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What's with backtracking away from formations??

 

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blueshrew

Mar 28, 2003, 12:57 PM
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What's with backtracking away from formations?? Can't Post

I figure that when I track away, my safety comes first, then that of others. So I track normally, since the danger there, is that someone opens their parachute under me and injures me, and if I was backtracking I wouldn't see that coming. Before I pull, I do a barrel roll, to make sure I don't put someone else in that situation.
I have seen a broken nose on someone who backtracked, and have heard of someone else with an identical accident.
So why does anyone recommend backtracking away? It just makes you vulnerable to someone else's f***ups.
But maybe I am missing something and someone cares to enlighten me (though it just doesn't make any sense from any angles of thought)


base698  (D 23456)

Mar 28, 2003, 1:52 PM
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Re: [blueshrew] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

I usually back track away whilest finding everyone that was on the jump with me and making sure i'm going the right direction in relation to the flightline and where everyone else is going. There is no way to see above you on your belly, which is where people tend to be if they left the formation before breakoff altitude. I then roll on my front to check for canopy traffic and look around before i pull.


danwayland  (D 22316)

Mar 28, 2003, 1:54 PM
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Re: [blueshrew] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Breakoffs on freefly dives have new problems above and beyond those that the RW folks have already solved.

Namely, at breakoff, if everybody doesn't maintain fall rate, then a serious or fatal vertical collision is possible. Therefore, we must maintain fallrate for the first few seconds of seperation until we're out of the party. Flopping flat on one's belly or flat on one's back the moment it's time to break is unwise. Neither belly or back is better, they both suck.

What is the correct way to leave is still somewhat in debate and seems to depend a little bit on what the particular jumper can do. I've heard top notch freefliers recommend to RW people learning to freefly that they roll out of their sit and swoop away in a delta as if they are swooping a big way for the first few seconds. This keeps the fallrate pretty fast and seems to work ok so long as the student has sufficient skill at nailing a fast falling delta swoop.

The top headdowners these days are turning 180 and staying on their heads for the first few seconds of break off as they seperate. This makes alot of sense to me since you're looking where you're going. The backflyers may be unsuccessfully trying to do this and flopping onto their backs instead.

If someone does this, don't critisize them by saying "You shouldn't leave on your back, track normally instead." Rather, maybe mention to them that they need to work on being much steeper those first few seconds as they leave the campfire. But make sure you're not cork tracking out of your freefly dives first or otherwise you'll look like a big penis.


base698  (D 23456)

Mar 28, 2003, 3:06 PM
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Re: [danwayland] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

I rarely go flat on my back.. Its very east to maintain a steep back track as it is a normal steep track. Good points though.


Trent

Mar 28, 2003, 9:38 PM
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Re: [base698] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

On bigger freefly formations, it is very beneficial to turn 180 to clear the space behind and above where you'll be tracking. This is especially important if you are on an inner piece of a formation or when you can't see everyone who you know is on your dive. Most of the time, we backtrack for the first seconds of our breakoff, then roll it over to track normally. When I leave a group or formation, I know who was in front of me when it was time to breakoff, and by backtracking for a few seconds, I can see who is behind me and where they've decided to go.


blueshrew

Mar 28, 2003, 11:43 PM
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Re: [base698] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

That is precisely my point. You need to see what's going on under you and not what's above you, as the guy under you is the one that can throw his canopy at your face or the back of your head for that matter. Someone can always f*** up, and you may not always find everyone at breakoff.

I like Trent's idea very much. Turn and start with backtracking just to clear the space behind you, then go to belly tracking for separation. I guess in sit dives, you wouldn't do that, since backtracking will only clear the already cleared space in front of you. But the same principle applies, turn then track, this time belly.
As for how flat, all the people I've talked to also advised a gradually flattening track, I've never heard anyone really say flat out as fast as you can Unsure
Like I said, anyone who's seen someone get injured in a backtrack separation will know it's not the safest way to go.


freeflyguy  (D 24207)

Mar 29, 2003, 3:32 PM
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Re: [blueshrew] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

I once had a guy at Perris backtracking under me. He was a camera flyer, so he was lower.

Problem is, I would turn to avoid being over him, he would turn to avoid me, and he just kept staying under me. Kind of like when you walk into somebody at the grocery store, that is walking right toward you, looking at you and and trying to avoid you.

The low guy has the right of way. If he had just payed attention to what was below him, I would have turned, and gotten out of his way. As it was, there was confusion.

I don't like the whole back track thing. But that's me. What are you gonna do, not pull if someone won't get out from above you? Nah, look down, pull at an appropriate altitude.


(This post was edited by freeflyguy on Mar 29, 2003, 3:33 PM)


base698  (D 23456)

Mar 29, 2003, 5:08 PM
Post #8 of 32 (2682 views)
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Re: [Trent] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

I always back track until i've found everyone on my jump. I don't think I was clear on that. At which point I flip belly and finish up. I think that is the optimal thing to do. If you don't do that someone could be above you and then you dump in their face.

Also about when someone is above you while back tracking (kind of following you) just turn quick and kick it. I've never not figured out directions when that happens almost instantaneously.


cheneyneel  (D 26207)

Mar 29, 2003, 8:07 PM
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Re: [base698] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Also if you want to do any big-ways with any of the big boys and girls that is how they want it done.. When you dirt dive a 15 way it becomes very apparent why it is important..
It is also so important that the rest of the load that is on the plane with you know exactly what is going on too..


flyingferret  (D 27715)

Mar 30, 2003, 10:03 AM
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Re: [blueshrew] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

I only have about 100 FF jumps, so my opinion is pretty small. However, I agree with the general consensus, I was taught to exit in a back track, pretty steep at first, while looking at your partners in the formation. Once you locate them, flip over, track off and decelerate to belly speed. Your horizontal/vertical tradeoff, should be similiar to that of a delta swoop; you do not just cork out of formation onto your back or belly. Also, keep in mind, our speeds are higher and breakoff is higher. The formations I am in, usually break by 5K at the latest (my dytter is set at 5, 4, 3), there is no reason anyone should have a canopy open under you in the first few seconds after leaving the formation, there should be no canopies open above 3K. Can there be? Yeah, but under the same circumstances that would make them a threat to bellyfliers. Backtracking is meant to ensure seperation awareness, not hinder it. I am curious, the people you know that got hurt, who deployed under them? Belly or FF? Same formation group?


Levin  (D License)

Mar 30, 2003, 9:56 PM
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Re: [flyingferret] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
The formations I am in, usually break by 5K at the latest (my dytter is set at 5, 4, 3), there is no reason anyone should have a canopy open under you in the first few seconds after leaving the formation, there should be no canopies open above 3K. Can there be? Yeah, but under the same circumstances that would make them a threat to bellyfliers.

as long as proper exit order is followed no one's open canopy should pose a threat to anyone exiting with another group. i have to disagree with you on no canopies being open above 3k. where i jump most all freeflyers are open above 3k. the majority of my jumps today i was open closer to 4k. reasons being, freeflyers exit after the bellyflyers. therefore (depending on direction of jumprun) they may have more distance to cover to get back. the more experienced freeflyers typically exit after the less experienced and a growing percentage of freeflyers (especially experienced ones) tend to be jumping smaller more heavily loaded canopies. thus requiring even more altitude to get back. i have my dytter set for 6500, 5000 & 2000. i keep it set at 6500 for when i'm jumping with a ball but for the majority of my jumps it serves as a pre-warning to get ready for breakoff. this tells me i have just a few seconds left for anything else i want to accomplish in my dive and as an quick opportunity to take a head count and see where everybody is at. if someone is missing a brief "back track is required". and by "back track" i do not mean back track. i mean simply turn 180 degrees and drive away from the formation. since this way you will see where you are going, the possibility of tracking into somebody behind you is eliminated (i had to learn this one the hard way). while you are driving away from the formation look down up towards the sky for that missing person. after say 3 seconds roll over and continue tracking out and away from the group while watching where everybody else is going and again keeping an eye out for that missing person.

levin
vSCR#17


flyingferret  (D 27715)

Mar 31, 2003, 8:53 AM
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Re: [Levin] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Levin makes a good point. Exit order affects the situation. Honestly, I dont remember the last time I exited with an RW group Smile Student and tandems are always out behind us. Further, I fall into the 'less experienced' queue. So with all that in mind, other FFers, students, tandems and camera flyers behind me, I make an effort to pull below 3K. As Levin pointed out that may not always be the case. Perhaps there is not a universal rule on this one. Either way, it sounds like the original issue you have may be with people performing a backtrack incorrectly, not the actual backtrack itself.


AggieDave  (D License)

Mar 31, 2003, 11:15 AM
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Re: [flyingferret] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I make an effort to pull below 3K

I don't think I'm going to be pulling below 3k again for a long time. Modern high peformance canopy + aggressive wingloading = altitude lost FAST in a malfunction.


apoil  (D License)

Mar 31, 2003, 12:00 PM
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Re: [Levin] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
as long as proper exit order is followed no one's open canopy should pose a threat to anyone exiting with another group.

exit ORDER has nothing to do with it.

Proper exit SEPARATION is what you mean.

Exit ORDERS only help to ensure SEPARATION when using the same delay between groups.

Fundamentally I agree with you.


TheMonkey  (D License)

Mar 31, 2003, 12:58 PM
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Re: [apoil] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
exit ORDER has nothing to do with it.

Proper exit SEPARATION is what you mean.

yes, you can keep canopies from opening below you by increased separation, but exiting in the proper order aids in this too with respect to drift distances of bellyflyers vs freeflyers, thus the reasoning behind putting bellyflyers out first....

edit: that is why i believe it is incorrect that order has nothing to do with it!


(This post was edited by TheMonkey on Mar 31, 2003, 1:05 PM)


Levin  (D License)

Mar 31, 2003, 3:11 PM
Post #16 of 32 (2472 views)
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Re: [apoil] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
exit ORDER has nothing to do with it.

i would reply but instead i'm gonna just shake my head at this one. your profile says you have 1700+ jumps. at that experience level, surely you have more sense than to believe that statement you made. Crazy

levin
vSCS#3


flyingferret  (D 27715)

Apr 1, 2003, 8:09 AM
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Re: [AggieDave] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hehe Wink As Dave points out, there are no simple answers in skydiving. As I pointed out in his thread, sometimes we might try to do too much in one dive. Personally, I am glad to have my lightly loaded semi-ellip. Which should be on my doorstep today. Smile


danwayland  (D 22316)

Apr 2, 2003, 9:28 AM
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Re: [blueshrew] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just my humble opinion:

I think the key to a safe breakoff from a freefly dive starts in the plane.

Look at the group, and if you're not sure that everybody in that group is going to be there at breakoff, then breakoff now. That is, break the group up into smaller groups.

Then, make sure that you maintain fall rate for the first few seconds of your seperation.

If you're in one of those situations that unfortunately happen from time to time where you've lost somebody during freefall because they were unable to stay with the group, then you're going to need to check the airspace above you and below you.

I would say that starting with a steep back track to check the airspace above you first makes sense because during the first part of seperation, the danger comes from above (you're decelerating and nobody's deploying yet) and then flipping over to check the airspace below because after a couple of seconds, the danger comes from underneath in the form of deploying canopies.

But that's stressful and alot to do. So let's keep the group sizes and skill levels such that there's always a 99.9% chance that everybody's going to be right there in front of you at break off.


Levin  (D License)

Apr 2, 2003, 11:54 AM
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Re: [danwayland] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Look at the group, and if you're not sure that everybody in that group is going to be there at breakoff, then breakoff now. That is, break the group up into smaller groups....So let's keep the group sizes and skill levels such that there's always a 99.9% chance that everybody's going to be right there in front of you at break off

for anyone that may find themselves in a load organzing position for a particular jump, this is an excellent piece of advice.

levin
vSCS#3


blueshrew

Apr 3, 2003, 6:58 AM
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Re: [Levin] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Where I jump there's also another good rule in FF. If you're not directly with the group at 6000' (normal breakoff is usually at 4500-4200, start separating away from it right then, that way people who for some reason get swept away, will be a lot farther away at pull time.


Premier ianmdrennan  (D 25821)
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Apr 3, 2003, 9:15 AM
Post #21 of 32 (2322 views)
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Re: [blueshrew] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
start separating away from it right then, that way people who for some reason get swept away, will be a lot farther away at pull time.

Not too sure on that one, I can see the point but there are other things to consider. Rather I'd suggest staying out of the way, but keeping yourself in a visible (if possible) position. That way everyone knows who is where come break off. There's nothing worse than tracking away from a formation knowing there were 4 people but only being able to find 3.

Oh and one other thing. If it's more than a 2 way, and you can't be in or at least near the group - you shouldn't be on a dive that size.

Just my thoughts,
Ian


(This post was edited by ianmdrennan on Apr 3, 2003, 9:17 AM)


blueshrew

Apr 3, 2003, 10:15 PM
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Re: [ianmdrennan] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Oh and one other thing. If it's more than a 2 way, and you can't be in or at least near the group - you shouldn't be on a dive that size.

I deffinitely agree with you on that, but practice is often different from theory. Everyone messes up once in a while.
But anyway, that rule will apply to people that know each other better, I doubt anyone will make more than a three way hd dive with someone they don't know over here. But it especially comes in handy on track dives.
On the other hand it's very good practice for one person to go on a dive with a training team and try to keep up from a slightly bigger distance. That's what I do when my b/f is training, the team know I won't crash into them, but as they move around a lot, I am still not comfotable or good enough to stick to them like their video guy, so I keep a little distance. This has done wonders for my flying the last 5 dives or so, as opposed to the 20 or 30 jumps I was just in the base.
And then that rule is good, so if I mess up I am miles away when they start separating. But then again there's more trust there and these guys know me and have been jumping with me since my AFF.


apoil  (D License)

Apr 14, 2003, 2:05 PM
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Re: [Levin] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
exit ORDER has nothing to do with it.

i would reply but instead i'm gonna just shake my head at this one. your profile says you have 1700+ jumps. at that experience level, surely you have more sense than to believe that statement you made. Crazy

I've got even yet still more jumps than that now.

Stop shaking your head and start thinking because I explained myself very clearly.

Exit order does not ensure separation.

Only separation ensures separation.

How much sepearation is appropriate determines the exit order. Those of you that insist that there is only one safe exit order are not thinking about all situations. It is a valid rule of thumb, but even if you follow it you still have to give the appropriate time between groups and that depends on the ground speed, and winds aloft.


Levin  (D License)

Apr 14, 2003, 9:33 PM
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Re: [apoil] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I've got even yet still more jumps than that now.

Stop shaking your head and start thinking because I explained myself very clearly.

Exit order does not ensure separation.

Only separation ensures separation.

How much sepearation is appropriate determines the exit order. Those of you that insist that there is only one safe exit order are not thinking about all situations. It is a valid rule of thumb, but even if you follow it you still have to give the appropriate time between groups and that depends on the ground speed, and winds aloft.

yep, your right dude (still shaking my head). i vote we scrap the whole exit order thing altogether. would likely save alot of confusion. instead we'll just pile up in the plane (whatever order) and give adequate seperation between groups, say 20 to 30 seconds. this way drift (which is adressed by proper exit order) will be irrelevant. of course it may take 3 or 4 passes but everybody got good seperation. so again you are right. exit order does not ensure group seperation, just dz efficiency. Crazy

levin
vSCS#3


Trent

Apr 15, 2003, 10:01 AM
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Re: [Levin] What's with backtracking away from formations?? [In reply to] Can't Post

You guys....Unsure

I have yet to meet a DZO who is willing to sacrifice safety for the quick turnaround of a load. In fact, most DZO's that I've met have said to me that if separation is an issue... better to take a go around than to jeopardize anyone. Now, this does not mean that the large RW group out first doesn't get bitched at when they wait 25 seconds to get ready in the door... that's different.

Although we've disagreed in the past... Apoil is right (in my opinion). We could put freeflyers out first, skysurfers second, and RW smallest to largest third, and maintain proper separation in freefall. It may not be efficient since each group would have a different exit hold time, but it could work. The general rule at most DZs (Skysurf, RW large to small, Freefly, High pullers (5K+, including students and tandems)) is there for a reason. It lets the organizer or pilot set an exit delay time that will work for almost everyone. Again, it's a rule of thumb. It works most of the time. What many people fail to realize is that it isn't really the time you wait, but the actual ground you cover during the wait that matters. If I get out a mile after the group in front of me (assuming the winds aren't changing between groups) I should open about a mile away from them. Now if I'm going faster (freeflying) I'll drift less than an RW group because I'm exposed to the winds for a shorter period of time. Now I'll be even farther away from the group ahead of me.

Think about it this way... we're running jumprun at 90 knots, the upper headwinds have a speed of 90 knots. Relative to the ground, we're hovering. Now think about a helicopter that's hovering in a 0 wind environment. What kind of exit separation will guarantee you not to be over the group ahead of you? None, unless you wait till they land. How could you fix it? Have the helicopter cover some ground during jumprun. With the same 0 wind environment, you can now say, "Okay, group 1 got out over the hanger, so if I get out a quarter mile from there, I can't be above open canopies." (unless you track over them somehow.) So you tell me, is that a specific time you should wait, or is it distance covered between groups?

The general exit order is a rule of thumb, similar to saying that groups should wait 10 seconds today. What you're really saying is that with the winds today, 10 seconds will give us enough distance between exit points to provide good separation in freefall.

BUT, maybe I'm stupid and everyone I've talked to is wrong. Who knows?


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