Ascend Parachute Services: David Singer
on Lunatic Fringe- Into the Void
With the new ownership of the CSC rigging loft, we thought it opportune to share a little background and history of the one and only Mr. David Singer. A 30+ year veteran of the sport, Dave talks about how he knew what he wants to be from single digits, the advancements in tech exclusive to Peregrine, and how he got where he is today. Take a moment to learn a bit about one the the industries pioneers and why we are so excited to have Ascend a part of the CSC family.
Blue skies. They seduce us, pulling us irresistibly upwards. Reminding us to fly our own line on our wings. And in life, we are the seekers, adventurers, being one with the air, feeling everything and nothing at once.
LF And like I talked to you about right before the podcast, I'm still not used to this camera shit. And I know you aren't as well, so fuck it. We'll just be uncomfortable together. Tell me, who the fuck are you and what do you do?
Dave My name is Dave Singer. I'm 47 years old and I'm from Colchester, Connecticut.
Dave So my name is Dave Singer. I'm the owner of Peregrine Manufacturing. I've been in the sport since 1992. Okay, so I started a long time ago.
LF I hate saying it because it makes me feel old, but I'm not really that old. Right? That shit's all in your mind, though, isn't it? Because until you start putting the numbers to things, I don't fucking feel 52. And then I say when I was born, and you're like, oh, yeah.
Dave I don't know when that happened. Right. When did that happen? I don't know when that time actually flicks over to when you start feeling funny about it. But it happened. Yeah, I've been. I've been basically doing this my entire life. I went into the army at 18 to be a parachute rigger to start jumping. That's what I wanted to do. And it started well before that, too. I mean, when I was a kid, really what I was going to do.
LF At 18 years old you knew you wanted to be a rigger?!
Dave Earlier than that. Probably seven or eight years old. Got in trouble, probably got sent to my room upstairs, looking out the window, thinking, how do I get out of here? And started asking my mom to get me fabric. And my mom always had her sewing machine out, so I started learning how to sew with a sewing machine when I was probably seven or eight.
LF Really? Was that just because it was always around? Because, I mean, sewing is not what your average eight year old usually aims towards.
Dave Oh, dude, I was making sheaths for my knives. I was breaking my mom's machine, not sewing with it, let's put it that way. All right, well, yeah, I was doing what a normal boy would do at seven and eight, just with a sewing machine to make my own stuff. Right. Probably because we couldn't afford to buy the stuff I wanted to make, to have, so I just figured out a way to make it myself.
LF Dude, that's badass. I mean, the only thing I figured out to do with a sewing machine needle was pierce my ears when I was old enough.
Dave Yeah, I was helping my mom make my own shorts and just weird, too. And that's just what we did. I was fortunate to have, I guess, that skill when I was really young. Then when I got older, I knew I wanted to jump out of planes. There was a small drop zone right near the mall where we used to go as teenagers. So I would see parachutes in the sky when I was younger, in my teens, so I was always interested. And then I went into the army to be a parachute rigger. To be able to jump because you had to be a jumper first to be able to be a rigger in the army.
LF Okay. That was a means to getting there. So it was literally a blending of the two worlds almost right away. Because I'm assuming very early on you realized that your affinity for sewing was also a huge tie to the parachutes you were seeing in the sky.
LF That's fucking cool, man.
Dave Yeah. I'm a very small percentage of the world, I've found that actually knew what they wanted to do when they were a kid and kind of took it to that level as an adult.
LF That's awesome, because I still don't know what the fuck I want to do when I grow up.
Dave I haven't grown up yet, so let's get that straight.
LF Yeah. So now you go into the army to start jumping. Now, obviously, jumping in the military is dramatically different than jumping as a civilian. So how was it for you?
Dave Well, ironically enough, I went through basic training and airborne school and parachute rigger school with Matt Davidson.
LF Did you really?
Dave World champions. And we've been friends ever since. So that was really my introduction to, hey, man, you need to start looking at the civilian world. We're in rigger school in the army, and he's telling me about the sport world. So, yeah, I got to my unit in first special Forces group, so I went right into special operations, which kind of throws you into that mix already.
Dave And started skydiving a year later. I was in the sport world within six months of being out in Washington state.
LF No. And I've talked to a bunch of people that started jumping in the military, but I don't think I've ever asked the question. I know that military jumps don't directly translate to civilian training, but if you did 100 jumps in the military, a skydive center will say, congratulations on that 100 jumps, but it means jack shit.
LF Really? So you had to start from scratch.
Dave Static line jumps, static line jumping. And then there's halo jumping, there's military free fall. So I was fortunate enough to be able to be exposced to both of those in the military world.
Dave And then obviously there's no passes or credit for the military jumping. You started from scratch and you should I mean that it's a whole different world and same with rigging, honestly.
Dave Yeah. The rigging side is you get really good experience but its, I'd say somewhat transferable. It's very difficult to throw a military only rigger into a civilian type of rigging scenario.
LF I guess I would understand hard the equipment, especially if it's just the static line stuff is pretty different.
Dave Yeah, absolutely.
LF And there's not that many rounds being jumped anymore.
Dave Right. That was an easy transition for us. And then of course being a rigger, I got my civilian rigger ticket in 94. So I had been a military rigger and then I just decided I was going to be a civilian. I might even been 93, I don't even know.
Dave But it's been a long time. So yeah, it was something I knew I wanted to do and like everything I do, if I'm not going to be passionate about it and going to give it 100%, then I'm not going to do it.
LF It's a damn good way to be.
Dave How I ended up here today.
LF That's a damn good way to be. Well, you know what? I'll tell you, I've got a few longtime riggers that good friends. Pablito Perisoli an amazing rigger and just a wonderful guy and he's the same way. He's got this passion for it and for him the rigging world is kind of his Zen spot. I mean he gets behind his machines and doing his rigging and it's a whole different world he goes into. Is that the same for you?
Dave Yes. Oh, it's therapeutic. Absolutely. I love being on my sewing machines. I love it. I don't know, it's kind of like a carpenter and a hammer, right? Sure. You get used to your hammers, right?
Dave It's your tools, and you just enjoy it. And you do. You get into a kind of a Zen mode where you're going and you know, you're putting together, and it kind of just feels good. You're brain's moving, your hands are moving, and it kind of all works together.
LF Sure. Now, and I've asked Pablito this as well. Was it difficult when you started to realize, and I'm going to imagine that this happened quite early in the sport with you, that your rigging work in regard to reserves and stuff, is someone's life on the line?
Dave Is that a pressure that you enjoy, or is it something that you kind of go, "I know I'm doing the job right, and this is just part of it." It's absolutely something that I wouldn't use the adjective to enjoy, but it's something that I have accepted a long time ago. I have the riggers pledge posted everywhere I go. So right outside my office, huge on the wall, is the riggers pledge. And I tell people, I tell every rigger that comes in here, customers take pictures of it because I tell people that's how we make decisions around here. That's how we make decisions about our product being in production. It's how we make decisions on rigging questions.
LF Sure. It's a good guide. Responsibility in general was ingrained in me since I was a small child.
Dave So I'm a very responsible type person. It's something that's just it's. I feel responsible. I feel okay with responsibility. Right. And the accountability of being a Rigger. Absolutely. It's something that I take seriously and that I don't think I would be a manufacturer and an owner operator if I didn't take that as seriously as I do.
LF Well, it's kind of funny. That reminds me of all the old riggers jokes that everybody has heard all the way down the line. And of course, the jokes are quite funny. You'd never want to piss off your rigger or don't do this or don't do that. I know quite a few riggers that had punched somebody in the face for doing something stupid, but they'd still give them a perfect pack job because,
Dave oh, absolutely!
LF that's what's required. You'll throw somebody out of your loft before anything goes wrong with that rig. And I know that just from all the riggers that I know, which is an amazing thing, but to step it up to the manufacturing level as well is huge. When I talked to Bill Booth, I asked him, I'm like, how did you handle it the first time you knew somebody went in on your equipment? Because I can't wrap my head around being in that position. That's hardcore. It really is. I mean, you had to have taken that into consideration when you got to the point where you decided you wanted to start making stuff, right?
Dave Well, quite honestly, I went through that when I was working at Sunpath. I worked at Sunpath for ten years as the Director of Engineering. So obviously there were fatalities during that time. And even though that's not my product, again, going back to that responsibility conversation, it's my responsibility as the Director of Engineering during that period of time for that company. Something does go wrong, I take it as my responsibility. Sure. So owning that is something that is I think anybody that is in that type of position lives with and kind of just you have to deal with it. It's not easy, let's put it that way. It's not something that you take lightly, and
LF I couldn't
Dave Just pass off to the side.
LF It couldn't be, I mean. And it's tough for me to even wrap my head around being in that kind of position, because as a tandem instructor or an AFF instructor, you take on the responsibility of one student at a time. But to know that goodness knows how many of a particular type of parachute or rig is out there. You almost kind of have to let that go. And Booth's mentality about that is very much, man, I can only make them as good as I can. People are going to do what they're. Going to do, right?
Dave There is that part of it, right? I mean, we do as much as we possibly can with the tools and the technology and the know how and the experience that we have to give the public the safest dummy proof system we can. There is no such thing. Right? And no matter what any of us do, there's always going to be that something out there or someone out there that's going to just do something not necessarily maliciously, but just you don't know what you don't know. And that causes a domino effect, and that's usually where the issue comes, right?
LF Sure. Absolutely. And I mean, come on, there's always going to be stupid jumpers, just like there's always stupid climbers and stupid drivers. It's just the nature of the that's human nature. Now, before we get too far ahead, you are a skydiver, obviously. What type of jumping did you get into as you got into the sport world and what's your corner?
Dave Yeah, so I mainly was a cameraman. I started jumping in Northwest, in Capalcin, so that was a really great job zone. I was fortunate enough to be around some of the most incredible skydivers at the time that are still some Red Bull guys. Luke Aikens and Andy Farrington. That whole family is amazing. And as a young jumper, I was exposed. These are the guys that were jumping with us at that time at Young Jumper Stage. And to come 25 years later and see what they're doing, it's kind of this huge branch tree that just kind of goes out and all these cool people and experience. Right? So I started doing tandems. I did the. Coach thing. I was an instructor and all these things, and I really didn't like the coaching thing. I'm not a big teacher, and a lot of people like to be all, I'm a great teacher. I love to teach. I'll be honest, dude. I'm not a teacher, and I don't like to teach. So I figured that out. And I'm much better flying my own parachute, and I'm much better making other people look good with the camera.
Dave figured that out better. And I could fly and learned and have way more fun with a camera on my head than anything else. So that's what I started doing. Unfortunately, I got out of the army, I moved to Paris Valley, and I went to work with Craig O'Brien. And that changed my career right there. Yeah, I started working at Paris Valley in 98. I got a job with Paris Energy. So I was on a four way team, training five days a week, just cranking them out. So for four years, that's what I did. I went put myself through college, and I was on a fourway team as a cameraman. And then on the weekends, Craig and I did all the camera for all the visiting people coming to Paris and stuff. Working for the drop zone for that time really just helped my skydiving career take off.
LF Oh, yeah. I actually got a few lessons from Craig way back in the day as well, when him and Tanya kicked my ass in skysurfing back in 96. And
Dave he's a fire starter.
LF Yeah, man. Him and Tanya. And it was me and Mary Tortomasi competing against them.
LF We had a blast, but we had no business competing against those two.
Dave Yeah. They're amazing. Oh, my gosh. Next level. And it came full circle for me when I had the opportunity to fly Craig for some loads when he was doing the video work for the Tom Cruise Mission Impossible movie, when he did.
LF Nice. Good. Yeah, man. So I remember seeing him showing up going, no shit. All right, onto the next story. Fucking cool, too. What sparked the interest to head to Paris Valley? Was it because that was, like, the place to go at the time?
Dave I was traveling back and forth from I probably had 1500 skydives in Washington State at the time. And I needed to get out of the little pond and go into a bigger pond. And I was actually on my way to Florida. I got out of the army, drove south, stayed there for like two weeks in Paris. Made a ton of friends, people that I'm still friends with to this day in that two week time. And we all went to Eloy and they wouldn't let me go any further east. And they pulled me back to Paris and I stayed there. And those are my family now. That was the beginning of the sky family, basically.
LF Isn't that great?
Dave And Jimmy and Eli and all that whole crew. Jeff and Tanya and Craig and all that whole Southern California crew, right? Yeah, man. So grateful to be around those people. And Craig helped me. He was the guy that said, hey, man, you're the new guy here. I need you. You can do this. And without his help, I wouldn't be where I am today. In the skydiving sense. For sure.
LF Sure. And what a crew, too, because you and I came up roughly the same time. You're a few years before me. But the crew that was out of Paris Valley specifically, these were the guys that were making. The turning themselves into legends right in front of your eyes. I mean, this was Eli and Fritz and Mike and teams that came through that were fucking mind blowing, and it was either Eloy or Paris. And they just kept going back and forth to do cool shit at one or the other.
LF I mean, what a great time to come up, right?
Dave Yeah. And the family bonds that are made during that time that today so strong. I mean, stronger than ever, right?
LF Yeah. Because we're all getting old and gray.
Dave Yeah. So that was kind of that. And then I put myself through college and got my engineering degree, and then we started the Navy Free Fall School at Scott of San Diego. That opened up
LF TAC air.
Dave Yeah. TAC air. I was the master rigger that started with them and got everything started for the first year. And then SUNPATH scooped me up, and that's how I ended up in Florida. I went to Florida and started my engineering degree at SUNPATH or engineering career at SUNPATH.
LF Dude, that's badass. And you and I have actually been back and forth to a lot of the same places because I flew for about a week. I was supposed to be there for about a month for TAC Air, but the plane that I had kept breaking down but yeah. Was out there in that field, and what a beautiful spot as well. And those fucking military guys, holy shit.
Dave We had a good time. That first year was a challenge, but it's changed a lot since then. But, yeah, it was a good time. So that was a good little springboard. And it let me kind of transition that was my transition out of the skydiving full time back into kind of going into. the Rigging engineering side again, right?
LF Sure. Now, did you go into college for engineering specifically so that you could take it the direction that you did?
Dave Yes, it was the only way to go to take my passion for rigging to the next level, to add that layer of pedigree, I guess, as you want to call it.
LF Right, sure.
Dave Put the technical side behind just being a rigger.
Dave And that's really what I went that was my core. That was what I wanted to do to get that core engineering knowledge so that I could go the next level. Because you can't jump forever. You can't jump for a living forever. No, some people can't, but I can't.
LF No, I can't do it either. I can't do it either. It's kind of cool because I consider myself just an average jumper. We don't put a whole lot of thought into what goes into when you get to your level of rigging. And if you'd have told me you went to school for engineering, my idiot mind would never connect that that has to do with learning the engineering side of doing something like rigging. So it's super interesting to find out what really goes into the shit that allows me to go do stupid shit. Falling out of an airplane. It's so cool.
Dave No one knows. That's all behind the curtains, right? Yeah, man. Quite honestly, we lose a lot of people as soon as it turns to dry salteen crackers. You probably wouldn't be surprised at how many people just kind of their eyes go to the right and they just start drifting away.
LF Yeah, we can make a fun thing. Not fun really fast. It's all right. I mean, as soon as you start. Digging into the nuts and bolts that'll happen to pretty much anything.
Dave Yeah. But the design part, there's a lot of work that people just don't have any clue. The evolutions. And the design aspect of it takes so long. I mean, it has to think what you think and double it,
LF I would imagine, because you're not just talking about the you're, you're talking about coming up with the concept, and then you're talking about having to figure out how to make the thing, then building a prototype, then testing it, then refining it. And it's got to be years and years, and then you got to find some son of a bitch that's going to go jump something for the first time.
Dave Well, that's a good point there. That's really the big difference that I'm trying to make as kind of the newer generation, I call me and Kelly, the young generation in the manufacturing world, owners wise. And what you just said is very true. Historically, when it comes to design of harness container systems, it's conceptual. You have to then get it out of concept to some sort of templates to fabric and then build it and go, is that right? Is it not right? What I've done with my company is I've taken it to the very next level that no one else is doing, which is I'm using modern tools and modern technology to create that, to take that concept to a virtual state first, a technically accurate virtual state. So now, over the last ten years, I developed a 3D solid model to design harness container systems.
Dave In SolidWorks.
LF So like the CAD systems, the same type of stuff they're using for Canopies?
Dave Yeah, it's 3D solid modeling. It's 3D engineering design software.
LF So if I have my head straight with that, that means that you build it in a computer and you can put it in the exact environment that it would be in in the real world and see if it all goes to shit or if it works.
Dave Not necessarily in function state, I can design it and in aesthetic state, right? So I know the plan form I'm going to use, right? So I know my thick thickness, my length and things like that, the volumes that I need to accommodate for parachutes, stuff like that. And what I can do now is I can create that solid model in the software, manipulate it for volumes and for aesthetics, and then I can take it down to 2D templates from there and then build
LF oh, that's epic.
Dave It gets me about 90% there. There's still 10% that has to be done in reality, right, because there's stretching and things that you can't accommodate for quite accurately. But it's modern design of harness container systems, parachute systems, sport ones.
LF But, they've come a long waym yeah?
Dave Yeah, but we're the only ones using 3D solid modeling, from generation, from concept to 3D solid model to product.
LF That's cool.
Dave Before, in the old world, you'd get about 20% there and you'd have an 80% road to ago. Now we can get 85, 90% there and have that 10- 15 percent to touch up. Now, you said there is another aspect to it, which is production, construction, and then testing all those things, right. So it's a lot of moving pieces, it takes a lot of money, it takes a lot of time, sure. And it takes a lot of trust. That's what I've really noticed recently is that. If I don't know if you had somebody that was just I don't want to say a nobody, but just a new person that just says, here's my name, John Joe, and here's this rig I got, it'd be really hard to find someone to just say, yeah, let me jump that and see what happens. There's an evolution of your reputation that I've found that is almost required for people to trust you.
LF Yeah, well, I was just going to. Ask with a life saving piece of Equipment. well, I was going to ask if you find it daunting being basically the new kid on the block, going against names like Booth. I mean, it's tough to go up against people that have been established for, like, yours and my entire career. From the very beginning, those rigs were standard. SUNPATH was standard. So is it Daunting going up against them?
Dave I would say yes, it is Daunting, but I wouldn't say it's in a negative way because I've worked with all these guys, I've worked with Bill Booth. I've been so fortunate in my career to be able to I mean, I'm on PIA committees with all these guys. We work together, we're friendly competitors. We try and use each other's experience in that safety aspect to maintain the envelope together.
Dave In a competitive world, I wouldn't say there's ever really against UPT. I don't really ever feel that way. They're so nice to me. I mean, I'm such good friends with everybody there. We're all making good gear. There's plenty to go around. That's just the way we always try and treat each other. We're on the road, on the boogies. It's just we're just a bunch of carnival acts, right? So it's just one we're just going from one to the next to the next and we're all set. Number ten is tear it down. And we love each other, and we help each other, and that's the way it's supposed to be on the road in the marketing world. And if we all just acted like that, that dauntingness just kind of goes away. Right?
Dave Now, there are those other ones out there that tend to not have that feeling, right. Where there is, the competitive side takes over. And I'm not that way that I don't want to build my company that way, and I don't really want to be big anyway. That's not our motive. Right. I have no desire to be big. We want to be the Ferrari model.
Dave We're not kmart. We're not walmart. I don't even want to call it we're Peregrine manufacturing. We're different. We've always kind of been, and I'm totally okay with that. That's kind of the way my whole life's been. I have always danced to a different beat, kind of.
Dave And it's okay. It's okay to be like that, I think, especially in this world, just because I think it makes us stand out a little bit.
Dave When people call and say, oh, I never heard of you, I'm like, well, great. You found us. Welcome. I'm glad you found us. Here's what we have, and our marketing strategy is very much organic versus in your face. And that's what we want. We want that organic, real type of filtration through the industry.
LF Sure. Well, it's certainly not that it hasn't been done many times before. I mean, these guys are a great they're the perfect example of that. I remember when he first came out, I was like, who, fuck. They make parachutes? No, I don't want to jump that. I've never heard of that. And now it's. You know, head to head with the biggest manufacturers out there, and their motto is Fuck, yeah. So it's a very similar mentality, I would think. Granted, maybe a little bit more that direction, but that's a good
Dave You just validated Stephanie. You just validated Stephanie. Because our new hashtag is Fly a fucking Falcon.
LF See, there you go. There you go. Well, again, I'm the fucking pilot. So you're selling it to the right guy. I'm going to buy that kind of stuff. And just to step back a little bit, you were talking about collaborating. In regard to the safety stuff, I think that that, especially in the manufacturing world, is a must. Because one manufacturer putting out sketchy, dangerous gear doesn't look bad just for them. It makes the entire sport look bad because the real world does not differentiate between SUNPATH or UPT or Peregrine. It was some guy with a parachute, right? That's all it was. So we're not a big enough sport for there to be wiggle room in that respect. It's all got to be safe, which means that it should boil down to, I like this Rig style, I like what Peregrine is doing. I like the design, I like this, I like that. And it boils down a little bit more to personal preference.
Dave It does. And that's the way the market is right now. We all make fantastic safe equipment that's across the board, and the skydiving public should feel very good about that. I think it is the way what you just said is very true. I think that's happening today. It should come down to personal preference. Some Rigs fit a little different for different body types and things like that. We try and accommodate as best we can, and you're absolutely right. It comes down to flavor. It's like a car. It's what people like. Get what you like. Get what you want. Get what you like.
LF Do you see any.... I've asked the question a few times, especially for canopy manufacturing, how much further can we go? Is there anything new on the horizon? Because I can't envision it, but obviously I'm not the guy trying to design that stuff. So I'll ask you, is there anything on the horizon? Do you foresee a time when the gear that we use today is old school?
LF Really? What do you think it's going?
Dave There's technologies being developed right now to eliminate sewing. So things like ultrasonic welding. So we're going to be in ten years, I bet you. We're not even sewing parachutes together.
Dave They'll be ultrasonically welded together, so the seams become no stitching anymore. And containers, same thing. A nylon fabric can be welded together, which actually creates a stronger seam because it's now the strength of the fabric versus the strength of the stitch. And you can do crazy design stuff now when you can now weld different profiles together versus having to sew them. It changes the whole origin of the design. So when you take it back to your design checklist, where before you even have anything to play with, you can now design and create totally differently because you have different tools. And that's what my company will always be looking at, that we're never going to sit back and go, oh yeah, we do it this way, and we're just going to continue doing this way. I've built this company on looking forward and using tools and whatever we can that's available to us today and what's going to be available tomorrow versus going, oh, we just do it this way all the time. I'm always looking for better ways of doing things and doing things and making things better. Sure, we'll do the. The idea of not having stitching anymore. I mean, just from just a fun jumper perspective that cuts down on the little wear points that you get, that cuts down on the weight of the container will drop. That's the big deal, is reducing weight now we reduce fatigue and now we can do more jumps. Yes. All these other things. That's a big push. So, yeah, the take away, all the thread, all that stuff, there's going to be big changes. Plastics are outperforming metals now. There's polymers these days, things like injection moldings are becoming way more affordable now where you don't have to buy the dyes anymore. There's technologies that were out of reach for our industry before are becoming within reach. 3d printing is taking leaps and bounds that are now printing metals. Things that we could potentially use in replacement of older technologies that we have been using. Right. So always looking to advance with taking that, why have we used it for this long? Also into consideration.
LF Sure, absolutely.
Dave A lot of people don't know the why. Why do we do this? I'm always asking, why are we always using this? If there's a valid reason, cool. But if someone just goes, I don't know, just because then I start scratching my head or scratching and sniffing a little more, like, what's happening here?
LF Isn't that usually the answer, though? It's, well, how come you're still doing it that way? Don't know. Just because that's always how it's been done.
Dave Right. People don't think. No, people don't think.
LF Well, that's the great thing about having guys like you out there doing that thinking, because people like me don't want to do that thinking. I want to put my go jump. I don't want to. I really don't. I will sit back and marvel over the advancements that are made, but I don't want to be fueling those fucking advancements. That's a lot of fucking work.
Dave Well, you know, and that's that keeps me employed, and I love to hear that. And that's why I love my job. It's part of the reason why I love my job, because I'm able to do that right. I'm able to be that little tinkerer in the back that makes it so everybody can have fun. Sure, there's some heart in that for me.
LF Well, and that's how I discovered my little niche, is not necessarily coming up with the advancements. It's sitting here, drinking wine, talking to people that actually do that shit. So I write about it or I talk about it, and I've said it a million times on the podcast. The coolest thing about me is all my friends, because all my friends do all these amazing things. And I think you said you watched the episode I did with Junior, the first YouTube on the podcast. And at the very end of it, I said the same thing. I wanted him to send video so I can take credit for all his accomplishments. Because at the end of the day, I love it. You'll tell all these great stories and then it becomes a, hey, did you hear that guy that was on the Lunatic Fringe podcast? And so somehow I'm getting credit for shit I had. Nothing to do with.
Dave perfect. I like that, though. I might use that and not give you credit, which is the best thing about me, is my friends.
LF Yes. Man yes. So do you see any advancements coming down the line in regard to safety? Because that's something I think has advanced quite a bit over the years. But then again, a lot of it is still boils down to the students type stuff. But do you see anything coming with equipment safety wise? Or is it just refinements on what we've already got?
Dave We've got things pretty good as far as safety goes. Simplicity is always better.
Dave Taking things back to a more simple place where it's more of a universal feel site pictures are the same. And trying to take the outliers and bringing things into a more of a consistent thing. It's mainly in the rigging world.
Dave Getting rid of things like sharp plastics. There's ways that we're doing now, like on my new system, we're removing grommets and side flat plastics out of the main container and putting the d-rings I saw that.
LF I saw that.
Dave Just merely to eliminate snag hazards, wear points, things that go wrong. The rig. Right. That plastic notoriously on every single rig. On the main side, flaps eventually pops out the side, it breaks the binding tape. It's just 90 degree angles where they're line catchers, things like that. Like I said, the envelope has been defined a long time ago. And I stand on the shoulders of giants. I say it everywhere I go. It's all been figured out. 95% of it's been figured out well before I even showed up on the in the world. Right?
Dave And now all we can do now is make sure we maintain that safety envelope and refine and do better with what we have.
LF Yeah. Well, I mean, my personal opinion is short of when we all start jumping with antigravity boots, think the gear that we're jumping is all down to the little things. Like again, being able to mold this stuff and not use stitching, which just off the top of my head avoids so much wear and tear. If there's no stitching, for fuck's sake. I'm going to have a tough time getting my head around that.
Dave Yeah. And just. The design avenues that you can take with different interfacing profiles, without themes. It's going to change everything.
LF Sure. Now I know that you had gotten started with SUNPATH and this has kind of been the path that you were heading, but when did you finally decide, all right, fuck it, I'm pulling the trigger. It's time to step out and do this?
Dave I had probably been at SUNPATH. Well, SUNPATH was in Florida, we were in Zephyr Hills, and then everything transferred up to Rayford and I was commuting. I was still living in Florida, doing two weeks in Rayford, going back two weeks at home and doing the commute. And it started getting a little rough. I didn't really enjoy that. And they gave me the opportunity to live wherever I wanted. So I ended up moving to Connecticut because my parents were retiring. So I wanted to be kind of closer to them. Fast forward. They retired and moved away. So now I'm stuck here in Connecticut. Yeah, I think probably 2011 ish. I started feeling like there's more to doing this for someone else, I guess. Not that I really ... I love my job. I love what I do and I have loved what I do. I'm very fortunate. I'm one of the very few people in the world that loves what he does. Every single day I get up and next thing you know, the day is gone. And it's been that way for 20 years. And it amazes me to this day that I'm lucky enough to have that. But I wasn't happy doing it for someone else. I knew that I could do it myself. And the opportunity came and it was, you know. I was 39, I think, at the time, and decided, if I'm going to do something, now is the time. I'm either going to work for someone else for the rest of my life, or I'm going to just take the step now and see how it goes.
Dave And we went all in like I do with everything else, and it hasn't been easy. It's never easy. Right. But it's very gratifying and satisfying to have a company that's, even though we're at nine years now, so 2013 is when I started this and nine years in. And it's a tough market, it's a unique market. Sure. So you've got to have some stamina. You got some stamina, you got to have some thick skin. And back to your question, is it daunting? Absolutely, it's daunting, because I'm now a competitor to people that are my peers. So it's got a whole different spice to it, you know what I mean? I don't think you get that in very other many industries where you go from being employee and I guess you want to say apprentice kind of in that world, like a subordinate, I guess I'd lack of a better word. Looking at all these peers and working with them and learning and getting experience and then you have to take that experience and branch out on your own. And you have these relationships that you have to manage at the same time. So it's difficult because I don't want to ever feel like I'm a negative competitor. I'm just an addition to the market. I want to be an addition to the market.
LF In my dreamy fun jumper, rose colored glass world. Look out. And I want to assume that it's a lot like a jumper being trained to fly his canopy, eventually going up and competing against the guy that trained him. And of course, you and I know that happens. All the time, and there are guys that will trade positions on the podium, and one was trained by the other, and they'll be cheering each other on even while they're competing. So I would like to believe that the manufacturing world is the same. I know it's not, but I hope to some degree it is.
Dave There is absolutely to some degree. Here's a great example, current example. We launched our new product, the Falcon, at the Invasion Boogie, over the last holiday at the end of December, and we had a great showing. We had great response to that. I got home about three days later. The next work week, I got a call from Greg Rao from UPT saying, man, good job. That was awesome. What you're doing is great. So it does happen. But Greg and I have been buddies and the carnival folk forever. But that's an example of camaraderie between the companies, right?
Dave And I just don't have personal relationships with some of the other ones. And had I had personal relationships with someone from Mirage or something like that, I'm sure it would have reciprocal,
Dave But the other companies, PD, Fluid, all the canopy manufacturers, everybody is so nice.
And the people that I'm not directly competitive, competing are stoked. And we have great relationships with all of those guys. So the industry is I would say that it is actually the way that you were hoping it is.
LF Good. Good.
Dave And in my mind, it is just like yours. Nice. With my one experience currently, and Greg has done that historically, too, but with that current experience, that's an example of that actually happening.
LF Well, and that's what you want to hope, right? I mean, the basis for this entire podcast is the idea of the Bonfire chats and the community behind Scott Iving, and that ultimately, the community is what keeps people in the sport dramatically longer than just the jumping. So you hope that it's going to be that way. So it's nice to hear that on a practical side. It is, for the most part. I would imagine that because you didn't have relationships with some of the other companies, it'll be a little bit colder. Simply, you are competition. But as long as it's always a friendly competition, all good. That's fine.
Dave Yeah, exactly.
LF I'm happy with that world. I can live in that world. Now, I know you wanted to go out of your way to talk shit about somebody for suckering you into coming onto the podcast.
Dave Who are we nailing? All right. We're hitting Stephanie hard because she basically set me up for this. And where is she right now? I'm having a hard time finding that young lady. Yeah. No cue cards, no real prep, except I'll spank on the ass and get out there and do it.
LF I like it.
Dave She'll pay dearly for it at some point in the future, I can guarantee you.
LF Fair enough. Stephanie for when you're watching this or listening to it, it was hilarious because I asked him to make sure he could give me the social media stuff at the end of the interview, and he just kind of glazed over. It's. So this is what we have for social media stuff. There you go. There you go. Honestly, man, if it weren't for the fact that I have to do this podcast, I'm miserable with the social media stuff. I would get on Facebook to occasionally argue with perfect strangers over bullshit. But other than that, my social media was nothing. Just keeping up with old friends. And I'll say it, facebook has been a godsend for being able to keep up with people in the sport over all these years. But otherwise, I couldn't be bothered until all of a sudden I had to have it to reach out to people for the podcast. So I feel you. I get it.
Dave On a good note for Stephanie, I'm very thankful for her for being able to handle all of that stuff for me.
Dave Absolutely. I just cannot do it.
LF It's a level of detail and professionalism that escapes most of us, especially guys. You're in my age
Dave and she can do it.
LF So now, as we wrap things up, let's talk about the social media stuff. How do they find you? I know I made you look up your Instagram. So what's your instagram handle? What's your website? And if people want to get more information on the new container and the products that your company puts out, how do they do it?
Dave Well, we are all direct to consumer sales. We do not use dealers. We have a few select dealers out there, such as rocksky Market just came on as a referral. Okay, so everything's done in house. So we're a different kind of company.
Dave We have a different type of experience. When you buy, you can find us at peregrine manufacturing on Instagram. Our website is www.peregrinemfginc.com. Facebook is just peregrine manufacturing. But yeah, we're all direct to consumer sales, which means we save you the dealer margin right off the bat. So, apples to apples, you're saving about 30% and you're getting a high end system. You're getting it without paying a middleman. That's really what it comes down to. We're changing things. On that note, the whole industry is kind of changing. And hopefully now that we're all a little more accessible, you get a different experience. Sure. So that's what Stephanie's job is to do, is to make every single one of our customers love the experience of getting their rig and designing it and having being part of our family. And it's a different type of experience than anywhere else. Awesome. So, yeah, find us on the website designer. It's all very hands on and we're very involved in process from start to finish. Awesome.
LF I actually did want to ask, have you found on the manufacturing side of side of things that the infrastructure in the states has fucked you over during COVID trying to get supplies and is it difficult to get all the stuff you need to do the job?
Dave Not for me. Honestly, I have not had that big of a problem. A couple of little sketchy things. But I learned a long time ago about material management and inventory management. And being a small company, even a big buy for me is a spec for other companies. So I blanket order a lot of stuff. So my materials are already on order now for December of next year. So awesome. I try and give my suppliers as much time and because the way I model the company in production, I don't have a lot of peaks and valleys. We limit our production based on our capacity.
Dave If we can't deliver the way we want to deliver, then we don't take the orders. We stop. We slow things down so that we can continue to have a consistent quality product go out the door without delivery times going crazy.
Dave So, like I said, it's a whole different type of approach to. Our company and the way we interface with our customers.
Dave But as far as supplies goes, we're good on that. Fortunately, most of the suppliers, all the fabric that everyone gets 15 minutes down the road from here. Both of them. The hardware is an hour from here. So all the stainless steel hardware comes into Rhode Island. The Cordora is right down the road at Brookwood Fabrics. So I've placed myself strategically to where I don't even have to worry about UPS anymore. I send somebody in the truck. I say, Go take the van. Go get the material.
Dave So I think the last time we looked, 80% of our vendors and supplies are within 50 miles of us.
LF Jesus. That's not a bad spot to be, then.
Dave Yeah. The only one, the big one is tape is binding tape. And that's in Pennsylvania. It's like, 250 miles. So it's not even that bad. It's one day ups shipping. So we've really strategically located ourselves to where materials are within reach and not dependent on shipping and things like that, which is paid off during the pandemic. That's exactly what's paid off.
LF That's cool, man. Because it's been a weird time. And through no fault of their own, manufacturers of all different types of equipment have had real issues getting the stuff that they need just to make the products that they're selling. Which sucks for everybody. Right.
Dave You just need one not to be available.
LF That's it?
Dave That's it.
LF In such a weird world now, especially when you're talking about wanting to get your new baby. Because you know how it is when you've ordered that rig, especially if it's your first rig and you're just seething to get this thing and it's delayed for any reason. I mean, fucking hell. As an adult, you're practically sleeping near the front door. So you don't miss the knock when the delivery driver comes, right?
Dave Oh, yeah. I deal with them every day.
LF Yup, Yup. Well, Dave, I'll tell you what, man, I cannot thank you enough for sitting down and taking the time to talk to me. Hopefully, it was not as painful as you had envisioned.
Dave It wasn't. But we're not going to let Stephanie know that.
LF No, you still got to give her a hard time. Still got to give her a hard time. Well, everybody check out everything that's going on. I hope they all pull up your social media and stuff. I wish you all thank you for having me. And hopefully a couple of years down the road, or not even a couple of years. We'll talk when things get rolling and see how it's going.
Dave Yeah, buddy. Man, thank you for having me. It was a pleasure. Dave. Take care. Take care. Thanks. And there you have it, another episode of Lunatic Fringe into the Void, brought to you, as always by and say it with me, fuck yeah.
LF NZ aerosports. Head to Nzerosports.com by Pussfoot. That's right. Head to pushfoot.com the extreme sports collective and check out everything they've got to offer. SummitParachutesystems.com, Jarrett Martin and the family cranking out amazing pilot rigs as well as incredible rigging courses.
LF And now, joining the Lunatic team, it's the one and only Tony Suits. You know them. You love them. Head to Tonysuit.com. Check out all the amazing standards as well as the new incredible signature line they've got going on. And as for us, the Lunatic Fringe is now on on YouTube. That's right. You're going to have the chance to put faces to the audio by heading to Youtube.com and looking up the Lunatic Fringe podcast. It's easy. Hit the like button, hit the subscribe button. Check out all the amazing videos from the previous guests that we've had, as well as new and upcoming interviews. On video. As always, I am the fucking pilot. Head to the fucking pilot.net. Or the princess pilot.com. Thanks for joining. We'll see you next time around.