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I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others?

 

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Mockingbird  (A 49146)

Apr 16, 2005, 10:23 PM
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I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? Can't Post

Bear with me; this will be long.

I flunked my Level 2 jump (First Jump). I lost altitude awareness and an instructor had to pull for me. Afterwards, he went over the dive with me, and we decided that it was basically a sensory overload of sorts which made me go "blank". However, after boo-hooing about it when I got home and telling my closest friend about it, I realized WHY it happened, or at least a major factor for why it happened to ME. (Basically, I have a weird brain.)

Other than having to adjust my legs (knees were bent at more than 90--- almost like on a tandem!), we settled into freefall pretty well. I did my COA, my practice touches, and my second COA--- at this point I was totally taken off guard by our falling through a cloud. It was like we were in a giant steam room. I looked up from my altimeter to check the horizon so that I'd know which direction to turn for the counter-turns maneuver which was next on the dive-flow. But there was no horizon in view because of the cloud we were in. This is where I went blank. I think the reason (other than the weird brain) this made me go blank was because I only knew the dive-flow by rote. When the dive-flow got interrupted, I totally lost my place and drew a complete blank. Both instructors gave me the signal to lock in on my altimeter, but I only looked at it, and the numbers didn't register in my brain. "6000' " meant nothing. When they gave me the signal to pull, the signal meant nothing... It was just a hand in front of my face with no meaning.

I remember now (w/ my friend Anthony's help) learning the alphabet when I was a kid. I learned it by rote, like every kid does--- the letters had no real meaning yet. If someone interrupted my recitation, say, as I got to the letter "J", I couldn't just pick up at "K" and go on from there; I had to start completely over at "A." I was so mad at myself on the drive home that I thought I must be mentally retarded or something and probably shouldn't try to jump again.

Besides only knowing the dive-flow by rote memory, another reason the cloud blew my concentration was because I had only practiced the dive flow in a perfect scenario--- one maneuver after another, only separated by altimeter checks with nothing unexpected happening. But in real life, the scenario changed--- a big unexpected cloud-thing happened!

NOW, as for the rest of the dive? Well, we exited all right, in spite of my being a little weak stepping out of the door. My arch was not bad; we became stable pretty quickly. I did the altimeter readings and yelled them out to each instructor, and I did the practice touches, although on the first one, the one on my right had to guide my hand to the pull. After the cloud incident and all that followed, my canopy opened fine-- although I was so angry at myself that I didn't even inspect the canopy and lines for several seconds. If there had been a large gaping hole or if the slider had gotten stuck part way down, I wouldn't have noticed. What a klutz. Anyway, I did my 180 turns right and left, and started to do my flare, but the instructor with the radio said something to me which I couldn't make out until I cleared my ears. Later he informed me that he had said to follow him and the other instructor to the landing area. That would've been nice to hear. Instead, I felt unusually alone up there, 5000 feet above ground level. I had been told to "stay in the playground" and not wander, and not to get close to the target until I was only 1000'AGL. So, I kept having to make S- turns and sometimes turn into the wind to stall for time (and altitude). Finally, as the needle got to about 1500' I started making my way to the line of trees on the right side of the landing pattern. I heard my instructor tell me that I was doing fine but that I needed to move closer to the line of trees. I never did make it as far to the right as he wanted (distance and depth perception was coo-coo), but it worked out anyway, thanks to his instructions. Anyway, I crossed over the runway, and made a left onto the base leg, then he radioed said I needed to start my final approach. So the base leg turned out to be rather short-lived. OK, so I start my final approach at about 300' AGL, with hands all the way up. Although I was getting close enough to the ground that it seemed to be rushing under me, I was determined to keep my hands all the way up until I was told to flare. As soon as I was given the OK, I flared as best I could but only got the toggles down about waist-high (I need some strength training). I was prepared to to a PLF, but didn't really need to--- I kind of slid in on the side of one leg (so glad I learned how to do that playing baseball!), about 50 yards SE of the target. Nothing hurt, so I started to stand, and the wind caught my canopy, so I was dragged a few feet backwards. As i very clumsily gathered up the lines and canopy, a sweet girl named K. ran up to me from the pool area to see if she could help me. She showed me how to gather it all up in a more *organized* fashion, so that I could carry it in over my shoulder like all the *experienced* skydivers do it. We got a good laugh out of that. Then D. ran out there and walked with us back to the packing area. Both girls were very consoling to this old girl.

Needless to say, I'll be repeating Level 2.

If something like this (ESPECIALLY THE LOSS OF ALTITUDE AWARENESS) has happened to anyone else, would you please let me know? I could sure use some encouragement, unless it's something that's likely to happen again if I get distracted.PiratePirate


BillyVance  (D 18895)

Apr 16, 2005, 10:37 PM
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

Relax. You're not the only one who's had to repeat a level. Every DZ has had a student at one time or another have to repeat a level during their training.

If you learn from the mistakes and not do them again, you're moving in the right direction. Wink


Dougiefresh  (Student)

Apr 16, 2005, 10:45 PM
Post #3 of 116 (3779 views)
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

Holy cow, ease up on yourself!!

You are brand new at this. You have spent a grand total of, what, 4 minutes in freefall?

You did just fine. You landed without hurting yourself, which is the most important thing.

You didn't "flunk" anything, you just need a bit more work on staying calm when stuff goes kaflooey... which it did and will.

Just get back up there and have fun. You'll be an expert before you know it.Smile


Mockingbird  (A 49146)

Apr 16, 2005, 10:48 PM
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Re: [BillyVance] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just out of curiosity, Billy, what if this should happen to me again?!!! Do you think it would indicate that I just don't have the aptitude for this sport?Unsure


D22369  (D 22369)

Apr 16, 2005, 10:59 PM
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

everyone hits a roadblock somewhere along the way, treat what happened as a learning experience. make a commitment to not make the same mistake, and virtually everyone has lost altitude awareness at least once......

dont beat yourself up too badly, buuuuttt......"dont do it again!!!" Smile

as for forgetting to check your canopy.....
the skydive isnt over till your back on mother earth - no matter how badly the freefall portion goes, you still have to check the canopy, fly the canopy and land safely, get frazzled and upset when your back on the ground.

Roy


Mockingbird  (A 49146)

Apr 16, 2005, 11:11 PM
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Re: [Dougiefresh] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
You didn't "flunk" anything, you just need a bit more work on staying calm when stuff goes kaflooey... which it did and will.

Just get back up there and have fun. You'll be an expert before you know it.Smile
Do you think tomorrow is too soon to try again?
In reply to:


BRYANGOESBOOM

Apr 16, 2005, 11:20 PM
Post #7 of 116 (3767 views)
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

i almost flunked my first jump 2 the only thing i got right was the pull


i would say
get back out there and up in the airWink


Mockingbird  (A 49146)

Apr 16, 2005, 11:22 PM
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Re: [BRYANGOESBOOM] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's what I was hoping to hear.Wink Thanks.


BRYANGOESBOOM

Apr 16, 2005, 11:30 PM
Post #9 of 116 (3762 views)
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

yeah i did so bad on that jump i had to go home and figure out if i really wanted to take up this sport.
i went to the dz and made 3 jumps the next day


flyangel2

Apr 17, 2005, 6:00 AM
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Do you think tomorrow is too soon to try again?

The closer you put your jumps, the better. No, it's not too soon to try again.

BTW, way back when I was a student, the only way to learn was the S/L progression method. The way it's set up, is the student does 5 S/L jumps, then gets cleared to do their first Hop n Pop. I hold the record for the most S/L in my area before being cleared to do my Hop n Pop.

There is a learning curve to anything new we try, hang in there.


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Apr 17, 2005, 7:48 AM
Post #11 of 116 (3715 views)
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
at this point I was totally taken off guard by our falling through a cloud.

I hope I'm not the only one out here that's a bit bothered that a level 2 student was allowed to exit the plane over a cloud. Unsure

Mockingbird, I failed the equivalent to a level 2 and I know a bunch of people who failed at least one AFF level for the same reason - loss of altitude awareness. Try not to think of it as a failure - you learned something from it, right?

I'd put money on you being very altitude aware in the future! Wink


Mockingbird  (A 49146)

Apr 17, 2005, 8:11 AM
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Re: [skybytch] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm almost *positive* that we wouldn't have met up with the cloud had we exited the plane promptly. I hesitated a bit...probably a good 8-10 secs. It's funny how you can practice something in your head all week and then when the time comes, it's "HUH?"

Now that it's the "morning after" so to speak, I'm feeling a bit more positive about the experience and think that I will be quite a bit more "together" mentally next time. I'm 50 years old and I can tell you that the pattern has been for my entire life: when I'm out of my element, new things don't come easy for me, but if I want something badly enough, I will excel. It's just that bumpy start!

Thanks for your kind words and encouragement to hang in. I will!Smile


Lindsey  (D 17865)

Apr 17, 2005, 8:20 AM
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Re: [flyangel2] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

I hold the record for the most S/L in my area before being cleared to do my Hop n Pop.


HA!!! One of my old jumpin' buddies did 12....12....static line jumps! He still learned how to skydive. Wink

linz


Griff69  (Student)

Apr 17, 2005, 3:55 PM
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Other than having to adjust my legs (knees were bent at more than 90--- almost like on a tandem!), we settled into freefall pretty well.

I have so far maintained fairly good altitude awareness, but legs are my challenge. I keep folding my legs up as well, not always evenly either. I talked to my instructors (and watched the video logs a lot) and they all feel that there are no huge looming issues. Certainly something to work on, but nothing I can't beat. Just curious what your instructors had to say about your awareness?

(Edited to clarify)


(This post was edited by Griff69 on Apr 17, 2005, 6:44 PM)


Mockingbird  (A 49146)

Apr 17, 2005, 4:22 PM
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Re: [Griff69] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

The instructor who debriefed me didn't seem very concerned about it since I corrected it after a couple of signals (after first signal, I extended my legs just a little, then with the second signal I extended them more and got the thumbs up). He mentioned lying on stomach with legs at 45 against front of sofa... and toe taps to keep L. and R. calves and feet at same level.

I'm so SORE today, I'm not even gonna' try arching! Lying on stomach in front of sofa with feet up sounds good, tho'! Wink

Looking back on not having altitude awareness is a Scary Thing. I'm glad yours is good!


Jeth  (C 37471)

Apr 18, 2005, 7:47 AM
Post #16 of 116 (3565 views)
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

Definitely get back up there!! Smile

I had to repeat my level 4 due to loss of altitude awareness. It happens. We're learning. I was trying so hard to do my turns, I just forgot to read my altimeter. AFP can be very frustrating, mainly because we have about 10 seconds to perform our skill and theres very little time to try again! But U will start building on previous levels and things will start to fall into place.

I'm sure next time you'll be very aware of your altitude! Wink Just breathe, relax, and have fun!!Cool (And remember to pull. Wink)

p.s. Don't beat yourself up if you have to repeat levels. Its not a failure, you learn something on every skydive. Last weekend I had 2 attempts at level 8. I had major winter jitters and it took me awhile to relax. I usually would be really mad at myself for not advancing, but I was just happy to be back in the sky! Smile


Ron

Apr 18, 2005, 9:18 AM
Post #17 of 116 (3550 views)
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I flunked my Level 2 jump

Are you dead? If not then you didn't fail anything. No one will care how many jumps it took you to get off student status.

In reply to:
I lost altitude awareness and an instructor had to pull for me.

Don't do that again. I am willing to bet you will not. A ton of students lose track of altitude awareness...Its why we have Instructors.

But don't make a habit of it.

Relax and don't beat yourself up over it....It happens.

Do you have any idea how many student jumps I had to do?


(This post was edited by Ron on Apr 18, 2005, 9:19 AM)


white_falcon  (A License)

Apr 18, 2005, 9:44 AM
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

Mockingbird,

Calm down, relax, and BREATHE Smile

I too had a cloud totally F me up on level 4 (i think that was) and now I have my "A" and a total of 40 jumps. (did my FIRST (beer) 10 way on Sunday).

I did basically the same thing u did, Hit that cloud and my instructor said I looked like a deer in head lights lol. Its all on video, completer w/ him tackling me and me JUST BARELY beating him to my PC. I had to redo the dive, but I didn't look at it as a failure, it was a learning exp.

Clouds have never bothered me since, and now I actually think its cool to fall thru the "industrial haze" around our dz Smile.

Don't worry about it, and just ENJOY it if (when) it happens again.

Hope this helps,

Scott


Punky_Monkey

Apr 18, 2005, 2:22 PM
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Re: [Ron] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just how many student jumps did you have to do Ron?Cool


Ron

Apr 18, 2005, 3:06 PM
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Re: [Punky_Monkey] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Just how many student jumps did you have to do Ron?

Thats my point...No one knows, cause no one really cares.

If you REALLY want to know do a search on here.

But its not that big of a deal how many it takes once you have a license.


Punky_Monkey

Apr 18, 2005, 3:21 PM
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Re: [Ron] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess you are right...It doesn't matter as long as you can achieve your goal...

You need to do what ever it takes...Let me tell you I am learning that the hard way.


Premier NWFlyer  (D License)

Apr 18, 2005, 3:59 PM
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

As others have said, it's not a race. It took me 37 jumps to get my A License. Some of those were repeats. Some were extra jumps I did just so I could be comfortable with something before moving on. Some were hop & pops I did just to stay in the air during crappy weather weekends.

All of them were valuable. I learned something on every one, the good ones and the bad ones. Learning is seldom a linear progression - you'll move forward quickly and feel like "Yeah, I've got this dialed in" then you'll screw up the very thing you thought you had down on the very next jump.

Take the opportunity to debrief every jump thoroughly with your instructors. Talk about what went right and what went wrong and what to try differently the next time. Some things will come naturally to you, others will be immensely frustrating and you'll start to think "I'll never get this" and eventually, you'll have that day when it'll click and the smile on your face is going to be from ear-to-ear.

And remember, this is supposed to be fun. I'll admit, there were several early jumps when I forgot that in the time between the end of a less-than-perfect jump and the beginning of the next one. I had several rides to altitude where I said to myself "I suck I'm never going to get this I'm scared I'm riding the plane back down" and I never did. Every time the door opened, I jumped out, because somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered how good it felt to push through all that and make a skydive.

Yeah, it can be frustrating to pay student rates to repeat jumps, but if you take full advantage of knowledge and expertise of the instructors who are working with you, it will be money well spent.


Mockingbird  (A 49146)

Apr 18, 2005, 9:16 PM
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Re: [NWFlyer] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to everybody for the words of encouragement. I am taking it all to heart for sure. My major concern wasn't the fact that I flunked Level 2, but WHY I flunked Level 2--- my concern of having gone totally blank at one point. I thought, Omygosh, what if I have a tendency to go blank??? That would mean I shouldn't skydive. But a bunch of y'all have told me, and some have even sent me PMs (so sweet, thanks), that what happened probably won't happen again. Well, I hope not. I guess we'll have to see.

I had a little flashback this morning and realized that I actually DID see my instructors give me the "Pull now!" signal, but by that point I was a bit confused and I thought (now, don't laugh) that they were pointing at each other! I looked at one, and he was pointing toward the other guy, so I looked at the other guy, and he was pointing back at the first guy. What a dumbbell---they weren't pointing, they were giving me the Pull sign.

I will make a point of reporting back on how I do the next time. I appreciate everyone's support. Y'all are great. Blue skies to everybody!



Ron

Apr 19, 2005, 5:11 AM
Post #24 of 116 (3423 views)
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Re: [Mockingbird] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
My major concern wasn't the fact that I flunked Level 2, but WHY I flunked Level 2

Again, if you are able to type this, you did not fail....No one cares, its not the end of the world, or even a big deal.

Why you didn't pull? Well during sensory overload, a dive that had a variable that was not drilled came up.

Normal.

In reply to:
I had a little flashback this morning and realized that I actually DID see my instructors give me the "Pull now!" signal, but by that point I was a bit confused and I thought (now, don't laugh) that they were pointing at each other! I looked at one, and he was pointing toward the other guy, so I looked at the other guy, and he was pointing back at the first guy. What a dumbbell---they weren't pointing, they were giving me the Pull sign.

I had a student once...He had passed his pull altitude so I gave him a pull signal by pointing at him....He pointed back at me like "No, you da man!!!!"

As I moved at him to dump him out...He got the clue and pulled.

Relax....Not everyone passes every level the first time...I know an AFF I that did like 4 level 3's.

I know another AFF I that hit a plane under canopy.

We all make mistakes...As long as they are not fatal, and you learn form them, no one really cares.


(This post was edited by Ron on Apr 19, 2005, 8:54 AM)


gemini  (D 24349)

Apr 19, 2005, 8:15 AM
Post #25 of 116 (3405 views)
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Re: [Ron] I flunked AFF Level 2 jump... Has this happened to others? [In reply to] Can't Post

It happens to a lot of us! I flunked several levels. On one I did the same thing you did. Saw the pull signal but thought she was telling me "ok". The instructor was trying to get me to pull early since the spot was very long...wanted to save me the long walk back. Walked anyway and had to repeat the jump.

On another I flipped on my back, sorta head down. I'd been there before and arching worked, but for some reason this time I thought it didn't. I see the intructor tracking down to me, I glance at the altimeter and see it's pull time, wave off and pull.

As the pilot chute goes between my legs, I think "Holy shit! This may hur.........". Never saw an instructor smoking so fast as when I walked back into the manifest/video area.

Years later I ran into her at Skydive Houston, got a big hug, and when she found out how many jumps I had she said "I never thought you would graduate!" Guess I almost got the bowling talk! Wink

My problem was I didn't want to screw up in front of the instructor. I wanted everything to be perfect every time, but couldn't fly good enough to keep stuff from happening. I put all the pressure on myself.

Plus I knew Trent was slightly behind me in his lessons and I wanted to stay ahead of him. Silly stuff to be worried about when I should have been trying to relax and have a good time while learning what was being taught.


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