Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
balance & canopy control exercises......

 


cobaltdan  (D License)

Jun 26, 2001, 7:42 PM
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balance & canopy control exercises...... Can't Post

i would like to explain a simple concept for canopy control as i think it would benefit some learning jumpers:

on student gear most people are taught a 2 stage flare, when you transition to your first slightly smaller 9 cell zpo sport canopy, you may not have good luck with what you have been taught.

flaring is not something you gauge with the position of your hands !

instead understand that you are suspended under your canopy, a weight on a string somewhat like a pendulum. you can tell what you are doing by > feel <, by where you are weighted under your canopy. i.e. if you are weighted back you are diving, centered you are in level flight, etc...

up high, it is a good routine to unstow your brakes and get a feel for where you are weighted in full flight, then flare slowly until you feel yourself in level flight, then flare more and feel what it is like to over flare, swinging towards the front and stall. try the same with turns, ie. a 90 or 180 turn planeing out into level flight. this exercise is not about sight, you are trying to get a feel for what you are doing without using visual indicators. if you are in completely clear airspace and high try it with your eyes closed for several seconds.

once you understand this concept and expand your window of perception to include how your canopy feels during different flight, landings will click. you will be able to understand what you are doing right or wrong.

this last year i have given allot of canopy coaching, and most beginners and surprisingly many intermediates have not been taught the above. they believe there is a set place for your hands to be during a set timing on landing. they try to figure this out so it can be repeated on subsequent jumps. you may figure your canopy out this way but it wont help you when you land your canopy under different conditions than you are used to, or when you demo jump a different canopy. developing your awareness of balance is key to being a good canopy pilot.

i test jump a lot of prototypes and on every jump i go through a routine. loosen chest strap, stow slider, check brakes, then fly a series of maneuvers as per above to get a feel for the canopy. i want to imprint the feel of the canopy up high so that the canopy and i react the way i want on landing. (btw when i say check brakes: i like to unstow the brakes and watch the trailing edge as i slowly flare stopping at the point where the tail just starts to tension and pull under. then i look at where the toggles are in relation to the keeper. i like to know they are even (and how much slack there is in case i need to change them)).

food for thought.

sincerely,

dan
atair
www.extremefly.com



DZBone  (D 14358)

Jun 26, 2001, 8:04 PM
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

Dan, without the visual indicators, how do you know if you are really in level flight, or what pitch angle you are at? This seems like it would have to be a matter of "feel", which you probably have developed over years of flying, but which most of us are still deperately trying to learn.

Are there some tricks we can use, like apparent angle of the suspension lines, or something, that will help to gauge this point?

My fear is that what we think is level flight may vary with the harness, altitude density, canopy design, whatever.

Carl



Michele  (B 26874)

Jun 26, 2001, 8:31 PM
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, Dan

What he said. lol.

I have a pretty good kenetic sense, a pretty good inner ear/balance capacity. But how do I know if I am off? Or is it just a time thing - the more I jump, the more I will feel "balanced" or "unbalanced" in the harness?

And by level flight do you mean actually level, or at a constant rate of descent and steady forward speed?

Sorry for the languaging, but I haven't figured out all the right terms yet.

Thanks -
Michele



GeekStreak  (Student)

Jun 26, 2001, 9:06 PM
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmmmmmmmmmm....... Kinda like a Zen approach to canopy control... Smile I like it! Smile

Dan,

Is it kinda like the way that Grasshopper's blind master used to kick Grasshopper's a$$ around even though he coulden't see Grasshopper? Wink

I can see where flying "blind" would certainly tune you in to the feel of the canopy as an extension of your body, enabling a finer degree of control.

In reply to:
Are there some tricks we can use, like apparent angle of the suspension lines, or something, that will help to gauge this point?
Would you mind describing the feel of a normal upwind landing at student-safe wind speed with regard to the pendulum, no 2 step flare? If you could, I think it would help me connect the feeling I'll have up high practicing to the same feeling near the ground.

1111,
GeekStreak


cobaltdan  (D License)

Jun 26, 2001, 11:16 PM
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

it will make more sense after you let the idea sink in, watch a few people land and then try it up high.

when i say level flight i was referring to level flight, parallel to the ground.
you can feel the difference between full flight and level flight. this is much more pronounced on a small canopy, but none the less you can tell.

try to be aware of your balance in full flight, then make a hard turn and let the canopy recover and slowly flare. you will feel yourself pitch back and then recover to neutral and then pitch up. you will also get input from the change in wind speed on your face or ears.

kind of similar to learning to ride a bike. if you only relied on a visual indicator to determine if you are falling to a side you would never be able to ride, but by using your sence of balance it becomes an automatic reaction.

when landing you use visual indications to determine your height, and this sence of balance gives you feedback to where you are in your recovery arc.

dzbone asked if there is a way check if what you feel as level flight is realy level flight. well basically every time you land you get verification. the ground is the surest reference point. try your current landing technique and try to think about the balance thing while you do it.

even large lightly loaded 9 cell canopies can swoop a bit. basically in full flight you are slightly pitched back (indicating a slight dive) when you flare the canopy it will pitch you to a neutral position and the canopy will fly level (swoop) for a short bit and if you continue to flare you will pitch forward, stopping your forward speed and level flight, stopping you or poping you up a bit. to sustain a swoop you can not continue to flare beyond that required to put the canopy into level flight.

goes without saying, but: dont do anything down low unless you have practiced it high and are being safe.
i am providing this info to encourage good awareness & technique, not to encourage beginers to try to swoop.

sincerely,

dan




grasshopper  (D License)

Jun 27, 2001, 5:03 AM
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Is it kinda like the way that Grasshopper's blind master used to kick Grasshopper's a$$ around even though he couldn't see Grasshopper?
leave me out of this debate on canopy control! otherwise I will have to start talking about cypres, RSL's, low pulls, hook turns, cheap reserves, and people who spend all their time online rather than jumping.



Pammi

Jun 27, 2001, 7:17 AM
Post #7 of 10 (2527 views)
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for the tips! I was told similar things at my DZ. When I first started jumping my Sabre, I was loading it heavier and it has a whole different kind of flare then my Triathlon did. I was told to practice it up high to 'feel' the stall point, then bring it on down to the full flare. I *still* do that on every jump at least once even though I've jumped my new canopy about a dozen times now at least because it seems to help me when I get to the ground...similar to practicing your arch on the ground I guess. But it's actually kind of fun to play with :) Feeling the way the canopy flies when you're not worried about trying to stand up your landing.

One of the problems I still am tending to do when I land, though, is not finishing the flare completely thereby having to really run it out or face plant :)

Try it guys...even us newbies can feel when a canopy slows down and then almost completely stops. It's cool :)

Pammi

Some new <A HREF="http://skydivechick.tripod.com/oscpics.html" target="_new">pics</A>.


GeekStreak  (Student)

Jun 27, 2001, 7:21 AM
Post #8 of 10 (2526 views)
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
leave me out of this debate on canopy control! otherwise I will have to start talking about cypres, RSL's, low pulls, hook turns, cheap reserves, and people who spend all their time online rather than jumping.
Kung Fu, not you Smile.

1111,
GeekStreak


chicagoskydiver  (B 24599)

Jun 28, 2001, 8:55 AM
Post #9 of 10 (2461 views)
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

I totally agree with what you have said about canopy control. My landings have improved dramatically lately because I started doing exactly what you have suggested. I do at least a couple practice landing flares on every jump. Also, after making sure I'm completely in the clear I experiment with flying in brakes, taking note of the feel of the canopy and the change in airspeed. Remember, this should all be done above 1,000 feet, below 1,000 feet you should be flying your landing pattern!! Also, I think anyone who is trying to learn better canopy control could probably benefit from the video "Fly Like a Pro", I know I did.

Blue Skies,

Hackey



Premier slotperfect  (D 13014)

Jul 3, 2001, 6:41 AM
Post #10 of 10 (2408 views)
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Re: balance & canopy control exercises...... [In reply to] Can't Post

CD,

Great post. Your description of flying the canopy by "feel" is excellent.

Canopy flight, after all, is only slightly mechanical. The rest is interpreting the conditions and sensing what your canopy is doing. BTW - most of the time I fly with my hands on top of the toggles with the steering line between my index and middle finger. It's like feeling your fishing line to sense whether or not you have hooked a fish. I go to inside the toggles when I do carving front riser swoops on landing. Insurance that the toggles will remain in my hands for the flare.

I hope I bump into you at Raeford sometime so I can continue to pick your brain.


Respectfully,
SP



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