I splurged a bit and got a new Woody Valley Cabrio harness for training...but as an established school, we should keep reinvesting. I was recently chatting with another instructor at a prominent US school and he was looking into creating their own training harness. I laid out my criteria for an ideal harness and then remembered Woody Valley had a training harness on their list but they never provided much info or pic of them. I bit the bullet and had them send me one with our last Libero order...in a nutshell, I don't think there is a need to reinvent the harness as this one seems pretty ideal - all the features I had laid out to my buddy.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom as I saved the key feature for last!
One of the biggest things that causes a student to stall in their training progess is having to change gear. The rule of thumb is to only change one thing at a time. When it comes to the harness, students are started in a harness that keeps them rather upright - it is more natural, reduces the chance of cross-controlling and eliminates the need for them to go prone and then back upright for landing. We have to switch our current harnesses when it is time for the pilot to go prone but this Cabrio has a nice simple staged shoulder line with knots to pin up to the carabiner when starting and let them out when it is time to go prone.
And the stabilizer line that goes from the armpits (where we attach our scooter towing release from) runs through a pulley at the carabiner and back down to the thighs which allows them to pivot when the shoulder lines are pinned up.
It has a nice back strap to help spread the load from the tow line as well...lots of velcro to secure it without the unnecessary use of buckles which could dig in the back.
Nice adjustable leg loops
and a foot bar that can be pinned up out of the way
But the best part is the removable front the harness has included...we train in high humidity conditions. At dawn and sunset, the dew falls and our fields are pretty wet...students get soaked regardless if they are good at their landings or not. Plus, the harnesses get beat up over time. The Cabrio comes with a sturdy waterproof PVC front cover that velcros on and off for easy replacement
The beauty is they also provide a chute container that just velcros on in place of the PVC front. This way, when it is time to add a parachute, the student doesn't have to switch harnesses!
Check out how easy it is to swap
And this is the first front-mounted-chute harness that I can appreciate. The traditional velcro containers on front-mounted-chute harnesses are BRUTTALY hard to open. Check out how easy it is to open for deployment
It is bit pricey for a training harness but I plan to have it available for graduates to rent to go aerotowing as well....one less purchase, one less barrier to getting into the sport.