Aug 1, 2011, 5:10 PM
Post #1 of 20
It's been 10 years in the making
and I'm finally doing it!! I've wanted to jump since I was 16 but life just kept getting in the way after I turned 18. Spent 4 minutes in a tunnel this past weekend and that was what sealed the deal, signed up for a S/L course and start in a couple weeks and I'm totally stoked!
skymama (D 26699)
Aug 1, 2011, 6:12 PM
Post #2 of 20
Re: [peanut_gallery] It's been 10 years in the making
[In reply to]
Welcome to the forums! Better late than never! Good luck on your training.
Aug 9, 2011, 2:59 AM
Post #3 of 20
Re: [peanut_gallery] It's been 10 years in the making
[In reply to]
Yes!! haha Another static line student!!
I'm not gonna intentionally start the learning method debate but I love that I can relate to the learning process of SL.
I hope you'll post some of the details of your progression, even any failures. I have to admit I jacked up my first PRCP just because I didn't find it quickly on my first attempt. Lesson I learned from that was keep searching for it and pull it even if your hand doesn't fall right on it at first because it really doesn't always.
Aug 10, 2011, 12:19 PM
Post #4 of 20
Re: [bluetwo] It's been 10 years in the making
[In reply to]
I looked into and read about both AFF and S/L and I just liked the progression of S/L over AFF. To me your working yourself up to a run with S/L instead of just starting off sprinting with AFF.
Yeah I'll probably keep this post updated even with the failures. Class starts Fri at 6 with the first jump on Sat morning. Classes again Sat night then jump again Sun morning. If scheduling works out then I will hopefully get my A license by this November. I'm both excited and a little nervous and its still a couple days away.
Well I was thinking about keeping this updated, kinda like a student journal. Feel free to follow along through the trials and tribulations, if you don't care, well then bugger off! I'm not much of a story teller, so this will probably mostly be babble anyways.
Headed to the DZ on Friday night for my FJC all psyched up and ready to go. Found out there was 8 of us first timers and everybody seemed pretty eager and a little nervous. The instructor didn't really cover much that I haven't already read in the SIM or elsewhere. It wasn't as comprehensive as I thought it would be but they did cover some good stuff. I did feel kinda foolish with all the people mingling around watching you while doing the EP's the the practice harness on and doing standing arches but it must be done.
After the class was over, ate some delicious spaghetti and started to meet some of the other jumpers. I'm normally really quite but something about the atmosphere there made it pretty easy to strike up conversations with a lot of people there. I also don't drink but had fun watching everyone else get pretty toasted the rest of the night until lights out at midnight. Found myself going to bed with a light tingling of nervousness and my brain buzzing with that was gonna happen the next morning and it took me a good hour before I actually got to sleep.
Woke up the next morning to the smell of pancakes and found the other jumpers getting up, getting some coffee, and eating some breakfast. Grabbed a couple pancakes myself even though I wasn't very hungry. I find extended nervousness throws everything out of whack. About a half hour later the manifest calls my name out for the first run of the day and the butterflies start to grow.
More to be added later, still trying to organize everything in my head. I'll be breaking these down into parts to keep the posts shorter. Mods feel free to move if you so desire.
Met up with my jumpmaster/instructor along with 2 other students, I can tell by the look on their face that they are feel the same as I am. The J/I sets out our static line rigs and performs a gear check then helps us get rigged up. First thought... Dame these things are heavy, it's just a bunch of fabric and string, it doesn't make any sense. After checking all straps are tightened and clucking like a chicken for the radio check (our radio man having a little fun at our expense), we head to the plane.
With a quick review of exit procedures and a fairly smooth loading, the plane rumbles to life. Slight increase of butterflies. Pilot throttles up and we just roll onto the taxi way and the engine stalls. No big deal, I've spent some time around small Cessnas and they can be grumpy in the morning. Engine restarted and we start rolling down the taxi way. Pilot turns down the main taxi and engine sputters and stalls. Alright, no big deal, just needs to warm up a bit. Engine restarted and pilot turns onto runway, sputter, sputter, all quite. Hmmm, this is interesting, fellow student makes a comment about being safe to fly. Engine restarted and pilot plays around a bit, gives it a mental ok, throttles up and after a slight hop were on our way to 3500ft.
Now I love flying. I've spent a few hours cruising around in small planes, so atleast if the jump sucked, I got to enjoy a scenic plane ride, packed in a C182 with 2 other students, a pilot, jumpmaster, and a sack of dog food on my back.
The ride up was uneventful. Along the way I would look out the window and check my altimeter in hopes that my brain would be able to connect the two while under canopy and I might be able to make a rough guess of my altitude before checking. Yeah that never happened.
So there I am enjoying my scenic plane ride and the jumpmaster has to ruin it all but shouting "three minutes". I'm the second jumper so I get the benefit of having some idea whats going to happen but also get to ponder that while we circle around for my jump.
Next thing I know, "One minute" is yelled and I can feel the plane slow to jumper tossin speed. "Door" is heard shortly after and woosh, noise and wind and all things that shouldn't happen while flying in a perfectly good airplane explode on the senses. I'm seated right behind the jump master so I can't see out door but the jumper next to me has pie plates for eyes and is trying to camouflage himself with the clouds on the horizon.
Jumpmaster double checks the static line and says something to the jumper then pokes his head out the door to spot. He puls his head back in, says something to the jumper and shouts "GO!". Through the side window I can see the jumper out on the step and slowly working his hands along the wing strut. moving like a stack of cinder blocks. I can feel my heart speeding up but alsn notice a bit of focus coming to my mind and both my excitement and nervousness increase.
He makes it 3/4 the up the strut, steps off the wheel step, hangs for a second, then POOOOF....hes gone and is now replaced with a banging and slapping sound on MY side of the plane. Course this is just the static line and Dbag flapping in the wind but it was surprising at first.
Door gets closed and the pilot throttles up to make another run. I get a tap on the shoulder and the jumpmaster informs me "your up, lets get your ass up front"
I'm starting to wish those damn butterflyies would quite having a party in my stomach.
----------------- Wow that was kind of a long one. Well I hope someone is enjoying the ravings of a new jumper.
After an awkward shuffle of bodies, I find myself sitting in the hot seat with the jumpmaster in front of me. He reaches around my rig and grabs the static line and clips it in. "Check it" he informs me as he hand me the line and with a couple quick tugs I find it is indeed secure.
"Three minutes" He shouts and the pace of my heart quickens. "What are you going to do when I say GO!" He asks. "Climb out to the end of the strut. Look up at the wing. Arch, arch harder. Let go and count to five. Check canopy. If good canopy perform control check. If bad go to EP's (Arch, look, reach, red, silver, arch). Listen to radioman. Use landing gear (legs)" I respond.
"One minute" he shouts as he is looking out the window. "Door" and he reaches over and twists the handle. And again, the sound and wind shock the senses, but this time I'm at the source and with 3500ft of nothing below me. Now heights have never really bothered me, I've sat on the edge of cliffs with 3000 foot drops before, I had my head out the door as soon as it was open. With the jumpmaster pointing out the LZ and informing me again "thats the ravine, DON'T LAND THERE. If you lose radio contact what do you do?" "Control check. Steer into the wind. Land with half brakes and PLF" I reply. "And land anywhere over there" he says pointing out basically everything west of the ravine.
"Are you ready?" Two big thumbs up is my reply. He pokes his head out to check the spot, "GO!!" With the utterance of that word I begin climbing out of a perfectly good air plane. As I begin climbing out all nervousness disappears and my mind is all focus. The wind blast was a bit of a surprise and adds just a tiny bit of difficulty but I continue on shuffling my hands up the strut and inching toward the end of the step.
Stepping of the step and dangling off the strut is quite an experience, it is almost indescribable. In fact looking back, stepping off required a lot more will power then climbing out.
So there I am dangling from a wing strut 3500ft up in the air for what feels like forever. I look up and try to arch and some part of my brain tells my fingers to relax.
Next thing I know I hanging under a canopy. I have no memory from the point my fingers relaxed to this moment. I was told to watch the plane fly away, but I don't remember seeing any plane. Hell I don't remember how I got from there to here. Then my brain reminds me that I have a job to do.
Check canopy - I look up and see its there. All cells are inflated, no line twists, good canopy. Control check - Reach up and release the toggles. Pull left toggle all the way down and get a nice left turn. Try the same with the right and likewise. Time for a practice flare, pull both toggles down and feel myself slow down, cool. Raise both toggles and woosh I feel myself rush forward and down, kinda creepy.
"Give me a right turn" my radio informs me and I politely oblige. "Ok feel free to play around a bit but stay in this general area" my radio states. Perform a full toggle 360 left turn and man this thing responds. It starts to bank to the left and starts speeding up. It felt like to was bookin' by the time I came back around, now that was kinda creepy. Try a few more flares and then just played around.
Flying a canopy is a cool experience. Your brain is telling you you should be falling, but your not, kinda. The amount of controllability is nice but I did get the roller coaster feeling when performing hard turns and flaring, and Im not a big fan of roller coasters because of that. But I SUPPOSE I can put up with that because it is just so COOL!
"Give me a right turn", I happily oblige. "Ok, hands up", You got it. "Small left turn", As you wish. "Ok, hands up", Roger that. "Don't flare until I tell you. Head up, feet and knees together", Thats a big 10-4. Now I'm headed straight for the LZ, into the wind, hands high on the risers with my feet and knees together, waiting for the moment to flare.
"Flare, Flare". I pull the toggles down hold but it doesn't feel like I'm slowing down. Feet out in front of me it seems like Im coming in quick and then......TOUCHDOWN!! Oh that wasnt so bad, must not have been as fast a I thought. It ended up being a nice standup landing.
A fellow jumper comes over to teach me how to deal with the lines and canopy. "How was the landing?" he asks.
"so whatd ya think?", referring to the whole jump.
"HOLY F**king S**T!!" He just chuckles and shakes his head.
Practiced DRCP with instructor and was given the ok. Continued to practice after getting rigged up and burned the location of the puck in my brain.
At alt did a couple practice touches, was second jumper again. Climb out was easier but still dont remember the moment from let go to under canopy. Although I do remember pulling the dummy PC before container opened though.
Practiced dummy pulls again on the ground. Got in the air and was more focused on my arch and forgot to pull dummy. Actually remembered seeing the plane fly away though. Decent landing but didn't stand up. -----
Jump 4 Static Line DRCP
Did more ground practice and went up again later in the day. Had a good arch and nailed the dummy pull. Only partial radio assist but got scolded for landing close to trailer. Need to work on landing pattern.
Cleared for Hop & Pop. -----
Jump 5 Hop & Pop 4,000ft Vector 2 Faclon 288
Nervous all over again, like first jump. Practiced actually pitching a real PC on ground. Was second jumper and nervous all the way up, my life now depends on pulling.
Didn't see plane fly away but had a good deploy. Was under good canopy by 3200-3500ft. No line twist but off heading opening. Long steering lines so wrapped once around hands. Planned landing pattern shortly after opening and checking wind socks and was mostly unassisted, was slightly corrected to prevent a long undershoot. Best landing yet, super soft stand up. Wind caught canopy and riser snagged on helmet almost pulling me over. Dropped one and pulled one, removed helmet and collected canopy.
Cleared for 5 second freefall but my complete another H&P. ---------------
I was getting kinda bored/tired of static line. It just wasn't hitting that sweet spot with me and i didn't know if I was going to continue with this sport. After the Hop & Pop that excitement returned and looking forward to freefall.
Hopefully heading to Denver this week to pick up some tunnel time. If I can then I think I'll do my 5 sec. next weekend.
Headed up to Denver on Monday and picked up some minutes in the tunnel.
Worked on my stability, practiced some turns and fake pulls. Was more stable this time then during my first experience, wasn't staying in the center most of the time but I wasn't bouncing off the walls every second like last time.
Did some 90 and 360 turns L/R and also worked on forward and backward movement. Instructor also threw some pull signs in here and there.
All in all I felt pretty comfortable even thought I still need to relax more, he kept grabbing my hands and shaking me trying to get me to relax. But it does feel pretty sweet actually having a smidgen of control.
Jump 6 5 Second free fall 4000ft Off Radio 288 sq.ft
First jump with a hand altimeter, and I must admit it felt kinda cool wearing it. I got a total of 9 minutes of tunnel time and felt pretty confident.
Climbed out, let go and away I went. Felt great for the first second then flailed on the "hill" ( I know I started kicking but I think I kept my arms steady). Went head down at one point but really focused on my arch. Came belly to earth but had some spinning. Arched harder and knew I need to check my alti. ~3800ft is what I saw and knew I had to deploy soon, so I quite fighting the slow flat spin and when into deploy position and became perfectly stable, go figure.
Had a calm wind standup landing. About 10m from the big circle.
Jump 7 Repeat 5 Sec (ended up being a 10) 4000ft (4500ft) 288 sq.ft.
A little spooked from the last one but giving it another try.
Went up to 2 S/L students and I was last out. Same jumpmaster as last time and he decided to put me out around 4500ft. Was told I would probably hit terminal this time.
Flailed again on the "hill" and I don't really know why, something I just have to get used to. Stabilized sooner and enjoyed the freefall a bit more this time. I could definitely tell I was falling faster. Watched alti for the last second or so then deployed at 3500ft. Much harder opening and our student rigs don't have any leg strap padding.
Calm wind standup landing. But my crowning achievement so far, landed about 5ft from the peas. I'm learning and liking this canopy! -----------------
I'm still a bit spooked a week later but was hanging out at the DZ this past weekend and I did kinda feel like going up but students were on a wind hold. We'll see how I feel in a couple weeks when I can make it back out.
Sep 23, 2011, 3:19 AM
Post #18 of 20
Re: [peanut_gallery] It's been 10 years in the making
[In reply to]
For someone who's 'not much of a storyteller', you're doing a fine job!
The description of your first jump in particular brought it all back to me. I think the two things you don't really anticipate are the noise and the wind. If they don't already, they should tell first timers 'It's going to be very noisy and very windy!'
I started out on S/L rounds before graduating to AFF. To this day I vividly remember climbing out of that 182 for the first time, watching my own hands and feet as though they belonged to someone else. Some degree of brain shutdown is typical, and I'm sure you're noticing as you jump more that your consciousness gets ever closer to 'normal.'
Sep 30, 2011, 1:09 PM
Post #19 of 20
Re: [MikeJD] It's been 10 years in the making
[In reply to]
I did the ground course and 2 jumps with the static line progression and stopped. I didn't feel comfortable with it. Now I am almost done with my AFF and, although it is MUCH more expensive, I am glad I switched over.
Good luck completing your certification. Looks like a nice DZ
Sep 30, 2011, 8:57 PM
Post #20 of 20
Re: [BearClaw] It's been 10 years in the making
[In reply to]
Thanks MikeJD. One thing I do with the new jumpers is tell them about the wind and noise. It is very much a shock to the senses.
Yeah I understand where your coming from BearClaw. If I had that option I probably would take it, but the nearest dropzone that offers AFF is a couple hours away. So my 30min drive to my dropzone wins. -----------------
My last jumps a couple weeks ago kinda shook my confidence and have been kinda wary about jumping. I still want to complete my training as I still do enjoy this sport, so I've decided to spent some time in the tunnel for awhile to boost my confidence and work on stability.
I understand that its a bit different in the tunnel then for real but in the end I think it will help me both in the short and long run.
I'm still getting the itch to jump so I'm not ready to give up on this adventure yet. On a side note, I've been learning how to pack. So if anything I'll still be able to enjoy this sport, just from the ground.