Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'news'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • General
    • Announcements
    • Introductions and Greets
  • Community
    • The Bonfire
    • Speakers Corner
  • Skydiving
    • General Skydiving Discussions
    • Questions and Answers
    • Gear and Rigging
    • Safety and Training
    • Events & Places to Jump
    • Skydiving History & Trivia
    • Instructors
    • Wind Tunnels
    • Tandem Skydiving
    • Skydivers with Disabilities
    • Blue Skies - In Memory Of
  • Skydiving Disciplines
    • Swooping and Canopy Control
    • Relative Work
    • Photography and Video
    • Freeflying
    • Canopy Relative Work
    • Wing Suit Flying
    • BASE Jumping
  • Dropzone.com
    • Suggestions and Feedback
    • Error and Bug Reports
    • Security and Scam Alerts

Calendars

  • Boogies
  • Competitions
  • Miscellaneous
  • Rating Courses
  • Training Camps

Categories

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bermuda
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Guatemala
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • New Zealand
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Pacific Islands
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Categories

  • Altimeters
  • AADs
  • Cameras
  • Containers
  • Helmets
  • Jumpsuits
  • Goggles
  • Main Canopies
  • Clothing
  • Reserve Canopies
  • Software
  • Wingsuits

Categories

  • Disciplines
  • Safety
  • News
  • Help
    • Account Help
    • Forums
    • Dropzone E-Mail
    • Dropzone Database
    • Photo Galleries
    • Premier Membership
    • Event Planner
    • Classifieds
    • Dropzone Locator
    • Security And Scams
    • Videos
    • Content
  • Advertise
  • General
  • Events
  • Gear

Categories

  • 2004
  • 2005
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2006
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2007
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2008
    • Africa
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2009
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2010
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2011
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2012
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • Pacific
    • South America
    • North America
  • 2013
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2014
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2015
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • North America
    • Pacific
    • South America
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Categories

  • Aads
  • Altimeters
  • Containers
  • Helmets
  • Main Canopies
  • Reserve Canopies
  • Cameras
  • Wingsuits
  • Jumpsuits

Categories

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Israel
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latvia
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Categories

  • Classifieds
  • Forums
  • Profile
  • Gallery
  • Calendar
  • Other

Categories

  • Files

Blogs

There are no results to display.

Product Groups

  • Advertisement
  • Dropzone Listings

Categories

  • AFF
  • BASE
  • Coaching
  • Compilations
  • CRW
  • Demos
  • Emergencies
  • Exits
  • Freeflying
  • Miscellaneous
  • Relative Work
  • Special Jumps
  • Tandem
  • Swooping
  • Wind Tunnel
  • Wingsuit
  • Skydive TV

Categories

  • Aads
  • Aircraft
  • Altimeters
  • Clothing And Jewelry
  • Complete Systems
  • Containers
  • Employment
  • Head Gear
  • Jumpsuits
  • Main Canopies
  • Miscellaneous
  • Photography
  • Reserve Canopies
  • Spare Parts
  • Tandem
  • Tunnel Time
  • Videos And Books
  • Wingsuits

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Facebook


Linked In


Twitter


Google Plus


Youtube


Vimeo


Instagram


Website


About Me


Ratings


Container Other


Main Canopy Size


Main Canopy Other


Reserve Canopy Size


Reserve Canopy Other


AAD


Home DZ


License


License Number


Licensing Organization


Number of Jumps

 
or  

Tunnel Hours

 
or  

Years in Sport

 
or  

First Choice Discipline


First Choice Discipline Jump Total

 
or  

Second Choice Discipline


Second Choice Discipline Jump Total

 
or  

Static Line


IAD


AFF


Tandem


Formation


Rigging Back


Rigging Chest


Rigging Seat


Rigging Lap

Found 523 results

  1. Curt Vogelsang captures some hot canopy-on-canopy action.Y’know when you don't feel like getting out of bed in the morning? Your main parachute is likely a lot brighter-eyed and bushier-tailed than you are, but every once in a good long while it just doesn't feel like getting out and doing its job. Y’know? Relatable. Kidding aside: When you throw your hand-deployed pilot chute but the container stays closed -- trapping the main deployment bag inside, helpless to deliver you a parachute -- you’ve gotchaself a pilot-chute-in-tow. In other words: you’ve got nothing out, which makes you the clenchy, concerned (and hopefully very temporary) owner of a high-speed mal. You’d better get on that, buddy. Stat. But how? Deploy the reserve immediately or cut away first and then deploy the reserve? One Handle or Two Handles: The CagematchIf you’re not sure which you’d choose,* you’re certainly not the first. This particular point has been the subject of roaring contention since the invention of the BOC, my friends. (Guaranteed: the comments section below will corroborate my statement. I can sense people sharpening their claymores and dunking their arrows in poison even now.) There’s a school that says -- well, duh -- get your damn reserve out, like right now what are you waiting for. There’s another school that calls that school a bunch of mouth-breathing pasteeaters. The latter group insists that you'd better go through the procedures you know lest you mess it up when it counts. They usually follow up by spitting on a photograph of the first group’s mother and wondering aloud why the first group is even allowed to skydive. Then they start punching each other. Images by Joe NesbittThe USPA Skydiver’s Information Manual doesn’t make a move to break up the fight. It stands clear of the flying arms and legs and says, “Y’know -- they both kinda have a point.” Section 5-1 of the manual says this, verbatim: “Procedure 1: Pull the reserve immediately. A pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction is associated with a high descent rate and requires immediate action. The chance of a main-reserve entanglement is slim, and valuable time and altitude could be lost by initiating a cutaway prior to deploying the reserve. Be prepared to cut away. “Procedure 2: Cut away, then immediately deploy the reserve. Because there is a chance the main could deploy during or as a result of reserve activation, a cutaway might be the best response in some situations.” Let’s look a little closer at the options, then, shall we? Option One: Not Even Gonna Bother With That Cutaway Handle. Pro: Immediately yanking out that reserve saves a step. When AGL counts (and golly, doesn’t it?), saving a step can save a life. Many skydivers are quick to point out specific incidents in which jumpers with PCiTs have gone in with sealed magical backpacks, having failed to pull both handles (or pull any handle at all) while the clock was ticking. Gulp. Con: It takes the pressure off (in a potentially bad way). As the reserve leaves the container, there’s a chance that it can take the sealing pressure off the flaps that are keeping the main container closed. The main can then leap to freedom and deploy at the same time as the reserve. At this point, you might wind up with an entanglement, a side-by-side, biplane or downplane to figure out.** Option Two: Get Off The Field, Main Parachute. Reserve, You’re In! Pro: It’s the same stuff you’ve been taught to do for every other reserve-requisite malfunction. ...If you initiate the reserve deployment clearly, confidently, and as early as possible, of course. After all: making a one-off exception for a single kind of malfunction can be tricky. A jumper might well spend a little too much time thinking it over (‘Am I going for my reserve handle first right now? ‘Cause that’s weird. Is that okay?’) when they should just be yanking the stuffing out of their emergency handles. Going through the real-life motions of the little dance you do before you get on every load makes more sense to your body, for sure. Con: You’re adding more complexity to the situation than you may realize. Especially if you don’t have secure riser covers, the (jealous?) cut-away main risers might sneak out of the container and grab for the reserve as it deploys. Another thing: the main is very likely to wiggle free, detach from the harness as soon as it catches air and do its best to entangle with your Option B. The latter kerfuffle is made much more likely when you add a single-sided reserve static line to the mix, turning the already-dismaying situation into something of a tug-of-war.Neither of these choices sounds like the cherry on top of a lovely afternoon; I know. At some point, however, you may be forced to make one. If you do, you’d better have a plan in mind. Not in the mood to make that choice? Me neither. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to better your chances of never seeing a PCiT -- and in next week’s article, I’ll tell you what they are. --------- *If you have a Racer (or any container with a cross-connected RSL), you do not have a choice. You must pull the reserve without cutting away. Do not pass ‘go,’ do not collect $200. In that particular configuration, the main will choke off the reserve if the cutaway has been pulled. If this unnerves you, get thee to a rigger to discuss it. **Head over the PIA.com to check out a handy study they did in 1997 regarding the management of two-out situations. It’s called the “Dual Square Report.”
  2. MattyBWrites

    Best Skydive Ever!

    This is a story from around a year ago when I decided to go skydiving in Australia. That day I was skydiving at Byron Bay a very nice and beautiful place to skydive, I recommend if you like to skydive and travel this is a must. The day started out really slow as the night before I was at a party with some friends. I had a headache so I just took some Advil and went on my way to the skydive spot. That day I had decided to do the 14,000 ft skydive. I talked to my instructor who was named Cody. The time was nearing until we were to start our adventure and get in the plane. It was time to get in the plane and my headache was starting to get worse. By the time we got over the drop zone I was feeling absolutely terrible. I had to throw up and my head was throbbing. We jumped out and I passed out because of all of the air pressure. We free fell for around 2 minutes, at least that is what Cody told me. But, Cody did not know that I had passed out until we had landed on the ground. He found out when we landed that I had passed out because I was not able to support my own weight with my legs because I had passed out. When I fell on the ground I hit my head and I started to bleed really badly. From what Cody told me I was immediately rushed to the hospital. When I woke up from my coma the doctors told me that I had gotten a concussion and that I had to take a ton of safety precautions for the next two weeks. That news really stunk as I was set to be in Australia for five more days and I had saved all of the most exciting stuff for the last two days. A few weeks after this incident I decided to go back to Australia to do everything I missed out on the first time I went to Australia. I decided I would go skydiving again, I decided I would go back to Byron Bay. I made sure that I would have the best experience by going to bed early and eating healthy. I did all of this to make sure that I would have one of the best skydiving experiences ever. In the morning I ate a very good breakfest in preparation for my takeoff at noon. When I went back to Byron Bay I found out that my instructor was again Cody, how ironic. We got in the plane and started to takeoff. When we got to the jump height I looked down at the scenery below. It was beautiful it was one of the nicest and prettiest places on the Earth. We got to the drop zone and I was ready to jump. We jumped out and all I could focus on was the beautiful scenery that I was falling down into. We pulled the parachute and I just floated down into paradise. And that was the story of my best skydive ever.
  3. How to Avoid Spinning Malfunctions Image by Oliver NöthenAh, to be swung madly around the ballroom of the sky. If you like that sort of thing, of course. Most of us, y’know, don’t. Even though they’re eminently preventable, spinners remain a very statistically significant cause of cutaways. There’s good news, however: A little attention will go a long way towards making sure you aren’t dancing downward under a misbehaving main. Here’s how to get your body, brain and gear set up right. 1. Are you bungling the basics? If spinning mals come up more than occasionally for you, consider whether you need to send yourself back to packing (or body-position) school. Might be the case. 2. Are you just being loopy? Back when side ponytails were sexy and just about everything smelled like Teen Spirit, the skydiving industry used Velcro to secure toggles to risers. When manufacturers made the switch to the velcro-free designs we see now, they forgot about something vitally important: the long, floppy bights in the steering line that were now suddenly exposed to the rodeo ride of the deployment process. Those mile-long bights took the opportunity to lasso anything they could. A particular favorite: hands. One misplaced toggle grab, and a skydiver could easily find him/herself in a compromising bondage situation with their control lines. The bights happily welcomed guide rings into the act. It was a ready-made recipe for a super-solid spinner, and it was ugly. Soon, every single manufacturer’s rig designs had integrated line stowing features (“keepers”). There’s a reason the changes were made: as a jumper, you need that line tucked safely away until you’re good and ready to release the brakes. That said: Many of those old risers are still around, unmodified. Even more bafflingly, some skydivers don’t bother stowing the lines during the packing process (presumably, to save 20 seconds or so). If that’s you, you know what to do. And if you have Velcro on your risers, for the love of god check it for airworthiness. 3. Are your cat’s eyes conspiring against you? Toggles love the cat’s eyes of brake lines. They dive at the chance to snuggle and lock in a spinny embrace. It’s no wonder that’s the case: after all, their relationship is really hot. The heat that’s generated by the slider’s travel over the lines has a shrinking effect on the system, creating a kind of Chinese fingertrap for your toggle seating. With one toggle in and one toggle out, you’re going to be going for a ride. A rigger can quickly suss out if your cat’s eyes are in good shape: big enough for the toggle to pull out smoothly, but not so capacious that the toggle’s fat bits can pass through. If they need replacing, do it. 4. Do you know when to let go? Spinning malfunctions are sneaky bastards. For all their preventability, they have killed people. Make no mistake: Once you’re looking at one, you need to take it seriously. The most important thing you need to remember is this: a spinning malfunction is not a line twist. When you’re under a docile, level main that’s flying cheerfully along as you swear at it, you’re looking at a line twist. When you’re not directly below a canopy that’s flying level -- when it’s flinging you outwards as it heads for the ground -- you are on the business end of a spinner. The first is an inconvenience. The latter is a mal, and you’d better get on it. As wing loading increases, so does the violence of the spin, and the likelihood that you’re going to kick out of it quickly dissolves. So: Don’t fight it. Just get rid of it. Take some quality time with your reserve. You’ll be glad you did.
  4. admin

    Stalling For Success

    Image by Andrey VeselovStalling For Success: What You Don’t Know About Stalling Your Canopy Could Smack You. Hard. This, suffice it to say, could end badly. There was a balloon jump. (Whee!) The winds picked up at around 3,000’ and shoved your jolly crew rather far off-DZ. (Um…) You jumped anyway. (Whee!) You over-rotated your super-magnificent aerial and pulled a titch lower than you wanted to. (Um…) Your landing options are now -- well -- limited. And a little heavy on the obstacles. And kinda tiny. And now you’re on final. (Uh-oh.) Do you know where your stall point is? Probably not. Right about now, I bet you wish you did. In this regard, skydiving is unusual. After all, stall training is a foundational part of the training process in other air sports (paragliding, specifically), and there’s no question it’s vital. Considering how important it is to know the exact point at which your equipment stops flying, it’s surprising how few skydivers – even advanced ones – have seriously investigated the stall point of their canopies. Perhaps this is because the transition between the very-slow-flight and no-flight modes produces a stomach full of butterflies. It could also have something to do with the fact that skydiving canopy rides are much shorter than paragliding flights -- and, because the skydiving canopy is trimmed to fly down instead of up, comparatively easy to fast-forward. No matter what the root cause, the fact remains: knowing your stall point is an essential component of safe and skilled canopy flight. And there’s probably a lot that you probably don’t know -- yet. Here’s the skinny. 1. You aren’t really in control up there.Sorry, buddy. Without understanding your system’s stall point, you are not in full control of your wing. Most notably, you’re at a significant disadvantage during the landing process, as the execution of a flare is the approach to a stall in very close proximity to the ground. 2. It’s not about slow flight. It’s about no-flight.The lion’s share of ram-air canopy pilots believe that the definition of a stall is directly related to slow airspeed – that the “stall point” is when the canopy is flying too slowly to produce lift. Sound familiar? Yep. Unfortunately, while it often ends up being the case in practice, this isn’t actually true. The true “stall point” is defined as the moment when the parachute is no longer producing lift, no matter what the airspeed when you enter the maneuver. Bear with me here, because this has bearing on your jumping career. When a ram-air airfoil reaches an excessive “angle of attack,”* a stall results. As relative wind moves over an airfoil, it “curls” over and downward to create lift. However, when the pilot adjusts the airfoil to a higher angle with respect to the relative wind – often, but not always, by pulling hard on the brakes – he or she is effectively building a nylon wall against that relative wind, making it harder for the relative wind to follow its usual path and create lift. Finally, it reaches a point where it can’t. At any point that the angle of attack reaches that point, no matter what the airspeed, the pilot has a stall on his or her hands. When you understand the stall as a function of AoA, you can easily see how a ram-air airfoil can stall at high speed as well as low speed. This leads to an important fact: a higher-loaded wing will stall at a higher airspeed than its more lightly loaded counterpart. This is just another of the galaxy of reasons why it’s important to downsize your canopy thoughtfully and knowledgeably. 3. You can choose your own adventure.Initiating a stall for the first time is not unscary. Don’t just stab the brakes and cross your fingers, though: manage the process. The rodeo quality of the stall depends on the type and sharpness of the inputs you use to get into it, and on your technique for stall recovery. Stalls entered using slow inputs tend to initiate a stall from slow speed and slight sink, making the stall more docile than those entered using quick, brutal inputs. The more aggressive and uneven you are in your entry, the more likely you are to introduce a bank angle at the entrance of the stall. This will stall the lower wing first, which can often result in a spin (and, maybe, line twists) during recovery. Another bit of advice: Don’t just reach for your brakes. Jumpers tend to initially experiment with stalls by monkeying around with their toggles – mostly, because they’re more familiar with those controls. That’s not really the best idea. Though rear-riser stalls “kick in” more suddenly than stalls initiated with the brakes (as they profoundly and quickly change the shape of the canopy using the C and D lines), recovering from them is smoother and easier.** ...and, of course, pull high. The “lab” is up at a nice, cushy altitude. Make sure to stop your experiments with a lot of margin between you and the dirt. 4. You don’t have to go it alone.Look at your canopy’s manual to familiarize yourself with the stall dynamics you can expect from it. If there’s no information regarding stall behavior in the manual, contact the manufacturer and ask about it. They’re happy to help. So are canopy coaches. Ask, ask, ask. Then you might not have to ask the farmer to disentangle you from the fence, collect your scattered dignity and help you hobble to the road. That’s worth it, no? Here’s a great little video by AXIS Flight School that demonstrates a rear-riser stall. In this video, you can closely inspect the canopy’s reaction to the stall input. *The angle of attack, or AoA, is the angle between the cord line – visualized as a straight line between the leading edge and the trailing edge – and the relative wind that the airfoil is moving through.
  5. Just before the Super Bowl 50 yesterday, an ad was aired on CBS that no doubt had a lot of skydivers sitting back going "Hell yeah". For those that jump, and happen to be a fan of football, the two and a half minute video was a hybrid of awesomeness. As 7 skydivers (Marshall Miller, Steve Curtis, Jesse Hall, Travis Fienhage, Jonathon Curtis, Chris Argyle, Mike Chapman) in full football gear begin a game at altitude. Using people jumping out of planes to sell products is nothing new, but this project seemed distant from the generic mid-air product placement. Instead, we got to see what it would be like if a group of skydivers exited the plane and engaged in a game of in-flight football. The cinematography was excellent and it's not too often we get to see aerial footage shot using the illustrious Red Dragon, filming at 6k. "A huge thanks to Pepsi and Papa John’s for supporting us in creating this epic moment!A huge thanks to the Whistle Sports team for all their support on this project. Whistle Sports is made up of sports creators, brands, leagues, teams, events and athletes who make content for the new generation of fans. Music is called 'The Darkness (Remix)' by Built By Titan. Film by Devin Graham and Tyson Henderson Produced by Carter Hogan Edit by Tyson Henderson using Adobe Premiere Pro CC Sound Design by Dan Pugsley Aerial Cinematographer: Jon Devore Super thanks to Temp Media for providing the amazing aerials with the C-130. They were all captured on the Red Dragon in 6K with the Shotover. If anyone is interesting in aerial services they can go to our website www.temptmediafilms.com Skydive Team - These guys are AMAZING athletes and were complete ninjas in the sky! Marshall Miller Steve Curtis Jesse Hall Travis Fienhage Jonathon Curtis Chris Argyle" A behind the scenes video was also made available on youtube, and can be watched below...
  6. Powerful, small, and flexible, the new NeoXS from Parasport is the newest product in audible altimeters available to skydivers. If you’re a freeflyer, wingsuiter, speedskydiver, or a relative work skydiver, you’ve probably already recognized the need and value of a trustworthy audible. Slightly smaller than other audible devices, it is also slightly thicker. The casing is a combination of heavy-duty cast aluminum and plastic. The NeoXS fits inside of any skydiving helmet set up for an internal audible, and with a little work can be made to fit on the outside of any helmet set up for external mounting. Although there is no cradle currently available for the NeoXS, it should be easy to mount on goggles if jumping without a fraphat or helmet. The Right Stuff-Heavy and tough, this is one tool you won’t have to worry about dropping on the floor. The test unit sent to me survived several drops from an 8’ height onto carpet, linoleum, and concrete without missing a beat. The aluminum case is available in multiple colors, making it easy to spot in a gear box or bag, or on the ground at the DZ. It also makes it easy to engrave your name and license number for quick identification and loss prevention. With three alarms for freefall and three alarms for swooping modes, the NeoXS may be set up for any skydiving discipline. Alarms may be set to various volume levels, and you’ll want to be exceptionally careful with the highest levels of volume. This small package is LOUD when set to the high-volume setting. On one jump, I used standard foam earplugs to see if I could hear the device at full volume, and the cutting pitch and squeals easily penetrated the foam ear plugs. This can be of significant benefit to hard-of-hearing skydivers or for those that like to wear earplugs in the aircraft, and would prefer to leave them in during freefall. The NeoXS is slightly smaller than most audibles, but not significantly so. It'll fit the audible pocket in any skydiving helmet. Skydivers that enjoy multiple disciplines will appreciate the various profile modes the NeoXS offers. Going from a tandem to an AFF to a wingsuit jump? No problem. This unit stores up to four profiles, allowing very rapid switching from one profile to another. Simply push the joystick three times to enter "edit" mode, move the joystick to the left to change the profile, and put the NeoXS back in the audible pocket. The audible always resets automatically but can be manually reset. Another benefit is the always-locked modes of the unit, making it impossible to accidentally change profiles when the unit is left in a gear bag. The unit may easily be reset for new MSL altitudes, simply by entering the configuration mode and using the joystick, reset the zero point of the device. What You'll Love (in a nutshell) 3 freefall signals 3 canopy warnings countdown timer real time altitude display while climbing to altitude simplified programming of warning altitudes 4 user programmable profiles Can be set EXTREMELY LOUD (user selectable volume) May be programmed during climb to altitude It's heavy (durable aluminum). It won't crush in your gearbag The Not-So-Right Stuff-The owners manual could use some improvement. It’s not immediately clear how to program the profiles, or which profile is being used. Actually programming the unit makes the profile modes perfectly clear, however. The same may be said for swoop modes. Better diagramming might alleviate this small concern, or perhaps some on-line help. Once the programming dialog is accessed, the procedures for setting altitudes become readily self-evident. The only major concern with the unit is that the small joystick sits slightly higher than the recessed area in which the joystick is mounted. The recessed area makes it obvious that the manufacturer wanted to prevent the joystick from being accidentally knocked about, but the joystick does slightly protrude above the recess. The joystick is marginally elevated. Initially, this suggested a problem, but in working with the unit in real-world situations, it is not an issue due to the unit always being locked. Three button pushes are required just to unlock the unit, and then the joystick is used to enter programming modes. The unit also offers no backlight, making it difficult to set up for night jumps or in those wee hours of the morning. The LCD is clear and textually driven, however. What You Might Not Love Owners manual is weakly written Joystick button is slightly higher than body/recessed space No backlight for night-time programming It's heavy, weighs nearly double compared to other audibles (I personally like the heavier weight.) General Comments:Although the owners manual could use some improvement, the only real challenge encountered was figuring out how to unlock the unit. (This is achieved by repeatedly pressing the joystick until the lock icon first flashes and then turns off.) A quick glance at the owners manual was required to determine how to unlock the unit after a few minutes of trying to do it by instinct. Once I’d unlocked the unit, I put the manual down to see if I could self-start the programming procedure based. I could, and it was very instinctive once I’d reached the unlocked stage. The four main menu options are Profile, Swoop, Alarm, and Configure. Programming for Meters or Feet display is offered in the Profiles menu, with three altitudes available. Additionally, unique volumes may be programmed for swoop alarms vs freefall alarms. Alarm altitudes cannot be programmed lower than a subsequent altitude, thus preventing accidental programming errors. The NeoXS is easily opened with a normal screwdriver. No special tools or jewelers-sized screwdrivers are required. The unit does not need to be opened to change batteries (you can see the battery door in the housing), I simply like disassembling things to see what they're made of. The reason for the weight is obvious; this is not thin, easily crushed aluminum. *(Opening the NeoXS will void your warranty, do not try this at home, kids!) The alarms are varied, allowing for each alarm to play a distinct tone and pattern, thus eliminating confusion about what alarm is for what altitude. As a side note, I wouldn't mind seeing a manufacturer develop personally-created alarms such as one recorded by a user. Wouldn't it be cool to hear your own voice at the third warning saying "Hey buddy, it's time to pull?" All that would be involved is either a USB connection to a computer, or a microphone built into the audible. It would be difficult to output audio frequencies that cut through the noice properly, yet wouldn't a voice be more fun than a screech? But I digress... In evaluating the unit, the joystick could not be accidentally moved in “real-world” scenarios, but in putting it in the helmet and using fingers to move the unit around, I was able to “accidentally” hit and move the joystick but could not affect the programming modes, as the unit is virtually always locked. It is impossible to leave the unit unlocked, as it returns to a locked mode 30 seconds after programming input is ceased. Therefore, it’s impossible to accidentally change the modes by moving the unit around inside a helmet pocket or other location. The unit uses one CR2430 battery and offers a very long life. These batteries are easy to find at most any grocery or large retail store. All in all, I like this little audible. After having used it for a little over a month, I feel pretty good about the quality, durability, design, and how it functions. I’d first seen it when it was announced at Reno PIA 2007 when Paulo from Parasport overheard me complaining about a particular audible I had (A Cool n' Groovy Fridge Company audible) and its lack of adjustable features. When he set the NeoXS to screaming, it had everyone anywhere near covering their ears, it was so loud. The fact that it can be taken down to a nominal level is great for those that still have fully intact hearing. Levels may be checked on the ground, so it's not an exercise in aerial experimentation to determine which volume levels are best for you. At $170.00 USD, the price is right too, and makes it an accessible cost point for most any skydiver. Overall, this is a very tough, well designed and manufactured tool for skydivers and from my perspective, should be part of any consideration in purchasing an audible altimeter. ~douglas
  7. Squirrel are soon releasing their Swift 2 and Funk 2 wingsuits, which are now available for pre-orders. We're excited to bring you this first look at the Swift 2. Image by Dan Dupuis New smaller planform New profile New leading edge construction New arm sweep More R&D; per square inch than any suit in its class The SWIFT 2 is an entirely new design that brings a higher level of efficiency and performance to the beginner-intermediate class. This is the most balanced and versatile beginner-intermediate design that we have flown, and we think it represents a meaningful step forward in wingsuit design. In the same way that the FREAK has upset the intermediate class market, the SWIFT 2 offers performance and ease of use in a ratio that we think is unique in the category. Compared to the SWIFT, the SWIFT 2 has less surface area yet more glide performance, range, and speed. What this means is that the SWIFT 2 is easier to fly than its predecessor, and offers higher performance. This has been accomplished by increasing efficiency in the profile and planform. Traditionally, wingsuit manufacturers have added surface area to a design in order to increase “performance”. But, as surface area increases, so does difficulty. Surface area is the one factor in wingsuit design that cannot be cheated: if it’s bigger, it’s potentially more difficult to fly. Our mission at Squirrel is to maximize the efficiency of each design by focusing on glide and speed gains that come as a result of profile improvements and drag reduction, instead of simply increasing surface area. When we increase the performance of a suit without reducing the comfort and ease of use, it can be considered a “free” upgrade. That is the focus of the SWIFT 2. Image by Avalon WolfThe SWIFT 2 planform has less arm wing surface at the wingtip section of the span, increasing the aspect ratio and improving handling and ease of use. The wing root chord has been slightly increased, adding range and stability particularly in applications such as flocking. The added surface at the wing root enables smoother pitch adjustment and increases roll stability by supporting the pilot’s CG and hips. This also eases transitions from belly to back fly positions. The leg wing stance is also narrower than the original SWIFT. A new arm sweep and leading edge construction, taken directly from the FREAK, has reduced drag and improved agility. The SWIFT 2 feels considerably more compact than its predecessor, or any other wing in its class, thanks to these factors being combined with a profile also adapted from the FREAK. The FREAK profile was chosen for its moderate thickness and excellent behavior across a wide range of speeds. THE RANGE Versatility is a key tenet of the SWIFT 2 design. Arm and leg wing pressure can be adjusted via the internal wing zips, allowing a softer and more manageable ride for newer pilots, acrobatic pilots looking for rapid transition and ease in flips where wing area has to be rapidly compressed. With zips closed, the SWIFT 2 delivers the range, performance, and stability needed for high or low speed flocking. INLETS The SWIFT 2 inlets are adapted from our newest high-performance suits, and feature a more efficient intake with less drag than the original SWIFT. Back-fly inlets are offered as an option, and make the SWIFT 2 a fun and agile suit for freestyle flying and steeper, more advanced, formations. LEADING EDGE Leading edge construction is a complicated matter in wingsuit design. Performance can be enhanced by creating a rigid structure over the arm, but this results in a significant reduction in passive safety. We have focused on this part of our wingsuits since the beginning of our development and we are constantly striving to create the best balance of comfort and performance. The SWIFT 2 leading edge is adapted from the FREAK, and features a grained non-flexible main arm segment with a flexible Glideskin arc at the wrist for BOC and riser/brake toggle access. The interior is finished in Lycra, which provides a smooth surface for skin or clothing to slide across, and houses the optional leading edge foam. Never underestimate the importance of an easy pull and access to your risers. Brake and riser access is a learned skill: practice it thoroughly! PLANFORM The SWIFT 2 planform is completely new, and was chosen for its distribution of surface at the wing tip and wing root. Additionally, the sweep and stance are similar to the FREAK and FUNK 2, making the transition to our more advanced suits feel more natural. PROFILE The SWIFT 2 profile is adapted from the FREAK, modified only to fit the smaller planform and shorter chord. Thickness and camber was chosen for stability across a wide range of speeds and angles of attack. Image by Luis Lopez MendezFEATURES We believe that all performance-enhancing features in a wingsuit should be standard. If it's important to performance flying or improves ease-of-use, then it's included in the price of your suit. Padded and reinforced foot cavities, chest pocket / belly-cam access, internal pressure-zips, nut-sack storage compartment, mylar reinforced leading edge, and rubber BASE soles are all standard features in all of our suits. ACCESS In BASE and Skydiving, easy BOC and brake toggle access has proven to yield the safest and most reliable deployments. We firmly believe in the mantra, "Keep it Simple and Safe". For that reason, we designed a suit for which arm cutaways are unnecessary, BOC access is clean thanks to the extended wing root that helps to prevent the trailing edge from covering your PC, and risers / brake toggles can be accessed without unzipping. The arm sweep, wrist-cut, and leading edge construction have all been engineered for a balance of safety and performance. PERFORMANCE The SWIFT 2 has an exceptional amount of performance for its surface area. No other suit in this size range delivers as much speed, glide, or range. Ease of use is a critical factor for this class of suit, and the newest pilots will instantly appreciate the SWIFT 2’s stability in an arched position. If you have questions about flying your SWIFT 2 at any level of performance, please don't hesitate to contact us! We are always here to answer your questions.
  8. Skydive Arizona began in the early 1990s when formation skydiving was dominating the scene and freeflying was just starting to become popular. Skydive Arizona has been the training grounds since then of fostering a great skydiver because of the weather, on-site wind tunnel, and access to multiple turbine aircraft. The DZ is thrilled to announce exciting changes to some of the classic events for the 2016 season! Skydive Arizona has retired some long-standing traditional events such as the Valentines 4-Way FS Meet and Turbine Madness. The Valentine’s 4-Way FS Meet was a staple of a formation skydiver’s experience. However, with the access to turbines and tunnels, the event saw a decline and decided to retire the event. The Turbine Madness will now focus on the Challenge which will also see a few new additions. Airspeed Big Way Camp Changes to current, annual events: The Arizona Challenge organized by Arizona Airspeed for formation skydivers will add Arizona X-Force organizing a Vertical Sequential Challenge. The Freefly Money Meet which was a scrambles-style event, is now the MFS (Mixed Formation Skydiving) Money Meet. The MFS style event is meant to be a platform for National competitors to train. MFS Money Meet All boogies that Skydive Arizona hosts (Easter Boogie, Patriot’s Boogie, Halloween Boogie, Thanksgiving Boogie, and the Christmas Boogie) will continue to include camps in various disciplines. An incredible new event is slated for this November 3rd – 6th called, The Wingsuit Rally. The format of the event is to be an educational extravaganza from First Flight Courses to preparing for Wingsuit BASE to seminars, suit demos, state records and more. Wingsuit coaches that have confirmed include: Katie Hansen, Scotty Bob, Doogs, Taya Weiss, Jay Moledzki, Travis Milke, Petter Mazetta, and Matt Frolich. Vendors are still confirming at this time. Wingsuit Rally Upcoming Events:Airspeed Big Ways -- Registration: $50/person (February 12-14) MFS Money Meet -- Registration: $200/team (February 20-21) VFS Challenge -- Registration: TBD (May 28 – 30) Patriot’s Boogie -- Registration: $25/person (July 2-3) US Nationals (October 19-30) Halloween Boogie -- Registration: FREE (October 29-30) Wingsuit Rally -- Registration: $50/person (November 3-6) Thanksgiving Boogie -- Regisration: FREE (November 24-27) Christmas Boogie -- Registration: TBD (December 24 – January 1) Collegiates (December 28 – January 2) For detailed event information, go to www.SkydiveAZ.com/experiened/events.
  9. admin

    Deployment Emergencies

    Common ripcord and hand-deployed pilot chute malfunctions are the lost handle and the hard pull. Submitted by plante Lost Handle Lost handle or out-of-sight hand-deployed pilot chute. Some ripcords are held in place by elastic webbing or Velcro® cloures. If the ripcords come out of these places, they may be blown out of your sight. Some puds (knobs or handles for hand-deployed pilot chutes) attach with Velcro closures, and some are stowed in elastic pockets. There are pros and cons to where these pilot chutes and deployment handles should be mounted. Either one may separate from the container and blow up behind you. Search for the ripcord (one time only) by following the harness to the ripcord housing with your hand. Search for a hand deployment device (one time only) with your hand by following the container to the area where it is supposed to be mounted — perhaps even as far as the closing grommet. If you can’t locate the handle immediately, pull your reserve ripcord. Practice this on the ground periodically. Lost handles and hand-deployed pilot chutes can also occur after the pull if you fail to pull far enough. Make sure you pull the ripcord all the way out of the housing, or if using a hand-deployed pilot chute, pull the pud to arm’s length before you release it. Hard Pull The hard pull may be caused by a bent or rough pin, a hand-deployed pilot chute bound up in its pouch, or you may have packed more canopy in the center of the container instead of filling the corners. If you feel resistance to your pull, give it two more quick tries (perhaps even with both hands while maintaining the arched body position) and then if that doesn’t deploy the main parachute, pull your reserve ripcord immediately. After a number of jumps, it is normal to become somewhat complacent about the pull; you may give it a relaxed, half-hearted jerk. The pull may take as much as 10 kg (22 lbs.) of force, so pull again. If continual hard pulls are bothering you, you might choose to spray a non-petroleum-based silicone or Teflon® fluid on your ripcord cable or your closing pin and your closing loop. This will make quite a difference and it will last for many jumps. You may occasionally have to do it again as dirt and grime builds up on your pin or ripcord cable system. Inspect your system for any signs of roughness. If they exist, get a rigger to replace the rough component with a smooth one. Pilot Chute Hesitation A problem you could have with your reserve deployment, or a main with a spring-loaded pilot chute, is the common pilot chute hesitation. Hesitations can happen to hand-deployed mains but they are not as common. Hesitations occur when the pilot chute momentarily flutters in the low-pressure area behind you rather than catching air. The hesitation may be caused by a bent or weak pilot chute spring, but usually the pilot chute is just sitting in the dead air space created behind you when you are in the stable position. Sometimes the pilot chute jumps upon release but fails to travel far enough to get a grip on the air rushing past you. It may drop back down on your back and just bounce around or just lay there. If it was hand-deployed, you may not have given it a good throw. To correct the problem, you may turn on your side during the post exit or pull count, allowing the airflow to inflate the pilot chute and pull it free, you may peek over your shoulder after pulling the ripcord, or you may sit up to dump (deploy your canopy). This last method of pulling, then sitting up (almost the start of a backloop) also reduces the opening forces on your shoulders, but it can lead to other problems such as trapping a tight-fitting deployment bag in its container. Consult with an instructor who is familiar with your system prior to attempting this type of maneuver. Pull-out v. Throw-out The pull-out and throw-out pilot chutes are preferred by experienced jumpers, but students (except IAD students) use the ripcord and coil spring pilot chute combination. For a detailed explanation of these three systems, see the chapter on equipment. Trapped Pilot Chute If the pilot chute is not properly stowed in its pocket, it may bunch up and jam when you try to extract it. The trapped pilot chute results in a hard pull that may or may not be cleared. If you find you have a hard pull, try one more vigorous pull before you go for your reserve. Pilot Chute In Tow Pilot chute in tow may be short or long. It is short when the pilot chute bridle is looped around something such as a harness strap. (A proper gear check could have avoided this problem.) If you have one of the rare bellyband mounted throw out models, make sure that the bellyband is not twisted. If the pilot chute bridle is wrapped around the harness (such as on a twisted bellyband or leg strap), tugging on it will only result in a (short) trailing pilot chute. Check the bridle routing during packing, have it checked in the equipment check prior to boarding the aircraft and check the routing again prior to exit. Twisted bellybands and twisted leg straps are a significant cause of pilot chutes in tow. The pilot chute in tow is long when the pilot chute pulls the bridle to its full extent but does not pull the pin securing the main container. The failure may be due to a damaged pilot chute (producing insufficient drag), a rough pin, a tight main container (canopy stacked too high), or a closing loop which is too short. The long pilot chute in tow is more likely on sub-terminal velocity jumps. Make sure the bridle-pin connection is not worn, that the pin is smooth and curved, not straight (unless it is supposed to be such as in pull-out pilot chute systems), and that the locking loop is not too short. If you are faced with a long pilot chute in tow, never try to clear it. A recent USPA article (Parachutist, June 1997) stated that if you have a pilot chute in tow, deploy the reserve immediately. Therefore, it is treated as a total malfunction. Other experts in the field take the position that if there is anything out behind the container, including a spring-launched or hand-deployed pilot chute, execute a cutaway and reserve deployment immediately. Note: Most student equipment is Single Operation System (SOS) oriented. This means that pulling the reserve handle will execute the cutaway (disconnect the main risers) then deploy the reserve all in one smooth action. A two-handle system requires a separate cutaway handle to be pulled to disconnect the risers, followed by a pull of the reserve ripcord. How to handle a pilot chute in tow has been the subject of great debate and much beer has been consumed discussing it. While there are exceptions and strong feelings about what has been stated above, time is usually too short to consider them. After the reserve starts to deploy, the main container may go slack enough that whatever kept it closed is no longer doing so, therefore the main may start to deploy. If the main was disconnected from the harness by the action of a cutaway, it will probably not be anything more than a temporary nuisance. However, one must always be prepared for possible entanglement of the two canopies whether a “cutaway” has or has not been performed.
  10. This article follows a previous article of an AFF journal submitted by John McDarby. We hope sharing this series of articles detailing the experience of his journey may be able to provide some insight into those looking to do their AFF course, while also entertaining those who have been through the process. AFF5 – Saturday 8th AugustWhat an awesome jump!! Got down to the DZ for 8am and was straight onto the manifest - I got on load 2 for 9am – what a start to a Saturday! Delighted with myself. Got given the same instructor with whom I did my AFF4 repeat with. We did the dirt dive and walk through a couple of times and he just kept telling me to relax and I'd nail it. I was very cool on the climb - no nerves really - just the tingles of anticipation. Door opened and we were second out - I was much faster getting stable than previously. Once stable, I performed my first 360 - then awaited the go ahead for the second in the other direction. Upon completion, he gave me thumbs up and for the first time ever, I give out a big smile AND gave him back two thumbs up! That’s how cool and calm and together I was. It’s actually starting to make a bit of sense to me now. Has this clicked? This was by a mile, the best jump so far – brilliant fun Though, I made a total disaster of the landing - haha. Winds picked up then and due to get stronger all day - the whole place was on a weather hold, so I stayed and talked to a few people for a couple of hours and left them to it at 2pm. Class! AFF6 & AFF7 Qualification – Friday 14th AugustFinally, we got there in the end! Had a day in lieu to take from work, the sun came out and the club was open - all the stars aligned. It was nice and quiet down there with me being the only AFF student - about 90% tandems and about 5 or 6 fun jumpers - and 1 SL student. Did my brief for AFF6 and nailed it - really pumped up for spinning out of control and regaining stability - it’s the first time that I had to prove to myself, that I could get it back - delighted with that. Then a bit of tracking. I've never really done the tracking properly before so this was a bit unnerving to be honest - but it worked ok - better than on AFF7 actually, where I didn’t do it very well at all. Winds were quite strong, which helped with my very first stand up landing! I actually jumped up after the stand up and let out a yelp, I was so chuffed with it. I then had about 45mins until AFF7 came around - this was my first time doing 2 jumps in a day – a big deal for me. Quick briefing, head first exit and a backflip - bit of tracking and a couple of turns - “keep it simple” was the key of this one. Simple? Head first and a backflip?? Sweet Lord! I’d never done a head first exit and had no idea how to do it “pretend you’re diving into a pool – don’t over think it” simple advice and worked a treat – it was really cool and it’s now my exit of choice. Stability was very quick – bit of turn and it was fixed, then onto the back flip and just chill for the rest of it. Watching the videos I can see I’m not using enough legs and I’m backsliding, but hey, I’m still on AFF here! Made a complete mess of the landing pattern though - was too high on entry and then ended up way downwind and wasn’t making progress back - was pretty much sinking straight, over a tree line - I could see I wasn't making any forward motion so at about 300ft I made the decision to pull out and headed down wind towards a big hay field, turned back into the wind and brought it down, mellow enough landing on my butt (boy am I getting used to that), but it was my first ever out so I was really concentrating on PLF and bales of hay more so than a stand up. Got back to the hanger and the CCI said he was watching and that I made the right decision as regards giving up and landing out, but gave me a ticking off for being in that situation in the first place - fair enough, I shouldn’t have been there, I just got it wrong. Whatever anyway, I got down safe and had the walk of shame back to the hanger - I was obviously the talk of the place for the two minutes as about 15 people (tandems and fun folk) all applauding and laughing at me Haha - not for the first or last time either Then as I was laying out my rig for packing, congratulations for me graduating AFF came out over the Tannoy and I got a round of applause from everyone. I felt a hundred miles high and my chest was out – I’d done it Epilogue and Next Steps I took up snowboarding 15 years ago because “that looks like fun” and I have never missed a season since Having travelled across Canada, the USA and Europe in search of powder and memories Perhaps this new sport can introduce me to warm, sunny, summertime places that I never normally get to see. Everywhere I go is cold and white. It would be nice to wear shorts and flip flops on a holiday for once. AFF and jumping from planes has definitely been my second greatest achievement in life, after quitting smoking. It really has been a journey for me - I've learned a lot more about what I'm made of - what goes on in both my head and in my heart. I don't want to sound like a hippy, but this has been an enlightening journey so far. A skydiver I met on a forum mailed me this upon my AFF qualification: “I think you will find (as I have) that skydiving is neither difficult nor is it easy. Looking back on the training and the jumps, I think it's safe to state that every nerve in the body is challenged and tested. Much like the game of golf, skydiving does not define character so much as it reveals what is already there.“ “So, I think you had a lot going for you in the first place. You just did not know it and now you've found it. “ I’ve never had such lovely words said to me by essentially, a complete stranger whom I know by a web forum alias and first name only. Since completing AFF, I’ve gone on to continue with the consolidation jumps and if I were a betting man, I’d stick 10 bucks on me going on to complete my A licence. What does skydiving hold for me? I have no idea. I really don’t. I guess I’ll keep going, one jump at a time. The skydiving community are a very friendly and welcoming community and there has been no end of advice and assistance at all times from every angle. Whatever I do and however far I go, I must pay that back
  11. admin

    The Physics of Freefall

    Without an atmosphere we would continue to accelerate during free fall to ever increasing velocities until we impacted mother earth. Without an atmosphere our parachute would of course be worthless. Hence a soft landing on the moon requires retro rockets to decelerate to a soft landing while parachutes have been used to help decelerate the Martian landers in the thin carbon dioxide atmosphere of mars. In the absence of atmospheric drag we would experience a linear increase in velocity with time as described by: Where ln is the natural logarithm base e and cosh is the hyperbolic cosine function. We can now evaluate eqns (10), (11) and (12) for various times over the free fall period to obtain the acceleration, downward velocity and the distance the skydiver falls. These results are tabulated in Table (1) and corresponding plots are illustrated in Figs (1) through (3). Eqn (11) was used to calculate the plot in Fig (1). We note that as we exit the aircraft at t = 0, our initial acceleration is 32 ft/sec^2, (gravity rules). As the opposing aerodynamic drag force increases with our increasing free fall velocity, our downward acceleration decreases. We see from Fig (1) that our acceleration diminishes to about half of it’s initial value after 5 sec of free fall and all perceptible downward acceleration has ceased after 15 or 20 sec. Our free fall velocity was calculated from eqn (10) and is plotted in Fig (2). It steadily increases over the first 5 seconds of free fall from zero to nearly 90 mph. During the next 5 to 10 seconds our acceleration diminishes significantly as we approach terminal. It is the post 10 sec period of the skydive when our sensation of falling is replaced by the feeling being suspended and cradled by the pressure of the wind. Eqn (12) was use to calculate and plot the free fall distance. It is apparent from Fig (3) that we fall only about 350 feet in the first 5 seconds and at least twice that far in the second 5 seconds. Beyond 10 seconds the plot is nearly linear as we approach a constant terminal velocity. Fig (3) confirms our often used rule of thumb “we free fall about 1000 feet in the first 10 sec and another 1000 feet for every 5 sec thereafter”. Comparing the distance at 25 sec with that at 20 sec in Table (1) we see a difference of about 860 ft, a bit less than the rule of thumb value of 1000 ft. The 1000 ft per 5 sec of free fall at terminal is only precise for a free fall rate of 1000 ft / 5 sec = 200 ft/sec or 136 mph rather than 120 mph used in this example. Hopefully this example and discussion may provide some insight to those who are mathematically inclined and curious about the “whys”.
  12. This article follows a previous article of an AFF journal submitted by John McDarby. We hope sharing this series of articles detailing the experience of his journey may be able to provide some insight into those looking to do their AFF course, while also entertaining those who have been through the process. Image Credit / LinkSunday 26th April Well, that sure was something else. Nothing like the tandem at all - totally different. Really weird but, I had no fear whatsoever - it was all "focus on the tasks" I just didn’t have the time to fear. I was nervous going up and one of the instructors saw it and told me to smile - that it forces you to be happy and helps get rid of nerves – it works! He then told me to close my eyes and visualise the dive from start to finish - that really was a good idea and I shall continue to do that Then at about 11k feet the pilot gave a two minute notice for the door. Everyone started doing high fives and fist pumps to each other - it really was awesome. Eight of us squashed into a ford fiesta (or tiny car of your choice), all about to jump from 12,000ft - it felt very special - like I was part of a very elite club that nobody else knows - it felt great. My two instructors and I were last out as we were deploying highest. Two head down flyers went first as they would be the fastest fallers and lowest deployments. Then 2 sit flyers, then a solo guy with about 20 jumps - he was just chilling out – we have become good friends since and he has helped me, mentally on many of my subsequent jumps Then us... I had no nerves at all - I just kicked right into my routine and thought of nothing else I actually didn’t even see the ground until I deployed - head up, looking at the horizon all the time - you don’t look down ever – In fact, it wasn’t until my first consolidation jump that I had both the time and the peace of mind to have a look about. So I did the exit, really well - I was delighted with that – we were stable faster than I expected. Then I did my COA - circle of awareness – check heading, check altimeter, check left instructor, check right instructor to ensure we're all set and ready to begin tasks - all good, let’s do it Then began my 3 practice touches - check alti, arch, reach for pilot chute handle, squeeze, recover. Do that 3 times to show that you know where the pilot chute for deployment is and that you can get to it yourself and that you actually have the wherewithal and you’re not phased out. Sensory overload is a big one on AFF1 so perhaps my previous tandem helped with this. That’s all that is required of AFF1 to pass, that and the actual deployment - and I did it with about 2000ft to spare - that’s about 10secs of freefall - the instructors said to me afterwards that they deliberately kept throwing hand signals at me for those 10 seconds to see how I would react to being overloaded. I got some of them but I missed some too - just too much information coming at me - but that wasn’t part of the dive - it was just extra stuff My main side instructor said afterwards during debrief "ah, you just ignored me - I saw you looking and just rolling your eyes" Ha ha – there is probably an element of truth in that. So I "locked in" at 6000ft and then deployed at 5500ft - and then it’s the longest 4 second count in your life Count 4 thousand and look up and hope to goodness it’s all there and looking good - which it was. I chilled then for a moment to let the adrenaline settle and then commenced my checks – I should have done them immediately but I was really overwhelmed to say the least - I’d guess I was about 3-5 seconds at most before I did my harness checks and twists checks – all good, phew! Next up, I released the toggles for steering and pulled 3 good flares to get a feel for it, as instructed. Then a quick alti check - just about 5000ft - Jesus, it’s a long way down when you’re hanging there alone. So I pulled a hard left and dived down to the left, then another to the right, then a few circles around - all to get a feel for the canopy as I need to know how it will handle when coming in to land It was very stable and comfortable and turned when I asked it to – as I discovered later, of course it was stable, it was 260sqft – Godzilla could have jumped this canopy.. At about 3000ft the radio came crackling in my ear with the instructor telling me directions – I’d forgotten about those guys – lovely to hear a guiding voice right now. But it cracked out at about 1000ft and I couldn’t hear him – however, I already had my flight plan worked out Be over the hanger at 1000ft, then downwind along the tree line to 600ft then hard right 90 degrees and down to 300ft across the wind then 90 degrees into the wind for final approach – we had been through that on the ground and I’d watched a bunch of jumpers before me to see it in action. It was really bumpy and I got thrown about but it was all about keeping it steady with minimal inputs under 300ft - just go straight and let it fly itself down. The instructor said afterwards that no other students would be flying today and that it was right on the edge for students but that my (cough), mass, was an advantage for such conditions! So I landed on my feet, all excited and relieved but then a gust of wind grabbed the canopy and I was on my butt and dragged backwards - I got it sorted and that was it, gathered it up and walked over to the hanger - where a bunch of them laughed at me and took the piss - but in a friendly way. One guy came up to me "what number AFF was that?" I told him number one, and he stuck his hand out for a shake "welcome to the club, man" I felt so chuffed. I was part of an elite club. Brilliant, brilliant experience. Then one of my instructors went through the video with me pointing out both good and bad things of the dive He got some other students over to view it also as they were unable to jump due to the wind Then we got the creepers (like skateboards) out and we (4 students) started to practice AFF2 dive flow - It’s much the same but with some added turns - which are new to us. We will have to do 90 degree turns both left and right - then a kind of "head first" position a bit like superman but hands back (later to be informed, tracking) and then back to standard stability and recover. I wasn’t ready to do it again today even if I could - too much information to take in and I want to do the dive over and over first because it’s hard to think when in freefall - it’s so extreme. Things need to be more instinctive first for me. Next weekend looks like a wash out. So hopefully the week after. But oh boy, what a buzz - I may well have found what I was looking for. Part 3 will be published shortly, keep an eye out on the dropzone.com homepage to follow John's journey through AFF
  13. Action cameras aren’t merely changing the production world, they have become a staple of the production world. Getting the inside shot is simple with POV cameras and the number of choices in this niche world is broad and perhaps daunting. Action cameras are inexpensive and provide a simple means of additional camera angles to any production. In this review, I’m going to tackle all of the “name-brand” cameras available out there. This article will not provide the answer to “which camera should I buy?” The range of criteria is so broad that the question is beyond the scope of a single review. This review will provide information about which action-camera is best suited for specific criteria and provide information that may help you make informed purchasing decisions. I’ve gathered what I believe to be the most viable options for most “extreme” sport enthusiasts for shooting broadcast-quality video. During this review, each camera is set to 1920x1080, 30fps (except where otherwise noted). The criteria for inclusion: Price point (150.00-400.00 USD) Bit-rate (16Mbps or higher) Codec (must be non-proprietary) The selectees: GoPro 3+ ($399.00) GoPro 3 Black ($349.00) Sony AS100 ($299.00) Sony AS30 ($299.00) JVC Adixxion ($299.00) Midland XTC400 ($249.00) Polaroid XS100 ($169.00) ReplayXD Mini ($199.00) Liquid Ego ($179.00) Drift Ghost S ($399.00) Scoring Procedure With the criteria determined, particpants selected, I created a scoring sheet that could be used as a reference throughout the process. The goal is to be as objective as possible in a subjective conversation. A panel was selected, four people who would review images from the cameras and choose the best image when image quality was relevant. Other factors such as battery life, wireless functionality/reliability, audio features/quality are objective. Scores are based on how these functions are implemented and may be relied upon. For this shootout I mounted 17 action cameras on a single helmet, then took it skydiving, snorkeling, zip-lining, bob-sleighing and motorcycling to enable accurate side-by-side comparisons of each camera. For example in the battery life test, the Liquid Ego went for nearly 5 hours of record time, blowing through a few cards, while the Garmin VIRB and GoPro 3 Black barely reached 50 minutes of record time. The Liquid Ego nets a score of “5” while the Garmin VIRB and GoPro 3+Black earn a score of 2. The Sony AS series weighed in at just over 2.75 hours earning a score of “4”. Had it not been for the curve-altering record times of the Liquid Ego, the Midland and Polaroid cameras, Sony’s AS100 would have won this category. Regardless, with a linear scoring value of 0-5, the weighting may seem unbalanced from time to time. Please note that the score card contains two scores; one based exclusively on image quality, and the other score relevant to the overall product experience. Most of the cameras have tweaks and settings that allow them to be the best they can for specific situations. Rather than setting each camera to its best settings, all cameras were used exactly as they come out of the box. In other words, once the box was opened the battery was charged, a card inserted into the camera and formatted, it was put to the test. Sony, GoPro, and ReplayXD all have internal tweaks accessible via either proprietary software or .txt files. Each allow for an optimized image even though I’ve avoided using any of these optimizations. After all the results were in and the panel gave their feedback, here's what the final result looked like. I sorted the score sheet below by total score but you can click on any header to sort the table by that column and see how the different cameras compared in any specific test. I discuss each test area in detail below. Score Sheet Image Quality Winner in Image Quality - Sony AS100V The subject of image quality is subjective. The four panelists had to choose from a variety of videos (a few of which are linked in this article). Factors involved in the comparison are dynamic range (darkest to the brightest representation of image content), saturation, color accuracy, codec compression/banding/pixelation, motion management, and frame to frame blurring. Watch the Wingsuit Exit Video For example, in the image above, the center top allows for the lake in the background to be seen, while also allowing for the darker interior and tires of the aircraft to hold details. There are no blowouts of the highlights, and the reds, greys, whites, and orange colors are all accurate to original. Watch the YouTube-linked video at the 4K resolution on YouTube for the best experience and ability to determine which image you find best. Each camera is displayed at approximately 720p. You’ll likely want to turn off your audio as there is no usable audio content. Watch the Zipline Video Watch the Bobsled Video In the above test, one of the cameras failed due to (I believe) card error. The high motion, high contrast, light and dark areas for exposure testing provides for a terrific challenge. Even in the still framegrabs, the torture is evident in blur, color, and compression artifacting. Watch Wingsuit Overhead Video The complexity of the ground coupled with the high motion makes for a good test of contrasts and detail management in moving platforms. Note that the majority of the cameas are set to an FOV of 120 degrees, as that’s how they come out of the box. A couple cameras are 170 degrees. All panelists unanimously chose this action camera over all others in all resolutions and framerates. The GoPro 3+ came in second. The Sony AS30 takes third prize, and an honorable mention goes to the Drift Ghost S. In well-lit situations, the Midland and Garmin VIRB cameras really surprised me too, but at 35Mbps (this camera also does 50Mbps in XAVC-S mode, not used in this shootout), the Sony AS100 sweeps the image quality score. Battery Life Winner in Battery Life - Liquid Ego This was a stunner. I left all the cameras running/recording and went to dinner. Battery life would be lessened by movement, but the bigger point was how long the cameras could record. In most cases, the camera battery died prior to the card being filled (I used 16 GB cards for this test). The Liquid Ego kept running and running, filling a 16 and then 8 GB card before finally dying at just under 5 hours in 1080 mode. Wifi was disabled (all wifi was disabled for most tests). This is one of the least expensive cameras in the shootout; it has some shortcomings, yet one major bonus is that this camera, removed from its own mounting clip, can be fitted to GoPro mounting systems. Brilliant move on the part of Liquid! What I didn’t like about this camera are the number of button presses to record in 720-30p or 60p without wireless enabled. However, shooting in 1080 mode is as simple as turning it on and hitting record. When in the waterproof case, it’s impossible to see the LCD display. For budget users, this is an easy camera to like. Profile Winner of the Action Camera Profile Category - ReplayXD Mini 1080 At slightly larger diameter than a nickel this camera is rock-solid, doesn’t need stabilization, and blew my mind when I found I could drive a car over it. So small to present less of a snag hazard for skydivers, this tiny marvel is also perfect for UAV/Drones, hiding on cars (ReplayXD is the camera most used in professional auto-racing) and so small it can even be placed upright under a skateboard. It’s tiny and weighs virtually nothing. The camera also offers a threaded head so that lens adapters may be used for either lenses or filters for better image. This is tremendously valuable for outside photography, where an ND filter will immediately remove the heavy contrast and juddered playback, while reducing jello-cam (rolling shutter) issues. JVC, Polaroid, and Garmin all have the ability to come in fairly high in this conversation except their mounting systems are not only flimsy, they’re high profile and a snag hazard. Using these cameras without their manufacturer-issued mounts will provide a very low platform and a much more stable image. Testing Locations The waters of Ocho Rios Jamaica, Mystic Mountain for snorkeling, bobsled, and zipline testing Lake Elsinore California for skydive tests Virgin River Gorge for road/motorcycle testing Toronto, Ontario for slow motion and other comparisons Although durability wasn’t a measured factor in this shootout, ReplayXD would easily win the durability category (comparing cameras out of their waterproof box). There simply isn’t a tougher camera on the market. Other features I like; the camera offers up timecode for professionals, external audio inputs and user-controllable image quality (Saturation, Exposure, Audio Gain, Sharpness, etc). Wifi Winner of the Wifi Category - Sony AS100 and Liquid Ego This was a tougher call. Other than the Replay Mini, all of the POV cameras offer wifi control or connectivity to a mobile device. I tested the systems on a Samsung GalaxyIII cell and Samsung Galaxy Tab2 tablet. All devices connected successfully. All devices allow for some level of “streaming preview.” Some devices such as the JVC Adixxion allow for streaming directly to UStream if the user has an account and is fortunate enough to be very close to a WAP. Streaming for preview is a serious drain on battery life, rarely works in a moving environment, and is overall somewhat useless beyond setting up a camera angle or adjusting settings (in this writer’s view). Sony’s Play Memories application was difficult to use on their early AS15 models but on the AS100 they’ve gotten it right. It’s install and done. The same can be said for the Liquid Ego. JVC’s Adixxion was a bit of a struggle but it did work once all the paths were traveled properly. The same can be said for the Garmin VIRB, the Polaroid X, and the Midland XTC. GoPro was also reasonably easy to set up so saying that the Sony and Liquid win this category is essentially a small thing. In the end, these two were simply easier/faster to set up than the others by a small margin of time and/or frustration. It should be mentioned that the JVC Adixxion was the most difficult to set up. They use a broader-scope application called WiVideo, designed to work with a host of action cameras. Wet Use Winner of the Wet Use Category - Three Way Tie Between GoPro3+, Sony AS100 and Drift Ghost S What made the difference in this category is “how deep can they go and how easy are they to operate under water?” I did not take the action cameras to their rated depths and I am relying on the manufacturers for accurate information on how deep these POV cameras can go. With that said the Replay Mini, Garmin VIRB, Ghost S, Polaroid XS, do not require water housings. Watch Underwater Video After spending 3 hours in the water with the action cameras, water was no issue for any of the cameras. GoPro and Sony both include the waterproof housing in the purchase price. Garmin, Midland, Liquid, and even ReplayXD (for depths greater than 12’) all require the purchase of a waterproof housing for wet use. For underwater image quality, Sony AS100 and Drift Ghost S provide the most accurate image, yet the GoPro has a slightly smoother color saturation that is pleasing to the eye. For reasons I could not figure out, the Sony AS30 fogged in the lens. This didn’t happen with the AS100 and more curious, it didn’t happen with the hand-held AS15 I was using to document the event. The fogging didn’t affect the image much, but it was there. What I liked most about the AS100 is that the LCD panel is large and it was easy to see what was going on with the camera while under water. Audio Winner of the Audio Category - Sony AS100 With external microphone-in that requires no adapters, AGC, and high-end audio converters, this camera offers wonderful compressed audio, equal to the audio recording capability of significantly more expensive cameras. The Sony AS30 also offers external audio inputs, but is a bit less flexible, as the audio input is hidden under the connection cover. ReplayXD also offers external microphone input as does the GoPro 3+ but both require larger, more bulky adapters that cost more dollars. ReplayXD offers a user-controlled gain function which is a real benefit to professionals needing nat audio from locations and in loud environments (such as auto races or helicopter skins). However, the Sony AS100 offers not only the external microphone input on the bottom of the action camera (obviously cannot be used in the water housing), but a higher grade of DAC (Digital Audio Converter) than its categorical counterparts. Ease of Use Winner of the Ease of Use Category - No Clear Winner Most of the cameras offer a one-button on/record feature. Out of the box the Sony series, Polaroid, Midland, Garmin, and ReplayXD cameras offer a one-button record feature. GoPro offers one button record as a menu feature, and the Drift can be programmed to loop and record when turned on for ease of use. However, out of the box there are several that are easy to use as point and press action camcorders and so there is no clear winner. If menus are the measure then the Drift Ghost S, the Garmin VIRB, and the JVC Adixxion win for graphic interface. Sony AS series win for clear instruction and ease of navigation. The GoPro wins for sheer depth of options. I’m not a fan of some of the GoPro surface options that make the menus long and kludgy to navigate. Curiously enough, ReplayXD has no menu; all controls are done in a .txt file set on a phone, tablet, or computer. However, their menu options go deeper and are more relevant to picture quality than any other POV camera available. Mounts Winner of the Mounts Category - Replay XD Mini Although the (likely obvious) winner for mounts would be GoPro, it actually isn’t. On sheer numbers of achievable angles and mounting systems, REPLAYXD Mini takes the prize with GoPro following a close second. There is a reason there are so many mounting kit options for some of the cameras out there; their factory mounts are terrible. Many of the parts and pieces available for various POV cameras are designed to compensate for the initial weaknesses of the mounting system. Mounting systems matter far more than most users of action cams realize. If the mount is not 100% solid then the image will be unstable and aside from needing stabilization in post (which affects image quality), the image will likely incur ‘jello-cam’ also known as “rolling shutter,” which cannot be repaired. In this video, both are out-of-the-box mounting systems. Note the difference in stability. A rock solid mount needs no stabilization work in post. Choosing the right mount system is important. A weak mount will be buffeted by the wind, bounced around by roads, surf, or the turbulence that affects a UAV camera platform. Internal stabilization is a tremendous benefit if it is done well. The Sony AS100 has a tremendous stabilization system (Sony has long been famous for their BOSS camera stabilization) matched by no other low-cost camera whether a POV/Action camera or a larger palm-corder category camera. This stabilization system makes the AS100 superior for use on a UAV platform, as it is not susceptible to jello cam, is very light weight, and allows for long battery life. Matched with a two or three-point gimbal flawless smooth video is possible for very little cost on a drone system. JVC and Garmin VIRB ELITE offer stabilization, but at a tremendous cost of resolution and color saturation. Slow-Motion/Overcrank Winner of the Slow-Motion/Overcrank Category - Sony AS100 It’s no surprise that the newer Sony AS100 wins in this category. Only Sony and GoPro offer high framerates of 120 or 240 frames per second, so only the Sony AS100 and the GoPro 3+ were tested for these features. Most every action sport benefits from slow motion, so with the ability of the Sony AS100 to sync up to five cameras with one button push, it makes for a wonderful mix of slow motion and normal motion possibilities. GoPro 3+ shoots 240fps with a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels and Sony shoots at 800x480 pixels. The Sony has been cropped to match the GoPro3+. Both cameras would benefit in their “pro modes” where GoPro offers up to 35Mbps and Sony AS100 offers 50Mbps in the semi-professional XAVC-S mode. However, since these tests are entirely “out of the box,” it was not appropriate to compare the slow motion at anything but the stock settings. Low Light Winner of the Low Light Category - Tie Between Sony AS100V and GoPro3+ This is a challenging category for most of these cameras. All of them have very small imagers and lenses that shoot at a very high resolution. Packing so many pixels onto very small surfaces means very little light can get into the individual pixel sensors and therefore, noise is usually part and parcel of for each of these POV cameras. GoPro offers the smoother color representation with slightly more noise. Sony is brighter with less noise, but a blue cast is apparent in both Sony cameras. The additional information in the 50Mbps file allows for a cleaner color correction, yet the smoother color in the GoPro 3+ means less need for color correction. Pushing the color in the GoPro3+ at 35Mbps brings up the noise pretty quickly, so if matching cameras is part of the workflow, beware that matching higher grade formats might be difficult. It’s a choice between removing blueish casting or a fair amount of noise reduction processing in the professional environment. On a personal note, I’d prefer to remove/reduce the blue cast. Watch the Low Light The table cloth in this image is purple, not black. The GoPro3+ (lower right) is smoother in its dynamic range but less accurate than the Sony AS100V (upper left). The GoPro Black at 16Mbps is quite noisy, while the Sony AS30 is clean, but also displaying a blueish cast. Extra Features Winner of the Extra Featured Category - Garmin Virb This category is easily earned by the GARMIN VIRB. With a cyclometer, heart rate monitor, GPS, ANT+™ wireless control (a wide range of remote and input possibilities), accelerometer, barometer, and a “skiing” mode that is a huge benefit to action sports enthusiasts, this camera is packed with features. In Skiiing mode, the camera knows when you’re engaged in your activity or not. It will stop recording when you’ve landed, stopped moving, etc. Unfortunately for skydivers, the camera senses aircraft movement as “sporting movement so in this mode, it will record the climb to altitude. For mountain-cyclists, this is a great feature. However, it’s also a battery-eater. Sony AS100 and GoPro 3+ also offer a plethora of features that advanced users will appreciate, such as higher framerates, controllable scenes, FOV adjustments, 24p, and other video-related features. Both Sony AS100 and ReplayXD Mini offer Timecode for multiple camera sync, logging, or reference video. Professional Codecs/Bitrates Winner of the Professional Codecs/Bitrates Category - Sony AS100V Both Sony AS100V and the GoPro 3+(Black) offer users higher bitrates and professional codecs for critical functions that will benefit the editing process during post production. Only these two cameras offer these features and although the unique features go beyond the scope of this review, I feel it’s worth of demonstrating what the differences look like. Not all video editing systems can manage these codecs. Professional video software has the necessary decoders yet even casual users can find free decoders on the GoPro and Sony websites. Apple FinalCut has issues with both the XAVC and Cineform codecs without downloading the decoder but again, every pro-level application can decode/read files generated by these cameras. Why would one want a higher bitrate, more robust codec? If color correction or compositing are to be employed to process the footage captured by these action cameras, it’s a good idea to have as much information in the file as possible. A higher bitrate provides more “bits” that the NLE can push around, and still retain quality. Watch the Codec Test Video This image is raw, no processes added. Keep in mind that when shooting high bitrates the camera is shooting flat, no internal color processing. In the upper right is a GoPro Black shooting standard bitrate. In the lower left, I’ve set the Sony AS 30 to “Neutral” so that there is no color processing. Pay attention to detail rather than color range. This is an overcast day, so there is no blue in the sky. In the next image, I’ll oversaturate and over luminate the image to better demonstrate how far the footage can be processed without falling apart. Here, an HSL filter has been applied. Note that the Sony AS100V in the upper left, and the GoPro 3+ in the lower right, best hold together. As subjective as this conversation is, most would agree that the AS100V at 50Mbps holds together better than its counterparts, although the GoPro 3+ at 35Mbps is very impressive. This is a very important consideration for professional users. To access high bitrates with the Sony AS100V action camera, a 64GB SDXC card is required. Smaller cards use the FAT format while the larger 64GB card uses EXFAT. EXFAT is necessary to access the PRO mode in the AS100V. The manual does not clearly state this, so beware. It actually took two calls to Sony technical support to realize this. Their own technical support team didn’t know the answer, probably due to the newness of the camera model. See the 4K video for more content and comparison. In Summary All in all, each of the action camera/POV camera products tested in this shootout did very, very, well and far exceeded the quality of cameras only one generation past. This shootout truly came down to a select few cameras though, and any one of the top five are excellent choices depending on requirements for form factor, image quality, post-production requirements, and high framerates. Not unexpectedly, the scoring fell very close to the price points of the cameras. Only the ReplayXD Mini was the surprise. Ultimately, it came down to a few things, all of them feature-related as opposed to picture quality related. Truly, there are so many offerings overall, it’s impossible to suggest that any one camera is significantly better than the others for overall use. My personal preferences come down to the Sony AS100V, it’s been called the “GoPro-killer” by many reviewers, but there is a reason everyone compares themselves to GoPro cameras; GoPro is a damn fine product. I don’t care for the GoPro manufacturer mounts, and mount stability is a very large factor in action sports, motor sports, and high-impact situations. The Garmin VIRB took me by surprise; the camera is the heaviest of the lot and has a terrible mount. It would be a terrific camera for most users if the mount was as stable as the camera itself. It truly feels like manufacturers pay almost no attention to the stability of the mounting system, and it’s for this reason that I didn’t use most of the manufacturer mounts (I was doing them a favor while also watching out for my own safety). Mounts aside, battery life aside, the VIRB is an exciting newcomer to the mix of cameras. Midland’s new XTC 400 really threw me for a loop, as the camera feels/looks cheap. Again, they have a horrid mount that is even more flimsy than GoPro’s mount. Yet the picture quality, price point, and ease of use make the Midland a wonderful choice for the budget-conscious sport shooter. Finally, Liquid’s EGO really is a delight. Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass to use when in the water housing, and it has a mount identical to GoPro, but it looks like a Minion. How can one just simply not LOVE a Minion? The record time makes this an all-day camera and given that it shares mount points with GoPro, a whole world of mounts are available for this fun little camera at the lowest price point in the mix (it barely made the review criteria). Final Standings: Sony AS100 74 GoPro Hero 3+ 60 ReplayXD Mini 1080 58 Sony AS30 53 Garmin VIRB 52.5 GoPro 3 Black 51 Drift Ghost S 49 JVC Adixxion 45 Midland XTC400 41 Liquid Ego 34 Polaroid XS100 34 All The Test Videos: Motocycle / Road Motocycle / Road Underwater Snorkel Underwater Snorkel II Underwater Snorkel III Wingsuit Overhead Wingsuit Exit Zipline Zipline II Bobsled Slow Motion Codec Test Low Light This Week in Photo 1st Runner Up GoPro Hero 3+ $399.99 More Information Winner Sony AS100 $299.99 More Information 2nd Runner Up Replay XD Mini $199.99 More Information New Action Camera Releases - Sony HDR-AZ1VR (Release Date: October 2014) - GoPro Hero 4 (Release Date: October 2014) About The Author Douglas Spotted Eagle (D29060) is a videographer/producer living between the world of professional production and skydiving. With more than 5000 skydives and 300 film/television productions, he loves playing with cameras and things that go fast. He is the managing producer and instructional designer at VASST, who will be releasing “ActionCam ClipFix,” an NLE plugin product designed for POV camera shooters. Thanks to Max at Mystic Mountain, John/Karl/Steve/Kenn/Ziggy at Skydive Elsinore, Pepper at Jamaica Snorkel, the Arizona Highway Patrol, Dropzone.com, Adam, Roger, and Nashie who helped make this review happen as smoothly has herding lenses can be. No animals alive or simulated were harmed in the production of this shootout/review.
  14. PRODUCT SERVICE BULLETIN 2016-01 (PSB # 2016 - 01) ISSUE DATE: 4th January 2016 SUBJECT: Stainless Steel Mini Base Ring STATUS: Ground Equipment Until Further Notice IDENTIFICATION: PSB # 2016-01 Affected Vortex Rigs: To be updated ASAP. Subject to a notification on Saturday, Jan 2nd, 2016, from our dealer in Holland that a stainless steel mini base ring presented with a problem on a Vortex container on its fourth jump (DOM October 2014), we are immediately advising all customers with a Vortex that has “DSF” stamped base rings (flip the base ring over and if its stamped DSF) to ground their equipment until we can ascertain which batch is impacted and obtain more detail from the manufacturer. We are diligently pursuing this information in as quick a time as possible. We will post serial numbers of potentially affected Vortex's as soon as we have the manufacturers’ confirmed information and steps that need to be taken to resolve this issue. Please be assured that Parachute Systems will make all efforts as quickly as possible to resolve this issue. Discussions regarding this issue are being discussed on Parachute Systems' Facebook page. This bulletin will be updated as more information on the affected containers are provided. UPDATE - Permanent Grounding For All Vortex Harness Containers With DSF Ring An update has been provided by Parachute Systems that has seen the permanent grounding of all Vortex containers with the affected DSF ring. "While the hardware manufacturers believe the compromised stainless steel ring could be an isolated incident, and expert opinion has confirmed this is very possible, in the absence of being able to test every single ring quickly and efficiently, both companies have decided that they will not risk the possibility of even one Harness Container in the field with a potentially faulty stainless steel ring. It has been decided, therefore, that every Vortex Harness Container with the stainless steel hardware as referenced in the Bulletin and stamped “DSF” BE GROUNDED PERMANENTLY" This grounding does NOT pertain to the Vortex Harness Containers that do not have the referenced stainless steel hardware per the Bulletin and stamped “DSF"> It has been further agreed to by both companies, that EVERY Vortex harness container that has the stainless steel hardware as referenced in the initial Bulletin, will be replaced with a brand new identical Harness Container as the original order. The replacement phase (VORTEX REPLACEMENT PROGRAM) will commence immediately and the closing date for the receipt of claims under this program is December 31st 2016." More information available in the Service Bulletin They have also made a recall form Available on Their Website
  15. This article follows a previous article of an AFF journal submitted by John McDarby. We hope sharing this series of articles detailing the experience of his journey may be able to provide some insight into those looking to do their AFF course, while also entertaining those who have been through the process. AFF4 – Saturday 13th JuneWell, that was quite the weekend of ups and downs. Failed AFF4 on Saturday (they don’t call it failing as its all learning each time) so repeated it on Sunday and got through, just about! Saturday was an odd one - my first proper experience of loss of altitude awareness - total loss. I'm down to one instructor now instead of two - we had a perfect exit but then entered into a spin (not a crazy one) which the instructor corrected - as it happened, I was oblivious to it - how? I don’t know, because it looked quite hectic on the video afterwards. My log book entry from the instructor states “John was a little over whelmed on this one” That is the understatement of the year, I feel. So by the time we were all steady and my instructor came around to the front, we'd lost most of the freefall time - but I didn’t cop it – the dive plan was, once we were steady, he’d come round the front and we’d kick off from there – but by the time we were stable and set, it was too late – for some reason, I seemed to have had that point as my trigger to start work, rather than watching the alti all the way. So, I checked my alti now and we were at 5500ft - deployment height - I nearly had a heart attack - normally I’d have seen 9, 8, 7 etc on the way and I’d be well aware that 6 was coming, lock in, 5500ft deploy - this was the first time I missed ALL of that - I deployed just after 5500ft and had a super canopy down - I cursed for the first minute or two after deployment as I knew I’d failed, utterly - I didn’t do one single task for the jump - it was referred to afterwards as a "brain fart" where the brain just shuts down with the overload of tasks to do - there was never any danger as such as I copped it on time and everything was fine - but my instructor said he was giving me another two seconds before he dumped me out himself if I hadn’t done so. On the ground as I gathered up my canopy and walked over to my instructor, the two of us just started laughing "Johnny, what the hell just happened there - what were you doing?" I had no idea - I just phased out – I can't fathom it - but I was told it happens to everyone at some stage, it’s just a case of when - it’s one of the reasons students have to deploy so high - it gives that margin for precisely what just happened - we deploy at 5500ft whereas experienced divers deploy at 3000ft or so - that gives them another 12 seconds of freefall - so there was never a danger on my jump - it was just a case of "Johnny, get your head in gear" There was the opportunity to go again later and rectify it but I really wanted to sit down with a beer and think about what had happened and why. I needed to analyse it and make sure it didn’t happen again. One of the things I came up with was that my previous "jump" was the tunnel - and that was two minutes at a time - perhaps my brain thought I had that amount of time rather than 45 seconds – I’m not sure - it doesn’t explain the total freeze and lack of one single task being completed, however. So I went back the next day to jump again - I couldn’t let that go until next weekend as it would have gotten bigger in my head all week. Wonderful jump - loved it and passed it... AFF4 Repeat – Sunday 14th JuneI got a different instructor whom I'd never met before - a really nice chap who trains the army jumpers - I told him what had happened and that I didn’t care in the slightest if I passed today or not - all I wanted was to jump and "get back on the horse" and be totally in the zone with my alti – that’s all I wanted. He was good with that but at the same time "let’s plan on passing the jump and doing everything we're supposed to do, right" So we dived it on the ground, all was good, climbed, perfect exit, a little longer than I would have hoped to get stable but we got there.Then he let go and came around the front, face to face and off we went with our tasks - just a couple of 90 degree turns. I have never seen me check my alti so many times! He said I was fixated with it and that I need to find the middle ground between Saturday and Sundays jumps - but boy did I know what height I was at the entire jump. I thought I’d failed it to be honest as I didn’t do a 100% right turn but he told me in the debrief that I was good to pass as once I was stable, I was rock solid and the turns were perfect - but I didn’t think so once I'd deployed - but honestly, I didn’t care - I had a super canopy down - couple of spirals again and got myself into the landing pattern real nice - came down a bit fast but not heavy - skidded onto my butt as usual - I can live with that! I met up with the usual lads back in the hanger and had about 15mins before debrief - got a cuppa and moaned about how I'd failed it yet again - but that I was just happy to have jumped after the fiasco of the day before - then I was called for debrief and he said it up front immediately that I'd passed - I nearly fainted - and then he proceeded to go through the video and explain why - and he was right I feel, he could have failed me too but it would probably have been a bit mean - either way, I do the same jump again for AFF5 but this time with full 360 degree turns – I’m fine with that. My goal for today was just to jump again and be altitude aware - I got that AND I passed, so it was a double bonus and I’m delighted with it. I was very comfortable going up in the plane - no willies at all - and I was sitting on the floor again as we were first out - it’s a different position and takes getting used to - when the door opens, you're kneeling right beside it looking down 13,000ft - you truly have to block it out. And as you're first out and the plane is making its pass, you can't hang around as the people behind you also need to get out close to the DZ. So there really is no hanging about - door opens, assume the position, exit - it all takes about 5-8 seconds - You cannot question it - just do it. Which is good too, as it doesn’t leave time for the brain to start thinking “why am I doing this?" I'm now really starting to enjoy the canopy - both rides this weekend were great fun - I think my brain said "feck it, you've failed both jumps, just enjoy the ride down" which I really did - nothing too exciting but a couple of spirals and really working out the landing with the wind directions etc. What a view when the door opens eh? You can see my red runners right beside the door - I had a quick peek down but then looked away - it doesn’t help looking down at that – he he. You can see the number of times I’m checking my altimeter - like a watch on my left hand. I was all over it this time. And you can see, once I got stable, I was very stable - it was just getting there. And then I put in a decent left turn - I had time to turn back but I just locked in on the alti and left it at that. Loved under the canopy again this time - a real mellow buzz - so much more relaxed than I have been. I actually look quite relaxed during the freefall there too. Part 5 will be published shortly, keep an eye out on the dropzone.com homepage to follow John's journey through AFF
  16. This article follows a previous article of an AFF journal submitted by John McDarby. We hope sharing this series of articles detailing the experience of his journey may be able to provide some insight into those looking to do their AFF course, while also entertaining those who have been through the process. AFF2 – Sunday 10th May Awesome - even better than awesome. That’s the best jump ever. Better than the tandem and miles ahead of AFF1. Very nervous during the climb - I was surprised how much so - much more so than AFF1. My instructor spotted this and told me to slow my breathing, deep breaths and just relax. Once we got to "2mins to door" I was actually in great form and ready to nail it. I got a super exit, good COA and then a 90 degree left turn, then a bit of forward tracking. All good and a nice, clean deployment - mellow canopy ride down and soft landing skidding onto my butt, not a bother. The wind was a different direction, southerly and our landing area is E-W so it means we're landing short ways rather than with the length of the runway. That just made me a fraction more nervous coming in - but even short ways, there was tons of room - which my instructor told me afterwards and I agreed - it won’t be a concern the next time. All in all, I am utterly delighted with that jump - it was fantastic! Damn, this is fun. AFF3 – Sunday 24th May I had almost zero nerves on the climb – very strange – if on a scale of the dentist 100% being dentist scared, on AFF2 I would have been about 35% - nice and nervous but not wetting myself – for this, I’d say I was about 5% - I was very confident that I knew my job and what was required – “now just do it”. Again, my instructor said during the climb “just do your job – nothing else” – it’s all very matter of fact – there is no pissing about when it comes to the task at hand – there is lots of laughing and messing – it’s a fun sport after all – but when you’re one on one, its do it by the numbers and do it right. When you go to the door “ok John, to the door please” you already have switched off all thoughts of “Jesus man, I’m jumping out of a plane” you just shuffle to the door and get into position and then start your drill – it’s that simple – in fact, it’s kind of surreal – you’re not really there – it’s like you’re looking at yourself from a distance or something – maybe like being a soldier where they just follow orders without question. I think, once you get on the plane, that’s it – you’re not coming back down in it – I think if you did, you’d have to leave the club – nobody would rip you to your face because you can’t really laugh at someone for NOT leaving a plane – but you’d definitely be the talk of the hanger – for five minutes anyway until they all rip on someone else – haha. So we exit, get stable and after a short time, my reserve side instructor backs off, I’m still steady, then main side pulls away. I make an unintentional left turn which I work out and bring back. Then the guys come in again for deployment. Deployment was fine, did my 4 count and looked up – total line twists – oh no – I don’t need this. There was no mistaking it. It was exactly as we’d been shown in class. I didn’t panic or freak out. That’s not really my nature in any situation. And I’ve been in some snowy mountain situations that were not pleasant. So I did exactly as I was taught to do. I commenced my post deployment checks – canopy, cells, lines, slider – all good. Check for line twists, full on twists. Damn. I’m not sinking or spinning in any dramatic fashion, I’ll come back to them. Harness checks – all good. Quick look around for traffic, all clear. Now, let’s deal with these twists. I wasn’t happy with them and I wished they hadn’t happened on just my third jump – but they had, and I needed to deal with them, and now. Reaching up with both hands, I grabbed the lines by groups and began pulling apart. A little movement but needs more. I tried again but this time along with some kicking in the opposite direction. Moving...moving...and we’re clear! I popped into the normal position and all was good above me. Releasing the toggles, I performed a couple of flares, determined we were all good, and my first “major drama” in skydiving was passed! In hindsight, it was good that this happened as it demonstrated to me that the instruction is good and to be taken as fact. That if you do what you are taught to do, you will reduce the risk and make a favourable outcome more likely. If I thought AFF2 was good, then this was miles ahead! So much so, that I went and bought the hardback logbook, goggles, helmet, altimeter and gloves! I’ve now made the commitment! Part 4 will be published shortly, keep an eye out on the dropzone.com homepage to follow John's journey through AFF
  17. Got a Christmas bonus that needs spending? Have you left it a bit late in getting your Christmas shopping done? Still need to pick up something for one of your mates or partner? Well if they happen to skydive, we've got a few suggestions for you last minute shoppers in order to make sure the tree isn't left bare this month. Skydiving Christmas Cards & Gift Tags ($4-$14)Keep the skydiving spirit through the holidays with Skydiving Christmas Cards and Gift Tags! Available individually or in multi-card packages. More Information Peeksteep Spike Parachute Packing Tool ($20)The skydiver's packing tool is now available in 5 different colors! Brighten your skydiver's holiday with a Parachute Packing Tool in their favorite color. More Information Vented Tropos Arch Goggle ($45)The Vented Kroops Arch goggle features a patent pending soft elastomer frame that provides a comfortable, cool, and dry fit on any face size or shape. More Information ChutingStar eGift Card (Any Amount)The ultimate gift for the skydiver in your life that you just can't decide on what they want or need. The perfect last-minute gift too as the ChutingStar eGift Card is delivered immediately via e-mail! More Information Viso II+ Altimeter ($283)The VISO II+ is a digital faced visual altimeter for those skydivers who prefer a digital display over a traditional analog display. VISO II+ is packed with features and is the perfect visual solution for skydivers. More Information Cookie G3 Helmet ($380)Welcome to the G3 headgear, Cookies latest release full-face headgear and a result of significant refinement of the previous full-face headgear. More Information Other potential gift ideas can include: - Skydiving DVDs - Clothing - Rigging Equipment - Sunglasses
  18. Over the course of the next few weeks we will be sharing the journal of John McDarby, who documented his experience as an AFF student. This journal should allow for new students to get an idea of what to experience during their first steps into the sport. Accelerated freefall (AFF) is a method of skydiving training. This method of skydiving training is called "accelerated" because the progression is the fastest way to experience solo freefall, normally from 10,000 to 15,000 feet "Above Ground Level" (AGL). “As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a gangster. ...” Ray Liotta Goodfellas, I always loved that movie. I guess it’s kind of like living that gangster life for 2hrs which is so utterly foreign to anything most of us would know. Skydiving is something I’d always wanted to try, ever since a young age. I remember seeing a clip of people in a wind tunnel when I was about 12 or 13 and thinking “I’ve just got to have a go at that” But the usual trials and tribulations of day to day living, seemed to perpetually push it out. During my twenties, I actually went as far as getting the sponsor forms to do a charity tandem. But that’s as far as it got. It was placed on the back burner for another twenty years. One fateful day, a surprise email from my cousins wife arrived. “Can you come up with an idea for you and him to do something different for his 40th” was the request. Race car driving? White water rafting? Paintball? All the usual silly ideas we both bounced off each other. Then, the light bulb went “ping” We booked in for us both to do a tandem – he was as yet, unaware. The day came and the colour drained from his face when informed of the plan for the next few hours. That’s actually on video somewhere and is quite comical. For me, I’d had a month or two in order to come to terms with it. As it turned out, the rain came and the gig was off – honestly, I think we were both equally relieved and disappointed. We re-booked and again, it was rained off. I decided at that point, if it was rained off a third time, then that was it for me. It was a proper sign that skydiving was not something I was destined to take part in. But not this time. This time Thunderbirds were go. The day came and we hit the DZ. We signed our lives away, we jumped and we loved it. It was a surreal experience and one that I will never forget. No matter how many jumps I ever make through the rest of my skydiving career, I will never forget that first time sitting on the edge, feet dangling. On video, my tandem master asks prior to the jump: “Will you do this again or is this a one off, tick the box?” To which I reply categorically “one time, one time only” Yes, let’s see how that worked out... I must apologise for the soundtrack. Prior to the jump, whilst at the DZ, we had to select 3 songs from a list of thousands that were to be added to our video afterwards. I was much too preoccupied to choose them so the task was given to my niece of 12 years. “This will be hilarious” was the giggling consensus. And I was informed in no uncertain terms, that I was not to see the track listing until the final product. Which was later aired on the big screen in the hanger to much laughter. I’m a living joke... But...the deal made with my niece was that if she decided to choose the songs, then she would have to do a tandem when she turns 18. Aoife, the clock is ticking! So that was it. I walked away from a wonderful tandem experience and was determined that if nothing else, I had to complete “at least” one more jump. I couldn’t go through life and not try it again Knowing me and how I think, it made sense to sign up for AFF rather than another tandem. “I’ll do the ground school and one jump, then reassess” I told myself. Multiple emails back and forward to the IPC Irish Parachute Club, had me booked into school for the second Saturday in April – about 7 weeks after the tandem. I was hyper and couldn’t wait for the day to come. As it approached, the bravado began to wear off and nobody was happier than me that we did not get to jump that day due to weather. We would have to wait for the following Saturday. This was something that stuck with me until AFF6. I would never have been upset not getting any of the first 4 AFF jumps on the day. It was a genuine fight with myself to gear up and just do it. But afterwards, it was always such a buzz. At times, I even thought “I wish I could just fast forward the jump bit and get to the après-jump buzz” and go home. Unfortunately, you have to load and exit to get that. Now, I’m really happy and excited during the hour or so prior to kicking off. But that took a few jumps to get there. During the next week, I read the SIM twice. I looked at everything there was to see on YouTube. I even had my first skydive dream! Figuring that jumping from a plane, this time unattached to someone who knew what they were doing, I thought it best to know as much as I could. I did the AFF1 dive flow, over and over again in my head during the drive to and from work. I ran over my emergency procedures again and again. In fact, I still have the laminated cards with the bullet points, sitting on the dash of the car so that I see them every single day. I practice my EPs daily – numerous times. Rinse and repeat….always repeat. I went through my notes from class – why was I the only person taking notes? I’d never paid as much attention in all my school and college years combined. I asked more questions in that classroom than everyone else put together. This stuff was important and I wanted to know it down here rather than not know it up there. And then the day came… Part 2 will be published shortly, keep an eye out on the dropzone.com homepage to follow John's journey through AFF
  19. Over the years Para Gear has used photos from all of skydiving's disciplines. We do not have a preference as far as what type of skydiving photo it is, rather we look for something that either is eye-catching or pleasing to the eye. In light of the digital age, we are also able to use photos that in one way or another may be less than perfect and enhance them, removing blemishes, flipping images, altering colors, etc. The following are preferences. However what we prefer and what we get, or choose, are not always the same. If however we came down to a choice between two photos of equal quality, we would opt for the one that met more of our preferences. We typically prefer that the photo be brighter. In the past we have used sunset photos and even a night jump photo, although by and large most of the photos are daytime. We like the subject of the image to have contrast with the background. Subjects that are wearing brighter more colorful clothing usually stand out more. We prefer to have the people in the photo wearing equipment since that is what we sell. Headgear, goggles, jumpsuits, altimeters, audible altimeters, and gloves are all good. We also prefer to see skydivers wearing head and foot protection. We do not print any BASE jumping nor any Tandem photographs. No submissions of these will be accepted. We are not interested an any photos of individual or groups of skydivers standing on the ground Our basic criteria is as follows: Vertical Format. The front and back covers of the catalog are both in a vertical format. We can use a horizontal (landscape) shot, as opposed to a vertical (portrait), and then crop it as long as the image lies within a vertical cropping. Photo Quality. The front and back cover shots will be printed as 8 ½ x 11 in 300 dpi format. Any film that can hold its quality up to this size and print dpi is fine. Digital format is preferred. In the event of a final cover choice, we prefer to be sent the original digital image or slide for getting the best quality out of the image. Back Cover Photo. The back cover photo is no different from the front except in one respect. We need to have room on the left side of the image for the thumb index. In the past we have taken images and been able to horizontally flip them thereby creating this room. Originality. Anything that is original, eye-catching, or makes someone take more notice of the catalog covers is something we look for. It could be a photo from a unique camera position or angle, a scenic skydive, shots under canopy, landings, etc. We look for photos that have not been previously published and most likely would not accept them if they have, as we want a photo that no one else has seen yet. We also do not want any photos that are chosen as the front or back covers to be used for other non Para Gear advertising for a period of one year. Para Gear offers $500.00 each for both the front and back covers we choose. Our current deadline for catalog cover submissions is January 11th 2016. Sending sample pictures by e-mail to [email protected], If you are sending sample digital pictures please note that they do not need to be in a very large format. If we like the sample picture we will then ask you to send the higher quality original. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.
  20. François (Frank) Xavier Chevrier, 81, President of FXC Corporation and Guardian Parachute, passed away suddenly on September 17, 2012. For over 60 years, Frank had been very active in the military life support equipment industry. Frank, from Montreal, Canada, joined the Canadian Air Force in his teens. He came to the U.S.A. in 1962 and began working in the aerospace industry in Southern California. In 1973, he founded the FXC Corporation in Santa Ana, California, which bears his initials. With his FXC team, he immediately addressed an upswing of industry interest in parachute safety and advancing escape system technology. FXC Corporation developed and became a world leader in Automatic Parachute Ripcord Releases for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, NASA and foreign militaries. FXC Corporation is also a designer and manufacturer of critical components for military ejection seats and aerial delivery applications. In 1976, Frank acquired the Guardian Parachute product line. Today, the Guardian Parachute Division is a qualified manufacturer of all parachutes for U.S. militaries and a designer of High‐Glide Tactical Parachute Systems for Special Forces and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Recovery Parachute Systems. Frank had been a long‐time corporate supporter in the military aircrew life support equipment community of the SAFE Association and the Parachute Industries Association. In recognition of his business leadership, industry service, and commitment in delivering life‐saving product innovations, Frank was recently informed that he was selected to receive the 2012 SAFE Association Career Achievement Award at its Annual Symposium in October 2012. The company will celebrate its 40th year of operation in 2013. Frank was a resident of San Juan Capistrano, California and is survived by his wife Irene and four children: Sylvia, Rick, Anna and Francois, Jr. He also has five grandchildren and five great‐grandchildren.
  21. World-renowned author and skydiver Dan Poynter (D-454) passed away peacefully yesterday after recently being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Renal Failure. While Dan may no longer be with us, his writings and the connections he formed within the skydiving community will ensure his legacy is kept alive for a long time to come. He will be remembered not only for his books, which span more than 35 years and include more than 120 titles, but also for his attitude which drove his success. Dan's career began with the management of a parachute company in California, after which he became more involved with the design aspect of parachutes and became a design specialist. An active and skilled skydiver, Dan began to write about his knowledge of the sport with a seemingly unrivaled knowledge, specifically with regards to equipment. In 1972 he released "The Parachute Manual—A Technical Treatise on the Parachute", which is often seen as one of the leading early publications on skydiving gear. In 1978 Dan released the original copy of "Parachuting: The Skydiver's Handbook" - a book that has been seen by many as one of the cornerstones of skydiving literature. Unlike some of Dan's other work which was focused more on the technical aspects and aimed towards riggers, The Skydiver's Handbook brought to the table a collection of extremely valuable information and advice for all skydivers, from those just beginning their journey to those who already have several thousand jumps. Dan's publications were not limited to his self-published books either, and his column in Parachutist magazine was always thoroughly enjoyed by many. Dan developed a keen interest in hang gliding as well, which lead him to write the book "Hang Gliding" which became a bestseller with over 130 000 copies sold and remains one of Dan's most recognized works. The fact that Dan was writing on topics with a smaller audience posed challenges for the writer, who realized his best option in the distribution of his work was to self-publish. Dan established 'Para Publishing', where he would spend years being the sole driving force of the company. Writing, publishing, promotion and even shipping was all handled by Dan, despite the numerous copies being sold. His determination and drive in the management of Para Publishing lead him to write a book on his experience, "The Self-Publishing Manual". It also lead to him becoming a well known motivational speaker. Dan Poynter had always been ahead of his time, from his early technical books on skydiving equipment right through to his methods of book distribution. In 1996 Dan was already selling information products from his website, something that would only become common place years later. His achievements both in publishing and in skydiving will not soon be forgotten, with both his work and countless awards testament to the impact he had on skydivers around the world.
  22. uspad2410

    John Willsey obits

    Started jumping with John Willsey in 1972 at various Arizona DZs after getting my D at Elsinore in 68. We made the first 23 way at Casa Grande in 73. He came to it me on Maui about 12 yrs ago. Never was a nicer guy. Just heard about death Oct 30, 2015. Anyone with details can e-mail me at [email protected]
  23. Over the past two years, the Squirrel R&D; Team have been working hard on high performance wingsuits for competitive events. Their focus on this segment of the sport began when the first edition of the RedBull ACES was being put together for 2014. It happened to coincide with Squirrel’s development timeline on the Colugo 2, and it provided the team with an excellent opportunity to test the final prototypes against the fastest suits on the market, being flown by the best pilots in the world. In 2014, Andy Farrington won the ACES event flying a race prototype that included a lot of features that went on to become the C2. The Squirrel team say that development is a constant. As soon as the C2 was released, efforts began on creating a higher performance race suit that could be used by team pilots in the next ACES event, and other competitive wingsuit competitions. Mainly Squirrel had their eye on ACES 2015. But with the first US Wingsuit Nationals being announced, and the 2015 WWL planned for October, there was more than one reason to redouble efforts on the C-RACE development. The first C-RACE suits that were delivered to pilots outside of Squirrel’s headquarters in WA state, USA, went to a few pilots attending the US Nationals. Only a few suits were delivered to pilots going to the event, but 4 of them made the top 10, including Noah Bahnson and Chris Geiler, who took 2nd and 3rd respectively. The C-RACE is considerably smaller in surface area than the designs that have traditionally done well in the PPC format, and the significance of this size difference is important. For a suit with so much less surface to be competing so well in the PPC spoke to its speed and efficiency. Squirrel focused on profile efficiency and stability at high speeds, instead of increasing surface to score well in the time and distance tasks. Next came the WWL wingsuit race in China. The final podium saw Noah Bahnson in first overall, and Julian Boulle in second. Both were flying the C-RACE and had fought their way through multiple heats against the Phoenix Fly team pilots at the event, who were flying a clearly excellent new race suit, and flying it well. Relative newcomer, Nathan Jones, impressively took 3rd place flying his Phoenix Fly suit in this event. Of all the wingsuit races in the world, only one involves a mile-long slalom course involving 4000 vertical feet of turns, dives, and straightaways. RedBull ACES truly encompasses every aspect of wingsuit flight, and is an incredibly dynamic and challenging environment. Furthermore, it is the only 4-cross event, allowing multiple pilots to race head-to-head, offering the best chances of a fair result (in contrast, PPC competition runs necessarily take place with jumpers flying solo, through different wind patterns and conditions and often at different times, making truly accurate comparisons impossible). Because of this, the 2015 ACES event was the most important to Squirrel. The team made efforts to support as many of the invited pilots as possible, and trained relentlessly for this type of competition – the mission was all-out speed, with precise agility. Four pilots diving through slalom gates that are suspended from helicopters and held taught by 150lb steel weights is not a situation to take lightly. It was critical to design a suit that would not only allow team pilots to overtake everything else, but also maintain agility and precision through a course full of very real hazards. In the end, the C-RACE prevailed. Only C-RACE pilots made the final, sweeping the podium. 28 out of the 40 invited pilots at the event were flying C-RACEs. Andy Farrington defended his title as top ACE, Noah Bahnson took second flying the same suit that he flew to podium finishes in Chicago and China a few weeks before, and Matt Gerdes, co-founder of Squirrel and co-designer of the C-RACE, placed third. All three podium finishers were also flying the Squirrel EPICENE main parachute, which was by far the most popular parachute at the race. Squirrel says that the C-RACE is available to qualified pilots only, and the design will evolve slowly over the course of 2016. Design features that are tested in the C-RACE will (and have already) trickle down to the other suits in their range.
  24. While some see skydiving as an activity that leads to death, others have quite the opposite experience, where they find life. There are countless stories from individuals who found that skydiving saved them from themselves, offering both a community and a purpose. Andrew Goodfellow is one of those people, and he recently submitted this piece which details his venture into the sport. I found skydiving on the run. Ten years of addiction, depression, self-loathing, countless failed relationships, a broken engagement, two suicide attempts (one near success), and the ever-present aching loss of a sibling, left me with a lot to run from. But for a long time, it felt as though I had no one and nothing to run to that could save me from myself. Almost overnight, skydiving filled a void that nothing had ever come close to filling. At its best, it’s the most pure and vital experience I’ve ever known. Totally thrilling and deeply fulfilling. And at its worst…well I had already tried that route twice…so I figured at least this way I’d part with the world on better terms. What I found in skydiving was more than I expected. Friends, community, support, inspiration, excitement, challenge, and pride. The rewards were all around. But I also came to realize how many crucial life lessons were on offer at the DZ. Skydiving is a great teacher. Its lessons are vital. Its truths are fixed and inarguable. It is indiscriminate. It is generous and unforgiving – rewarding and punishing in near equal measure. It teaches patience and perseverance. It fosters trust and forges self-reliance. It provides constant proof that learning is a perpetual process; perfection does not exist. All are fallible; none invincible. It necessitates calm under pressure. It demands you walk the fine line between confidence and recklessness. It requires you to train and focus and prepare. And then begs you to accept that which lies outside your control. Perhaps most importantly, it forces you to make hard decisions. It teaches you to recognize that crucial moment when the best course of action – the only choice that will save you – is to give up fighting, swallow your pride, and cutaway. Many of life’s toughest moments feel like a really slow opening, a line-over, a two-out, toggle fire. Blistering uncertainty meets coursing fear, raw emotion and instinct. And above all, a defiant will to survive. Looking back, I’ve had a lifetime of low-speed, high-speed, and total mals. Situations I found myself in – whether of my own doing, or simple tricks of fate – that called for precise and efficient emergency procedures I either couldn’t muster or was yet to learn. Without knowing it, I’ve spent a long time sacrificing altitude for stability in one form or another. My experiences in the sky have been exotic and intoxicating; yet not without great peace and tranquility. There is a magnetism about skydiving that consumes those it attracts. The primal, electric surges of dopamine and serotonin that flood your brain in freefall lay shame to any narcotic high I’ve ever known. This cannot be overstated. And the constant evaluations of risk and reward are, in themselves, a thrilling version of chicken that each of us plays against ourselves on every jump – at the intersection of the familiar and the unknown. One quickly realizes, as did I with much dismay, that the phrase “mind over matter” could scarcely be applied as accurately to another pursuit. All the strength and speed in the world won’t help you swim your way back into that plane once you’ve left the door. And good luck muscling your way to stability or control. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. The sky will disabuse you of many formerly held convictions in a matter of seconds, as it calls to you with its Siren’s song. Welcome to your second adolescence. There is much to learn.
  25. Image by Brian BucklandIt is common knowledge that wing-loading has profound effects on the way parachutes perform. Furthermore, it appears that even if the wing-loading is exactly the same between two otherwise identical parachutes, different size canopies fly quite differently. In other words, if you fly a 210 square foot parachute of a given design with lots of additional weight to achieve a loading of say, one pound per square foot, a 150 at the exact same wing-loading will usually have a steeper glide ratio, faster turns, and demonstrate a longer recovery arc following a high airspeed maneuver. This means that, regardless of the wing-loading, all small canopies are high performance, and should be treated accordingly. There are many explanations for this non-linear relationship, and in this article I will discuss some of the most significant governing variables. Test flight data shows us that small wings, regardless of wing-loading, will be more radical than their larger counterparts, all other design aspects being equal, however the degree to which they are different depends of the model of the canopy. Nevertheless, the trend is consistent and predictable. The most common explanation for these differences is that it is due to differences in line length. Smaller canopies do have shorter lines on the whole. Although it is true that some aspects of a parachute’s performance increases as line length reduces, this only applies to mobility about the roll, pitch and yaw axis. The effects on recovery arc tend to have the opposite response to line length. In other words, a parachute with longer lines tends to exhibit a longer recovery arc. To explain these counter-intuitive effects, we must look elsewhere for an explanation. The other aspect, previously unconsidered, is the relationship of the canopy's internal volume to its surface area. Essentially, the volume displaced by the airfoil can be thought of as a key aspect of the overall DRAG. Of course the shape of the wing itself is vitally relevant to the drag coefficient, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus on the effects of drag from the perspective of simple air displacement, like a footprint in the sky. The fatter the airfoil, the more drag it will exhibit. This means that a “fat” parachute will sit at a higher angle of attack in full flight, based on the balance of power between the airfoil's drag (D1) and that of the suspended load, the jumper (D2). Further, the drag value of a “fat” airfoil will increase markedly with airspeed, and therefore large objects will suffer more drag than “skinny” airfoils at high speed. The wing, therefore, will “want” to return to the overhead position more aggressively on fatter airfoils, as a general rule. Let's take those aerodynamic principles to the realm of parachute sizing. When a parachute design is scaled, for the most part, the entire wing is scaled simultaneously. This is the same geometric progression as a matchbox car: same three dimensional proportions, but a different size. When we want to make a parachute larger, we simply multiply each dimension by a “scale factor”, a single number that will result in the size change we desire. When we apply this mathematical model to parachute designs, we create an unwanted effect: disproportionate scale factors relating to area and volume. Simply put, the number we use to scale the parachute is based on the "square footage" of the wing, and this is of course, a square function (X²). The volume on the other hand, is governed by a cube function, (X³). This means that when we increase the height of the rib at the same rate as the span and the chord, we inadvertently make the wing too fat as we scale upwards, and too thin when we scale down. This is one of the reasons why a 120 flies very differently than a 170, even at the exact same wing-loading and body drag component. The wings only appear to be the same, but they are most decidedly not the same from a volumetric perspective. So, one might say, why don't we make the height of the airfoil on smaller wings greater, and that of larger wings smaller, proportionately? This is sometimes done and it works to a certain degree. However, if we were to search for a formula that would allow us to scale the volume at the same rate as the area, we would have to keep the rib height the same on all sizes of a design. I worked this out with a brilliant Tasmanian mathematician on flight back from Sydney many years ago. A 120 with the same rib as a 190? That doesn't quite pass the gut check, does it? Only the middle sizes would fly right, and beyond a few degrees of freedom, the system would collapse into chaos, because the fat little wings would have too much drag to be efficient and the big wings would have too little lift to land well, and would be prone to collapse in turbulence due to their flimsy nature by virtue of their low volume. A simple answer does not appear to exist, at least not yet. The heart of the problem is the fact that our industry has grown accustomed to the use of "pounds per square foot" as our way of quantifying parachute size. This leads to the erroneous belief that a given "wing-loading" will result in similar performance for all parachutes regardless of size. This is most certainly not the case, and is dangerously misleading for light weight jumpers striving for that magical one pound per square foot wing-loading. A 120 is inappropriate for someone with less than 100 jumps no matter how much they weigh. So, what do we do? Firstly, we honor the differences in parachute sizes, and downsize very carefully. We make our steps downward based on actual ability and frequency of jumping, and we look for any excuse we can to upsize. In addition to remaining conservative with regards to canopy size, we must go to greater lengths to understand the nature of performance and size. If it is true that performance trends do not appear linear with regards to parachute size, then perhaps the solution is a curved ruler. To that end, I have offered a complex sizing chart to the world that reflects the non-linear nature of parachute sizing and performance for the purpose of downsizing guidance. This easy-to-operate chart has been adopted by many national organizations and local dropzones as the official guidelines for parachute size relative to experience. Born from a brilliant but arguably conservative Swedish chart created by my good friend and colleague, Ola Jameson, who was the Head of Safety (Riksinstructor) for the SFF at the time. My somewhat less conservative version of the “sizing chart” offers suggestions for parachute size relative to weight, rather than simple wing-loading alone as the defining factor. This allows the recommended parachute size for a heavy person to be a higher wing-loading than that which is suggested for a lighter person. It is available HERE. The sizing chart does not suggest when the jumper should downsize, but rather limits the degree to which they should decrease their parachute size based on the complex aerodynamic principles effected by wing geometry. The "chart trap" is always a risk with such things, when jumpers automatically step down in size because the chart suggests that a change is reasonable. Decisions based on parachute size and design should always be made based on the actual ability of the jumper, and the other governing factors described in the 22 pages of modifying text that follow the chart. Another consideration I will now put forth to the skydiving community is a fundamental change to the way we define parachute size. Based on the discussion above, a two-dimensional analysis is insufficient to describe what a parachute will do in the sky, and "pounds per square foot" is a very limited 2-D relationship. I suggest that a better model for parachute size definition is Pounds (or kilos) per Cubic foot (or cubic meter). The metric numbers would be far easier to work, if we can get the Yanks and Brits to let go of the Imperial system; but we have to pick our battles, don't we. By using lbs/ft³, we will effectively remove the 2-D bias from the "ruler" as it were, and make the relevant differences more numerically obvious. It may sound like a radical idea at first, but so was the ram air canopy when that showed up, but look how well that worked out. Just because a change is difficult does not make it less necessary. In the interest of moving this new paradigm forward, and in the spirit of the immortal words of Mahatma Gandhi, I will be the change I wish to see in the world. Here are the volumes of my parachutes. It is my hope that other manufacturers will follow suit, in the interest of transparency of our parachutes’ designs, for the good of the skydiving public. The topic of parachute performance prediction is vast, and must continue to be discussed in scientific terms. We must do this because, as one of the few (mostly) self-governing branches of aviation, we are the only true experts in our field. We are the ones who must think outside the old box of established paradigms, and change when change is necessary. We will continue to improve our sport in every way, simply because we love our sport so much that we want to know more, and grow more. The universal passion for knowledge exhibited throughout the skydiving community leads us to a very high level of mutual respect for our fellow jumpers. This precious commodity of solidarity is rare in this world, and we must allow that connection to lead us to always reach for safer procedures built on our ever-increasing understanding of that which saves our lives. Improvement in matters relating to safety is just love of life in motion, and love must be adaptable and smart if it is to last in a complex world. Again and again, skydivers prove to me that they are highly intelligent adventurers committed to safety, and very much worthy of my respect. We will adapt, and we will thrive. About the Author: Brian Germain is a parachute designer, author, teacher, radio personality, keynote speaker with over 15,000 jumps, and has been an active skydiver for 30 years. He is the creator of the famed instructional video "No Sweat: Parachute Packing Made Easy", as well as the critically acclaimed book The Parachute and its Pilot. You can get more of Brian’s teaching at Adventure Wisdom, Big Air Sportz, Transcending Fear, and on his vast YouTube Channel