Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
Chute Opening

 


bdperry1  (Student)

Oct 21, 2012, 6:28 PM
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Chute Opening Can't Post

Hello everyone. I am very new to the sport with 5 jumps, 4 AFF. To be quite honest, my first jumps I was scared shitless and never completed my AFF. I want to ask the experienced skydivers out there a question. When you jump, how confident are you that in reality your main will open correctly? I know the statistics. I want to know how experienced jumpers feel. Does the scared shitless felling ever really leave? The high level of anxiety I felt made it not very much fun. All I did was pray the whole time and I felt like I was playing russian roulette with my life.


suuz83  (B 716290)

Oct 21, 2012, 6:42 PM
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Make 10 or 20 jumps more and ask yourself the same question again.

And for those jumps, instead of 'trusting your gear' at that time, trust us saying that you can trust your gear. Also start packing, learning how a parachute is packed gives you more confidence in how it all works. And if it doesn't work properly at one time... you still have plan B - your reserve.


CarpeDiem3  (D License)

Oct 21, 2012, 7:06 PM
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Keep jumping, and with more experience, you'll learn to trust your gear, and that will decrease the fear. After a while, it becomes routine, like jumping off a diving board into the swimming pool, and you don't think much about the risk any more. But you always have to be ready to respond appropriately to a malfunction.


skyjumpenfool  (Student)

Oct 21, 2012, 7:06 PM
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Good advice above ^ But, I'd add that this is an extreme sport and, as such, is not for everyone. If you are not enjoying yourself, what's the point? Smile


bdperry1  (Student)

Oct 21, 2012, 7:13 PM
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I agree with your statement. My problem is that I keep finding myself watching skydiving videos and thinking that it would be a lot fun if I could just calm down. But, as you say, it is an extreme sport and you are in fact risking your life. I jut wonder how many jumpers feel the anxiety of fear everytime the head to the dropzone.


uberchris  (A License)

Oct 21, 2012, 7:34 PM
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i never really went through the gear fear thing, it just didnt enter my thought process.

however, for some really strange reason, i was scared SHITLESS of the door until jump number 80. i mean really, im going to willingly throw myself out of the plane, but for some reason i just got petrified being near the door, or when i started to approach it from the back of the plane. very weird............then all of a sudden one day i found myself sitting next to it, with my leg outside the plane, staring at the hawaiian ocean, and i realized, HOLY SHIT, im not afraid of the door anymore...............it really happened just all of a sudden.

good luck bro, just keep at it


-Joey-  (B License)

Oct 21, 2012, 7:58 PM
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For me, the jitters were gone after about the 10th jump. (second or third solo jump).

Skydiving has about the same fatality rate as Tennis, just remind yourself of that on your way out the door Smile


ChrisL  (C 35323)

Oct 21, 2012, 8:33 PM
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Re: [bdperry1] Chute Opening [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I agree with your statement. My problem is that I keep finding myself watching skydiving videos and thinking that it would be a lot fun if I could just calm down. But, as you say, it is an extreme sport and you are in fact risking your life. I jut wonder how many jumpers feel the anxiety of fear everytime the head to the dropzone.

Took me a while to overcome that. I felt it a lot during my first 40 -50 or so jumps.

It was worth working through it for me, but everyone is different.

I know another person that just gave it up because she has over 100 jumps and it still scares the crap out of her.

I will say that to feel it at your level is 100% normal


Krip  (Student)

Oct 21, 2012, 9:10 PM
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Hi BD

Read the incident reports on DZ.com.

The trend for the lat 15 yr's is most jumpers jumpers hurting themselves because they can't land a perfectly good parachute.ShockedCrazyMadPirate

The incident reports are a little misleading since no one is keeping track of the jumpers that are ending up being permently maimed for the same reasonFrown

A canopy course can't fix stupidFrown

R.


(This post was edited by Krip on Oct 21, 2012, 9:13 PM)


rhopstr  (A 711219)

Oct 22, 2012, 3:55 AM
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I'm pretty new myself with just over 100 jumps but I'd second what someone else already said earlier: learn to pack. Make sure you understand the function of every bit of kit and when or why you'd need it to be on your rig.

You'll become very familiar with your equipment and especially why it's so safe when used correctly.

That should take the edge off, leaving you with a far better manageable fear level that will most likely diminish as you jump.

So go and jump regularly after you've learned to pack. Your skillset will grow, the fun you'll have will increase and you'll become a safer skydiver in the process. Normally this should all reflect on your fear level.

By the time you have about 50 jumps it will probably be hard to conjure up the feeling of fear that you're feeling now.

Let us know how things worked out for you!


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Oct 22, 2012, 4:37 AM
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Learn to pack.

The little voice going "oh my god, will it open... what if I have a lineover?" as you walk towards the door can then be answered by your other inner voice "yeah, it'll be fine, I remember doing XY & Z and I remeber my instructor taught me all about lineovers and how they occur".

Gear fear dissapears largely with knowledge and understanding.


dsemac91  (A 63513)

Oct 22, 2012, 6:53 AM
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I just earned my A license in May, I have 31 jumps (trying to save money for gear by jumping less frequently but enough to stay current) and I still have a small little fear on the first jump of the day every single time, but once my parachute opens on that first jump i'm all set for the day.

Idk man, when I was a student I walked through so many different scenarios that could possibly happen and I would just day dream about how I would handle it, and if i ever had a doubt I would ask my instructors, over and over and over,(thats what youre paying them for right?)

Another thing that helped me is I watched (and still watch) many many malfunction videos on youtube... on a pretty much daily basis.

But for a pack job error, I think the best solution would be like the above guy mentioned: learn to pack! I'm jumping rentals and luckily the packers here have taught me a thing or two and are very nice. So I trust their work, but once I get my own gear You bet your butt im packing my own gear!


peedeepalmer  (D 32625)

Oct 22, 2012, 6:56 AM
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The fear is likely from a lack of understanding of what you can possibly do. I say this because at jump 5 you are probably only falling straight down with the aid of an AFF. As you skills develop through your AFF progression you will see that your confidence will increase.
For me, I was nervous in the plane all the way to the door, but once I checked in and launched all fear disappeared. I owe this to my AFF instructors. For the first few jumps, I remember coming down the hill looking at my main side smiling at me.
Later, when I earned my coach rating, the fear came back. Again it was the plane ride up and the walk to the door. The difference was now I was responsible for a student. After the first couple of coach jumps, the fear went away.
If you are taking everything seriously, as you continue to progress you will likely get nervous at each benchmark in your career. I my opinion this is a good thing.
Now for what I assume you want, how to calm yourself down…I completely agree, learn how to pack. This will help your confidence significantly. Understanding of how the canopy goes through the deployment process is important. Don’t start there. Get a rigger to help you understanding everything from the pin getting extracted after you throw your PC to how your 3 rings work. Another great thing that worked for me during student progression was staying around the DZ after hours and hanging out with those that are more experience. Remember to filter the bullshit. When it comes to anything related to student progression, listen to your AFF-I’s and coaches. The last thing is stop thinking so much. What scared me was over analyzing my jump. Once I stop focusing on all the things that could go wrong and thinking about how to make everything go right, my confidence increased. Think through your dive flow, visualize every objective of your freefall, deployment, canopy skills, landing pattern and landing…visualize it being done correctly.


excuse  (C 41141)

Oct 22, 2012, 7:06 AM
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I’m still new to the sport. I started AFF the end of May and was signed off to solo self supervision in July (I was only getting about one AFF jump a week so it took FOREVER!!!) Now I’ve got my A license and I’m working on my B. But, I can totally relate. On the ground I loved every thing about skydiving… I tell people that AFF is just like school… When you leave the plane you have homework on the way down, and no one really likes homework! When it was my turn to go up, my nerves kicked in and all of a sudden I wasn’t thinking how much I loved to skydive. I did keep at it, and it wasn’t until my diving exit on the 6th AFF that I started to be ok with it. And my 7th AFF, “graduation jump”, my nerves seem to finally take a back seat. They were still there, but I had more confidence that I knew what I was doing.
My first or second solo jump I had line twist, yes only a nuisance, but I didn’t even have to think about what I needed to do, I just reacted with pulling the risers and kicking it out. Everyone that has posted I have agreed 100% with their statements. I, too, was terrified of the door until I was on my 4th or 5th solo (it made it worse when everyone would yell DOOOOOOR!) And skydiving is not for everyone, but if you want to do it, and continue to jump, your nerves will get better. A good saying “I have not conquered fear, but I kick it in the nuts every time I skydive.” (which is soooo true!)
And as far as your main not opening… You have been taught the skills what to do if that happens. Review them, practice them, and watch videos of cutaways so you can see what others do in that situation, its muscle memory! And yes, packing is important too! Tongue


(This post was edited by excuse on Oct 22, 2012, 7:35 AM)


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Oct 22, 2012, 10:01 AM
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Re: [peedeepalmer] Chute Opening [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
... you want ... to calm yourself down … stop thinking so much. ... Think through your dive flow, visualize every objective of your freefall, deployment, canopy skills, landing pattern and landing…visualize it being done correctly.

......................................................................

Show up early for your next skydive.
Explain your anxiety to your instructor. He/she will talk you through some breathing and calming and visualisation exercises - in a quiet corner of the hangar.
The exercises won't "stick" very well the first time you try them in the airplane, but if you make a point of practicing breathing and visualisation away from the DZ, eventually, you will be able to "slip away"to a quiet place in your mind during the ride up in the airplane.
As you approach jump altitude, you will emerge from your "quiet place" relaxed and refreshed and focussed on the dive flow.
Just remember to do the first few mental rehearsals with an instructor and focus on doing the dive flow perfectly, so that when you exit the airplane, the only thing that will flow through your mind is the correct dive flow. You will land, saying to yourself: "thay went exactly as planned."


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Oct 22, 2012, 12:40 PM
Post #16 of 42 (3725 views)
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Re: [bdperry1] Chute Opening [In reply to] Can't Post

There has been a lot of talk about "gear fear" in here.

What you are describing is not gear fear....it is a lack of confidence in yourself. That, in and of itself, is to be expected and is almost universally common for new jumpers.

You already know that equipment (your main) will eventually not open properly and you were trained on what to do when that happens. The "fear" is not knowing that you can handle it properly and it is going to be there until you develop the confidence in yourself that you will handle the problem properly.

Kinda like learning to ride a bike. It was scary at first but now it's not....because you know you can handle it. It's going to work the same way in skydiving....and it's normal.

Learn your EPs and drill them into your head to the point of being able to instantly rattle off the correct procedures for each and every one of them.


bdperry1  (Student)

Oct 22, 2012, 2:30 PM
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Thank you everyone for your feedback. I will be sure to follow all of this advice. I do have confidence that the training will prepare me for the day a cut-away comes. I just really want to know how confident experienced skydivers feel that they will make it back hone to their loved ones alive and well from a day at the dropzone. I read a fatality report about a skydiver that left a note on her dresser with instructions on how to take care of her affairs in the event of her demise before she headed for the DZ. She ended up being a statistic. I feel that if a skydiver feels that way everytime he or she is headed to the DZ, it's not worth the risk and the anxiety. Apparently, she was not too confident she would come back alive from a day of jumping. :(


suuz83  (B 716290)

Oct 22, 2012, 7:23 PM
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I'm sure everyone is aware of the risk there is in the sport. But let's see it like this. The risk might be higher you die in a car accident on your way to the DZ or work. What would you think now everytime you drive to work? Leave a letter in case you won't make it back..?

If I were you I would make some 20 jumps more and then re-asses your thoughts... If you still feel the same, consider if you really want to continue. If you don't, you understand everything everyone is writing here now.

Another example; I work as a pilot, of which 4 year in general aviation and 6 months in an airline now. I my career, I have witnessed a crash, I have known 5 or 6 persons personally who died in a crash, and a few more not personally. That is horrible in such a short time hey? But would it stop me flying and renting a small single engine airplane in my free time: NO. Yes there is a risk, similar compared to skydiving. But if you true love what you're doing you will be aware and deal with that risk...

So if you continue jumping, go to the DZ early, ask good advise and don't worry too much!!


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Oct 22, 2012, 8:58 PM
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In reply to:
The risk might be higher you die in a car accident on your way to the DZ or work.
Nope, you're about 6 times more likely to get killed jumping than in a car wreck. Sorry.


suuz83  (B 716290)

Oct 22, 2012, 10:53 PM
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Sorry, didn't really know the statistics, but that was what we used to say to our passengers on aerial flights when they asked how dangerous it was to fly on a small airplane. I just assumed the risk was similar flying a small plane and jumping from it :)


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Oct 23, 2012, 12:05 AM
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That's okay. I'm not sure the stats on small planes but they crash with surprising regularity too. It all depends on the pilot, both his skill and esp. judgement, IMO.

Passengers get lied to a lot. Tongue


-Joey-  (B License)

Oct 23, 2012, 12:11 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
The risk might be higher you die in a car accident on your way to the DZ or work.
Nope, you're about 6 times more likely to get killed jumping than in a car wreck. Sorry.

Hmm.. this source says otherwise: http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/...oth/Risk/sports.html

Cycling, running, and swimming are all more dangerous than skydiving, but are less dangerous than being in an automobile, according to the data.


(This post was edited by -Joey- on Oct 23, 2012, 12:13 AM)


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Oct 23, 2012, 12:31 AM
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In reply to:
That's okay. I'm not sure the stats on small planes but they crash with surprising regularity too. It all depends on the pilot, both his skill and esp. judgement, IMO.

Passengers get lied to a lot. Tongue

This site will give you an idea just how many small A/C fall out of the sky.

Sparky

http://www.ntsb.gov/...tionquery/month.aspx


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Oct 23, 2012, 12:39 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
The risk might be higher you die in a car accident on your way to the DZ or work.
Nope, you're about 6 times more likely to get killed jumping than in a car wreck. Sorry.

Hmm.. this source says otherwise: http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/...oth/Risk/sports.html

Cycling, running, and swimming are all more dangerous than skydiving, but are less dangerous than being in an automobile, according to the data.

The data on that site is useless. It compares swimming in Germany, hang gliding in the UK and skydiving in the US. That’s like apples and rocks. Oh and it doesn’t give any data on dying in a car wreck.

Sparky


-Joey-  (B License)

Oct 23, 2012, 1:12 AM
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I see what you're saying, the samples aren't all from the same pool...

Alternatively one could just browse the fatality DB here and note that almost all of them were preventable with either an AAD, proper EP's, or not doing low hook turns.

I'm sure the OP being a student will be required to use a rental rig with an AAD, and isn't going to be swooping anytime soon. That just leaves being able to locate the red handle. And not chopping at 200 feet... Pirate


suuz83  (B 716290)

Oct 23, 2012, 2:53 AM
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In reply to:

Passengers get lied to a lot. Tongue

Haha true! Wink


Joellercoaster  (D 105792)

Oct 23, 2012, 5:46 AM
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Re: [-Joey-] Chute Opening [In reply to] Can't Post

Risk of sudden death? It turns out this is a studied thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micromort

Skydiving in the US is about 7 micromorts per jump. Which in turn is about the same as 1600 miles in a car.

Which I guess means, it depends on how far from the dropzone you live Tongue

[edit to add: the average per day in the UK (I know, not the US) is about 39-41, depending on how you count. So a day of jumping doubles your risk (compared to a non jumper, all other factors being equal) of sudden death when it reaches five or six jumps. Interesting eh?]


(This post was edited by Joellercoaster on Oct 23, 2012, 5:55 AM)


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Oct 23, 2012, 10:52 AM
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In reply to:
Hmm.. this source says otherwise: http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/...oth/Risk/sports.html

Cycling, running, and swimming are all more dangerous than skydiving, but are less dangerous than being in an automobile, according to the data.
I approximately agree with the stats on skydiving. Making 100 jumps a year gives you a 1 in 1000 chance of dying, a figure I agree with. The other day I saw that the average American has a 1 in 6000+ chance of dying in a car wreck per year. I don't know why the 6 fold difference between the two studies. Smile


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Oct 23, 2012, 11:03 AM
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In reply to:
Risk of sudden death? It turns out this is a studied thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micromort

Skydiving in the US is about 7 micromorts per jump. Which in turn is about the same as 1600 miles in a car.

Which I guess means, it depends on how far from the dropzone you live Tongue
So if you make 100 jumps a year, it's the same as driving 160,000 miles, right? Wow, even being an American that's 10 times more driving than I do. WinkSmile


Premier Remster  (C License)

Oct 23, 2012, 11:21 AM
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100 jumps? What do you do for the other 8 months? Tongue


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Oct 23, 2012, 3:14 PM
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In reply to:
100 jumps? What do you do for the other 8 months? Tongue
Laugh Exactly.

Although living in the PNW and working 4-5 days a week and having a family, I'm happy if I get 200 jumps a year. After I retire I hope to do a steady 400+ a year though.

I'll then have to drive 640,000 miles a year. Tongue


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Oct 23, 2012, 5:26 PM
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In reply to:
Although living in the PNW and working 4-5 days a week and having a family, I'm happy if I get 200 jumps a year. After I retire I hope to do a steady 400+ a year though.

I'll then have to drive 640,000 miles a year. Tongue
You are going to have a fuel problem...

Talk to BillVon...he may have a hybrid or a spare solar panel he'll sell you
LaughLaugh


Krip  (Student)

Oct 23, 2012, 9:57 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
100 jumps? What do you do for the other 8 months? Tongue
Laugh Exactly.

Although living in the PNW and working 4-5 days a week and having a family, I'm happy if I get 200 jumps a year. After I retire I hope to do a steady 400+ a year though.

Hi John

The stats are what they are. But they often don't tell the whole story.Shocked

I'm guessing that the car insurance premiums for your packing machine ( son) is a lot higher than for your daughters. I don't remember why but for some reason males under the age of 25 pay high insurance premiums.

Since we're retired we don't drive on wkends, rush hr, friday, Sat nights (bar thirty)etc etc..

Of course shit still happens, but at least we can minimize the risk by choosing when we drive and have lots of underinsured motorist coverage.

R.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Oct 23, 2012, 10:30 PM
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In reply to:
I'm guessing that the car insurance premiums for your packing machine ( son) is a lot higher than for your daughters. I don't remember why but for some reason males under the age of 25 pay high insurance premiums.
Because young males are the most dangerous drivers. They are all testosterone and little judgement. Same reason they drill into the dirt doing swoops. Unsure


In reply to:
Since we're retired we don't drive on wkends, rush hr, friday, Sat nights (bar thirty)etc etc..

Of course shit still happens, but at least we can minimize the risk by choosing when we drive and have lots of underinsured motorist coverage.
Underinsured motorist coverage has helped me out before, I'm afraid. Yes, you can minimize your risk by staying home at night and in bad weather.

I just don't agree with anyone who says the drive to the DZ is more dangerous than the skydive. The stats quoted here and my own personal experience tell a much different story. I feel that line is often touted by people trying to calm their own fears.


Joellercoaster  (D 105792)

Oct 24, 2012, 4:33 AM
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In reply to:
I just don't agree with anyone who says the drive to the DZ is more dangerous than the skydive.

Me either, but - funny story (and it IS funny, because they were OK):

A couple of seasons ago we got a call from a tandem student saying they wouldn't make their appointment.

They'd crashed their car on the way to the DZ.

Shocked


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Oct 24, 2012, 11:29 AM
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I'm not too worried about the main opening. It has every time so far, and I've rushed through some seriously sloppy packjobs.

And there's a reserve too. While it can fail, the numbers show that they open very reliably.

Understanding your gear, how it's put together and how it works will help a lot with the fear of the main not opening. But there's a lot of other things to be afraid of too.

The fear will abate after a while, but it never goes completely away, at least not for me.
I've had very experienced jumpers tell me that they still get nervous on the plane. And they say that if they ever reach the point where they aren't, then it will be time for them to hang it up, because they are starting to ignore the very real risks. And that's dangerous.

There's this DUCK that has been through AFF (and a lot more). She does a very good job of articulating the feelings and fears that go through most student's minds during the progression. That might help.

And they are rather funny too.


MikeJD  (D 10605)

Oct 25, 2012, 1:26 AM
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I always get a bit vexed by these discussions about relative fatality risk. Even if one is orders of magnitude higher than the other, the risks of you being killed in a car wreck and being killed skydiving are both very small.

I think what you've been experiencing is more of a gut reaction to putting yourself in a very unnatural situation - and the longer and more often you do it, the more natural and less frightening it becomes.

You were asking specifically about the fear of your canopy not opening - I find that varies a lot depending on recent experience. Under normal circumstances I don't give it much thought, but if I've had an uncomfortable or scary opening lately then it's very much at the forefront of my mind when I dump! Smile

Body position is at least as much of a factor as packing technique, by the way - line twists, for example, are often caused by people not having their shoulders level during deployment.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Oct 25, 2012, 3:02 AM
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In reply to:
I think what you've been experiencing is more of a gut reaction to putting yourself in a very unnatural situation - and the longer and more often you do it, the more natural and less frightening it becomes.

Years ago I was involved in testing done by a well known government agency. They wired us for sound, heart rate, respirations, pupil dilation and a bunch of other shit. What they determined was that experienced jumpers shows the greatest signs of stress at pull time. The next down the list was at take off.

I told them their data was all fucked up….I started getting scared when I drove onto the DZ and stayed that way until the beer light came on.Wink

Sparky


chuteless  (D 41)

Oct 26, 2012, 8:31 AM
Post #39 of 42 (983 views)
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Re: [bdperry1] Chute Opening [In reply to] Can't Post

You should be worried more about being in a motor vehicle, and not knowing if the brakes will slow you down.

Your parachute is made to open, and if it doesnt, that is why we have a reserve chure.

You are likely to get grey hairs all over your head from worrying about what amounts to a simple waste of time.

If you don't break the tether that keeps you bound to earth, you will never really know in your heart just what a great thrill and a safe thrill, you are rejecting for a folish though that your chute isnt going to open.

Go for it, and don't back down. You'll never regret taking that stand.

Bill Cole


airtwardo  (D License)

Oct 26, 2012, 12:09 PM
Post #40 of 42 (955 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Chute Opening [In reply to] Can't Post

Years ago I was involved in testing done by a well known government agency.


In reply to:

Food & Drug Administration? Tongue


stringtheorygal

Oct 26, 2012, 3:37 PM
Post #41 of 42 (920 views)
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Re: [bdperry1] Chute Opening [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I'm wading through the fear stuff myself. As I wait for the winds to cooperate so I can continue my AFF jumps, I've been reading Brian Germain's Transcending Fear. Highly recommended!

Also concur about the Skydiving Duck cartoons! http://tailotherat.blogspot.com/...sky-diving-duck.html

Smile


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Oct 26, 2012, 6:46 PM
Post #42 of 42 (899 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Chute Opening [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Mike,

Quote:
Years ago I was involved in testing

The first article I ever read on this type of testing was in PARACHUTIST about 1965.

Quote:
What they determined was that experienced jumpers shows the greatest signs of stress at pull time.

Every article that I have ever read on this subject has resulted in this same conclusion.

Me, the greatest stress was just before the door was opened. Once the door was open, I was in another, but comfortable, world.

Quote:
I told them their data was all fucked up….I started getting scared when I drove onto the DZ and stayed that way until the beer light came on.

Beautiful! That one got me laughing at the keyboard.

JerryBaumchen



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