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Found 523 results

  1. Exit at Mother City Skydiving. Image by Christopher TeagueIf the long flight puts you off--or if you’re new to the whole African-continent thing--let me be the first to tell you to get over it and get down here. You’ll be so glad you did. When the skydiving season is literally cooling off in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere is just heating up. And it gets good. While December-friendly dropzones in the States tend to be one-trick ponies (I’m looking at you, middle-of-the-desert DZs), their South African counterparts offer more than drafty hangars and lukewarm swimming pools for your landside entertainment. Much, much more. In fact, this author insists that every skydiver in the Northern Hemisphere should get a gear bag together and abandon bad weather for points south. (Spoiler: Sure, it’s about the jumping--but it’s about so much more than the jumping. When it comes to adventures, Africa never disappoints.) Reason #1: Trip-of-a-lifetime ways to get your boogie on.December is smack-dab in the middle of the summer boogie season in South Africa, so skydivers have even more incentive to book the trip. Skydive Mossel Bay, for instance, is planning some seriously sweet turbine-fueled freefly shenanigans for December 16-31. You can expect gold-medal coaching, all the organized jumps your fluttery little heart desires, a flurry of exotic aircraft, landing after landing on the bay’s powdered-sugar beach and a South-African-style party you’ll be talking about for years (if you register in time). If that’s not enough, point your navel at the ground and make some shapes at the belly-themed JBay Boogie, where you’ll jump with a view of the world-famous righthand pointbreak that is Jeffrey’s Bay. (Pro tip: Book both boogies and bring all your swimwear.) View of the Cape Town area, with Table Mountain, as seen from Signal Hill. Image by Bryn De KocksIf you end up in-country in November instead, don’t despair: There’s the Tonto Boogie up in Johannesburg from November 25-27. Sure, there’s no jaw-dropping ocean view--but there are plenty of planes, plenty of organizers, plenty of new friends and plenty of good vibes to make up the difference, and the “braai” (bar-b-que) is legendary AF. Reason #2: (You guessed it.) Animals.Want to wake up on the right side of the bed for a long day of jumping? Try taking a private open-air shower while listening to lions make big-kitty noises on the ridges nearby. That’s totally possible at Skydive Mossel Bay, which is just down the road from five-star safari digs at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. If you feel like taking a coastal drive to explore around Mossel, do it with a purpose: You’re just a couple of hours from canoodling with pachyderms at the Knysna Elephant Park. African Penguins along the Western Cape coast.If you end up heading inland to do some jumping at Skydive Robertson, take a day to explore the “kloofing” (hiking) around McGregor village, where several beautiful conservation areas provide many miles of baboon-dodging along your route between the various waterfalls and bushman’s caves. And if you’re kicking around Mother City, take a long afternoon to swim with the penguins, go dassie-spotting on Table Mountain or stroll around Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. (Insider tip: Don’t miss the summer concert series.) Reason #3: Chain restaurants and sorry Mexican food? Nopey nopey nope.The exchange rate is currently favorable enough to turn your dropzone food strategy into a downright white-tablecloth affair, so don’t miss the opportunity. Skydive Mossel Bay sits right next to some of the best beachside braai spots in the country, as well as a couple of standout oyster bars and several coffee shops that are well worth a visit. Skydive Robertson’s choice spot in the Robertson Wine Valley puts a posh spin on the green light, offering up dozens of tasting rooms for your boozy perusal. Then, of course, there’s Mother City Skydiving--which is less than an hour from what is (in this author’s opinion as well as the Telegraph’s) the world’s best city, replete with gastronomic stunners, artisanal cocktails served in suitably slinky venues and pop-up supper clubs. Reason #4: You’ve always wanted to.You’ve wanted to see Africa for yourself since you first saw ‘The Lion King.’ (C’mon. You know damn well that’s true.) And now, as a mostly-grown-up skydiver, you have the perfect excuse to finally go: Staying current. There’s a nice bonus, too, for the moment: With the exchange rate being what it is, your USD--or GBP, if that’s your thing--are going to go surprisingly far towards those bucket-list African adventures. (Y’know: shark diving; cheetah snuggling; dancing around with the kids in an actual-factual village.) ...So it’s settled then. I’ll see you in December up in the big, blue African sky. Right? Right.
  2. Exit separation has become a point of contention at many DZ's lately. Years ago, when belly flying was the rule and the Cessna 182 was the aircraft at most DZ's, exit separation wasn't too much of a big deal - you gave the other group (if there was another group) some time and then you went. With the aircraft in popular use 15-20 years ago, it was hard to exit very quickly to begin with, and so the issue never came up very often. Bill von Novak started skydiving in 1991 at a small DZ in New York. Since then he has become an S+TA, an AFF, tandem and static line instructor, and has set two world records in large formation skydiving. He lives with his wife Amy in San Diego. Since then, several factors have conspired to make exit separation more of an issue. First off, there are more people freeflying. Freeflyers, especially head down groups, drift differently than belly flyers, and thus need different considerations when planning for exit separation. Faster canopies mean that people who open facing each other need more distance to deal with a potential collision. Large aircraft with big doors can hold several larger groups, and those groups can get out those big doors more quickly. Finally, GPS spotting has removed some of the delay between groups. It's rare to see people even check the spot before beginning their jam-up. I first became aware of this issue in 1994, when I started jumping at Brown Field in San Diego. We went through a series of aircraft as we grew, from Cessna 206's to King Airs to Beech-99's, none of which had GPS. In addition, we were less than a mile from the US-Mexico border, which meant our jump runs had to be east-west and our spots had to be dead on. Several instructors were "designated spotters" and we would argue over 100 yard differences in jump run offset and exit location. After a while we got pretty good at spotting. As our aircraft became larger, exit separation became more of an issue. We had a few close calls, and so we agreed to start allowing more space between groups. At first it was essentially trial and error - we would leave some amount of time (10 seconds or so) between groups and increase that time whenever someone felt they were too close to someone else. After a while, we began to get a feel for how much time was required. We knew that if the upper winds were strong and the plane was just creeping along the ground, we had to leave more time. We also knew that if we let the freeflyers get out first, we had a problem almost every time. We ended up with a system that worked for us, and had essentially no problems with collisions or close calls after that. During this time I was also traveling in the summers to different boogies and I noticed a wide variety of exit separation techniques. By far the most common technique was some amount of fixed time - the next group would pause, then climb out and go, without knowing what the upper winds were doing or what the spot was. The next most common technique was similar but they added a "leave more time if it's windy" clause to their delay. There was also a class of jumpers who looked out the door to tell how much separation to leave; these jumpers either looked at angle of the departing group or the ground to tell how much space to leave. This got me thinking. What really works and what doesn't? I tried a few methods on my own, from the "45 degree" method to a purely ground-based method. After some experiments, a group of skydivers collaborated via email and internet and came up with the actual math behind separation, the physics that determines how far the center of group A will be from the center of group B after they open. But before diving into the math, there are a few basic concepts to cover. What we care about. When we're talking about separation at opening time, we don't really care about where we are in relationship to the plane or even the ground - what we care about is how far we will be in the air horizontally from the next group that opens. So for our purposes, the airplane and the ground don't really matter, and someone watching from either of those places may not get the same "picture" of things that we get. (Of course, we do care about our relationship to the ground when it comes to spotting and landing on the DZ, but that's a separate issue.) How we fall. In most freefall (tracking dives and wingsuits excepted) we fall essentially straight down with respect to the air. If there's wind, the wind blows us at whatever speed it's blowing. If the wind is doing 30kts at altitude, a group of skydivers will be doing 30kts as they drift with the wind. It's also important to realize how your trajectory changes after you open. At a freefall speed of 100kts, a 30kt wind will slightly deflect your trajectory, because it's a small fraction of your total speed. Once under canopy and descending at 10kts, it will deflect your trajectory a tremendous amount, since it is now a very large part of your speed. Of course, under canopy you have much more control over your own horizontal speed, and the winds may add or subtract from your canopy's groundspeed depending on the direction you are facing. Speeds. When discussing speeds, it's important to define units. There is feet per second, which is very useful for people who are trying to figure out how far they want to be from another group. At 100 feet per second, 10 seconds gives you 1000 feet, which is about as easy as it gets. You may also hear the terms indicated airspeed, true airspeed, and groundspeed, in both knots and miles an hour. These can all be converted back and forth as needed .Now that all that's out of the way, the math is pretty simple. The distance you will get between group centers is the speed of the aircraft plus the speed of the winds at opening altitude, multiplied by the time you leave between groups. That's it. So if the aircraft is flying into the wind doing 80 knots per its GPS, and the winds at opening altitude are 10 knots from the same direction, and you are waiting 10 seconds between groups, you are going to get (80+10 = 90 kts, which is 153 feet per second) 1530 feet between groups. It gets a little more complicated when the winds are not from the same directions. If the winds at opening altitude are opposite jump run, you have to subtract them rather than add them. If the winds at opening altitude are from the side, it's the same as zero winds at opening altitude when it comes to separation. If you put these equations into a spreadsheet and play with the numbers, some basic patterns emerge. If the headwinds at altitude are strong you have to leave more time. If the plane is slow (i.e. it's indicated airspeed on jump run is low) you have to leave more time. If the winds at opening altitude are strong as well, and from the same direction, you can safely leave less time. (Or, preferably, just leave the same amount of time and you'll end up with even more separation.) If the winds at opening altitude are opposite from jump run, that's the worst case, and you have to leave even more time. Some people have a problem visualizing how winds at opening altitude can possibly cause them trouble if they leave enough distance on exit. The question is usually phrased as "don't all jumpers follow the same path out of the plane?" And they definitely do. To visualize why this can still cause you problems, take a look at the separation diagram shown below. Drawing showing exit separations In the first drawing, there is no wind after exit, and the first group breaks off, tracks, opens, and flies their canopies away from the center for the first few seconds, which is what they should be doing on most formation skydives. (After that, it's a good idea to turn away from line of flight once you're sure you are clear of others in your group.) The second group arrives 10-15 seconds later, shortly after the first group has opened their parachutes, with some room to spare. The second drawing shows what happens when there are winds are the same all the way down. Notice that the "cone" caused by the breakoff and the canopy flight has shifted strongly to the right. This is because (as mentioned before) once their parachutes are open, the wind affects their trajectory more strongly. As with the first example, it is assumed that everyone flies away from the center for the first few moments. That means the jumper flying into the wind makes no progress and comes straight down, while the jumper flying downwind gets a boost in groundspeed.. The third drawing shows where you can run in to problems. In this drawing, the winds after exit are from the opposite direction. You get the same skewing of the cone, but now the edge of the cone is getting dangerously close to the trajectory of the next group. This is a case where the same separation at exit led to trouble because of opposite winds at opening altitude. This leads naturally to the question "how much separation do you really need?" That depends on the group. 1000 feet should probably be an absolute minimum for any belly formation skydiving. That means that two four-ways can exit, fall straight down the pipe, track 300 feet from center on breakoff, and then still have 300 feet to deal with avoiding a potential collision after opening. With the speeds of today's canopies, that's a bare minimum. If the group size grows to two 10-ways, 2000 feet might be a wiser separation. If a low-time RW group backslides a bit, again, 1500 feet might be needed to be clear of them at opening time. So how does a jumper who doesn't want to carry around a calculator figure out how much time to leave between groups? One very simple way is to just look out of the plane and wait until it has covered 1000 feet, then go. This method, originally suggested by Skratch Garrison, takes much of the figuring out of exit separation. It can be hard to determine how far 1000 feet is on the ground, but fortunately most DZ's come with a handy ruler - a runway. A 3000 foot runway allows you to put 3 groups out along its length with a bit of margin thrown in. This method also has the tremendous advantage that it requires people to look out the door, and that means they are more likely to see traffic, high canopies or clouds that could pose a hazard to their skydive. Another simple way is time-based. There are several tricks you can use to determine how long to wait. One common one is to always leave at least 7 seconds, then if the upper winds are strong divide them by 2 and wait that number of seconds. (Faster aircraft sometimes use divide by 3.) So if the winds are 30kts you wait 15 seconds between groups. This technique uses some math but isn't too bad. A third technique that seems to be popular for some reason is the 45 degree method. In this method, jumpers wait until the previous group passes through an imaginary 45 degree line before they exit. The problem with this method is that the jumpers never pass through that 45 degree angle, or pass through it so quickly (under 1 second) that it's not useful for determining separation. The numbers confirm this. What you see out the door depends purely on speed of the aircraft, fallrate of the jumpers and type of exit. If the plane is going slower than freefall speed, the group may start out above the 45 degree line, but will drop below the line in less than a second and never rise above it again. If the plane is going faster than freefall speed (which is rare) the jumpers stay above the line and never cross it at all. A good head-down exit will tend to move jumpers lower in the picture. Winds will not affect the picture; an exit in 5kt uppers looks the same as an exit in 50kt uppers. There has been some friction over this issue. The 45 degree method has a lot of supporters because it's so simple and makes a sort of intuitive sense. Beyond that, it actually seems to work for some people - although it's likely that the extra time it takes to locate and stare at the previous group has something to do with the reason the next group usually leaves enough time. To show that this doesn't work, two cameras were fixed at a 45 degree angle and mounted on a boom outside an Otter's door (see pictures below.) Pictures and video of several jump runs both into the wind and downwind were taken and magnified to determine how close each group was to the imaginary 45 degree line, which was essentially the center of the images. The pictures confirmed the basic problems of the 45 degree rule. RW groups, falling a little faster than the aircraft, never quite passed behind the 45 degree line. Freeflyers, going much faster than the aircraft, stayed well below the 45 degree line for as long as they were visible in the stills (about 30 seconds.) Some version of the 45 degree method may work for some people. It may be that the simple act of looking out the door delays them enough, or their subconscious may see the group moving slowly along the ground (because the aircraft's groundspeed is low) and send a warning message to the rest of their brain - "hey, hold up a minute." But waiting for a true 45 degree angle simply does not work. Another issue that has become more important lately is exit order. Some places still put freeflyers out first, and that doesn't make much sense. In 30kt uppers, a belly flyer who leaves 10 seconds and gets out after freeflyer will open 100 feet from him, but if the belly flyer goes first and the freeflyer leaves the same time he will open 2200 feet from the freeflyer. RW groups, since they are in freefall longer, drift farther downwind before opening. It seems like a no-brainer to choose an exit order that used this to your advantage and increased, rather than decreased, separation distances. You can certainly wait 20 seconds after the freefly groups before the belly groups exit if there is some other reason why the freeflyers have to exit first, but at most DZ's it's hard to ensure that 20 seconds, especially since waiting so long almost guarantees long spots or a goaround. Below are two diagrams that show how exit order can affect separation. Belly out first diagram Freefly out first diagram One reason given at DZ's to explain a backwards exit order is that freeflyers open sooner and therefore are beginning to descend before the next group gets there. Bryan Burke of Skydive Arizona has pointed out that you simply cannot trust vertical separation - one premature deployment or malfunction and all that vertical separation is gone. Even during a normal skydive, when you add up altimeter error, pull timing and snivel distance, you can easily get a jumper opening 1000 feet from where he expected to be open. In fact, Bryan points out that at Skydive Arizona, the primary reason high pullers get out last is not for separation but rather because they are the ones that can make it back from a bad spot. Every drop zone is going to have a different set of rules and a different approach to exit order. Some work well, some don't work as well. Jumpers have to understand the factors that can reduce group separation so they can make informed decisions about when they want to exit and what kind of exit orders they are comfortable with.
  3. When Copenhagen hosts parachuting's inaugural Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship August 25th & 26th, not only will it set the scene for the best athletes in the world but turn one of the oldest and most historic European capitals into an urban sports festival. Combining world class sport with DJ's, live music, street food, air shows and various activities for all ages, will create a great festival feel around the World Championships. It is expected that over 200,000 spectators will visit the event at Peblinge Lake, downtown Copenhagen during the two event days. It will be possible to try tandem jumping over the city, bungee jumping, virtual reality parachuting and running across the lake in Fun Ballz. "We want to create a festival feel around a world class sport by offering a host of activities and giving the audience a full Swoop Freestyle event experience. With different activations and touch points, the spectators will get opportunities to connect with the sport in an engaging way. We believe that by mixing world class sport with, great activities, music and street food, it will set the scene for future events in major cities where a broad activation is key," says George Blythe, CEO of A. Sports, the organizer of the Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championships. Adrenaline packed sports festival in the heart of major cities By taking the sport of parachuting, which is usually performed in small air fields, and bringing it into major cities, it gives the host city and local partners a great opportunity to work with potential clients and businesses. Highlights from the 2016 CPH Invitational "With the help from one of our partners, all spectators can download an app and send out their own live feed experience with a chance to be featured in different videos with other spectators both on the big screen at the venue and at the live feed going out to millions around the world," George Blythe adds and points out the mission for Swoop Freestyle: To build a world championship series in major cities worldwide such as Formula 1. "The Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship 2017 will not only be the first ever World Championship in urban parachuting in the heart of Copenhagen – it will also form the basis of a genuine festive celebration combining sport and spectators with a festival of side activities embracing the championship – an approach which is typically Danish," says Lars Lundov, CEO, Sport Event Denmark, the national sporting event organization that partners the event. THE ATHLETES: 18 pilots from 10 different countries and with a total of 150,000 jumps between them: #1 Curt Bartholomew, 31 years old, USA, 8000 jumps #2 Nick Batsch, 35 years old, USA, 8500 jumps #3 Claudio Cagnasso, 28 years old, Venezuela, 6500 jumps #4 Ian Bobo, 46 years old, USA, 20000 jumps #5 Cornelia Mihai, 32 years old, UAE, 10000 jumps #6 Pablo Hernandez, 31 years old, Spain, 15000 jumps #7 David Ludvik Junior, 38 years old, USA, 16000 jumps #8 Marco Fürst, 26 years old, Austria, 4000 jumps #9 Tom Baker, 27 years old, USA, 7000 jumps #10 Chris Stewart, 28 years old, New Zealand, 7000 jumps #11 Aurel Marquet, 34 years old, France, 2900 jumps #12 Ulisse Idra, 27 years old, Italy, 7000 jumps #13 Jeannie Bartholomew, 36 years old, USA, 4000 jumps #14 Max Manow, 28 years old, Germany, 5000 jumps #15 Mario Fattoruso, 30 years old, Italy, 6000 jumps #16 Christian Webber, 30 years old, Denmark, 3400 jumps #17 Abdulbari Qubaisi, 29 years old, UAE, 6300 jumps #18 Travis Mills, 35 years old, USA, 13500 jumps PROGRAM - FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championship 2017: Friday August 25th - Swoop Training and Swoop Night Lights 3.00-3.30pm (15.00-15.30): Highlights from 2016 on big screen 4.00-6.00pm (16.00-18.00): Swoop Training - Round 1 and 2 6.00-6.15pm (18.00-18.15): Fly Boards show 6.15-9.00pm (18.15-21.00): Swoop Sessions, live music 9.15-9.45pm (21.15-21.45) - Swoop Night Lights (airshow with night jumps, lighted suits and pyro) Saturday August 26th - Swoop Qualifying of Swoop Finals 12.00-12.30pm: Swoop Sessions, live music 12.30-12.45pm: Fly Boards show 1.00-3.00pm (13.00-15.00): Swoop Qualifying, Round 1 and 2 3.30-3.45pm (15.30-15.45): Show with wingsuits, BASE and Acro paragliding 4.00-6.00pm (16.00-18.00): Swoop Finals, Round 1 and 2 + medal ceremony. Who will be the first world champion? 6.15-9.00pm (18.15-21.00): Swoop Sessions live music, and meet'n'greet with the athletes Other activities both days: Tandem jumps over Copenhagen (For booking link and prices - click here) Water blob (rental) Floading couches (rental) Fun ballz (rental) Virtual Reality parachuting (rental) Bungeejump (rental) FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017 Training and Swoop Night Lights Friday August 25, Qualifying and Finals Saturday August 26 2017. Location: Peblinge Lake, Queen Louise's Bridge, central Copenhagen. 18 parachute pilots from 10 countries. It's the first swoop freestyle world championships ever in freestyle swooping (canopy piloting), sanctioned under the FAI, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Website and social media: Website: http://www.swoopfreestyle.com Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/swoopfreestyle/ Instagram: instagram.com/swoopfreestyle Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1888604534750053/
  4. Last June a new European head up record was set. 43 skydivers (plus 2 cameramen) in the sky of Empuriabrava broke the previous 21-way record. Fly Warriors, a team of 4 talented freeflyers, was behind that achievement. Three of them, David Nimmo, Luis Adolfo Lopez-Mendez and Gustavo Cabana visited the Belgian sky during the Flanders Boogie. I had the opportunity to interview them and get some insight of how this was done. After thanking them for accepting the interview, this is how the conversation went like. Who are Fly Warriors? Tell me a bit of your history, previous teams, how you've gotten together...Nimmo: Luis and I were both members of Babylon freefly for many many years. Around 2015 this was coming to an end, the end of an era, and being still very keen to push the sport and not to pull back the reins in and slow down, we combined with a 3rd guy -Raph Coudray-. He had just finished competing in VFS in one back to back world championship. It was kind of a natural thing forming something together. And then we added a couple of young guys -Leo and Gyzmo- into the team with similar ideas and did a 4 way dynamic team, which actually won the world championship together. That kind of was the first year. Then Leo and Gyzmo wanted to focus on tunneling. And with Gus, we needed video with obviously steady imaging and high quality. His level in freefly has improved a lot in the last years, he has put a lot of effort on in, and we asked him to join. And that's how we've got on. Real professionals, independent, autonomous, all of us doing our own thing, but we come together to do advanced and worthy stuff. So these jumps (head up European record) is how we do it. Luis: One of the rules to become a Fly Warrior is that you need to be over 40 (laughs). Damian: So if you guys meet somebody young but really great... he simply has to wait. Nimmo: Too immature. At 40 you start to be a man maybe (laughs). Fly Warriors (From left to right: Gustavo Cabana, Raphael Coudray, Luis Adolfo Lopez-Mendez, David Nimmo) with the record holders and the rest of the crew. Photo: Mariana Franceschetto Empuria seems to be Europe's skydiving capital. What is the reason for that, what makes it so special in your opinion?Gustavo Cabana: Empuria has over 30 years of history and during that time they had many events and teams who train there because of the weather and the aircrafts. It is just the best place in Europe to skydive, the weather, the aircrafts... Luis: And the location. Gustavo: And the location! The location is incredible. I think it is the only dropzone in the world that is in the town. It is not in an airfield, in the middle of nowhere, it is really in the side of the town. Every time you go away to jump somewhere else and you come back you can't believe that. As a photographer to have the chance to jump there, to have the sea, the mountains, you know, it is kind of the perfect background. You were the organizing team for the recent European head up record. Congratulations for that fantastic achievement. What drove you to take on that challenge? At which point did you decide "we have to do this"?Luis: Nimmo and myself, when we were in Babylon, we were involved in other European records, head down. Head up started to wake up and become what it is today (with respect to records). So when we went from Babylon to the Fly Warriors Nimmo said to me that we should organize a head up record. And so we decided to start with the first one, two years ago. We did a 21 way. The problem is that the capacity of the planes is limited. It is too expensive to have that many planes and to make it happen. So being in Empuria with 3 planes made it easier to organize and we decided to put the full fleet into work. And then we were thinking in starting a bit smaller, but the two camps we organize in Empuria were really good and big and then the feedback and registration for the record... we had to tell people to stop, there was a waiting list. So we went for go big or go home, and we started with slots and 2 camera flyers, which is the capability of the planes. Nimmo: We basically maxed it out. To go any bigger we would have to find money for other aircraft or another location. Europe or South America don't have 5 Twin Otters or 7 Skyvans in the garage like in Eloy. So, it is harder go to massiver. Shame. How did you organize the try-outs to attract jumpers from all over Europe? How was the process of organizing the try-outs to select who is going to be part of it or not. Was it enough with the camps you had in Empuria, or did you try to have other people that you trust to organize some other camps, somewhere else in Europe?Nimmo: To try and make it work, there is some smooth out. We had different areas within Europe, like the German speaking section, the Scandinavians, the English, the French... and for each area we had a team captain. He was allowed to do some kind of trials to find out people of this area that he would recommend to come to the record. So those 5 guys that were part of that team had their job to do in the jump, and also to bring people to us. It's helped to some degree but the biggest thing we did was some try-out camps last year and 2 camps this year. We had a big interest in people wanted to do head up, and we had the capacity maxed out in those camps. Most people came from there. It worked out well. The dropzone wants to do formation records. That's an offer than other places can't do, that's a premium product that we have, and they are happy to that in the future. So of course in the future if we can we will keep doing this up to 40 ways. Base exiting from Twin Otter. Photo: Gustavo Cabana The level has to be super high once you select jumpers in the try-outs. How do you organize the jump then? How do you decide who goes in which airplane, who is on base, who is gonna sting it...?Luis: We try to find a slot for specific qualities. Maybe you are a heavy person and fly strong, so we put you in the base. The first stingers are people that can fly fast to get there. And then who closes the pod needs to have the ability to grab 2 hands and then give shape to the pod. So we kind of assess the people and give them a slot. We also had Antonio Aria taking care of the bench. He is a very good organizer and part of the world record crew. And in the last world record met with Raph Coudray and David Nimmo in Eloy. So that, combined with our experience, the experience of the world record, and Antonio taking care of the bench helped us to take decisions. When we needed to have a change we would come to Antonio and say "we need a second stinger", and he would say "ok, from the bench, this guy is rock solid. Now. Today". Because sometimes you have the issue that you know people that are good flyers, but maybe they are having a bad week or a bad day. And there is some other people that might not be that strong, in paper, but that day they are on and then get on it. We had issues with some flyers that were really good, but they had to be cut off, which it was a surprise for me, and for sure for him. But then other people did their job and at the end it is not a personal thing, we have a job to be done, and is to get a record. It is a common goal and not a personal goal. Which sometimes people don't understand. At the end, after every record I tell Nimmo I won't never do this again -and then we do another one-. Because you have 45 people that love you, then 15 that understand that they had a very good training with the bench group, and 10 that don't like you Damian: I guess it is also difficult if you have the level to be there but are kicked out because you are not being consistent enough, I guess... you know, it has to hurt your ego as well. Luis: That's the biggest problem in skydiving at the end. Damian: Ego? Luis: Ego. Ego is a bitch. And it can kill you. How did you decide in other factors like altitude (did you take it as high as possible, decided to do something lower...), speed (does the base accelerates or slows down, how much...), shape of the formation, number of people on base, number of people on base during exit.... How do you decide about all those details?Nimmo: Experience. We have done it enough and we trust that gut. The formation is just a standard formation, a round thing with round things attached to it. The base of whatever size and then you connect pods like doing Lego. So there is nothing really to think about. And with Luis' experience and Raph's, we look at people and we decide where they are gonna be. Then you make mistakes and they might not be in their best place so you move them around. But the most important thing for me is that we had a good base. This is the key. If you have planes doing their job, the base doing its job then you just have to take the picture. That's it. If the planes make a mistake, they are too far away, whatever. The timing of the exit. Or the base makes a mistake. Then for sure I guarantee nothing is gonna happen. Luis: But everything starts from the number of people we are gonna use. Nimmo and myself were discussing for a few months already about how much people we are going to have in the base, if it is going to be 6 or 8 or 10. If we have enough people to do that base, to do the pods, what is going to be the shape... Like he says, we kind of go with the feeling. We can do this and we put it on paper. We do on the first attempt what we think is best, and then you realize that this person can be better here or there. So you start moving pieces around so the structure is more solid. Nimmo: We had a struggle with the beat. We did 6 jumps a day, which is a lot to 18000 feet. In the 2 and a half days that took us to do the record we did 16 attempts. Which is a lot of fucking work. So we really pushed it when we had the conditions. We could have problems with the weather... there are so many variables. Gustavo: The thing with a record is that you need more time, no? So why don't you go to 20000 or 25000? The problem when you go past 15000 is that there is less oxygen and people are more prone to have hypoxia. For that we use oxygen onboard, which helps you to keep sharp. But also because the planes need to climb in formation, it takes longer to go up and it is kind of... I think we found over the years that going to 18000 or 19000 maximum is a good compromise between the effort to climb and what you are going to get for the extra time in freefall. Also in the head down and head up world records we went to 18000-19000. The challengers getting together during one of the attempts. Photo: Gustavo Cabana It took 16 jumps to get the formation completed. How was the atmosphere before that? Were you absolutely confident you would make it?Nimmo: I mean, yeah. For sure the last 2 jumps... in the last one too... we were flying very strong. We knew we would get a record. We started to cut. We said 45... now we need to get a result. 44. We didn't get it. 43. Done. The head up world record is a 72 way, done in Skydive Arizona. Do you see that as an attainable number in Europe? Or are we limited because of the size of the dropzones and the number of planes there?Nimmo: It is logistics. You need to get sponsors that say "fuck let's make this happen, here you have 20 grand, two more planes". Hell yeah. But otherwise we have to pay. We, as the flyers. And there is a point where you go "I rather spend that money doing other cool shit". The record is very cool and it goes in the history books. It is an achievement for all the participants. But you are still limited by how much you have to pay for that. So yes, it is possible, but you need some extra sponsors. Gustavo: 3 years ago we did a world record with 106 people (FS sequential). But the thing is that bringing the planes there is super expensive. And if that money has to come from the pocket of the skydivers... it is too much money. It is really expensive to fly a plane to a dropzone. Luis: And it was happening, this 100+ way because Dubai helped financially to make it happen. Gustavo: If not it is impossible. Nimmo: It is possible, but we need someone to support it. But, why not? Shall we look? Maybe we get hungry in a year or two. Luis: That's why we stopped with the head down once. Basically. Nimmo: Logistics. That's about flying at the end of the day. Because if you have to choose between logistics and not flying you go "fuck this, I want to fly". So there is also that trade off in the equation as well. How much you want to work on the ground to make it happen, but all you want to do is flying. Luis: There is a lot of work behind the scenes. Registrations, payments, getting everything done... The good thing about our team is that everyone has a speciallity. And we combined them, and we do whatever we do strong. We are lucky that we have a very experienced camera flyer plus he is really experience with oxygen. So we have that part covered. Nimmo and me don't have to think about it. Nimmo has a lot of experience organizing big ways. And that experience helps you to do the things. Me and Nimmo are taking care of the administration as well. Receiving and sending emails. Nimmo was talking to the captains, I was organizing the payments... Nimmo: Judges, T-shirts.... Bullshits that are just as important. And we all do that without effort. You don't have to grab anyone and tell them "do this" like a child. It is just "Hey, could you do this? -Yeah, sure". And it gets done. So this also makes the team mature enough to realize you have to do something to make it work and to do that without having to be hit with a stick. Luis: And how it works, I don't know. Because we are 4 alpha... Nimmo: Yeah, 4 alpha males, and we don't kill each other, that's rough. Damian: That's already an achievement (laughs). Luis: That's an achievement right there. Nimmo: Because we are more than 40. After 40 you can work together. Luis: But I think that's the key, you know? You have things that bother you about each other, because we are humans. But we are old enough to either talk about it or understand that no one is perfect and you have to deal with humanity. Initial attempt diagram. 44 and 45 were cut off for the final record. One of the mottos of the record was "make head up great again". Why did you came up with it? When did it stop being great?Nimmo: That was because head up was kind of neglected. Head down records started in whatever it was... 21-way in Florida in 2001... when the 1st head up world record was in 2015 or something. That's 14 years neglected. For no reason. Head down has got massive, 164. Head up was nothing. So I was talking with Steve Curtis, a good friend of mine from Eloy. He thought "let's do a 30 way" the first one. They did 52! You couldn't believe it! Because it was just left on the shelf, blow the dust off and it was ready to go. So make head up great, bring it to the level it deserves. It is even more fun to fly, easier visually, it is more of human kind of orientation, it is better, for sure, its fun. Damian: That's funny that you chose the word "neglected" because I had a follow up question that used that word. Do you think it has been neglected in favor of head down? Nimmo: Head down is easier to build. Head up for sure its hard. You have to get in there, be humble and give it a try, and you have to work much harder. But visually it is easier, its more natural. People look like human beings not assholes and feet (laughs). But to be there you have to put a lot of work. Work really hard. But then it is super good. And it is so small! There is the 72-way, so we can get a head up record every year to get it up to 150 or something. I mean, it won't be like that but... What was in your opinion the biggest challenge of the record? What's the part that you've found more difficult? Was it the flying, finding the right people, nothing of it was really a challenge?Nimmo: The whole thing is this one big fucking package. So you just have to do it all. Was this harder than that? It doesn't matter, you have to do it anyway. Luis: The situation with the record is that it doesn't matter if we flew 42 way for 20 seconds and one person is missing. There is no record. Or 43 flew for one minute but the camera didn't work, you know? Or 2 planes were super good and then one plane just lost it and people don't arrive. So at the end everything has to work, like Nimmo says. The pilots need to work together so we have a good drop, then the base has to be solid and then from there you start to construct. The camera needs to be in the right place, take the right shot so the judges can validate it. So, I would say, there is nothing more important than other things, because without the pilots we could not do it, without the base we could not do it, without stingers we could not do it, without the second stingers we could not do it, without the pod closers as well, without the cameras you can not, without the oxygen.... Nimmo: Just before, until Sunday it was fucked up weather. And then hallelujah, we had blue sky. We were blessed with the weather. Again, that's another factor and you can't control it. But it would have been very frustrating that being the fucked up. But it wasn't. Luis: And then everyday you need a lot of work after the jump and before the jump. At nights, Gus can tell you, how much work he has to do to prepare the planes to be ready to go. Gustavo: Yes, because after every couple of jumps we need to exchange the oxygen bottles. Attach them to the plane, the regulators. And sometimes the plane runs out of oxygen, and people are waiting... It is kind of stressing, but at the end of the day you have to do it, and when it works it is very satisfactory. I was on the boarding area with my rig and I had to check and make sure that every airplane had oxygen to go up. Because I've been in many occasions in other records when you go to altitude, and they cancel the jump because one plane run out of oxygen. And we had all to come down. It happened many times. Minimum 4 times in 4 different events. Damian: It has to be frustrating. Gustavo: Specially if you are the responsible for that. Everybody wants to kill you (laughs). 43-way formation completed. Photo: Gustavo Cabana Who do you think is going to organize the record that will break yours? When and by how much? If that happens!Luis: What do you mean? In Europe? Damian: Yes. Luis: We will try to organize all the records in Europe. Nimmo: This is the best you could do. So if somebody wants to do it again... well, show me. In the history of records normally the dropzone or group that organized the previous one they do it again. The Arizona crew do the head up records. Rook Nelson does it with the head down records. Not because nobody else can do it, but because these guys really do it. If Rook said "fuck head down I am not going to do it" for sure someone will pick it up and try to run with it. But then, they don't have the experience. So it also makes sense to go with the guys who have done it once, twice, or five, six times. If somebody else tried to organize it I would never try to do anything against it, you've got to respect it. But the record is coming together, unified. We have to work together or we are going to get nothing. Unified, together, big. Not your own little shit. Question for Gus. The record is 43 people, plus cameramen. Gustavo, you were the wizard behind the lens -with Will Penny as second cameraman-. You were also in other records. How did you live each one of them?Gustavo: I always think that the cameramen are under pressure, but not the same kind of pressure as the participants. Normally in a record we have several cameras, so if one fucks up, the other one can have the shot. But in the formation if one fucks up there is no record. Our pressure is more about trying to be happy with us, with our job. The participants need to do their job to get the record, and I feel like I need to take the best picture I can to be happy with me. Also, I've been involved in records since many years, and what I like about them is that everyone come together, to do something together. It is not like in a competition where people compete against each other, and some are going to be happy and some are going to be losers. And not only jumpers, also people on the ground are helping you, your wife, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, whatever, are there to help you to make it happen. The feeling you have when is done is very unique. The feeling of unity and working together. I shoot almost every discipline in skydiving: Belly, canopy formation, head down and head up. And at the end I think that everyone has his own pace and feelings, but one feeling that for sure is great is that you are taking a picture of the best skydivers at that time in history. And it is a very good feeling to be part of that. It is cool. Everyone there worked hard to be there. It is not like "I want to do a record because I want to be cool". No, you need to work your ass off to be a record holder. European HeadUp Record 43 Way, June 23th 2017, Skydive Empuriabrava, Spain from Gustavo Cabana Assuming each one of these records is special, what made this one special for you?Gustavo: For me the most important record is the next one. It is not like this one is special, and the other one was less special. The record happened and it happened, it is in the past. Now you are looking forward to do something more. I think all of us are looking for that, looking to improve, to do it better, or bigger, or whatever, but looking forward, not backwards. Damian: Do you still see room for improvements, seeing that you are current record holders, that you have so much experience, and you are among the best in the world, do you still see room for improvement for what you do? Gus behind the camera, you guys load organizing... Nimmo: 100% man Luis: 100% Gustavo: If not you quit. Nimmo: We don't know shit. 20000 jumps and we feel like we know nothing. Sure. Luis: I learn everyday, even in these events (boogies). From the people, what I am doing. How did it work? What line I chose? Why I did that? How can I make it better, get it tighter? And that's how we do it, we think how to improve it, make it better, more efficient, we can dive better, we can build better, how can the base fly better, how can we fly better. Everyone for sure is looking at themselves in that video. And you are like "ok, I could have done this better, I shouldn't have gone that far, I need to do it earlier, the transition later". So I think everyone is criticizing themselves. At least me. I am looking at myself. I am looking at the picture, but I am looking at myself to see if I did a good job. How can I do it better next time? Nimmo: When you stop that shit you are getting old, and next step is death. So I am not going to stop that (laughs). You must keep doing this or you die. Luis: Or retire. Nimmo: Or retire. Play golf or some shit. Luis: And then you think about your swing (laughs). So, after this record, what is next? Is there any other challenge in the pipeline? Or are you taking a break? Was it enough for the moment?Nimmo: We never take a break, we are constantly freeflying and along the way we do these things. What is the next thing? I don't know, but there is always something coming up. Luis: I would say that record wise probably Nimmo would like to go to the next head down record. Not me, I don't like head down anymore. But for head up, when they decide to organize another world record I think we are going to put an effort, probably the whole team, to go there and be part of it. Damian: I suppose that being the organizers of the European record it is kind of natural for Fly Warriors to be part of the world record if they organize it somewhere else. Luis: Yes, well, we did a try-out camp for the world record in Empuria. In partnership with Steve Curtis, Sara Curtis and Antonio Aria. We saw how they organize it, and they saw us. And I think we've learned a lot. And they invited us to go there and help them organize. I didn't go, because I had other priorities financially at that moment, but the dropzone supported us. Nimmo and Raph went there and they were part of the organization of the world record. So I think that yes, we are going to be involved as Fly Warriors, even if it is only one or two. Gustavo: Or 4 Nimmo: Gus shot the fucking record. So it was 3 out of 4 of us in the record. I still like head down. Raph has lost a bit of the interest in big stuff. You've done it, you've done it. But there is always another one to do. You can always go a little bigger. Same shit, different day. Make it a bit better. I missed one and wish I've gone. So if they do another one for sure, I'll try to go. If I am not broke I'll go. Gustavo: The plan I think it is 200 for the head down next year. And the following year they are going to do a 100 for head up, for sure. One thing funny about freefly is that they never did a round number. In belly it was 100, 200, 300 and 400 which is the last one. But in freefly they went with 108, one hundred forty something, 164?. I hope this time they will do a fucking 200 and fucking 100. Why they can't be like the normal people? (laughs). Hopefully, let's hope for the best. The last question: Would you like to say something that I haven't asked about?Nimmo: We've been talking for a long time here. It is good that we are finished (laughs). Gustavo: It is the longest interview ever (more laughs).
  5. As one of the most experienced pilots in the world, Jarno McCordia is continually involved with things at the pointy end of wingsuit flight. Following on from providing details about the new wingsuit tunnel in Stockholm, he shares some information about a more personal project that aims to answer a question that continually bothers us as humans: “What happens if we strap rockets to it?” “In a way this project started back in 2005 when I first saw Finnish wingsuit pilot Visa Parviainen experimenting with the first set of small jet engines. I had been involved in helping him with some media stuff around 2010, and at that point it really sparked my interest. It had always been a secret longing, but at that point I really got inspired to try and turn it into a reality.” “Every wingsuit pilot dreams of flying with unlimited range and power - to turn yourself into a true flying machine. Visa took that and turned it into a reality. He worked for years to develop the idea, logging longer and longer flights, aiming for level flight and then the ability to gain altitude.” While Jarno concedes that other high-profile projects that utilise similar technology have helped to draw attention to his plans, it has taken a lot of work to get it up and running. ‘It took quite a few years, and many dozens of sponsor proposals to finally get the project of the ground. At the moment we are midway into construction on the fuel setup and engine mounts, our software engineer is almost done programming the custom onboard computer that will control and monitor the engines, and provide various safety features related to matching thrust and (automated) startup and shut down sequences.” “Engine technology and wingsuit design have both come a long way since Visa's first flights over a decade ago, and it is going to be exciting to see how far we can take it. We have a team of aeronautics designers helping with the engine mounting and fuel setup, and experts in construction making the gear. Visa himself has been involved from the start, providing us with a great deal of knowhow and practical information - as well as showing us his setup and design ideas.” Unlike the various rigid wing systems we have seen over the years, your plans appear to utilise fairly standard wingsuiting gear. What have you had to adapt? This is one of the main goals for the project. I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of experts in various fields and we are trying to design a set of gear that can be added to any normal wingsuit/parachute system. I will be using a bigger canopy due to around ten kilos of added weight I will have on landing, but thanks to recent advancements in ultralight fabrics and canopy design it will fit into my normal rig. So when can we all have one? I am not sure that buying a jump ticket and getting on a plane with a tank of Jet A1 strapped to your back and engines blasting super heated exhaust at 600 mph will ever become standard, but for me this is a dream project and I'm trying to get as many knowledgeable and skilled people as possible involved to help it become reality. An important personal goal is to develop a system that is as safe and easy to use as possible, and I think approaching the design process from the point of view of that anyone should be able to use it is a good place to start from.” How long until we can expect to see you in the sky? “We do have a date we're aiming for in terms of the first flights, but we are keeping that off the record for now. It is crucial to let safety, finalised designs and a thorough testing process dictate when we a ready to go. My biggest wish for the whole project was to make it safe, accessible and of course as awesome as can be.” Project manager & Pilot: Jarno Cordia Made possible by: IGOFX, AMT Jets, Phoenix-Fly Programming & Technical Setup: Martijn Decauter Technical Realisation & Construction management: Jean-Louis Becker / NL Ballon Aerodynamics Design, Tunnel Testing & Support: DNW Aero
  6. That's right! You heard it here first. Skydive America Palm Beach is now the proud landlord of some new guests. Yep, that's right. Scotty Carbone (a self-proclaimed skydiving gypsy), his lovely wife, Tammy, and his 3-legged dog, Hercules, have traveled across time and space from their last dropzone which was Skydive Spaceland in Texas and have finally landed and set up home on the Skydive America property. This is fantastic news for Skydive America and the jumpers as they have brought their entourage of trailers and tents including the cutaway cafe. Now Skydive America has the one thing it was missing -- the constant smell of food in the air, as they knock out some smashing breakfasts lunches, and dinners along with plenty of cold drinks, tea, coffee and homemade sandwiches, munchies and all sorts of skydiving goodies. Skydive America was, is, and has always been an awesome dropzone which I thought had everything (except decent food). I mean where else do you get to jump with Olav Zipser, Jerry Bird and Scotty Carbone all on the same load on a weekly basis? When asked how long they are going to stay, the reply was, "for at least a couple of years." Scotty brings with him about 12,000 skydives, good food, a bang-on sense of humor and some great organizing, along with more stories than an old Jewish grandma at a Matzo ball party. This weekend the skydiver writing this actually replaced his gold chain, that's been around his neck for the last 15 years, with a black piece of leather, a closing pin and a couple of beads, after being told by Carbone, "why you wearing that girlie thing kid, you need to be wearing one of these," as he kindly charged me $18 for my new necklace and told me how all skydivers with more than 200 jumps must wear these (hey who was I to argue -- I have 250 jumps -- he has over 12,000 and he did give me a free cup of tea). Anyway, having Scotty and Tammy there have only added brownie points to the dropzone and added a sense of history. I mean, when I am awakened at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning by the sound of horribly loud 70's music blasting from the "Carbone Zone" Trailer/Café, and I walk out of the bunkhouse and there's the sweet smell of bacon and French toast in the air and then there's Scotty Carbone with his big chef's hat, a pair of boots and boxer shorts and not too much else, scuttling around and kicking up dust dancing with cooking spatula in hand, it reminded me of a scene from "Good Morning Vietnam" or of old skydiving days. I don't know -- it just seemed to make me feel nostalgic and was definitely a lot better than a bunch of us sitting around eating cold Egg Mcmuffins before first load. So, needless to say, the "Carbone Zone", Tammy and Hercules, the 3-legged dog (who runs 22 miles an hour behind Scotty's scooter wherever he goes -- you have to see it -- it's hysterical), are warmly welcomed by the all the skydivers and everyone at Skydive America. (Yes, even the freeflyers have to eat you know.) When I arrived home after another great weekend of jumpin', the wife said "Where's your chain?" I said, "its in my bag -- I am not wearing it anymore. I'm a skydiver and Scotty Carbone said I have to wear this." To this she replied, "Who the f#@# is Scotty Carbone. If he told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?" (She's not a jumper.) Then, surprisingly, she said, "I actually hated that gold chain -- you look much better in that new thing, whatever it is." Andre Stepsky b32323 TFQ #1 www.tumblefuqs.com
  7. FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017 will be the first ever World Championships in the urban parachuting discipline, freestyle swooping, and it will take place in the heart of Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, August 25 and 26 2017 - making this the premiere of a whole new urban world championship settings: Taking world class air sport to the people in the middle of great cities. 18 of the best canopy piloting athletes in the world will battle it out for the first ever world championship title in the freestyle discipline over two phenomenal days of high octane parachuting athleticism in the centre of Copenhagen. Over 100.000 spectators will be watching the event live with millions watching online and behind the screens worldwide. The event format is the idea of two Danish entrepreneurs and in only three years, the event has grown massively and has revolutionised the sport. Swooping is the new darling of parachuting and the freestyle discipline is the most spectator friendly and adrenaline seeking within human flight.The high-impact, adrenalin-fuelled discipline of Freestyle Canopy Piloting is known as Swooping, and involves parachutists flying at high-speed across a ‘Swooping Pond’ to score points based on style and execution. Canopy pilots jump out of a plane or helicopter in 1,500 m/5,000 feet altitude, release the canopy straight away and start to navigate towards the surface immediately. To gain great speed, they make a series of turns before reaching ground level, and right before they make contact with the surface, they straighten out and with speeds up to 150 km/90 miles per hour, they do their freestyle trick on the water surface before landing on a platform on the water right in front of the spectators. From local pilot project to official world championshipsWith the world championship stamp from the The World Air Sports Federation, FAI, the Danish organizers have gone from an idea and a pilot project to an official world championship in only three years. "In the space of three years we have gone from an idea and pilot project with 10,000 spectators to an internationally recognised platform with hundreds of thousands now following live and behind screens across the globe. We have taken the sport on a journey, with the athletes now seeing themselves in a professional light and professional settings in the heart of major cities whereas they before were used to competing in small airports without spectators or media coverage. We have managed to bring the environment and talent together in a major project within the city and now with official recognition and the World Championship we are a step closer to realising our dream of a World Series," George Blythe, CEO of A. Sports, the organisers of the FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships says. International federation: We could not have a better venue than Copenhagen"Freestyle Swooping really is one of the most exciting and dynamic air sports to watch. So it is very exciting, and my genuine pleasure, to welcome the athletes to the very first FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships in Copenhagen. There couldn’t be a better venue than in the heart of this great city. It really is unique, and will help bring this rapidly growing sport to thousands of spectators both in the city and through the media. I would like to wish all the competitors, organisers, and volunteers a fun, safe and fair competition. I am looking forward to following this amazing event," FAI President Frits Brink said. "The FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships adds another dimension to our work with sporting events. Here we are talking about an event that has been developed in Denmark and now has been appointed official world championships. That fact is a cadeau to the organisers and the partners behind," says Lars Lundov, CEO, Sport Event Denmark which partners the event. FACTS:FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017 Training and Swoop Night Lights Friday August 25, Qualifying and Finals Saturday August 26 2017. Location: Peblinge Lake, Queen Louise's Bridge, central Copenhagen. 18 parachute pilots from 12 countries. It's the first swoop freestyle world championships ever in freestyle swooping (canopy piloting). Website Facebook page Instagram Facebook event
  8. “Performance Designs has once again raised the bar. The flight characteristics seem even sharper than my standard Valkyrie. The canopy has amazing acceleration with complete confidence in the power of the rears or toggles to change directions or level out if needed. If you are serious about your chosen discipline and serious about canopy choice, for me, there is no better swoop machine to allow you to maximize both freefall and canopy time.” - Brian Vacher You love your Valkyrie. You've been jumping her for the past two years. She gives you the buttery smooth openings, with the responsiveness and power you crave! Now you're wanting more...and we're ready to give it to you! Introducing the Hybrid Valkyrie - everything you love about the Valkyrie but more. We incorporated sail fabric into the Valkyrie's ribs to give her more power, more responsiveness and longer swoops than an all ZP constructed Valkyrie. Think of her as a "Valkyrie on steroids" with more sensitivity in the harness and more stopping power than ever before. Available as an option when purchasing your next custom wing, the sail ribs are a great addition for the seasoned Valkyrie owner. And it gets even better, the Hybrid Valkyrie option is only $100. When choosing between the all ZP and Hybrid Valkyrie, keep in mind that the sail ribs will increase pack volume by about a half size in comparison to the all ZP Valkyrie. The overall lifespan of the canopy is similar to that of an all ZP wing. Photo by: Wolfgang LienbacherThe Hybrid Valkyrie is available to order now, contact your dealer and get your custom Hybrid Valkyrie ordered. Demos and stock canopies will be available in the coming weeks. Flight Characteristics and FAQs available here.
  9. With the release of the new ProTrack 2 we have a look at exactly how many more things it offers. ProTrack II DesignWhen falling through the sky it is not only a jolly good idea to have a little gizmo the beeps in your ear to remind you to do stuff - in many situations it is mandatory. For some people the simplest set of warnings are sufficient - one distinct electronic chirrup for each of break-off and deployment, then an angry screechy one for being lower than is safely acceptable/possibly getting told off about what you just did. However, even the most rudimentary electronic devices now come packaged with a tiny computers buried inside that have enough computational power to perform orbital mechanics and help serve the purpose of pacifying your life’s need to do anything much other than binge watch old episodes of Deep Space Nine on Netflix. Original ProTrack DesignI bought an original ProTrack as my first set of beeps back in 2007 as I am a big nerd and it was the most fanciest audible altimeter available. I remember being tremendously excited about how it allowed me to download the accumulated digital data from my skydives and then produce graphs from the correlated information to share on my MySpace page - thus proving beyond all doubt I was both cooler and smarter than the people who laughed at me in school for my ongoing interest in toy soldiers. Technology moves fast and our insatiable appetite for mobile phones that do more and more has led to some mind-boggling miniaturisation in our daily lives. We are now very used to tiny electronic doodads with little screens that do many things. So - we some beeps to remind us of a few important things in freefall, but how much more is it possible or necessary to do with an audible altimeter if we apply the technology we have available now? With this update of the ProTrack, what Larsen and Brusgaard have done is smoosh together the features of the original device with those of their flagship audible altimeter - the Quattro - then sprinkle it with some modern goodness that we recognise from things we see every day in phones and such. If we break it down the ProTrack 2 can be divided into categories as follows:Things ProTrack Did Already: Mass Storage: It records the details of your jumps. Including accumulated freefall time, which is nice - especially if you find adding up units of time a pain in the ass. Connectivity: There is much to be said for a digital record of you achievements. A meticulously crafted pen and ink logbook is beautiful artefact of your skydiving career (and still a requirement for advancement in many places), but equally splendid in a different way is a lovingly curated online adventure zone that enjoys all the fruits of modern computing. Exit/Deployment Altitude: With time one learns that the altitude advertised by a Dropzone is not always what you get. Many variables determine your precise altitude when you are when you are in the right place to get out of the plane and mostly it is not a big deal. It is nice to have proof if you find you are getting fleeced though. Things The Quattro Does That The ProTrack 2 Does Too:Low Speed Warnings: These are the swoop alarms we know and love. They are programmed to register low freefall speeds too, which can be right useful if you are into complex wingsuit flocking where they can be set to signal points along a flight path or breaking into groups or stuff like that. Beeps Going Up: Having settings to signal certain altitudes in the plane is a convenience that can be beneficial. Efficiency with your jump preparations leads to safer and better skydive and good awareness is crucial. Always On: You don’t have to remember to switch it on and off. Unless you want to. New Things The ProTrack 2 Does Now:Micro USB: Which seems so normal but is new and exciting as the old model came with a cradle thingy that had required you to have a serial port (a serial port?) or, for Mac users - some kind of laborious solution. The JumpTrack software offered by Larsen and Brusgaard has been around a good while and although due for an overhaul it is still used around the world. Live Jump Playback: With 2MB of internal flash memory the unit is able to replay the speed profile of your jump in real time. (Approximately 200 jumps with 2 minute profiles or 26 jumps with 15 minute profiles). If you are prepared to put in some effort (like watching side-by-side with video) there are things you can learn from this. Economy Mode: These devices don’t use very much energy and if you get the batteries from somewhere sensible instead of a dropzone shop then they don’t cost very much. However, If your jumping is random or infrequent then the ability to actually switch it off properly means your battery will last a while longer. A modest boon, but nice if you gain satisfaction from managing the small things. Useful but very 90s looking software. Note the attached videos and imagesWhile there are undoubtably people out there who just desire some beeps that beep at the right time and nothing much else, devices like the ProTrack 2 offer extra information that can be very valuable for those that are inclined to manage and study it. Skydiving represents a huge investment in your own skill and experience, and the ability to analyse accurate, reliable data relating to trends in your performance is another way of squeezing a little a little more from your jumps.
  10. A jump ship at Perris airport was involved in a collision with a fuel truck on Wednesday 24 May 2017. According to official reports, the plane was in the process of landing when it hit the fuel truck, causing damage to the front and the wing of the plane. The aircraft then spun out of control, stopping just short of one of the building structures. Despite a hard collision with the truck, and extensive damage to the plane, there was no fuel leakage from the truck after the incident. Only minor injuries were reported by one of the two individuals on board, both of whom declined any medical treatment at the scene. The situation could have been different had the fuel tanker leaked, or had the plane been going any faster. The 1976 de Havilland “Twin Otter” DHC-6 suffered severe damage to both the right wing and the nose of the aircraft. It wasn't immediately clear whether the aircraft was being rented by the dropzone or whether it is owned by Perris. After the series of plane crashes in the past 2 years, this incident will go down as a best case scenario, with no fatalities or severe injuries. The information as to exactly what happened to cause the plane to collide with the tanker wasn't immediately published, and would likely warrant an investigation prior to any public information being released.
  11. Emma Tranter has helped airsports athletes get on--and stay on--the mat for 16 years. You’re next. So, full disclosure: This author has been practicing yoga for many years. I deeply believe that I couldn’t jump or fly without using yoga as a tool to undergird those activities, but it was so difficult to explain why that I generally deflected the conversation. After all, it used to be that chats involving yoga on the dropzone would end awkwardly (usually, with someone trying to fold themselves into lotus pose and falling off a barstool). These days, other airsports athletes tend to be much more receptive--but they often insist they simply can’t do yoga themselves, always calling in one (or more) of these three reasons: I don’t have time. I’m not flexible. I already work out enough. But what if I told you that these are all dismantlable barriers? That you can--and very much should--knock them down? And that it’ll measurably increase your sports performance? You certainly don’t have to take my word for it. Take Emma Tranter’s. Emma is a force of nature in our sport. A longtime-professional-skydiver-and-traveller-turned-extensively-educated-yoga-teacher, Emma has over 16 years of experience melding these two seemly opposing practices (and understands firsthand, the desires, aversions and excuses of the adventure-seeker. If you’ve spent time at Skydive DeLand, you know Emma for her yoga studio: The Yoga Shed, so close to Skydive DeLand that a well-thrown baseball will easily make the journey from the dropzone parking lot to the studio’s front door. Along with running her yoga studio, Emma currently travels the globe from her home base to facilitate Fusion Flow wellness retreats at various wind tunnels around the world, She does this with her twin sister, peak performance health coach, Lucie Charping. Arguably, Emma has the world’s most substantial experience in working with airsports athletes as they develop and advance a yoga practice. If anyone can break down the barriers between you and a yoga mat, it’s gonna be her. So let’s get started, shall we? ALO: Emma, tell us your abridged life story in the sky and on the mat. Emma: I made my first jump at home in New Zealand in 1994. I was professionally skydiving for many years--traveling all over the world for the sport. I eventually came to DeLand and stayed. I started teaching yoga in 2000, but I was still primarily a skydiver--packing parachutes and coaching at Skydive University and all of that kinda stuff. The balance shifted around 2003, when I completed a thousand-hour course in Precision Alignment Yoga. It was a two year training. It was awesome; I am still with those teachers. As the early 2000s went by, I started to get more more dedicated and committed to yoga. I transitioned out of professional skydiving but I stayed very active in the community, and I still fly regularly in the tunnel. The tunnel gives me more space in my life to dedicate to yoga, and teaching yoga is undoubtedly what I am supposed to be doing with my life. This is the sixth year of the Yoga Shed. Opening it in 2011 right next to the dropzone just seemed like the most natural choice in the world. I love to teach skydivers; they’re my people. And what skydivers find in a yoga practice is uniquely helpful to them. ALO: Does it still feel to you like people in these sports have the wrong idea about yoga? Emma: Oh yeah. A lot of airsports people--like the general public, I guess--still have the conception that yoga is about bending yourself into a pretzel or sitting on a cushion and omming. I mean, it is in some practices, but this is a very limited view. Airsports people tirelessly seek a state of flow. When you jump out of a plane or off a cliff and you’re not in that flow state, then that’s usually when things go wrong. When things go really right, it’s when your consciousness is in alignment; when you are fully present and not affected by your ego, when you aren’t thinking about what happened before or what’s coming in the future. You are just in that moment. Yoga gets you there. Airsports athletes make really good yogis because, once they actually establish the habit, they see the immediate, enormous benefits of the practice. They know what that particular flow feeling is when they meet it on the mat because it’s one of the central reasons they jump. The great news is that--once you’ve got the concentration required, when you can align the body and align the mind--then you start to experience that nowness that we all love in airsports whenever you want to. The trick is just to start doing it. ALO: Okay, Emma: I don’t have enough time. Emma: The first thing you have to do is be realistic as far as time goes. I always suggest the same question: How much time is realistic for you to dedicate to your health and wellness practices in order to support your flying, your skydiving, your BASE jumping...whatever it is that you love to do? Is it 10 minutes? 15 minutes? Half an hour? Most people will be, like, okay, I could definitely do 15 minutes. I take longer than that in the shower. Then I’ll say, “Okay. Let’s make this a 15-minute practice. How many days a week do you realistically think you will dedicate 15 minutes to do this practice? Twice a week? Three times a week? Fifteen minutes, three times a week, is very doable. I usually encourage my students to do their practice in the morning, before the day gets going and distractions come along. Can you get up 15 minutes earlier and fit it in before your shower? Do you see that as something that’s realistically possible? The majority of people discover that it’s quite easy to do. It’s more beneficial for people to do a 10- or 15-minute home practice every day than go take a class once a week for an hour and a half. When people start with a 10-minute or 15-minute practice and dedicate to it, that practice gradually lengthens in time. Suddenly that 10-minute practice that they were just going to get out of the way is 15 minutes long. And then, a month later, it is 20 minutes long, because they just felt like staying in it a little bit longer. In time, it grows and grows from within. But If you expect yourself to do a one-and-a-half hour practice, three times a week, right off the bat--if that’s unrealistic, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. If it’s that easy, why isn’t everybody doing it already? Find out in the next installment--as well as the reason “I’m not flexible” is the worst-ever reason not to take up yoga.
  12. Holistic Performance Specialist Lucie Charping Talks You In Image by Serge ShakutoLucie Charping grew up in the world of food and hospitality--but quite a bit more actively than you might imagine. She founded her first restaurant, in fact, at age 16. Lucie made the food-to-medicine connection early, too. Plagued by a variety of ailments throughout her childhood (as well as adrenal fatigue and a battle with anorexia, which almost killed her), Lucie healed herself through holistic nutrition. Eighteen years later, Lucie’s expertise centers on peak performance, sports injury management and plant-based nutrition--with a particular focus on lifestyle strategies for adventure sports practitioners, elite and Olympic athletes. I had the opportunity to pick Lucie’s brain about peak performance strategies for skydiving (and the shredding of tunnel gnar, to boot). Here’s what she had to say. ALO: So: tell us what you do! Lucie: I'm a peak-performance health coach. I’ve been a holistic nutrition coach for about 18 years. Originally, I worked exclusively within the Ayurvedic model--Indian medicine. These days, there is so much more western science and up-to-date nutritional information available, so I extended my practice to encompass it. The focus is two-pronged: first alignment, then optimization. Once you align your systems, the body can optimize. Most of my clients are adventure athletes of some kind who want to heal from their minor injuries faster; who want to be faster; who want to be clearer in their path towards performance in air sports and who want to have the mental energy that is takes to do these sports well. ALO: At what stage along this path do you usually meet a new client? Lucie: Usually, they come to me already having had an inkling of what needs to be adjusted. With a little bit of age and experience, top-level athletes--and people who want to become top-level athletes--discover for themselves the power of food-as-medicine to improve recovery rates, reduce inflammation, oxygenate more efficiently and focus better. Soon after that, if they’re paying attention--which they are, at that level--they realize that without using nutrition as a tool, they’re effectively shooting themselves in the foot. People come to me because they’re starting to realize how important it is and they want a customized, individualized plan of action--but you can do it for yourself, of course, if you’re willing to put in the research. You’d think that in top-level sports--airsports included--people would know what they need to know about nutrition. Unfortunately, they don’t. In order to be light and strong and focused, you need to eat and balance your body systems. ALO: Most folks that I know who do anything in the human-flight realm are under the impression that they’re doing pretty well, nutritionally. What’s the biggest problem you see with nutrition in airsports specifically? Lucie: In airsports, I come up again and again against the fact that people live predominantly on sugar. Soft drinks and lab-created bars are the major culprits behind the energy rollercoaster. Protein powders and bars replacing real food is a close second. There’s a perception that crap food is par for the course when you’re in the tunnel at 2 o'clock in the morning or out on a dropzone for the weekend--and then you don't know why you can't focus anymore, you don't know why you keep injuring yourself, why you're so frustrated all the time. It’s a matter of blood sugar and stress responses. Once you get your blood sugar and your stress responses under control, the training can rapidly come together. If you manage your body chemistry and your neurochemistry, you can absolutely catapult yourself. You can actually create an environment that sets you up for a state of peak performance--for a flow state. You can cultivate those states within your body, and how you do that is through your food choices and your relaxation practices. We all have these systems built into our bodies; we just need to learn to use them properly. There is a lot of science on this now--about how food choices and relaxation practices can optimize your learning rate; your motivation; your creativity; your focus. You can halve your learning time, for instance. The benefits are across-the-board. ALO: Let’s take a look at your typical skydiver. By that, I mean somebody in their late 20s to mid-30s who thinks that they eat pretty well, but definitely drinks socially--and probably has more quote-unquote “cheat days” than they would care to admit. This hypothetical jumper is starting to feel their age kicking in; starting to feel a little bit less, shall we say, unstoppable; starting to get the little nudges from their body that say something needs to be changed. What are the steps that you first recommend to that person? Lucie: The first thing I ask is simple: Are you eating enough food? Because in airsports--as in most sports--athletes don't eat regularly enough to balance blood sugar. Hangriness is hypoglycemia, which is crippling to an athlete. You can easily manage your blood sugar with plant protein and fiber (for example: hummus and carrots), even while you’re moving quickly at the dropzone. No matter how transient you are, you must think am I eating regularly enough and is my blood sugar stable. That’s step one. ALO: So you’re not telling people to drop everything and go raw vegan. Lucie: Absolutely not. I don't actually agree with that, anyway. I think that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the way forward for health and performance--but, as a coach, you have to meet a person exactly where they’re at. I can prescribe my perfect formula, but it will be a set-up for failure if the athlete can’t or won’t adhere. ----- Next week, Lucie talks about her favorite strategies to make that plan and stick to it.
  13. Holistic Performance Specialist Lucie Charping Talks You In Image by Juan MayerIn our last article, we met holistic nutrition coach Lucie Charping, who works with elite athletes to get them--and keep them--at the top of their game. Often, that game is an airsport. Here’s the continuation of our conversation regarding peak performance strategies for more “normal” airsports athletes, like you and me. (Spoiler: These strategies work just as well if there isn’t a charging bull on your helmet.) ALO: If going cold-turkey on every naughty item in your diet isn’t the way to peak performance, then what is? Lucie: Changes made little-by-little help an athlete increase awareness and get in touch with their body’s natural intelligence by balancing the systems that run us. In actual fact, we're healed by those same systems that keep us going, so--if you balance those systems, such as blood sugar and pH--you'll be setting yourself up for a broad spectrum of positive effects, healing from stress and sports injuries among them. Make better choices until you build the momentum that gets the pathways programmed. ALO: It sounds just like establishing a yoga practice. Right? As soon as you keep the promise that you're going to do it for five minutes, before you know it, it’s 10; 20; 40; 60... Lucie: Absolutely. People think it's matter of willpower. It’s not. It's really a matter of neurobiology--what's happening in your brain, what's happening with your biochemistry, your neurotransmitters, what's happening in your gut--that’s making the decision about what you're going to eat. You can’t fight your hormones. No matter how strong of mind you think you are, you're ruled by your chemistry. You are strong of mind because of your chemistry. So: If you get your chemistry in alignment, you’ve essentially learned to hack yourself. You can not only be happier, more effective, more creative and more motivated in your daily life--but if you’re the kind of person who relishes a heightened-stress, high-consequence situation like skydiving, tunnel flying, BASE jumping, etcetera, then you’ll get even more benefit from this kind of management. You’ll learn faster, you’ll have faster decision-making and you'll have more focus to excel in these unique sports with their unique pressures. Of course, I could say to you, “Here; go to the dropzone with this power-packed superfoods smoothie of maca and cacao with all these berries in it.” And it would be super awesome, of course; it’d give you a short burst of energy for a short amount of time. But it’s not sustainable to do that every time you go to the dropzone; every time you go to the tunnel. If you learn how to balance your blood sugar, you're going to have an abundance of energy for an extended amount of time, and you don’t have to plug a blender in next to the packing mat. ALO: Let’s talk a little more about energy. It’s a big part of airsports to manage your energy when you’re waiting on loads or tunnel rotations or weather, and a lot of airsports athletes struggle with it. How can this stuff help with that? Lucie: The peaks and valleys in these sports are quite steep. I see a lot of adrenal fatigue and overactive minds in the group of people that I work with. For this, I’ll use the term “extreme sports,” because these athletes like to push their minds and physiologies to the extreme. When you put yourself in a high-consequence or high-risk situation constantly, the chemistry that is firing in your brain is full of reward chemicals. It’s highly addicting. Over time, you reset your brain’s baseline for what it means to feel good. When you're on the ground or on the bench, those reward chemicals are not firing. So, what happens is--more often than not, and you can correct me if I'm wrong--we have major addictions in these sports. Not just to drugs, though that is certainly within the landscape. We have addictions to sugar; caffeine; tobacco; all kinds of stimulants, and you can see for yourself how people are having to use those things constantly between jumps and flights. It's not because the individual a yahoo; it’s because their baseline chemistry is telling them this is what is required for you to feel happy now. So, on the ground as an action sport or, say, “extreme sport” athlete--for peak performance, you must learn to cultivate that chemistry whilst not risking your life. And you do that with the food that you eat and with relaxation practices. You can keep your blood sugar level, which keeps your mind and body in a receptive state, then cultivate that satisfying chemical response through breathing. Then you won't have to reach for an energy drink every time you pack, bouncing from one coffee to the next, not eating all day at the dropzone and then binging whenever you manage to get home. Peak performance comes with time. And so, it’s interesting to note, does optimal health and weight, without calorie counting, or deprivation, or guilt. ALO: It sounds way simpler than I thought. Lucie: It’s not really simple, it’s elegant. To me, that's where the power is. If you want to talk about what is both the barrier and the bridge between business as usual and peak performance for airsports athletes, it’s a single path, and it’s not complicated: cultivating these practices of prioritizing your food so you balance your body's chemistry and practicing mindfulness techniques in order to bring a single point of focus to your mind. Not only do you get better at jumping and flying; you become happier as overall person. Your body is magic; it's magnificent, actually We often forget about that. But we never, ever should. ------ Lucie is based in San Diego, but travels to wind tunnels worldwide as the nutritional arm of Fusion Flow Retreats. To reach out to Lucie for a personal consult, pop over to her Facebook page.
  14. admin

    The Power of the Flare

    Squirrel wingsuits just released this amazing video, aimed at illustrating how wingsuits are able to climb in altitude. The concept of wingsuits being able to ascend was disputed by quite a number of skeptics over the past decade, but over the past few years we've seen evidence that not only can a wingsuit flyer gain altitude, but that they can ascend by a few hundred feet. At the time the claims were made, it was probably correct to assume that the wingsuits weren't gaining altitude, but that's only because the performance wasn't there yet. Wingsuit performance has seen a massive gain over the last decade with new companies like Squirrel getting involved in the market, and for the most part, dominating it. The increase in competitive wingsuit flying has also meant there is a larger drive for performance increases from manufacturers. Despite being one of the newest comers to the wingsuit market, Squirrel have already asserted themselves as one of the leading manufacturers in the industry and whose wingsuits have seen a number world cup wins over the past few years. In the video, a group of wingsuit flyers and organizers are seen plotting their flights and discussing what the risks involved with the jumps. The idea behind the video is that they would be using a large canyon in Moab, Utah as a point of scale for their wingsuit ascent attempts. In skydiving, it's generally quite difficult to judge the ascent, if any of a wingsuit flight -- not only because the increase in ascent isn't generally aggressively targeted as a goal, but because there is no static reference to give an indication on the altitude gained. The video, which provides some seriously awesome cinematography -- also shows us, for the first time, just how much altitude can be gained by these modern wingsuits. In some cases more than 250 feet were gained. The measurements were estimates based off both camera angle and in some cases GPS logs.
  15. The wait is over! No one is more excited than we are here at Performance Designs. After years of development, hard work, and dedication we are delighted to announce our first wingsuit specific canopy, Horizon, is ready to order. In 2013 Performance Designs began development on a wing with emphasis on eliminating deployment problems caused by the large burble of wingsuits without sacrificing a great flare or responsive handling. When you have been making canopies as long as we have here at Performance Designs, this process is always evolving. The one thing that never changes is our high standard for quality, performance, and our focus on providing excellent products to everyone in our skydiving community. The result, we think the Horizon has the best openings and the best landing power of any canopy in its class! Best of all the Horizon gives you the ability to upsize as many as two full sizes compared to a non-crossbraced ZP main. This means you can fit a larger canopy in your existing rig for wingsuit jumps. No need for a new container! The Horizon features 7 cell construction Hybrid ZP and low-bulk 30 denier fabric consistent and reliable openings efficient glide when it counts responsive handling and a powerful flare slider presentation snaps HMA or Vectran Lines packs 1-2 sizes smaller than a similar ZP main Introductory Retail Price- $2100 Available in sizes 120-135-150-170-190 Horizon’s openings are stress free and comfortable, but they don't eat up a lot of altitude. Although this canopy was not designed to win any swoop meets, the response in flight is quite a pleasant surprise. With its agile response to control inputs, the Horizon is a joy to fly. It has a fairly long control range with excellent slow flight characteristics. Its dynamic response to braked flight turning inputs makes it an excellent canopy to conserve altitude as you fly back home from a long spot. The Horizon continues to uphold the landing performance that Performance Designs customers have come to expect. With a quick response to proper flare input it is easy to predict the “sweet spot” for a nice easy shutdown no matter what the wind is doing. Pack volume has been reduced significantly by combining our proprietary low-bulk fabric technology with our well known Zero-P fabric. In fact, the Horizon typically packs two(2) sizes smaller than a similar non-cross braced ZP main. The incredibly small pack volume easily facilitates easy upsizing for safety. In short, the Horizon is an easy off button to transition from wingsuit flight to canopy flight stress free. Pablo Hernandez landing at Skydive Dubai. Photo by: Ivan Semenyaka Do you have any questions? We might have some answers below! When can I get one? A: We will be accepting orders from PD’s Authorized Dealers as of today! (May 10th 2017). Standard production time will apply to the Horizon. These lead times are posted on the PD website at www.performancedesigns.com How do I buy one? The Horizon 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. Can I jump this without my wingsuit? We can’t tell you what to do with your canopy. Most people like the way the Horizon opens in freefall at terminal speeds when properly configured and packed. However, in order to get the most bang from your buck we recommend saving the Horizon for its intended wingsuiting purpose. How long will this canopy last? Putting a specific number on the lifespan of any canopy is quite difficult as it is impossible to consider all of the ever-changing variables that affect that canopy. A person who does 1000 jumps a year will go through equipment a lot faster than a person who does 100 jumps a year…and that is just one small piece of the puzzle. Our proprietary low-permeability, low-bulk fabric has proven to be more forgiving when subjected to the wake turbulence of a wingsuit deployment. We have added ZP to the center top skin and across the leading edge to enhance the performance and longevity of the Horizon. However, it does not possess the same durability that a canopy constructed of all ZP material would have. Following our recommendations for wing loading and taking the proper care of your equipment will go a long way toward getting the most out of your wing. With proper care the Horizon should bring you joy and happiness for several hundred jumps. What size should I buy? The fabrics utilized in the Horizon’s construction are part of what make this canopy so well suited for wingsuit skydiving. Because the characteristics of this fabric combination are different from traditional ZP, jumping a Horizon that is too small or loaded too high could demand a little more from the canopy pilot to ensure comfortable landings (when compared to an all ZP canopy in a similar size and design). Size your Horizon one (1) or 2 (two) sizes BIGGER than the smallest ZP canopy you are comfortable with. Roberta Mancino flying over Perris Valley Skydiving. Photo by: Sebastian Alvarez Your Wing Loading is also a critical factor in the performance of your Horizon canopy. Check out our Wing Loading chart on the Horizon page of our website. When considering what size wing is best for you, the size of the reserve in the container that you intend to use should also be strongly considered. It is always advisable to consult a certified wingsuit coach/ instructor when selecting a canopy to optimize your wingsuiting experience. For more information visit the Horizon page on our website www.performancedesigns.com Additional Information: Horizon Packing Manual Horizon Flight Characteristics Horizon FAQs
  16. The world’s first human jump from the drone is accomplished Latvians have accomplished the world’s first human flight with the drone and jump at high altitude. On May 12, a 28-propeller drone built by Aerones has lifted a skydiver Ingus Augstkalns at a height of 330 metres, from where he accomplished the planned jump and landing with the parachute. Successful achievement shows the reliability and lifting-ability of the drone technology that approves unlimited possibilities for its use in saving people, fire-fighting, sports and entertainment. Ingus Augstkalns, an author of the idea and skydiver: “Emotions are fantastic. Both feeling how easily and quickly the drone lifted me, and because Latvia proves itself in innovations of technology. It is obvious that we will experience an increasingly important use of drone in our everyday life. Definitely also my friends skydivers all over the world will be excited about these new opportunities. We live in an exciting time.” Jānis Putrāms, a chief engineer of Aerones and a pilot of the drone: “Already in the near future, our technology will save human lives, will help to fight fires and carry out other challenging and significant work. With this project, we show that we are ready for serious tasks in the field of civil defence and sports.” The jump was accomplished in Māļi, rural area of Amata, Latvia, in cooperation with the State JSC Latvian State Radio and Television Centre (hereinafter -– LVRTC), whose communications tower of 120m was used as a platform for the jumper. In order to reduce potential risks, the drone took the jumper from the tower of 120m and then lifted up in the height intended for the jump. Preparations lasted six months, at which time the payload of the drone increased up to 200 kg and a number of tests were carried out, including the flights with the jumper over the river Daugava. Aerones is the Latvian drone manufacturer that is focused on the development of drones with high lifting power. Ingus Augstkalns is an experienced skydiver and a wind tunnel flyer. He also is a co-founder of innovative technologies companies AERODIUM Technologies, Cube and Captomatic. We thank our partners Latvian State Radio and Television Centre, FILMORY, FlyVision, SABI, f64, AERODIUM, Civil Aviation Agency and Skydive Latvia for cooperation and support for project implementation. Editor's Note: With the exit altitude being just 330 meters, some may consider this more of a BASE jump than a skydive. Whatever you classify it as, we classify it as awesome. www.aerones.com www.facebook.com/aeronescom www.twitter.com/aerones_com
  17. Jill Grantham is a travelling gypsy from Australia with 1900 jumps and 12 years in the sport. She has hair like Rapunzel, a penchant for lords and ladies and is as sweet as her favorite candy. What is your canopy flying experience? I have historically been a consistently terrible canopy pilot due to low confidence (slid in on my butt for 11years). Before I got Lady Safina (my new Safire 3 129 from NZ Aerosports) I was flying a Safire2 139, for 800 jumps. I have now done about 150 jumps on Lady Safina at a bunch of different dz’s with weather etc. But I am loving flying this canopy. Lady Safina, how I love thee, let me count the ways: Amazing flare! No matter what sort of things I do with regards to my landings (I’m currently learning to do a front riser approach) there is always a good enough flare to stand me up. This is giving me the confidence to try and progress to higher speed landings rather than straight ins and not worry about getting dumped if I come out too high. Slightly easier to get on the front risers Slightly faster opening than the Safire 2, which is not too fast and helpful to not be hanging up a slow opening canopy in amongst traffic. More responsive to harness turns. Feels more solid in bumpy wind conditions Heaps and heaps of range to get back with the rears from a long spot. Plus she is really pretty.Is there anything you don’t like about the Safire 3, sorry, Lady Safina? She is a Beta test canopy that was built for me before the Safire 3 was released to the public. I was having inconsistent openings to begin with. After filming some openings and sending some feedback a mod was made to mine and all subsequent Safire 3 models - and now she opens great! What do you notice different in the Safire 3 to your previous Safire 2? I feel like the Safire 3 is just overall more responsive. I definitely feel like I am more in control and can actively fly her. We work together a bit more. With the Safire 2 I felt more like a passenger. Could have been the difference in size a little too of course! The rears are better for getting back from a long spot and the fronts are a bit easier to get on than the Safire 2. She still pulls out of a dive pretty quickly - you can’t hold the fronts down too long before they’re pulled out of your hands. Who is the Safire 3 suitable for in your opinion? I think she is suitable for beginner and intermediate canopy pilots. Especially good if you are a bit nervous or don’t want to push it, you can have a lovely safe easy flight to the ground. You have heaps of range to set yourself up in the pattern, which helps you not become cornered by having too small or too big a canopy...and if you don’t want to do much other than float down softly it will allow you to do that. If you do want to start flying it more, and seeing what you can do with it, then it is a really responsive wing and awesome to try out some new things on. But because the flare is so good it doesn't matter soooo much if you don’t nail the landings while you’re learning, because the canopy sort of fixes your little mistakes up :) What's the main benefit or advantage to you personally of having a Safire 3 rather than another canopy? Aside from her being the prettiest Lady I have seen? When I’m flying her I feel comfortable enough that I can choose what is appropriate for the situation and group and fly her how I need to to be safe and keep everyone else safe too. The increased responsiveness and flare have made me confident to try more when flying her. She has really changed my attitude towards skydiving. I feel more in control of how I am flying her rather than feeling a little bit exposed to the elements. She is basically all those empowering girl songs in canopy form!. ** Jill Grantham received early access to the pre-released version of the Safire 3 gratis from New Zealand Aerosports. The article above was Jill's unpaid opinion on her experience with the canopy.
  18. The Mutant is a purpose-built swoop harness and container system that is a swooping game changer! Designed by Vince Reffet and Blikkies Blignaut, the Mutant is significantly different than a standard sport rig. The risers connect at the hips, similar to that of a speed flying harness, and control is initiated more by weight input than toggle pressure. The laid back, supine position of the pilot reduces drag which ensures a super long and fast swoop. This innovation significantly changes the flying dynamics of the canopy which means the Mutant is not suitable for all flyers. Jumping the Mutant requires training and a high level of experience; those with speed flying harness experience will realize an easier transition than those with no supine harness experience. Here's what some of the early testers have to say about the Mutant: It only took me a few seconds under canopy to realize that the increase in performance with the Mutant was phenomenal. The performance envelope is increased and the sensitivity through the harness is shocking. After a couple of jumps I up-sized to give me time to get used to the increased in control. I feel like the harness adds another dimension to the canopy, like it's on steroids! -Pete Allum The biggest benefit from flying a MUTANT harness is that you can control your pitch angle just by using weight shift , there is no need to pull the front risers to dive neither to use the rear risers to recover if done right, just leaning forward makes you dive and leaning backwards helps you to recover with less wing distortion as you barely apply any input on the rears. -Pablo Hernandez This harness is so awesome! It is the most comfortable harness period. It's the next step up in high performance parachute flying. Relearning to fly using the hip attachments is fun and challenging. The mutant harness automatically makes you feel like you just down-sized. It turns your katana into a velocity and velo into a peregrine. -Jarrett Martin "I think the name says it all :D Mutant. A hybrid between a paragliding harness and a skydiving one. I have been intrigued by it since the first time I heard about it and when I saw it I realized it is the obvious step ahead. It is very fun to fly but because it is so different, we will have to relearn and redefine a lot of what we know about swooping. The skydivers with a paragliding/speedflying background will have an easier transition to it. I am excited to figure it out even though I know it might take me some time. It is definitely worth the effort. The next generation of skydiving harnesses is finally here!" -Cornelia Mihai My bro and teammate Vince Reffet has been working on it for a long time and I can only thank him for putting all these efforts into it!! This harness is a door open to a new era of skydiving, it's been a long time that I didn't have that much fun under canopy!!! I did a lot of speed riding and paragliding and the mutant is a way to get the power of the canopy control that you can have under a paragliding wing but in skydiving! such a blast to go from a position that is standing up to seating and then be able to use the weight to move so fast and so powerful!! it is really a new world. thank you vine and thank you UPT!!! -Fred Fugen Stay tuned for updates about the Mutant release.
  19. With more than four thousand jumps over the last fourteen years, Jarno McCordia is one of the most experienced and highly respected wingsuit pilots in the world. Here he joins us to discuss a couple of upcoming projects from the pointy end of wingsuit flying. First up is a look at the soon-to-open indoor wingsuit facility in Stockholm. Towards the end of 2016 footage began to emerge of an angled tunnel facility in Sweden where some ambitious aeronautical engineers have been conspiring to do for wingsuit flying what vertical wind tunnels have done for our skydiving skills - change everything. Brought quietly onto the project in early 2016 by the founder of Phoenix Fly and wingsuit development grand wizard Robert Pecnik, Jarno immediately saw the potential: “The whole thing was already underway a fair bit when I got involved in an active way. Secretly Robert had already been working for almost a year with the team behind the technology to realise the project. The first test flights had already been done when I was invited to come take a look at the flying and help assess things - mostly from an instructional point of view but also to see how far we could push the flying. Normally a lot of the development and testing we do together is open and shared process - so to have Robert tell me he had some news but couldn't show me anything until we met in person made me suspect it was something big.” “The flying I saw at that point was just steady cruising, but it immediately made me realise what I was seeing and the potential of how it could change the sport in a similar way that indoor skydiving transformed Freefly and FS in terms of skills and training.” Many disciplines within skydiving are evolving quickly and wingsuit flying is no exception. Suit designs are continually updated as our methods are refined and our abilities better understood. Steep and fast is the way to maximise the potential of a wingsuit - but getting it right takes time. How does the tunnel work and what have you learned about the instruction process so far? “The whole tunnel chamber is a moving structure of which the angle can be altered from pretty much flat to almost vertical. This ability to do this gives us a glide ratio varying from 1:1 all the way up to 3.65:1 (comfortably more than the sustained full glide on high range wingsuits) and the controllable speed of the tunnel is from 0 to almost 300km/h. Balancing these two factors means the tunnel is able to match the glide angle and for the suit one is flying and be appropriate for the skill level of the pilot. We have looked a lot at the teaching technique for beginners as we see that as being a significant percentage of customers. Experienced wingsuit pilots will also need to learn the basics first so that was an important area to focus on.” The indoor skydiving industry has a complex system of managing students abilities while they are training developed over many years . With good quality instruction accidents are few and far between but there is still some inherent risk. What have you learned so far about keeping people safe? “In terms of spotting and safety, procedures will vary a lot from what people are used to. I cannot go into to much detail yet due to a pending patent, but there is an assisted flight system that holds the student in a central position in the tunnel. There is free range of movement in all directions but only up a certain degree. In a similar way to how a seatbelt works, any rapid movement towards the ground or the walls is halted in a gentle way. Once pilots reach the stage where they can fly around free without any assistance it will be possible to get into close contact with the floor and walls, though experience has shown that the lower windspeed and design of the tunnel make those situations a lot less severe than one would expect. I’ve been practicing some quite aggressive acrobatics and of course it does not always go down without a hitch, though due to the padding and angle of the chamber you never really hit hard and you get gently rolled down to the floor - feet first.” “Initially there is something very intimidating about flying in a confined space but it pushes the accuracy and precision of your flying to a new level. It has definitely helped me realise how much further we can develop the precision of our flying. Even in the smaller test setup we have been flying 2-way and performing advanced acrobatics. Once the full-scale tunnel opens in September the possibilities are limitless - we are already going to host the first indoor acrobatics competition in December. LT1 is currently scheduled to open in September 2017. You can read more about the project and the history of the facility here: https://flywingsuit.se/
  20. Image by Quincy Kennedy, Courtesy Skydive CarolinaIt started with a simple fact: Soldiers are dying--after they come home--from self-inflicted injuries. The numbers are seriously disturbing. The veteran suicide rate, according to the Los Angeles Times, hovers a full 50 percent higher than the suicide rate of the general population. Some Veterans Administration studies suggest that up to 22 veterans end their lives every day. Those statistics underline the stark fact that it is overwhelming, for many servicepeople, to successfully make the transition from military to civilian life. The numbers indicate that the social safety net built to facilitate re-integration doesn’t seem to be up to the task. Unsupported veterans are suffering--achingly alone and mortally vulnerable. As harrowing as those statistics are, there’s another essential fact to face: one suicide is one suicide too many. Skydiver Jim Osterman, a Navy veteran himself, thinks that we--as representatives of our sport--can make a big difference in the lives of veterans. Osterman has been touched by suicide “more times then [he] want to think about.” After losing close military friends to suicide, he was moved to take action. Jim Osterman's late friend, Frank in his Marine uniform.“I knew when I got home from active duty,” he explains, “That what was missing in my life was the camaraderie that I had while I was in the service. The [veteran] suicide rate is as high as it is because these guys and gals are coming home and feeling completely alone, even if they actually aren’t in a physical sense. You don’t have that closeness you had while you were in the service. The dropzone community can fill that gap.” Osterman’s mission, project and passion is pretty simple: to make skydivers aware of the aching need for community in veterans’ lives, and to ask skydivers to bring as many people to the dropzone as they can. “It makes all the sense in the world,” Osterman explains. “Dropzones are very military-friendly. There tend to be lots of military people around, and dropzones generally already have military discounts and events for, say, Veterans Day and Memorial Day. But we need to let our veterans know that they are welcome to the dropzone everyday--not just the major vets’ holidays. Hopefully they will decide to skydive, but even if they choose not to jump, they need to know that they are welcome to come and just hang out.” “They need to experience the camaraderie at the heart of it,” Osterman enthuses. “It’s literally lifesaving, in some cases. Pretty much anybody is accepted into skydiving, and it doesn’t matter what your background is--your ethnicity--whatever. It just doesn’t matter. You walk in that door and you are greeted warmly. Veterans need that welcome more than I can say.” Jim joins up with a couple of buddies on a leg of his long, long trip.To raise awareness for this mission--and to commemorate the memories of his departed friends--Jim took off on a long-haul, dropzone-to-dropzone motorcycle trip on his Yamaha Raider. Sure, he made a few skydives on the trip, but the jumping always took a back seat to the mission. “I went to several drop zones that I knew I would not be able to jump at,” he says, “Just so I could speak with the owners in person rather than via email or over the phone.” Thirty-eight dropzones later, Osterman has spread his message all over the east coast of the US--and so far, he’s been overwhelmed at his fellow skydivers’ receptivity. “It really makes my point,” he says, “That even though they’d never met me before, I was completely welcomed and heard.” Interested, but unsure how to help? According to Jim, it’s very easy to get involved. “If you’re a skydiver, you can do this,” Osterman insists. “When you learn that someone is a veteran, approach them with an invitation. Let them know that they’re welcome to come out anytime and just hang out--sit on the park bench and watch some swooping, or join the weekend barbecue, or whatever else happens to be going on. Offer them a ride.” Lynn Luzynski Gromaski, Steve Luzynski and Karen Luzynski. “We’re looking to get these men and women out of whatever isolating situation they might be in and bring them to the dropzone so they can see the camaraderie that we as skydivers share,” he continues, “If we help even one man or woman see that people do care as a society, it will all be worth it.” When all was said and done, Osterman had exceeded his 4,000-mile goal by three thousand miles, had personally spread his message to hundreds of people and had earned the hearty support of several dropzones (including, exceptionally, Skydive Carolina). He’s already making plans to repeat the journey on the west coast next year. “‘Bring a Veteran to the Dropzone Day’ isn’t enough,” Osterman says. “I want the skydiving community to participate in the mission to bring veterans to the dropzone whenever, wherever they can. It’s not just another day. It’s another place for veterans. We can save lives.”
  21. We're at the PIA symposium this year, scouting out what the manufacturers have lined up for release this year, and we've managed to grab some images to show you what has just arrived on the market and what is coming soon. Check out the following items and let us know in the comments section which ones you're most likely going to be picking up once they hit the shelves. Alti-2 - Chronos Cookie Composites - M3 Larsen & Brusgaard - Pro-Track II Sun Path - Aurora Airtec GmbH - Wingsuit Cypres
  22. Each year some of the manufacturers show off some unique and exciting rig designs at PIA, sometimes these rigs are actually able to be put into use, while others are simply demo rigs to show off some really cool design concepts. This year saw a couple of really awesome looking rigs, with a transparent rig from Sun Path and an amazing "steam punk" rig from the guys at United Parachute Technologies. United Parachute Technologies Sun Path Which of these rigs would you most like to be flying?
  23. If you add a little pressure, simple things can quickly become not-simple things. For the amount that most of us understand about how they really work, the modern cameras we employ for skydiving are close enough as to be made of magic. Yet despite their tiny size, amazing quality and all-round wonderfulness - we still regularly miss out on capturing quality footage of a jump for the most arbitrary reasons. A little bit of forethought and the application of a simple routine can aid ones consistency when it comes to getting the shot. You may well snort derisively and roll your eyes at the thought of reading an article about how to switch a camera on - yet let you that has never missed a great bit of action for the sake of some small piece of angry-making bullshit stupidity cast the first stone. The best analogy I have to represent the advantages of a sensible and efficient method for a repeated process is think about packing and how much of a frustrating pain in the ass it was (be honest) at the start. Learning to pack and getting it right is not only about understanding the need to fold your parachute a certain way so it will go into your container (and come out again) - it is as much about the knowing right spot to put your knee so the fabric doesn’t escape and where to hold it down with your elbow so you can have both hands free for the next bit. How many things in your life are there to which you can draw parallels with this? There is much satisfaction to be found in developing your ability to get ready quickly and efficiently in the plane. Here are a few tips: The Plan:Adding things to your in-aircraft routine should not come at the expense of any of the stuff you have learned to do that makes you safe. If you are skipping over running through your drills because you are constantly fucking around with your camera you might forget them at the crucial moment - so don’t. Even in the speediest of flying machines you have time to do things both necessary and desirable, but always remember your priorities. Checking that your pilot chute is not hanging out is vastly more important than which recording mode you are in. Lenses:It is very easy to get some manner of obfuscating crap on your lens. Action cameras all have teensy little apertures onto which a single grubby fingerprint is enough to ruin your footage of the bestest jump ever and make you very sad. Condensation is very popular too - especially with big temperature changes from altitude to ground level. Moisture developing on (or even in) your camera during a jump is unavoidable but not cleaning it up before the next one definitely is. You should have a suitable cleaning cloth somewhere about your person - tucked away into the lining of your helmet is good as it makes it very difficult to bring one without the other. For extra points you can attach it to your helmet with some string, or you could even carry a spare one which you might magnanimously gift to some clothless boob and appear as a minor hero/enormous geek in front of like four people. Cutaway:More and more frequently dropzones are requiring that any helmet with a camera on is fitted with a cutaway system - which are available in many forms and levels of quality. The best idea is always invest in a good one that someone has made using science that will actually work rather than bodge something together yourself from that box of old skydiving bits you keep under your bed for no good reason. A worthy part of your pre-jump process is to give this a quick look and see if all is well, and that nothing has become worn or unseated that might result in no camera attached to your head and some cognitive dissonance about wether you can be bothered to scour the landscape looking for it. Using Time:For maximum sensible-ness you should perform your camera checks with enough time that you can fix potential problems without freaking either yourself or anyone else out if something is amiss. Realising on jump-run that your memory card is full or your lens is dirty is too late. If you had a spare thirty seconds you might be able to go into your settings and delete something to free up space, or give the front a quick clean - but not when everyone is already climbing out on the side of the plane and waiting for your ass. ConclusionBeing correctly prepared in a timely fashion is but one step in getting good footage, yet an important one. Felling relaxed and properly ready lends itself to nailing the jump, and the exact form of your personal routine will develop with time and practice. Stick to the plan, don’t bump your head on the way out and remember that you get what your head is pointing at, not just your eyes.
  24. Name: Anthony Landgren Age: 35 First Jump: 1997 Skydives: 20,000 Home Dropzone: Skydance Skydiving, Davis CA Tunnel Hours: 1000+- Sponsors: Liquid Sky Suits, Velocity Sports, Cookie composites & Icarus Nz Cut Aways: 12 Container: Velocity Sports Infinity Canopy: Perta 67, JVX 88 Reserve: Icarus 119,Icarus 1092 AAD: None Wingsuit: Havok,Tony suits Apachi Rebal Helmet: Cookie G3 and Cookie Fuel DZ: You started skydiving quite young, when you were just 16. When you did your first jump, did you ever foresee that your life would end up revolving around skydiving, to a large degree? TJ: I did my first jump at Parachute center in Lodi,Ca. After that first jump I knew that I wanted to skydive for a living. I figured with skydiving there would always be cool new disciplines starting and always be interesting. DZ: Many of the top flyers talk about how they initially struggled in their AFF training and that their skills had to be developed through constant persistence and that it was never something they felt came to them naturally. What was your AFF training experience like? Did you feel as though things came natural to you in the air? TJ: Aff was a little rough for me, I failed level two twice and for a second I thought this was harder then I initially assumed. I took a couple days to rethink what I was doing and whether skydiving was really going to be for me. My Aff jump master Yoni Bango said "Just arch and smile, and don’t forget to pull. YOU GOT THIS" The rest is history. Some things in skydiving came natural and other things took a little more time. I had to keep telling myself to just keep trying you’ll get it! DZ: You're considered an expert in both freeflying and in canopy piloting, which discipline do you find yourself having more fun in and do you see yourself leaning more towards any one discipline in particular? TJ: I love freeflying and canopy piloting a lot! I find myself learning more in freeflying, with all these new tunnels popping up witch makes it easier to fly 7 days a week. I spend most of my time at Ifly SF Bay. On the canopy side I haven't been able to really push my canopy in a long time. The DZ I was jumping at would not allow big turns. I left that DZ about a year ago and started jumping at Skydance in Davis CA. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. Now that I get to swoop all the time I would say I’m having so much fun on my canopy. With all these new canopies coming out from Icarus makes it a really good time to fly fast canopies. DZ: Which competitive teams are you currently a part of? TJ: NorCal Alliance DZ: In your opinion, what makes Norcal Alliance such a strong team, besides having skilled flyers? TJ: What makes us a strong team is the comunication with each other and the pure love for what we are doing. DZ: Outside of skydiving, what other sports are you most interested in and which do you partake in? TJ: Outside of skydiving I like to snowboard, wake board and speed flying. I would say out of those 3 I speed fly the most. DZ: You've got quite a number of achievements under your belt. Which of them stands out as your proudest and why? TJ: The freely world records! It’s awesome to see all your friend from all over the world on one big jump and also all the people I have coached over the years ripping on the big ways. Truly rewording. DZ: Your schedule is usually pretty busy, with something exciting almost always on the calendar. What events are you most looking forward to at the moment? TJ: Extreme Week in Norway! It’s an awesome country, people are friendly and the event is amazing. Seeing all the extreme sports in one place is epic! DZ: Outside of your home dropzone, what is your favourite dropzone to jump at and why? TJ: Wow, that's a hard question to answer. Do you base it on scenery,lots of jumps in a day or if they have a tunnel close by. I love Skydive Arizona for always having a plane flying and a tunnel running. For scenery, Torquay in Australia - the view is amazing and the ocean is so beautiful. First time I saw a kangaroo was there. DZ: In your opinion, which aspect of skydiving safety doesn't receive enough attention? TJ: Canopy piloting, I feel a lot of DZ are stepping away from this. I remember when DZs where building swoop ponds not filling them in. DZ: I believe you have a keen interest in Canopy Wingsuit Flying / XRW, this is a discipline that not many people may be aware of. What does XRW entail and what makes it so interesting to you? TJ: Xrw is when wing suit flying relative to a open canopy. It is so amazing watching a person in free fall while you are under a open canopy and talking to them like your on the ground. Nothing gets me more pumped up then XRW. When you are doing Xrw you normally want to load a canopy at 3.0 or higher. The canopy pilot exits first with the wing suits and 10-20 seconds after the canopy pilot will be about 90 off of jump run by this time. When the wing suit gets close he should be aproching on the canopy pilots head level after the wing suit pilot figure out the speed we can then try to dock. The wing suit pilot flies in and the canopy pilot tack the dock. You fly around for about 2 min break off is at 5,000 ft. DZ: You do canopy testing with companies who are working on new products. Are there any new products in the works that you've seen that you're excited for? TJ: Yes! I love testing new canopies. Icarus is playing with so many new ideas. I can’t wait for there new line of canopies coming out. DZ: Which disciplines do you see dominating the future? Do you think we'll see more cross disciplines where jumpers are merging various existing ones in unique ways? TJ: I believe dynamic flying is going to dominate the future. Its got all the cool things in freefly that keep us pushing the edge, sit flying, head down, carveing and a hole bunch of eagles. DZ: What are you hoping to achieve in the next 5 years of skydiving? Are there any specific accomplishments you're hoping to achieve? TJ: I would love to do another canopy world meet and win and do 2 way VFS, Oh and win a Dynamic comp but will see. DZ: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us TJ, and all the best with your flying! Keep killing it!
  25. billvon

    Downsizing Checklist

    While I was an S+TA, I spent a considerable amount of time telling people they shouldn't be loading their canopies so heavily. 90% of the time it didn't work. Skydivers can have a bit of an ego, and when I told them they probably shouldn't downsize yet they heard "I think you're a crappy canopy pilot who can't handle a smaller wing." So they downsized and broke their legs, backs and pelvises with some regularity. A few years back I met up with Brett, one of the people I'd been lecturing to whle I was an S+TA. He told me that he wished he'd listened to me back then. He had broken his femur during a botched landing, been out of the sport for a while, and then came back and really learned to fly his canopy. He took a canopy control course and actually upsized to get more performance out of his canopy. He ended up coming in first in one of the events at the PST that year. That started me thinking. Maybe the approach I was taking was wrong. Since jumpers tend not to listen to other people who tell them they're not as good as they think they are, perhaps if you could give them better tools to evaluate themselves they could make better decisions about canopy choices. It's one thing to have some boring S+TA guy give you a lecture about not having any fun under canopy, quite another to try to perform a needed manuever under canopy - and fail. In that case there's no one telling you you can't fly the canopy, it's just blatantly obvious. So I came up with a list of canopy control skills everyone should have before downsizing. Some are survival skills - being able to flat turn would have saved half a dozen people this year alone. Some are canopy familiarization skills - being able to do a gentle front riser approach teaches you how to judge altitude and speed at low altitudes, and how to fly a parachute flying faster than its trim airspeed, a critical skill for swooping. It's important to do these BEFORE you downsize, because some manuevers are a little scary (turning at 50 feet? Yikes!) and you want to be on a larger canopy you're completely comfortable with before trying such a thing. The short version of the list is below. Before people downsize, they should be able to: flat turn 90 degrees at 50 feet flare turn at least 45 degrees land crosswind and in no wind land reliably within a 10 meter circle initiate a high performance landing with double front risers and front riser turn to landing land on slight uphills and downhills land with rear risers Details: 1. Flat turn 90 degrees at 50 feet.This is the most important of all the skills. The objective of this manuever is to change your direction 90 degrees losing as little altitude as possible, and come out of the manuever at normal flying speed. Coming out at normal flying speed means you can instantly flare and get a normal landing. If you can do this at 50 feet, and come out of the manuever with normal flying speed at 5 feet, you can flare and land normally. Every year people die because they decide they simply have to turn at 100 feet and know only one way to do it - pull down a toggle. The parachute dives and they hit the ground at 40mph. To prevent this, not only do you have to know how to flat turn, but you have to practice it enough that it becomes second nature. Then when you do need it, you won't have to think about it. To pull off this manuever, start by toggle turning the parachute gently. IMMEDIATELY follow that with some opposite toggle. The idea is that you want to flare just a little to counteract the canopy's desire to dive. Continue adding opposite toggle until you've stopped the turn. At this point let both toggles all the way up. If you feel the parachute accelerate after you let go of the toggles (i.e. it feels like you just flared) use less opposite toggle next time. If you feel like the parachute is diving, like you just did a toggle turn, use more opposite toggle next time. Basically you want to start the turn with one toggle, stop it with the other one, and use just enough toggle to keep the wing from diving but not so much that it does a flare. It should go without saying that this manuever should be practiced up high before you ever try it down low. If and when you do try it out low, start at lesser angles (i.e. try a 15 degree turn first) make sure the pattern is clear and make sure conditions are good (soft ground, good winds.) Work up gradually to a full 90 degree turn. I do think it's important to try at least a gentle flat turn very low; we are horrible judges of exact altitudes when we're at 1000 feet, and it's hard to tell if you've lost 50 feet or 200 in a turn. By trying it out down low, you'll get a better sense of what it can do for you, and you'll have the "sight picture" better set in case you have to use it for real one day. A variation on this is to go to half brakes and then let one brake up. This gives you a flat turn, but by flaring first you "use up" some of the canopy's energy so you can't turn as effectively. On the plus side the turn happens more slowly. If you are about to hit a tree and want to make a last minute turn, this variation might be the way to go, as it combines a turn and a flare, thus reducing your speed before impact. A version of this is currently taught in the ISP, so it might be a good way to make your first flat turns before transitioning to the less-braked variety. 2. Flare turn at least 45 degrees.This does two things - it gives you another tool in your arsenal to dodge last minute obstacles, and teaches you to fly your canopy all the way through to the landing. The #1 mistake jumpers with new HP canopies make is to "reach out to break their fall" while they're flaring; this of course turns the canopy in the direction they are reaching. Most people decide that this is due to a side gust just as they're landing. I remember one jumper at Brown who, amazingly enough, experienced a side gust seconds before he landed (and always from the right) 40-50 times in a row! Learning to flare turn will help eliminate this problem. To flare turn, start with a normal flare, then flare slightly more with one toggle. The canopy will turn. Bring the other toggle down to match it, and the canopy will straighten out. It's a dynamic process; rather than put the toggles at a certain position, you have to speed up one toggle for a second, then speed up the other to match it, before you level them and finish the flare. If you balloon upwards, then don't flare as quickly. If you drop to the ground, bring both toggles down more aggressively when they are 'split.' One thing that helps people is to think about where your canopy is rather than what it's doing. Use the toggles to put it off to one side for a moment, then use them to put it back over your head. This can be hard to practice with a large canopy. I can pull off a 45 degree turn on a Manta, but the flare is over so fast that it's hard to explain what I just did. It's much easier on a canopy loaded around 1:1, so you may want to wait on this one until you get to that loading. Note that if you combine a flare turn with a flat turn, you can pull off nearly a 180 degree turn at just above 50 feet. Also note that knowing how to do flat and flare turns doesn't mean you can always turn at 50 feet and get away with it - sometimes it's better to accept a downwind landing than make a turn at a dangerously low altitude. But if you do have to turn low (say, you're on course for the electrified fence around the pit bull farm) a flat/flare turn will let you either turn and land normally or turn and minimize the damage caused by landing in a turn. 3. Land crosswind and in no wind.These are straightforward. No wind landings are pretty easy; the only issue is that your perception of speed and altitude will be off. Since you seem to be moving faster over the ground when there's no wind (which you actually are) it can seem like a good idea to add just a little brake to 'slow you down' before you land. Resist that urge! Keep that speed in your canopy; you can turn the speed into a good flare only if you start the flare with decent (i.e. full flight) speed. Crosswind landings can be a little more tricky because of that strong tendency to want to "reach out to break your fall." Counter this by flaring with your hands in towards the center of your body. You may have to PLF on these landings, since you'll have some decent forward speed and have some sideways motion from the wind. If you want to get fancy, try a flare turn after you start your flare on the crosswind landing - you can easily pull off a standup landing if you get turned enough before you put your feet down. If these work well you may want to try a downwind landing. The benefit to doing that is it will prepare you to accept a downwind landing in the future; you won't be tempted to turn too low to avoid it. Choose an ideal day for this one, with a slippery landing area (wet grass is perfect) low winds and a clear landing area. Prepare to PLF, and think about "laying it down" on your thigh as you land to start sliding. You can slide across grass at 30mph without getting hurt, but planting your feet and cartwheeling at those speeds can be very dangerous. 4. Land reliably within a 10 meter circle.This is essentially the PRO requirement. This is critical because your accuracy skills are what will keep you from having to turn low. It's very comforting to know that you can land in any 50ish foot clearing if you find yourself having to land out; it's especially important as you get to smaller canopies that need longer and longer runways to land well. Your only option may be a section of road, and you may have to hit the beginning of the road dead-on to have enough room to slow down. The subject of canopy accuracy is too long to do justice to here, but the top 3 hints I've heard are: - If you're not sure if you're going to make it over a wire or tree, look at what it's doing with respect to the background. If more background is appearing from beneath the wire or tree, you're probably going to make it. - As you look at the ground, most points will seem to move away from a central point. Some will rise, some will fall, some will go out to the side. If you look long enough you'll find one point that's not moving - that's where you're going to land if the winds don't change all the way in (which is rare.) - Going into brakes usually makes you land short in high winds, but can extend your glide in no wind. Front risers almost always make you land shorter. 5. Initiate a high performance landing with double fronts, and a front riser turn to landing.I am pretty convinced that front riser high performance landings are a lot safer than toggle turn high performance landings, and double fronts are the safest of all. If you do it too low, or become worried about the landing - just drop the risers and you're back to normal flight. For double front riser landings, set up a normal landing, aiming for a point a little farther away than you normally do. At 100 feet or so, pull down both front risers. Your canopy will drop and accelerate. At some point above the ground (30-10 feet depending on your canopy) drop the front risers. Your canopy will begin to recover. Before it completes the recovery to normal flight, you should be at flare altitude. Start the flare normally. You may need to use less toggle than normal, since the canopy is now going faster than you're used to, and the same amount of toggle gives you more lift. You will also plane out farther, since you have more speed you have to bleed off before you come to a stop. For front riser turns to landing, first try front riser turns out above 1000 feet and get used to how your canopy recovers. Then start by coming in 10 degrees off the windline, and making a gentle front riser turn to line up with the wind at ~100 feet. The canopy will dive and accelerate, so be prepared to drop the front riser instantly and flare if you have to. Also be prepared to steer in the flare, since the canopy may not have stopped turning completely before the flare begins. Done correctly, you'll start the flare with more forward speed, giving you a longer planeout. Make sure your flares are smooth for this! A smooth flare generates more lift for a longer period of time than "stabbing" the brakes. However, don't start the flare at 30 feet - starting the flare that high will slow the canopy down, negating the effects of the front riser approach. If you do find yourself stabbing the brakes to prevent hitting the ground, move the altitude at which you start front risering up. Probably the most critical skill you will get from this exercise is the development of the "sight picture." Below 200 feet your altimeter is pretty useless, and you should be looking at traffic and the landing area anyway. Eventually you'll develop a sense of what "picture" you should see just before you start that riser turn. The picture will vary with wind, landing area etc. If you arrive at the point where you would normally start the front riser turn, and the picture's not right - abort it and land normally. Once you have the picture down, and are doing front riser turns that transition to gradual flares, then start increasing the angle. Once you get to 90 degrees you're going to be gaining a lot of speed, so be sure to adjust your sight picture up to compensate. As always, bail by dropping the risers if you feel like there's anything wrong. Once you drop the risers, level the wing with your toggles and prepare to flare. At worst you'll have to land crosswind - but that's a skill you should have by this point anyway. 6. Land on slight uphills and downhills.Often, land away from the DZ isn't perfectly flat; sometimes you can't tell this until you're at 20 feet. To prepare for this, find a place in your LZ that's not perfectly flat, scope it out, and plan on landing there. There's not too much magic concerning landing on a slope. You flare more aggressively to land going uphill, less aggressively to land going downhill. Obviously not all DZ's have slopes. If you don't have a good slope on your DZ somewhere, you may have to put this one off until you're at a DZ that does have one. Beaches are a good place to practice this, since they have pretty predictable slopes down to the water, and overrunning the landing just means you get wet. 7. Land with rear risers. Knowing how to land with rear risers can help you deal with a canopy problem like a broken or stuck brake line, and can help you make a better land/cutaway decision when you do have such a problem. Again, this is best practiced up high. See how far you can pull the rear risers before the canopy stalls. It will stall much earlier with rear risers; memorize where that happens so you don't do it near the ground. When you try it for real, choose an ideal day - steady moderate winds, soft ground, clear pattern. Be sure to try this for the first time on a largish canopy (one of the reasons you should do these things before downsizing.) Leave your hands in the toggles and wrap your whole hand around the rear riser. That way if things go awry you can drop the risers and flare normally. Start the flare at a normal flare altitude, and prepare to PLF. You may get the sort of lift you're used to, but you probably won't slow down as much before you're near that stall point. Make sure your feet are on the ground (sliding preferably) before you get there. On smaller canopies, you may want to start the flare with rear risers. Then, once the canopy is leveled out, drop the risers and finish the flare with the toggles (which are still around your hands.) That way you get your vertical speed to zero, which is the critical part of a safe slide-in landing, and can still stop the canopy without hitting the ground going too fast. (This is also a technique used by swoopers to extend their swoops BTW.) The above list is not meant to include all the skills you need to safely fly a canopy; it’s just a checklist for a cross-section of skills you should have before downsizing. Some of these will be easier on a larger canopy, and can be practiced right away. Landing downwind, for example, is easier on a larger canopy simply because it can slow you down more before stalling. Some skills are more difficult on a larger canopy. It can be difficult to get a planeout at all on a larger F-111 canopy, so practicing things like a flare turn may best wait until you approach a 1:1 loading on a ZP canopy. At that loading, the canopy begins to perform more along the lines of how we expect a HP canopy to fly. More importantly, skills like the flare turn become both possible and necessary to practice, so you can hone your skills while you are under a canopy that tolerates minor mistakes. As I mentioned in the beginning, these are skills you should learn before you downsize, although some (like the flare turn) can be difficult to practice at very light loadings. If you can't do some of them yet? Get some coaching; it makes a lot more sense to learn them on your larger canopy, before you start jumping a smaller canopy that scares you. Once you can do them all, then try the smaller canopy. And if someday someone cuts you off under the smaller canopy, you'll have the reactions you learned under the larger canopy. Even if you haven't completely adapted those manuevers to the smaller canopy yet, those reactions will more likely than not save your life.