Skydive Mag

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Introducing the Pilot7

Words by Lesley Gale

Aerodyne Pilot-7 Flock n Dock Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida
Landing the Pilot-7 — Image by Norman Kent

Aerodyne has released the Pilot7 – a 7-cell version of their popular all-round canopy, the Pilot. The Pilot7 is much more than just a remarkable wingsuit canopy.

Opens like a 7-cell and performs like a 9-cell !
Simon Repton (Wicked Wingsuits)

Background

The project started with some wingsuiters approaching Aerodyne saying they normally do either wingsuit skydiving or BASE proximity – so they wanted a 7-cell skydiving canopy that would perform more like the BASE canopy they jump. This would maximize the usefulness of their skydiving to their BASE activities.

BASE Skydiving Crossover

So, Aerodyne began to create a 7-cell canopy that would allow these guys to jump something closer in performance to their base canopies. They developed a more responsive 7-cell that is quick, fun, has good riser input, and a flatter glide than you would expect from a 7-cell, and a powerful flare.

Because BASE canopies are larger than skydiving canopies, then the bigger they could make the new Pilot7, the more like BASE it would be. They developed a very low pack volume by using all their low pack volume toys – with their honeycomb fabric (ZPX) on top skin, side and stabilizers, and the ribs and bottom skin from FX-11 (the low pack volume material used in the SmartLPV), and ZLX lines. Aerodyne ended up with a canopy that would fit in your normal skydiving rig, but 2 sizes bigger than normal. This was exactly what the wingsuit BASE guys had asked for. This über-low pack volume is called the UltraLPV build, and can be selected as an option,

Pilot-7 Landings Flock n Dock Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida
Soft, easy landings on the Pilot-7 — Image by Norman Kent

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All-round Applications

As Aerodyne’s test pilots jumped the new canopy, they started to see other uses for the Pilot7. One is for student transition canopies, it’s a very flyable starter canopy for post-AFF before getting a more advanced wing. You can order it in UltraLPV build to go in your brand new rig, then you’ve future-proofed your Icon by building in two possible downsizes later on. The more mature jumper who doesn’t want to run off their landings any more – the 7-cell shuts down a lot sooner than a 9-cell, so less impact on the body, and if desired, the owner can upsize to an even gentler-landing canopy. The big-way skydiver who sometimes has to land downwind, and doesn’t want to arrive in a cloud of dust! A market of very experienced jumpers who just like 7-cells - these guys will probably want a regular ZP canopy so it will fit in existing rig without them needing to upsize. A DZO with a small dropzone with a crosswind wanted 7-cells for his students to get into a tight area.

Wingsuiters

Yet, the wingsuiters it was developed for are the main market - these guys had a great time testing it out. The Pilot7 was launched at Flock and Dock, Zephyrhills, to a rave reception (see quotes below). The Pilot7 fits their needs, as it is has very consistent on-heading openings; this is why it is recommended to jump a 7-cell canopy when wingsuiting.

Aerodyne Pilot-7 Flock n Dock Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida
Pilot-7 — Image by Norman Kent

”Falling in love with the flight characteristics of the new Aerodyne ‪Pilot7‬… I got to fly this baby all throughout Flock'n'Dock and I kept asking them “can I keep it? can I keep it? pretty pleaaaaase, can I keep it? …. Seriously impressed with the amount of glide I was able to get out of the Pilot7 coming back from long (oopsie) spots - beyond what I expected to be possible on a 7-cell, all packaged together with the smoothest on-heading openings (despite the random body position shenanigans I routinely pull at break-off right before I pitch) and awesome flare power”
Andreea Olea

“Whether I am flying in a 100way formation, with students or my friends, the last thing I want to have to worry about is what my main canopy will do when I open. The Pilot7 has proven to give me consistent great openings. It's also fun to fly and handles well in all weather conditions.“
Ed Pawlowski

We have a bunch of 9-cell coverts really pleased with the Pilot-7, it's good on a long spot and has lots of flare.
Simon Repton

“Very nice on-heading openings. Initial snivel was nice also, little pop at the end. Riser response was very good on front and rears. I was able to get a nice little swoop on just a 90° riser turn. But I was most impressed with the reaction on harness input. One jump I got into a cloud, twisted my hip and dropped a shoulder, with the result of a nice carve to come out, and got back to the DZ”
Steve Waseman, Rigger, Chuting Star

“The Pilot7 is a great canopy. It opens predictably and straight on heading, great for opening in a crowd. It stays up a long time, but flies fast enough to not cause anxiety on a windy day. It lands consistently soft and stops well. Even when you are learning how to handle the flare it puts you down soft and keeps your landing gear intact.“
Dr Bob Domeier

“The Pilot7 brings the comfort of a normal canopy opening into a wingsuit canopy situation. With this canopy the worries for line twists too often or spinning canopies are history. I've never felt more comfortable about gear before.“
Espen Fadnes, Advanced Wingsuit Pilot

Aerodyne Pilot-7 Flock n Dock Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida
Image by Norman Kent

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Options

The Pilot7 is available now from the Aerodyne website or dealers, in (almost) all the options you could hope for.

Available materials: All ZP, all ZPX, and UltraLPV (ZPX top skin, FX11 ribs and bottom skin). 

Lines: Dacron, HMA, Spectra or ZLX.

Sizes: 117, 137, 147, 167, 187, 207, 227 and 247. 

Colors: Visit the Aerodyne canopy designer store here and to design your canopy with available colors of ZP or ZPX.  (note: The FX11 material used in the UltraLPV build is only available in white)

MORE info: here

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