Airlocks After Landing
By Brian Germain
Big Air Sportz canopies are equipped with the Germain Airlock System (US Patent 5,573,207, Brian Germain). This restricts the exhale of the canopy’s internal air pressure in flight, but also after landing as well. This is a bit of a bother to those pilots unprepared for an inflated wing after landing, but a non-issue for those that have developed a technique for deflating the canopy.
We at Big Air Sportz believe that the security of an airlock canopy in flight far out-weighs the small hassle after landing. A fighter jet doesn’t necessarily taxi all that well, but you don’t hear the pilots complaining. This is a flight vehicle first and foremost. With this in mind, here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” for the process of getting back to the packing area with minimal embarrassment.
Don’t: Hold your brakes down after landing. This will turn your ram air wing into a drag chute. You will most likely go for a ride if the wind is strong.
Don’t: Pull one toggle in hand-over-hand. This will cause your inflated airfoil to spin around and around, and will not significantly diminish the canopy’s drag or help it to deflate.
Don’t: Touch down, turn to face the canopy and immediately start running toward it in an attempt to get around the other side of the canopy. You won’t make it, and you’ll probably end up running a very long way with a fully inflated canopy. You can’t out-run the wind. Good exercise, though…
Do: After touching down, pull down one toggle or rear riser and pirouette 180 degrees in that direction. Simultaneously lean upwind, away from the canopy. This will quicken the turn rate of the canopy by increasing the line tension.
Do: Release the toggles (both) as soon as the nose of the canopy is facing the ground. This will dive the canopy into the ground, and it will then lie on its top surface, reducing its pull to almost zero. Take a step toward the canopy to make the lines slack.
Do: Once the canopy is on its back, floating gently with its nose facing you, you will need to push the slider all the way back up the lines. Prior to doing this however, it is very helpful to draw the front risers in toward you at least 6-12 inches, and lock the lines in this configuration as you push the slider back up to the canopy. This will reduce the angle of attack of the parachute which in turn will reduce the overall drag of the canopy.
While doing this, walk toward the canopy so that you don’t have to pull it toward you. Pulling an inflated airlock canopy toward you in the wind is a very exhausting endeavor. Don’t make work for yourself.
Do: Seat the slider hard against the slider stops on the stabilizers and clench your fist around the lines. Grab the trailing edge of the canopy near the brake lines and crack it aggressively like a whip. Doing this several times will shake much of the air out of the canopy.
Once you are in the packing area, letting the canopy sit for a few minutes before packing. This will allow gravity to force the air out of the parachute gradually over time. If you need to get packed up quickly, simply lay the parachute out in a side-pack, and roll your body from tail to nose. Not only is this the fastest and most efficient way to get the air out, it also is the most fun.
Welcome to the Airlock Family!
--Brian Germain, President