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AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:)

 


djsynne  (Student)

Jan 25, 2005, 5:14 AM
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AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) Can't Post

Hi

I`m new to the forums, name is Shana and I live in London. UK. I did my first jump about 8/9 years ago in Scotland - a static line where my instructor shoved me out of the plane before I was ready and I broke my leg and shattered the bones in my ankle on landing. It was truly a grim time as as I was falling through the sky I knew that this was for me but getting hurt put on end to the thought of jumping again for a long time. But a few months ago I finally decided to try the AFF course and get myself back in the air. I`ve always had a fascination with falling and flying and facing fears:)

Below is my AFF experience in Nov 04 at a drop zone in Florida with a UK instructor who issues BPA licences which might fill you in as to the problem I had over there - I would appreciate any feedback and advice as I want more than anything to overcome these problems and try the AFF course again.

So a few months ago, I travelled to a DZ in Florida where a british instructor put three of us through the course. I had problems leaving the plane on my first jump - I really didn`t want to go, my legs were jelly and my mouth so dry I coudln`t swallow. I figured I might have problems leaving seeing as my first exit years ago was forced but as the plane circled around I dug deep inside and found myself in the door thinking if I didn`t try it now then I would probably never do so again. So I jumped:) (And guess who will never freeze in the door again?! Circling around in the plane is just pure torture:))

I managed to get through the drills and alti checks ok and pulled my own chute - wasn`t great at noticing the instructors signals but that fact I managed to get through the drills left me feeling ecstatic and knowing that I wanted to go up in the plane and jump again:) I also felt if I could do that on my very first level then hopefully anything after that was achievable too. Level one went better than my level 2 and 3 which were a bit wobbly and I lost alti awareness and the time seemed to rush by even more so than on my level one but I was still pulling my own chute on all levels. I was so disappointed that I seemed to be getting worse. Level 4 went very wrong - went up with one instructor where he released me and flew way out in front of me (that was a scary moment realising I was flying completely on my own) ... I managed to turn left ok and turn back but couldn`t stop my right turn even tho I thought I was moving my arm correctly (bit of a Zoolander moment - I cant turn right!). I panicked, my bum went up - I lost my arch, flipped onto my back and didn`t have a clue what was happening. My instructor tracked across the sky and had to pull my reserve at 2000ft. As I was upside down when the chute opened the chest strap hit me quite hard across my neck and crushed my wind pipe. Unfortunately it soon became apparent I wasn`t going to land anywhere near the drop zone (wind conditions had been very random all day) and no one was on radio (not surprising as my instrcutor would have pulled lower than me) so I had to find a safe place to land and firgure out when to flare too. All I could see below me was alligator infested waters but I managed to get lucky and scrape past a dense forest and land safely amongst a bunch of cows. I had to laugh as they backed away from me but in reality the whole thing was not a plesant experience.

I had to think long and hard about whether to continue and found myself going back up in the plane the next day, again knowing if I stopped at this stage i may never have the guts to go back up again. The jump showed me that my confidence had been knocked more than I thought - i was so tense that I wasn`t very stable and I was quite scared.

I had to have a serious think on the ground as to whether to keep trying or stop jumping for now. When I looked at my aff training vids saw that i was concentrating so hard on my arms and turning that I didn`t have leg awareness at all and they were just wobbling about in the wind. No wonder
I was so shaky in the air. I was also having problems relaxing.

In the end I felt as though I just didn`t have the strength and flexibility in my arms and legs to hold my arch for 45 secs of freefall and thought it was best I stop for now and work on that as well as getting used to the arch. It just doesn`t seem to be very comfortable to me at all. When I lie on the floor and try arching it hurts to lift the tops of my thighs off the floor and hold my arms back. I am working out atm and am hoping there will be quite a bit of difference by March.

I`ve been doing some reading on the forums and have since realised that I really also need to work on my body awareness a lot. Would swimming or trampolining (where you can do tucks and flips) help with this? Am currently working out in the gym and doing several exercise classes to improve fitness.

Had some wind tunnel time on three occasions while in Florida - and in the video I saw how I wasn`t arching properly - I kept arching with my bum in the air - something I am still having problems with! Although I did have one last session in the wind tunnel after the doomed level four and felt I improved quite a lot and it also helped my confidence immensely - well enough to stop me thinking that maybe it was something I just wasn`t cut out for and to give me the drive to try and improve as many areas as possible before starting the course from scratch again at the end of March at Lillo Drop Zone in Madrid.

Look forward to any advice:)

Shan xSmile


(This post was edited by djsynne on Jan 25, 2005, 6:29 AM)


Randy_H  (C License)

Jan 25, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello, and welcome Shan X!

It sounds like you've had some scary experiences so far and kudos to you for hanging in there!

Quote:
When I lie on the floor and try arching it hurts to lift the tops of my thighs off the floor and hold my arms back.

I too had problems with my arch. After some tunnel time and talking with my instructors I was finally able to do it. I was arching with my chest thrust out. The arch actually comes from the pelvis and hips. Imagine someone standing directly behind you getting ready to prick your 'bum' with a needle. You thrust your pelvis out to get away from it. It worked for me. On my next aircraft exit, my legs and arms fell into place after I got the hips thrusted forward. I let my arms and legs relax. The relative wind pushed them into proper position.

Thrust your pelvis out, bend your arms 90 degrees at the elbows and let your hands and wrists relax (let them just hang limp). Your legs should be relaxed also. Your upper legs should be relaxed and will be pushed into proper position when the relative wind hits them and you have your pelvis/hips pushed outward. If you get on your back again, tighten your butt and thrust your hips out and you will end up belly down.

It took me 11 jumps to finally finsh my AFF course and the key to it all was relaxing.

Good luck! Smile


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Jan 25, 2005, 1:41 PM
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I'm still on student status so I'm hardly an expert, but if it helps, you aren't alone in the way you're feeling and in questioning yourself.

Exit fear ... for my first five or six freefall jumps, I considered riding the plane down. Every time. I never did, somehow I made the decision to get up, get in the door, and skydive, but believe me, I thought long and hard staying in the plane.

I don't seriously consider that any more, but learning is a game of incremental progress. Some days, everything's firing on all cylinders, and I get a little bit better on every jump. Some days, I feel like I'm taking steps backward or just getting stuck in the same place. I've been told that never really goes away - whether you're a student trying to get the basics or an experienced skydiver trying to learn/master some new skill, there's always going to be days of progress and days of frustration.

But based on your post, you sound stubborn, inquisitive, and determined, which seems like a good combination for eventual success.

Stubborn: you're gonna keep working till you figure it out. Willing to try different things (tunnel, exercises, etc.) to make it work.

Inquisitive: you'll ask a million questions of your instructors (and no matter what you hear on here or from anyone else, your instructors are the best people to help you address your particular problems) and are an information sponge.

Determined: you've got the skydiving bug and you're drawn to it on a fundamental level. That goes a long way to carrying you through the frustrating times - I know it has for me!

Exercises to get stronger and more flexible can only help you - if nothing else, you'll be less sore at the end of the day. Your instructors are going to have to critique the particulars of your body position - ask them for feedback and tips and practice on creepers or in the tunnel to burn in that muscle memory.


Avion  (Student)

Jan 25, 2005, 2:10 PM
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm glad you got in a tunnel. That should help alot with you stability and turns.

About the arching, I had the same problem when I started, it's was a little embarissing flying around with my butt sticking up in the air.

I've found two stretches that have helped, although slowly.

Quadricep Stretch: While standing lift lower leg, grab ankle(either hand will do), pull ankle to butt, and hold for 30 seconds.

Hip Flexor Stretch: Is like a lunge, but with emphasis on the leg that is extended backwards. Work the stretch so that you will feel it at the front of your hip on the leg extended backwards.

You 'should' do these at least once a day. I being lazy, usually end up doing them right before I fly, only once a week or so. Even then it has helped. My knees are now slightly above my hips. Yea Cool

Cheers

Hey, by the way, if you ever come to Orlando let me know, you UK DJs spin music I love.


(This post was edited by Avion on Jan 25, 2005, 2:20 PM)


Fab  (C License)

Jan 25, 2005, 2:54 PM
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

message send...


Skolem45  (Student)

Jan 25, 2005, 3:27 PM
Post #6 of 16 (1032 views)
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

I also had problems with uncontrollable turn in freefall. In fact, my AFF jump #4 was, up to a point, very similar to yours: turned left OK, then, when turning right, went into a spin, faster and faster, got scared, dearched, lost stability, flipped to my back. (This is where it gets different, as I was able to pull, albeit in an upside-down position...)

Anyway, I've been having problems with my spin for sever jumps after that, and what helped me was the wind tunnel. I got 10 minutes of tunnel time in Perris, and it made all the difference. You are saying that you did have some tunnel time; how much? Did you have a coach in the tunnel with you?


nate_1979  (B 27889)

Jan 25, 2005, 10:26 PM
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Re: [Avion] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I've found two stretches that have helped, although slowly.

I too found two streaches which made a world of difference for my arch,, both stretch the back..

The first one is laying on the ground, then pushing the upper body up (like doing a pushup) but keeping the waist on the ground

The second is started by getting on my knees, I then "fall back", basicly knees and back of head on the ground..

Dont know what it is, but I found I was able to get a much larger arch much easier after doing these..


Salsa_John  (B 9913421)

Jan 26, 2005, 9:09 AM
Post #8 of 16 (924 views)
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

pm'd


powertoad  (B 36511)

Jan 26, 2005, 10:31 AM
Post #9 of 16 (913 views)
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

No joke here. Start taking yoga classes. One of the best positions is called the cobra. Yoga has helped me tremendously in my ability to arch.


djsynne  (Student)

Feb 3, 2005, 8:36 AM
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Re: [Randy_H] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

>It took me 11 jumps to finally finsh my AFF course and the key to it all was relaxing.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience Randy!! It`s extremly apprciated and I shall definately be thinking of the pin prick to the bum to get that pelvis out:)

Shan x


djsynne  (Student)

Feb 3, 2005, 8:40 AM
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Re: [NWFlyer] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Krisanne

:)

Wow...your post was great - you pinpointed so much of what i`ve been feeling about exits and how I feel about skydiving - thx for that:)

I have never been so drawn or focused towards anything as much as this and you`re right about the stubborness and inquistiveness - i never knew I had it in me:) That AFF trip was not only an adventure of a lifetime but a journey of discovery too:)

Lets hope I get the hang of it this time:)

Thx again honey:)

Shan x


djsynne  (Student)

Feb 3, 2005, 8:42 AM
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Re: [Avion] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

>About the arching, I had the same problem when I started, it's was a little embarissing flying around with my butt sticking up in the air.

Ha ha!! Tell me about it:) My friend told me about how my second instructor, upon landing after one of mylevels, was heard shouting across the field, you`re right, she does fly with her butt in the air!

*mortified*

Shan x


djsynne  (Student)

Feb 3, 2005, 8:43 AM
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Re: [powertoad] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe you!! i`ve added a supple stength class to my programme but Im so impatient - i hate waiting to see the results:)

Shan x


djsynne  (Student)

Feb 3, 2005, 8:45 AM
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Re: [Skolem45] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

I had three seperate trips to the wind tunnel and yep, my instructor was with me:)

I was definately getting the hang of it by session three and it helped my confidence immensely after my scary level four but I guess I need to master being able to transfer that to the sky without freaking out and trying to stay relaxed:)

Shan x


RedassSkychic  (B 27140)

Feb 3, 2005, 1:32 PM
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

You might try doing a tandem, if it is available to you. That can help you be more comfortable in the air (since you wont have to worry about stability) so it will be easier to relax on future skydives. I started with three tandems and it made a huge impact on my fears while in the air (still had the door fear of course Tongue)


Avion  (Student)

Feb 3, 2005, 4:41 PM
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Re: [djsynne] AFF take 1 - various problems including arching:) [In reply to] Can't Post

lol

I've been in with lots of first timers in the tunnel, and have noticed that about one out of five or six people do the same thing. Your right on with the relaxing part. Alot of it is just being tense in the lower back area. So, stretch, relax, enjoy Wink

I glad to hear you got in a tunnel. I'm a big fan of learning stuff in tunnels, because its cheaper than a jump and you can stay in there for 2-3 minutes at a time to practice, much better than 50-60 seconds while have to worry about altitude and everything else that goes along with being in the sky Smile

Cheers



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