Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
Very low 180 turn


drosenberg  (B License)

Jun 3, 2001, 12:29 AM
Post #1 of 9 (1545 views)
Very low 180 turn Can't Post

I made a very low 180 turn to land on Friday, which scared the guys at the manifest and in the landing area. The landing actually went very well, I flared in time and landed softly.
The thing is that I never make low turns and I wanted to explain why I decided to this time.

I have 69 jumps and use a PD 9 cell 170, loaded at around 1.1.
The winds were crazy and at about 900ft the wind became very strong, around 20 knots at least, and as I made my downwind leg I started flying very fast.

I actually thought that if I go cross wind and then up wind to land I might find myself flying backwards, so I decided to use my forward speed for the turn and the landing. I never did this before and usually I land very conservatively.

So, at about 200ft I made a 180 turn slowly (not a hook or anything) using my toggles, got into the wind in time to flare and land.
I know it was a stupid thing to do but somehow, when I was up there, this felt like the only safe way for me to land.

Blue skies and safe landings,



Jun 3, 2001, 12:43 AM
Post #2 of 9 (1517 views)
Re: Very low 180 turn [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for sharing Dave. I know most of the people here are low-timers (myself included) so giving us a peek at the decision process is a HUGE help. Glad it turned out okay for you!

Blues, squares,

*insert witty sig here*

des  (F 372)

Jun 3, 2001, 2:23 AM
Post #3 of 9 (1512 views)
Re: Very low 180 turn [In reply to] Can't Post

sounds like you are starting to fly by feel,and not by rules ,which will eventually get you into trouble in unusual situations,(which will happen,as it just did to you.)
sure, follow the rules ,but if you feel turning onto final at 300' is not going to work,do what you think feels right.
at 70 jumps you are starting to get some experience,so use it.
200' is not very low on a 170 at 1:1,as your landing proved.
the important thing is to make your decisions early,and stay with those decisions,even if it means a off dz landing.
last second changes of plan can cause serious injury.
just my thoughts .

wingnut  (D 27688)

Jun 3, 2001, 9:26 AM
Post #4 of 9 (1496 views)
Re: Very low 180 turn [In reply to] Can't Post

this can be a very interesting subject to discuss, i myself was flying a pd210 loaded about .9:1 and i used to do this all the time, the canopy just never lost altitude that quickly, but now i'm jumping a sabre 150 loaded about 1.3:1 and if i tried this i would be eating dirt. it'a all about how much altitude you loose in the turn for your specific canopy and weight. if you loose alot then that might of been dangerous, if not perfectly safe.......just be safe, on my second jump on my sabre i made a 90 deg. turn to face right into the wind and lost alot more altitude than i though i was going to, nothing scary or that but it really hit home on how low turns can and do kill, just be safe for the canopy your flying....

(just my 2 cents from my small 88 jumps)

"if dreams are like movies, then memories are like films about ghosts"-counting crows

DZBone  (D 14358)

Jun 3, 2001, 4:00 PM
Post #5 of 9 (1470 views)
Re: Very low 180 turn [In reply to] Can't Post

I did the same thing recently. I was following in the early landers on a fairly low-wind day, when suddenly they all hooked in and landed the opposite way I was expecting! That left me to either do a downwinder against the prevailing landing pattern (probably not a big deal) or try to pull off the 180. I decided to go for it, with a nice flat toggle turn in half brakes. Worked great. Figured if I hadn't completed the turn in time, I would land cross-wind, rather than try to get more aggressive with the turn.

This is all a matter of flying within your comfort zone. Take it easy, don't do anything stupid or rash, and be prepared to take an alternate action.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jun 4, 2001, 9:32 AM
Post #6 of 9 (1415 views)
Re: Very low 180 turn [In reply to] Can't Post

Sound decision making process, but you probably need more background knowledge before you start making these low altitude decisions on a regular basis.
Half the people who "hook turn" themselves into the hospital didn't plan on hook turning, them just found themselves at low altitude without a plan.
DZBone had some good advice about doing a half-brake turn to follow the others. You lose a lot less altitude in a half-brake turn.
Try practicing half-brake turns on your next skydive. Glance at your altimeter before and after every turn to determine how much altitude you lose in different types of turns.
Get in the habit of trying to learn something new about your canopy on every skydive. Just remember to practice every new maneuver a few times above 2,000' before you try it close to the ground.
Finally ask your friendly neighborhood CSPA or Skydive University Coach to critique your landings and help set goals for your next few canopy flights. If you bribe them with sandwiches and cool beverages, they may even let you peek inside their textbooks!
Skydive University also sells an excellent textbook and videotape combination titled "Basic Canopy Flight 101."

Grogs  (D 24265)

Jun 4, 2001, 8:00 PM
Post #7 of 9 (1364 views)
Re: Very low 180 turn [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll second, or third, or whatever the notion of the braked turn. It can really save you if you get in a tight spot. If the people on the ground were concerned, it was probably a bit low although without seeing it myself I can't say for sure. They usually have a better perspective than you do under the canopy. In any case, I'm glad you're ok and as long as you've learned a bit from this something positive has occured.

By the way, this is a bit of a coincidence, but since Riggerrob mentioned this I'll bring it up. I just finished the USPA Coach Course this weekend, and one of our 'homework' assignments was to find out how much altitude we lost on a 180 degree toggle turn. On my Silhouette 170 loaded at 1.1:1 I lost around 250 feet.

maretus  (D License)

Jun 5, 2001, 5:00 AM
Post #8 of 9 (1336 views)
Re: Very low 180 turn [In reply to] Can't Post

"On my Silhouette 170 loaded at 1.1:1 I lost around 250 feet"

That's an interesting piece on information right there. It would be very interesting and useful too to see comparison about different canopies and different wingloadings and how much they lose altitude in 180 toggle turn and 180 front riser turn.

Lindsey  (D 17865)

Jun 8, 2001, 5:55 PM
Post #9 of 9 (1269 views)
Re: Very low 180 turn [In reply to] Can't Post

Yep....sounds like it's time to re-visit Flat Turns! They're great to know how to do.....


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