PD OptimumThis is the last of my write ups for your parachute system, and is focused on that parachute most of us will never pack for ourselves, our reserve canopy.

Expect to spend between $1,400 to $1,750 for a new reserve… more on used prices below. Your reserve is fundamentally different from your main canopy. Regardless of what you fly for your main, your reserve is a seven cell ram air canopy. It’s designed to open quickly and has more docile flight characteristics than your main canopy. This canopy can only be packed by an FAA Senior or Master rigger. After 180 days, if it has not been deployed, your reserve will need to be repacked by a rigger, giving him or her a chance to verify its airworthiness.

Continue reading “Reserve Canopy”

Vigil CuatroAADs. Who needs ’em? Well, everyone who skydives, that’s who. If you fail to open your main parachute for any reason, your AAD will open your reserve at a predetermined altitude. The purpose of this article is not to explain how they work, I’ll cover that later. For now, a I’ll offer a few opinions on buying an AAD, and then share some other excellent resources on the Web from which you can learn so much more.

Your AAD may be difficult to purchase used. They’re typically around $1,200 new, and they basically depreciate over the life of the unit. A Vigil that has an expected lifespan of 20 years, and is 5 years old? That should cost about 75% of the cost of a new Vigil. You can hedge one way or the other based on whether the AAD needs service soon, but other than that, it’s pretty basic and straight forward. Why are they hard to find used? Because a used one will always be less than $1,200… and if you’re going to the expense of putting a new rig together, this is one place where, if you CAN find a used unit, you can save some money.

Continue reading “Buying an AAD”

This article is for someone who is ready to buy their first main canopy. Here’s a picture of me with my first wing, a Sabre2 210. Thanks to Dave Bryce at Jumptown for the picture.

Make sure you scroll all the way to the end of this article for additional resources. I’m including another excellent video from Tony Bourke on selecting your first canopy. He gets much deeper into canopy selection, including six recommendations and a few runners up. If you are in the market for your first canopy, please watch his video.

Continue reading “Main Canopy”

Last updated 6/12/2024

You’re ready to buy a parachute system. There’s a certain order in which this should be considered, and the first thing to think about is what size canopy you want in your container. Beyond that, there’s still plenty to think about. Freefly friendly, safety, maintenance, age of the components, how well it’s been maintained, where the system was jumped, where the manufacturer is located (this can make it easier to get parts, for example), and more.

Beyond what we cover here, there are additional links at the bottom of the page to learn more. Check ’em out.

For this page, I’m going to start with the assumption that you know what size wing you’re going to fly, and we’ll go from there. This is mission critical… the smaller your canopy, the faster it flies, and the smaller your lines are. These are both critical, and can make things more challenging for lighter jumpers looking to buy their first system. Someone who weighs 150 pounds with all their gear on might be trying to get a wing loading of 1.0, which will put them on a 150 square foot canopy. On the one hand, 1.0 is on the lighter side for wing load, but any canopy sized 150 square feet or smaller is considered a high performance canopy. Continue reading “Containers”