Sep 15, 2002, 12:45 PM
Post #1 of 43
NEWBIE AFP NEEDS LANDING IN-PUT
I've had 7 jumps so far, 4 tandems all landed WELL...I just got in my 2nd and 3rd AFP jumps yesterday...But I haven't had a good landing on AFP yet. I landed the first AFP my butt...So yesterday, I was hoping to be on my feet.
I am having difficulty judging speed and depth perception. The first time I thought I was going to touch before I did and started moving my feet too soon and ended up catching my foot and belly sliding on the ground. Second time, again, I miss judged how close I was, didn't wait for the the radio guy to tell me to flair,thought, "OMG! I'm gonna land really hard if I wait for this dude!!" flaired on my own too soon,the chute's descent slowed, caught some wind and the chute pulled me onto my back. Both times I was way out in the middle of the DZ and needed to wave to the radio dude that I was OK, embarassed but OK, and a little sore today.
HOW do you judge WHERE the ground and WHEN you are going to touch the ground???
The first time I thought I was going to touch before I did and started moving my feet too soon and ended up catching my foot and belly sliding on the ground. Second time, again, I miss judged how close I was, didn't wait for the the radio guy to tell me to flair,thought, "OMG! I'm gonna land really hard if I wait for this dude!!" flaired on my own too soon,the chute's descent slowed, caught some wind and the chute pulled me onto my back.
PLF? Try it. Now's the time to perfect that little move, it could save you a bone or two later on.
HOW do you judge WHERE the ground and WHEN you are going to touch the ground???
I really think that this is one of those things that just comes with experience. Have you talked to your JMs?
landing a canopy is a skill which takes time to develop. It WILL come with time be patient and listen to your instructors. The one piece of advice I can give you is this. Its very hard to determine how high off the ground you are by looking straight down, instead, pick out a point on the ground a little bit further in front of you. maintain an awareness of that point and use it to judge how far off the ground you are. That seems to work for alot of people. Above all BE PATIENT and remember listen to your instructor, flaring to high can seriously suck. good luck, the landings will come in time
You shouldn't be surprised by your landings during solo canopy flight being different from the landings during tandems. Your tandem master really will direct your flare. You really need to talk more about this with your current Jump Masters. They saw your canopy control and landings. They will know best in how to instruct you in your future landings. None of us saw your landings so any info given here is going to be the basics of canopy landing.
And if I didn't say it before, go talk to your JMs about your landings.
I guess PLF is to be used for all landings and not just hard descents or in difficult situations, then?? Should I using PLF on every landing while I am on student statis then? PLF, meaning: Legs and knees together and bent up, touch and roll on the ground?
I guess I'm not the real patient type when it comes to slowly learning anything. I usually catch on to things so fast...that I want to "get it" and really"get it right" quickly. But I can definitely see the mistakes that I am making, already, and see how there can really be serious consequences from not following instructions- like flaring too high! - could mess me up in a big way.
Thanks for your take on things. I do talk to my JM quite a bit. But it often seems like after I've jumped or have left the DZ I have time to think over my jump and then I've got so many questions about how, what or why about things. I'll just have to try to get my questions and in-put right away, I guess.
I WILL try to direct more questions specifically about my jumps to my JM in the future. But it seems like right after the jump I'm so psyched up and distracted that I don't always seem to have the presence of mind to verbalize my thoughts into questions, somehow.
(This post was edited by Airhead on Sep 16, 2002, 6:41 AM)
Your 'state of mind' post jump is pretty standard.
Close your eyes, relax, and visualize (remember) your landing. Vizualize the landing up to the point where your instructors told you about a piloting error. Then visualize yourself making a correct landing. Landing the canopy is learning to judge altitude(s) during the last 50'.
On the ground, practice spotting objects at known fixed distances. If you have a 2 story house w/ a deck; look at objects from that altitude.
I've got exactly the same problems as you dude. I've done four AFF jumps and haven't landed on my feet yet.
Landing 1) Flared to high mistaking 'Full Drive' with 'Flare' command. The chute stalled and then dropped like a stone. Fortunately it was a training chute which is quite forgiving under such circumstances and the tuck and roll coped with the heavy landing. If it was a proper one I would probably have had a broken bone or two.
Landing 2) Flared correctly but didn't run with it. I played safe and did the tuck & roll when I probably didn't hve to.
Landing 3) Flared correctly, tryed to run with it but lost my footing and ended up prostrate on the grass.
Landing 4) Almost had it, but got some sideways movement as I tried to run with it and landed heavy on my arse.
Don't worry so much about standing up your landings at this point. Learning to judge your flares is something that will come to you with practice. I know I'm still learning (historically I've PLFed more than I've stood up). And one thing I noticed is that judging my flares varies with the canopy I am flying as well as the current weather conditions. There is one interesting trick you can try though, and that is not to initiate your flares until you can see the individual blades of glass on the ground (of course this assumes you are landing in grass). I historically always flares too high and this trick help me a little. Of course I've recently transitioned to smaller (smaller for me at least) ZP canopies and I'm having to refine my landing techniques on each jump.
Good luck with your training and as long as you're ready to PLF every landing, you'll do fine and you will eventually start standing up your landings.
Should I using PLF on every landing while I am on student statis then?
you don't HAVE to plf on EVERY landing, but it's a good idea to be prepared to plf on every landing. if you're ready to plf, you're flaring, and everything looks and feels good, go ahead and put your feet down. if anything seems amiss, you're far better off rolling out of it than landing on your face...or your ass..or with a bone sticking out the side of your leg
Whoa! We have been doing practically the same kinda "almost" landings, Huh?!! Yikes! When did you do those last jumps? Did you feel sore from them? I'm not feeling too bad today, but it's been 2 days now. Doing some yoga since I first started jumping's helped me become more flexible, too.
Reading your accounts of your jumps are somewhat of a comfort. Especially since we're basically in the same place in our student training! But, hey, this is frusteratingly more difficult to judge correctly than I had anticipated...'cause I really love playing with the canopy on the way down, I thought, "Hey, this can't all be that hard...now can it?" OH YEAH...it can! AT least SO FAR! Like you, dude, I AM gonna "get it" this NEXT time, too... But, Hey, unlike you, I'm a "chick"...not a dude!
(This post was edited by Airhead on Sep 16, 2002, 11:06 AM)
I HOPE to get in AFP#5 this?weekend. We'll see about the $$$...But I feel the pressure to move along in my training...The air's getting cooler here in MIchigan, and the geese are starting to organize there flights outta here...AND the DZ where I'm training basically shuts down end of October!!! SO I've been jumping as often as I can afford to! Hope to graduate AFP in about a month, and have somewhat??? of an understanding about landing by then, too.
Thanx for the WAY cool observations and tips, especially "observing the individual blades of grass"!! I'll try to keep that in mind next time
(This post was edited by Airhead on Sep 16, 2002, 11:33 AM)
quade (D 22635)
Sep 16, 2002, 11:48 AM
Post #14 of 43
HOW do you judge WHERE the ground and WHEN you are going to touch the ground???
I'm almost certain that at some point or another you've been told to "look at the horizon" in order for you to judge how high you are above the ground. Unfortunately, what's usually not communicated in this is how this is helpful, what the technique is and how exactly can you go about figuring out how high you are above something.
I have a couple of little exercises I can give you to help.
I want you to find something at the DZ that you can climb up on and look out at the landing area. Maybe some steps leading up to a building or maybe a picnic table.
Stand on ground level near this object and look at the DZ landing area. As you gaze out over the landing area, take note of any buildings, flags, cars and trees. Look all the way out to the horizon. Notice where the horizon line bisects the objects. If you're of average height, then other people's heads might be fairly close to the horizon line. Tops of trees that are 15 to 20 feet high, will be a bit above the horizon line. I want you to really notice where these things are because that's the exact place you'll want them to be when you finally touch down for a stand up landing.
After you've spent maybe three or four minutes looking at that sight picture, I want you to climb up on the object and stand on top of it. Hopefully you'll be about three or four feet higher than ground level.
Do the same exercise of looking out to the horizon and really observe where the previously looked at objects are now. People's heads should now be clearly below the level of the horizon. Again, take maybe three or four minutes of time to really look at these things and notice what they look like and how they appear in relation to the horizon from that known height.
If you can manage it, you might want to repeat this excercise at a couple of higher levels as well -- up to maybe 15 feet above the ground if you can find something that tall to stand on.
By repeating this excercise, you'll quickly gain a feel for how high you are above the ground.
I don't think I'd really want to address the timing of your flair at this point as you'll probably be better served on that point by your JMs.
> Should I using PLF on every landing while I am on student statis >then? PLF, meaning: Legs and knees together and bent up, touch >and roll on the ground?
That's up to your instructor. I tell my students they _must_ do a PLF on their first jump, both for practice and because that's a risky jump. Afterwards they must _prepare_ for a PLF (knees together, knees a little bent) so that if they hit hard they are prepared. If they land softly they can just stand up. About the worst thing you can do is stretch your foot out to "find" the ground; that's a good way to get hurt.
Sorry about the dude thing, babe. I should have checked your profile before I replied.
I didn't feel sore from any of my landings. I felt the third one the most because I landed on my side and it did feel heavy, but no bruises or injuries.
My JM's have never criticised my landings. They have always recorded "Good PLF". It's the other guys that jest with comments of, "Still haven't landed on your feet yet then ?". I just think to myself, "When I get it right I'll land on your forehead, you packer !"
I've received advice before now that Yoga can help with regards to a stable freefall position. I'm tempted to take it up too, but I'm not wearing a leotard ! ! !
I've found that reading other people's experiences is a great comfort too because it makes you realise that any problems you may be having are nothing new, and that everyone has they're own to conquer. This gives me confidence to say, wel if they can get past them then so can I.
This is a good post because it's going to help me out with my landings too. The blade of grass thing and climbing onto roofs will definately be two things I'll try next time.
As for listening to the guy on the radio, every time I do he lands me as far away from the centre as possible. My jump consists of 40 seconds freefall, 4 minutes under canopy and 15 minutes to walk back to the damn packing area !
All the best for your next one. Let us know how you get on.
WOW !!! I wish my JM gave such great detail to me! Do YOU work at a DZ? WHERE at?? (smile)
Anyways, WAY helpful stuff. I'll tell ya, I'll be printing that off and keeping it for reference, too. I can just SEE the faces of the people at the DZ when they see me climbing up on stuff and looking around...HAHAHA
Hmmm...Actually, Quade, I did post a similar Question on my DZ's message board and got a private e-mail from one of the moderators telling me NOT to ask questions LIKE THIS ONE on the page for 'Student Questions and Experiences' because "it might be misunderstood...and encourage someone (who reads the message board) to jump off a building or out of a tree.." It's very discouraging. I don't "get it" about the boundaries for "acceptable questions" to post! Sometimes I get the feeling that my questions push the edge of the envelope for my DZ's website with too technical or too specific questions, AND I don't really want to P*SS off the personell at my training DZ with too many personal e-mail questions, either, Honestly, I do try to simplify my questions. This question that I posted IS TYPICAL for most Newbies, isn't it??
Thanx a Load..I APPRECIATE ALL OF THE IN-PUT...BIG TIME!
You -do- have to weigh all information you get from message boards and the internet as to whether it is credible or not.
Advice such as "flair when you see individual blades of grass" might work for a one particular person, but in general isn't the kind of thing that will help the majority of people and isn't a normally acceptable answer to the question of how to judge height. It also might get a person with less than perfect vision injured.
Ok, now here's -my- big disclaimer.
I'm -not- a JM. In fact, I don't even have a USPA Coach rating.
I am, however, an airplane certified flight instructor and have taught a number of people over the years how to land airplanes. I've also given advice to a few folks on how to land canopies, written a couple of articles on the subject -- stuff like that.
Just thought I'd share my own recent experience: I have been away from the sport for about 10 years though I had only had 15 jumps at that time anyway. I decided that the time has come to get into it again and last weekend went to a local DZ and re-did the course. No problem, I thought, it's all coming back to me. After the course, the weather was poor with a low ceiling and a bit of rain. By around 6pm we got a window and I went up with the last load of the day. The winds were about 15 kts judging by the windsock, but steady. Anyway, my exit was fine but my landing was not. I flared wayyyy too late and ended up doing a hard butt plant into the grass.
Seems that during my descent under the canopy I got too caught up in wondering if I was going to make the LZ due to the strong headwind that all of my (limited) past experience went out the window. I did a half-assed PLF and landed really hard. I ended up with a painfully bruised coccyx which still hurts 5 days later but other than that no serious damage. In retrospect the instructor who taught the course did not go into how to judge when to flare - and I did not think to ask. I am guessing that this was because all student jumps are made under radio instruction. Is this common practice so that the student does not get distracted and misjudge the flare? Or perhaps the logic is that it is better to depend on the ground-based instructor to judge when to flare the canopy - but then, what if the radio fails? I can't remember what the case was for the first few jumps in my past training but I *do* remember discussing flares with the JM after I had done a few jumps.
During my landing approach I gave little thought to flaring (duh!) rather concentrating on landing into the wind and expecting that the radio would give me plenty of warning on when to flare. I'm not sure if the ground-instructor on the radio was distracted during my landing but rather than a moderately-timed 1-2. I got an extremely quick "go to position1 - position2" which I *think* I executed immediately. But, I was so low by then that the parachute had no time to react and thus I piled. The landing seemed as hard as with the round that I did my first jump on. It hurt. Was the radio operator possibly waiting until the last possible moment due to the strong headwind? Should I have used my own judgement and flared when I considered myself to be getting to the right point...? I don't know if this would be the correct thing to do since after so long away from the sport, my ability to time things correctly is obviously not honed, and on top of that my experience level was pretty low in the past anyway. Then again, just like when flying aircraft - the final responsibility always rests with the pilot so perhaps I should not have been depending on the radio as much as I was.
Anyway, I have spent a lot of time reading posts on this forum (and others) and have found it to be an excellent source of info. It really helps to hear of others experiences and common mistakes to watch out for.
It was kind of disappointing to get injured on my very first jump but I am almost healed and if possible, I plan to go up again this weekend. And, pay much more attention to flaring and PLF'ing.
When I teach the FJC I always cover flaring. You never know when a student may land off, out of sight of the radio-guy due to winds, long climb-out or an emergency exit.
They are instructed to wait for radio and that anything heard on the radio specifically addressed to them overrules anything I tell them in class, but I also tell them what to do in case radio or paddles are not there.
I appreciate your insights on your experiences in learning in this sport too. I'll be sure to talk to my JMs about judgement regarding the radio instruction and issues involved with that FOR SURE!
I'm going to the DZ tomorrow to make my AFP#4 & AFP#5 jumps tomorrow. I really want to do well. Landings shouldn't be such an issue, I would think. We don't jump if winds are above 10-15mph, tops. So going into the wind to land makes for easier landings, (hypothetically) anyways!
I'm waiting to hear about my financial status with my $$$account today...I may even try to accomplish ALL OF THE AFP STEPS LEFT #4/#5/#6 AND #7 tomorrow!!! And then having MY GRADUATION JUMP + 2 or 3 (more) coach jumps on Oct.12th when I can more enjoy the WONDERFUL FREEFALL experience!
Getting through AFP step #4/#5 in and of themselves doesn't worry me. Turns are really no big deal for me. BUT STEPS #6/#7 DO MAKE ME NERVOUS! Front loops and back loops? YIKES! They sound SO SURREAL... If I can't visualize them, HOW can I start pysching myself up for something like that??
Sunny Skies and Calm Breezes!
(This post was edited by Airhead on Sep 27, 2002, 6:24 AM)