Skydiving from Hot Air Balloons

Jumping from a hot air balloon is quite a treat for skydivers. Balloon jumps are unusual because there is no “relative” wind as you exit the aircraft. In a normal aircraft jump, when a skydiver exits, the airspeed of the aircraft is quite high, so a skydiver can immediately maneouver […]

Building an Eel: A very long banner

In 2007, I built my first Eel. Since then I’ve build almost a dozen of them. An Eel is a very long banner, 60 feet long in fact. The original Skydiving Eels are a concept born out of Burning Man, a huge yearly festival in the middle of the Nevada desert. The […]

Want to buy a skydiving rig? Do it this way!

This advice is meant as a general guide.  Always consult your local rigger and instructor. In the years I’ve been a rigger, I’ve often seen the results of skydivers’ gear buying experiences. Most experiences go well, but some do not. In this article, I am going to try to lay […]

Am I ready to downsize my skydiving canopy?

In a word, no! If you’re asking the question, then the answer is obvious, you are not ready. That’s really not the answer you were looking for, is it? I’m not going to go into the WHY. It simply does not matter. (but it mostly has to do with broken […]

SLOX: a Better Slider-Locking Mechanism

There are a couple of things you can do to maximize your parachute’s performance once your main is deployed. The first thing is relatively easy: after deployment, loosen your chest strap. Be careful, though – some harness manufacturers do not put a “stop” on the end of the chest strap. […]

Should I get a Skyhook?

Jumpers come to me for advice all the time – and one of the hardest questions to answer is the following: Should I get a Skyhook, and why? First, what is an RSL? A RSL is a reserve static line – a line attached from one of your departing malfunctioned […]

Which AAD should I buy? Cypres or Vigil?

This blog post is for my skydiver friends 😉 As a certified parachute rigger, I often get asked this question: “Which Automatic Activation Device should I buy? Cypres or Vigil?” Arguably, these two are the only real choices in today’s market. While both units have had some growing pains in their initial […]

Opening the “Wings Over Gatineau” Airshow

There used to be an “Ottawa Airshow”. I used to go. It was really cool. Then for some reason I’m unaware of, it was no more. Then these guys from Vintage Wings started restoring old aircraft and flying them out of the Gatineau Airport. That’s the airport where I jump. […]

500th jump – out of a Hot Air Ballon

So my friend Bill Whelan helped me with the building of my Hot Air Balloon.  He was well aware of the fact that I was a skydiver. So it came to be that one day, a few years ago, I had 499 jumps. I decided, hey, I should jump out […]