Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In?

 


Poll: DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In?
PLF 24 / 29%
Slide in on your BUTT 36 / 44%
OTHER? 22 / 27%
82 total votes
 
Amanduh

Oct 13, 2004, 8:36 AM
Post #1 of 25 (2419 views)
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DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? Can't Post

I was trained to PLF. I am just curious because just the other day I was coming in to land, and then for no reason at all I somehow managed to think I was landing the wrong direction and did a braked turn 180 degrees back around and landed downwind (in 10 mph). I was able to stand it up, but later others asked if I had PLF'ed? I told them no, I was able to stand it up (I'm wingloading right at 1.15) I had to run it out like crazy, but a few others said maybe next time just try to slide in on my butt instead. I'm just curious as to what most of you think is the best way to handle this situation IF you happen to find yourself in it. (I will state this: I do NOT know what or why I thought I was landing wrong in the first place. Not until after I turned around and the winds picked back up and started gusting a little did I realize how fast I was hauling ass across the ground. I had been watching other canopy's and there were some people doing hp landings, which could have confused me ?? I honestly don't know...Angelic


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Oct 13, 2004, 8:42 AM
Post #2 of 25 (2399 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Whether you slide or PLF, the most important thing to remember when landing downwind is that you still need to flare at the same, correct height. Flaring high and thinking it's going to slow you down is incredibly common, but it's the absolute worst thing you can do. The bottom line here is this: in order for you to safely land a parachute you must either cancel your vertical descent at the time of touchdown; the horizontal speed at the time of touchdown; or both. Flaring at the correct altitude on a downwind landing cancels your vertical descent, but can, obviously, never cancel your forward speed; you can never cancel out that tailwind. Personally, I am more in favor of sliding landings when the ground is smooth and PLF's when the landing area is uneven.

Chuck

AFF/SL/TM-I, BMCI, PRO


Docspidey  (A License)

Oct 13, 2004, 9:08 AM
Post #3 of 25 (2349 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

As someone who experienced an L1 fracture from landing on my butt, I would advocate PLF every possible opportunity before slide, unless slide is necessary from a personal injury point of view (ie, upper body injury and need to avoid banging it around in a plf). Of course, if done right, both should save you, but a hard landing on your butt can have disasterous consequences. I haven't jumped in 4 months, and can't for another 6--8 or so, at least. *sigh* Oh well, better then paralysis!


SkydiveMO  (D 21338)

Oct 13, 2004, 9:25 AM
Post #4 of 25 (2323 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

The slide is an easy way to land when you have greatly reduced your vertical speed and are only left with horizontal speed, this would be a good swoop landing. The PLF is a safe way to land when you need to dissipate vertical energy from a landing and in most cases horizontal speed is irrelevant though it does make a good PLF easier.

So on a down wind landing when should you PLF and when should you slide? Slide only when the vertical decent rate of your canopy makes it safe to do so. For instance, if you know you could run the landing out if you werenít going so fast you may want to slide it in instead. Now on your approach if you realize regardless of the forward speed there is no way you could stand the landing then PLF. Having started jumping in the Army Airborne I donít have any difficulty cranking out a dynamic PLF and letting everyone laugh as I kick up a little dirt. Bottom line Iíve walked away from every ugly landing Iíve made. On a good down winder Iíll slide it in but I am also conscious of my vertical speed and the surface Iím landing on, if itís unsafe to slide Iíll switch to the safer PLF.

Basically the slide is an experienced technique much like the swoop landing. To safely slide you need to be able to quickly recognize your canopies rate of descent. If you are just starting out in the sport or are having difficulty with your landings then please stick with a proper PLF.


(This post was edited by SkydiveMO on Oct 13, 2004, 9:29 AM)


tspillers  (D 21601)

Oct 13, 2004, 9:26 AM
Post #5 of 25 (2317 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am with Chuck on this one. Keep in mind that there is a difference (and many different ways) between a good slide and a strike with the ground. The flare is the important part to help with this. A strike to your tailbone can be bad. 2 common techniques are: slide as if you were sliding into home plate, and similar to a tandem where you slide on your feet and eventually down to your butt. The second option allows you to possibly stand up at the end if the speed slows enough. Both of these really need a smooth landing area to prevent catching a foot/leg and complicating the situation.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Oct 13, 2004, 9:29 AM
Post #6 of 25 (2309 views)
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Re: [Docspidey] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
As someone who experienced an L1 fracture from landing on my butt, I would advocate PLF every possible opportunity before slide, unless slide is necessary from a personal injury point of view (ie, upper body injury and need to avoid banging it around in a plf). Of course, if done right, both should save you, but a hard landing on your butt can have disasterous consequences. I haven't jumped in 4 months, and can't for another 6--8 or so, at least. *sigh* Oh well, better then paralysis!
I believe jumpers have died of broken necks trying to PLF a fast downwinder. Sounds like you may have flared too high. See Skymokey's post. Ask any motorcyclist or ski racer the dangers of trying to stop too fast.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Oct 13, 2004, 9:30 AM
Post #7 of 25 (2307 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

>I'm just curious as to what most of you think is the best way to handle
>this situation IF you happen to find yourself in it.

1. Prepare for a PLF - feet and knees together, knees bent, body tweaked to one side.

2. Make sure your feet or calves hit first.

3. If you have high horizontal speed, hit with feet and calves, then fall onto your thigh, then keep on sliding. If you do it this way, you will end up sliding with your feet in front of you, ready to take any impacts.

Things to avoid -

Planting your feet hard and popping over onto your head. You can break your neck doing that.

Landing on your coccyx. That's a tiny little bone that's not very strong, and your sacrum is right above it. And you definitely don't want to break your sacrum. This means don't land on your butt.


cvfd1399  (B 27544)

Oct 13, 2004, 9:31 AM
Post #8 of 25 (2304 views)
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Re: [tspillers] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I broke my tailbone while trying to slide out a rear riser landing(broken steering lines). I would rather do a baseball slide on my leg or plf than experience that type of pain for months again.Smile


Docspidey  (A License)

Oct 13, 2004, 10:13 AM
Post #9 of 25 (2257 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

Stupidly, my injury was from a ladder fall injury, but I still fear any force trauma to my spine or tailbone.
Again, though, that's just me and my new found fear


mattjw916  (D License)

Oct 13, 2004, 10:36 AM
Post #10 of 25 (2237 views)
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Re: [Docspidey] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I tend to slide in automatically on my left outside thigh and hip... many years of motorcycling, hockey, and martial arts have built up a muscle memory that is hard to overcome (and sometimes ruins what should have been an otherwise graceful landing). If I was sinking from a too-high flare I would definately concentrate on PLF'ing.

My $0.02.


JohnRich  (D License)

Oct 13, 2004, 12:46 PM
Post #11 of 25 (2140 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm just curious as to what most of you think is the best way to handle this situation...

Upwind or downwind, if I'm moving too fast horizontally for my old legs to run-out the landing, then I'm going to do a butt-slide. It ain't pretty, but it keeps me from tumbling and breaking a leg.

This assumes a normal grassy landing area. If I'm landing on something hard, rocky, etc., then I think I'd go to a PLF.

If you're sinking straight down - PLF.


(This post was edited by JohnRich on Oct 13, 2004, 12:47 PM)


BlindBrick  (C 35382)

Oct 13, 2004, 12:48 PM
Post #12 of 25 (2136 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have a lot of jumps but of those I do have a little over 92% of them ended in some form of PLF. So, I've had time to experiment and refine.

If I find that I'm coming in with a lot of horizontal speed but little vetical, I'll flex my knees and bring my leg toether almost like a PLF except that they are not quite touching and my right foot is just a few inches ahead of the left. The flex in the knees allows me to absorb the vertical momentum while having my feet like they are lets me take one or two baby steps. As I take these steps, I let my forward momentum lay me over and use the energy from the steps to due a shoulder roll which puts me over on my back. Also during this time I am tucking my chin against my chest (very important). Once I am laying out flat, I lighly arch my upper body and balence myself on the rig (is easier than it sounds). This lets my rig absorb the force rather than me. I've also found that dragging my heels will reduce the skid and thus wear and tear on the rig.

As you can probably figure this does run the risk of damaging the rig, but I've always figured better the rig than me. If you use this method, always be sure to do a quick visual inspection on the rig afterwards.

-Blind


Premier slotperfect  (D 13014)
Moderator
Oct 13, 2004, 12:56 PM
Post #13 of 25 (2131 views)
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Re: [SkymonkeyONE] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
you still need to flare at the same, correct height. // The bottom line here is this: in order for you to safely land a parachute you must either cancel your vertical descent at the time of touchdown; the horizontal speed at the time of touchdown; or both. Flaring at the correct altitude on a downwind landing cancels your vertical descent, but can, obviously, never cancel your forward speed; you can never cancel out that tailwind. Personally, I am more in favor of sliding landings when the ground is smooth and PLF's when the landing area is uneven.

My rules of thumb are quite like Senor Azul:

1) Smooth landing surface = flare at the normal height, ensuring a good finish, pick up the landing gear, and slide it in. Be careful about putting your hands down, and sit up as much as possible once you're on the ground to keep your rig out of the dirt & grass. I'd rather have to patch a jumpsuit than a container.

2) Rough or unknown landing surface (e.g. masked by tall grass) = flare at the normal height ensuring a good finish, and do a PLF.

I do a lot of night jumps, and I follow a lot of airdrop bundles (landing out on purpose). I always used to try standing up whether I could see where my feet go or not. One day in Arizona, I followed a bundle into the desert, intending to call the pickup vehicle with my radio. I ran out the landing successfully in some mesquite bushes & desert grass, then saw as I was recovering my canopy that only three or four more steps would have sent one of my legs right down a gopher hole that had been dug out by a coyote. After that experience I always do a PLF if I can't see where my feet are going.

In general, if I have a lot of vertical speed left over despite my flare, I do a PLF to dissipate the impact rather than absorb it all with my tail bone. With horizontal speed left over, I follow the rules above.


Premier GravityGirl  (D 18897)

Oct 13, 2004, 10:14 PM
Post #14 of 25 (2011 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you slide, remember to take it on the meaty part of one thigh and butt cheek. Feet and knees together. Slight bend in the knees. Same set up as a PLF. Turn to the side to slide. Imagine the umpire shouting, "SAFE!".


Amanduh

Oct 14, 2004, 6:38 AM
Post #15 of 25 (1946 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to all of you. I did finish my flare and flew the canopy until the very end (until I had no choice!) The speed was not stopping. I had no more vertical speed though, I was just sailing right across the ground. Definetaly an eye opener for sure! Really got some good advice from all of you. THANKS!


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Oct 14, 2004, 6:56 AM
Post #16 of 25 (1939 views)
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Re: [slotperfect] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I would like to second what John said about watching out for your arms and hands on both slides and PLF's. The ONLY injury I have ever sustained in nearly 24 years of skydiving was breaking two knuckles on my index and middle finger of my right hand as I slid out a landing on uneven grass at Quincy in 2001. I had my hands out to steady me left and right as I was cruising along the ground and hit a divot (gopher hole actually).


Ron

Oct 14, 2004, 8:12 AM
Post #17 of 25 (1923 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

Prepare to PLF.

If you find that once your feet make contact that you have more horizontal speed than decent rate roll over to your side and slide it in like a downed motorcycle rider, or a baseball player. If you start to tumble, go with it while protecting your head and keep your arms in...don't try to stop the roll, let it dissapate on it's own. Trying to stop it is a sure way to break something.

The problem with PLANNING to slide is that if your decent rate is high you will hit hard and get hurt.

If you plan to PLF you can adopt a slide, but not the other way around.

Make no mistake a proper slide is NOT an easy to pull off landing. You have to have a near zero decent rate to avoid injury.

A proper PLF will work in either situation...However, I doubt many jumpers know how to perform a correct PLF.....I didn't learn it till I spent three weeks at Uncle Sam's jump school.

Keep your hands and arms tight, head down and protected.

Talk with your instructor...Or a graduate of the Ft. Benning jump school....Better yet find an Instructor that has military jump wings. And have them teach you a proper PLF.


DancingFlame  (C 177476)

Oct 15, 2004, 1:58 AM
Post #18 of 25 (1847 views)
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Re: [slotperfect] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

Second that.
If surface is smooth enough, slide. If it is not, PLF.


boozy  (D License)

Oct 15, 2004, 6:48 PM
Post #19 of 25 (1785 views)
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Re: [DancingFlame] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a low-time jumper, and for my first downwind landing I just ran it out..wasn't exactly the best feeling on my ankles, but I managed. It was the first time I jumped a 190 also. which I load at about .95 so no big deal.


MNM604  (C 35825)

Oct 15, 2004, 11:05 PM
Post #20 of 25 (1773 views)
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Re: [boozy] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have only made three AFF jumps, but for some reason have slid the landings on all three. I realize the problems with this, but for some reason, cannot get myself to trust the plf. Any suggestions on how to get over this?, I had a bit of a hard landing the other day and really dont like the soreness of it all.


ChileRelleno  (D 24868)

Nov 3, 2004, 9:19 PM
Post #21 of 25 (1561 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with most replies,
slow horizontal with fast vertical = classic PLF.
Fast horizontal with slow vertical = modified PLF/slide.

However I myself find it preferable to fly the landing out as far as possible and runoff excess speed if my speed is acceptable.
Can this be a recipe for bumps/bruises or worse? Yes, but life is full of risk and its a preference not a rule, when in doubt the gear/jumpsuit gets dirtyWink.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Nov 3, 2004, 9:32 PM
Post #22 of 25 (1559 views)
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Re: [ChileRelleno] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

>However I myself find it preferable to fly the landing out as far as
> possible and runoff excess speed if my speed is acceptable.
>Can this be a recipe for bumps/bruises or worse?

It definitely can be. I've gotten hurt way more often trying to run out a bad landing than just taking the fall/slide. But if you can run it out, by all means do so. The trick is learning when you can do that and when it's dangerous to do so.

And yes, it can be worse. We had a fatality at our DZ when a jumper tried to land a moderately loaded canopy downwind in light winds. He fell forward and broke his neck. So it's a good idea to learn when you can run it out and when you can't. It just takes time.

Side note - I used to think that above a certain loading/wind condition there was just no way to get a good landing - that you either had to run really fast or just fall. Then I learned to land a canopy a little better, and after a while I was the one standing up downwind landings under a 2 to 1 elliptical while people with Triathalon 160's were biffing. For me it took 4000 jumps to get there; a canopy training course is a much better way to learn than my trial and error method.


ChileRelleno  (D 24868)

Nov 3, 2004, 11:48 PM
Post #23 of 25 (1550 views)
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Re: [billvon] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
>However I myself find it preferable to fly the landing out as far as
> possible and runoff excess speed if my speed is acceptable.
>Can this be a recipe for bumps/bruises or worse?

It definitely can be. I've gotten hurt way more often trying to run out a bad landing than just taking the fall/slide. But if you can run it out, by all means do so. The trick is learning when you can do that and when it's dangerous to do so.

And yes, it can be worse. We had a fatality at our DZ when a jumper tried to land a moderately loaded canopy downwind in light winds. He fell forward and broke his neck. So it's a good idea to learn when you can run it out and when you can't. It just takes time.

Side note - I used to think that above a certain loading/wind condition there was just no way to get a good landing - that you either had to run really fast or just fall. Then I learned to land a canopy a little better, and after a while I was the one standing up downwind landings under a 2 to 1 elliptical while people with Triathalon 160's were biffing. For me it took 4000 jumps to get there; a canopy training course is a much better way to learn than my trial and error method.

Quote:
However I myself find it preferable to fly the landing out as far as possible and runoff excess speed if my speed is acceptable.
Can this be a recipe for bumps/bruises or worse? Yes, but life is full of risk and its a preference not a rule, when in doubt the gear/jumpsuit gets dirty.

Yep, well aware of the consequences and like I said,
Quote:
when in doubt the gear/jumpsuit gets dirty.
As in I resort to the modified PLF/slideWink.


LiveLifeGoJump  (C License)

Nov 4, 2004, 3:05 AM
Post #24 of 25 (1538 views)
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Re: [MNM604] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with most replies
slow horizontal with fast vertical = classic PLF.
Fast horizontal with slow vertical = modified PLF/slide.
but bare this in mind.

I slid out fast horizantal slow vertical speed landing (light wind and flared slightly low) in long grass & waterlogged ground. Ended up with a VERY wet bottom. Not a high price to pay for a painfree landing but 2 inches in front of my 'wedding tackle' was a rocking sticking 4 ins out of the ground.
Getting more briefs on flaring for landing means I stand up more, PLF when I can't and avoid butt slides if posible.


velvetjo  (D License)

Nov 4, 2004, 9:48 AM
Post #25 of 25 (1511 views)
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Re: [Amanduh] DownWind Landings - PLF or Slide In? [In reply to] Can't Post

Another effective slide method is to tuck one foot up under your butt to protect your tailbone. You can use this "drag" foot to have a better feel for the touchdown portion of the flare too, as it won't be your normal sight picture. I agree with everyone else about smooth surfaces - I wouldn't try this on lumpy terrain. Happy sliding.

Lance



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