Aug 5, 2002, 7:40 AM
Post #1 of 11
FF Bigway Breakoff Safety (aka My F@#$-Up)
Yesterday I had what is by far my biggest f#$%-up since I started skydiving.
I'm still rattled by the whole thing, and I still like a complete asshole, but I think it's important that I tell this story so that others won't repeat my mistake. I'm not going to mention folks names, mainly because it's irrelevant.
We were doing a dual tube jump. Tube Jumper #1 & Tube Jumper #2. Six of us then formed a campfire around the tube jumpers.
I was in a sit almost directly behind Tube Jumper #1. Mistake #1.
Our pre-detrmined breakoff was 6k. As the tube jumpers waved off, I took a quick look behind to make sure no one was behind me, then I started my typical sit breakoff by laying out to do a backtrack away. Mistake #2.
What happened next caught me (and obviously the tube jumpers) completely by surprise. As I laid out, instead of tracking away, I drove forward... HARD. I've never had this happen before. About the same time, Tube Jumper #1 started his breakoff. So we were on a really fast collision course. I thought for sure I was either going to hit him or his tube, but by some miracle I managed to miss the tube by inches (my only thought at this point was "get up and to the side"). Literally, if it was 6 inches I'd be amazed.
The force of the slide was so great I even drifted over Tube Jumper #2's space briefly. I went into a track until I was just clear of both tube jumpers and dumped. In retrospect I should have tracked a little longer to get more separation. Mistake #3.
Thank God no one was hurt or worse. It's bad enough to put your own self in danger, but we have a responsibility not to endanger the people that we jump with.
All of this could have been avoided if I had done two things differently....
First, I should not have gotten directly behind either of the tube fliers... though with the wicked forward slide I had it still may have put me on a collision course with one or both of them. Nevertheless, being behind someone with their back to you is definitely a bad place to be.
Most important, I should have done a 1/2 cartwheel into a head down track instead of doing the back layout. Had I done that, I wouldn't have slid toward the tube jumpers and the breakoff would have been fine. I had been advised early on by an instructor to do a back layout when tracking off from a sit, so I got in the habit early. Ramon advocated in the 1/2 cartwheel early on, but since I was already in the habit of doing it the other way, I rarely tried the cartwheel approach. I now see why that is the much safer alternative.
So what I'm trying to say, is if you are in the habit of doing a backtrack out of a sit, seriously reconsider this approach. You may have done a ton just fine, as I had, but it only takes one time at the wrong time & place to make that approach disastrous. Do the 1/2 cartwheel. It's much safer and predictable. And predictability is absolutely critical on FF big ways.
And to both of you tube jumpers, again, there's not a whole lot I can say, other than I'm terribly sorry because I know I royally screwed up and put both of you guys in danger, which is totally unacceptable.
hey ted, i wanna clarify something here. tube jumper #1 (me), did not start my breakoff when you almost hit me. i turn 360's until i see everybody is gone. it was when i started my 360's that you almost hit me. i'd say it was more like 12"s instead of 6. this is only a minor issue with the dive. one of the two biggest problems with the dive was the pre-determined break off. when a breakoff is set for 6k that means >everybody< leaves at 6k. bam!, dytter goes off and your gone. that does not mean slowly track away for 2000' watching the tubes hum it down cuz yall are still in their way. after watching the videos kyle and ramon are the only two that left on time. the other big problem with the dive was a 30 second climb out. i know it didn't seem like it took that long but the timer on the camera does not lie. a plane can cover alot of ground in 30 seconds. like for example a mile and a half which is how far out i landed. you should not let that dive get you down. people make mistakes. it's a learning experience. live and learn ya know. as long as you didn't hurt somebody and you learned something from the experience then it's all good. aside from the issues i stated above i had fun and thought it was a good dive. there was no reason for people to get upset and down an out and quit jumpin for the day and go home like half the people on it did. if you do something wrong then think about what you should have done and go up, jump again and do it right. that's how we learn. if you want to beat yourself to death over poor performance then go do rw. bad vibes in freeflying even after the dive are unacceptable. that goes for half the people on that dive. i already told ya not to worry about it. now i'm pattin ya on the back and tellin ya to get over it already. cya next weekend. maybe we'll do that dive again next weekend. and i bet next time everybody will do it right.
You were taught that break off and it is ok, but not good close in.
The main boo boo was being too close to the base. I spent a lot of time on dives like that on the outside where I could see the whole group (7 others on this dive) and no one was by me. It was only after I had 500-600 ff jumps that I started trusting myself to get in close on bigger dives
We had a very good time after you left, should have stayed and watched me win the swoop and chug on my big ole vengeance 135 (pulled out of retirement due to scary VX)
(This post was edited by ramon on Aug 5, 2002, 9:07 AM)
it was when i started my 360's that you almost hit me.
I stand corrected. It all happened so fast I probably interpreted you starting your 360 as the beginning of a layout. In any event I wasn't trying to place anything on you. Sorry if I created that impression.
you should not let that dive get you down. people make mistakes. it's a learning experience. live and learn ya know. as long as you didn't hurt somebody and you learned something from the experience then it's all good.
Thanks for the words of encouagement. It really does mean a lot to me.
Anyone that knows me knows I beat myself up worse than anyone else possibly could. Always have, prolly always will.
That dive was going to be my last of the day anyway. So I didn't really leave because of that... though I would have had a lot of trouble jumping again anyway. My mind wasn't really there and I don't think it would have been a good idea for me to get in the sky with other folks when I'm like that.
I'm going to San Antonio with Liz this coming weekend, so it'll be the following weekend before I'm out again. Of course, given the topsy-turvy nature of my marriage right now, that's subject to change without notice.
Anyway, thanks again. I feel like I've learned so much from you guys in the past few weekends than I have in the past several months. Of course that means I'm now trying more challenging stuff, so I'm bound to screw up. I just don't like it being safety screw-ups.
Can't wait to see, jump and hang out with both of you. I told Levin I will be out to Houston one day soon... I still have a jump ticket I need to use. But, it's hard to leave the home dz when you work there too!
And I need some coaching bad!!!! I am stuck in a rut right now! HELP
A certain person did hit Levins tube before. It was Levins boyfriend. He loves him so much that he flew, sittin, thru his tube. Enuff said. <Chicago> hehe... So anyway, Levin lived thru that love nudge. Plus he has jumped with me loads of times when I sucked. So it cant be much worse than any of that.
You have to put jumps in between screw ups, miscalculations and biffs. Its the only way to live thru it. Everyone has a story of that one jump that was rough. Everyone. Or else they havent been jumping for very long.
Big ways are not to be taken lightly. They are dangerous as hell. Each time a jumper is added on the jump the matrix gets weird. Then you have Tube people can not track away much. So everyone has to leave that base and exactly when they are supposed to. (As they should) In this case you had to watch for 2 of those Tube people. Plus whoever else is out there trackin off. Track off on a big way is important so everyone can get separation, for one. You cant dirt dive a track off position. Its in this situation that "head on a swivel" comes into place in a BigWay, so to speak. You must be Sharp, Sharp and Sharper. This event will separate the good bad and ugly. And tell you who will be invited back or not.
I have been asked to join big ways and I have joined in many times -when I am in good form and my abilities have been in top shape. I have also declined when I am in good form. I wont go if I am rusty, feeling tired, mental or otherwise not in tip top shape. Or even if I dont know whats up. I dont have to have a distinct reason to decline. I have changed my mind just before the door and while in the aircraft. Maybe I didnt feel good about the exit. Or some guy said something I didnt understand or know about on the plane. Bingo - I am off the dive.
Its all split second stuff. Sometimes splits of split second thinking is needed. I also wont go if there is someone I dont know. I can not anticipate that persons flying. Good or Bad. The persons I will fly with are well known to me. Either by flight or by film. Usually both. I can pick out any of the persons I fly regularly with by a quick glance and know whether or not I need to deal with them or not. Even against a sunset and all I have is a silouette. Its the way they fly. Everyone is different. You should see Eric Butts. HD. He looks like King Tut upside down. You know, Walk like an Egiptchun.... (film) Funny as hell. The most solid sit I have seen in a long time as well. Levin has this leg thing going on and he moves slow but fast into his slot. Bryan has wiggle worm legs, yet a stable upper body. He moves very quickly into his slot. He looks kinda like Tinkerbell upside down. Ramon has distinctive movements, yet highly predictable if you watch his face. Now put all that together in a big way and I'd watch Ramon. Mainly because I would be base and Ramon films good. Yet I'd keep a sharp eye out for Tinkerbell, he will zoom ya, Smiley face, Spock, Peace sign and then zoom off to the side. This is just my prediction of a forthcoming jump I need for something I am doing for the Homie Home Page.
A word about prediction. Prediction or Dirt Dive. Take your pick. You dirt dive it. You plan it. But it likely wont go that way, Exactly. When you can predict or estimate your skypartners movements or flight IN Flight, then you might have a good big way. Otherwise, I say, and I am not anywhere near these persons level, stay back and on the outside. That way -for me- I am safe and so are my partners. As far as I can predict.
I feel really strong about this thing: I personally dont like to jump with people when I am working on something. Like lately, I have had my training wheels on. Yet, some people will try and Klingon your jump. <Lozers> But its for their own safety that I try and tell them to bug off. And besides I dont want to worry about their happy asses. If I flail all over hells half acre then its my waste of film and nobody gets hurt.
Besides, Tube jumper #1 and Tube jumper #2 only wanted pretty pictures of themselves in the first place. <Damn Klingons> But, I AM good like that, with film. .......Sometimes. For an amateur, that is. Its not like I am Ramon or Quade or anyone like that.
Speaking of... Zennie... sorry I didnt get your transition. I am pretty sure I turned my camera on, maybe, yet ...likely a Klingon that was behind me turned it off again. .... Yeah.. thats it, Bryan or Levin turned it OFF.
I am just little ole me.... I mess up.
O- Get this... they cut down the 'shrubbery' I landed in a few weeks back. LOL
Kudos to you Mr Big for the confessional. But do not let this bother you much longer. An Eight way is a really big for freeflying. All kinds of shyt can happen. Control is a must. And you have it. So use mental control now, NOT dwelling on the dark side of it, Grasshopper... But for Good. You live - You learn. Stay positive. Free your mind and .... your butt will follow. Or something...