Icarus Canopies

von NZ Aerosports

Safire 3

The Safire 3 is the result of five years of research, development and refinement. She is the most modern mainstream all-rounder canopy to hit the market.

She’s not just different. She’s a beginner and intermediate wing that let’s you take advantage of parametric design software and Computational Fluid Dynamics technologies used formerly only in high performance wings. She’s been engineered to fly better. More efficiently. More responsively. Safire pilots will find her completely familiar, but entirely revolutionary.

She has all the things you love about the Safire 2 – great openings, safe predictable flight, a short recovery arc and a smooth flare – and everything else you asked us for.

You wanted the same consistent openings. We made them smoother and more progressive. You wanted to have more range. We made the Safire 3 more efficient and gave you the glide to get back from that long spot. You wanted more fun. We made all her inputs more responsive. You wanted even more flare. We found a balance of more power, without inducing an early stall.

The Safire 3 is perfect for your first canopy or a fun intermediate canopy at slightly higher wingloadings. We recommend loading her between 0.8 and 1.5. She’s available in any size you want, so you can load her exactly what you want. If you’re not sure, ask us.

Loaded lightly she is the vehicle to carry any beginner or even the most nervous canopy pilot to the ground safely, and for the intermediate jumper she will make your flying experience come alive with quick turns and a powerful flare.

If you’re looking for superior opening qualities, outstanding slow flight stability and confidence-inspiring flight, the Safire 3 is your perfect choice.

Safire 2

The Safire 2 is an all-round, hassle free, mid-range canopy offering the benefits of 9 cell performance, without getting radical or requiring any special attention. It's simple to use, with consistent, reliable openings, easy packing and great landings.

This canopy is a versatile performer; suitable as a first canopy when lightly loaded, and equally useful as a modern mid-range performing wing at heavier wing-loadings.

The result - an impressively balanced all-round wing offering

• superior opening qualities
• exceptional glide and range
• outstanding slow flight stability
• superior safety

Crossfire 2

The Crossfire is specifically designed for experienced skydivers wanting maximum performance from a modern HP Elliptical without going as far as a Cross Braced Tri-Cell. It is also for those wanting to fly high performance 9-cells, who have previously been cautious about opening issues.

The Icarus Crossfire:

An impressively balanced, no hassle, High Performance wing
Truly elliptical
High Performance ZP 9-Cell
No Cross-Bracing or valve systems
Fully formed nose
Superb openings
Impressive landings


The Icarus Student is a mistake-friendly, fun and forgiving wing, which allows for more consistent flying in all situations. And she’s built tough to withstand rough handling!

Safety is more than just reducing injuries – it’s also about prevention. We work under the methodology that easy = safe and safe = easy. ZP construction, Vectran 750 lines, contrasting brake lines and alternating color packing tabs optimize the new Icarus Student for durability and ease of use. Your students will be safer, for longer.

We gave her a 9-cell planform and modern shaping to make her responsive and increase predictability and – voila! – a student canopy that students will actually enjoy flying. This results in more confidence throughout the learning curve and unlocks faster progression.

Her flare is powerful and super forgiving to let new skydivers spend more time concentrating on progressing and less time with their faces embedded in the dirt.


The Icarus Omega is a 7-Cell, lightly elliptical, zero porosity, RW canopy. It has been designed as a hassle-free all rounder; suitable for RW, demo jumping, fun accuracy and fun CRW. It is super easy to use, with delicious '7-cell' openings, easy packing and gentle landings.

ZP 7-cells may be outperformed on landing by 9-cell (and greater) canopies, but they have gained in popularity due to their low baggage factor, and ease of use - a definite plus for many people.

The Icarus Omega is a truly elliptical canopy, but the shaping in it is very light. The planform has been optimized between enhancing the canopy performance and feel, yet maintaining easy flight characteristics and consistent controlled openings. The Omega's cells vary in width across the canopy, to maintain a constant cell aspect ratio and to consistently control the airfoil shape across the canopy.

At lighter wing loadings (below .9 PSF) it is a good student transition or first canopy, or for those who want to take it easy. At heavier wing loadings (up to 1.5 PSF) it will be zippy and fun, with cruisey openings and reasonable landings. As it's a 7-cell of conventional construction, the pack volume is very small.

As with all our canopies, it is available in any size you choose.


Prior to 1999, NZ Aerosports was the only manufacturer of 21 cell Cross-Braced ZP canopies on the market; a position we held for five years. Even without the goliath marketing power of some manufacturers, we carved ourselves a leading position in the high-performance market, consistently winning canopy swooping competitions.

We realised that the superior performance of the Icarus EXTreme-FX would not be ignored for long by our competitors. Our design became the benchmark in high-performance, with other manufacturers producing their own versions to keep up. We were constantly striving for the 'next step' in high performance, in order to retain and solidly state our market position as the 'leaders in canopy design'.

Jumpers have known for years that 9-cell canopies out perform 7-cells. 27 cells out perform 21 cells in exactly the same way… and the EXTreme-VX 27-cell Elliptical X-braced Tri-cell is the undisputed highest performing canopy on the planet!

The VX enjoys many of the same design features as the FX including constant aspect ratio varying cell widths, a fully formed nose, and zero dynamic distortion. The pack volume is around 5% greater than the FX or 25% greater than a conventionally constructed 9-cell. This is easily overcome with even smaller sizing as the canopy begs to be loaded at least five to ten percent more heavily than the FX.

The extra rigidity in the canopy through both narrower cell spans and broader angles in the cross braces gives the canopy an even crisper more ridged feel - even more than the EXTreme-FX.

Bulge distortion is minimized dramatically, with the canopy retaining its shape so well that any cross section of the canopy will show a maximum airfoil distortion of only 8.75% from the desired shape. This compares to 11.5% on 21 cell X-Braced designs and over 20% on conventional 9-cells.

The VX does not replace the FX. It is primarily a competition wing; designed to swoop massive distances and fly at ballistic speeds for turf-surf purists whose prime objective is to grasp the last shred of performance from their canopy.

As with all our canopies, the VX is available in any size you choose.


Several years ago we decided to get serious about making an all out high performance canopy that would be a significant step up from anything currently available. This is not really a comparatively large canopy market but developing a high performance canopy was both a passion for us and an opportunity to prove ourselves in the most difficult and highest profile market in the sport.

It was definitely going to be ZP and Elliptical but after many different prototypes of conventional construction we realized nothing came close to the improvement in performance we achieved years previously with a rectangular ZP Cross Brace Tri-cell. At the time we gave up on this design due to construction, bulk and opening problems. In 1993 technological changes led us to start work on it again.

In early 1994 we installed a computerized plotter/cutter and had software customized to calculate the shapes. We were then able to begin computer modeling and building our first Zero P, Elliptical Cross Brace Tri-cell. The ICARUS EXTreme. It flew brilliantly straight off the computer but was far from useable. Another year of development was required to get the design to the stage where we had a viable product and enough testing to release it into the market.

In January 1997 we completed testing and released our latest Cross Brace Tri-cell - The ICARUS EXTreme-FX. The name stands for Elliptical Xbraced Tri-cell (EXTreme-FX). The ICARUS EXTreme-FX delivers even smoother openings, an even stronger flare, and packs up slightly smaller than the EXTreme. Most importantly, the EXTreme-FX will now give you turf surfing performance that is WAY AHEAD of anything you will get from a conventional canopy. The EXTreme-FX is not for everybody. It's built specifically for radical maneuverability and is ideal for turf surfing. It is for experienced elliptical pilots only.

The EXTreme-FX openings are mainly controlled by the nose configuration and are very slow and progressive. As soon as the canopy comes out of the bag it starts to inflate immediately and slowly. You know things are happening straight away and you can monitor the opening as it slowly grows into a full canopy. You won't be screaming earthward with a streamer at line stretch wondering when things are going to happen. Openings take a long time but do not use much too much height as the majority of the opening sequence is waiting for inflation to finish rather than inflation to start.

The EXTreme-FX is not for everybody - it's not an all round canopy or of much advantage at light wing loadings. But if you're a bit of a canopy connoisseur who likes flying a canopy and enjoys a radical turf surf then you should definitely consider the Icarus EXTreme.


The Matrix is a Zero-P, purpose built, competition CRW canopy. It is available in any size to enable a match of wing loadings for different weight team members. It can be configured for rotations or sequential/speed formation.

Design Concept
This was a difficult one. So many teams have different theories and techniques that have developed independently from each other that what some peoples perceived needs are directly conflicts with others. CRW is so equipment intense that after training on any one canopy design anything else will feel quite wrong and less controllable. Ultimately the canopy we have come up with is based around our New Zealand CRW techniques and background over the past 10 years. After doing CRW with every thing from F-111 220sf 7-Cell canopies to a set of customized ICARUS 95 sf ZP 9-Cells, the Icarus Matrix is our state of the art to date. We have also customized canopies to other teams' needs that differ from our own.

By going to a 1.8/1 aspect we have kept things docile and aided the opening heading characteristics. By using a bag less deployment line twists are eliminated and off heading openings are reduced significantly, however opening headings are still limited by the direction of canopy lift off from the container tray. Opening speeds are reasonably brisk to not waste working time or give the canopy much chance to vary in altitude from your planned opening height and position.

The canopy has a very short and noticeable recovery arc it will not dive very long unless on front risers. Landings can even be done by letting the canopy flare its self after a dive however with the light front riser pressure controlling this is simple. Landings are good although obviously not up to the standard of an elliptical 9-Cell. There was a little sacrifice to reducing the ballooning turns and braking when it comes to the flare. To date we have had canopies used with wing loadings of up to 1.7 psf still with good landings. The canopy can easily be brought to zero decent rate for touchdown.

Many teams have developed there skills and ideas based on what they are familiar and comfortable with. CRW equipment must be the most modified and customized equipment used in parachuting. For us having a standard product is not as important as giving teams what they feel comfortable with. We are a relatively small company, all our orders are custom orders anyway. If your team wants 75mm webbing on the nose or mesh sliders or rubber band stows for the slider then we can customize your canopies to your requirements. You may not feel that what we have designed is the best way to do things for what you want. Just let us know exactly what you want with your order and we will work with you to achieve what you want.

We have tried to developed the ultimate CRW canopy as we see it. All the teams that have switched over to our technology have been out scoring there previous scores within about 20 jumps. For experienced team we recommend a wing loading based around 1.4 psf. At first the canopies will feel a little dead (unless you are coming from larger canopies) but pretty quickly you will see the advantages. Having a more controllable canopy is a bit like wearing a tighter more docile jumpsuit for freefall sequential.



Our original tandem was rectangular and zero porosity; it sold well, having been developed and released onto the market before any other manufacturer had released a ZP tandem. Eventually elliptical and tapered 1/2 ZP tandem canopies arrived on the scene, providing similar performance.

In early 1997 NZ Aerosports expanded into the US and Europe. We had also secured an arrangement with Stunts Adventure Equipment to provide tandem canopies for their Eclipse Tandem rig. It now became viable to focus our energy into designing a new tandem main canopy.

We learned a lot from our first canopy; what worked well and what its weaknesses were. We stuck with our proven construction design, evaluated some newly available materials and began shaping, testing, tweaking and re-testing the Icarus Elliptical Tandem.

We have now built in excess of a thousand Icarus Elliptical Tandem canopies. In 1998 it was approved for use by 3 of the 5 FAA tandem exemption holders for use in their equipment in the US (no longer a requirement and not a requirement in most other countries). The Icarus Tandem is the only canopy to be approved in the US, which is not manufactured and sold in conjunction with the exemption holder's equipment.

As with your personal canopy, going to total ZP and a fully elliptical planform improves the landings enormously. Landings on the 365 size and above are more gentle than any tandem canopies we've tried. The 6 & 2 option is maneuverable enough to build up a lot of speed for a good surf if you're into that. Nil winds with heavy loads will still have some minimal forward speed as you will get with any canopy, the light toggle pressure makes flaring and controlling the flare very easy.

The openings are soft, consistent and comfortable, they take 500-700 feet. There is a variable lip over the nose as with many Zero-P canopies, there is no flag or hole in the slider, the slider is flat. The openings on this canopy were exceptional right from the beginning of the development program. We have absolutely no brake settings on the canopy, which has worked out very well with absolutely no down side. The canopy opens centre cell first with the ends collapsed, the remaining cells slowly inflate to a full canopy. Off heading openings do exist but will not dive away so do not become an issue. The openings are very consistent. During testing we opened the canopy at Tandem Terminal (Drogueless) on many occasions and had nothing but smooth soft openings.

The cost effectiveness of the Icarus Elliptical Tandem is currently unbeatable. The canopy will still be performing as it does from new throughout its life, rather than slowly losing its performance over the next 500 jumps. For larger Dzs, your tandem masters won't be avoiding the older rigs any more (but the packers might be avoiding the new ones at first). Tandem masters will find the Icarus Elliptical Tandem easy to fly and land; the toggle pressure is refreshingly light and the openings are great.

We recommend the 365sf canopy with the Vectran line (although any size can be ordered).