Jun 4, 2001, 1:42 PM
Post #1 of 11
I have had skydiving on the brain since my first and second tandem jump last September. Since then I have been waiting for consistent weather to take lessons. During the waiting period, I have been reading lots of safety forums on the net. I have also read Parachuting, The Skydivers Handbook. I want to be very prepared when I start taking lessons. I have chosen to do the static line course, I made this decision based on cost and location. Most DZ's don't offer SL close to my home, and AFF is expensive. I have found a place that offers SL for a good price about 45 minutes past the other DZ's. My big question here is, Can I Be too Prepared? I have gone out to the DZ to see how operations are, and I like to watch the jumpers. I have read the skydivers handbook. I have just recently ordered "Basic Canopy Flight" video and book. I know that books and videos can only teach so much, But I am also concerned that I don't cram my head with too much information which could lead to making a bad decision. Any suggestions out there before I begin my course. I plan to start in a few weeks.
I don't think you can be too prepared though I remember my DZO saying I'd read too much when I was asking him about RSL disconnects during my FJC. I, like you, read everything I could get my hands on for months before I jumped. I think as long as you spread out your reading and information gathering over a long period of time you'll be okay. Don't try to cram everything in at the last minute or ideas will be competing for space in your brain. When it's time for your course just concentrate on what they teach you. What they teach will be enough to get you safely to the ground and if you've read a lot of stuff the things in your first jump course will be easier to learn and remember. Have fun. It's an amazing sport.
I think it's a good thing you're being prepared Jason. If, for example, you end up with a bad spot, you'll have quite a bit more knowledge about how to do your off-field landing than a typical first-jump student with 4 hours of training. Also, in my experience, there were some things that slipped through the cracks in my own training (grabbing the rear risers when the canopy opened for example) that I picked up along the way by talking to other jumpers, reading web sites, watching videos, etc. The first jump course is pretty vague because it has to be. The average adult can only retain 7 learning points per session, so you want them to get points like 'If you have a big ball of crap over you head when you open, pull this handle and then this handle' rather than how to spot an aircraft (can you tell I just got my BIC? ).
A couple points of caution though. First, make sure your source is reliable. Anything from Skydive U, and the Parachutist's Handbook (which you mentioned) should be right on, but be careful about information you read online, on wreck.skydiving, etc. Secondly, and along the same lines as the first, I would recommend against trying to learn a lot of motor skills until you've been taught them by the jumpmasters at your dropzone. It's much easier to learn a skill correctly the first time than to try and unlearn a bad habit. Even if it's a correct habit, it might not be appropriate. For example, if you learn emergency procedures on a dual-cutaway system (separate cutaway and reserve handles) and then go to a DZ that uses an SOS (one handle cuts away and pulls the reserve) you may take the incorrect action in the heat of a malfunction.
I'm also a little curious about your reasons for going static line... From what I've seen, static line costs less per jump, but over the course of the whole program the costs pretty much equal out since the static line program requires more jumps. This may not be the case anymore, especially if the DZ is using the new ISP program, but it was always my impression.
I agree completely with What42. After my first SL jump I downloaded the SIM and devoured it, registered here and joined in the threads just like you are doing. Much of what I've "learned" is still over my head because I don't have the experience or training yet. That's OK. I know my JM will introduce the correct material at the correct time. HOWEVER, much of the material is NOT over my head. I'm ready to be quizzed on the next category now, for example. Reading/learning ahead also underscores the need to master each skill as it is presented, cuz I can see how it all fits in the "grand scheme of things".
Keep it simple for your first few jumps. Just do what your instructor tells you to do in the first jump course. Your extra knowledge can be applied after you have a half dozen jumps. Then you can tease your instructors into assigning you canopy flying tasks like riser turns and fine tuning your landing pattern. By the time you complete the S/L program you will have double the time under canopy of any AFF student, and judging by your curiousity, you will have triple the canopy skills. Half the people who hurt themselves while hook turning never plan to hook turn, they just arrive at low altitude without a plan.
Too Prepared - it is a double edge sword! How do you handle the knowledge?
Check shooting instructors (both military and police) and ask who are better new students, men or women. The answer is often women, and often they outshoot men the first time. (In general) Women listen, ask questions and don't have preconceived ideas about how to shoot. Men think they share the Y chromoson with John Wayne and therefor know how to shoot. They don't really listen to the rangemaster.
I had a Gunnersmate (Navy Job) tell me that he never could shoot expert (award). After convincing him to forget what he thought about shooting and listen to the Rangemaster, he shot better then me for the first round, and received his expert medal! I should listen to my own advice!
Listen to the jumpmaster, don't let your knowledge interfer with your learning. Be safe - have fun.
I don't care what anyone says... IMHO, 9 jumps does not prepare you for a 15 way. Talk about putting 14 other jumpers at risk...
You're right of course, but it's probably not as bad as that. If his parents owned a DZ, the other 14 were probably all JM/I's or at least highly experienced jumpers, and they most likely put him in the base and literally built the formation around him, or maybe even held onto him and moved him into place and then let him pull in the center while everyone else tracked away. Not necessarily the brightest idea, but not *too* dangerous as long as the proper controls are established.
"there were some things that slipped through the cracks in my own training (grabbing the rear risers when the canopy opened for example) that I picked up along the way by talking to other jumpers" -grogs
So is this a good thing to do or a bad thing? I've done it instinctively on my 2 solo's so far.
It's a good habit to be in. Imagine that you open up and have 2 seconds to avoid hitting someone (off-heading openings, not enough tracking, whatever). If you have to get your hands into your toggles, unstow them, and then steer away, that takes longer than simply hauling down on the rear riser (since you already have your hand on it).