Forums: Skydiving Disciplines: Swooping and Canopy Control:
When/Where To Make Pattern Turns

 


bqmassey  (Student)

Apr 7, 2011, 8:30 PM
Post #1 of 19 (1705 views)
Shortcut
When/Where To Make Pattern Turns Can't Post

I'm having trouble when it comes to flying the pattern. I can't land ANYWHERE near where I intend to without someone far more experienced telling me where to make my turns in the pattern. I'm trying to become self-sufficient, and really need to improve my ability to land near a target without assistance.

It was pretty windy last weekend when I was jumping. I rode the wind way too far on the downwind leg. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to get back to the landing target. The next day the winds were very light, which threw off all of the turning points I had from the day prior. My first landing that day was 800 ft from my target.

I've read the article about the "D" turning point. Maybe I'm not fully understanding the article, but it doesn't seem to help chose how far upwind from the target the crosswind leg should be, or how far downwind the base leg should be.

I know I could go ask an instructor to look at the winds aloft and tell me where the points should be, but I'm trying to learn to do this stuff on my own. Are there any methods of determining this stuff on-the-fly without looking at the winds aloft data and without just saying "that looks right"? Winds change all the time, and I want to be able to go out and adapt to the situation in real-time.

I'd really like to master canopy flight. Being under canopy is my favorite part of skydiving. I don't have a strong urge to get into swooping. I'd just really like to be have enough control to be able to have a graceful stand-up landing exactly where I plan to land.

My landings are fine (usually stand-up landings), I'm just having trouble landing where I want to. I'm 200lbs. I've been jumping a 210 (zero-p) a 210 (F111) and a 235 (zero-p).

The effective glide angle changes dramatically with changes in wind. What methods are there to figuring out when to turn when you're coming in?

At some point, I'd like to start landing in the same state as my dropzone.


DocPop  (C License)

Apr 7, 2011, 8:43 PM
Post #2 of 19 (1695 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

A few thoughts to start the ball rolling:

1. Get some help from local instructors. If they can give you your "checkpoints" in the pattern that's great, but if they can explain why they chose those checkpoints then you have the basis of some understanding. The shape of a pattern will change dramatically between windy and no-wind days. How does it change? See if you change think it through and work out what wind will do to the downwind, base and final legs of the pattern.

2. If your pattern consists of equally spaced altitudes e.g start downwind at 900', start base at 600' and start final at 300' then the TIME taken to fly each leg should be identical, but the DISTANCE covered over the ground will be quite different, and will be dependent on wind. On a true no-wind day they will be of equal length.

3. Take a canopy course.

4. Read "The Parachute and its Pilot" by Brian Germain

5. Tell experienced jumpers on the ground your plan for the pattern on the next jump and get them to watch your execution of it and comment on what you did well and what you can work on.

6. Don't get so focused on your pattern that you forget to keep your eyes open for traffic!

This is all very general but I hope it provides some food for thought. I am not an instructor, just a guy with an interest in canopy flight so read my ramblings above while bearing that in mind!


yoink

Apr 7, 2011, 11:15 PM
Post #3 of 19 (1673 views)
Shortcut
Re: [DocPop] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Firstly, don't worry about it! It takes hundreds of jumps if not thousands to get this stuff nailed in, especially in varying conditions. Smile

Try and speak to a canopy coach. Not just an experienced pilot, but someone who's really good at teaching and can tailor their lessons to your experience level. Sometimes I think that's harder than the actual skill itself!

The only suggestion I can make not being a coach is to make a plan for every jump, fly that plan, evaluate how you did then change ONE thing at a time if it didn't go how you expected. It's a gradual process.

Keep your eyes open and remember landing safely is the priority. Hitting the X is a bonus. Cool


(This post was edited by yoink on Apr 7, 2011, 11:16 PM)


morris

Apr 8, 2011, 12:10 AM
Post #4 of 19 (1660 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
I rode the wind way too far on the downwind leg.

Very common beginnermistake...

Quote:
My first landing that day was 800 ft from my target.
Taking the major overnight change of windspeed (~10 knots?) into account that was not too bad for your experience level, Ive seen worse...

Quote:
...it doesn't seem to help chose how far upwind from the target the crosswind leg should be, or how far downwind the base leg should be.
You are right, it doesnt help for this part...

Quote:
I'm trying to learn to do this stuff on my own.
Cool. But asking for help will provide way faster and better results...

Dont take the rest of my answer too serious!
Quote:
Are there any methods of determining this stuff on-the-fly without looking at the winds aloft data and without just saying "that looks right"?
Yes, there are!
Quote:
Winds change all the time,
Damn!
Quote:
Being under canopy is my favorite part of skydiving.
Welcome to the dark side!
Quote:
The effective glide angle changes dramatically with changes in wind.
There should be a law against this!
Quote:
At some point, I'd like to start landing in the same state as my dropzone.
Dont set your goals too high!


dragon2  (D 101989)

Apr 8, 2011, 4:56 AM
Post #5 of 19 (1625 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Aside from the tips already given, I find a few simple tips helpful:

- Never get behind the edge of your target field, especially if it's even a bit windy (this presumes a big landing field, if not, get help from your instructor about where the "do not cross" line should be). Make your pattern "wider" rather than "longer" if you need to to not get so far back you cannot make it back into the wind.
- Never fly low above something you do not want to land on.
- Always aim for the middle of a field, ie give yourself room on final if you made an error in the winds - less wind means you'll fly further, more wind means not as far, and some room left/right means you can easily avoid someone else if need be. Never paint yourself into a corner.


floormonkey  (D License)

Apr 8, 2011, 8:16 AM
Post #6 of 19 (1592 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Start by going to the DZ and watching landings. Go to your target and stand there. Watch canopies like yours (generally the last ones landing), watch where they turn and the results they get.

Pay attention to jump run, where they exit, and where they open. Watch the windsock and compare what's happening.

Pick a target. It should be the same target on every jump until you get your b license.

Go jump. Look straight down (between your feet) at each turn, especially ckpt 2. Make a note of your location. It is important to look straight down.

After you land, look where you are, look at the windsock, and evaluate what changes you should make to land closer to target the next time.

Repeat. Often.

Accuracy starts before you get on the airplane. Have a plan, execute it, and evaluate it.

When you are making multiple jumps in a day, and are focusing on your targets and accuracy, you'll start to notice a big difference.

Be sure you are looking straight down to note where you are turning. If you don't know where you turned, how can you adjust it?

Checkpoint 2 will change on every jump-that's the point you adjust for accuracy.

Be aware of your airspace, though; don't get so focused you lose sight of someone else. Also understand an experienced jumper doesn't mean a good pilot, and that some of their patterns will look markedly different than yours. You can still, however, watch and learn from them.


(This post was edited by floormonkey on Apr 8, 2011, 8:18 AM)


pchapman  (D 1014)

Apr 11, 2011, 10:18 AM
Post #7 of 19 (1448 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Some more points off the top of my head.

-- Learn to do a wind check prior to entering the pattern, to see how much penetration you are getting, to estimate whether the winds are high, medium, low, or whatever. You need to get used to both estimating forward speed, and using 'the accuracy trick' to estimate angle of descent.

Compare to the windsocks too, as what's happening at 1000' may differ from what's on the ground. That adds some complexity.

-- Yes watch others from the ground -- of course, they need to be people with similar wing loadings, maybe other newbies on rental gear, or else the different air speeds will confuse you.

-- Work on anticipating what will happen, in conditions of high winds and you are flying downwind. It takes time to turn 90 or 180 so it is easy to be blown too far down wind unless you are thinking ahead.
Because you'll drift downwind during the turns and the crosswind, you'll have to start turning base quite a bit upwind of the point where you want to be established on final.

-- Get used to estimating the angle of descent you fly with your canopy on final approach into the wind, in different conditions. How steep an approach do you get in high, medium, low, or near zero winds? If you know roughly what the winds are, and how high you want to be when turning final, then you know how far down wind you want to be when turning final.

So if you want to learn, you have to remember specific information about past jumps in order to apply it to future jumps.


bqmassey  (Student)

Apr 11, 2011, 2:28 PM
Post #8 of 19 (1420 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all of the replies! I enjoy reading through. I'm taking notes. :)

It sounds like getting this all down relies a lot on past experiences and observations (watching others, being familiar with your canopy, adjusting after an off-target landing).

Are there any visual/logic tricks to aid in making these decisions? (Things like the "accuracy trick").

Again, thanks for the replies. Canopy flight is a very interesting topic to me. I hope to be a very skilled canopy pilot someday.


thrillstalker  (C 40678)

Apr 15, 2011, 9:58 PM
Post #9 of 19 (1299 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

i dont think it has been mentioned here and maybe for good reason. you can use toggle and riser input to change your glide in the landing pattern, ex flying in brakes.

where you jump might be too crowded or not segregated enough for you to do this safely. consult an instructor before trying any of this and anything else you might come across in cyber land.

good luck and blue skies


bqmassey  (Student)

Apr 17, 2011, 9:11 PM
Post #10 of 19 (1240 views)
Shortcut
Re: [thrillstalker] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Yea, I need to spend more time experimenting with flying in brakes and with the risers (safely of course).

Using tricks like that to change your glide angle are helpful, especially when you're on final and can use the "accuracy trick" to see where you're headed. The accuracy trick is awesome because it works in real-time. It doesn't require any other information to work (canopy glide ratio, winds, etc). All of that is factored in automatically.

Maybe you're landing off airport, maybe you're at a new DZ or with a new canopy, maybe the winds changed dramatically since you got the winds aloft data. Maybe you're not at the altitude you planned to be at at a certain point in the pattern. There are a lot of things that can take you off your planned pattern points, things that will require you to adapt on-the-fly.

Let's say you're on the downwind, abeam the target landing point. The only decision you really have to make is when to make the turn to base. (The turn to final isn't really a decision, as the length of your base leg is already fixed.) Once you're on final, you can use the accuracy trick to adjust your descent, but at that point it may be too late. It appears to me that the most critical decision in regards to setting yourself up for an accurate landing once you're in the pattern is when to make the turn to base.

Is there a way, while you're under the canopy, to know when it's time to make that turn? Some kind of rule of thumb that, like that "accuracy trick", takes all factors into account?


morris

Apr 17, 2011, 11:20 PM
Post #11 of 19 (1225 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The only decision you really have to make is when to make the turn to base. (The turn to final isn't really a decision, as the length of your base leg is already fixed.)
Now youve impressed me! (If your jumpnumbers are correct and not missing at least two zeros.)
You are right, if your landing area is not very wide (Im talking wide, not long, from your point of view on final. If it is pretty wide you could choose to turn sooner or later into final, likely sacrificing accuracy but at least making the landing area.) the length of your base is really fixed. Then to turn to base is really the only decision to take if you are flying a "classic" pattern "by the book" (= in straight lines and without "manipulating" the glide angle). For this and other reasons I dont think it is a good pattern at all, at least not in the "classic" (=straight lines) version and I think it is especially difficult for anyone with low jumpnumbers...


thrillstalker  (C 40678)

Apr 18, 2011, 7:11 AM
Post #12 of 19 (1181 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

i am sure you could do the math and figure out which altitude you need to do all your turns, but if the wind changes even a few mph your plan is moot.

you will pick up a feel for when to make your turns as you progress.

if there is strong winds, i often wont start the landing pattern until 800 or 700 feet. i know i will cover a lot more ground on my downwind, and i don't want to take it to far back. you take the chance of overshooting the lz, and at my dz this means trees.

quit trying to learn on the internet, and go watch some landings. if you can get a coach/instructor or an experienced jumper to watch with you and explain things, it will help a lot.


floormonkey  (D License)

Apr 18, 2011, 7:57 AM
Post #13 of 19 (1173 views)
Shortcut
Re: [thrillstalker] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

 
quit trying to learn on the internet, and go watch some landings. if you can get a coach/instructor or an experienced jumper to watch with you and explain things, it will help a lot.
especially from someone with 92 jumps. Yes, you can get a feel for it, but it is better to learn how to judge it based on what is going on.

Also, it is helpful for most students to always use the same starting point (ckpt 1) altitude until you learn to judge wind conditions and your glide angle. Once you get the basics down, then start "doing it by feel."


Premier ianmdrennan  (D 25821)
Moderator
Apr 18, 2011, 8:48 AM
Post #14 of 19 (1160 views)
Shortcut
Re: [thrillstalker] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
if there is strong winds, i often wont start the landing pattern until 800 or 700 feet.

Changing your pattern points in relation to each other, and the target, and keeping your altitudes for each leg the same is generally considered a better practice. It keeps your TIME on each leg consistent and allows better refinement in various conditions.


Skydivesg  (D 10938)

Apr 18, 2011, 12:52 PM
Post #15 of 19 (1121 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

It's always great to fly a nice square or rectangular pattern but there is one trick that comes in handy quite often.

Sometimes you'll find you took your down wind leg farther than you should have or wanted to (maybe because you covered more ground than expected or just mis-calculated where to turn your base).

In this situation you can cut the corner off your base/final leg. In other words don't fly to a perfect square corner when turning from base to final. Instead take an angular approach from the downwind to an intersecting spot of your final (somewhere between your planned final turn location and the target).

Picture two lanes of traffic at a stop light. Both cars are turning left while still staying in their respective lanes. The car on the inside of the turn will use less realestate to make the same turn.

If both cars use the same speed to make the turn, the car on the inside will always get through the turn quicker and end up further ahead because they have to travel less distance, effectively cutting the corner off the turn when compared to the outside car.

How much corner you cut off will depend on how far you found yourself too far downwind.

It's very important while learning this stuff to know where the other canopies are. Keep your head on a swivel, increase your awarness skills and be predictable.

Be the canopy pilot you want that other guy to be.


vortexr1  (D License)

Apr 18, 2011, 10:41 PM
Post #16 of 19 (1071 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Just jump man.Noone can tell you exactly what to do.Just comes with time...Keep jumping and watching what you do.It will come in time.We ALL were there with the same problems..


shropshire  (C License)

Apr 19, 2011, 12:42 AM
Post #17 of 19 (1062 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bqmassey] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a a great question and one that shows a high degree of responsibly - Nice one.Cool


It is difficult and takes a lot of practice but I went on a canopy course and learned to set my 3 Altitudes and then Move the points over the ground based upon the conditions (wind mainly).

If you change too many things (in the few seconds before you land) then your internal computer has way too much maths to get right. Change 1 and it becomes easier over time.


shropshire  (C License)

Apr 19, 2011, 12:54 AM
Post #18 of 19 (1059 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Skydivesg] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

What you're describing is close to the Constant Aspect Approach (something I often use on my paraglider - N.B we often 'Land Out' and do not have our exact height above the LZ/ground and the glide angle is shallower).


Essentially, you pick the spot on the ground where you intend to land and then keep it at the same angle to you : that is BOTH Vertical and Horizontal angle)...

It works in the same way as Anti collision is done at Sea. If you see another yacht and it's bearing never changes and the distance between you is getting less(!!) ... you WILL hit it .... This 'simply' adds another dimension.

The PROBLEM with using the Constant Aspect Approach (in crowded traffic at least) is that you are not flying predictable 90 degree turns (Down wind, cross wind.. finals) and 'could' turn inside someone else's pattern (bad!!).

IMHO, especially in traffic (but not exclusively!!- Get into good habits ALL of the time) - we need to fly Predictably, safely and be on constant look out for others.


(This post was edited by shropshire on Apr 19, 2011, 12:57 AM)


bqmassey  (Student)

Apr 19, 2011, 4:56 AM
Post #19 of 19 (1040 views)
Shortcut
Re: [shropshire] When/Where To Make Pattern Turns [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, thanks for all of the great replies. It sounds like there isn't a simple way to know when to make that turn to base to accurately put yourself at the target. Sounds like it just takes time getting used to your canopy in different conditions.

It may be a while before I really get to know a particular canopy, as I'm renting gear and can't jump the same rig every time (or even the same wing loading).

One requirement I have left on my A proficiency card is "land within 20 meters of a preselected target on at least five jumps". Right now, that seems like my biggest hurdle.

I'm planning a trip up to Skydive The Farm this weekend and hope to get three days of jumping in. If all goes well, I'll leave with a completed proficiency card.

Thanks for all the replies, folks. It's been helpful.



Forums : Skydiving Disciplines : Swooping and Canopy Control

 


Search for (options)