydive Center, IL Xtreme Video - Skydive Carolina, Chester, SC HYPOXIC - Chandler, AZ As of the release of this article, the MSRP for the Turned On units was listed as $99. More information and installation guides can be found on the Turned On Website.
  11. johnfallo

    Exit Separation

    On Saturday October 26, 2013 there was a near canopy collision by experienced jumpers. There were several factors which may have contributed to this event. I feel that a lack of understanding of exit separation was a major contributor. The winds of the day were posted: 24 knots at 12,000 feet, 22 knots at 9,000 feet and so on. I was on the first load, first out with a three way formation. I turned to the group behind me and asked for 10 seconds of separation. The response was “Why? That’s a lot of time.” Both of these jumpers have around 500 jumps. One has been jumping for over 10 years, the other for 9 years. One of these jumpers was part of the group that was involved in the near collision later that day. The incident: a near miss at opening time between two skydivers we will call jumper 1 and jumper 2. Jumper 1 left the plane first as part of an 8 way relative work group. Jumper 2, as part of a less experienced 2 way relative work group, left next with 5-6 seconds of separation. The second group left the plane flipping and having fun then got stable and continued a normal relative work dive. Jumper 1 was oriented to track up the line of flight decreasing his separation from the 2nd group. Jumper 1 further decreased his separation from the 2nd group by continuing to fly his canopy up the line of flight for 12 seconds. At which time he noticed one of the jumpers from the two way open pretty close. He then started looking for the other jumper from the two way group (jumper 2) and started a right rear riser turn. At this point, jumper 2 under a still deploying main fell past and within 20 feet of Jumper 1. Here is a link to the video of the opening sequence. This video was taken with a gopro camera and the jumpers in it are closer than they appear. Conclusions: 1. The initial flipping on exit of the second group may have had the two way in an orientation to slide down the line of flight and therefore contributed to the second group moving towards the first group. If so this would have been only momentary and not a large contribution. 2. Jumper 1 decreased separation by tracking up the line of flight. Although a contributing factor to the lack of separation, this was an appropriate action as on groups of 2 or larger all jumpers should track away from the radial center of the formation regardless of whether that puts them tracking up or down the line of flight as this will give them the greatest amount of separation from the members of their own group which would pose the greatest danger of collision at opening time. Jumpers tracking up the line of flight away from larger groups should always be aware of their direction and not “over track”. 3. Jumper 1 was flying a small fast canopy, continuing to fly up the jump run, holding into the wind with his brakes still set. This decreased separation with the following group. Every skydiver should know where jump run is planned to be before boarding the aircraft. All jumpers should upon opening orient themselves as quickly as possible to fly perpendicular to jump run at least long enough to ensure the groups before and after them have opened. 4. There is no question that mistakes were made on both sides, but there should also be no question that there would have been greater separation with 8 seconds at the door as called for in the chart below. In this case an extra 2 seconds separation would have equated to between 224-252 more feet of separation. We are also reminded of another incident we had a while back. Jumper 1 on a hop-n-pop leaves opens and flies up the line of flight. Jumper 2 leaves with about 5 seconds of separation and tracks down the line of flight. Jumper 2 tracks through Jumper 1’s canopy ripping it in half. Luckily neither one was injured. Another example is the video posted Iloveskydyving.org. This video clearly shows the following group giving 8 seconds of separation. Judging from their flying style it is obvious they are very skilled and not likely sliding through the air unintentionally. However, they still end up opening dangerously close to the group before them. We don’t know about what mistakes the group ahead may have made if any, but consider the problem may have been enough wind to dictate more time for adequate separation. Close Skydive Canopy CollisionAs Jumpers, we must have a basic understanding of the effects the ground speed of the aircraft has on the amount of time that we need to allow for the same amount of separation. I have heard swoopers say that the only good wind is no wind. They are saying this because in a no wind situation all things remain constant and consistent. Likewise at altitude if the aircrafts speed relative to the ground was always the same we would always give the same amount of time for the same amount of separation. What is adequate separation? In distance, the number I was taught is 1000 feet from center of formation to the center of the next formation for small groups. This number increases up to 2000 feet or more for groups of 8 or larger. Consider two 4 way groups lined up perfectly with jump run which will result in a jumper from each group tracking directly at one another. This allows each jumper to track 250 feet with 500 feet still left between them. The Skydivers Information Manual goes farther and recommends 1500 feet of separation for small groups and solos. What is adequate separation? In time, that will depend on the speed of the aircraft and the wind the aircraft is encountering. In other words, it will depend on the ground speed of the aircraft on jump run. See the chart put together by Phil Litke. These numbers should be considered minimums for 1000 feet of separation to be doubled for following groups of 8 or larger. Here are some examples of experienced jumpers and Tandem instructors giving between 13 and 31 seconds exit separation when the winds were very high. Also consider that these instructors are, for the most part, giving such separation on solos and 2 ways. As stated earlier, larger groups should be allowed more distance and therefore more time. We are all concerned about hosing the guys in the back of the plane by taking too long. I am not advocating that we give more time unnecessarily. If the speed of the aircraft dictates a certain amount of separation between groups this should include your set up, climb out, and count. I am not suggesting anyone taking longer than the conditions call for as this would create different problems such as people landing off, unnecessary go arounds, and wasted fuel. Most of us have had experienced people in the back of the plane yelling for people to hurry up and get out. This is because they feel you are taking too long to exit and will end up with them getting too far from the airport to make it back. If the winds are strong enough to necessitate a certain amount of separation then likewise the plane is moving slower relative to the ground, Freefall drift will be greater, and the acceptable opening spot may be farther from the landing zone. Every skydiver should know the acceptable exit and opening points for the conditions of the day. Many people land out without trying to make it back because it looks father than they are used to seeing. Without looking at the winds and calculating the opening spot before you go up you have very little chance of knowing for certain whether you will make it back, especially as the winds get higher and the spots get longer. One thing that you cannot control when you leave the aircraft is what the group behind you will do. We all should look after each other. By knowing how much separation to give you are looking out for yourself and the group ahead of you. Don’t be afraid to confirm with the group behind you that they will also wait an appropriate amount of time before exiting. Recommendation to reduce the likelihood of these type incidents: 1. Phil Litke’s exit separation chart should be posted near the jumper closest to the pilot for easy reference on jump run. 2. Upon turning onto jump run after the cut, the pilot will inform the close jumper of the aircrafts ground speed. This close jumper will look at the chart and determine how many seconds are needed. The number of seconds separation to give will be passed down to all jumpers on the load. 3. If this turns out to be too great a burden for the pilot we should install a GPS unit near the door so that the jumpers can determine ground speed themselves and make all jumpers on the load aware of how many seconds separation to give. We all have to get on board for this to work. Our landing direction at our dropzone is mandatory. This has been the best proactive step towards promoting a safe landing area and smooth landing pattern I have seen since I have been with my dropzone. The chaos of 22 jumpers landing in every direction in light and variable winds seems to be behind us. Each of us knows no one landing against the assigned pattern will escape a talk with a staff member. Exit separation is as important a safety issue and should be treated with the same respect. It needs to be a matter of policy for consistency. There is not an original idea on this subject here. This is the best knowledge which my mentors passed on to me. Here are a couple of related articles which go into greater depth about these concepts and solutions to these problems. I hope it is clear we must go about things in a more thoughtful and consistent way to avoid similar incidents in the future. http://www.dropzone.com/safety/Exit/Exit_Separation_Revisited_628.html http://indra.net/~bdaniels/ftw/sg_skr_dealing_1_uppers.html
  12. Over the past several weeks Performance Designs have been dropping hints about their latest product, with a cryptic advertisment in Parachutist magazine at the end of September, that had a few readers scratching their heads and trying to establish what exactly PD were advertising. Clearly the marketing tactic worked, as interest grew about just what it was about. One community member, "Zlew" - suggested that the advert may be about a product with the name "Valkyrie", based off the design and the style of the 'V' that was present in the image. Today Performance Designs have confirmed this suspicion, with the public announcement of their this new canopy, the Valkyrie. The Valkyrie is a mean little 7-cell design with inflatable stabilizers/wingtips, and is quite similar to the Peregrine in both look and planform. It's a freefall canopy with focus on quality openings at terminal speeds. - Zero-Porosity material. - Standard configuration: Collapsible drawstring slider and 500 Orange Vectran, optional RDS and 300 Orange Vectran (for competitive/subterminal use) - Sizes: The Valkyrie We spoke to Performance Designs about the Valkyrie, and they addressed some of the questions one may have about the company's new canopy. Q: Who is this canopy for? A: This canopy is far more responsive than a Velocity or Comp Velocity, and not lacking in power or speed. It was designed for expert skydivers who are experienced and highly competent on high performance, cross braced canopies. If you are very proficient jumping a Velocity or Comp Velocity and want to take it to the next level, this is the canopy for you. "The openings are amazing. Best opening canopy I can recall jumping. Never once got it to open hard no matter what I tried (freefly to a quick pull, tracking hard to a pull, etc)." - Ian Drennan,PDFT Q: How are the openings? A: This canopy opens like a dream. Even though it is extremely responsive to input, you will find the openings to be smooth, well-staged and with less tendency to search for a heading during inflation. Q: How are the flight characteristics? A: The Valkyrie is more responsive on all controls. The flare and stopping power of this canopy is incredible, and it also has great glide capabilities. All around, this canopy is awesome to fly. But don't take our word for it. Q: When can I get one? A: We will be accepting orders from PD's Authorized Dealers on December 1, 2014. Standard crossbraced production time will apply to the Valkyrie. These lead times are posted on the performancedesigns.com home page. Q: How do I buy one? A: The Valkyrie will be sold through PD's Authorized dealer network. Interested customers should contact their local dealer to discuss if this canopy is right for them, and should be prepared to demonstrate expert canopy pilot skills and/or provide references. Potential pilots should be highly competent on a more traditional crossbraced canopy, prior to considering a Valkyrie. "The Valkyrie is a carving machine! You get so much more lift, control, and smooth flight when carving a swoop, than with a Velocity. The toggles are more responsive, and flare a lot more powerful." - Alejandro Ramos, Tribu Freefly Q: When will stock canopies be available? A: We are planning on producing stock canopies by early February 2015, but are anticipating heavy demand for this stock. The best way to assure a quick and efficient Valkyrie delivery will be to place your order in early December 2014. "The feedback we have been getting on this new product is incredibly positive, with regards to openings, flight characteristics and performance. We are very excited to make the Valkyrie available to everyone (*with the required experience)." Comp VelocityWith the ever growing trend of people using the Comp Velocity for every day purposes, we have decided to make changes that will make it readily available for non-competition use. Introductory Retail Price: $3200 Additional for RDS: $250 (instead of standard slider/subterminal use) The standard configuration of the Comp Velocity will include a collapsible drawstring slider, instead of the RDS, and 500 size lines. This will also cause a price adjustment for this product. Retail Price: $3050 Additional cost for RDS:$250 (instead of collapsible drawstring slider/subterminal use) "We have also included a number of additional line options for the Comp Velocity. The new order form will offer 300 or 500 Orange Vectran, 500 or 700 HMA, 500 or 750 Vectran. Current stock will remain with 300 Orange Vectran and RDS. We will begin to include the collapsible drawstring slider & 500 line configuration on our stock Comp Velocities in the near future. We anticipate these pricing, stock and order form changes to occur on or around December 2014."
  13. iFly have announced that they will be adding another indoor skydiving facility to their rapidly growing portfolio, which now consists of 35 wind tunnels that span across 12 countries. The company currently has 14 tunnels under construction with another 12 planned for 2015. The new wind tunnel will be located in San Diego, California; on the corner of Camino Del Rio North and Qualcomm Way. The three acre site will be part of the $45 million Discovery Place development, with $10 million being spent on the wind tunnel facilities. Development on the new tunnel has already begun and is expected to be open some time next year. While there haven't been any specifications on the power output that the tunnel will have, the tunnel will have a height of 48 feet and a diameter of 14 feet. It will be capable of handling 12 people every 30 minutes. The tunnel will be catered towards both serious skydivers looking to improve their freeflying, and the casual non-jumpers who are looking to experience human flight in a safer environment. The venue will have an observation deck, conference rooms, as well as a party room for group events and birthdays. From the early information released, it would seem that the basic training packages will be offered from $70, which will include two minutes of flying. Early estimates on operating hours suggest that the tunnel will be open from 10am to 10pm during week days and from 8am until as late as midnight on the weekends. The location of the new tunnel, puts it at almost mid way between the current iFly Hollywood as well as the popular Skydive Perris indoor skydiving center, one of the few North American wind tunnels to not be run by iFly, despite originally being built by the company. While indoor skydiving has become an important part of competitive freefly training for skydivers, the prices involved are still not affordable for many people. It is a shared hope amongst many, that the rapid expansion of wind tunnels in both the United States and abroad, will result in a lowering of the pricing over time. It will also be interesting to see how the new wave of younger tunnel enthusiasts will change the dynamic of competitive skydiving over the years to come.
  14. The Squirrel Snatch is a revolutionary new product that sees the first BASE targeted development of a toroidal design for a pilot chute. Although the design has been used extensively in the development of non-sport parachutes for over 40 years, until now it's never been manufactured for BASE or skydiving. The idea was born from a discussion between the company's co-designer and CRW expert, Jim Rasmussen. The toroidal design (also known as a Pulled-Down-Apex design) that the Snatch uses, is a complex and costly product to produce and was no small undertaking by the company. The Snatch has a three dimensional partial toroidal shape and is joined together with two mesh cones, allowing for extremely high drag co-efficiency. Squirrel Wingsuits discuss the differences between the shape of a toroidal design and that of the common pilot chute by saying, "Traditional PCs are two circles sewn together around the edges, typically one of ZP and one of mesh, with a piece of line or webbing connecting the center of each circle together at a specific distance. When pulled from the center of the mesh circle and dragged through a fluid, it inflates into a rough approximation of a pulled-down-apex shape, but with a large amount of distortion and error, with a wrinkled and asymmetric circumference. Imagine crumpling up a single piece of paper until it forms the 3D shape you want to design - it won't look good, nor be an accurate representation of a 3D surface. Yet that is the current basis of traditional PCs: an approximate and inefficient 2D design meant to perform a task that requires a 3D shape." Squirrel used an ellipse with a 7:10 (H:W) ratio, with an axis offset of 20% of the width in the development of the torus. The tangent formed with the cones and partial torus was calculated precisely to ensure that the ZP had a smooth transition with the mesh. This allows for the ability to maintain a smooth error-free perimeter on the pilot chute. Innovation aside, the most impressive part about the Snatch is the enhanced performance over regular double circle pilot chutes. Because of the shape of standard pilot chutes, the surface area is usually met with an imbalance of stress, with some areas being pulled more than others, and material being "loose". The randomness aspect that is present in these regular pilot chutes gets minimized with the toroidal design of the Snatch. Unlike normal PCs which are constantly changing shape as airflow moves around the creases and wrinkles, the toroidal design inflates to its intended shape and remains that way, without the pulsing that is usually witnessed. When inflated, the Squirrel Snatch takes the shape of a 3D object, with specifically calculated gores. This increase in inflation performance is easily seen in testing where far superior stability was witnessed in both wind tunnel and field testing. Symmetry is one of the most important factors in the performance of a pilot chute, and each Snatch is guaranteed to be symmetric, with the build tolerance being set at a stringent 1mm +/-. The focus with the Snatch has not only been on general performance and innovation, but also on safety. Squirrel decided that due to the suggested risks involved with heavy handles, and their involvement in entanglements, that they wanted to produce the lightest possible design, without compromising on durability. The decrease in weight means that bridle entanglements become less likely. The Snatch uses hexagonal carbon-fiber handles for sizes 32, 34, 36 and 38. The 42 featured a pad-patch top with no carbon, while the 46 and 48 are handle-free, for hand held use. The Snatch already has several skydivers wondering whether or not they will be able to use it on their skydiving rig, or whether the company plans to release a skydiving specific toroidal PC in the future, as well as whether or not this is a development that could change the development and focus of PCs in general. Squirrel have open sourced the design, in the attempt to get more BASE jumping what they consider to be a higher performance and safer design. For those looking to build their own toroidal PC, you can get in contact with Squirrel via e-mail and they will provide you with the 2D patterns for all sizes.
  15. We recently announced that GoPro had planned to release their latest action camera, the GoPro Hero 4. The Hero 4 is set for release this month, and since at the time of our original article, we had little to no footage of what the Hero 4 performed like, specifically in a skydiving environment, we couldn't really make a call on value between the different editions. Hypoxic has now however released a video showing a comparison between the Hero 4 Silver and the Hero 4 Black, and the initial results are a little surprising. View Full 1920x1080 Hero 4 Silver Image View Full 1920x1080 Hero 4 Black Image The video was recorded at 80fps for the GoPro Hero 4 Black and at 60fps for the Hero 4 Silver, though little noticible difference is seen in the smoothness of the video in standard playback. There are however some differences between the two cameras, as can be seen when comparing screenshots of the video. We decided to analyze the screenshots from the video and see who really comes out on top between the Hero 4 Silver and the Hero 4 Black. All example pictures are 1080p (1920x1080) cropped at 100%. The first thing we looked at when examining the video, were the noise levels. In the example shots above, noise can be seen in the gradient of the sky. Noise levels for both these cameras were good, and it is difficult to pick a clear winner, though for this test I would suggest that the Hero 4 Black comes out on top, though still not a bad result for the Silver Edition. Next we took a look at some of the primary aspects of image quality, focusing on sharpness and detail levels. This is where we were quite surprised, with the Hero 4 Silver taking a very clear lead over the Black Edition on sharpness and detail. This is an area where many would expect the top tier camera to perform at its best, and give the buyer a reason to spend the extra $100. Instead we find that the Black Edition lacks in sharpness. In the image above, one can note the sharpness/clarity difference easily by examining the helmet and rig on the top two images. The "Mirage" text is sharp and easily readable on the Hero 4 Silver, while on the Black Edition it's blury and hard to distinguish. Also take a look at the buildings on the top images, on the right of the screenshots. Again the Hero 4 Silver is sharper, both with objects in close range to the camera and in the distance. Comparing the skydiver in the orange and blue jumpsuit on the bottom images, also show you that facial details are picked up much better by the Silver Edition. Finally we looked at the contrast and saturation, and again we were a little surprised. It was much closer between the two cameras with this test and with regards to saturation, neither of the cameras look oversaturated and they both seem to handle the dark gray and black quite well. When examining the socks of the skydiver, it does seem to handle the whites a bit better on the Silver Edition, both are quite close and very much acceptable, but there appears to be a more crisp whiteness in the left image. This test however is hard to establish with certainty, as the increased sharpness in the left image may suggest crisper colours, while the Hero 4 Black's may appear a bit more washed out due to a lack of sharpness in the image. It's important to note that in camera manufacturing, there are variables that can result in batches or individual cameras performing poorer (or better) than the standard. So it's possible that this was the case with the two cameras above. Though whether this is to blame for the Hero 4 Black's lack of image performance, will likely only be told with time, as more footage is shot and released. A much more likely reason for the decrease in performance when looking at grabs taken from a video, as pointed out by the user "cbjetboy" in the comments below. Is that the Black is recording at 80fps as opposed to 60fps. This increase in frame rate is likely to have a negative impact on the result seen from a screenshot, as opposed to as if it had been recorded at a lower fps. It is difficult to say exactly how much of an impact this had on the results, but it seems we will need to wait for further comparative testing before we can come to a solid conclusion. Though when comparing the videos themselves side by side, there is little to suggest that the Black Edition comes out any better than the Silver. Based on what information we do have though, if you assume that both these cameras are operating at their normal performance levels, unless you're looking to use the 30fps 4k recording that's available solely on the Hero 4 Black, these early tests suggest that you may be just as well of sticking to the Silver Edition and saving yourself $100. The Silver Edition also comes with the perc of having a touch screen for easier navigation and image/video previewing.
  16. ConceptLeia is born from a simple idea: bringing the Petra technology to the open market! After bringing Petra to the CP competition scene three years ago, we have had many more orders than we could reasonably deal with. Everyone wanted one! But as I was going through the infamous ‘list’, I realized that about half were not the original target market of Petra. People were asking for bigger lines, insisted on a ZP version¹... They wanted the fun of it but were not planning to compete. It became quite obvious we would have to go back to the (computer aided) drawing board to infuse some of the Petra DNA into a more accessible canopy and create Petra’s little sister. She would have to fit in a small Freefly container and be jumpable every day and so we could see her first curves appearing: ZP No hassle Good openings She also needed to keep Petra’s epic flight characteristics such as a high roll rate, a very long dive, high harness sensitivity and the widest speed range ever covered by a parachute (Petra can fly with a tandem or a wingsuit without trims). The picture was getting clearer: High ellipticity Powerband² Steep trim Compact aspect ratio Development 1. BridgetWe first decided on a 7 cell format and we couldn’t wait to learn more so we cut two cells out of a big Petra. Bridget was born. This was a fun experiment but it wasn’t quite right. The aspect ratio was too small, the toggle range was weird and the flare wasn’t powerful enough. Why Bridget? In a nutshell, this prototype was a little frumpy looking, but still kinda hot! Her low aspect ratio gave her some luscious curves. And while we love curves, we reckon a sleeker wing might suit our purpose better for this project! 2. CandyWe gave it more thought (and more computer simulations) and used our secret recipe… a mix of science, beer, experience, overheating computers, head scratching, experiments, overheating sewing machines and beer. And finally went back to the dropzone with a much better design. We gave it a more reasonable aspect ratio and ditched the Mini Ribs³ that appeared useless on this type of design. She was awesome and the test jumpers were looking for excuses to keep jumping her. When they couldn’t find any more, they started fighting to get her in their personal rigs. And so she started to go around... a lot! We thought that was a good sign. She was truly flying like Petra so we thought about calling her Petra Lite but she deserved better than being her little sister forever. She needed a personality of her own to grow big in this world. We called her Candy, for her acid drop colors and sweeeeet openings. 3. LeiaWe knew we were onto something so we kept looking for things to improve. We changed the lineset, refined the panel designs, put more beers into it and made sure every detail was worth her surname... Here is Leia... We invited TJ Landgren, Katie Hansen and Nick Batsch to try it while they were visiting NZ this summer and they all loved it. Nick did an impressive 175m swoop on it on his first jump (nil wind and at sea level) confirming the awesome potential of the canopy! He didn’t say much straight away but his smile left us confident that she is better than any other ZP competition wing on the market. TargetWe said everyday, not everyone... Leia is a very high-end design targeted to the most experienced jumpers out there. The way we see it, Leia will NOT be the best choice for: First Crossbraced canopy Distance world record WingsuitingBut will be an awesome wing for: Awesome swoopers who want to fun jump, work and play with their canopy, and swoop the shit out of it too – competitively or not! Zone accuracy (currently tested by some of the very best pilots) Everyday canopy that flies similar to Petra to stay current while working Competition wing Mountain flying XRW Something you guys will come up with. Specs Cells: 7 Chambers: 21 Structure: Crossbraced Tip chord to Center chord ratio: 0.4 (!) Aspect ratio: 2.65 Wing loading: 2.2 to ? Features: No stabilizers, Integrated slider stops, Powerband², No Mini-Ribs³ Deployment system: Normal slider, RDS available on demand Materials: ZP (maybe a hybrid version later on) Lines: Black HMA 400 (maybe HMA 600 later on) Sizes: Any Price: The price hasn’t been decided yet but it will be around 3100USD. Availability: Leia is our current project and we are proud to share it with you but this is not an available product at the moment. We hope it will become available sometime in 2014 or 2015. 1. Petra is only made out of Sail fabric. This is a generic and misleading name for a range of Polyurethane coated nylons developed for paragliders. It gives more rigidity and a better controlled shape to the competition canopies thanks to its low stretch characteristics. Unfortunately, it also packs bigger and doesn’t last as long as our good old ZP (Silicone coated nylon) so it needs to be treated with much more precaution. To learn more about how to increase its life span, contact [email protected] 2. We call the Powerband the black part on the top leading edge. It is visible on Petra and makes it easily recognizable. It helps defining and controlling the shape better in this critical area where lift is created making a real difference in performance. 3. The Mini-Ribs are partial ribs covering about 20% of the chord starting from the tail. They allow better shape control on the tail and a sharper trailing edge decreasing the wake turbulence and form drag. This is a design feature commonly found on paragliders and on some wingsuits but Petra is the first parachute using it. Keep checking this space or our Facebook page to check the new stuff we are working on!
  17. BrianSGermain

    The Stall

    The stall is one of the least explored and most feared aspects of flying. Avoidance of this flight mode causes many canopy pilots to be uncomfortable with flying slowly, and unpracticed in this important art. This article will discuss the governing variables relating to the stall, in hopes that this knowledge will help parachute pilots to become less afraid of this essential aspect of the flying experience. First we must explore what a stall is. The assumption made by most canopy pilots is that the stall is caused by slow speed flight. This is not true. It is correlated with low speed flight, but a wing can stall at high speed too. A stall is caused by an excessive angle of attack. When the relative wind flows over an airfoil, it is bent in the general direction of down. This causes an opposite force called "Lift". When the orientation of the airfoil is changed to a higher angle with respect to the relative wind, it is said to have an increased angle of attack. Air is quite cooperative. It is willing to be redirected and still flow in a fairly organized manner…up to a point. At a specific angle, all airfoils fail to bend the air into submission. This discrete angle of attack is referred to as a stall. It is coupled with a sudden drop in lift, and thus a significant increase in decent rate. Whether you are flying an F-16 or a Lotus 190, recovery from a stall is always the same: the pilot must reduce the angle of attack. On an airplane this requires forward pressure on the yolk or stick. On a parachute, we are simply required to let off the downward pressure on the toggles or rear risers that has increased the angle of attack in the first place. Each parachute stalls and recovers differently. Depending on several governing variables, some parachutes will recovery nicely from a stalled configuration no matter what the recovery technique, while others will require very careful execution. Let's take a look at these issues one by one. The characteristics of a stall on any ram air canopy are based on two main variables, and several lower order variables. The most significant governing variable is the flight mode when the stall is reached. If the canopy is in a sink, rather than level flight (zero decent surf), it will tend to stall in a more forgiving and docile manner. The second primary variable is the attitude about the roll axis when the stall is reached. In other words, if there is any bank angle when the stall precipitates, it will cause the lower wing to stall first, resulting in significant yaw energy, which can result in line twists. There are several other things to consider when testing the stall of a canopy, including: canopy design, density altitude, wing-loading, aggressiveness of the control input, and most importantly, recovery technique. This will be discussed next. If the wing is allowed back into forward flight quickly, it will dive aggressively toward the ground, causing a drop in the angle of attack, as well as the lift and therefore the overall line tension. This may allow the wing to surge below the suspended weight (you), and possibly cause a jumper/canopy entanglement. Further, if the release of the brakes is asymmetrical, the lack of line tension can allow the wing to surge unevenly about the yaw axis, causing line-twists. The key to stalling any wing is to enter the stalled configuration in a sink, with the wing level and static about the roll axis. As soon as the stall is reached, the toggles (or rear risers) should be released only a few inches to allow for only a slight drop in the angle of attack. As soon as the brakes are released, the jumper should be prepared for a sudden increase in toggle pressure, as the tail of the parachute is about to get hit with a pulse of relative wind. If the pilot is unprepared for this, the toggles will usually be pulled upward and possibly in an uneven manner, often resulting in an aggressive stall recovery that may result in line twists. When the brakes are released quickly to the full flight position, the wing doesn't have much drag. This means that there is very little to prevent it from surging forward in the window. When the brakes are released slowly, and then held down just above the stall point, the wing has a great deal of drag. You have two big barn doors at the back of the wing helping to prevent and aggressive surge. Further, as you become more familiar with the stall and recovery characteristics of your wing, you may begin to fly "actively" with respect to the recovery process. In other words, as soon as the wing begins to fly forward in the window, the pilot jerks on the brakes to dampen the forward surge. It is important to do this minimally enough to prevent re-stalling the wing. A well-timed reapplication of the brakes during the recovery process will significantly reduce the amount of altitude lost in the stall. This can be very useful in the event of a low altitude stall. This maneuver can be practiced in relative proximity to another canopy in deep brakes. Be sure to keep your distance when you do this. By definition, a stall is a loss of control of the wing. Rear riser stalls tend to be sharper at the onset, but quicker on the recovery. Therefore it is advisable to stall the parachute on the rear risers first before attempting to stall it on the brakes. Further, such maneuvers should always be performed at an altitude that will allow for a safe cutaway. Given all of these concerns, one must ask "Why should I stall my parachute in the first place". There are several valid reasons why each jumper should rehearse stalls at altitude. In high angle of attack approaches, such as may be necessary in a tight landing area, stalls can happen inadvertently while maneuvering. This is why it is also important to practice slow flight maneuvering by lifting the toggle on the outside of the turn, rather than depressing the one on the inside of the turn. In order to reach a (near) zero ground-speed on a no-wind day, the pilot must have full "Toggle Authority". In other words, if the toggles are set too long, the pilot will be unable to access the slowest possible airspeed, and therefore will be forced to land with more ground-speed without the advantage of a headwind. Being able to finish the flare completely and then let up after landing to prevent the stall from pulling you onto your heels in an essential part of any no wind landing. When you decide to practice stalls, I suggest taking the process step by step. Simply honking your brakes down with your eyes squinting in negative expectation usually results in a wild ride, and sometimes a cutaway. Try hanging out in slow flight for a while. Bring your toggles down to a bit more than half brakes and leave them there. If you are above the stall point, it isn't going to just stall all by itself. Watching people fly in deep brakes is usually similar to watching them light a firecracker. Your parachute isn't going to explode…promise. When you get your canopy into the deep brake mode, take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Relax your muscles. Let your legs hang limp. I find that nervous pilots can't connect with their parachute because it isn't touching their bones. If you soften your muscles, your will allow the leg straps to sink into you so that you can feel what is happening with the newest addition to your body: your wing. By truly relaxing under canopy, we begin to sober up from the adrenalin that is blurring our vision and skewing our perspective toward the negative. Stalls are an essential part of flight. If you are to be fully in control over the wing, you must explore all aspects of your parachute's performance envelope. Ultimately, flying slowly is the most important aspect of flight because we land in slow flight. The more comfortable you are with your slow flight skills, the better your touchdown will be. Remember, the definition of a good flight is one that ends well. BSG www.BrianGermain.com BIGAIR SPORTZ
  18. GoPro have announced the specs and release date for the highly anticipated Hero 4 action camera, which will come in three models. The new series of GoPros are scheduled for release around the middle of October this year, and will feature the standard GoPro Hero 4, a GoPro Hero 4 Silver and then the top of the range GoPro Hero 4 Black. New Key FeaturesSome of the highlights with regards to the specifications of the new GoPro range is the addition of 30fps recording at 4k resolution that is found with the Black Edition, which sees a big step up from the previous models 4k video recording, which only allowed for 15fps recording at 4k. The increase in frames from the Hero 3 will mean that users will find more versatility with their high resolution video recording. Another exciting new addition is that of a touch screen on the Silver edition. While GoPro has always been a reliable camera with regards to build and video quality, one aspect that many have found lacking has been the usability of the camera menus, which are handled with the on camera buttons and a small display. Now GoPro have gone and added what is likely to be a very welcomed addition in that it has introduced for the first time in the GoPro series, a touch screen which will no doubt allow for easier navigation of the menus, as well enabling the ability to preview your images (worth noting that the Hero 4 claims to have a new interface for quicker menu navigation too). It is however unusual that the touch screen feature is only available on the Silver edition and not on that of the more expensive Black edition, nor the entry level version of the Hero 4. The most likely reason for the inclusion in the Silver edition is that GoPro is marketing the new series towards three general groups of people, and the mid-range target market is more likely to desire the touch screen, without having to purchase the LCD "BacPac" accessory, which sells for another $80. Though of course it is still possible for one to use their smartphone as a remote for the camera. As customary with a new GoPro release, the company has focused on increasing the general image quality achieved and further enhancements have been made on ensuring better quality in low-light. GoPro Hero 4 Black The GoPro Hero 4 Black, is as mentioned above, the top of the range for the Hero 4 series and thus the most powerful of the lineup. A new processor is claimed to be twice as fast as that found in it's predecessor. The Hero 4 Black will not only have video performance enhancements, but also step up the game with far superior audio recording. There are three modes of shooting with regards to field-of-view: Narrow, Medium or Ultra Wide. There will be the ability to manually adjust settings like ISO limit, exposure and colour for both video and photos. The camera will include built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Waterproofing down to 40 meters will be standard. GoPro are seemingly targeting the Hero 4 Black to those looking for the absolute best quality and features available in an action camera, specifically professional use and dedicated adventure sports enthusiasts who are looking to create high quality video footage using the camera. The Hero 4 Black will cost $500 on release. GoPro Hero 4 Silver The GoPro Hero 4 Silver seems to be targeted to your average action cam user, from the weekend surfer to the seasoned hiker, or even tourist. The touch screen that is included on this model will make it easier to navigate and preview what you've taken. This is especially useful for those who want to use the photographic functions and treat it as both a still camera and video camera. The image sensor on the Silver, like the Black - allows for 12 megapixel images at 30fps. This model is still more than adequate to provide quality video footage and also offers 4k resolution video recording, but only at a maximum of 15fps. With functionality such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Waterproofing being the same as that of the Black, one can see why there is only a $100 price difference between the two. The Silver will sell at around the $400 dollar mark. GoPro Hero 4 The Hero 4, is the entry model for the series and comes in at an extremely affordable $130. It records in full 1080p resolution at 30fps or 720p at 60fps. The sensor of the camera allows for 5 megapixel images, offering 5fps bursts. The market for this entry level camera would be those looking to enjoy the benefits of an HD recording camera, while not having to fork out more than they need to. The use of action cameras in every day life has become exceedingly common and this camera will offer more than enough for a large portion of GoPro users. This camera could also work for those who are perhaps wanting to try something brave with their camera to get a certain shot, but do not want to risk the potential damages to a higher priced model. We haven't seen much video footage yet, so it is difficult to put these models side by side to see exactly what one can expect from each one, and the difference in quality between models - but it will no doubt only be a matter of time before we see what this latest range is capable of.
  19. Generally when folks consider learning the extrem sport skydiving, they think of getting unbelievable adrenalin rushs. The truth is that these principles are possibly polar opposites. Provided you were truly trying to feel free in the sky, there are possibly very distinct steps you must make in an attempt to do well with realizing your calling. [Image 1] Here are tips to start you off: -- Living healthy Living healthy is an important part of the process that someone looking to learn the extrem sport skydiving should do. If you are already accustomed to living healthy, when it's time to learn to skydive, it would be a routine you do naturally. -- Being sporty An integral aspect of the discipline that is required to prepare for learning the extrem sport skydiving involves being sporty. When you be sporty, it primes you to flourish in the best mindset to realize the utmost objective of learning the extrem sport skydiving. [Image 2] -- Getting no acrophobia The biggest oversight that someone could experience when preparing to learn the extrem sport skydiving is falling short with this vital tip. If you decide to not consciously practice getting no acrophobia, it can be impossible to prosper. That is how contingent your accomplishment is on getting no acrophobia. Assuming you are curious how to get no acrophobia, then continue exploring for we will explore that here! We wish to analyze the journey to learning the extrem sport skydiving effectively. We can equip you for a different level of satisfaction. Please consider a couple thoughts one must think of before attempting to learn to skydive. Before learning the extrem sport skydiving, you must figure out and make sure that learning to skydive is the right choice for you. Before learning the extrem sport skydiving, it helps to analyze your day-to-day practices. Then examine that against a person already able to feel free in the sky. You ought to analyze someone that is effectively doing what you wish to achieve. Then see if you're reflecting what they execute. That is a beneficial starting point. Here are questions you ought to challenge yourself with: Do you want to feel free? Want an amazing Adrenalin Rush? Do you want to keep away all the distractions of life? [Image 3] Ideally, you answer was "yes" to these questions. Then probably learning the extrem sport skydiving is the right activity for you and best wishes for executing the plan toward realizing your calling by continuing to read! Before kicking off what is generally needed to prepare, we ought to narrow in on some measures that someone should recognize before starting. Besides, learning the extrem sport skydiving is a voyage. You ought to prepare for a journey before executing the plan. Learning the extrem sport skydiving requires considerably more than deciding one evening to say, "wow, I am going to learn the extrem sport skydiving." Sure that can be a starting step. However to accomplish a bit of benefit with learning the extrem sport skydiving, you should initially prepare mentally. Learning The Extrem Sport Skydiving - A Look Back Realize you aren't the first individual in the universe that has the ambition of learning the extrem sport skydiving. Actually, there are tons of people all around that hope for to learn to skydive. The harsh truth is that hardly any will actually commit and achieve it. If you assess individuals who have done well in learning the extrem sport skydiving either recently, or back in time, you will unveil something comparable among those who have grown successful. They appreciated what was involved before commencing, and they knew what breed of individual is prone to prevail. When you understand what breed of character it requires to truly learn the extrem sport skydiving, there is nothing that will block the pathway amidst you and your satisfaction! Learning the extrem sport skydiving has a tangible attribute to it. However any action that you plan ahead of time will bring a greater result. You'll unveil the force behind your will will bring you toward your goal. Don't think of getting unbelievable adrenalin rushs. Learning the extrem sport skydiving involved a person to be forever and strong-willed. We know that. Today we are primed to to analyze the steps involved with learning the extrem sport skydiving so we can appreciate our future accomplishments. You have already asked yourself: "Do you want to feel free?" Honestly, you truly had to ask yourself. Those that responded no to this topic will remain incapable to merely take any action to learn the extrem sport skydiving. You asked "Want an amazing Adrenalin Rush?" You could not have reached to this point if you responded no. The harsh truth is a special temperament is involved to hope for one thing, and a completely different personality to ultimately do it. [Image 4] Congratulations for existing as the breed of individual that gets going. Thinking back, it is feasible that people that attempted to learn the extrem sport skydiving and went wrong probably did not prepare themselves. By acknowledging the initial questions to establish if you are possibly a suitable personality to learn the extrem sport skydiving, you are aware of what is recommended to get there. Just recognize, getting no acrophobia is a essential provision. Every time your mind conveys that learning the extrem sport skydiving is unfeasible, recognize that a person who is getting no acrophobia will ignore the disappointment and target their thoughts on success. Let's analyze what is needed to prepare seeing that our thoughts are settled!Learning The Extrem Sport Skydiving In Everyday Life Learning the extrem sport skydiving should be regarded as a lifestyle. It is an important part of the process that you may integrate into your lifestyle in many ways. Actually, while you are working during your training to learn to skydive, you ought to analyze how learning the extrem sport skydiving can change your essence. Do you recall being presented with these pointed questions: Do you want to feel free? Want an amazing Adrenalin Rush? Do you want to keep away all the distractions of life? Here are questions which appoint qualities that establish if you were able to learn the extrem sport skydiving. These are lifestyle options. answer was "yes" to these pointed questions, you were not just substantiating that you were able to learn the extrem sport skydiving, but rather, you validated your lifestyle practices. By recognizing the duty that these qualities play in your ordinary routines, you are understanding the duty that learning the extrem sport skydiving presents in ordinary routines. No one said that learning the extrem sport skydiving is simple. All rewarding activities require dedication. Learning the extrem sport skydiving is no exception. When you analyze the preparation stages that must be completed prior to learning the extrem sport skydiving, these very preparation stages can be beneficial in other areas of life. Living healthy, being sporty and getting no acrophobia ought to be regarded as acts that transcend learning to skydive. While certain of the acts are specific to learning the extrem sport skydiving, several of it can develop related spheres of life. Actually, learning the extrem sport skydiving does require a deviation in your judgement. The forever quality that is needed to learn to skydive will change your essence. In moments, you can be making evident a forever quality in other areas of life. That is the beauty of learning the extrem sport skydiving that most people fail to consider. [Image 5] Learning the extrem sport skydiving is more than learning to skydive. It is a lifestyle in numerous ways. Anytime you assess this as a lifestyle, you can reap the various benefits of learning to skydive in day-to-day overall life. Metaphorically, it requires a certain attribute to realize the utmost objective alltogehter. It is practical to allow each of these gains to develop your essence. One must have an amazing quality to learn the extrem sport skydiving too. That is another characteristic that critically influences your essence. The more you call on that quality to learn to skydive, the more you can identify that attribute within unrelated areas of life. The majority who are committed to the general goals will find learning the extrem sport skydiving wholly delightful. Congratulations on executing the plan toward this lifestyle choice!
  20. admin

    Swooping is Not a Crime

    A large sector of the skydiving population is currently in danger of extinction. This is because of the widespread proliferation of new DZ rules that prohibit 270 turns for landing or ban high speed approaches entirely. Consequently, many jumpers now find themselves homeless and considering alternate sports - not a good thing for skydiving. These new restrictions come in the name of safety. We have lost many friends this year due to canopy collisions, and the management at several dropzones has responded by adding new rules in an effort to prevent such accidents from happening in the future. There are several aspects within this direction of policy that concern me. Remember 9-11? We felt unsafe after the tragedy, and so we willingly gave up many of our rights as free citizens. Now they are taking nail-clippers away from little old ladies. It is getting ridiculous, as is the policy banning advanced approaches. It is a knee-jerk reaction to fear, and I think we all know where that slippery slope leads. "My rights end where your rights begin."This is the fundamental idea that forms civilization. In other words, if I fly my parachute into you in the pattern, I am in the wrong. I think everyone agrees with this and it therefore can and should be asserted that if my behavior does not have an effect on anyone else, I should be allowed to continue to do what I am doing, provided I am doing it in a safe manner. We all need to challenge ourselves. This is what keeps us showing up at the dropzone every weekend. Thousands of people enjoy the challenge of high speed approaches and define the swoop landing as an essential part of their experience. They wait all week to get a few jumps in over the weekend, and now many of them are unable to get what they came for. To take that away is to cut many people off from the very reason why they skydive in the first place. Is that really where we want to go with this? We cannot afford to alienate anyone. There are precious few experienced skydivers in the world and I would argue that we are the reason for the dropzone in the first place. I understand that there are a few DZOs that are doing very well running purely tandem operations, but this is the exception, rather than the rule. Most dropzones are a business of passion, rather than a pragmatic financial pursuit. If we wanted to make a million dollars, we would have done something else with our time. We do this because we love it. The atmosphere created by having fun jumpers around is essential to the success of a dropzone, even if the profit is significantly less. Sport jumpers give the tandem students a reason to come back and learn how to skydive. They come back for the jumping, true, but they also come back for the connection to other people. They want to be part of a community, as do we all. We must therefore allow all aspects of the sport to continue to proliferate so that our numbers may grow. It is that simple. We can create sustainable solutions.It is possible. We simply need to think things through and adapt to the changing needs of a growing sport. I remember the debate on my dropzone as to whether or not we wanted to let the students jump ram air canopies. Many were concerned that the "squares" were too much responsibility and that students could not be trusted. Are we saying the same thing about ourselves now? We need to trust each other. True, we need to create a structured environment in which we can create a degree of predictability in the air over our DZs. Otherwise none of us would be able to manage all the variables in our heads. But as soon as we start back-peddling away from danger, we are becoming more similar to the groundlings we pass on the road on the way to the dropzone. We must have specific runways where the high speed pilots can land safely, out of the way of everyone else. We must communicate our intentions in the loading area. We must create sustainable vertical separation before reaching pattern altitude. Most importantly, we must increase our level of awareness under canopy so that no matter what the circumstances, we can fly in traffic without risk of running into each other. We do this by remaining calm and keeping our eyes open. We need to stop pointing fingers and making over-protective rules, and simply do what we need to do in order to be safe and still have fun. Let's work together and unite as a whole to make the dropzone a welcoming place for everyone. Brian Germain www.TranscendingFear.com
  21. Squirrel have recently released two new products to their wingsuit inventory, with an entry level wingsuit called the Hatch and an advanced wingsuit called the Colugo 2. The Colugo 2 was announced for release in June, but was delayed until the Redbull Aces event, which saw the testing of technology included in the suit. Andy Farrington who was flying a Squirrel prototype which included this new new technology found in the Colugo 2 came first in the event. Colugo 2The original Colugo suit was met with positive reviews from owners of the suit, with many noting how quick it was to start in a BASE environment. The Colugo 2 has taken the strengths of its predecessor and included new technology and enhancements in order to make it an even stronger wingsuit. The Colugo 2 has a smaller surface area than the original with a slight change in the arm wing design. These changes were made to increase the efficiency of the profile and leading edge. Squirrel advise that while the Colugo 2 is an ideal choice for experienced wingsuit BASE jumpers, the Aura remains the best suit for more technical exit points. The Colugo looks to be great for both BASE jumpers and skydivers, with the suit catering well to glider-performance focused based jumps and skydive flocking. A better trim speed and glide range makes the Colugo 2 fly both further and faster than the original Colugo wingsuit. The handling of the C2 is said to be far superior to that of the original Colugo, with a thinner profile and more efficient leading edge. The C2 is all about speed as well, with the reduced surface area and less drag - you can expect to experience higher speed than those produced by the Colugo. The Colugo 2 from Squirrel is an agile mid to large sized wingsuit that aims to provide high performance flying in a competitive slalom environment, focusing on carving and speed. Though the suit is also able to provide pilots with quality floating. One of new features on the Colugo 2 is the AFLE (Andy Farrington Leading Edge), as they've called it. The AFLE is a new design of the leading edge, where the arm zipper on the wing chord has been moved to increase the amount of 'effective edge', in turn improviding the shape and smoothness - which then increases performance. Pre-orders are now open with the suit expecting to ship by the end of August. Read more about the Colugo 2 Wingsuit HatchThe new Hatch suit focuses primarily on being the easiest suit to fly, aimed at beginner wingsuiters who are looking for something easy, comfortable but also reliable. The Hatch has many of the features found on the other Squirrels suits, including the RAD system, tri-layer leading edge construction, reinforced inlets and innie-outie zips. The Hatch doesn't require cutaway cables, and in turn allows for direct access to the risers and brakes during and after deployment. A safety feature that Squirrel feel is vital to every wingsuit. The leading edge of the suit is said to be based on the tried and tested method Squirrel have used in their other suits of combining both comfort and performance. The Hatch is certainly aimed at those looking to purchase their first wingsuit and for skydivers that are new to wingsuiting. Though Squirrel seek to stress that the Hatch is not only for beginners and is a competent flyer in situations where agility and versatility are required. It is also recommended as a good suit for more advanced wingsuit pilots who may be new to backflying or acrobatics and are looking for a comfortable, low surface area suit to practice with. Prior to the release of the Hatch, the Swift seemed to be Squirrel's go to suit for less experienced pilots looking for something easy to fly. It will be interesting to see how the two suits hold up against each other. Read more about the Hatch Wingsuit
  22. Sony has unveiled its latest action camera which focuses on reducing size. The Sony Action Cam Mini (HDR-AZ1VR) was announced earlier this month at the IFA 2014 electronics show in Germany. While Sony's action cameras have always been small, the electronic giant decided that they could reduce the size even further by removing the GPS functionality from within the camera and instead moving it to an accompanying wrist-mounted device. The Sony AS30 and Sony AS100 weighed 90 and 67 grams respectively. The new Action Cam Mini weighs in at 4 grams lighter than the AS100, at just 63 grams with the battery included. The size of the camera itself is quite a bit smaller than both the AS30 and AS100 with a Width/Height/Diameter measurement of approximately 24.2 x 36.0 x 74.0 mm, while the AS100 had a height of 46.5mm. The smaller size is going to be good news for skydivers who are looking to minimize the risk of snag for cameras that are helmet mounted. As to be expected the Action Cam Mini will shoot in full HD with options to either shoot at 1080p at 60 or 30fps, or to shoot at 720p with the option for 120 fps slow motion recording. The camera will include an F2.8 Zeiss lens with a 170 degree field of view and an Exmor R cmos sensor. Still photographs can be shot at an impressive 11.9 megapixels. It will also include Sony's trademarked SteadyShot image stabilization and be splash proof, with a waterproof housing included that allows for 5m of depth protection. The wrist mounted device that comes with the Sony Action Cam Mini allows for data transfer between the camera and the internet, allowing users to live stream camera footage. Something else the wrist mount does that may prove invaluable to those who have the camera mounted, is that it both acts as a remote and offers live view. This will allow users to see exactly what is being recorded and adjust body position if needed, to achieve specific angles. It can control up to five cameras at once and will be water resistant. While we have yet to see any footage from this incredibly small camera, if Sony's other action cameras are anything to go by, we can expect a lot from the Sony Action Cam mini. During our action camera shootout we were extremely pleased by the results of the Sony AS100, which took the top spot. Release date for the Sony HDR-AZ1VR is late October. Specifications Image sensor 1/2.3-type back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor with 11.9 megapixels (effective, approx.) Image processor BIONZ X Video formats XAVC S:  1920x1080 60p/50p(50Mbps) 1920x1080 30p/25p(50Mbps) 1920x1080 24p(50Mbps) MP4: PS:  1920x1080 60p/50p (28Mbps), HQ:  1920x1080 30p/25p (16Mbps), STD: 1280x720 30p/25p (6Mbps) SSLOW: 1280x720 120p/100p (6Mbps) VGA:  640x480 30p/25p (3Mbps) HS120(HS100): 1280x720 120p/100p (28Mbps) Lens type ZEISS Tessar® F2.8 Angle of view SteadyShot OFF: approx. 170° SteadyShot ON: approx. 120° Image stabilisation SteadyShot Audio Stereo microphone Data Multi/Micro USB Terminal (Supports Micro USB compatible devices) Wi-Fi/NFC GPS Dimensions WxHxD 24.2 x 36.0 x 74.0 mm (approx.) Media card compatibility MP4: Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Class 4 or higher), Memory Stick Micro™ (Mark 2) XAVC S: Micro SDXC Memory Card (Class 10)
  23. CALGARY, June 26 (Reuters) - A Canadian skydiver who was knocked out by a teammate during a jump, then plunged nearly half a mile (more than half a kilometre) to earth, was awarded C$1.1 million ($748,000) in damages by a judge who ruled the teammate was negligent. Gerry Dyck, an expert who had made about 1,800 jumps before the 1991 mid-air accident, sued Robert Laidlaw, charging the team member failed to take proper care to avoid the collision that caused him severe brain injuries and ended his career. The case raised questions about how much risk one can expect in an inherently risky sport, and included expert testimony from a veteran Hollywood stuntman known for his work in several James Bond movies. In his 19-page decision issued late last week, Alberta Judge Peter Power ruled Laidlaw violated well-established safety procedures by failing to keep a proper lookout for Dyck while manoeuvring his body in preparation for opening his parachute. "The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff which was breached by the unchecked turn into the plaintiff's air space," the judge wrote. "This act, which was foreseeable, was negligent and resulted in substantial harm being inflicted on the plaintiff." Dyck's injuries were severe enough to prevent the 43-year-old former surveyor from holding a job ever since. "The judge found that this is not a sport about people falling from the sky like flies, it's a sport that's highly regulated, that's highly controlled in terms of procedures and prescribed practices," Dyck's lawyer Greg Rodin said on Monday. During the trial in Calgary this spring, the judge heard the eight-person team jumped out of a plane at an altitude of 12,500 feet (3,800 metres) on May 5, 1991. The members went into formation to perform manoeuvres while free-falling above the farmland near Beiseker, Alberta, 47 miles (76 kilometres) northeast of Calgary. The jumpers were to perform manoeuvres until they fell to 3,500 feet (1,067 metres), then "track off," or steer away, so they could open their parachutes. As they opened their chutes, Laidlaw's elbow hit Dyck in the head, knocking him unconscious and causing the two men's parachutes to become tangled. At about 2,200 feet (670 metres), Laidlaw managed to free himself and land using his reserve chute. But Dyck, out cold, remained entangled and plummeted to earth, sustaining severe brain injuries and broken bones in his right arm. Laidlaw had testified that as he moved away from the centre of the formation, he lost sight of the other jumpers in his peripheral vision, indicating to him that he was sufficiently clear of his teammates. Testifying on behalf of Laidlaw was B.J. Worth, an expert skydiver and stuntman, who co-ordinated and performed aerial stunts for numerous motion pictures, including such James Bond films as "Tomorrow Never Dies," "Goldeneye," and "License to Kill." Worth's testimony did not convince the judge, however.Dan Downe, Laidlaw's lawyer, said he was surprised by the ruling, and was reviewing it to determine whether there were grounds for appeal. "We were quite confident that the trial evidence indicated that Laidlaw did not make any turn prior to collision, and he was the only eyewitness because Dyck was rendered unconscious," Downe said. Rodin said Dyck was pleased with the result because it proved his right to compensation after nine years, and that he believed the skydiving community would "benefit from a decision that holds jumpers accountable for their conduct in the sky."
  24. LAS VEGAS, NV - Jump Cover Inc. has announced the launch of its new range of accident insurance policies. The policies created specifically for tandem students, available online via the company’s website www.jumpcover.com would seem very affordable, starting at just $24 they provide one-jump instant cover offering payouts up to $100,000 in the event of an injury. “Just like renting a car customers can choose to take out accident insurance before they skydive” said Jump Cover President Paul Blair; he added, “We hope DZOs will see the benefits of offering their tandem customers this choice at the point of sale or during the check in process.” INNOVATIVE INSURANCE There are currently no other instant policies of this type available anywhere in the USA. Most insurance companies ask for huge amounts of information with many taking days to respond with a costly quote. The US insurance industry is like no other - in addition to the numerous federal regulations that must be complied with each state has its own specific legislation governing the insurance industry including varying taxes and fees. Blair said “it took a long time to get right but I wanted to make the process of buying a policy as simple and easy as possible with absolutely no paperwork involved” - a policy can be purchased securely online in less than two minutes. With skydiving being such a weather dependant sport cancellations are well catered for. Customers can easily reschedule their insurance by sending a simple email if their jump gets cancelled due to bad weather and the company also offers a full refund for any customers who don’t go through with their jump, for whatever reason. A NEW UP-SELL OPTION FOR DZOs Although tandem students can buy their policies directly through Jump Cover’s slick website the company intends to authorize Drop Zones, as its main sales channel, to introduce Jump Cover policies to their tandem students in return for generous commissions. This should prove to be an attractive new up-sell option for DZOs particularly in these increasingly competitive times. James La Barrie’s recent dropzone.com article “6 Tips to Boost the Bottom Line” talks about how “creating opportunities to maximize on customer expenditure is essential” – unlike other up-sell options such as merchandise there are no upfront costs involved so Jump Cover would seem like an ideal way for DZOs to boost their bottom line. Blair who is a decorated British Army Vet and a qualified tandem instructor with almost 1800 jumps said “we believe our products provide a win-win solution, tandem customers get peace of mind from an invaluable financial safety net, while DZOs can generate a significant additional income stream.” CREDIBILITY After a lengthy consultation period with the USPA and several major tandem providers the company tailored its products specifically for the US market. The company also has some impressive backing; Jump Cover products are underwritten by Inter Hannover one of the largest insurance and underwriting companies in the world with specialist advice provided by Aon, the largest insurance broker in the world. PRICING AND AVAILABILITY There are three levels of insurance on sale now: $24, $29 or $35 for $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 levels of payout respectively. Although currently only available for those customers doing their jumps in California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Nevada it is understood that additional states will be added in the coming weeks. Blair said “we plan to roll out our tandem policies across the USA this summer, in addition to our standard products we will be adding a Bespoke Tandem Policy for VIPs and high net worth individuals. Later this year there will also be a Pro Cover option for all those professionals who make a living from the skydiving industry.” ENDS CONTACT For more information or for US DZOs wishing to register for the programme contact Paul Blair on [email protected] or 702.560.6490.
  25. Image by Max HaimThe Midwest Skydivers Reunion, a group of competitive teams from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin that were actively competing in the '70s and '80s will be held Labor Day Weekend, August 29 - September 1, at Midwest Freefall Skydiving in Ray, Michigan. All net proceeds from the event will be donated to the National Skydiving Museum to support its efforts to build a museum. The event is a unique opportunity for Midwest skydivers of the '70s RW scene (and beyond) to reconnect with teammates, club members, DZOs, pilots, riggers and anyone who shared in that magical time. The reunion was created as an opportunity for old friends to gather for a one-time event to remember those no longer with us, and celebrate and reconnect with those still here. The cost for the weekend is July 16 - August 15. After August 15, registration will be limited to on-site for $65. The cost of jump tickets will be $20 on Friday, August 29th and $26 through the long weekend. There will also be a dinner banquet on Saturday evening ($20 per person) and Sunday BBQ ($15 per person.) Spouses, significant others, family and friends are welcome to attend. The leadership team of the Midwest Skydivers Reunion consists of Kim Barden, Texas Tom Weber, Lloyd Tosser III and Sandy Reid. Details, a schedule of events, and participation inquiry information is available through a link on the National Skydiving Museum website www.skydivingmuseum.org or http://www.midwestfreefall.com/about/events/midwest-skydivers-reunion/. The fundraiser will benefit the National Skydiving Museum's capital program that will raise the necessary funds to build the museum. When completed, the National Skydiving Museum will recognize and promote the sport of skydiving through public education and awareness; recognize the contribution to skydiving by its participants, suppliers and supporters; capture forever the history of the sport through is events, equipment and personalities; and enhance aviation safety as it pertains to skydiving. It is expected the museum will draw visitors from throughout the world to experience the thrill of skydiving through its history of people, equipment, and events. The National Skydiving Museum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation governed by a Board of Trustees. Record your history in Ray, MichiganThe National Skydiving Museum wants your stories of the early days of our sport and industry. Video interviews are posted in the eMuseum and will be on display forever. Time is of the essence. We are losing early skydivers at an alarming rate. Help the eMuseum to capture your stories now. Michael Kearns will be continuing his video interviews during the Midwest event. To sign up for a time slot, contact him at [email protected], +1-678-796-8337 or see him at the event. The location will be announced. See the eMuseum at http://skydivingmuseum.org/emuseum/ See examples of completed interviews on Youtube. --Dan Poynter, D-454. Museum Trustee & Curator.