For formations up to 16-ways it is required to have a wing load between 1.3 and 1.4 within the formation to give everybody the same forward speed and lift. Flying larger formations means facing new challenges regarding wing loads. In some key positions heavier and lighter wing loads can be useful, especially if the diamonds are build bigger. The slots in specific sectors of the bigger diamond formation and their wing loads are described below.
Slots, wing loads and canopy size.
– The pilot and row two canopies need to be light. If these canopies are wing loaded average or higher the formation will sink causing wings to be unstable and necessitate holding more trim. They also need speed. Micro-lined canopies with spider, split or removable sliders are options to be used. In very large formations normal freefall collapsible pilot chutes are also recommended as opposed to the normal retractable pilot chutes common to CRW canopies. Canopies in this section are the biggest in size, but the lowest in wing load because you want the highest glide ratio canopies on top of the formation.
– The power for the diamond needs to come from the middle. Canopies used in this section can have the highest wing load for more forward speed compared to the rest. These slots are for the newer (least jumps) midsize canopies, being loaded at a higher wing load.
– The outside wings need to be light to medium wing load and slow as well. Best canopies for these slots are old worn-out with almost no lift. Cotton topped canopies can also be used in these positions.
– Immediate lock up jumpers can have a slightly higher wing load to help keep positive tension on the wing make the formation more stable. – In general it is good to have a bigger canopy and use weights to be able to adjust the wing loading if needed. Some CRW dogs are known of taking a firm diet to be able to participate in the next big way attempt.
Most jumpers need to dress tight to allow the formation to fly fast and healthy. Only the low wings need to dress baggy.
From the experience of the past
1) For the world record 100-way the specifications were 1.30 to 1.375 which is tighter than what is being asked for the upcoming European record. The larger you go the tighter the specs should be for safety.
2) The actual weighs from 109 participators in the 100-way were; 12 jumpers weighed in from 1.370 up to 4.0 wing loading. These jumpers were used on the center line to help punch it out and fly faster. 88 jumpers weighed within 1.30-1.370 9 jumpers weighed 1.28 – 1.295 which included the top 3 and 4 of the lower wings. The other 2 had older canopies and could use the lift inside the formation.
3) The participators from the 100-way in 2007 had an average wing loading of 1.34.
The Gransee 2018 event had an average wingload of 1.39.
4) The 1.3-1.4 range has been used at “casual CRW” events and is supported usually by not going very
large. Going larger like in Spring Fling‘18 50-way’s, heavy wing loaded jumpers did not participate for
So it is obvious that the reason for holding onto the tight wing loads is vital to the mental aspect of the formation. Concessions on wing loads do cause an unhealthy formation and will lead to multiple wraps. The experience has showed that going over a wing load of 1.4 is not healthy for the very big formation and sometimes even the smaller ones. Although they know how to fly a wing pretty well, more than once experienced wings are taken by surprise and “go around” on high wing loaded formations. These wings did not see it coming and could do nothing to stop it going round. Flying ‘smaller big-way’s’ up to 25 with a heavy group (1.40+) can sometimes fly wonderful and healthy. But when flying bigger formations the line must be drawn to keep the formations healthy and keep wraps from occurring spontaneously.
Writers: Henk Lunshof / Brian Pangburn / PETi
18 June 2018