Rant & Rave Blog

Reviews, News & Expert Advice

  1. Canopy Patching Simplified

    (Originally published in 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.

    Fast-forward to now and I'm very comfortable, efficient and fairly fast at patching a damaged canopy. Yet I see the same pain and frustration in other rigging students or riggers who don't patch canopies very often. So when Red Payne of Flight Concepts called me about a set of canopy patching tools he had helped develop, I jumped all over purchasing a set.

    EZ-Patch Template
    EZ-Patch Template
    Continue reading
  2. UPT Stock Container Sale

    UPT has several stock Vector sport rigs available, some at very deep discounts. These will not last long, so here are the details. The chart below has the basic details on what is available as of November 20, 2020. Click to enlarge. The images below (click each to enlarge) have more details on each container. The pricing noted on the detail sheets below have the retail pricing, but with the sale, these prices are discounted anywhere from 25-50% off the base price, depending on the container. Contact ChutingStar to confirm availability, get final discounted pricing and/or to place an order. Continue reading
  3. Skydiving's Holiday Gear Sales!

    Discounts usually are a rare thing in skydiving, but several manufacturers have sale offers for the holidays! Take advantage of these while they last if you're in the market for a helmet, container, canopy or full rig! Here's the rundown on current deals:
    • Firebird Stimulus Package Deals on the EVO container with extras or the EVO + Rush Reserve + AAD
    • 25% off all custom Bev Suits Skydiving Jumpsuits
    • UPT Stock Container Sale
    • PD Demo, Clearance and Resale Canopy Sale
    • 40% off the base price of any In-Stock Wings Container.
    • KISS Full Face Helmet now $299!
    • New GoPro cameras! Check out the latest GoPro cameras & add a HERO9 or HERO9 Bundle to your cart for a "ChutingStar Love" discount.
    Continue reading
  4. Smoke Grenade Options for Skydivers

    ChutingStar has long carried and used the white Sport Smoke Skydiver Smoke Grenade, which is a big part of demonstration jumps. Skydivers use one of our smoke mounts to attach the smoke to their shoe or ankle, and the smoke gives a definite "wow factor" for people on the ground whether it's used in freefall or under canopy. For several years, we've had requests for colored smoke but we could only find specialized manufacturers with complicated ignition systems and/or the smoke canisters needed larger brackets. But we were recently turned on to a UK smoke grenade company, Enola Gaye, that now distributes in the United States. Skydivers, drop zones and demo teams had started trying two different "wire pull" smoke grenades from the company with great success. The EG18 and EG18X smoke grenades not only come in several colors, but have a lower price than the Sport Smoke and can be used with all of our existing skydiver smoke grenade brackets. And then this year they added two larger "pro" smoke options in the CM75 The Cloud Maker and the SD75 The Fastest Cloud Maker giving skydivers the most options for smoke grenades every! Here's a comparison of the 5 different smoke grenades (4 in multiple colors) we carry for skydiving: Continue reading
  5. GoPro HERO9 Mounting Options

    The GoPro HERO9 is now out, and it's slightly bigger all the way around. So now it's a race to figure out how to mount it on your skydiving helmet! First-off the HERO9 can mount to any mount that attaches to the bottom GoPro attachment spindles. This means the Vmag system can be used right now for your HERO9 on a Cookie G4, G3, KISS or Skyhelmet Funjin. There also is a HERO9 top mount option already available from Zkulls for TFX, G3 and G4 with a cutaway option, and Cookie just released it's HERO9 Roller. We're talking with the other helmet mount manufacturers that use a base cradle or cage, to see when they'll have HERO9 mounts. Continue reading
  6. Latest Cookie G4 Helmet News!

    (Latest update October 2020, with new youth sizing info!) Cookie Helmets created quite the buzz in the skydiving world when they unveiled the G4 Full Face Skydiving Helmet on Feb. 4 at the 2019 Parachute Industry Association Symposium. The G4 is the next step up in the full face helmet progression that started with the GAS back in 2007 as a solid, easy-to-use carbon fiber full face helmet with a visor that didn't flip-up. That soon progressed to Cookie's first flip-up visor full face helmet with the G2 in 2009, also made of carbon fiber. But it really was the G3 in 2011 that radically changed the skydiving helmet scene as Cookie was able to produce the helmet on a larger scale, in more colors and with a consistent production standard due to a switch to the ABS material shell. The G3 has become the worldwide standard for not only experienced skydivers, but also new skydivers and wind tunnel flyers due the reliability of the opening mechanism, the quality of the construction and the availability of the helmets and parts all over the skydiving world. Cookie hasn't rested on that success, and instead continued testing and developing new ideas for the next full face helmet, which has now been showcased with the G4. Continue reading
  7. Boogie with ChutingStar New Year's 2021!

    It's time to boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie! And the ChutingStar Crew will be out there with you at drop zones all over the US, providing all the support and goods you could ask for. The one and only Laura Bales is packing up the van with demos from Larsen & Brusgaard (altimeters), Cookie (G4 helmets), Alti-2 (altimeter mounts), Square1 (KISS helmets), and many more. Laura is available for container, canopy and jumpsuit orders as she'll be able to measure you up and walk you through the ordering process for any of your custom gear needs, including the helmet sizing kit for the Tonfly TFX Full Face Helmet. Continue reading
  8. New X Housing Handcam System

    The handcam system used by many tandem instructors is continually changing and updating due to GoPro cameras changing size and features every year. For several years, from the HERO3 to the Sessions to the HERO7, the Pivot Pad handcam system by Chris Warnock of Funjump Rigging was the goto setup. But with the release of the HERO8 and then HERO9, Funjump took a break from the high cost of engineering new housings due to the lack of quality parts available for its base glove when the HERO8 was released last year. In the meantime, X-Shut was offering a Pivot Pad Adapter that allowed those who loved the Pivot Pad Housings the ability to connect it to its X-Shut Handcam Glove, which has the added feature of a cutaway system. Now with the Pivot Pad Glove Base completely discontinued and unavailable, except in the used market, Funjump is focusing on utilizing that X-Shut Pivot Pad Adapter for a new series of housings...the X Housings. These housings are now specifically made to be assembled and used with the X-Shut Handcam Glove, X-Shut Pivot Pad X Housing Adapter and X-Shut Flat-Mount Insert. For now, we have 3 different X Housings available: Continue reading
  9. 2020 Digital Altimeter Features Comparison

    Digital skydiving altimeters have continued to be improved upon the past few years, but the recent release of the DigiAlti plus the Dekunu One SmartAlti and AON2 X2 has really shaken up the offerings for skydivers. One by Dekunu is the first sport skydiving specific digital altimeter featuring GPS with 3D location tracking. After jump feedback includes jump-path mapping, G-force, swoop and landing zone analysis, which is all synced to the cloud to view, analyze and share. The AON2 X2 has similar GPS features. The DigiAlti by Freefall Data Systems features a unique LED LightBar in addition to an LCD Digital display. The LightBar allows you to customize up to 33 different light alerts and affects. So far, VISO II+ has stood strong and continues to be the best selling digital altimeter, but that doesn't mean it's the best choice specifically for you. Read on for a comparison of features to make that choice for yourself. Skydivers in the U.S. essentially have 7 digital altimeters to choose from. So what are the features of each that would make you choose one over the other? Continue reading
  10. Gear Financing & Payment Options

    We know...most skydiving equipment is crazy expensive. It can be a huge deterrent in staying in the sport past that first jump and/or student training. While I was able to work, save and spend my cash through student training and the basics of a helmet, altimeter and jumpsuit back in 1995...it was only due to having secured a credit card that I was able to purchase my first complete skydiving rig a year later (an Infinity with CYPRES, Tempo Reserve and Triathlon Main through Larry Chernis at Skydive Kapowsin). It took me a few years to finally pay that off...but at least I was able to skydive with my own rig during that time! Not everyone who wants to be a skydiver and have their own gear has immediately available cash. But ChutingStar has put a couple of options in place to help skydivers get into gear they can jump now (and work through the payments as they work and skydive). Continue reading

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