Is the Halcyon MC System suitable for recreational scuba divers?
Absolutely. In fact most of our sales to recreational scuba divers that want to improve their diving.
Halcyon's DIR approach is suitable for beginning divers whether or not they want to progress to technical diving. The DIR setup is less cluttered and restrictive than jacket style BCs. It creates far less drag in the water. It is also more stable than the jacket-style BC, thanks to the crotch strap. Because it is less cluttered, it allows the the novice diver to more quickly locate the inflate hose to add or dump air. The back-up regulator is always in the same place - reassuringly right under the chin - and not somewhere in the chest triangle or dangling down beside the tank. The student doesn't need to frisk herself to find it, then un-clip it before breathing it. It's there right where it's needed.
Breathing the long hose means even a novice can donate air and still maintain room to maneuver - room which the short hose does not provide. The pressure gauge is easy to monitor with a quick glance down and to the side; remember, there is no bulky or partially inflated BC to obstruct the view. The depth gauge is right there on the wrist where it can be read at a glance - not dangling in a console with one or two other instruments or crunching along the bottom like a brick on a string. Because the DIR setup is so un-encumbering, novice divers are, in fact, far less likely to feel claustrophobic and panicky than when they are wearing more the more conventional BC with wraparound inflation. In fact, one of the key points of DIR is the conservation of energy - it is so smooth and slippery in the water that students can concentrate their energies on practicing their skills rather than using large amounts of energy just to move a bunch of clumsy, high-drag dive gear through the water.
In other words, if the most demanding exploratory diving fosters the use of a clean gear configuration, beginning and open water divers would benefit just as much (if not more) from the reduction in the amount of gear one carries, from a streamline profile that has been stripped of a bird's nest of unsecured hoses and dangling attachments, and from a technique that makes management of out of air situations all the more safe.
What kind of weighting do I use with an MC System?
The traditional weight belt works with any Halcyon MC system. However, for the diver seeking maximum safety and efficiency in their gear configuration, the Active Control Ballast" (ACB) system provides a sleek, low profile-- and more comfortable-- alternative to the standard weight belt.
Halcyon's ACB systems are offered in two sizes: the 10 lb (per side) ACB+, or the hardy 15 lb (per side) ACB Deluxe. Both the 10 lb and 15 lb styles feature a unique design that eliminates the use of "all or nothing" style weight releases. The MC system, coupled with ACB weighting, offers several means to affect a controlled emergency ascent, which is easily achieved through simple distribution of "ditchable" vs. "non-ditchable" weight.
A diver at depth only needs to remove enough weight to allow an ascent in an emergency. If all of the weight is worn on a belt or other similar "all or nothing" weight systems, the only option in an emergency is to "ditch" all of the weight, forcing the diver into a ballistic ascent. Conversely, the diver with a more even distribution of weight may choose to only "ditch" a portion of their overall weight and affect a controlled ascent to the surface. ACB users can remove one or both weight pockets for greater control. The "non-ditchable" weight is easily incorporated via Halcyon's Stainless steel back plate/secure harness and/or keel weights.
Although weighting can vary depending on factors such as diving environment, exposure suit, and tank size, Halcyon offers a solution for every diver's needs. The solid foundation of the MC system with ACB weighting makes diving in any environment a lot more enjoyable by providing divers with the safest, most streamlined gear configuration.
Why are there different size wings?
Rear mounted buoyancy compensation is (still) the best choice for diving when properly sized/designed for the gear package/configuration required by your dive. If you follow the typical design criteria available to all BC designers for the last twenty years, you will find that less than 12 pounds of actual adjustable flotation are adequate for the "BC" portion of the task. The problem with these mass marketed production 'rigs' is they try to accommodate a very broad range of configurations while also trying to suffice the surface flotation necessity. The end result so often found in compromise is absolute failure on all marks.
When diving a 27 pound, narrow full-circle flow around wing, combined with a aluminum 80, stainless steel backplate secure harness, six pound tank mounted counterweight and 3 piece 5/3/3mm Rubatex wetsuit, a 6'/200 pound male diver can be perfectly balanced underwater and very stable in a reliable heads-up surface position at the surface. For additional utility flotation purposes you can carry a Closed Circuit lift bag or Diver's Life Raft , depending on dive site.