Risers, Toggles & Sliders


The angle of incidence of a canopy is set by the suspension geometry (we often call it the "line program") as measured from the bottom of the canopy, through the keel or flare, including lines, connector links and risers, down to the "node" point of the risers that is, to the point where the risers "split" into front and back risers, just above the 3 ring confluence wrap.

The suspension geometry of the Classic is based on 16 inch (40 cm) risers, measured from the top of the riser to the top of the confluence wrap. If you use longer risers, the center of gravity will move forward. The canopy will fly more nose down, and will be more difficult to stop. If you use shorter risers, the center of gravity will move aft. The canopy will fly more nose up, stalling with less brake deflection.

Risers are considered part of the harness, and are provided by your harness/container manufacturer. Therein lies a potential problem. If your system comes with very long (20") or very short (12") risers, your Classic will not fly as designed. The maximum variance from the 16" riser length figured into your Classic line program is plus or minus 2 inches (+/ 5cm).

This means you can use a riser as long as 18" or as short as 14" and it shouldn't significantly degrade your performance. But to get the optimum performance, you'll want to use a 16" riser. Your harness/container manufacturer may build risers in various sizes, or a master rigger can modify your existing risers, or you can purchase factory standard 16" risers from Eiff Aerodynamics.

Figure 6 - Classic Risers:

Referring to Figure 6, note that the steering ring is mounted on a third, "flying" mini riser. Many accuracy jumpers believe this geometry provides a superior feel for the canopy. How much this mini riser "flies" off the main rear riser can be adjusted, simply by sewing it down progressively higher on the main riser, up to just below the ring itself. Typically, the mini riser is between 4" and 8" long, and may extend beyond the connector link, depending on the riser length and your reach.

Please keep in mind that any canopy, including the Classic, is sold "links up." The risers, deployment bag, bridle and pilot chute must be compatible with the container system you jump, and must comply with the manufacturer's instructions. Check with a FAA rigger before you install any risers or other components that are not original equipment on your system.


Steering toggles is an oft debated issue, one that boils down to personal preference. If you have jumped soft toggles all your life, it may be difficult to switch over to hard toggles, but you should try. One reason is that soft toggles require a deployment brake "cat's eye" to be sewn into the steering line, usually at 12" to 16" up the steering line from the soft loop steering handle right where you will feel it "bump" against the steering ring again and again, as you maneuver your Classic at 40% to 80% brakes on the final approach phase of flight.

Deployment "lanyards" can be sewn into the steering line far enough up that they won't foul on the steering rings, enabling you to use soft toggles (or for that matter, hard toggles) but this is not a standard feature and you will have to request it.

By far, the most common toggle used by Classic pilots is the hard toggle, and many use one with a slightly offset hole, which positions the steering line to emerge comfortably between the index and middle finger, and tilts the hands "thumb high" while in brakes, a more ergonomically efficient position.

A custom designed hard toggle with offset steering line hole is available as an accessory from Eiff Aerodynamics. Assuming you use it, or a similar hard toggle, we strongly recommend you learn to use the "Justin Schilling" knot to set your deployment brakes. Find a Classic pilot to show you the knot. It is far superior to "daisy chaining," especially if you use 1'doubled" or other heavy weight steering lines. The sequence of tying the knot is shown on the following page, figure 7.

Once again, remember that whatever toggle and deployment brake system you pick, make certain your rigger has inspected it, that it is compatible with the harness/container manufacturer's design and meets all instructions supplied by the manufacturer!

Figure 7 - The "Justin Schillinq" knot

Justin Schilling was on the U.S. Team in 1982, '84 & '86 a superb athlete and a great sportsman. Thanks, Justin!


The Classic comes with a large D ring slider. This gives the canopy a comfortable opening shock, even at style airspeeds, and allows you to pull the slider down over the risers and stow it behind your head (less flapping and better forward speed). Once the canopy is open, you may find that you have to reach up and grasp the rear risers at the top, pumping the slider down the final few feet to the top of the risers.

Putting your hands up on the rear risers after opening is a good habit to get into it allows you to make a quick rear riser turn to avoid any canopy that threatens your airspace. (Yes, you can jump your Classic on relative work jumps!) Once you have the slider down, leave the deployment brakes set while you make your accuracy "nest" (adjust your harness, stow goggles, etc.).

Now release the toggles, push them up through the D rings, and pull the slider down the risers to eye level. Grasping the center of the slider in front of your face with both hands, twist it with a forward "wringing" motion into a tight roll, then stow it behind your head. Now you are ready to shoot some accuracy!

If accuracy is not your game, and you chose the Classic because it is a safe and delightful alternative to high speed canopies, and because it makes a great demo canopy, then you may not want to bother with a big D ring slider. A standard or split slider with stainless steel grommets is available as an option. The same goes for all the "serious accuracy" features that are standard on the Classic if they don't suit your needs, if you want spectra lines, soft toggles, a split slider and 1" risers, Eiff Aerodynamics will be glad to set up your canopy that way!

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