Mar 12, 2002, 4:13 PM
Post #1 of 11
Executing a good approach is the direct result of planning a good approach. On the ground, before the skydive, check out the landing area. Look for the wind direction indicators (windsocks, tetrahedrons, wind arrows, etc). Predict where you will most likely encounter turbulence. Check the upper winds so you know where you will most likely be exiting and opening. Plan your approach to avoid flying over obstacles below 1,000 feet, leaving “outs” in the event traffic forces you to alter your approach, and that avoids turbulence. If the wind is light, have several approach plans in mind in case the wind shifts or your opening point is what you expected it to be. A good approach plan will have you holding just up wind of the landing area until approximately 1,000 feet. Then fly with the wind to just downwind of your target. Be careful not to put any obstacles between you and the landing area. If the wind where to increase or you had to turn away to avoid traffic or you simply come up short, you could land on an obstacle. Turn your crosswind leg. The more wind there is, the more you will have to “crab” into the wind to prevent being pushed farther down wind. On windier days, turn your crosswind leg closer to the landing area. At approximately 200 feet, turn onto your final approach leg. At this point you should be set up to land where you planned on landing. Do not get “tunnel vision” on your final approach. The landing area is the most congested airspace during your canopy flight. Everyone is trying to land in the same landing area as you. Relax, and keep looking around for traffic. Be conscious of the possibility of someone waiting in brakes for you to land. There have been a number of fatalities and injuries from canopy collisions on final approach.
The better prepared you are for your approach, the easier it will be to fly a good approach.
Exactly. You must be flexible throughout your entire canopy flight. I always try to land in a predetermined area and direction. We always discuss landing patterns at the mockup prior to boarding. It is for that reason that I posted earlier about making a plan and sticking to it. The ability to make turns in both directions and judge altitude will help you tremendously. NEVER get "lock neck syndrome", also known as target fixation. The closer to the ground you get, the more aware you need to be of your surroundings. the LAST thing you want is to throw your final turn only to run right over a student under a 240 square foot canopy which you didn't notice until you were commited. You must be able to stay well ahead of your canopy. If it is flying you, not the opposite, then you really need to rethink your choice of canopy.
That is the thing I'm having the most trouble with on my FX.
It is so much faster than my vengeance It is hard to be at my hook/carve spot at the right altitude.
Of course I hook early/late or take one of my outs to avoid trouble, but getting that perfect approach so that you can surf where you want to seems to be the hardest part (especially crosswind).
Seems it is a little easier to do a hard 180 snap hook and be accurate, but I have been trying to carve more lately (probably safer at my experience level) and my accuracy is sort of crappy that way.
If you have executed a steep carve or hard hook and you are slightly off direction do you personally always correct with your front riser or do you ever bump a toggle (I know you are loaded a whole 1#/ft more than me, but I'm guessing your riser pressure might lighter in the middle of your dive??)
I wrote quite a bit about this earlier. Personally, I make all my final turns with my risers. I always try to be at my "perfect" altitude for a diving 180, but if I err, I want to be high. If I am high, I generally swerve a bit in the opposite direction and make my final turn that much farther around to get to the same "runway." I find this a much better option than making my 180 high and then having to transition to double fronts. Still, if I am not directly online during my final dive, I make small heading corrections with double fronts. Bumping one toggle on final will generally start that artificial shortening of your recovery arc I discussed earlier. If something like that every happens for some reason, I generally go ahead and throw a big circle surf.
Chuck- we must be cousins or something :-) I have been using the "runway" thing to explain set-ups for awhile.
Ramon- Like Chuck, I fly down an imaginary "runway". I pick a runway that is longer than I'll ever need on both ends. Then I fly down the runway until I am at the right altitude and hook away. Being able to swoop from point "A" to point "B" is secondary to starting the turn at the right altitude. Get the sight picture down pat, it should look the same (except for small enviromental changes that affect the recovery arc) every time. Once that is perfect, then accuracy comes into play, but never at the cost of altitude.
I like the harder 180 for accuracy and to swing out farther from under the canopy. It is a trade off, the harder the hook, the more "G"'s you pull which kills speed, but (up to a point) the hardr the turn the more swung out and more dive and there fore speed you will get. The jury is still out on which method gives better performance.
i have considered trying differnet approaches and I have done my share of 360's and 270's, but I am very comfortable and consistant (very important) w/ my 180's. So I chose not to change. Guess I am getting old :-) Same reason I decided not to switch to rear riser flares. Not enough payoff for the risk for me, but I am not competeting w/ anyone except myself :-)
I nail a front riser and stop the turn w/ the other front riser, hang on the doubles and I get as small as I can for reduced drag and the longest dive I can get. So I don't tend to over or under turn.
worry about accuracy later. Make sure you aren't creating a traffic conflict for others and concentrate on altitude. Starting your swoop 50 ft farther down the runway isn't a big deal and no one will know the difference anyway (as long as your select your "runway" correctly). Starting your swoop 50 ft too low and everyone will know it was unintentional :-)
As for the riser pressure I have found that if I get into the doubles soon enough and deep enough, I can hold them longer.
Dont know if its a bad habit or not but thats one thing I never really did is the 1000ft downwind, 500ft base leg, 200ft final. Yes I've done the right and left hand patterns but I always just used depth perception and basic watching out for everyone else thing. I mean I'll look at my alt to see how high I am in relation to where I want to be at a certain alt but thats about it!! I kind of see it as more of a feel for where to be....kinda like chuck explained in swooping, that once you've done it a few times you just know where to start your 270, 180 or 90 approach!!!
The 1000, 500, and 250 numbers are for reference. You can't say start your down wind you are kinda low, crosswind when you are even lower and your final when you low. The numbers are just a starting point.