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Review: ATC Wingsuit

The ATC – practically begging you to play! — by Mike Steen
The ATC – practically begging you to play! — by Mike Steen

The ATC (Air Traffic Control) is the ultimate mid-size suit. It is a versatile suit for flocking, coaching, organizing and acrobatics that offers the performance capabilities of a larger suit. Whether you are into backflying, carving, freeflying, corkscrews, or flares, this suit excels at all forms of dynamic flying, and is practically begging you to play.

For those who don’t know me, I’ve always been a major proponent of smaller suits and tend to use one most of the time. That said, I am continuously impressed by the speed and performance of the ATC given the size. However, as a pilot primarily focused on dynamic flying, I love how responsive the suit is to backflying and acrobatic maneuvers. I backfly at least 75% of my jumps, so these capabilities were at the center of my focus when using this suit. Fortunately, the ATC nailed it. The suit is the right size to be comfortable and efficient without being overly exhaustive to fly properly when jumping all day. The speed and glide performance make it ideal for backflying in formations, or leading groups as base. In addition, being a somewhat smaller wingsuit chick, I understand the ‘float’ problem experienced by a lot of jumpers using medium to large suits. I hate depowering a suit to stay down in formations, so I’m happy to say the ATC resolved that issue for me. No more excessive dihedral flying needed!

No more excessive dihedral flying needed!

Author Val Sobol flying her ATC (green suit) — by Dan Dupuis
Author Val Sobol flying her ATC (green suit) — by Dan Dupuis

What are the design features?

From a design perspective, there are two surface inlets on both the top and bottom of the suit that help provide power and stability in both belly and backfly orientations. While the ATC is similar in surface area to a Funk 2 or Havok, the wing profile is not. The wing design and overall profile incorporated many of the technical developments from the C-Race, resulting in a highly efficient mid-class suit. The wing-tip gripper is scaled down, which enables pilots to release their hands without drastically impacting the suit's performance. This is a critical feature for docking or for coaches like myself, who often give hand signals to groups or students.

Val backflying her green ATC (Air Traffic Control) by Squirrel — by Dan Dupuis
Val backflying her green ATC (Air Traffic Control) by Squirrel — by Dan Dupuis

Who is it suitable for?

The ATC is ideal for pilots wanting to step up from a smaller suit. It has excellent stability at both slow and fast flying speeds, while the size and pressurization prevent the suit from feeling difficult to manage, even for newer pilots. Less experienced pilots will benefit from the added performance capabilities as they learn to fly at steeper angles with increased speeds, but advanced pilots can also train more difficult maneuvers without the added difficulty excessive fabric. As a coach and organizer, the ATC offers everything I need. It can easily be depowered to fly with newer students, but also offers the range to comfortably keep up with faster, more advanced students. At events, I don’t waste time switching suits or worry if the fall rates will work well with a diverse group. Rather, the ATC can be flown big or small depending on the skill level/suit sizes within a group.

my go-to, everyday suit that can ‘do it all’

How would you sum up the ATC?

The ATC is a ‘mini’ Freak, which means it is the perfect dropzone suit, but scaled down for intermediate-advanced pilots. The ATC is a training tool that virtually any pilot can and should use to take their skills to the next level in performance or acrobatics. I love that I can’t outgrow this suit, and it will continue to be my go-to, everyday suit that can ‘do it all’ whether I’m coaching, organizing, training acrobatics, or casual weekend jumping.

This article was originally published on @lesleygale

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