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Selecting the right canopy

Thanks for the great response to the posts I did about safety. We've gotten a lot of people talking and that's good. Many have asked me my thoughts on selecting the right canopy. The best answer I have is to pick a canopy you can land easily and gently under any and all conditions. I jump a PD Katana 107 for several reasons.

  1. It opens soft every time and I refuse to jump anything that might open fast. When I had a Stiletto I put Dacron lines on it to guarantee a slow opening. You can't jump a lot and have hard openings.
  2. I can land it gently anytime, anywhere under any conditions.

I weigh 165 and I can easily land it flying straight in into the wind, cross wind or down wind. I can land it gently at 5000' or sea level. I can dodge dust devils or other canopies and still land easily. I can land off the dz and sink it into a tight area if I have to. 

I see a lot of skydivers picking the canopy that is only perfect for them in the perfect situation. That perfect situation doesn't happen often enough. Pick the canopy that "has your back" no matter what the situation is. 

One other thing, never forget how to do a good PLF. Skydivers often break a leg when they try to stand up when they are obviously descending too fast. If at one or two meters off the ground you realize you are going to land harder than you'd like get your feet and knees together and get ready to roll. A good PLF can save most broken legs and sprained ankles.

Followup post:
Many skydivers feel that for some reason they need to have the smallest parachute they can get away with, only to find out they can't get away with it. The biggest part of your decision on which canopy to use for your every day skydiving are the things I mentioned. For specific unique types of jumping that require special equipment like canopy piloting competition or demos jumps you will need to take other things into consideration. Based on the things I mentioned earlier both a Katana 107 and a Stiletto 120 will land me gently under any conditions. The reasons I chose the Katana 107 over the Stiletto 120 is that I can jump in somewhat higher winds and still get penetration. I can also get down quicker and hopefully land first to establish the landing direction. Other people would rather hand under canopy longer and land last rather than first.



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