Aug 29, 2012, 7:54 AM
Post #1 of 45
I was having a conversation with a whuffo friend of mine the other day, she asked me if I still get scared on jumps. Of course I do, but there are obviously different levels of 'scared' for different jumps. It got me thinking, what has been the scariest jump I've ever done. Either a 'normal' jump that TURNED scary, or an unusual jump that I'm not very familiar with.
My scariest jump so far as a licensed jumper, I think, would have to be a night CRW jump. Gearing up, walking to the plane, and on the ride to altitude, I was terrified, probably to the point that I was actually shaking.
So let's hear it guys, swallow your pride and admit/describe, what was your scariest jump? And what kind of jumps still scare the bejesus out of you?
Mine was around 100 jumps ago... It was one of those unusually calm days where there isn't much wind. I don't even remember the actual jump that well other than that it was a 2way that went uneventful...
Coming in to land on final, at about 40 feet, I felt a sharp tug and my canopy violently hooked to the left. I remember seeing 2 people who had landed before me, just in front of where I was about to land, staring back up at me with alarm. I also remember in that split second after it happened thinking "Oh shit, I'm about to die".
I immediately countered with my right toggle... I basically just pulled it for all I was worth and managed to get the canopy directly over my head again. I managed to get a little bit of a flare in at the end which let me do a pretty soft landing on my feet.
Later the ST&A let me know that it had been an invisible dust devil that had caused my canopy to hook and that I had done a good job not freezing up and trying to fly the canopy all the way to the ground.
I still get a bit nervous the first jump of the day if I haven't jumped in a week. I have a terrible memory and most trips to alt. I'm so busy going over the jump repeatedly so I don't brain-lock that I don't have time to be nervous. I also obsessively check my gear on every jump on the ride to altitude and that usually helps quell my fears.
The thing that really scares me is turbulence under canopy. I hate hate hate it, and flying the big 188 Pilot that I do I almost always have turbulence.
Well I'm still a newb, but on my first student solo I was in a cloud the entire free fall. I could barely see my altimeter and I pulled when I managed to see 5,500. As soon as my chute fully opened I broke through the cloud and saw land again. I was pretty scared.
Mine was scary cause of all the stupid shit I was doing. I went to a boogie and met up with a bunch of old friends. I was on a demo canopy which was a downsize and higher performance than what I had been jumping. Then they ask if I want to go do a demo real quick. So I had demo, new canopy with 5 jumps on it and a downsize going into a H.S. football stadium with NO Pro Rating. The ride up all I kept thinking was all of the stuff that could go wrong. I was nervous as hell. It all worked out and I landed right on the arrow on the field. Well I swooped and drug my foot over the arrow. If I knew then what I know now I would have gladly went to be ground crew and saved a few nerves that twisted. I had a perfect storm of stuff that could have gone wrong and hurt myself or someone else with. Guess I was a lucky S.O.B. that evening.
It was a cloudy day with a ceiling at about 3000 ft. We were doing hop & pops from 2900 ft. I exited, but as I stepped off the step I reached for my hacky instead of getting stable. I grabbed it as I rolled onto my back, the pilot chute went up through my legs. There was a hesitation in my main coming out. I continued my roll, my main deployed normally and there was no further "thrill." My friend who signed my logbook added, "Thanks for the excitement!"
During break off we were really tight up front so we didn't fan out as much as I would have liked. I check above me before I pull and notice someone directly above me about 500 ft or so.
I suck it a bit low so I can track farther away and pull and say a quick prayer. As soon as I'm under canopy I see this guy snivel right between me and the person next to me on break away. He was maybe 100ft or so from me and the other guy.
So apparently his goggles were loose, he couldn't see very well and lost track of us. He also apparently continued to track and pulled lower than he should have, given that he couldn't see and sniveled past me even though I opened lower.
He was a visiting jumper and had the lowest number of the group. Lesson learned: Don't jump with anyone I don't know or feel is skilled enough in a bigger tracking jump. And do mad crazy barrel rolls to check above me
It was my 3rd or 4th solo jump after aff. At 3500 ft the pilot looks back and tell us theres a problem and we need to get out now! the door rolled up and i said " i can still read the stop sign and you want me to get out!" so i did. lookin back its one of my favorite and most exciting jumps. but at the time it was the scariest.
My last jump, about 3 weeks ago. While reaching to pull the PC, I became unstable and tumbled. The lines on the opening canopy caught around my ankle, and pulled my leg straight up. Hurt like hell. Crazy thoughts, like 'If I cut away, will this just cause a big mess?' went through my head. Luckily, I was able to pull the lines off my ankle. Still waiting for the leg to heal completely.
But I did land right in the middle of the pea pit on that jump (without meaning to).
my 4th "console" jump after the AFF course. I got into a flat spin straight after exit (14k), and couldn't get out of it. I was arching like mad, trying to adjust my legs, arms, anything, but nothing worked. After what seemed like ages, with the spin getting so fast I could feel my toes start to tingle, I decided to flip onto my back to go unstable (anything to change my current predicament), then flipped back onto my belly, and the spin had stopped. I checked my alti, I was at 5k. Funny thing was that at no point did I get scared. before I flipped over, I do remember thinking "ok, enough of this rubbish, you need to fix this now or else its going to get horrible". After discussing with my instructor, and others, no one could give me a definitive answer about why it happened, other than to say my body position must have been bad. I was a little nervous on the ride up for my next jump.
Jump 101 I was doing a 2-way with a more experienced jumper. The plan was to follow him out the door about 3 seconds after he left so I could practice diving down to him.
I dove down spectacularly well but my ability to stop was less than stellar: I slammed into his rig at full speed and bounced off him, dazed. A few seconds later I saw a white canopy opening (around 11k), and I assumed I had hit him so hard that I instantly killed him and ripped open his rig. I just balled up and landed as soon as possible, waiting terrified as I saw his reserve descend.
Eventually I saw he was turning, which luckily meant he was alive. It turned out I had hit him in the right shoulder hard enough to pinch a nerve such that he couldn't use his right hand to pull, so he opened his reserve right away and was able to recover feeling by the time he landed. It also turned out he didn't have an AAD at the time. It easily could've been a fatality if I'd hit him a foot closer to his head. Anyway, things worked out just fine, we're now good friends and teammates, and I know my current rig has a good reserve in it since it's the one I made him use.
Moral of the story: watch for people diving down to you, and jump with an AAD.
About 2 weeks ago at Perris being stuck in a dust storm under a canopy which I only load at .95
The wind changed direction after I started my crosswind and had to land down wind dodging planes and the hanger... My canopy coach said, and I quote "Fuck you were hauling ass on your final!"
Turbulence and thermals were a massive surprise/wake up call for me! I started jumping in April in Australia (Autumn/winter) and I'd never had to deal with anything like it! Feeling my canopy fold and collapse and reinflate at 300ft scared the absolute bejeesus out me!
Jump no 90 to 95 tried to get me out of the sport, bad pack job (my own) on jump 90 made my try out my shiny reserve @ 1200 (lost my toggle) = scared, nice downwind landing (forced on me by another swooper cutting in) ankle seriously damaged on jump 93 = scared, get my rig back after repack ankle sorted jump 94 all well then on 95 the pilot lets us know the ride is finished @ 1800 and we all need to get out = scared $#!tles
My 4th reserve ride. I had a tension knot causing a rapid spin. The jump itself wasn't all that scary. I dealt with the issue calmly as I spun on my back. As I was dealing with it, I realized that I had lost altitude awareness and was also aware that time was slowed down for me. Upon that realization I cutaway immediately and pulled my reserve. Had an uneventful reserve landing. The scary part was afterwards when I realized that the loss of altitude awareness could have easily killed me. I had opened my reserve by 1500 feet, but that was still too close a call because it could have just as easily been 0 feet.
Scariest would have to be my first BASE. It was my 1000th freefall and the first antennae jump, year 1980, and BASE was not a coined word yet. It was one of those situations where you had to let your logical mind override your sense of fear.
As for airplane jumps it would be a jump at a Nationals Boogie at Muskogee, and what I fear most is when I put someone else in danger. After a fun jump and at opening, which was not particularly high, I could see my wife getting open just below me so I did a quick front riser spin to close in on her fast. I closed in all right, and way too fast. I ended up completely wrapped with her canopy and we lost a lot of altitude quickly during the process. Fearing we were getting low for a cut away but not able to verify that because I could see nothing but ripstop, and also knowing I was not getting out of her completely collapsed canopy I yelled for her to transfer (as you can imagine, we had a line of communication going and we had one good canopy).
At our slow airspeed her reserve took what seemed (and almost was) a lifetime to get line-stretch and inflate, at which time her round reserve and my square main pulled me to about horizontal to the ground, with my main about horizontal to me.
After she chopped I was able to get her main unwrapped and rolled under my arm just in time to land on the apron near the loading area, and she was caught on landing by Jerry Bird, an old friend of hers, after just making it over a hanger.
Lessons to be learned from that jump are numerous, but of utmost importance, never run out of altitude and ideas at the same time…
Like Phil, it could be one the 3 base jumps I did from the New River Gorge Bridge in 1984, after over 1000 skydives where it was drilled into you to be open above 1200 feet or so.
Skydiving, could be the canopy wrap at the Nationals in Red Deer, Two guys had cut away already, leaving two of us in some sort of weird dance, but I had lines all over I couldn't get out of. I was looking at the ground thinking I probably wouldn't die but would be busted up pretty bad, when the last guy did cutaway and open his reserve. Once he was gone his canopy pulled free of mine, and I managed to land the main in a farm yard using my risers to flare (still had a canopy wrapped around the lines/risers above me).
Opened my round reserve. Looked where I was heading. Great big lake. Step in harness, inside the jump suit. I'm gonna drown. Funneled the reserve down to about 50 feet. Popped it open and landed about 10 feet from the lake.
Panama City Beach. 4th of July weekend about 16 years ago and we had the DZ spending the weekend on the beach and a few travelers too. We had hired a Caravan for the weekend and my buddy and I had our "traveling tandem business" and doing Tandems on the beach. at the end of the day on saturday we went up to do a 12 way. Everyone on this jump was every weekend current, jumped together for around 15 years and no one had less than 400 jumps. we were about 500 yards off the beach on the perfect spot. Exit went fine. We were a little late putting the first point together then broke for the second point and completed that. I saw a guy all the way across the formation turn and and track.
Im thinking "oh ok! Break off" as I slide out and turn I look at my altimeter and see us going through 2500 feet!! I was facing out to sea during the whole dive so depth perception was non-existent. The horizon and ocean just blended together as it was a cloudy misty day.
I turned and tracked like hell and as soon as I turned Condominiums were so big I shit my pants! I could see peoples faces on the patio by the pool looking up at us! I dumped in a full tilt track at 1600' and had my hands by my handles at line stretch. Now I had packed my gear for a video jump and was getting ready to chop it when it opened. I was open 1200 feet. There were 3 people below me and we had 3 land in the water. all high experianced jumpers half of us AFF instructors. We almost killed 12 people in front of family, friends, and wuffos because of losing track of time and altitude.
The only thing that saved anyone was Big Al decided to wear his frappe hat because it was chilly. And it had his dytter in it set for 2500 feet. we quit jumping and bagged it for the day with 4 hours of daylight left. I have a good habit of glancing at my altimeter but also others in the formation as the dive progresses.
No one panicked and started pitching in place but we were dumping with some of us within 20' of each other. Anyone that says "Oh thats pretty effin stupid that wouldnt happen to me" Trust me it can. 12 highly experianced skydivers will agree how stupid it is. and they will tell "Yes it can happen to you in the blink of an eye!!! I still get chills when I think about it.
(This post was edited by Sped on Oct 11, 2012, 11:47 AM)
I did a hop and pop from about 2k because of low cloud cover the pilot said we could jump or land with him. I had a PC in tow down to about 1200 ft, didn't want to dump the reserve for fear of a wrap, but was ready to, with my hand on the RC. Finally came out, I decided no more hop & pops from that low.
Just the other week. Got my A license, and my friends wanted me to do my first licensed jump with them even though it had gotten cloudy. There was a ceiling at what we thought was 4000. We decided we'd just go do a hop and pop, when we got up the celing was at around 3000, so we jumped out at 2800 on my first licensed jump. I remember looking out of the plane and being like.... I basically see squirrels and s**t on the ground. Just sucked it up and jumped got stable immediately and pulled with no issues. Granted many people have done lower jumps than that, but still being new it was quite the rush!
AFF level 1. I can't possibly describe how much I was sweating...literally. Until my feet were back on the ground, I'm sure I stopped blinking once we boarded the plane. On the way up I was so terrified I simply could not comprehend how I came to the decision to try the AFF course. On a positive note, I'm now very happy I jumped....I'm quite addicted and now very poor.
About 90th jump and visiting ZHills for first time. On landing, just as I’m starting my flare, I feel a “pop” with my left toggle and think the line had broken. I immediately put my right hand back and just as I’m trying to grab rear risers go for a “rolling” landing.
After landing I see that the brake line didn’t break, it had come untied from the toggle. I go to the rigger who shows me the right toggle wasn’t tied much better and I had been damn lucky over the prior 60 jumps (bought new rig at 30 jumps). She said the last person who had encountered the same ending with a broken back.
Lesson: have a second rigger inspect new gear if it has been assembled by someone else.
I called the shop where I purchased it (company in Northeast) and they noted the person who assembled my rig had subsequently been fired.
In retrospect, being with about 10 friends in freefall trying to complete a night formation somewhere around 3000' or a little below (pre-audible days). At the time, I wasn't scared until it was time to track and dump, and I jumped a fast-opening canopy. I have no memory of where I opened, but I'm sure it wasn't above 2000'.
At the time, thinking I was going to land in a stock pond when I had about 20 jumps. Of course I wasn't particularly close, but I sure was scared at the time.
My scariest jump started out to be a normal one, practicing freeflying and we broke off at 4500, I was right over a cummulious cloud and decided it would be cool to track right next to it... Oh it really was cool having it whip past me, I misjudged how low the base was and ended up pulling at about 1100 ft. , the ground rush was so fucking scary, and by the time my chute stoped sniveling, I was at about 550 ft. needless to say, our S&TA threatened to ground me if I ever did it again and I beat the lowest pull record at our dz for that year! The scariest part was when I almost got grounded
Poor weather forecast for a night jump! Around my 60th jump, recent B licensed, I was invited to my first night jump. I was jumping 190 canopies but on that night I decided to go with an old Raider 220, just because I've seen more experienced jumpers have very bad landings on night jumps before. During the climb inside that 182 with my newbies best buddies I was very, very nervous and one of my friends said: "why am I doing this again?" So I got a bit better knowing I wasn't the only one scared up there. The instructor gave us a great spot and we got out at 7000ft. That small freefall was a blast. The city looked amazing and dark sky was incredible. It paid out! I deployed at 4000. Then...
winds had picked up a lot and that huge 220 (my wingload was 0.9 on a 190) had literally stopped in the air. I was right on top of the DZ, but at 2000ft winds got really strong and I started to fly backwards, and fast! I was about to get out of the DZ (with a runway of 4000ft) when I grabbed the front risers and started to pitch down the canopy, alternating right and left inputs in order to "cut" the wind and get to the ground ASAP. I manage to land just inside the airfield and the canopy dragged me on my back for about 20 feet until it got entangled on something.
That was the second and last load at that evening. More experienced jumpers came to congratulate me for my attitude in preventing an off site landing. For those who didn't do a night jump yet, DO IT. It's incredibly amazing, just check the details of the forecast in advance and get a very experienced instructor.