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Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me?

 

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Poll: Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me?
Safe - (Don't worry at all. Start working on hook turns ASAP.) 11 / 7%
A Little Unsafe - (As long as you're careful you'll be ok.) 24 / 16%
Somewhat Unsafe - (You're pushing it a bit fast, but if you work on your canopy skills some more you'll probably be ok.) 33 / 22%
Unsafe - (You might want to consider going back to a smaller wing loading, but you're probably not going to die tomorrow) 54 / 36%
Very Unsafe - (You should definitely go back to a smaller wing loading.) 22 / 14%
Extremely Unsafe - (It's amazing you're not dead already) 8 / 5%
152 total votes
 
PWScottIV  (B 30429)

Feb 4, 2007, 6:30 PM
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Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? Can't Post

So I just got my A-license yesterday at 25 jumps. I'm still renting gear from the DZ, and on the last couple of jumps someone else was using the rig I usually jump (Pilot 188, loaded @ 1.17). So when speaking with my instructor (9000+ jumps) about the situation, he recommended I jump a smaller canopy (Triathlon 175, loaded @ 1.26). The two times I've jumped it so far I felt "safe"... I had very nice soft stand up landings which were both pretty accurate (one was within 10 feet and the other 30 feet).

Also, so you have a bit more info about who I am... I'm 31, pretty athletic and have been involved with "higher risk" sports like Rock Climbing (21 years), White Water Kayaking/Rafting (2 years), Car Racing, Caving, Snowboarding, and Surfing. I feel pretty confident in my ability to assess risk (at least once I've been involved with a particular activity for a decent amount of time), but I've only been skydiving for a short period of time.

Previous to this event, I have pulled high on several occasions specifically to work on my canopy skills, including flat-turns, braked flight, rear riser turns, front riser turns, etc. All of my landings have been solid stand-up, except for one occasion where I PLF'd because I needed to do a down/cross-wind landing. I have also been doing staged flares for the last 20 jumps or so. I am usually accurate within 50 feet.

Even though I've spent a little extra time working on my canopy skills and I feel confident landing and controlling my canopy, everything I've read says I'm destined for death or serious injury with this wing loading combined with my very low number of jumps. I'd like to hear the opinions of other jumpers and instructors with respect to my current wing loading... If I do my best to be aware and safe, then will I probably be OK? Or is there a very high likelihood that I'm gonna kill myself soon regardless of how careful I am? Basically, I feel safe so far, but am I fooling myself?


(This post was edited by PWScottIV on Feb 4, 2007, 11:18 PM)


iluvtofly  (C License)

Feb 4, 2007, 6:40 PM
Post #2 of 78 (2877 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm only a newbie myself (so take what I say with a grain of salt) but those seem like pretty high wing loadings. I have 33 jumps, just ordered some new to me gear (downsizing a bit) and my wing loading is still only going to be at about 0.9. Quite frankly I would be terrified to be at a wingloading like that so soon. But like I said, I'm a newbie myself so take what I say with a grain of salt.


kallend  (D 23151)

Feb 4, 2007, 7:29 PM
Post #3 of 78 (2822 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Depends how old and conservative, (or young and foolish) you are.

What would you do if you found yourself having to land off the DZ in a confined and uneven landing area and you were unsure of the wind direction?


Trae  (Student)

Feb 4, 2007, 7:37 PM
Post #4 of 78 (2813 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

in reply to "So I just got my A-license yesterday at 25 jumps. I'm still renting gear from the DZ, and on the last couple of jumps someone else was using the rig I usually jump (Pilot 188, loaded @ 1.17). So when speaking with my instructor about the situation, he recommended I jump a smaller canopy (Triathlon 175, loaded @ 1.26). The two times I've jumped it so far I felt "safe"... I had very nice soft stand up landings which were both pretty accurate (one was within 10 feet and the other 30 feet) "
........................................................

This sounds like the blind leading the blind. or perhaps the $$$ leading the blind.

This sort of thing when extrapolated equals our currently stupid high canopy incident rate.

Do yourself a favour and wait for the more forgiving canopy to become available. You've got the rest of your life to downsize . If you rush in this sport that life of yours may not be that long or enjoyable.

At 25 jumps you've got a bit to learn before dumbsizing too low.


BillyVance  (D 18895)

Feb 4, 2007, 8:14 PM
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Re: [kallend] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Depends how old and conservative, (or young and foolish) you are.

What would you do if you found yourself having to land off the DZ in a confined and uneven landing area and you were unsure of the wind direction?

Exactly what I was gonna say. You never know when you're gonna get hosed on the spot. You want to be sure you can handle the canopy in any situation, not just for landing on your flat wide open LZ. I have been hosed several times and my skills were what saved my ass from injury.


PWScottIV  (B 30429)

Feb 4, 2007, 8:28 PM
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Re: [kallend] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Depends how old and conservative, (or young and foolish) you are.

What would you do if you found yourself having to land off the DZ in a confined and uneven landing area and you were unsure of the wind direction?

I edited my post to add my personal information... I think I tend to be very conservative at first, but as I develop a better idea for what will hurt me and what wont, I tend to push myself to experience the boundaries of what I can do. I've been pretty heavily involved with rock climbing for 21 years... In that amount of time I have only had two sprained ankles... So I think that should say at least a little something about my ability to keep myself safe while still engaging in a high risk sport. I know that the things that will injure/kill in skydiving are different, so that's why I'd like the honest, educated opinions of experienced jumpers.


jbanning  (A 50897)

Feb 4, 2007, 8:49 PM
Post #7 of 78 (2736 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have 15 jumps total and the last 3 are on a diablo 190 with a wing loading of 1.1. As far as what I have heard about triathalons is that they are a very stable canopy. My Diablo is EXTREMELY toggle sensitive and somewhat eliptical compared to my Icon student rig, but I take that into account, I have been pulling high and stable and I have a wide approach on landing with no sharp turns. As long as you feel comfortable and on-heading on deployment and not trying to swoop in you should be fine......(just the opinion of another newbie in a comparable situation)


bob.dino  (E 2185)

Feb 4, 2007, 9:15 PM
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Re: [jbanning] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I have 15 jumps total and the last 3 are on a diablo 190 with a wing loading of 1.1 ... My Diablo is EXTREMELY toggle sensitive and somewhat eliptical ... but I take that into account, I have been pulling high and stable and I have a wide approach on landing with no sharp turns.

I'd be very worried about you on a Diablo at 15 jumps. It's a very very aggressive canopy that dives like a bastard.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Feb 4, 2007, 9:48 PM
Post #9 of 78 (2702 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

>I'm 31, pretty athletic and have been involved with "higher risk" sports
> like Rock Climbing (21 years), White Water Kayaking/Rafting (2 years),
>Car Racing, Caving, Snowboarding, and Surfing.

These are big warning signs to me. Those sports are likely to make you more comfortable taking chances than someone with less 'scary sport' experience, but do absolutely nothing for your ability to survive under canopy. In other words, they will lower your caution threshold and do nothing to increase your odds of survival. "Being an extreme sports guy" will not help you survive a bad landing under a small canopy.

>Previous to this event, I have pulled high on several occasions specifically
>to work on my canopy skills, including flat-turns, braked flight, rear riser
>turns, front riser turns, etc. All of my landings have been solid stand-up


Before you downsize, make sure you can:

flat turn 90 degrees at 50 feet
flare turn at least 45 degrees
land crosswind and in no wind
land reliably within a 10 meter circlen (on say 10 jumps)
initiate a high performance landing with double front risers and front riser turn to landing
land on slight uphills and downhills
land with rear risers

If you cannot do these things on your current canopy, do not downsize until you can! If you can't flat turn low under your current canopy, you will always be too scared to try such manuevers under your new canopy, and you will never learn. (In skydiver talk, you'll be being "really careful and conservative" under the smaller canopy - and you can't learn to fly your canopy doing that all the time.)

>except for one occasion where I PLF'd because I needed to do a
>down/cross-wind landing. I have also been doing staged flares for the
>last 20 jumps or so. I am usually accurate within 50 feet.

Hearing the term "staged flare" in canopy landing, to me, is a bit scary. Small canopies are not landed with two-stage flares; they are landed with a continuous flare input that gets your vertical speed to zero when your feet touch the ground. The term "two stage flare" is an evil one, one that makes you think you can put your hands in location A then location B and safely land a canopy. It takes a lot more than that to land a 1.3 to 1 canopy.

>If I do my best to be aware and safe, then will I probably be OK?

19 times out of 20 you will probably be OK. That 20th time you'll have to turn low to avoid someone, or have to land downwind, or have to land off, or have the wind change just before you land. At that point you have to be able to turn your canopy low, at 50 feet or in the flare, and still pull off a decent landing. If you can do that on your current canopy, you may be ready to downsize. If not, work on your canopy control some more before going to the more dangerous canopy.


PWScottIV  (B 30429)

Feb 4, 2007, 10:16 PM
Post #10 of 78 (2691 views)
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Re: [billvon] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
If you cannot do these things on your current canopy...

Yeah, I think I'm gonna go back and spend more time working on those skills on a larger canopy.

In reply to:
Hearing the term "staged flare" in canopy landing, to me, is a bit scary.

I guess I just don't know the proper term for what I do... I thought it was considered a staged flare, but maybe it's not... Instead of just one "stabbing" single-rate flare, at about 15 feet I flare to about 25% to level off my flight, then at about 3 feet or so, I smoothly transition to 100%. My landings are usually very soft.


PWScottIV  (B 30429)

Feb 4, 2007, 10:17 PM
Post #11 of 78 (2689 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, three people think I should start hookin it...LaughLaughLaugh


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Feb 4, 2007, 10:41 PM
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Wow, three people think I should start hookin it...LaughLaughLaugh
They might be right. You might be more confident after 50 jumps or something... Its coming when you think you know it all. Remember your canopy can show anytime something you have not seen before.

I got my metal with a PD Nav220, WL 1.0.

WL does not kill, bad decisions do.

Try to fill up your bag of experience before you run out of your bag of luckWink!


PWScottIV  (B 30429)

Feb 4, 2007, 11:14 PM
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Re: [phoenixlpr] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Wow, three people think I should start hookin it...LaughLaughLaugh
They might be right. You might be more confident after 50 jumps or something... Its coming when you think you know it all. Remember your canopy can show anytime something you have not seen before.

I got my metal with a PD Nav220, WL 1.0.

WL does not kill, bad decisions do.

Try to fill up your bag of experience before you run out of your bag of luckWink!

I definitely wasn't trying to come off like I know it all... Because, and I'll try to make it more obvious, I KNOW NEARLY NOTHING ABOUT SKYDIVING. That's why I'm asking the question in the first place. The ONLY reason I started this thread is because I HAVE VERY LITTLE EXPERIENCE and I want to be able to learn what I can from people who do have experience. So, as you mentioned, I don't get to the bottom of my bag of luck... I do feel lucky so far... When/if I'm lucky enough to have 1000, or even 10000 jumps I'll probably still feel very lucky and I'll also still feel like there's things I can learn.

I know wing loading isn't 100% of the equation for success or failure while learning to pilot a canopy, but from what I've read and heard, it is one of the biggest factors. If I thought I was hot-shit I would have been like "awesome, I get to jump a smaller canopy! I'm sooo cool!" But that was the opposite response I had to being offered the opportunity to do so. When I took the opportunity I was very careful because I knew I was placing myself at a higher level of risk. So, I'm here to determine, with the assistance of other jumpers with more experience, if I should continue to jump this smaller canopy, or if I should go back for a while. I'm not skydiving to die, I'm skydiving to live.

The only reason I said anything about my background was to let readers know that I'm not some 18yr old kid who's fearless because they've never developed a healthy respect for the dangers associated with the activities they participate in... It had NOTHING to do with bragging about how "sporty" I am, or cool, or experienced, or whatever anyone might think differently. I know skydiving can kill me. It could kill me on my next jump. And I also understand that there's many ways to make that happen without even trying. For that matter, I also understand that I could do everything exactly right and still die. Furthermore, I understand that the more "risky" choices I make (canopy size being one of them), the more likely the odds will stack up against me. And like I said before, I'm skydiving, in part, because it makes me feel more alive... Not because I think it would be a "cool" way to die. Or even worse, be paralyzed for the rest of my life...


dragon2  (D 101989)

Feb 5, 2007, 12:49 AM
Post #14 of 78 (2628 views)
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Re: [bob.dino] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I have 15 jumps total and the last 3 are on a diablo 190 with a wing loading of 1.1 ... My Diablo is EXTREMELY toggle sensitive and somewhat eliptical ... but I take that into account, I have been pulling high and stable and I have a wide approach on landing with no sharp turns.

I'd be very worried about you on a Diablo at 15 jumps. It's a very very aggressive canopy that dives like a bastard.

Ditto. I now jump a Diablo, and my Vengeance was tamer than my Diablo is!!! Be careful with that thing. Switching to a decent intermediate canopy (spectre, triathlon, safire, pilot etc) would be much better.


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Feb 5, 2007, 5:40 AM
Post #15 of 78 (2512 views)
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Re: [dragon2] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

Likewise, too. I jump a Diablo; I love it. But it's no beginner canopy. A last-minute toggle turn to avoid an obstacle will be devastating. And the chances of being in a situation where that seems like teh only automatic optino are way higher at your experience level. Really.

Wendy W.


dharma1976  (D 28634)

Feb 5, 2007, 9:43 AM
Post #16 of 78 (2366 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

well lets put it this way if your instructor said go for it...go for it...

now the side note...

I come from fast adrenaline sports and downsized aggressively...

I have horrid arthritis...

I have titanium in my...

it sucks

just food for thought

Dave


kallend  (D 23151)

Feb 5, 2007, 10:18 AM
Post #17 of 78 (2342 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Depends how old and conservative, (or young and foolish) you are.

What would you do if you found yourself having to land off the DZ in a confined and uneven landing area and you were unsure of the wind direction?

I edited my post to add my personal information... I think I tend to be very conservative at first, but as I develop a better idea for what will hurt me and what wont, I tend to push myself to experience the boundaries of what I can do. I've been pretty heavily involved with rock climbing for 21 years... In that amount of time I have only had two sprained ankles... So I think that should say at least a little something about my ability to keep myself safe while still engaging in a high risk sport. I know that the things that will injure/kill in skydiving are different, so that's why I'd like the honest, educated opinions of experienced jumpers.

Sounds like you're a risk taker. Lots of dead risk takers in this sport.

If you'd said you are a licensed glider pilot I might think it a good idea.


icevideot  (D 23833)

Feb 5, 2007, 10:25 AM
Post #18 of 78 (2331 views)
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Re: [billvon] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
If you can't flat turn low under your current canopy, you will always be too scared to try such manuevers under your new canopy, and you will never learn.

I want to add emphasis to his statement. I downsized by a huge step at 100 jumps. The canopy never hurt me even though it came close a couple of times. What saved me was much more along the lines of luck than any skill on my part.

I would have learned solid and predictable canopy skills much sooner on a more forgiving wing.

Well said Billvon.

Cheers, Robin


PWScottIV  (B 30429)

Feb 5, 2007, 10:57 AM
Post #19 of 78 (2304 views)
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Re: [icevideot] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
If you can't flat turn low under your current canopy, you will always be too scared to try such manuevers under your new canopy, and you will never learn.

I want to add emphasis to his statement. I downsized by a huge step at 100 jumps. The canopy never hurt me even though it came close a couple of times. What saved me was much more along the lines of luck than any skill on my part.

I would have learned solid and predictable canopy skills much sooner on a more forgiving wing.

Well said Billvon.

Cheers, Robin

So I've pretty much made up my mind that I'm gonna go back to the 190 and work on becoming comfortable with ALL of the maneuvers and modes of flight billvon suggested. When I feel I can do all of them safely and confidently at relatively low altitude, then I will "reward" myself with downsizing. Like I've said a bunch of times above, I don't want to die or get seriously injured, I'm skydiving because it's fun and I'd like to keep it that way.


dharma1976  (D 28634)

Feb 5, 2007, 12:14 PM
Post #20 of 78 (2263 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
So I've pretty much made up my mind that I'm gonna go back to the 190 and work on becoming comfortable with ALL of the maneuvers and modes of flight billvon suggested. When I feel I can do all of them safely and confidently at relatively low altitude, then I will "reward" myself with downsizing. Like I've said a bunch of times above, I don't want to die or get seriously injured, I'm skydiving because it's fun and I'd like to keep it that way.

Heres one more thing that I like to say to people in your shoes...

remember this... you have the rest of your life to skydive....why rush it...

you could jump that 190 for 2 years and then move on, I am not saying that I dont have a hella lotof fun on my tiny napkins...but you know what I wish I had stayed at my 179 saffire for a few more years....

it woudl have saved me a lot of money and a lot of aches and pains...and in the end I would remain a skydiver longer...

I heard recently someone say that people used to pound themselves out of the sport on the old rounds...people now pound themselves out of the sport on sporty canopies instead....

Cheers

Dave


adventurechick  (C 35899)

Feb 5, 2007, 12:16 PM
Post #21 of 78 (2259 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am by no means an expert... but if it helps, i have 186 jumps and I'm still loading my canopy at a .88 wingloading.


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Feb 5, 2007, 1:08 PM
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The two times I've jumped it so far I felt "safe"...

You could probably land a much higher wingloading without injury on a straight in approach into a wide open field with a slight head wind and no canopies arround you.

The problem is what happens when things go wrong - some one cuts you off, there are obstacles you didn't see before, you're landing off the airport into a small area, you're stuck with a down-wind landing, you turn too low (perhaps unintentionally after getting back from a long spot), you are distracted by people within 20', etc. Having that occur for the first time when you're under a lower wing loading reduces your chances of having an accident and the severity of injuries you will receive.

In reply to:
If I do my best to be aware and safe, then will I probably be OK?

No. Plenty of conservative people still get hurt.

In reply to:
Or is there a very high likelihood that I'm gonna kill myself soon regardless of how careful I am?

At that wing loading you may just break your femur or tibia+fibia or you may be OK.

In reply to:
Basically, I feel safe so far, but am I fooling myself?

Yes. You don't have enough first hand experience to know what can and will go wrong.


(This post was edited by DrewEckhardt on Feb 5, 2007, 1:10 PM)


chachi  (B 3406)

Feb 5, 2007, 1:14 PM
Post #23 of 78 (2207 views)
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Re: [PWScottIV] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

some people get it much earlier than others. take the advice that you get on the internet with a grain of salt. it will come from people with different perspectives and motives. while some are genuinely interested in your safety others will want to validate their own abilities or lack there of.

you sound like you are heads up, knowledgeable, able to assess your own risks. listen to your instructors and the ones that know your flying skills most and take the added posts in here as more information for you to make good decisions.

if you are going to downsize aggresively in this sport you should get coaching, make lots of hop 'n pops and high pulls working on specific canopy skills each time. billvons checklist is something i recommend but it is unrealistic to check it off at 20 jumps or even 50 so you need to find a good canopy for at least a season to work on said checklist with.

no one on the internet knows you, or your skill level so i recommend listening to your instructors, coaches, and mentors in this sport when it comes to canopy safety.


PWScottIV  (B 30429)

Feb 5, 2007, 1:31 PM
Post #24 of 78 (2190 views)
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Re: [chachi] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
some people get it much earlier than others. take the advice that you get on the internet with a grain of salt. it will come from people with different perspectives and motives. while some are genuinely interested in your safety others will want to validate their own abilities or lack there of.

you sound like you are heads up, knowledgeable, able to assess your own risks. listen to your instructors and the ones that know your flying skills most and take the added posts in here as more information for you to make good decisions.

if you are going to downsize aggresively in this sport you should get coaching, make lots of hop 'n pops and high pulls working on specific canopy skills each time. billvons checklist is something i recommend but it is unrealistic to check it off at 20 jumps or even 50 so you need to find a good canopy for at least a season to work on said checklist with.

no one on the internet knows you, or your skill level so i recommend listening to your instructors, coaches, and mentors in this sport when it comes to canopy safety.

Thanks, I'm starting to get the impression that everything you said has a lot of truth to it. My goal here is to open up the lines of communication with jumpers of many different skill/expereince levels and perspectives. In an attempt to help myself make well informed decisions about things that have the potential to seriously "impact" my future wellbeing.

Of course I'm going to place a lot more weight on what my instructors tell me, but I also believe that getting a second (or thirtieth) opinion can help me make decisions for myself that are formed not from cockiness, but from a broad sampling of others' opinions, whether read from a book, heard in-person, or in an online forum such as this.


jbanning  (A 50897)

Feb 5, 2007, 1:35 PM
Post #25 of 78 (2186 views)
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Re: [bob.dino] Is my Wing Loading gonna kill me? [In reply to] Can't Post

I know, I have not pulled down tha toggles more than a few inches, not counting on flaring. I have been pulling @ 5000' with a very stable body position and i am flying it very conservatively!


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