Learning to fly with the crew dogs can be
strenuous work. I began shooting CReW for fun in 1984. In the
beginning I wouldn't let anyone touch my parachute. As I slowly committed
myself to the activities in my area I developed an interest in making my
canopy do the things I had seen others canopy workers do. One of the first
things I discovered was that CReW formations change their flight characteristics
as they build. I found myself floating or overtaking the formations as
they were building. At the time I was working with photographer Mike Allen.
He knew I was interested in overcoming some of the basic flight mode problems.
Mike, like myself, had been wearing himself out trying to keep up with
the action. After making some jury rig modifications to my front risers
and consulting a qualified rigger the first leg assisted front riser trim
was born. This modification, with the experience it provided, has resulted
in the ability to change the glide slope and the forward speed of the canopy
at the same time. Remember, a canopy unencumbered, with no outside disturbances
to the airflow around it, will outperform any similar canopy in a formation.
A stack will sink more and more as the airflow is interrupted by bodies.
In addition the parachutes at the top of the stack will out perform the
bottom of the formation and the glide angle will grow stepper. A photographer's
canopy flown at the same glide slop will
(Caution the following is an experimental
design. Death or injury can result.)
No system is completely fool proof. Special attention must be given to your packing. If you are familiar with CReW in the late 80's, you'll remember we all use to fly 2 foot long front riser cross connectors. These were soon abandoned after discovering in some instances they could become lodged under the reserve, producing a nasty malfunction. The possibility for a hang-up exists now, except the cross connector is approximately 9 feet long and plays out of it's pocket before creating havoc. To prevent any chance of mishap it is suggested you put an extra 6 inches (of cross connector) into the top of the main container when packing. At this time you should also check the stowage envelope, making sure the Velcro securely holds the remainder of your cross connector webbing.
The proper deployment of this system will affect its performance and reliability. When exiting for a CReW load you will most likely be first out. The proper deployment for your front riser assist system is a flat stable exit. Good body position and an on-heading opening, should already be your first priorities. (Build and use this at your own risk. Mishaps and malfunctions with you main parachute and container can result.)
A good exercise to try: Find a partner wanting to do some two-way. Plan this dive as a no contact dive. Exit separately, approach your target without making contact. Fly end cell to end cell. It can be a challenge to fly from right end-cell to left then rotate below and practice docking on his foot with each of your end cells.
Any Drop Zone (DZ) interested in hosting a Mike Lewis CReW seminar
please E-Mail Mike.
© 2002 Bryan Scott Productions