Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
"But I'll be really careful!"

 


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jun 22, 2004, 5:02 PM
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"But I'll be really careful!" Can't Post

One of the things I hear over and over from 200 jump wonders is the reasoning "I can jump a tiny canopy because I'll be really careful and I won't take any chances." Had an experience this weekend that highlights the fallacy in that thinking.

There I was at the Solstice Boogie with my big boat of a canopy (silhouette 150) because my Safire 119 needs new lines. After a few jumps I get really bored. Edge comes to the rescue with a demo Xaos-21 98. It's the smallest canopy I'll have jumped so far (by one square foot) but it's near the end of the day, the winds are steady, traffic is low (one caravan is flying) the elevation is around 400 feet and the grass is soft. Perfect. So I swap it out and get on a load.

No sooner did I go up to manifest but I get asked on the state record. No problem; I'm in the outer ring, which means a long track and a (relatively) high opening per their breakoff plan. But first the POPS record has to go up, and one thing leads to another and it's 10pm. (The sun was still up, the pilots were just tired.) So they postpone it.

Next morning at 9am we dirt dive and go up and jump. No wind, I notice as I get in the plane. Our planned breakoff at 5K gets pulled down to 4K by an organizer eager to get the record (which we did.) I track off and pull by 2.5. Now where's the DZ? There, off in the distance. Great. I would have made it with the Safire, but with this thing? I have no idea how it will glide, so I choose a field I know I can make. I keep the brakes stowed for a while to get some glide.

At 1000 feet I release the brakes - and realize the thing has a strong right hand turn built into it. At 500 feet I realize there is indeed a light wind - but from my approach it's going to be a downwind landing, and I'm not going to try and turn and land in the tree-lined gravel road. At 100 feet I see all the ditches created by dirtbikes tearing up the formerly muddy field, and I turn about 30 degrees to line up with the dirt road running through the field (which at least has ruts all in the same direction.) I land with my feet in front of me and create quite a roostertail of grass and dust before I come to a stop. Total damage - dirt on one thigh.

Now, I managed to pull that one off both through previous experience (a bunch of jumps an an FX-99) and knowing how to flat turn, deal with built in turns, land downwind etc and also through a bit of luck that I had a reasonable clearing I could get to. And after that jump I got a chance to play with the canopy a bunch more and really wring it out; it's a very fun canopy. But it was also a reminder that bad situations find you, not the other way around. If you go with a small canopy, you will someday have to land that downwind, or off-DZ, or with a trim problem, or in turbulence, or in really heavy traffic, or even in all of the above. Make sure you are OK with landing whatever canopy you choose even when bad situations find you. And perhaps more importantly, don't jump a canopy that you _have_ to be super careful with, because then you will never learn how to land downwind or off-field.


SkiD_PL8  (A License)

Jun 22, 2004, 10:44 PM
Post #2 of 16 (2392 views)
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Re: [billvon] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

It really helps hearing personal experiences like that. I am a new jumper and will be getting my first rig before I know it. Posts like yours are what will keep me on big forgiving canopys longer. Just thought I would let you know that while there are plenty of people out there that will ignore your useful advice and keep downsizing too fast you at least helped get through to one.


Chrisky

Jun 22, 2004, 11:39 PM
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Re: [billvon] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

This is an invaluable post.
Usually you don't get to hear this kind of stories from the most experienced people.
All you hear is "it took me so and so long to master this or that size/type..."
While it is certainly true, it gives a poor outook for younger jumpers (Geee, i'll have to wait that long?), whereas this kind of story rather makes one think, he has that many jumps and still situations like that happen to him! Then what about me lowtimer?

Thanks for sharing!


kingbunky  (B 5376)

Jun 23, 2004, 6:19 AM
Post #4 of 16 (2294 views)
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Re: [billvon] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Our planned breakoff at 5K gets pulled down to 4K by an organizer eager to get the record (which we did.) I track off and pull by 2.5.

whatever happened to 'plan the dive and dive the plan?' you mentioned you werre in the outer ring, and if i understand things correctly, you should have waved off and tracked off at 5k. why would you stay in the formation?

please take this as a newbie question, not a slam of any sort. i read and respect your opinions and comments on a wide variety of topics, i'm just curious in this instance.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jun 23, 2004, 9:15 AM
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Re: [kingbunky] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

> you mentioned you werre in the outer ring, and if i understand things
>correctly, you should have waved off and tracked off at 5k. why would you
>stay in the formation?

He said he would key the breakoff; we actually started leaving at ~4500 when there was no key. It was one of several problems/mistakes on that dive, including not taking the time to swap out the main again, not checking the spot myself and not releasing brakes until 1000 feet.

But to answer the last part of your question, I have always had a problem being the first one to leave. Sometimes that's a good thing (we got the 357 way on a dive with a delayed breakoff) but more often it's an added risk with no significant benefit.


Rdy2skydive

Jun 23, 2004, 9:31 AM
Post #6 of 16 (2190 views)
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Re: [billvon] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks so much for this post. I'm constantly hearing from skydivers at my experience level that "accidents don't happen to A or B license holders." They constantly tell me that it's the D-License holders being hurt or killed. They honestly believe they are safe because of their A-license status - like it's some special shield protecting them from getting hurt. After all, "A-license jumpers still pull high, don't make low turns and don't do anything stupid."

Yes, someone actually said that to me and he was backed up by another jumper who had just completed his 100th jump that day.

Your post is proof that shit can happen to anyone, at anytime and for any reason.


freakydiver  (D 26421)

Jun 24, 2004, 7:17 AM
Post #7 of 16 (1994 views)
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Re: [Chrisky] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

"This is an invaluable post."

HERE FREAKIN HERE!

You should sticky this Bill. The problem is, people don't realize shitty situations can and eventually WILL arise under the pocket rocket. Sometimes, as in your case, it has nothing to do with experience and everything to do with luck of the draw. Me personally, I'd rather be under something with a larger window of error as opposed to the opposite...


R00tj00se  (C 100697)

Jun 25, 2004, 3:56 AM
Post #8 of 16 (1875 views)
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Re: [billvon] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll re-iterate what someone else has said about the fact that your posts are generally well thought out and worth reading but...

Quote:
At 1000 feet I release the brakes

...was not the smartest move in the book. On that canopy - Stuck toggle, 2 or 3 rotations and u r history.

Cheers for posting Wink

Not pulling that out to give u a hard time - just think it is worth highlighting in case people don't pick up on it fully.


FrogNog  (C 34484)

Jun 25, 2004, 9:53 AM
Post #9 of 16 (1815 views)
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Re: [R00tj00se] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'll re-iterate what someone else has said about the fact that your posts are generally well thought out and worth reading but...

Quote:
At 1000 feet I release the brakes

...was not the smartest move in the book. On that canopy - Stuck toggle, 2 or 3 rotations and u r history.

Cheers for posting Wink

Not pulling that out to give u a hard time - just think it is worth highlighting in case people don't pick up on it fully.

Yeah, sometimes when I'm gliding back I want to leave it in brakes to make it easy on me, but I force myself to have brakes popped and controllability check done before 2k (if at all possible). If I see something just bad enough I don't want to land it, I don't want to think "Do I really have enough altitude for my reserve to open?" I want to think "Screw that! 2k - check; look, reach..."

Once I flew back with both toggles in one hand for glide while I undid my booties... I think that's how it's done. Crazy


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jun 25, 2004, 10:09 AM
Post #10 of 16 (1809 views)
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Re: [R00tj00se] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

>On that canopy - Stuck toggle, 2 or 3 rotations and u r history.

Yep, should have released them higher, but I was concentrating on making the field. In no wind, if I leave the toggles stowed and spread the rear risers, I can extend my glide on the Safire, so I gave it a shot on the Xaos.

I've landed canopies with stuck toggles before, but had that happened here, I would have had the choice to try to land a 98 square foot canopy downwind without much of a flare or cut away at 1000 feet, and neither is a very attractive option.


teason  (D 18902)

Jun 25, 2004, 1:46 PM
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Re: [billvon] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

Whenever I hear " But I'll be really careful" I tell that I have total confidence that if I put them out on a cross braced itty-bitty elliptical, there is a really good chance that they would be fine. That, however is not the point.
If it's hitting the fan (bad spot, reading the windsock wrong, malfuction ... etc.) Can you pilot the canopy safely?
It's one thing to jump in perfect winds, do a controlled box pattern and land with a straight in approach with lots of outs but that doesn't happen 100% of the time. If you are going to fly a canopy, it has to be a canopy that you can land safely in 100% of the possible situations, not just the perfect scenario.

It seem to me that with low-time jumpers, elliptical canopies are penis extenders. I have a jumper with 70 jumps under a Vengence 170 He opens ridiculously high, barely turns, get eratatic on the landing(his accuracy sucks) and slides in 40% of the time. There is no way you can tell me that that is fun and worth the risks of jumping beyond his skill level.

I think it's the bragging rights are worth the risk to him.


Premier Remster  (C License)

Jun 28, 2004, 7:24 AM
Post #12 of 16 (1654 views)
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Re: [teason] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I have a jumper with 70 jumps under a Vengence 170

Why???


flyangel2

Jun 28, 2004, 11:22 AM
Post #13 of 16 (1613 views)
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Re: [billvon] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

 Bill, I'm glad to read that things worked out for you. You have the experience and knowledge to walk away from what could have been a bad situation. As I read your story, I was thinking to myself: That's one weak link in the chain, well.....there's another, and another. I tell myself, when the links start to get weak, I walk away or change it the situation.

Glad you are okay.

See you very soon.


teason  (D 18902)

Jun 28, 2004, 12:27 PM
Post #14 of 16 (1589 views)
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Re: [Remster] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote
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In reply to:
Quote:
I have a jumper with 70 jumps under a Vengence 170


Why???
I told him I wouldn't let him jump anything higher than a 1:1 wing loading and he emailed around to find the most aggressive 170 he could find.
If I refused to let him jump it at my DZ, he would just jump it at another. (so far he's gone to two other DZs and they don't have a problem with it.)
By permitting him to jump it at my DZ, I can have influence over how safely he flies. I've been told that he's more aggressive at the other DZ.

I can't turn my back on him because I don't agree with his choice or motivations, I have to do everything I can to make him safe and if he went to another DZ and killed himself, I'll always think that I may have been able to change hat outcome.

Small canopies don't kill, poor judgement kills. I'll do everything I can to teach him proper judgement. I may fail but at least I'm trying.


Premier Remster  (C License)

Jun 28, 2004, 1:20 PM
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Re: [teason] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, it was more of a rethorical question about why would someone jump a 170 vengence at 70 jumps....

If nothing else, does he really think he gets his money's worth?


teason  (D 18902)

Jun 29, 2004, 1:05 PM
Post #16 of 16 (1482 views)
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Re: [Remster] "But I'll be really careful!" [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, in that case, i think the canopy makes his d**k look biggerLaugh

Other than that, I have no idea

Wink



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