- Written by Mike Gruwell
(Published in Blues Skies Magazine)
If the "small things" in life grab you, then you'll be taken by the Seven. This French-made rig is the brainchild of Basik Air Concept's Jérôme Bunker.
Basik's Seven container has a minefield of surprises for skydivers and riggers alike. I assembled, inspected and packed my first Seven container last month, and was impressed by the attention to detail and the several of the design features.
As a rigger, my first “Aha!” was with the full protection pocket for the AAD cutter at the base of the reserve container. In essence this keeps the entire cutter enclosed, allowing just the hole open to feed the closing loop through. It’s a clear concept change from the usual elastic keeper in most rigs to hold the base of the cutter in place, but leaving the rest of the cutter and some of the cable exposed as a possible snag point for reserve lines.
The best part for riggers is the low number of flaps to pin and close. There are only two flaps to close on this rig, with the 2nd one being the top reserve flap that is pinned with the reserve pin. Closing the reserve container on a Seven involves only four paragraphs of instruction.
The “Cliff Notes” version of the closing process includes placing the freebag into the reserve container, stowing the bridle on top of the freebag, compressing the pilot chute and fabric, closing the bottom flap and pinning the top flap. That’s it (except for the usual explicit details and tips to follow).
The reserve freebag is made of a thick cordura, lined inside with F-111 canopy fabric. This cordura freebag makes up a good portion of the reserve container as it is not completely covered by the side flaps, but is exposed for a faster deployment, says Bunker. The thin side flaps cradle only the very side of the freebag and are secured at the top of the freebag with a bite of bridle. This leaves just the bottom and top flaps to cover the pilot chute, bridle and fabric.
The minimalist nature of the reserve container exceeds any I have ever seen. And when I pulled the reserve pin for a launch on the loft floor, the bridle reached full extension as the pilot chute bounded over one of the sewing machines. Impressive.
For the skydiver, the most generous and immediately realized feature is the double-thick spacer foam padding. Manufacturers in the U.S. have added a spacer foam option over the past few years, but the spacer foam in the Seven is “over-the-top” thick, especially in the leg pads.
Similar to Vector and Racer containers, the Seven has magnetic main riser covers. To take it a step further, Basik has added magnets to its main pilot chute freefly handle and BOC pouch, which gives the system a secure lock. The main deployment bag also has a magnetic line stow pouch. Bunker says a completely magnetic main deployment bag for the locking stow section is now being produced for the latest Seven containers.
The main riser toggles are unique in that a straight pin and snap are utilized. This configuration reduces the chance of a brake fire as the pin at the top of the toggle and snap under the guide ring can only dislodge when pulled back or down.
Basik has incorporated its own ends to the cutaway housings. The tubular metal ends protect the thru-loop by keeping the cutaway cable and loop enclosed. The diameter of the hole through the metal end is also smaller than most cutaway housings ends, which Bunker says prevents the cable from being “sucked through” the housing end or the riser.
Lastly, in an effort to solve the slipping leg strap issue with stainless steel hardware, Basik has incorporated leg strap adapters with a locking spring. The stainless steel hardware is manufactured by Wichard. It has a strong spring that rests against the center of the leg strap webbing as it comes through the adapter. While it takes a little more effort to tighten the leg straps, it seems to eliminate the slippage issue.
Overall I was very impressed with these key features of the Seven rig as well as the quality of the workmanship. Bunker said this rig was first manufactured in 2007, so it is still an infant in this world of harness/containers. This Seven is approved under TSO C-23d in addition to having the French certification.
Basik has yet to really introduce the Seven into the U.S., but has plans to do so in 2010. If the company keeps up with the innovative quality of the Seven, it should be well received by riggers and skydivers alike. Kudos.