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Are PLFs necessary anymore?

 

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kimemerson  (D 13439)

Mar 26, 2009, 3:50 AM
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Are PLFs necessary anymore? Can't Post

Just putting this out there for discussion: How relevant is a PLF considering the descent rate & glide ratio of ram-air canopies as opposed to the rounds when a PLF was vital? Why do we teach how to land straight down when we don't land straight down anymore? With the glide ratio under ram-air canopies the opportunity to do a PLF is nil. Not a clean, good PLF, anyway. Momentum and trajectory alone will negate the chance to even try. So, why?

Why not focus on good landings rather than plan for a bad one, especially one that won't really have the characteristics which would necessitate a decent PLF? After all, having a plan B is planning on failing plan A.


piisfish

Mar 26, 2009, 3:54 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

sometimes you don't land with lots of forward speed (think lots of brake in a tight area, think strong headwinds), sometimes you land with canopies which don't have lots of flare power, or none left. Think student canopies, flown by students which might start their flare too high...

Better a PLF than a vertical landing on your arse.


(This post was edited by piisfish on Mar 26, 2009, 3:58 AM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Mar 26, 2009, 4:03 AM
Post #3 of 103 (4318 views)
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Why not focus on good landings rather than plan for a bad one, especially one that won't really have the characteristics which would necessitate a decent PLF? After all, having a plan B is planning on failing plan A.

Every FJC course I've ever seen teaches how to properly land a parachute. Then they use a radio to assist the jumper with the landing, again, the goal is a soft touchdown hopefully on their feet.

Now let's talk about reality. I could say 'shit happens', but in this case it's probably better to say 'students happen'. You never know what they are or are not going to do.

Every student is taught to flare, and if the radio is working, they are instructed to do so real time, but many of them still botch the flare, or just don't flare at all.

Of course, the natural extention of this is, 'if they're taught to flare, and don't, why would they PLF as instructed?'. The answer is that maybe they will, maybe they won't, but you still have to get them the benefit of the training with the hopes that when they need it, maybe they'll remember.

Even if it's not while they are a student, sooner or later you're going to hit the ground harder than you'd like, and on that day you'll be glad your FJC included a half hour of jumping off a picnic table.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Mar 26, 2009, 4:05 AM
Post #4 of 103 (4310 views)
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Just putting this out there for discussion: How relevant is a PLF considering the descent rate & glide ratio of ram-air canopies as opposed to the rounds when a PLF was vital? Why do we teach how to land straight down when we don't land straight down anymore? With the glide ratio under ram-air canopies the opportunity to do a PLF is nil. Not a clean, good PLF, anyway. Momentum and trajectory alone will negate the chance to even try. So, why?

Why not focus on good landings rather than plan for a bad one, especially one that won't really have the characteristics which would necessitate a decent PLF? After all, having a plan B is planning on failing plan A.

If you are serious, rethink stepping out of airplanes for fun. With that said....

....if you don't PLF when you need to, you may never need to again.


Premier slotperfect  (D 13014)

Mar 26, 2009, 4:09 AM
Post #5 of 103 (4307 views)
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have two friends that are alive today because they performed a PLF. Bot of them suffered nearly complete canopy collapse under 100 feet in turbulence. They were both severely injured, breaking many bones and causing permanent damage, but both of them are alive. Both of them landed with extreme vertical velocity. One of them did such a good PLF, he spread the impact out over the right side of his body - and although he broke a lot of bones - he avoided injury to his spine. He is still jumping.

Quote:
Why not focus on good landings rather than plan for a bad one, especially one that won't really have the characteristics which would necessitate a decent PLF? After all, having a plan B is planning on failing plan A.

A PLF is a landing emergency procedure. During first jump courses, we spend a lot of time on deployment EPs. Knowing how to execute cutaway procedures to handle a deployment malfunction is not planning for a bad opening - it's equipping the jumper for surviving a malfunction and living to jump another day.

My two friends would tell you that the same philosophy applies to PLFs.

Even if a PLF is not perfect because of the canopy's performance characteristics, the jumper's contact with the ground is made with the body being in a compact package with all the parts tucked in, maximizing chance for escaping injury.


piahenzi  (D 24484)

Mar 26, 2009, 4:12 AM
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Re: [chuckakers] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know about others but I've had some pretty fun runs under a Velo loaded at 2.0, especially during competition, and sometimes you gotta bail out of the course (if you don't want to swim, that is)which can mean using some of that plf training...and it comes in handy.


Baksteen  (C 708753)

Mar 26, 2009, 4:13 AM
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Re: [davelepka] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent post.

I'd like to add that standing up a landing is overrated - too often is a 'good' landing judged by whether or not the (student) skydiver stood it up, rather than whether they made the right decision.

I PLF'd several landings where in hindsight could have stood them up. Poor landing? Or an excellent one given the circumstances ("when in doubt"...)?

Only once did I stand up a landing where I should have PLF'd... limped for a week. Stood it up though - good landing, right?

I much prefer some grass/dirt stains on my container - way easier to brush off than an ankle injury.. Perhaps when I'm ready to buy a brand new container, I'll order it and the mandatory new jumpsuit pre-stained.Smile


(This post was edited by Baksteen on Mar 26, 2009, 4:15 AM)


jakee  (C License)

Mar 26, 2009, 4:17 AM
Post #8 of 103 (4291 views)
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Just putting this out there for discussion: How relevant is a PLF considering the descent rate & glide ratio of ram-air canopies as opposed to the rounds when a PLF was vital? Why do we teach how to land straight down when we don't land straight down anymore? With the glide ratio under ram-air canopies the opportunity to do a PLF is nil. Not a clean, good PLF, anyway. Momentum and trajectory alone will negate the chance to even try. So, why?

I see loads of students land straight down under their massive beginner canopies. See it pretty much every weekend the weather's good enough for student jumping.


billeisele  (A 5643)

Mar 26, 2009, 4:48 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

only if you like walking and breathing


profallrate  (D 11910)

Mar 26, 2009, 4:57 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, they are! There can always be turbulance, last second traffic issues, sudden wind gusts, equipment issues,etc.
At over 2000 jumps, I still do one occasionally, when I think I need to. It is a decision made in the last three seconds of a skydive, but one that keeps me healthy.
Your ego will heal faster than your body. I would rather walk back to the packing area and take a ribbing from my friends and fellow jumpers for a less than perfect landing, rather than get there on a stretcher. I would rather wash the grass and mud stains from my jump suit than have it cut off me.
Plus, The older I get, the more important this is becoming:)


wmw999  (D 6296)

Mar 26, 2009, 5:04 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes they are. For all the reasons everyone else has given. Also, frankly, you can do a PLF of sorts with decent forward speed (obviously not swoop speed). But the thought process of spreading the force of impact along several points of your body in a controlled manner is valid regardless.

My default position for landing is a PLF position; if it looks like a good landing, then I'll stand it up. Yeah, most of them are standups. But by no means all, and I never have to think twice. I get up from all of them, too. So far, at least.

Wendy W.


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Mar 26, 2009, 5:07 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmmmmm..........I have ONLY jumped ram-air canopies.

My most memorable PLFs:

== Landing out.... unknown surface texture and level due to vegetation.

== Night jump....surprisingly strong uppers, missed illuminated LZ, mis-timed flare due to poor depth perception in dark.

== Windy day... landing backwards.

Less memorable (hangs head): UnsureUnsureUnsure

== poor flare timing on a NO wind day.

== general student stupidity.

Seat belts, fire extinguishers, PLFs.... I don't want to need any of them... but glad I have them.


(This post was edited by GLIDEANGLE on Mar 26, 2009, 5:14 AM)


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Mar 26, 2009, 5:49 AM
Post #13 of 103 (4237 views)
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Re: [wmw999] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Also, frankly, you can do a PLF of sorts with decent forward speed (obviously not swoop speed).

I think you can absolutely do a PLF with swooping it is just a bit modified, more of a very fast tuck and roll.
How many times have we seen a new swooper get a bit scared of the speed and spike the risers and/or toggles and up they go. Well at the end of that rainbow is hopefully some sort of PLF.
Definately a good thing to keep in your bag of tricks regardless.


ufk22  (D 16168)

Mar 26, 2009, 6:05 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

You've been in the sport about 20 years and jump a Stilletto 120?
This is a joke, right?
Just a stir-the-pot post?


davelepka  (D 21448)

Mar 26, 2009, 6:31 AM
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Re: [ufk22] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
You've been in the sport about 20 years and jump a Stilletto 120?
This is a joke, right?
Just a stir-the-pot post?

What does that mean? I'm not sure what 20 years and a Stiletto has to do with anything.


DanG  (D 22351)

Mar 26, 2009, 6:36 AM
Post #16 of 103 (4198 views)
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Re: [ufk22] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

So, you've been in the sport 19 years and jump a Stiletto 150.

What are you talking about?


airathanas  (D 29277)

Mar 26, 2009, 6:53 AM
Post #17 of 103 (4183 views)
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Re: [DanG] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

So what they jump a Stiletto; what's the big deal? Not everyone who has 1000s of jumps flies a Velocity.

But back to the original post subject-
PLF are needed as long as people keep snapping their ankles. There's no shame doing a PLF. There's a LOT of shame (and pain) when you SHOULD have done one and you're the guy who hops around the DZ on crutches thinking, "If I had done a PLF, I would be jumping right now."


kimemerson  (D 13439)

Mar 26, 2009, 7:01 AM
Post #18 of 103 (4178 views)
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Re: [ufk22] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

It is neither a joke nor a stir-the-pot post. It is a question posed for the sole purpose of initiating a discussion which might educate someone. I did not say I oppose PLFs. I asked a question and asked for discussion. The question has been posed on the DZ from time to time and I felt it was a good question. So far there have been some very good reasons posted in favor of them. When a newbie asks the question, it might be a good idea to have an answer. Is it an entirely stupid question? Please note I was not advocating anything one way or another. I was initiating a discussion. To that end I succeeded.

I jump a Stiletto 120 because when I bought it it was the scariest state-of-the art thing available and now I can't afford a new toy every thirty seconds when they come out, and I can still scare the shit out of myself on that puppy. Color me crazy, but I am not one of those desperate consumers who must, must, must have the latest thing. I can live with my Stiletto 120.


(This post was edited by kimemerson on Mar 26, 2009, 7:08 AM)


councilman24  (D 8631)

Mar 26, 2009, 7:15 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

I HOPE he ment if you been in the sport so long and jump a moderately high performance canopy you should know the answer it yes. I HOPE that's what he ment.

I've been in the sport 30 years and jump a Sabre 170, a Triathlone 190, a PD 260, and a Lightning 193. I don't give a rats ass what anybody thinks about what I jump. I'm to old, fat and crippled to want to jump a canopy that lands at freefall speeds.Wink

BTW the answer is yes. I consider a first jump student that stands up to not have followed their trainingTongue. Of course if they land soft enough that they have to remember to fall over then there isn't much use. I'm certainly have landed hard enough dozens of time to have killed me. But PLF's mean I walk away.


(This post was edited by councilman24 on Mar 26, 2009, 7:17 AM)


jerry81

Mar 26, 2009, 7:47 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

Back when I had less than a year in the sport I once asked my instructor why I wasn't taught how to PLF or why he prefers not to teach it. His answer was similar - he prefers the students focus on landing well instead of expecting a PLF on every jump, dropping and rolling and possibly spraining limbs and getting gear dirty.

Years later, I'm still not convinced by this reasoning, especially after having seen so many students and low-time jumpers come down on those not-so perfect landings with legs spread, butt-first, arms out to catch themselves...basically rolling, spraining and occasionally breaking limbs, because no one ever taught them how or when to PLF. So while I agree that emphasis should be given on learning how to fly and land the canopy properly, we should never forget that things can go bad and that coming down to earth too fast is what generally hurts people in this sport. Be it for your own mistake, someone else's or an external factor like turbulence, I believe that knowing how to distribute the forces in a hard landing is still an essential skill in parachuting.


tombuch  (D 8514)

Mar 26, 2009, 8:07 AM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think a PLF is necessary. I too started back in the day when we used T-10's, and preparing for PLF's was essential on every single jump. These days most of our landings have some forward or lateral speed, and PLF's aren't as critical. However, most jumps isn't all jumps, and there are still times when a PLF will save your butt. Literally.

To expand on the question posed by the original poster, perhaps it is appropriate to rethink how and when we teach PLF's. Perhaps we should introduce them in the Comprehensive Ground School, but then provide focused attention on a later level. Many of our first time AFF jumpers have already made a tandem and have that crazy "lift your legs" thing in their heads. Perhaps we could spend more time drilling that out of their skulls on the first solo jump, with just a touch of the PLF. We could then add our intense PLF training as an advanced element later in the process when our students are not as overloaded.

Oh, and I jump a Sabre 120 'cause I'm too scared to jump a Stiletto and I kind like the Sabre, aside from the back crunching openings. I'll also point out that I'm always impressed when somebody who has been in the sport for 20+ years steps back and questions traditional training methods. The sport has changed over the past few decades, and sometimes we need to ask "why" rather than simply carry the same training process forward without reasoned thought.


fasted3  (D 30104)

Mar 26, 2009, 8:51 AM
Post #22 of 103 (4084 views)
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never jumped a round, but I have done a few PLF's. Well, a lot. I was a slow learner at stand ups. PLF's saved me a lot of times. Speaking of swooping speeds reminds me of a downwinder at Eloy. I got up pretty quick after the dust settled, told the guys in the crash truck I was ok and walked away. Yeah, it was on the way as soon as I touched down. They drove off shaking their heads.
I'm better now, but still ready to pull a PLF out of the bag at any time. That would be one of the last skills I would want to give up.


utahsteve1  (D 10822)

Mar 26, 2009, 1:15 PM
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Re: [tombuch] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Tom, good to here ya. Learning a 'PLF' with a round(wasn't that fun...) was getting a particular body position to deal with not only vertical but angled descent. Remember downwind accuracy with a round? Wasn't THAT fun... With the posed question, the answer that first comes to mind is; would you use a tuck-n-roll (PLF) in any situation where the ground is coming up faster than stepping of a bench? Answer: good idea. Pick the scenario. Getting Students feet below them on their first solo parachutes is a bitch especially if you involve 3 Tandems. It is hard to overcome but not insurmountable. A lot more that just a touch. As you know that "legs up" tandem landing is the lesser of 2 evils so to speak. Can you imagine the overall carnage not doing that? Give me a call, dude


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Mar 26, 2009, 1:34 PM
Post #24 of 103 (3979 views)
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Just putting this out there for discussion: How relevant is a PLF considering the descent rate & glide ratio of ram-air canopies as opposed to the rounds when a PLF was vital

If you turn a small canopy too low and bail out you can kill your forward speed, pop back up to roof top height and land hard enough that if you don't PLF it will hurt to walk for a few months.

In high enough winds (we had gusts to 45 MPH when a storm blew in) you'll be coming straight down regardless of how small your parachute is. Mis-timing the flare is likely in this situation.

So the PLF is still a useful skill to have.

With a lot of forward speed you'll want to do a baseball slide (not on your ass, which can lead to back injuries). A modified PLF can become a baseball slide.


In reply to:
Why not focus on good landings rather than plan for a bad one, especially one that won't really have the characteristics which would necessitate a decent PLF? After all, having a plan B is planning on failing plan A.

If you skydive long enough you're going to have bad landings with a PLF helping in some cases.


(This post was edited by DrewEckhardt on Mar 26, 2009, 1:36 PM)


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Mar 26, 2009, 2:02 PM
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Re: [kimemerson] Are PLFs necessary anymore? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
It is neither a joke nor a stir-the-pot post. It is a question posed for the sole purpose of initiating a discussion which might educate someone. I did not say I oppose PLFs. I asked a question and asked for discussion. The question has been posed on the DZ from time to time and I felt it was a good question. So far there have been some very good reasons posted in favor of them. When a newbie asks the question, it might be a good idea to have an answer. Is it an entirely stupid question? Please note I was not advocating anything one way or another. I was initiating a discussion. To that end I succeeded.

I jump a Stiletto 120 because when I bought it it was the scariest state-of-the art thing available and now I can't afford a new toy every thirty seconds when they come out, and I can still scare the shit out of myself on that puppy. Color me crazy, but I am not one of those desperate consumers who must, must, must have the latest thing. I can live with my Stiletto 120.

I think that many folks don't understand the dynamic of what you're suggesting. We still teach PLF's in the FJC, yet we also talk about how that information translates/changes with forward motion. Being able to "slide in" on your side and perform a PLF-like landing with significant forward speed is certainly different than jumping off a 4' platform and being able to roll to five points of contact.
I've got video of a young woman doing a "by the book" PLF while landing downwind. She rolled onto her shoulder which in turn put her feet into the air, she bounced on to her head and consequently put out a hand. And broke her wrist.
Had she slid in on her thigh rolling to the side she'd have been much better off.


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