If you've got a good answer to that, let me know. Mine currently is a little bit weird, being: "life? not very much. less likelihood of major injuries: quite a bit"

The motives for my question are actually quite simple: I'm a few kilos over the weight range of my current reserve parachute. And I haven't flown in a shocking six weeks, thus I'm a bit out of form (and I'm not a hot pilot anyway...) now, when the spring flying season is just starting and I'm going to fly in the Canungra Cup in a month. plus I've got this horrible tendency to overanalyse things and general cowardice. Very annoying...

The reason for me saying life's not worth much is that when I'm properly dead, I'm dead and good riddance. So I don't worry about that too much. (But being the depressed idiot I am, I'm currently making sure that my exwife and my parents have the paperwork to claim my various insurance/pension cash if and when...)

But I can't stand the notion of getting hurt. Becoming a vegetable, invalidity, even just breaking some bones are horrible prespectives and in case of unrepairable damage I'd very much rather be dead. I don't wish death to come straight away, though, therefore I do fly with a reserve (when I fly...).

These reserve parachutes are by no means guaranteed to work: you can make mistakes when throwing them, you can be too low to get them to work, or you can be plain unlucky and tangle up all the crap so that it doesn't brake your fall at all. And finally, even if everything else works out, you can't steer these fellows and might very well break something when you tumble out of the gum tree you've smacked into.

So the weight range problem with the reserve annoys me. The currently used round reserves give you a fall of 5-6m/s at the absolute best, with your wing completely gone or bunched up. Being a few kilos over the max means that if I had to use my reserve, I'd likely make a deeper crater on impact. Not very promising.

There are a few options: a larger reserve or a steerable one. (Or ignoring the worry, but that's not something I can do properly.) I'm thinking about going for a Rogallo-type reserve (Beamer, Papillon, Sky Drive, E-Vest PG) but these things are quite expensive: The Papillon costs E850, the Beamer E650. The Papillon (made in Austria) has been around longest and is DHV-certified, the Beamer is Swiss and has a Swiss and an AFNOR certification and the other two are not very interesting. In comparison, normal unsteerable round reserves cost about E400-500 here. Also the Rogallos are a bit bulkier and you should use quick-out carabiners.

Am I willing to pay that much cash for something that I might never need? Tricky question.

To complicate matters, there's currently one 3y old Papillon for sale on ebay for a nice price, but that one's got the short bridle and would have to go in a front container...which I dislike. Bah. Decisions.

[ published on Tue 12.09.2006 16:27 | filed in interests/flying | ]
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