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Expert Advice

Icarus Canopies - How to tell the difference

This is often a topic of debate, how do you determine whether a canopy is Crossfire or a Crossfire 2 and how to determine the difference between a Safire and a Safire 2. There are some quick and dirty ways to tell the difference. Unfortunately, we see some crazy things in this sport so the only sure fire way to know is to submit the serial number to manufacturer so they can scour the archives.


CYPRES User Selectable Activation Altitude

All CYPRES 2 units manufactured or serviced after January of 2013 have received a nifty software upgrade. The user can now increase the activation altitude of the unit by increments of approximately 100 feet. Maximum increase of activation altitude is 9 steps so approximately 900 ft. These increments or steps are designated by an A (for altitude) and a number times 100. Thus A1 signifies 100 feet above the standard CYPRES activation altitude, A2 signifies 200 feet above and so on. A0 signifies the standard activation altitude.


CYPRES2 C2 0113 SB Update

July 2013

IMPORTANT Follow-Up to CYPRES 2 Service Bulletin C2 0113 – Additional included serial numbers and other important information.

In a follow-up to Service Bulletin C2 0113, beginning this month (July 2013), Airtec GmbH & Co. KG and SSK Industries, Inc. are accepting CYPRES units affected by the Service Bulletin for premature updates. In order to proceed in an orderly manner and to not create a backlog, which would delay the return of your CYPRES, only units which were manufactured from September 2012 to December 2012 are being accepted at this time.


GoPro HERO3 Bug Help

If you are having some issues with your new GoPro HERO3, the following steps below will have you back up and filming shortly! We have run into some of these issues and after extensive time on the phone with GoPro, have learned a few things that we would like to share before you jump to returning the camera. Even if you have done this before please try it again:


First Look: Sony Action Cam

Sony is making their entrance into the action camera market with the appropriately named "Sony Action Cam". My friends over at ChutingStar loaned me one to try out and see how it stacks up. The Sony Action Cam comes in two models, one that is WiFi enabled and one that is not. I got to play with the WiFi enabled version.

My first impression was that it's small and light with very few buttons. The bottom is curved so it will not stand up on it's own, you must put it in a case of some sort. In other words, you can't just set the camera on the table and press "record" because it will fall over. The clear plastic housing has a flat bottom with a standard camera screw mount, so it can be mounted onto any tripod or camera mount. Once inside the housing there is only one accessible button. Pressing that button turns the camera on and automatically starts recording, pressing it again will stop recording and the camera will automatically power off in 10 or 60 seconds depending on your settings. An attachment screws into the bottom of the housing which allows you to clip it into Sony's self adhesive mounts. This mounting system is a fixed angle system, so placement of the adhesive mounts is crucial. There is a tilt adapter that can be purchased separately that allows for angle adjustment though, and I think the Surfboard mount kit also comes with an angle adapter.


GoPro Troubleshooting Guide

Is your GoPro HERO2 or HERO3 giving you fits at times? We've found that the majority of units work excellent right out of the box, but for some there are a few updates that are needed and/or a glitch that needs to be worked through. The good news is that once that's sorted out, we hear nothing but raves about the GoPro cameras!

So here are a few random issues below along with fixes to get your HERO3 camera working at it's best capacity.


Gear Buying Tips

(Published and reprinted from the June 2006 issue of Skydiving Magazine. Also published in Australian Skydiver Magazine.)

I spend as much time talking to new skydivers about how and where to buy gear as I do actually rigging, instructing and skydiving. There is a good amount of basic gear information that applies to all new skydivers. If the new skydiver had this basic knowledge first, it would make finding the right gear easier, faster and a safer transaction for all parties involved. So what does the new skydiver looking for gear need to know?


Gear Price Comparison Info

I've put together the following gear price comparison information for skydivers in the market for new or used gear. This is a brief but direct overview on some of the more popular skydiving gear that we see come through ChutingStar. The following info will give you a brief education on how to value used gear against new gear, and then you can determine which is the best choice for you.


Best Fit/Value for 1st Rig

(Published in the September 2009 edition of Blue Skies Magazine.)

You’ve talked to your local instructors, scoured, clicked through the gear shop web sites and even ventured into the risky E-Bay waters. Yet that first rig continues to elude you. Although you’d love to go all new, the cash isn’t there. So finding something used or continuing to rent seems to be your only remaining options.


Used Gear Inspections/Escrow

(Published in the June 2006 issue of Skydiving Magazine.)

If the used skydiving gear you are buying isn't local or hasn't been serviced by your local rigger recently, a "pre-buy" inspection should be a condition of the final sale. Having an established rigger, rigging loft or drop zone owner act as the middle-man in all used gear purchases not only protects the buyer, but also the seller.


Online Used Gear

Every month or so our loft has a new jumper come through who wants to find the “best deal” on a rig. They usually are interested in finding used equipment either online or through a classified ad.

This is fine, but start locally to reduce the hassle. Most DZ’s and gear shops have used gear available from jumpers who skydive right there and local riggers know a lot about the condition and history of the rig, AAD and its parachutes. And gear bought through a gear shop has usually been inspected by a rigger.


Fun Jumps!

Check out ChutingStar Wingsuit Athlete Oliver "Olee" Finkelde showing off what can be done in an wingsuit!

Wingsuit Video - Oliver Finkelde

The Tent!

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Laura and the Tent