At most dropzones, there is no upper limit for opening your parachute. With proper planning, you can open up as soon as you exit the plane. We occasionally do jumps called cross-countries, where we fly miles upwind of the airport, open our canopies right away, and then glide the whole way back.
As for why more people don't do it? Hell if I know. I love flying my parachute around, chasing clouds, or doing CRW. Most skydivers, it seems, are in it primarily for the freefall and view the canopy ride as just something they have to do to land safely.
(This post was edited by indyz on Jun 12, 2005, 9:37 AM)
It can be cold, and it probably is way more windy too.
Also, it's fun We sometimes do canopy formation from 12000ft, except some whiners think that's too high
If you want to open higher then normal, be sure to ask your instructor or later manifest if that's ok, due to other aircraft, other jumpers, the weather, local regulations ett it may not be. If you're allowed to open very high, make sure the other jumpers realise this, and you will probably be last out.
In the U.S. you're free to open at 13,000 feet, but before you do you'll want to check what the winds are doing at various altitudes. It's very possible that at 13,000 feet you'll have winds high enough that you'll be carried quite a distance. It won't really be much fun if you're forced to try to get back to the DZ or hold for 30 minutes instead of having the chance to play around under canopy. The temperature at 13,000 feet will be roughly 45 degrees F (25C) cooler than the ground temperature, so you might want to plan for that. Opening at high altitude won't damage any type of parachute, as far as I've ever heard. I'd recommend before you do it, you get a report on winds aloft and offset your spot if necessary so you're not stuck up there holding the whole time, or watching the DZ fade away into the distance and have to land WAY out. I've made jumps where the poor Cessna was barely making headway at altitude while there wasn't much of a wind at lower levels. Get some advice from an experienced JM about the spot if you have any doubts. Loosen your leg straps and chest strap after you're under a good canopy and you should be okay. Gloves would be nice, you can take them off once you get lower and stick them inside your jumpsuit.
What about canopy air traffic concerns at high traffic dropzones? If canopies open really high, they can't fly other jumpers up there as easily, because of freefallers collision danger with canopies?
I would think that dropzones prefer to clear the air quickly for back-to-back loads?
Some DZs (i.e. Perris Valley, California) designate a separate block of "CReW airspace" - off to the side of regular freefall airspace - for people who want to open higher than normal. Perris jump pilots only fly over the "CReW airspace" when they have canopy formation skydivers on board.
"Other reason is about ATC: 10000ft is call FL100." -------------------------- Flight levels do not start until 18,000 feet msl (i.e. FL180). Anything under 18,000 is stated as that altitude, not as a flight level. 10,000 feet would not be stated as a Flight level, but as "One, Zero, thousand feet"
A little off the topic but just thought I'd clarify.
That's interesting, in the UK I believe we start much lower than that, certainly overhead my club. I know that when I call the ATC in the morning to take us active I report that we're operating up to FL105 (10,500 feet), and I'm sure I've heard pilots talking to Scottish speaking in flight levels right from the time they enter the airway overhead (FL55), and seen FLs used as the bottom limits of airways as low as FL45 etc on air charts.
Perhaps someone could correct me if I'm wrong, I'd thought that generally altitudes were generally used for local traffic areas (eg approach lanes, patterns etc) and flight levels for transit etc.
What altitude setting do you use for up to FL180?
NB I'm not a pilot or ATC, just a geek that finds that side of things interesting
I'm not familiar with rules in UK but I personally have never heard anyone use the term flight level below 18,000 in the US so FL105 in the UK is probably correct.
The altimeter setting(barometric pressure) below 18,000 (in the US) is usually set to the local setting of the airport of your departure. Along the route of your flight you then reset the altimeter according to whichever reporting station you are near, usually an airport close by that has an automated station such as ASOS or AWOS or from ATC. The final setting will be set to the airport of your destination long before you land. All the while, if ATC ask, you report your altitude as indicated, not as a flight level. 10,500 feet = one zero thousand five hundred feet. Lets not even get started on all the speed limits in the different airspace below 10,000 feet.
Above 18,000 feet in the US all flights are IFR and everyone sets the altimeter to 29.92.
I've only been flying for about 1 1/2 years and never flown above 18,000 feet. If I am mistaken, someone with more knowledge please add your 2 cents.
oohhh a question i can answer seeing as i'm currently in the air force training to become an ATC Yes 18,000MSL and up in the US at least is referred to as flight levels (FL180) and at or above FL180 altimeters are set to 29.92 under FL180 its set to the local setting
Also FL180 up to and including FL600 is Class A airspace and is IFR only (see http://www.asy.faa.gov/...ts/airspaceclass.htm) and transponders are only required by aircraft with electrical systems. Since you could technically be an AC i guess without an electrical system you would be ok