The guys at Squirrel are nothing if not prolific, as can be seen in the plethora of new products spilling into the market from wherever it is they store their nuts. Wingsuit are the main product line, but they also offer a couple of canopies, a wingsuit BASE specific container. The latest addition to the family is the Snatch PC, a pilot chute. This time around they’ve released the BASE specific version (available for ordering on their website), with plans to come out with versions for standard and specialized skydiving applications (ranging from freefly to CRW) at a later date.
From the Squirrel website:
In a way, traditional pilot chute designs are very simple. Take two circles of cloth, one mesh and one ZP/F111, and then sew them together. Add some load tapes, or not, and ship it out. Pilot chutes today vary widely in weight, design, and construction, and many seem to be carelessly made if you start to think very carefully about the importance of weight and symmetry – or maybe the manufacturers just accept the fact that they “work”, as is. And it’s true, current PCs “work” just fine. That’s what one experienced jumper told me when I showed him my Snatch – he shrugged, sneered, and said that his old thing worked just fine. So maybe it’s nothing special, but we think it’s better.
We started out with a traditional PC design two years ago. It worked just fine. Will Kitto then presented us with the idea for the Snatch: a Toroidal Arc PDA, designed in 3D. Even from the first moment we snapped it open by hand, you could see the difference. So we decided to focus on this new design instead, and see what it was all about.
A year of testing, with wingsuits, slider-off low cliffs, in wind-tunnels, etc, and we’re convinced that this is at least a small step forward. Personally, for wingsuit use, I like the light handle and the increased stability – you can see it in rear facing video quite clearly. Will likes it for his low-cliff jumping, he says the larger sizes “set” better and pull more steadily.
They are complex to build. It’s not easy to sew the six or eight gores together because they aren’t just “slices” of pie. Each panel has a subtle curve on all edges, to enable the 3D shaping. It is a very time-consuming process and it takes a high level of sewing ability. Fortunately, we have the manpower and the skill in the Squirrel workshop. Anyone who has seen our wingsuits can attest to the precision inherent in them, and our PCs are no different.
Finally, since we do believe that this is a worthy improvement and we would love feedback from all interested jumpers regardless of where they like to get their gear from, we are open sourcing the design. We’ll send the 2D patterns for the entire size range to whoever wants it.
UPT has released a new service bulletin regarding “Reserve Staging Loop” with a support washer.
If you are not a rigger, this probably sounds like a bit of latin to you – but your rigger will know exactly what to do.
Compliance status is mandatory – at next scheduled inspection/repack cycle.
You can view or download the full bulletin from the UPT website here.
Our buddies across the street (well, sort of… a couple of turns down the road) at Sky Systems USA recently came out with a new way for all you full-face wearing peeps to better secure the helmet to your noggin. Back in the day when the author of this post did some rockin 4-way with team Baby Blue, one of the most-promising-teams-that-never-went-anywhere, properly securing that damn Velcro strap was a pain. So this new snap system is a good thing. Will Baby Blue ever pick up and do more 4-way? Probably not, but aahhhh, the memories :)
Skydivers as a bunch, tend to have strong opinions – especially when it comes to gear. No wonder really, as gear is a pretty important component to the whole skydiving experience. Most jumpers are also pretty happy to share their feelings and opinion when asked – and sometimes even when not asked.
Because it’s barely summer yet, we know of a lot of skydivers suffering from PUOPS (Pent Up Opinion Syndrome).
Symptoms may include (but not limited to):
✈ telling your whuffo friends all about why you will never jump neon colored canopies
✈ telling your whuffo friends exactly why you should jump neon colored canopies
✈ calling your jumping friends to discuss the best digital altimeter
✈ finding yourself logging on to dropzone.com asking “should I buy a Pilot or a Spectre?”
And this is just to name a few. ChutingStar gear specialists are offering an experimental treatment meant to treat PUOP through their website. Simply click your way over there, log in (or create an account if you haven’t already), select the desired product, summon your gear knowledge and proceed leave a helpful review for the masses. Please keep in mind that this treatment IS experimental. Side effects may include dizzying happiness, strong urge to go jump or desire to buy new gear. Enter at your own risk, and then make sure to share the link to your review so that all jumpers may enjoy. Happy reviewing!
PD put this video together to celebrate Safety Day 2011 and kids over there were kind enough to share. After watching the video, you should be able to give your main canopy a good once-over to make sure everything is ready to go for the season.
If anything looks off, ask your rigger or call up the manufacturer with any questions you might have. Or, just do like most skydiver and go “meh, yeah, it’s fine, I’d jump that, I’ve seen worse”. Oh and if you are going to be a bonehead and jump sketchy gear, by all means make sure to have your Rockin Memorial all planned out and good to go.
And yes, the methods shown here can be used on non-PD canopies as well. Anything made out of nylon really, including your tent and sleeping bag – and seriously, you’ll want to inspect those things before hitting up the next boogie, just in case any contamination from last year escaped cleanup at the end of the season.
Enjoy watching, and boy, that PD kid sure can move fast!