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When to flare- high vs low winds

 


jenomegle

Jan 1, 2011, 9:17 AM
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When to flare- high vs low winds Can't Post

Hi guys!

This has been bothering me for a while... when winds are high, are you supposed to flare a little later for landing? And when winds are very minimal, flare a little higher?

Also, what do you do to judge how high you are from the ground? Do you look at the horizon? Or the height of people on the DZ? I'm fairly new to the sport, and still need to work on my landings, because it's not very often I have a real nice standup landing... :(

Ps. I'm talking about regular ole landings, no swooping or anything.
Thanks!


Fab  (C License)

Jan 1, 2011, 9:28 AM
Post #2 of 22 (2040 views)
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Telling someone when/how to flare is a bit difficult but I wouldn't flare later if I were you when winds are higher.. Just flare as you do normally do regardless of windconditions...

it is just trial and error. If you know you flared too soon the other time..flare a little bit later and vice versa.

Probably a good tip is to get some video of your landings and review them with an instructor/canopycoach.


almeister112  (D 31305)

Jan 1, 2011, 9:56 AM
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Something that helped me out for a while was doing a half-flare relatively high and then finishing it out just as I was about to touch down. It kills your speed a bit and makes it easier to judge when you're just about to touch, so it's easier to finish out the flare at the right time. The downside is you lose the full flare ability at the end, so you come in faster and have to run it out a bit, but that helped me develop a better sense of when I needed to punch it.


pchapman  (D 1014)

Jan 1, 2011, 10:14 AM
Post #4 of 22 (2006 views)
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Just my opinion:

Flare at the same height.

That's the simple version, for most situations, with some caveats and exceptions. That's for low vs. higher winds, but one exception below if for really high winds.

One needs the canopy to plane out to nearly level flight before touchdown, and that takes a certain amount of vertical distance, whether or not you have a lot of forward ground speed. That's why normally you still flare at the same height.

I think people don't always realize that. And the situation is often taught poorly. Someone might say, "When to flare? Flare later." Well, what does that mean? Sure, it may be correct that one flares later relative to the moment of touchdown, because you aren't going to have much time flying planed out. But you don't want to "flare later" in terms of height.

Very low wing loadings:
For a very lightly loaded canopy, the plane out isn't as much a factor, but even on student canopies one often has the canopy swing back before touch down, effectively planing out for a moment. With low descent rates and a desire not to get blown back in a strong wind, it may be reasonable to flare a little lower.

Flaring lower OK if flaring harder:
This is an exception to flaring at the same height. One could flare a bit lower if one flares harder, that is, bringing one's hands down faster, as long as there's still enough time for the canopy to physically swing and plane out.

This would apply if flying a lightly loaded canopy, and is wary of being blown backwards if one slows the canopy too much. Indeed if the winds are strong enough that one is descending vertically, this makes sense even on a highly loaded canopy.

So in such a situation, "flare lower" is still the wrong instruction on its own, but can be correct when used as part of a technique that involves a more sudden flare when you do start.

After planing out, in high winds you won't need to hold the flare as long or bring your hands down as much to get to a zero forward speed or something comfortably close. So that part is different than in low winds.

With high wind, you'll have less time in the planed out state before being out of forward speed, so you have less time to get to the desired altitude (feet just above the ground or whatever). On the other hand, if you are not yet accurate, are conservative, and end up high, it is less of a problem. One would rather be flared out 2' above the ground at 0 mph, than at 10 mph on a no wind day.

As for judging height for flaring, that's one of the tough things in skydiving for novices. I'll leave others to answer that in detail. You get a feel for it, just knowing that the time & distance is right for completing a flare that works.


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Jan 1, 2011, 11:43 AM
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Jenom.

Landing is one of those things that you really have to just put in the time and really get to know how your canopy responds to input. That would include in different conditions.
One thing that might help a bit is on very windy days it may not be necessary to do a complete flare. What I mean by that is if you go to your shoulders and evaluate, as you continue to flare the canopy may very well respond at just half brakes, giving you a nice landing. If you disregard how the canopy is reacting and just do a full flare the canopy may pop you up into a stall scenario, which is never very good.

On light to no wind days, you may have to continue the flare all the way down to get desired results.


riggerpaul  (D 28098)

Jan 1, 2011, 12:03 PM
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Re: [pchapman] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Building on pchapman's comments -

In high winds, you don't need to worry so much about killing groundspeed. Flare enough to result in a comfortable descent rate for your touchdown.

So, flare at generally the same height, but watch that you don't flare so deeply that you start to go backwards. Backwards landing are uncomfortable/unpleasant for many jumpers.

Now, what are high winds?

At Bay Area Skydiving, Byron, CA, we often have to deal with winds that others might find absurdly high. 20+ is not unusual, and we consider calling the tandems down when we hit about 30 or more. (Within just a fe miles of the dz, there are something like 3500 windmills in the Altamont Pass area. They don't put all those windmills there because the winds are calm.)

Here's a caveat. I have noticed that at the very high end of the scale, perhaps 25+, there can be a pronounced drop in the last 5 to 10 feet. I have attributed this to turbulence caused by the texture of the ground.

If this happens, you need to be ready to flare much more deeply than you might otherwise expect. In addition, be prepared to PLF if your descent rate is still uncomfortable.

But if "high winds" means 15 to 20, then this is not likely to be a consideration for you.


shropshire  (C License)

Jan 1, 2011, 12:44 PM
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Your canopy does NOT KNOW the wind speed!!

The fact that you are flying through air (at the same AIRSPEED as you always do) that is travelling across the ground faster or slower than at other time does NOT affect the flare of the canopy (unless there is turbulence).


Liemberg  (Student)

Jan 1, 2011, 1:56 PM
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Re: [riggerpaul] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
At Bay Area Skydiving, Byron, CA, we often have to deal with winds that others might find absurdly high. 20+ is not unusual, and we consider calling the tandems down when we hit about 30 or more.

Excellent health insurance plan?

In my experience, winds that exceed 20 have a tendency to be accompanied by an increase in turbulence and that can make life for you and your passenger way too interesting.

Your hanging on a piece of cloth that is shaped like a clumsy wing with a laughable aspect ratio, which only keeps its shape because of enough pressure inside the cells. If it hits a layer of air that moves towards the ground, even if it keeps it shape, it will move towards the ground with the additional speed caused by that layer of air. Did I mention that you don't have a propeller, turbine or jet?

What could possibly go wrong? Crazy

To the OP

Tell me when you are jumping in high winds, so I can send you an email telling you when to flare. Cool


DocPop  (C License)

Jan 1, 2011, 3:09 PM
Post #9 of 22 (1876 views)
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Re: [shropshire] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Your canopy does NOT KNOW the wind speed!!

The fact that you are flying through air (at the same AIRSPEED as you always do) that is travelling across the ground faster or slower than at other time does NOT affect the flare of the canopy (unless there is turbulence).

While that is true, the goal for landing is to achieve zero GROUND SPEED (or close to) before touching down. This IS affected by wind.

Flaring affects both vertical and horizontal speeds. The amount of flare needed to stop vertical descent is not affected by wind, but the amount of flare needed to produce zero horizontal ground speed may be very much reduced (assuming you are landing into the wind) compared to no wind or light wind days.


firemedic  (D 29776)

Jan 1, 2011, 4:04 PM
Post #10 of 22 (1859 views)
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Re: [DocPop] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

There is some varied experiences here and there are varied approaches to landing in winds. A couple years ago I downsized to a 150. I had to change my technique.
Something you might want to consider, since your new, is taking a canopy piloting course. Both Brian Germain and Scott Miller are good instructors among others.

Sorry, I'm straying off point here a bit but I think this needs to be said.
One last thing you might consider. When the winds are +15, stay on the ground near the landing area and watch others as they land. I don't go up when the winds are 15+ When I started doing tandems I continued to follow this personal rule. The DZO knew I was new and tried to push me into doing them when the winds were 20+ but I stood my ground. I caught a lot of flack for it and saw some TIs nearly pay a heavy price for the decision. But hey, the way I looked at it was, if I jump in these winds are they going to get worse while I'm climbing to altitude? What if something goes wrong and I have to land off under a reserve. Just some things to consider.


diablopilot  (D License)

Jan 1, 2011, 6:18 PM
Post #11 of 22 (1830 views)
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Re: [DocPop] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Your canopy does NOT KNOW the wind speed!!

The fact that you are flying through air (at the same AIRSPEED as you always do) that is travelling across the ground faster or slower than at other time does NOT affect the flare of the canopy (unless there is turbulence).

While that is true, the goal for landing is to achieve zero GROUND SPEED (or close to) before touching down. This IS affected by wind.

Flaring affects both vertical and horizontal speeds. The amount of flare needed to stop vertical descent is not affected by wind, but the amount of flare needed to produce zero horizontal ground speed may be very much reduced (assuming you are landing into the wind) compared to no wind or light wind days.

Which does not affect the HEIGHT at which you need to start the flare, but only the LENGTH of the flare.

If you start the flare lower, you must use a faster, stronger flare to arrest the energy of the decent in the smaller window of opportunity.


tonyhays  (D 26336)

Jan 1, 2011, 6:36 PM
Post #12 of 22 (1824 views)
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Re: [Liemberg] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In my experience, winds that exceed 20 have a tendency to be accompanied by an increase in turbulence and that can make life for you and your passenger way too interesting

Not if you're landing next to the beach and the winds are off the ocean. Clean wind in my experience.


skr  (D 981)

Jan 1, 2011, 7:31 PM
Post #13 of 22 (1808 views)
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

> flare a little later

> flare a little higher?

I wrote some stuff about that and put it here
http://indra.com/...w/c_wings_level.html

That article is also somewhere on this dropzone.com site.


Liemberg  (Student)

Jan 2, 2011, 1:07 AM
Post #14 of 22 (1760 views)
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Re: [tonyhays] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Not if you're landing next to the beach and the winds are off the ocean. Clean wind in my experience.
True, in general when landing ON the beach. We land 'behind the dunes' most of the time however since that is where OUR DZ is. Can a few 10 to 15 meter high dunes cause obstacle turbulence over several hundred meters distance? I think they can but I do not rule out Gremlins shaking up parachutes a couple of seconds before landing either...
Whatever the cause, when that happens and it is severe enough, I'm out of options. Once upon a time I made a landing like that in October. Until March the next year I could not walk for longer than 10 minutes.

I do enjoy being able to walk without my feet hurting and I like to keep it that way... Smile


riggerpaul  (D 28098)

Jan 2, 2011, 7:04 AM
Post #15 of 22 (1724 views)
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Re: [Liemberg] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
At Bay Area Skydiving, Byron, CA, we often have to deal with winds that others might find absurdly high. 20+ is not unusual, and we consider calling the tandems down when we hit about 30 or more.

Excellent health insurance plan?

In my experience, winds that exceed 20 have a tendency to be accompanied by an increase in turbulence and that can make life for you and your passenger way too interesting.

Your hanging on a piece of cloth that is shaped like a clumsy wing with a laughable aspect ratio, which only keeps its shape because of enough pressure inside the cells. If it hits a layer of air that moves towards the ground, even if it keeps it shape, it will move towards the ground with the additional speed caused by that layer of air. Did I mention that you don't have a propeller, turbine or jet?

What could possibly go wrong? Crazy

To the OP

Tell me when you are jumping in high winds, so I can send you an email telling you when to flare. Cool

Believe it or not, we don't have a lot of wind related injuries.

Jumping in higher winds is a learnable skill.

Admittedly, a great deal of the knowledge is about when not to go. When the winds are bumpy as well as fast, most people stay on the ground.

Personally, I don't go if the winds are over 22, bumpy or not.

The direction of the strongest winds has over a mile of nearly flat land between the nearest hill and the center of the landing area. It isn't quite like the winds off the ocean hitting your dunes.

I'll never tell anyone they need to jump in our winds, but it is possible to learn how to do it.


(This post was edited by riggerpaul on Jan 2, 2011, 7:05 AM)


Liemberg  (Student)

Jan 2, 2011, 7:18 AM
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Re: [riggerpaul] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Personally, I don' go if the winds are over 22, bumpy or not
Who would have thought that your limit is exactly equal to my limit? Smile

If it is predominantly from the west (2 miles of flatland) I'm not afraid of a little wind, if it comes in from the big drink, over the dunes on a hot day I get picky...


riggerpaul  (D 28098)

Jan 2, 2011, 8:02 AM
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Re: [Liemberg] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
Personally, I don' go if the winds are over 22, bumpy or not
Who would have thought that your limit is exactly equal to my limit? Smile

If it is predominantly from the west (2 miles of flatland) I'm not afraid of a little wind, if it comes in from the big drink, over the dunes on a hot day I get picky...

My limits come from a variety of factors including my canopies and a dislike for backing-up landings.

Obviously, others have different limits.

Our hot summer weather with dust devils and such will keep me down even in low winds. I've seen the results of people tangling with dust devils.

Still, if others want to jump in higher winds, I'll do my best to tell them how to do it as safely as they can.


Liemberg  (Student)

Jan 2, 2011, 8:53 AM
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Re: [riggerpaul] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Still, if others want to jump in higher winds, I'll do my best to tell them how to do it as safely as they can.

'Wing level' per Skratch Garisson. preferable with my hands completely down at- or close to the moment my feet touch the ground and if possible with my canopy facing into the ground wind usually does the trick for me so that would be what I would have to say about the subject over the internet. Now how you get there it all depends but in general anticipating seems to be a good idea...

And avoiding dust devilish meteo conditions of course...

In high winds it usually is a shorter 'stab' than when you are bleeding of canopy speed.

YMMV...


Ron

Jan 2, 2011, 6:13 PM
Post #19 of 22 (1611 views)
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem is so many people think a flare is a static move.....

They think that the flare is only done at one speed. But the truth is that you can start the flare at the exact same altitude and change the SPEED of the flare.

And like others have said... this is not a simple thing able to be taught online.


MarkM  (C 35089)

Jan 3, 2011, 8:22 AM
Post #20 of 22 (1549 views)
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm fairly new to the sport, and still need to work on my landings, because it's not very often I have a real nice standup landing... :(

A big cause for this is people stop flying their canopy too soon. For example, you come in for a landing and are flying fine, feet touch the ground and then you're in "I'm a ground animal" mindset, so you stop flying and start crashing.

But then it's impossible to say if this is your problem, because none of us have seen you land.

I'd really recommend the following http://www.bigairsportz.com/...ishing.php#parachute

The book covers a large range of canopy flying topics and really goes into the mental part of flying too.


erdnarob  (D 364)

Jan 8, 2011, 10:21 AM
Post #21 of 22 (1358 views)
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

Basically there shouldn't be any difference the way to flare whatever the wind conditions are. Why, because you are landing using the relative wind on your canopy just like an airplane landing. Of course, landing with a relatively high wind means that the ground speed is reduced (provided you are facing it) and this is why the landing will look softer. The reduced ground speed also gives you more time to adjust to what you see (the ground coming to you).
Now, when starting flaring ? You should start flaring at about 15-20 feet, in a very progressive way and adjusting the toggles according what you see when the ground seems to come to you. Your toggles should be at hip level when being at one foot above the ground when the winds are calm. With high winds, your toggles should be at waist-chest level at one foot above the ground.
Now how to evaluate the distance from you to the ground.
Here is several tricks
1) start flaring when you see the grass leaves individually if your DZ is grassy
2) look at about 45 degrees in front of you, and start flaring at a distance of 15-20 feet. To get used to evaluate that distance, on the ground get on a location above the ground, ladder or truck... and look at what a distance of 20 feet from you to the ground appears (measured before with a tape) and get used to that distance.
Note: Don't worry too much, we all have had to do this kind of stuff. Some people are just learning faster than others then whatever the time it will take, keep on trying


dorbie

Jan 8, 2011, 12:00 PM
Post #22 of 22 (1339 views)
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Re: [jenomegle] When to flare- high vs low winds [In reply to] Can't Post

When considering the flare as a two stage process

1) you convert vertical descent into horizontal motion/energy
2) you plane out converting horizontal motion/energy into lift losing energy to drag and additional induced drag.

Stage 1 does not change, only stage 2 changes.

With stage 2 when landing into high wind you have less work to do. You do not want to "complete" your flare to the point where your ground speed is negative, i.e. you go backwards. So IMHO your flare should remain the same except your second stage during the planeout will end early.

Now, if you are landing a large canopy that has very little plane-out in high wind this means that there is a lot of induced drag during the first stage of the flare. It might be said of such a canopy that it doesn't have much of a two stage flare. In this case in high wind you may find yourself going backwards before you enter the second stage flare. With a canopy like this someone might suggest you try to shorten the flare time by beginning a more aggressive flare slightly lower flare to avoid going backwards in windy conditions. This has risks and is NOT universally applicable to other canopies, it may also be counterproductive as aggressive flaring increases the angle of attack and induced drag. You may wind up with an incomplete 1st stage flare so you should be ready to PLF if you try it. You would be safer not jumping in such conditions until you have mastered landing another canopy.

Unless you're jumping a lightly loaded tent of a canopy it really takes a lot of wind to make you go backwards before stage 1 is complete (if you're doing it right), so problems in high wind may be related to just completing a stage 2 flare by rote instead of touching down when groundspeed equals zero and killing the canopy flight (or however else you chose to end the jump).



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