Jun 18, 2002, 6:23 AM
Post #1 of 2
pushing the limits
I think to avoid pushing your limits is about just as bad as to push them too fast. This "too fast" can be translated into "with no guidance, with no understanding, with no time to practice" and this topic has been discussed a lot in this forum.
The other side - trying to be safe by doing *only* the things you think you can really manage - has been discussed far less. I have experienced such mental state for a while and it sucks - it can kill both your joy and your vision pretty quickly. You may become a "safe" skydiver who does not even realize how little he/she knows about all the stuff. You will do your stuff always the same "safe" way and this is both dull and dangerous.
Some positive experiences from pushing my limits:
ff jumps are far more dangerous than belly flying. Right. I made my first solo sitfly jumps at about the same time I started to fly 2-way belly. In both cases I flew like shit. But after the first success with ff (getting stable) I got a *lot* better control and sense for fs jumps, too.
I am still lousy in headdown position. You must not go to formation while not mastering solo flight, right ? But one day we turned a flower out with an experienced headdowner and after releasing the hand grips I could actually *fly* hd for the very first time! Later, I made some solo jumps again and was unable to repeat the quality, but at least I know on which direction I must work with my hd. And I remember that great joy ...
Downsizing too early ... well, my first season I jumped mostly pd210 and put some jumps on sabre170. Sabre was much easier to land than PD - now I know my flaring technique was not good enough for that old f-111 fabric :-). One day I begged for a permission to jump a borrowed bt60 (wingload 1.37). I was warned it will thrill shit off from me on landing. Well, on my first jump with it I didn't experience this thrill because of spinning mal and cutaway. A very healthy experience! And on my following jumps with it I slowly started to understand what do the big boys mean talking about ground speed and stuff like that. This gave me a good motivation to read every article about canopy control and aerodynamics I could reach. And of course I signed up for CC training when it became available. This training has saved may ass for several times for now.
Baaah... where's the point? Having a good training and coaching for different skill levels is much more productive than telling *don't*s. Well, often the answer must be *don't* but this can be put in constructive way: "to do THIS you should be capable for this-and-this first, because..." . So one gets both argumented answer and a set of more realistic goals to work with. And no hard feelings.
Answering questions this way, the old hands will face enormous challenges to their patience and their minds will quickly develop to levels they don't need any planes & chutes any more and they will just levitate freely above the DZ.
Hey Wonko..... In pushing limits, I find it easier to set myself goals. If for example, you want to achieve long cool swoops as a goal, I find it easier to break the goal down into a series of steps or objectives, and formulate a plan to achieve that goal....so a plan for this might look like this..... Objectives.. 1-master into wind canopy landings on straight in approaches, without riser input. 2-master cross and down wind landings. 3- master into wind canopy landings on straight in approaches, with riser input. 4- Master carving riser approaches. etc etc etc.... you see the point? set a series of objectives that will lead you to your ultimate goal......Baby steps are good, and having a plan allows you to monitor your progress, and change the plan if necessary, this also allows the introduction of more formal approaches, such as canopy school, or coaching.....In my experience outwith skydiving, its not a good idea to teach don'ts, I always tried to teach 'dos'...But I don't teach in skydiving. NB the above is not a treatise on HP canopy landings, just an example of how one could carefully push the limits.....
Hey, good luck in achieving your objectives, goals, and thus eventually pushing your personal limits. There is nothing more satisfying than mastering new skills and having fun along the way.