May 18, 2001, 7:50 PM
Post #1 of 5
IAF Level 4 should be 5
After a long break from September of 2000 until May of this year I began schooling again to go for my A license. (I had to stop in september because the weather picked up and it was too windy) But my Level 4 jump was a disaster. I lived, which was good, but I think that 4 and 5 should be switched. Before heading up to altitude, I knew what my strengths were and what my weaknesses were. I felt that if I could just reacquaint myself with jumping-for one-and practice being alert, stable, and altitude aware during the whole dive, I'd accomplish something. But instead, Level 4 has you doing turns, and getting your heading, and forward movement, bla bla bla. So, once I exited the plane, I was flopping around because I wasn't arching enough. I couldn't read my altimeter so great because my chicken wings were flapping all over. I got the sign to arch, and I did, but then I remembered I had to do my work and in the midst of getting my heading, I began de-arching, therefore flopping around again. Practice touches were terrible because the student rig was flopping so badly on me, it wasn't where I thought it would be. After the jump master helped me locate it, I had no trouble with the next two. The arch sign again-I arched-began my turn and de-arched again when I forgot to hold the arch because I was trying to remember what was next. I had to be given the pull sign because I really wasn't reading my altimeter up there, just looking at my wrist flopping around, and seeing numbers that were meaningless to me. And I NEVER had that problem through my tandems. I always pulled at the proper altitude. But that index finger in my face was enough to get me to wave off, reach, and pull. After doing your third tandem (which is basically done for you while you hang there) the next step should be making sure you were really aware, and arching correctly in the first place during the tandem. It's a big step to go from a tandem to all on your own with someone holding you. That should be enough for level 4. But to continue to add work/maneuvers at that point is ridiculous ESPECIALLY when the next level-Level 5 IS just THAT! Now I have to do 4 again with 2 jump masters again. WHich I knew was coming because I knew it was too much to handle for me at once. I'm not complaining that I was made to repeat the level, I'm glad I am because it shows how safe they want me to be. But I think I would have done a lot better if I had less to think about, and could concentrate on the basics-ARCHING-ALTITUDE AWARENESS-KNOWING WHERE MY HANDLES ARE(and oh yeah, pulling at pull time!) Level 5 and 4 should be switched!
I've been there, just like you, flopping around and stuff. the best thing I did though was RELAX. It was amazing after I learned this my arch was locked on and super stable. have fun and good luck the next time around!!!!
Marc's defiantely right about relaxing. I found that during my student jumps I had to force myself to relax (sounds funny I know) but as soon as I did, the arch just came naturally. And I still do it now, if I find myself above the formation and I really need to aaaaaaaarrrrrch to get down then I just switch into uber-relaxation mode and down I go! It's obviously not as simple as it sounds, mainly because you've got a million things going on in your head and you really don't want to screw up. But try it if you can, it made a big difference for me.
I went through the tandem to AFF progression too...I was pretty hesitant about the transition from tandem to doing it on my own. Especially after another guy that was at the same level as me went tumbling for 7000' on his L4 and had his main dumped by his JM.
I confessed my fears to my JM and asked for advice; here's what I got: he told me wasn't looking for perfection. He wanted me to be stable, *attempt* the turns, *attempt* the forward movement, be altitude aware, pull on time, & land safely. He then went and dirt dived with me until I was absolutely ready! The jump was far from perfect, but I learned alot and moved on from there.
Something else that might help is doing a relaxation dive...that is what my hubby ended up doing, several times during AFF. He was in the AFF progression and had a really bad landing on L3 - got hurt, bloody, all that. Worst part was mentally, though...really shook him up. L4 for him was pretty awful. L5 was even worse. He worked with a JM that taught him some relaxation techniques, and then took him on a "fun" jump...He didn't have to do anything but hang out up there, pull on time, and land safely. He ended up doing one more relaxation jump before L7.
I hope this helps some, Kimmy! And I wish you the best of luck with your jumps.
Blue skies, light winds, Karen
Forgot to add one thing: one of the techniques the JM showed my husband was this - stand up and get into your boxman, then take a deep breath and let it out through your belly button; you will naturally be in a deeper arch when you are doing this, so you will automatically be more stable. It's important to *breathe* when you're up there! Not shallow, hyper breaths, but deep belly breaths. Hope that helps!
<FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by FallnAngel on 5/19/01 06:39 AM.</EM></FONT>
It is your money. If you feel that a dive is too "busy" then ask your instructor for fewer tasks. Doing fewer tasks per dive will mean more dives, but fewer repeats. In the long run it will cost about the same. Remember that freefall programs ware designed for the best student. The rest of us mere mortals require a few extra dives to master a particular skill.