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AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice

 

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Randy_H  (C License)

Nov 9, 2004, 8:32 AM
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AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice Can't Post

I attempted my AFF Level 4 jump twice this past Saturday and got a big fat failure on both of them.

On the first attempt, I was jumping from a Porter which I have never jumped from before Unsure and didn't like the idea of placing one foot out of the aircraft onto the step. I did the hotel check okay and my exit was good, I arched and ended up in a good belly down position. I did my first COA and kept getting the extend legs hand sign from my instructor. I extended my legs and he gave me the thumbs up and cut me loose. Thats when all hell broke loose. I lowered my hands and was pushing the air and retracted my legs and they were practically touching my ass. I was extremly wobbly and sliding backwards. My instructor approached me from the front and kept telling me to extend my legs but it felt like they were already fully extended and no matter how hard I tried, they wouldn't extend any further. Then his eyes bugged out at how out of stability I was Shocked. That made me laugh and the dive was pretty much over after that since I couldn't do much of anything else other then altitude awareness. I was able to wave off and pull on my own at 5500. Line twist! (probably from a dropping my head and twisting my hip during the pilot chute throw). I kicked out of it and had a good canopy ride down. I had my first standing up landing on this jump so that was a positive.

On my second attempt, I had a different instructor and we went over the dive flow on the ground which I did with no problems. Everything was perfect. Good arch, good body movements for turning and sliding forward. Good altitude awareness and I felt ready to go. Then comes ANOTHER new aircraft to me! Unsure Now, I am jumping from the Otter. I was taught to place my entire body outside of the aircraft, stand up outside the aircraft and hold on to the door frame. Well, I wasn't crazy about this idea either. Once we got to altitude (13500 ft) the first group left the aircraft, then another, then it was my turn, I psyched myself up and went to the open sliding door. Now the aircraft is out of position and we have to close the door and circle around for a better spot. The aircraft is banking and I am losing my balance. And now I have more time to think about going through that damn sliding door. Unsure We finally level out, the door goes up again, I take my position outside the aircraft, hotel check, prop, up, down, arch and away we go. Good exit, good arch. I did my first COA and again, the instructor kept giving the extend legs hand signal. I would correct my legs, but they would go right back to the touching my ass position as soon as I got the thumbs up. I was signaled to do a practice pull, I did it and got unstable by looking down and did a nice dip. My elbows were being pushed in front of me and they dropped down. Now I am pushing the air again! My instructor tried to grab my arms and bend them into proper position but said they wouldn't budge. He also tried to get my legs bent away from my ass and they wouldn't budge either. When it finally comes time to throw the pilot chute, I wave off and go for the pilot chute and grab at my ass instead. I start patting all around my ass in a mad grab for the pilot chute. In hind sight, I know it was there but at the moment, my brain had other ideas! Shocked The instructor tried to grab my hand and place it on the pilot chute handle but he later said my hand was going so fast that he couldn't catch it. He deployed it for me. Again, I had a nice canopy ride down, good approach and a stand up landing within 20 meters of the target.

I cannot figure out why my position has been so good when jumping from the Skyvan but not the Porter or the Otter. On the ground, everything is rehearsed perfectly and I have no problems with body position.

I can only think of two things which may be causing this. First, I don't think that I am breathing in free fall. I'm not sure about this but I may be holding my breath. The other factor could be the anxiety of having to jump from two aircraft which are new to me on the same day.

I'm sorry for the long post, but I really need some help with this. My bank account and myself thank you for any replies! Smile


mattjw916  (D License)

Nov 9, 2004, 9:13 AM
Post #2 of 72 (3521 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Breathe and relax dude... your post was making ME tense just reading it.

It is good to get used to jumping from different aircraft anyway, it is just a fact of life in skydiving... and now that you have, I bet your next jumps will go better.

Then again, there is always tunnel training. Tongue


flyangel2

Nov 9, 2004, 9:37 AM
Post #3 of 72 (3502 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
On the first attempt, I was jumping from a Porter which I have never jumped from before and didn't like the idea of placing one foot out of the aircraft onto the step. I did the hotel check okay and my exit was good,

Quote:
Then comes ANOTHER new aircraft to me!

Quote:
I take my position outside the aircraft, hotel check, prop, up, down, arch and away we go. Good exit, good arch.

It sounds like you are doing fine on the exits, so don't let different AC bug you or throw you off.

Quote:
My instructor approached me from the front and kept telling me to extend my legs but it felt like they were already fully extended and no matter how hard I tried, they wouldn't extend any further.

Some good muscle memory will help you over come that.

Here is what I suggest when I work with students on muscle memory.

Lie on the floor and put your body into the perfect arch. Close your eyes and feel what every muscle feels like. Now relax. Now, go back to that perfect arch using just the muscle memory that you learned from the first time.

You can learn if your legs are extended or not by using the same exercise as I described above.

Go into that perfect arch again. Now extend your legs. Close your eyes and feel the different muscles that you are using to extend your legs. Bring your legs back and feel how those muscles have changed.

Make sure when you are doing these exercises, that there is an experienced jumper/coach/AFF Instructor present to make sure you are getting into the correct body position.

Good luck, and don't be so hard on yourself. Remember, you don't have a lot of working time when you are in freefall, so practice and reinforce those muscles on the ground so that you follow through on that in freefall.


robertmicp  (A License)

Nov 9, 2004, 9:42 AM
Post #4 of 72 (3497 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

I had the same issues. Just too much to think about. I ask my instructor if I could just dive out for all my exits. He said sure, great practice (unstable exits) to get stable fast. I found that dive exits relaxed my body after getting stable. I was ready for the rest of my dive plan.

jmo


Brian425  (A 45378)

Nov 9, 2004, 10:14 AM
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, you did not FAIL at the jump, you lived and had fun. You just did not meet the goals of that dive. Don't take it so hard. You mentioned that you may not be breathing in freefall. That was something that I did also. For me it was as simple as adding take a breath each time I looked at my altimiter. It just makes you more aware to do it. As with ANYTHING you hear or read, talk with your instructor before adding them to your training.

Just remember, what we are doing is unnatural, it takes a little while to get used to it. Work hard to do it correctly and safely; but, most of all have FUN.


tdog  (D 28800)

Nov 9, 2004, 10:27 AM
Post #6 of 72 (3476 views)
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Re: [mattjw916] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Breathe and relax dude... your post was making ME tense just reading it.

I agree. Wow...

Feet - ask your instructor about toe taps... I had a tendancy to get a bit sloppy around 5.5K on my AFF6, AFF7 and 2nd solo jump... All in my feet getting sloppy - I think because I was starting to think about the pull and exact altitude awareness. I pulled in a slow turn on AFF6... I learned a simple toe tap is all it takes to get awareness of my legs... Concentrating on the problem (shit, why am I spinning, I can't fix this) made it worse. Finding the solution (didn't that instructor tell the other student to use a toe tap - lets try it) fixed it.

And - don't worry about it... Sooner or latter it will be fun!!! I had a blast on AFF6 and AFF7 - and so did my instructor.


flyangel2

Nov 9, 2004, 10:31 AM
Post #7 of 72 (3471 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Go do some reading of this thread.

http://www.dropzone.com/...;;page=unread#unread


Darius11  (C License)

Nov 9, 2004, 11:01 AM
Post #8 of 72 (3456 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

1st look at my jump #
i am very new to the sport my self.

but toe taps is what helped me allot


skyhighkiy  (B License)

Nov 9, 2004, 12:13 PM
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

just throwing out what got my feet off my butt.

they can telll you to arch, arch arch, blah blah blah. and you can arch while you're standing up but it doesn't feel anywhere near like what it does in the air. get on an arch board. I dunno if they had you do it yet, but get on the arch board and the instructor should be pulling on your toes to keep you arched. that's when it all clicked for me. then arch on that board ove rand over and over and over and over and over and....you get the point. if the anxiety is too great and you start bobbling all over, it's ok to stop your maneuver and just get your body position good again. then resume when you're stable. this will be WAY more helpful in you advancingn than to keep trying to do the maneuver and bobbling it when you're not stable.


Randy_H  (C License)

Nov 9, 2004, 12:24 PM
Post #10 of 72 (3436 views)
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Re: [mattjw916] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Then again, there is always tunnel training. Tongue

Been there, done that, and I am fine in the tunnel. It must be a sensory overload or fear issue.


Randy_H  (C License)

Nov 9, 2004, 12:44 PM
Post #11 of 72 (3425 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks everyone for the prompt replies! Smile

I haven't flown in an airplane for 25 years before I started skydiving (I don't like airplanes due to a bad experience once on an Eastern airline, a 15000 ft+ plunge) and I was deathly afraid of heights until I started skydiving so I still have a lot of issues with fear to overcome.

I like the idea of using toe taps but didn't even consider using them. There is so much stuff racing through my mind during freefall that I don't even think about it but now I will. The sensory overload prevents me from recalling most details from my skydive when the instructors ask me questions. My only concern is my pull altitude which I have never missed.

I have over $500 on my account so I will be back in DeLand next saturday to try again!


robertmicp  (A License)

Nov 9, 2004, 12:55 PM
Post #12 of 72 (3420 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
My only concern is my pull altitude which I have never missed.

Number #1 in my book!!!

Having fun is #2 Smile

As for the fear....try to jump every few weeks even through the winter months. Keeping my limited jumps close togeather help me a lot.

jmho


tdog  (D 28800)

Nov 9, 2004, 1:39 PM
Post #13 of 72 (3405 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I haven't flown in an airplane for 25 years before I started skydiving (I don't like airplanes due to a bad experience once on an Eastern airline, a 15000 ft+ plunge) and I was deathly afraid of heights until I started skydiving so I still have a lot of issues with fear to overcome.

I admire your new found courage... It will all work out.


firstime  (B 28972)

Nov 9, 2004, 1:49 PM
Post #14 of 72 (3400 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

I had the same issues, I then got a video and it
corrected me on the next jump and every one after
that. Good luck brother..


flyangel2

Nov 9, 2004, 1:50 PM
Post #15 of 72 (3400 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I like the idea of using toe taps

Be careful, you can still do toe taps with your legs bent.


Reginald  (D 28162)

Nov 9, 2004, 3:00 PM
Post #16 of 72 (3378 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

What failed 2 times? You wuss you're just not trying, I FAILED L4, 4 TIMES! I then proceeded to fail L5 4 times.

Read here:

http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=798179;search_string=Reginald;#798179

Keep at it, it will get better.

Good luck my friend. Smile


Scrumpot  (D License)

Nov 9, 2004, 3:53 PM
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Re: [flyangel2] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

The only problem with working out muscle memory like this on the ground is, that up in the air in freefall it is an entirely DIFFERENT dynamic. What I mean by that is, absent any other wind-resistance simulator/devices (like hanging bungee cord loops to put your feet in, etc.), it is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE set of leg muscles you are using on the ground to practice/simulate a good arch! What I recommend, if doing this say at home, is to set up your arch on the living room floor in front of your couch or sofa, then have yourself positioned such that when you extend your legs, your toes can be upon the cushion to the sofa with some DOWNWARD pressure while still maintaining your arch on the floor. This facilitates a more proper muscle-memory feeling/response, absent having any other training aids or instructors available 24/7 to say hold your toes for you while you work on a creeper.

Just another .02 point of view added.

By the way, on BOTH instances as originally posted, initial HOTEL, exit and COA went smoothly, so the type of aircraft you are jumping HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what is happening with you. Once you are outside of the aircraft (and especially immediately stable, as it appears that each time here you HAVE been ...at least as you have posted) then the type of aircraft you have just exited has absolutely no affect at all on you in FF! ...So please get that out of your mind and ENJOY the benefits and opportunities you apparently have and access to these varying aircraft in the 1st place as it is!

Stick with it, good luck, and BLUE SKIES!
-Grant


flyangel2

Nov 9, 2004, 5:17 PM
Post #18 of 72 (3355 views)
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Re: [Scrumpot] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
it is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE set of leg muscles you are using on the ground to practice/simulate a good arch!

Not necessary.

Lay on the floor, and give me an arch. Now, extend your legs. Feel the thigh muscle? See how you can tighten the muscle in the front, but not the muscle on the back or leg, right below your butt?

Now, go back into that arch. Can you tighten that same muscle groups the same way? That's the kind of muscle memory I'm talking about.

You don't have to go with my muscles that I use, what I suggest to each student is to let them feel the different muscle groups they are using in order to get their body in the correct position.


fjd

Nov 11, 2004, 6:34 AM
Post #19 of 72 (3242 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

it sounds like you are setting yourself up for a failure by your negative thoughts about how you don't like to exit from certain jump ships.

like someone posted earlier, we all could sense the amount of tension just by reading your post.

it's all in your mind.

why don't you have your jumpmaster do a simple relaxed dive with you before continuing on. the dive will simply be: get stable, be altitude aware and pull for yourself.


Randy_H  (C License)

Nov 11, 2004, 8:32 AM
Post #20 of 72 (3231 views)
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Re: [fjd] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
it sounds like you are setting yourself up for a failure by your negative thoughts about how you don't like to exit from certain jump ships.

Agreed... I know the combination of anxiety and possibly not breathing during freefall is doing it to me. It is all in my head. It is a difficult process to battle the brain when it shifts into the self-preservation mode. I am going back up again on Saturday and I actually am looking forward to it. Hopefully, I will get the Porter again. I did have my level 3 jump from a Porter and I passed. I also have a tailbone which I tore up during my "ass turf surfing" incident a couple of weeks ago. Sitting on the floor in the Otter caused intense pain the whole ride up. I'm sure that didn't help either. In the porter, at least we were stradling a bench. RELAXATION is the key. Afterall, I've got a parachute so what the hell am I worried about! Smile


juanesky  (C 33620)

Nov 11, 2004, 9:20 AM
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

I would advice you to get some medical attention in regards to that tailbone pain. You could have a fracture, if you hurt it again (while is healing) you could end up in worse, worse shape....


Randy_H  (C License)

Nov 11, 2004, 9:51 AM
Post #22 of 72 (3221 views)
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Re: [juanesky] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I would advice you to get some medical attention in regards to that tailbone pain. You could have a fracture, if you hurt it again (while is healing) you could end up in worse, worse shape....

It seems to be healing up quite nicely. In a way, I was kind of fortunate to have injured it in the first place since it forced me to begin stand up landings, which I've nailed 3 times in a row now! Wink If it doesn't finish healing in a week or so, I will go see the doctor but I am afraid of hearing the "No skydiving for {fill in the amount} weeks!"


apley  (D 28335)

Nov 11, 2004, 6:43 PM
Post #23 of 72 (3196 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

my advice...? RELAX

i know, easier said than done. maybe this will help. i failed AFF4 FIVE TIMES! it took me 17 jumps to get through AFF.

concentrate on your breathing, the beautiful sky, and that zit on your instructor's nose.

relax. you'll come around.

BUCK FUSH!


Randy_H  (C License)

Nov 12, 2004, 6:33 AM
Post #24 of 72 (3170 views)
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Re: [apley] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
i failed AFF4 FIVE TIMES! it took me 17 jumps to get through AFF.

At least you made it through it! Now I don't feel alone when I see people breeze through AFF in 7 jumps. I've had some instructors tell me that some of those people scare them! Smile

I will learn to RELAX!


robertmicp  (A License)

Nov 12, 2004, 8:32 AM
Post #25 of 72 (3151 views)
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF Level 4 - Failed Twice [In reply to] Can't Post

Why call it "Failed" ? How about opportunities for additional training ? I for one do not like to use the word "failed" as I feel it does not create a good learning environment in both the instructor and student. As long as your altitude aware, pull at your planned altitude, land safe (can walk away) and having fun, well, all is good, right?

Food for thought

My .02


(This post was edited by robertmicp on Nov 12, 2004, 8:34 AM)


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