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How a flat turn probably saved my life

 


B52  (D License)

Mar 11, 2012, 8:43 AM
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How a flat turn probably saved my life Can't Post

After a close call recently and thinking of how a 'flat turn' probably saved my life I wanted to share this story with you.

I flew my usual landing pattern which I had done many times before as strong gusts pushed me quickly off my base towards a 40-50 ft tree. Behind the tree was a 100 ft gap then forest and to the right were more trees.

I had to decide between a hard left, a right turn towards more trees, landing in the tree or to try to go slightly to the right over the tree.
To turn left didn't seem to be a good option since I was afraid the wind would still push me into the tree. A right turn would have put me on collision course with more trees. I didn't want to land in the tree since the branches were thin, no way I could have held onto them.

I decided to extend the base and go slightly to the right, almost over the tree. As soon as I cleared the tree I went into a left flat turn, flared and landed safely inbetween the tree and the forest.
If I had done a hard left turn I might have made it, but probably would have hit the ground hard. If I had done a left flat turn the wind would have pushed me into the tree, no doubt.

I could have setup my landing pattern better or turn earlier to be further away from the tree, but this is not why I am writing this. You can try to do everything right, sooner or later something will happen whether it is your mistake or not and you have to make a call and try to save your life.

In this case I am glad I did many high pulls to get to know my canopy well and train flat turns. I am by no means a good or expert canopy pilot and the choice I made might not have been the best, but seemed to be the only one in that moment to save my life.

In skydiving things go wrong fast, always be prepared. Practice your emergency procedures over and over.

http://www.performancedesigns.com/docs/98_low.pdf


(This post was edited by B52 on Mar 11, 2012, 9:24 AM)


Skydivesg  (D 10938)

Mar 11, 2012, 2:28 PM
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Re: [B52] How a flat turn probably saved my life [In reply to] Can't Post

I just covered this very subject extensively at our Safety Day yesterday.

I commend you for practicing your canopy flight manuevers so when you needed to make what may have been a life saving decision, you were able to react with a trained (predetermined) response.

Don't worry about making the mistakes. Most of us have made them and even still make them. The key is being able to fly ourselves out of a poor decision so we can live to learn.

Congratulations. Keep practicing those canopy skills.

Now it's your duty to spread the news and encourage your young friends to do the same.

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


(This post was edited by Skydivesg on Mar 11, 2012, 2:29 PM)


obelixtim  (D 84)

Mar 12, 2012, 4:27 AM
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Re: [B52] How a flat turn probably saved my life [In reply to] Can't Post

 Well done you did well.

Just a point. When you have less options, sometimes you have to choose the least worst.

In the case a hard turn v a tree landing, it would be better to take the tree landing.

It is better to stay calm, prepare for it (PLF position) and fly into the tree under control. You may well get away unhurt, especially if the canopy and lines hook some branches and slow your descent as you crash through the tree.

Now you may still get hurt, but at least you minimise the chances of damage as much as possible.

Staying calm and controlled is vital. A controlled tree landing prolly won't kill you, a last second hook turn certainly guarantees some injuries.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Mar 12, 2012, 6:15 AM
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Re: [B52] How a flat turn probably saved my life [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
You can try to do everything right, sooner or later something will happen whether it is your mistake or not and you have to make a call and try to save your life.

In this case I am glad I did many high pulls to get to know my canopy well and train flat turns. I am by no means a good or expert canopy pilot and the choice I made might not have been the best, but seemed to be the only one in that moment to save my life.

In skydiving things go wrong fast, always be prepared. Practice your emergency procedures over and over.

Smile
Good stuff!
Unbelievable how many just do not 'get it'.


Spills  (B 36648)

Mar 12, 2012, 9:49 PM
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Re: [popsjumper] How a flat turn probably saved my life [In reply to] Can't Post

Flat turns were not really explained to me during my A progression but listening to Skydive radio and Brian Germain talk about how you need to do it so many times that is instinct. Now usually every couple of jumps Ill spend my holding pattern time doing flat turn rather than just goofing off. Although I hope I never have to use them chances are I will at some point and I hope when the time comes it is instinct for me as well.

Thanks for the post! I think it helps reiterate what I have been hearing.



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