Jul 1, 2001, 10:33 PM
Post #1 of 12
is this right?
skydivers, i am hoping you can help me on this. i just did my level 4 AFF jump that went kind of wrong. on my level 3 jump i did not have my arch right so one instructor held on to me until the pull altitude.
so on my level 4 jump, i didn't have my arch right also and as soon as the insturctor let me go i started to sopin violently. i saw the instructor but he seemed puzzeled..i kept on spinning and i froze i was stiff like steel..i tried to check my altimeter but my vision was all blured. then i thought it would be a good idea to pull and release the pilot. my chute opened with twists and i kicked myself out of it and managed to land safely.
during the so called debriefing my instructor looked really ashamed and didn't really say much. but he did say i could go on to level 5 as i managed the situation well alone and had stability. he also said he could not reach me as i was falling slower than him so even with a reverse arch he couldn't reach upto me but i never saw him go below me..the only two times isaw him were about 10 feet away from me but above me.
so my qusion is..is it normal for an instructor not being able to reach the student during freefall? what if i lost consciousness and could not open? is it right for him to pass me to the next level when this level went so bad and i couldn't arch?
also i have been told the parachutes we are using all have more then 2000 jumps on them and none have their origenal fabric intact i.e. all are patched up from new pieces. from reading dropzone.com i gather that on average each chute is good for 1000 jumps, so i was wondering the reliability of these chutes also. please comment.
also help me decide should i continue jumping at this dropzone or wait and but my own chute and then do the course under a safe chute?
They are supposed to have airworthy rigs approved by an faa designated rigger. If you trust the rigger then OK. but then again. any doubts should be resolved before you go up. talk to the DZO and see what he/she says. then figure out where you want to go from there. also if you buy yourself gear before hand remember that gear that is good for your student time will quickly get boring by the time you even get 20 jumps in.....
If you're not comfortable going to the next level, tell them that. If they insist that you move on, I'd move on to another dz. As a student myself, I would be completely put off by someone trying to push me further then I'm comfortable. 90% of jumping is confidence, concentration, and presence of mind. If you have doubts, work them out before moving on.
I'm not sure about him not being able to reach you, but they do tell me before every jump, "It's your job to pull, I could get knocked out or not be able to reach you, so remember, it's your skydive."
The most important part of the early AFF/PFF is awareness and stability. I sounds like, from you post, you were doing OK on the awareness part. However, you said your arch was not good on the level 4, passed to 5 (so maybe it was not so bad to warrant a repeat). Your level 5 was no great success though..... but you know what: you did pull yourslef. Good job. But you need to solve that position issue before adding any other skills to learn.
And your right Kevin: the instructor(s) are there to back you up: its your skydive.
My tip (and yea, I know, its cliche...) : RELAX!!!!
Hi, I'm doing my AFF too and right now I'm at level 5. Not much experience here but I sure would like to share my thoughts and the thoughts of my instructors since even I experienced some spins on level 4. First of all if it was my instructor he would have been very pleased with the fact that you where aware enough to pull. From what has been emphasized to me all through, your ability to pull under stress is a big plus in your favour and that alone should suffice as a confidence building measure. After all the priority in skydiving is outlined as firstly to pull, then pull at the right altitude followed by pull stable. So thats alright I guess. As for moving on to the next level, well I agree, if you aren't confident you can repeat it. However there isn't much difference between 4 and 5. I was loosing my arch a bit in level 4 and spining around, so my instructor decided to make me do a sort of a semi level 4 and 5. Instead of doing the 90 degree turns that you do on level 4 he asked me to do 360 degree turns. His argument was that since I've already experienced spinning and have awareness for heading I might just want to try and control the spin. So I tried to control 360 degree turns on level 4 which is essentially what you do on level 5 and now will be doing a clean level 5. Point being, level 4 and level 5 are both very closely related in nature. Doesn't make that much of a difference if you repeat level 4 or move on to 5 and repeat level 5 a couple of times. The idea behind the two levels is to be able to contol turns and have heading awareness while you are turning. Whether you call the jump you achive this control on level 4 or 5 makes no difference. If you call this 5 then once you are confident about your ability you can move to 6. If you do this on 4 and you are confident you'll have to repeat it once again on 5 before you move to 6. Thats your choice. Go with what makes you feel comfortable. As for loosing the jumpmaster, well, if his/her reasons are sound then I guess it can happen and you seem to have done fine under the situation. But talk to them a little more about it. A little about the arching just in case it helps, in my case I was spinning because even though my arms where squared my legs where not symmetrical. I was focusing so much on my upper body that I forgot I had legs too. It wan't until my jummaster told me that i realized that the spinning was happening not because of the arms but because of the legs. Something for me to give a little thought too when I jump again.
Just finished my AFF program, and achieved my A-License.
Good job on pulling the pilot chute, and kicking out the line twists.
My understanding is that instead of levels the AFF program is now divided into Categories each having different tasks that must be completed. So you just end up jumping until you complete all the required task in each category. No big deal what level you want to call the jumps. I just thought about them as a jump number not a level.
Range can be tough on an AFF instructor. I fall kind of fast, average speed 144mph per my AFF instructors Pro-Track, which made me hard to keep up with for some of the other JMs.
I am not an AFF instructor (please remember throughout this whole thread), but they held a coaches course at my dz 2 weeks ago and I was talking to the AFF instructors who were acting as "students" for it...they said that if in the coaches course you are to remain 3-4 feet away from your student...then that is how far you should be...at that distance a gap can be closed in a second to two. If that is for the coaches course, then an AFF instructor should be in that range as well, and be more experienced at it. If you were spinning out of control that much, the instructor 'should' have made an attempt to stablise you. That he didn't is something I wouldn't feel good about...only because he looked so despondent afterwards...like he had screwed up. Ask another AFF instructor at your dz if "in a hypothetical situation" had that happened, what should have been done. See what they say. (gets you info without embarrassing the other instructor)
Point to the story...you're right, if you are not comfortable with continuing on your progression, then ask to repeat (provided finances allow). Also, they should have more than one AFF instructor at your dz...request another one. There is nothing personal with jumping with another instructor because he/she makes you feel more relaxed than another. (there was a thread on here a while ago about a girl who had a "militant" instructor and didn't feel comfortable, but changed instructors and graduated AFF) These people are paid professionals and if you can fire a lawyer on a whim, you should be able to request another AFF instructor on one as well. So, stick with your instincts and remain in your comfort level.
144 mph on your belly? Damn... My sit-fly is only about 148-150. I got a hard time catching anything over 135 or under 110. I think a lot of big way groups will be inviting you to help their base in the near future.
I have ordered a baggy jump suit with some wing to help slow me down. I tried a baggy suit with a lot of wing and it really helped, before I had been using a tight suit off the rack at the DZ and well, I fell like a rock.
I am 67 inches 200 pounds and can relax and arch (heh). I can’t wait to finish putting my own gear together and get a little more experience so I can try some free flying.
Not knowing all sides of the story, I will be careful not to second-guess the AFF program at your DZ. Take these points as you like . . .
-AFF has TLO's for each level. If the student doesn't complete EACH TLO successfully, he should repeat the level (by USPA guidance). It's not about getting more money from the student; it's about cranking out safe skydivers. USPA AFF is GUIDANCE, not "carved in stone." There are many AFF hybrids out there that produce safe skydivers.
-One of the TLOs from Level III is an UNASSISTED SOLO PULL. If one of your JMs was still docked at pull time for whatever reason, this TLO was not successfully completed. An important TLO at that, don't you think?
-One of the TLO's for Level IV is CONTROLLED 90 degree L&R turns to redock. Your spin should be considered uncontrolled, and your pull was likely not on heading. Bravo for your survival skills, though . . . you got a canopy over your head and continued to maneuver. Great job!
-All Instructors have a problem with the fall rate now and again, especially in the situation you described. Unless an Instructor goes low routinely, far be it for me to chastise. BUT, based on the information you have provided, if you were my AFF student, you would have repeated Level III after some re-training on the creepers to fix your arch.
-As far as the gear goes, 2000 jumps is a lot of jumps on a canopy. I have seen canopies with more jumps that are still trucking because they were VERY well maintained and jumped in a pleasant climate (packed indoors, relined at the appropriate time, etc.). I am also told that ZP canopy fabric lasts a lot longer than F-111.
-Don't get discouraged! Skydiving does not come naturally to all of us (I am a prime example). Some of us have to work at it. You need a DZ and Instructors that YOU are comfortable with and confident in. If your current DZ fits that bill, so be it. Otherwise, shop around a bit before you switch.
First of all, stop trying to displace fault to your instructors or equipment.
AFF/PFF instructors are good, but not perfect. Every once in a while, we encounter students that we cannot match fall rates with. It is embarrassing, so we try to minimize the risk, but we are not perfect. Secondly, whoever told you that the student canopies had no original fabric left was full of !@#$%^. Anyone who has sewn patches on canopies knows that opening seams and replacing panels is a lot of hard work, best left to the factory. Ghee! Hard work and factory repairs ... that sounds like well maintained. Thirdly, it does not matter what you call an AFF jump. it is just a number. Forthly, if you really distrust one instructor, then ask for another. Finally, relax. It was only a skydive. The more you learn to relax, the smoother you will skydive.
I am not sure what you were supposed to do on your level 3 and 4 jumps. But from the sound of it if you were spinning you probably did not complete your objectives. I had the same problem also. My problem was when I didn't arch I would drop one of my legs a little bit whivh would cause me to spin. If I were you I would ask to do a nothing dive where you do nothing but relax and arch no objectives to complete. I think this really helped me get through AFF.