The Mutant

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What is the Mutant?

The Mutant is a harness/container designed for canopy piloting, based on paragliding harnesses. 

Why the ‘Mutant’?

Because it behaves as a regular skydiving harness/container in freefall but, when the owner is under canopy, he/she can make the harness ‘mutate’ into a different, open configuration, which assists the jumper in flying the canopy to the max.

Vincent Reffet showing the system – pull this after deployment and the harness mutates to a more horizontal position

Who is responsible for the Mutant?

Vincent Reffet, the famous Frenchman of the Soul Flyers and also a paragliding pilot, worked with ‘Blikkies’ (Daniel Blignaut) of UPT to design this revolutionary skydiving system.

The Mutant is now being developed by UPT and brought to skydivers by a collaboration between UPT and Sun Path.  This is the first time direct competitors have worked together at this level in the sport parachuting market (although UPT and Sun Path already work together in CPS, creating parachute systems for the military). UPT has spearheaded the ongoing development of the system while Sun Path is supporting the PD Factory team and Flight-1 to fine-tune the product and develop a course curriculum to teach the correct use of the Mutant, so all of the training courses for qualified Mutant candidates will be run through Flight-1.

How successful is the Mutant for a Canopy Pilot?

All PD Factory Team members received their Mutant systems earlier this year and begun training on them for competition. They have set records already, with varying amounts of training…

Records and Competition

  • Armando Fattoruso broke the Italian record for speed with 2.184 secs. He also won 1st place at Italian Nationals. 
  • Mario Fattoruso set a personal best in speed of 2.28 on the harness after only 30 training jumps during the Skydive Flygang Open.
  • Justin Price won 1st place in Speed at ICPC Open 2019. This was his first time competing with the mutant harness.
  • Travis Mills got 2.11 sec at FLCPA #4 for Speed after only 65 training jumps.

Mutant Video – Pablo Hernandez

Pablo Hernandez put together this video about the Mutant:


What does JP think?

Skydive Mag caught up with Justin Price to discuss his experience so far on the Mutant harness…

Justin Price

How different is the configuration from a standard harness ?

“When I first started taking my chest strap off and using a belly band on a standard harness I felt apprehensive. Thinking ‘OMG, I might fall out’. With time and training it is not that big of a deal to me and lots of people are using belly bands while being taught the dangers of it. The mutant is fundamentally the same thing; you should just clean your cables regularly. In fact I think the whole sport should clean their cutaway cables more often.|”

How does the opening feel?

Openings? How was my pack job?

How do you feel in the harness in canopy flight?

It’s funny, after the canopy is open you feel as if you are falling backwards. The main 3-ring release system is at your hips while a second set of 3-rings is by your shoulders. The top 3-rings have a small portion of webbing allowing a clean line to the lower set. This makes you sit behind the risers slightly. Now, going back to my Javelin Odyssey the tables are turned again and I feel like I’m falling forward. Silly!

How do you transition into flight mode? – supine?

At the beginning it was like a trust fall.

Mutant in flight showing supine position (Cornelia Mihai)

How does the supine position in the harness affect the canopy’s flight and response?

The wing flattens out in all flight modes.

Responsiveness, the big difference is when you try to do an aggressive harness turn like in a standard harness. Yeah, don’t do that unless you have altitude.

Does it change the sight picture a lot?

Not too much. Rolling out low still looks low and high is high.

Are there any potential dangers?

All the same dangers that come with jumping out of planes and trying not to smash into the ground. Now your butt and spine will take most of the impact without your femur or tibia absorbing some of the shock.

How important is it to have specific training on the Mutant harness?

Extremely important! It’s such a new system to the community.  I continue to gain knowledge anytime I’m using it or am around people who use the system.

Is it harder to pack?

It takes an extra minute to hook back the 3-ring system. Find a flow that works for you and you will be turning loads.

Dragging water in the supine position

What challenges with competition (ie dragging water) are you finding?

Flying through the course consistently. Having the wing climb when I don’t want it to. Adjusting for depth, placement on the gates. Scoring.

How many jumps do you have on it?

Almost 300.

How many did it take to feel good with your results?

I don’t feel good with my results.

How have you trained in the Mutant? Has it altered your usual training approach?

Started with lots of high pulls then more hop ‘n’ pops. Frustration, anger and disappointment can occur while training. Training with this system has revealed a lot of cracks in my emotional dam. Lots of frustration with training has led to an emotional drain. Small slivers of joy and visions of adulation are peppered throughout training. It has been a real test of fortitude.

Was it easy or challenging to fly from the beginning?

A challenge.

Does the Mutant perform better only in speed rounds or in all CP disciplines?

From a potential aspect it can perform better in speed and distance. The reality of training and comps, I feel the pitfalls heavily outweigh the current advantages.

What’s the most enjoyable thing about the Mutant?

Trying to figure out the puzzle.

Flying the Valkyrie/Mutant through a turn

How can other canopy pilots try or buy a Mutant?

Submit an order form with canopy piloting, speed flying or paragliding experience. Possibly include references and goals for the harness. If everything is cleared then you get specialty fittings and coaching upon receiving it. You don’t just get it mailed out.

Do you believe this is the future of canopy piloting?

It has the potential but gear and canopy manufactures must work together and build systems to help complement one another.

For questions, please contact mutant@uptvector.com

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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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