Forums: Skydiving Disciplines: Freeflying:
AFF then RW or Freefly

 


davelepka  (D 21448)

May 3, 2004, 9:18 AM
Post #1 of 17 (2020 views)
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AFF then RW or Freefly Can't Post

 
There seem to be a few posts about this, so I thought I'd toss another one in.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH FREEFLYING STRAIGHT OFF OF AFF. YOU NEVER HAVE TO BELLY FLY AGIN EXCEPT FOR TRACKING AND PULL TIME.

There, I said it. Now to explain it.

There are considerations to keep in mind if you want to go freeflying right from the start (which I'll list below). The trick is that following these considerations is essential to safety, but seem to be contrary to what the new freeflyers want to do.

1. You have to jump alone (or with a HIGHLY experienced freeflyer, as in 1000+ freefly jumps) unitl you have mastered some basic skills. If you cannot maintain a heading, you cannot maintain visual contact with other jumpers, and this is a safery risk. If you cannot effectively transition into a controlled track, you won't be able to break off. If you cannot hold a position, you won't be able to maintain a fallrate, again, thats bad. So unitl you can hold a heading, maintain a fallrate, and transition to an effective and controlled track, you need to do solos. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL AND THERE CANNOT BE EXCEPTIONS.

The problem with #1-
Nobody wants to do solos all the time, and not everyone has access to a qualified coach/mentor to jump with. The idea 'Well, a no pressure two way for just the sunset load would be OK' is wrong, but the new freeflyer will do just that. This is where a hundered or so RW jumps would give some added awareness in freefall, and MAYBE make that sunset load OK.

2. You must learn to sit before HD, even on a solo. The horizontal speeds you can hit on your head if you are sliding back or forward is enough to make the exit separation meaningless. You can easily slide yourself over or under the previous or next group, and that sucks. Being able to sit (whcih means hold a heading) will allow you to ensure that you are facing perpendicular to the jump run, where you can transition to your head, hold it for 5 sec., return to the sit, 180, and do it again. Without the skills in the sit, it is impossible to regulate your movement around the sky while trying to fly on your head. Addtionally, once you have graduted to two ways in your sit, YOU NEED TO STAY OFF YOUR HEAD IN A TWO WAY UNTIL YOU CAN HOLD A HEADING, FALL RATE, AND TRACK OFF SAFELY. HD JUMPS ARE BACK TO SOLO STATUS.

Problems with #2-
Ego. Once graduating to the two way status, the progeression will feed the ego of the young freeflyer, encouraging them to make exceptions the rules. No matter how well a two way sit is going, if you haven't met the requirements on your head, IT'S NOT OK TO TRANSITION TO YOUR HEAD, EVEN FOR A MINUTE. RW will not really help this area too much, but again extra airtime will only improve your awareness and help your learning.

3. Once you have achieved two way status in a sit or on your head, YOU ARE A LONG WAY FROM THREE WAY STATUS. The third person will make the safety in the dive five times (at least) more difficult to maintain. You cannot keep you eye on two people at the same time, no matter how hard you try. The speeds of freeflying, and the corking that goes with them, make visual contact essential. You need to demonstrate conrtol and dicipline though many two ways before moving up to a three way. Even then, all memebers of the jump need to be at this level, and should have two ways together before. Anything beyond a three way has the same considerations. All of the jumpers need to be good at smaller ways, and have done smaller ways with each other.

Problems with #3-
Again, ego. Overestimating your ability, or the dangers invloved with a third jumper. 10 OR 20 TWO WAYS DOES NOT A THREE WAY JUMPER MAKE. This is getting deep into a freefly learning progression, so RW is getting further away, but more time in freefall, regardless of the body postition is always helpful.


OVERALL PROBLEMS-

People who want to freefly are typically young, aggressive jumpers, looking to set themselves apart from the older folks. This type of person isn't likely to follow the above guidelines with any degree of consistancy. Freefly is cool, and fast and aggressive and pretty bitchin', but it takes time to be bitchin', and much like the downsizing problem with canopies, everyones in a big fuckin' rush to be a star. Learing to freefly safely and being in a rush don't mix (unless you have buckets of money and hire a world champion for a coach).

As an extension of the big rush, jumping a camera, no matter how small, has no place in a learning progression. If you are learning to freefly, do that first (as in 500 jumps) then try a camera. Camera flying is a skill in itesf, and needs to learned by iteslf, away from other learning.

Also, your skills freeflying are not related to your canopy skills. Many good freeflyers are good swoopers (again the young aggressive jumpers) but freeflying skill does not mean that 400 jumps is a good time for a x-braced canopy, or any other canopy much over a 1.3 WL. Don't confuse one skill set with the other. The solid ground in the landing area may confuse your femurs with a mid-day snack.

Of course you need safe gear and good altitude awareness, but that's a universal requirement for skydiving. Freeflying does require a better conatiner than RW, but if you're still jumping a non-freefly container, you need more help than I can give.

So, yes, you can freefly with 20 jumps. You need to stay in your own airspace, and need to progress slowly and carefully, but you will not catch fire, or explode if you freefly with low jump numbers. There is more to think about, and factors to consider, NONE OF WHICH ARE "OPTIONAL", but it is possible. RW offers an easier intro to the world of fun jumps, and you can never have too much time in the sky, but if freeflying is your bag, progress carefully.

As a side note, keep up on the RW jumps. It's embarrasing to have 500+ jumps, and not be able to dock on a ten way belly round for your buddies 1000th jump. I've seen it happen, and it aint pretty.


hookitt  (D License)

May 3, 2004, 9:58 AM
Post #2 of 17 (1999 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Good post Dave. Brilliant extrapolation of the comments in the other threads.


freeflydrew  (D 23992)

May 3, 2004, 10:26 AM
Post #3 of 17 (1984 views)
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Re: [hookitt] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree... no need to wait to freefly!


Premier ianmdrennan  (D 25821)
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May 3, 2004, 10:36 AM
Post #4 of 17 (1977 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Part of learning is changing your opinion. That post has made me re-evaluate my position on RW before Freefly.

Nice post.

Blue ones,
Ian


FallingILweenie  (A 32605)

May 3, 2004, 10:48 AM
Post #5 of 17 (1968 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

that is a good post with only a couple of comments--if you transition to your head for a minute--well, then you'll probably end up low to pull (i know you probably meant just for an instant or a second or whatever--just nitpicking really).

joking aside, i think that to be a good freeflyer you have to work on bellyflying because freeflying involves flying your body in different orientations--including belly to earth. some FF teams incorporate some belly flying into their routines. My belly flying sucks, and i know that eventually i will have to learn more to be a good freeflyer.

blue ones,
Tomas


bodypilot1  (D 16037)

May 3, 2004, 10:54 AM
Post #6 of 17 (1968 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Great post DaveWink

Be safe.


jmfreefly  (D License)

May 3, 2004, 11:00 AM
Post #7 of 17 (1962 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I'd agree with your points.

My only comment is that just because it is possible [to freefly early in your skydiving career] doesn't mean that everyone is wise to follow that progression. As you point out, it takes a lot more awareness, a lot more thought, and a good dose of caution. [sterotype to follow] Unfortunately, a sizable number of those that are anxious to get to freeflying early are those that don't follow much advice offered to them. Granted that is a total sterotype, but when it does apply, we hear about it -- 'Holy crap, did you see that near miss?! What was that guy doing??'.

My stance is that, in general, RW before Freefly is safer, and in many ways better in the long term for the overall skill for a jumper. But with care and caution, one can safely move straight from A licesnse to FF with very few 'RW' jumps.

Like I said in another thread "there are many paths to the same end, but no one perfect path".


Thanks for the post!

j


WrongWay  (D 27371)

May 3, 2004, 12:49 PM
Post #8 of 17 (1940 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent post, Dave!! Cool


davelepka  (D 21448)

May 3, 2004, 2:28 PM
Post #9 of 17 (1914 views)
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Re: [jmfreefly] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
My only comment is that just because it is possible [to freefly early in your skydiving career] doesn't mean that everyone is wise to follow that progression. As you point out, it takes a lot more awareness, a lot more thought, and a good dose of caution. [sterotype to follow] Unfortunately, a sizable number of those that are anxious to get to freeflying early are those that don't follow much advice offered to them.
-------------------------------------------------------

I look at it this way, there are different ways to make a first jump. Tandem is for the one timers, or those too slow or stupid to jump on thier own. Staic line is a cool way to make a solo jump, without too much effort. AFF is for those who want to learn to skydive, not just try it out. It takes more effort, thought, and dedication, but it's possible.

For someone dedicated to learn how to freefly, it's like the AFF program; involved and ambitious, but with a dedicated student, possible and rewarding.

I do agree however, and I echoed this in my post, that most young freeflyers, by the very nature of being a freeflyer, are not big on rules or limitations of any kind. Freeflying is like the punk rock of skydiving. Everyone wants to be the Sex Pistols right out of the gate, when it would be smarter and more productive to spend some time as Green Day.


(This post was edited by davelepka on May 3, 2004, 2:29 PM)


jdfreefly  (D 24037)

May 4, 2004, 7:10 PM
Post #10 of 17 (1843 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

One problem with people going straight to freefly, is that they never learn to belly fly. Once they get good at freeflying, they are even less likely to go out and take the time to become a good belly flier.

The end result of this will be a generation of skydivers that does not know how to fly on their belly. It is allready happening. I've heard many of our local instructors complain about jumper's with a large number of jumps who want to geek a friend or family memeber's tandem. The geeker feels they are ready, hell, they may have enough skydives to take the tandem rating course. But when they get out of the plane, the instructor finds out that the jumper in question is so bad as to border on dangerous. SIDE NOTE: Let that be a lesson to you tandem instructors out there, never assume a person with 1000 jumps is sufficiently skilled to follow you out on a tandem!

An even bigger concern for me, is that at some point, USPA's current group of instructors is going to retire. When they do, who is going to take their place? Keep in mind that AFF is the lifeblood of our sport.

When I went to get my coach rating and my tandem rating I spent some time on my belly just to brush up on the skills I had not used in a long time. I was surprised to find out just how bad I was, and I used to belly fly exclusively at one point. What will it be like for people who haven't done it since theye got their A license?

I would not mind seeing a requirement added to the C license that required one or even two 8 point 4 ways ON THE BELLY and see it strictly enforced. Of course I would also like to see a belly flying and freeflying formation requirement on the D. Probably not a popular idea, but my ideas are rarely popular.


freeflybella  (D 21113)

May 5, 2004, 6:33 AM
Post #11 of 17 (1825 views)
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Re: [jdfreefly] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps your point will provide good cause for FF coaches to incorporate belly flying into their curriculum.

Smile




Quote:
Probably not a popular idea, but my ideas are rarely popular.

What?! Don't let one unpopular idea make you doubt yourself. The world just might not be ready for lard in their peanut butter. SlyCool


davelepka  (D 21448)

May 5, 2004, 6:50 AM
Post #12 of 17 (1819 views)
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Re: [jdfreefly] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I did mention that doing some RW is a good idea. However, even if you can convicne the freefly wannabe's to learn RW, I doubt they would invest more than 100 or 150 jumps, which doesn't qualify you to geek tandems, or become an AFF I.

As long as being an AFF I continues to be the best way to make money in freefall (tandems aren't really freefall, with the drouge and all) there will always be those who will take the time to learn to belly fly for the rating.

In truth, an experienced freeflyer should be able to pick up RW much quicker than a starting from scratch AFF grad. What might take the grad 500 jumps to prep for the course (as well as qualify), a freeflyer with 500 freeflies could probably prep for the course in under 200.


(This post was edited by davelepka on May 5, 2004, 6:50 AM)


rehmwa  (D 12816)

May 5, 2004, 7:17 AM
Post #13 of 17 (1814 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

This remains a funny subject. Only on this forum do I see the constant crisis of identity. Not on swooping, not in RW, not in CrW, only here. But that's understandable with the younger demographic and more newbies

Anyway, there are type A personalities and Type B personalities.

A type A Freeflyer will prefer to dirt dive, be disappointed when a dive doesn't go as planned, get coaching, want to progress, compete, and feel superior over the Type B's. A type B Freeflyer will not dirtdive, get annoyed at planned dives, break from the plan to geek the camera, not get better at some point, say "at least we had fun" way too much, make excuses, and feel superior over the Type A's.

A type A belly flyer will prefer to dirt dive, be disappointed when a dive doesn't go as planned, get coaching, want to progress, compete, and feel superior over the Type B's. A type B belly flyer will not dirtdive, get annoyed at planned dives, break from the plan to geek the camera, not get better at some point, say "at least we had fun" way too much, make excuses, and feel superior over the Type A's.

See the difference between FF and RW? shouldn't, it's just forms of skydiving

basic stability flying skills are necessary before going to the next steps - either HIGH LEVEL freeflying or HIGH LEVEL belly flying. Everyone should be proficient in tracking away, deployment, and stability (not drifting around in whatever basic body position you are in - belly, sit, HD, etc).

If you want to be a hack, you can do that either with junk freeflying or junk RW.

I'd say the bigger definition of a person is how they define fun.

For the Type As, that's progress and skill - and there's nothing wrong with that.

For the Type Bs, that's smiles and play - and there's nothing wrong with that.

Just don't mix the two, regardless of the discipline they choose to excel at.

But I do think, though, that if you want to just be a hack and are only concerned with smiles, that freeflying offers more variety.... But don't you think it's even more important to get these specific jumpers squared away and safe? They likely don't take it as seriously....


(This post was edited by rehmwa on May 5, 2004, 7:32 AM)


78RATS  (D 25449)

May 6, 2004, 12:34 AM
Post #14 of 17 (1774 views)
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Re: [jdfreefly] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
my ideas are rarely popular

like the idea to binge on taco bell the night before Nationals so you can bust ass at 10 grand on competition runs - not popular.

Funny. But not popular. Smile


Brodes

May 9, 2004, 2:26 AM
Post #15 of 17 (1726 views)
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Re: [78RATS] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent read! Was having a good think about which direction to take post-AFF yesterday actually Smile


NicoNYC  (B 26154)

May 19, 2004, 7:17 PM
Post #16 of 17 (1649 views)
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Re: [davelepka] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks dude! I was meant to read this post. I couldn't have stumbled upon this at a better time. I was torn between which discipline to follow through with, either FF or BF. I'm setting my goal to at least 500 BF jumps before transitioning to FF. Also, getting involved in some big ways too. Awesome! Thanks man for shedding some light on this issue.


DanG  (D 22351)

Jul 12, 2004, 2:34 PM
Post #17 of 17 (1532 views)
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Re: [rehmwa] AFF then RW or Freefly [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
This remains a funny subject. Only on this forum do I see the constant crisis of identity. Not on swooping, not in RW, not in CrW, only here. But that's understandable with the younger demographic and more newbies

Very well put. I feel the same way, just couldn't express it as well.

I tend to tell people that they should get competent on their bellies before going to FF. At the very least they need to be able to get stable on their belly immediately in the case of any emergency situation that requires a quick pull (including a low exit). I also believe that air awareness is better gained on the belly where there is a larger margin of error (time and speed).

If someone is dying to get straight into FF, then it can probably be done safely as dave described, but the mere fact that they lack the patience to spend 100 jumps on their belly indicates that they probably lack the patience to follow dave's program.

- Dan G



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