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Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter

 

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listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 7:55 PM
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Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter Can't Post

I am not going to say where in the world or how I found out about this training method. What came to light was a DZ that took students on dives and would not give them an altimeter because they wanted them to learn how to visually judge altitude.
I asked how they knew how high they were and I was told that they are to count while in free fall. I asked about emergencies and I was told that each student is told that a "5 second rule" applies.

"If you have a malfunction, you have 5 seconds to fix it and then you are to go to your emergency procedures"

Now, personally I find this to be extremely dangerous. Lets just say for instance that a student forgets to count for about 10 seconds. That would put them about 1,500 feet lower than they thought. Now lets consider that this student is wearing a cypres (or should be anyway). Ok, now this student has a pilot chute in tow at 1,500 feet, they wait for the five seconds for it to clear. Keep in mind that this student doesn't have an altimeter to know how high they are. At four seconds from deployment the PC in tow deploys and the canopy is sniveling right into the fire zone of the cypres. whaaaaboom! Instant two canopy out situation with a possible main-resereve entanglement.

What possible good could ever come from putting a student out of an airplane without an altimeter. The arguement of "so they will learn to visually see altitude" is a fallacy in my opinion. I learned altitude visually by comparing my guesses with the altimeter.

What is everyone's take on this?

Please keep any direct quotes in association with names out of this thread and please don't mention any dropzone names either. I don't want to get shot over this.Wink

Cool


AggieDave  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 8:19 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

For students, well, they should have alti's, but I know on some Skydive U. Coached dives, that some folks have had their alti's taken away from them. This was only because the dives were damn near ruined b/c the person being coached was looking at their alti every 3-4 seconds.

There becomes a point in which you really have no reason to look at your alti for the first 20 seconds, atleast.

See my point?


dterrick  (B 5079)

Feb 18, 2003, 8:46 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

Sam:

In Canada, the student BSR's state "on jumps where the exit delay exceeds 10 seconds, all students shall wear at least one functioning and visually accessable altimeter..."

That would be that in Canada. By the time you do a 10 on IAD (s/l style) progression you likely have 4-5 jumps from 3k AGL, 2 from 4, and are into 5500 territory.

I may be the odd one out but I ASKED to have an alti even while on paper pulls because I ALSO wanted to learn the accuracy circuit as soon as possible. My DZO liked that aproach (sounds like the DZ in question is quite the opposite) and the DZO promptly SHUT UP on the radio unless I was waaay off base on my aproach. Didn't happen. And, I have a provincial style and accuracy Gold medal for my efforts that I in part attribute to paying attention to an altimeter from jump #4.

By the time I was into freefall delays of 10's I was counting, not alti checking because that is what I was TOLD to do. Time sense IS important and there is alti allowance in our training programs for counting error. But, once under canopy I still had the alti to judge my pattern.

Once I was up to solo status, about jump 20, alti checking was routine and I was coordinating my alti checks with my manouver series.

I learned alti awareness "a hard way" on my first RW jump when my coach broke off and pulled. No, we were not THAT low but it proved to me that even after dozens of jumps that external stimuli (another jumper) can throw off your (well, at least my) perception of time and space. that has only happened the once, BTW.

***

On jump #20 I had a p/c in tow. We also are taught the "5 count" procedure but that is a FJC technique for IAD/SL deployments. Adhering to proper pull altitudes in your early licenses allows "enough" margin of error for the 5 count in Canada. Once under your own gear, the opening familiarity yields a startingly instant recognition of the pattern going wrong - I don't need to count past "2" to know something is amiss.

Pull high(er) and enjoy the ride.

Dave


AndyMan  (D 25698)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:15 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

It really depends on what kind of training it is.

Putting static line students out without altimeters is more common then you would think. By definition, static line malfunctions happen instantaneously, so you only have to teach your students to deal with the emergency as soon as it presents itself.

In static line progressions, being aware of specific altitudes only becomes relevant once the student is practicing longer delays.

Likewise, a first jump tandem "student" does not have a great need for an altimeter. This is even more true if the jumper does not plan on continuing afterwards.

If you're talking AFF - well, I can't imagine an AFF jump without the student having one.

_Am


listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:18 PM
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Re: [dterrick] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Once under your own gear, the opening familiarity yields a startingly instant recognition of the pattern going wrong - I don't need to count past "2" to know something is amiss.

I agree completely. I know when my bag comes off of my back if something is going to be funky, but I have hundreds of jumps of experience on this rig.

I just don't see why anyone needs to be in free fall or under canopy without an altimeter. That just doesn't make sense to me in the least. It goes back to "teach a student how to skydive". From the first static line jump I went on, one of the first things I was taught was that there is essential gear for a skydive.

Properly packed and current rig.
altimeter that is set to "0"
helmet
goggles
and
clothes are optional

cold beer or other beverages of choice in a cooler or fridge for after jump socials were also optional, but we got failed for not having an altimeter and tried to get on the plane. We would have to do the jump, but none the less, we failed it. I might add that I never failed any of my student jumps. I always make it a point to look around at everyone on a load to make sure that they have all of their straps fastened correctly, an altimeter and ask if everyone has checked their AADs.


(This post was edited by listo on Feb 18, 2003, 9:31 PM)


JJohnson  (D 22675)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:18 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

I cannot think of a reason that a student would be allowed to leave the plane without an altimeter. That is just plain fucked up. I have jumped without an alti recently and it was not enjoyable. No matter hoiw good my judgement may or may not be, it will never be as good as a working instrument.
The alti may fail, and then I should have the knowledge and ability to deal with it. But I would never assume a student has that.


listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:24 PM
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Re: [AndyMan] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
If you're talking AFF - well, I can't imagine an AFF jump without the student having one

No, this is a static line progression situation. I have just never heard of anything like this and was appalled to hear of it. It seems to me that this needs to be changed.

To me, this in some way might lead a student to believe that it is ok to forget an alti sometimes and that relying on their judgement is a suitable alternative. Personally, I suggest to any student that the first things they need to buy are goggles, helmet and an altimeter as well as an audible.

Altimeters are cheap, lives aren't. Humans have terrible depth perception, especially at long distances (anything over 100 feet away)

Cool


listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:27 PM
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Re: [AggieDave] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
This was only because the dives were damn near ruined b/c the person being coached was looking at their alti every 3-4 seconds

I am sorry Dave, but trying to save a dive over saving a life is not an option for me. That shows me terrible instruction on who ever's part that did that. There is only one thing more important than altitude awareness and that is pulling.


AggieDave  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:31 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

This was done with a jumper that had about 100 jumps, so its not crazy, like I said, it wasn't a student, it was a person getting coaching.

From my perspective, though, an altimeter is a total backup, eyes and your internal clock are first.


(hell, I remember a jump where I didn't have an alti, goggles or a helmet, basically me and a rig, it was a really fun jump actually).


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Feb 18, 2003, 9:33 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

>I just don't see why anyone needs to be in free fall or under canopy without an altimeter.

I actually suggest that new jumpers try jumping without an altimeter at some point; they effectively do no good during a H+P, and if a new jumper can't jump without one, you have just discovered a really serious dependency. But I agree that students should have altimeters.

>Altimeters are cheap, lives aren't. Humans have terrible depth
> perception, especially at long distances (anything over 100 feet away)

Nevertheless, learning how to visually judge altitude without an altimeter is absolutely critical. Altimeters are mechanical devices that can fail; an experienced jumper must be able to safely break off, pull and land without a functioning altimeter.


(This post was edited by billvon on Feb 18, 2003, 9:36 PM)


crazy  (D 23767)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:35 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

It used to be quite usual in several countries for SL training, for 5sec, 10sec and even 20sec delays. The objective is to train the sudent to actually count rather than relying on a mythical internal clock (or cheating with the altimeter) for time awareness.


wmw999  (D 6296)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:35 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not saying it's ideal, but it used to be standard in the past (I wasn't able to go past 15-second delays until I had an altimeter), and students didn't die at a hugely greater rate from lack of altitude awareness.

Obviously this only applies to countable delays, where all you're doing is falling flat and stable.

I think my point is that there is a huge difference between something we've largely advanced past (but that worked OK in its time), and something that's inherently dangerous. I probably have 50-80jumps without an altimeter; I wouldn't choose to necessarily, but if I'm current and the situation is controlled, then I could imagine doing it again, too.

Wendy W.


ixlr82  (C 33491)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:41 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

My first thought when I read this was: Throw 'em in the deep end, they'll learn how to swim. I imagine a few students might learn really fast altitude awareness this way.However, looks like a law suit waiting to happen to me. I have less than 200 jumps and I am just starting to get a good feel for how the profile changes and an inkling of ground rush between 3000 and 2000 feet. The only time I've ever pulled low was as a student on a 15 second ripcord pull-couldn't find it-it was up in my armpit-tumbling-should I pull the silver handle-found it-upside down-pulled-good chute-check altimeter-shit!-1600ft. Students are overwhelmed. They are not checking out the changing horizon making analytical judgements about how high they are. I find this training technique bizarre at best. And without the altimeter to reference, how are you learning altitude awareness anyway?


listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:48 PM
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Re: [AggieDave] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
This was done with a jumper that had about 100 jumps, so its not crazy, like I said, it wasn't a student, it was a person getting coaching.

wouldn't it have been easier and safer to just let the person getting coached keep paying for additional jumps until they figured out that looking at the alti so much was getting expensive. At least this way that individual would have been safer.

I will NEVER take someone's alti from them. I on the other hand would suggest getting an audible so they don't have to be so afraid of not looking at it so much. The audible could serve as a mental "life jacket" for altitude awareness.....which this person obviously cared a lot about. I have often loaned an extra audible to someone that I am coaching, especially someone that is free flying. Ya gotta be smarter than the situation to keep safety at a peak my friend.

In reply to:
From my perspective, though, an altimeter is a total backup, eyes and your internal clock are first
Again, I disagree. I use my eyes as a back up for a precision instrument. Mechanical things fail from time to time and our eyes are not good at judging depth. Personally, pulling low is not an option. I would have a lot more reserve rides if it were. I have managed to fix ALL of my mals by pulling no lower than 3,000. Not saying that I have never pulled lower than 3K, but because I pull higher on each dive, I have saved a lot of $$$ on repacks and handles and free bags. I also jump at a dz that is surrounded by swamp too so it is more likely to lose a canopy as well.

I would suggest that you focus more on that alti and use an audible as well as use your eyes as a back up instead of a primary. I would venture to say that you haven't done many night jumps?

Cool


AggieDave  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:53 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

I've done 5 night jumps, why would you make assumptions about me. No, that's not a LOT of night jumps, but more then a lot of people.

An altimeter isn't a presicion instrument, its just a tool, they're not perfect. Many things can effect them, making them read off.

Also, you made another assumption, that I pull low. That's not something I do.


Ok, on to another point. On that coached jump, the coach had an alti, so its not like a total blind jump. When the coach singaled wave off, it was time to go, track for X amount of time and dump.

From my perspective, it seems you've never jumped without an alti, try it, trust your eyes and your internal clock, you'll probably learn a bit about yourself and trusting your senses.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:58 PM
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Re: [ixlr82] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

Listo,
I disagree with you.
Tandem students instinctively do two things with altimeters: ignore them and drop them on concrete.

Altimeters are also a bad idea for first-timers because altimeters tend to overwhelm students with too much information.
I have seen far too many static line/IAD students fixate on altimeters when they should be flaring.
Also telling a S/L student to look at his malfunctioned main, then look at his altimeter is a waste of time. If he does not like the shape of his main, he should pull more handles NOW!

I also believe that altimeters are an annoying distraction during short freefalls.

Students don't need altimeters until they start doing delays 10 seconds or longer.

Rob Warner
pompous instructor since 1982
S/L, IAD, Tandem & PFF


listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 9:58 PM
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Re: [billvon] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Nevertheless, learning how to visually judge altitude without an altimeter is absolutely critical. Altimeters are mechanical devices that can fail; an experienced jumper must be able to safely break off, pull and land without a functioning altimeter

I agree that a skydiver needs to be able to judge altitude without an altimeter, but wouldn't it be better to tell students to constantly guess their altitude and then cross refference their guess with an instrument. I do this on every jump and have been since I started jumping. I guess that being a pilot since I was 16 has instilled in my head that I always need to know where I am in the air.

It just seems crazy to me to tell a student, who has no skills in doing so, to go up and try to guess how high you are. I would even feel bad telling an experienced jumper to do something like that. I know that we need to be able to rely on sight for a semi accurate positioning vertically, but not having an alti so someone can learn is like taking someone 500 yards into the ocean, throwing them overboard and telling them to learn how to swim.Tongue It just doesn't make any valid sense.

We need to tell them to wear that altimeter and make a guess two or three times while under canopy or in free fall at the altitude and then cross refference it with the altimeter. Other wise, you will end up with people who are thinking that 2,500 is 3,500.CrazyCrazyCrazy This is a terrible way to teach altitude judgement in my opinion.

Cool


listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 10:22 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Tandem students instinctively do two things with altimeters: ignore them and drop them on concrete

Tandem passengers for fun....yes I agree with you, but tandem passengers for instruction......well, if they don't pull at the correct altitude.....I fail 'em!

In reply to:
I have seen far too many static line/IAD students fixate on altimeters when they should be flaring.

well, if the students are looking at an altimeter when they are flaring, then the instructors have done a terrible job of instructing them. Any student program I have ever seen teaches a student to look straight ahead at flare time and when they are at around 10 feet high to flare the canopy. There isn't an altimeter anywhere out there that is precise enough to tell you when to flare. We also use flags to visually give a flaring cue to students if the radio malfunctions. One of the first things I tell my students is that an altimeter is only good down to about 500 feet, after that, use your eyes.

In reply to:
I also believe that altimeters are an annoying distraction during short freefalls.

That is like saying that a life jacket is an annoying distraction when you are in your 10' home made wooden boat, crossing a narrow channel when the waves are 20 feet high, the current is going about 35 mph and you can see the opposite shore. Oh yeah, dont forget the pirahnas that are waiting to eat you too.Wink

What is annoying about a student that is keeping track of their altitude? When they are comfortable enough with using their mental clock, then teach them more.

pulling, altitude awareness, pulling, landing with a good canopy and pulling are the most important things a student needs to know. Flips, turns and all of that other stuff are secondary to the three things I just stated. If they do those three things, then they will be around to skydive again another day.

Who knows, they might actually learn how to shoot you the bird in free fall for telling them that they look at their altimeter too much.

There is only one thing in skydiving that keeps you alive to do it again and that is altitude. Forget about it or misjudge it and you don't have to worry about pulling my friend.

Wink


(This post was edited by listo on Feb 18, 2003, 10:41 PM)


listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 10:38 PM
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Re: [AggieDave] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
From my perspective, it seems you've never jumped without an alti, try it, trust your eyes and your internal clock, you'll probably learn a bit about yourself and trusting your senses

Actually, I have jumped without one a few times and it scared the sheeeeeeeet out of me. I pulled high as hell just to make sure I had plenty of altitude to deal with.

Instead of jumping without an alti, why not just use your skills of experience and then cross ref your guess. I don't take chances in the air anymore. I did that once and it hurt like hell.

As for my night jump ref. What I was getting at is that at night, it is impossible to judge altitude within 1,000 feet without an altimeter.

In reply to:
Also, you made another assumption, that I pull low. That's not something I do.

I never assumed anything about your pull altitudes.


listo  (D License)

Feb 18, 2003, 10:46 PM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

Damn, I think I have been watching too much Dr. Phil. I have way too many anallogies tonight.Laugh

Further more, nobody in here is going to convince me that in any way, shape or form is it good to jump without an altimeter, whether on student status or as an experienced jumper. 'Cause it ain't!Wink

Let's just say that someone burns in.......and this individual isn't wearing any type of altitude measuring equipment, either visual or audible. How in the hell do you think the press is going to write that up? How is it going to look to a student's family and friends if they go in for what ever reason and they don't have a damn altimeter of some sort. Are you going to tell that student's family that they looked at it too much so we took it away from them. Regardless of why that student went in, it is going to come back to haunt the DZ and the sport that this student wasn't wearing a damn altimeter.

Give me a break!

Cool

"A closed mind is a wonderful thing to waist"-me


(This post was edited by listo on Feb 18, 2003, 10:58 PM)


Samurai136  (D 26609)

Feb 19, 2003, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Damn, I think I have been watching too much Dr. Phil. I have way too many anallogies tonight.

And they are pretty poor. Lifejackets and Altimeters have no qualitative similarities.

Students should be weened away from being device dependent for altitude awareness. Telling the student to 'guess' their altitude then verify on the altimeter teaches nothing more than guessing what the device will say.

What if the altimeter sticks at 4000' or 3500' and the device dependent jumper says 'wow this must be a really flat track. still at 3500ft' I'll keep tracking..'?

Belief that the machine/ Tool is giving you correct information is ultimately more dangerous than not having one.

In my opinion, a student who is doing well is ready to experience freefall w/ out an alti in the 15-20jump range. But they should be taught what the visual references are for altitude awareness beforehand. i.e. the jump is planned ahead w/ the student as opposed to "oops, forgot my alti" or taking it away from them in the plane on the ride to altitude.

ken


listo  (D License)

Feb 19, 2003, 12:12 AM
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Re: [Samurai136] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

well, I strongly disagree with you. I think that it should be mandatory for every jumper to have a visual and audible altimeter. After all, what are the chances of two altimeters failing on the same jump, much less three altimeters. Dytters are about the same cost as a really good altimeter. I personally always have at least two altimeters of some sort on me at all times. I know where I am in the air and never have to guess. I don't worry about going lower than I planned or endangering someone else because I wanted to guess my altitude.

I will be the first to tell a reporter that a dz and an instructor were morons for not having a student wear at least one type of altimeter and that poor instruction could well have been linked to that student getting hurt. If we are talking about an experienced jumper, well I would tell that reporter that the jumper in question didn't follow a good safety regimen and I am not suprised that he/she went in.

Ignorance has no place in skydiving! unfortunately, there are too many ignorant souls in this sport and I take pleasure in helping them realize it.

Smile


(This post was edited by listo on Feb 19, 2003, 12:16 AM)


Samurai136  (D 26609)

Feb 19, 2003, 1:17 AM
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Re: [listo] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

Are you the one talking to the press?Wink

Talking to the press w/out having all the facts is a bad idea. No one can have all the facts. Talking to the press is a bad idea. It provides them w/ a quoteable source but doesn't guarantee the general public will know the 'full story'.

Any jumper who dies and wasn't wearing an altimeter clearly failed to follow the most basic safety rule: PULL! There is no logical relationship between wearing an altimeter and a jumpers decision to pull.

Ken


hookitt  (D License)

Feb 19, 2003, 1:34 AM
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Re: [Samurai136] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Are you the one talking to the press?Wink

Bwaaahahaha!!! the first thing that came to mind while reading this series, " What sensationalistic newspaper do you work for"?.... then I read your post! Tongue

<<Quote from a post above Samurai136's>>
Quote:
Ignorance has no place in skydiving! unfortunately, there are too many ignorant souls in this sport and I take pleasure in helping them realize it.

Gosh... I just don't think I can safely comment on this LaughLaugh but it's so....wide....open...Must Resist.....
-


hookitt  (D License)

Feb 19, 2003, 2:03 AM
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Re: [hookitt] Students jumping WITHOUT an altimeter [In reply to] Can't Post

Having only one static line to my experience and not from a plane mind you, I must leave the static line and altimeter debate alone.

But in general, Once a person has figured out what the ground looks like at certain altitudes, I agree whole heartedly that perhaps not having one for a few jumps is a good Idea.

There is one constant in skydiving. Jump from a plane, you will contact the ground. To avoid a mess for others to clean up, it's best to open a parachute Long before you make that contact.

Learn what the ground looks like at certain altitudes. A good time to start is on your next jump especially while tracking away.


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