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Racer DVD Packing Manual

Jumpshack's Racer container elicits many comments from riggers due to how different it is from most other rigs on the market. At the very least, a Racer container takes a little more thought and preparation; and that is where a new DVD packing manual released by Jump Shack steps in to save the day.

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Updated Mirage Packing Tips

At the 2007 PIA Symposium in Reno, I gave a seminar on packing/closing tips for the Mirage reserve container. It had been two years since the last seminar I gave on the subject and updated some of my tips and techniques.

I've added a link at the end of this summary of the presentation so the entire text and photo presentation of the seminar can be downloaded for reference. Keep in mind these tips and techniques are only meant to supplement the Mirage owner's manual. I have found these techniques to lead to a cleaner, consistently better-looking Mirage reserve container.

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Online Resources for Riggers

Over the past few months I've surfed across a few great rigging resource sites that I think need a little more publicity due to their value to the rigging community. Make sure you take some time to browse the following three sites.

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Skyhook Javelin Odyssey Review

The first Skyhook-equipped Sun Path Javelin Odyssey was dropped off at Chuting Star Rigging Loft in April for a full assembly. I had seen the new Javelin Odyssey updates at the Parachute Industry Association 2007 Symposium in Reno, but this was the first time I was able to really see how the updates work with a fully-assembled and packed rig.

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Toggle Malfunction Prevention

Below is a series of photos showing how a young jumper at Skydive The Farm ended up with a main canopy toggle malfunction.

The jumper did try to stow the toggles per the manufacturer's manual (United Parachute Technologies TruLock Toggles). But the stowage instructions aren't as detailed for canopies with longer excess brake lines. The jumper also may not have been looking at the toggles when she released them or may not have realized the brake line was looped over the toggle during deployment.

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Canopy Patching Simplified

(Published in the November 2007 issue of Skydiving Magazine.)

Learning how to patch torn canopies was a trial and error process for me when I first got into parachute rigging. I had to sew a so-called "basic patch" in rigging school on a damaged piece of fabric, but that in no way prepared me for working on real damaged parachutes when I bought my first sewing machine.

I would probably be embarrassed if I ever came across my first 20-30 patches. Opening a drop zone loft meant I got enough practice and work that I just eventually became proficient at patching damaged canopies. But it took me about a year, 30-plus patches, and several visits to other riggers for lessons, tips and tricks to get to that point.

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Russian Toggle System Secure

I recently had a swooper in Michigan come to me trying to find a "better set of main riser toggles" that would have a reduced chance of coming unstowed during canopy deployment. His complaint with all the main riser toggles in the U.S. is that they are susceptible to coming unstowed with a slider grommet hit on opening or during stowage of the slider below the toggles.

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Is Your Rig Freefly Friendly?

So you’ve decided to delve in the realm of freeflying, but you bought a used rig that’s just a tad big on you and that one main riser cover is always opening on you during exit. Is that a big deal? Probably. Can it be fixed? Maybe. Will I have to buy a whole new setup? Not likely.

Lets take a look at a couple of things to consider before subjecting your body to the possibility of a premature opening at 150 mph.

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Longer Battery Life for Vigil

Skydivers who own an original Vigil automatic opener have been given an extra 6 years on the mandatory battery change per the manufacturer.

The owner's manual for the original Vigil states a lifespan of 4 years or 700 jumps for the Vigil. But an e-mail to Vigil dealers from Advanced Aerospace Designs last week stated that field experience has shown the lifespan can be extended to "1500 jumps or 10 years as long as the message 'Bat Low' or 'Bat Rpl' doesn't appear on the screen."

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Harness/Container Washing Tips

Washing your harness/container every few years can keep your investment looking brand new. You'll be surprised how clean and bright a used container can get with a thorough washing.

Below are tips and a step-by-step "how to" guide for washing your harness/container. These tips have been taken from several manufacturers, riggers and my own experience of washing a few hundred rigs over the past 10 years.

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Internal Audible Mounting in Gath

An Instructor at Skydive The Farm recently installed the Gath Altimeter Bracket to his Retractable Visor Gath, and found the process a bit tedious. He also discovered the bracket is not a "practical" mount for someone who wants to move an audible frequently from a couple of different helmets as it involves unscrewing part of the mount for removing the audible.

So he tried installing the audible on the inside of the helmet by removing part of the Gath padding and securing the audible with Velcro.

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PIA 2009 Gear Showcase

The Parachute Industry Association Symposium 2009 has wrapped up in Reno, Nevada, and it did not disappoint those looking for the latest, greatest skydiving products, gadgets and information.

Here is a rundown of the new products and improvements you'll soon see for sale in gear shops.

Performance Designs announced it's Optimum Reserve canopies are being manufactured in the larger sizes. This low-bulk reserve canopy was only previously available in sizes 99, 106, 113, 126 and 143. It is now being manufactured in sizes 160, 176, 193, 218, 235 and 253.

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Hidden Sharp Container Edges

(Published in the July 2009 issue of Blue Skies Magazine.)

Hidden behind flaps, under grommets and inside your container are tiny pieces of metal that can end your Sky God status in a hurry. In an ideal world, all the metal in skydiving is polished, shiny and smooth as silk. But manufacturing issues, abnormal wear and just plain sharp edges can lead to frayed and broken loops in your main and reserve container. The inspection is easy; a little bit of time and some basic knowledge on what to look for will go a long way in keeping your container closed when you need it to be. You can also save yourself from having to constantly replace your loops.

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Rigging for the Naked Skydive

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

The range of naked skydiving experience is far and wide. For some, their only skydive ever was naked courtesy of a tandem jump sans clothes, perhaps with Fast Eddie of Huntsville, Ala.

Fast Eddie Grantland has taken 111 naked tandem passengers since 1991. Number 111 was two weeks ago.

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Fun Jumps!

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

Wingsuit Video - Oliver Finkelde

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