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Vol. 18 - June/July 2001 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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Big Air SportZ

Big Air SportZ, Inc. is a company founded by Parachute Designer and Freefly Champion and Author Brian Germain. If fact, BiG AiR is an acronym for Brian Germain Aeronautical Research. To get a sense of who they are as a company, you need to hear the whole story from the beginning.

The story begins in 1993, in Milton, Vermont. At this time, Brian was the owner of Vermont Skydiving Adventures, a small DZ in the mountains of New England. On an ill-fated windy spring day, Brian had a terrible accident. His ram-air wing collapsed due to turbulent conditions at about one hundred feet from the ground, sending him plummeting to the earth. It was this experience that truly gave birth to Big Air SportZ.

Big Air SportZ

Bound to a wheel chair for the better part of a year, Brian used his time on the ground to invent a means of maintaining airfoil pressurization for safer flight through turbulence. This method, commonly referred to as the "Germain Airlock", is a simple yet effective one-way valve that allows air into the wing, but not out. Brian patented the idea, and continues to own this Patent (#5,572,207), despite the popular misconception that Brian sold the Patent to Performance Designs. In fact, the Patent is simply "Licensed" to PD so that they may use it on their parachutes. Although many inventors have attempted to design around or improve upon the original method, the Germain Airlock remains the only one-way valve to actually do what it is intended to do without causing undesirable side effects.
In 1994, Brian sold his drop zone, and was hired on by Tony Uragallo to develop a sport parachute using this bold new invention. Working as Head of Research and Development at AirTime for several years, Brian designed several well-known parachutes, most notably the Jedei. When AirTime closed its doors, over a thousand skydivers were left without a means to get another canopy like their beloved Jedei. So we went back to work to design a better, stronger, faster parachute that would impress even the most loyal Jedei Pilot.
Big Air was formed in 1998 in Boulder, Colorado, as a reformation of the recently now defunct AirTime Designs. Sewing late into the night for over a year, Brian devised an improved Jedei. It was different enough, however, that we needed to shed the name Jedei in favor of a new genre. Based on the same principle of the Spiritual Warrior that focuses his or her full attention to the task at hand, the Samurai seemed the perfect successor to this great tradition of canopies. In fact, the Samurai is the Return of the Jedei!
With a relatively short testing season, however, Colorado proved to be a great place to start a company, but not perfect enough to stay. So the factory was moved to the "Home of the Jedei", Zephyrhills. With great jumping weather all year, and hundreds of skydiving tourists every winter, the move proved to be a sound choice for the company. Based only a few short miles from Skydive City, Big Air has grown by leaps and bounds.
Big Air doesn't do things the regular way. They build their parachutes stronger, design a little longer, and test threir products feverously - even the customer canopies. They don't even offer dealerships in the traditional sense. Gear stores that offer every brand of parachute are not often the best way to present their products. In fact, many dealerships deliberately disconnect the customer from the manufacturer in order to soften the workload at the factory. It is Big Air's experience, however, that direct contact with every customer is an essential part of who they are as a company. But how then, do they market? Word of Mouth is the answer. In the summer of 2000 they instituted the "Client Referral Program". They believe that an excited customer is, and always will be their best form of advertising. To reward their loyal family of customers, they pay $100 for each sale they refer to them! Some customers choose to save the money on file, working toward their next canopy, while others choose to pass the money on to their friend as a discount. They know they aren't the cheapest in the business, and they have no aspirations of being such. It is with this program that they help support our skydive family, and hopefully develop relationships that last a lifetime.
Brian Germain states: "At Big Air, customer satisfaction is the most important goal of all. If you aren't happy with your canopy, you aren't going to speak highly of us as a company. Therefore we'll do almost anything to keep you smiling when you think about us. Our goal, quite simply, is to be the parachute company that we would want to deal with as a customer: trustworthy, helpful, knowledgeable and the very best parachutes that money can buy."
"In our efforts to reach out and educate the skydiving populace, we are engaged in an on-going Demo and Lecture tour. Teaching everything from advanced canopy flying to freeflying, we're making a difference. We've been to Cessna DZ's as well as some of the biggest sites to teach the necessary skills for surviving in today's complicated skydiving world. Spreading knowledge is the inherent responsibility once it is acquired, and we believe there is no greater joy than passing on whatever we can. Skydiving is a family, and we have to take care of our own."
"So why should you buy a Big Air canopy? We believe that our products are unparalleled in performance, quality, and safety, and our service is second to none. The choice, however, is ultimately yours. We urge you to jump everything you can get your hands on, meet representatives from every company in the business, and then make your decision. We think we've got something fantastic going on here at Big Air, and when you really look around, we think you'll agree!"
Check out their website at

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