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Tracking away, down angle

 

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dthames  (B 37674)

May 28, 2012, 5:13 PM
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Tracking away, down angle Can't Post

When tracking away before deployment, is a fast, steep track better or something more shallow/flat with a reduced decent rate better to gain distance within a given vertical distance?

I know there must be an ideal angle, but I have no idea would be better.


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

May 28, 2012, 5:25 PM
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Re: [dthames] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

What's your primary goal with a breakoff track? It's to gain horizontal separation from the people you're jumping with. Flatter and farther helps you to achieve that goal better, and is a good rule of thumb for small-to-medium sized jumps.

In larger jumps, there may be a more specific tracking plan, based on breakoff waves and groups, and tracking as directed with your group is the most important thing to help achieve the best separation across the entire large group. However, those types of plans are typically discussed as part of the pre-jump briefing in a bigger-way jump (which, with 24 jumps under your belt, is likely a ways way).


(This post was edited by NWFlyer on May 28, 2012, 5:25 PM)


Squeak  (E 1313)

May 28, 2012, 5:29 PM
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Re: [dthames] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
When tracking away before deployment, is a fast, steep track better or something more shallow/flat with a reduced decent rate better to gain distance within a given vertical distance?

I know there must be an ideal angle, but I have no idea would be better.
Go flat, not steep. you want HORIZONTAL seperation from other opening canopies.

Now having said that DONT track into previous or following groups.


5.samadhi

Jun 1, 2012, 8:03 AM
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Re: [Squeak] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

I think maximum horizontal separation would occur after going briefly into a steepish (45 degree) dive for 2-3 seconds and then flattening out into a track. The dive allows speed to build up and then the track converts the downward velocity into horizontal distance. That is what I always have done and I always open far away from everybody on 4-6 way skydives.

I had always found that going directly into an angle of attack that is flat has always resulted in a mushy track.


(This post was edited by 5.samadhi on Jun 1, 2012, 8:04 AM)


matthewcline  (D 21585)

Jun 1, 2012, 8:29 AM
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I think maximum horizontal separation would occur after going briefly into a steepish (45 degree) dive for 2-3 seconds and then flattening out into a track. The dive allows speed to build up and then the track converts the downward velocity into horizontal distance. That is what I always have done and I always open far away from everybody on 4-6 way skydives.

I had always found that going directly into an angle of attack that is flat has always resulted in a mushy track.


Then you need a good tracker to coach you on your technique.

Flat, fast, far.

Matt


Scrumpot  (D License)

Jun 1, 2012, 8:55 PM
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

^^ - What Matt says.

In reply to:
I think maximum horizontal separation would occur after going...

Think again.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jun 1, 2012, 9:00 PM
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

>I think maximum horizontal separation would occur after going briefly into a steepish
>(45 degree) dive for 2-3 seconds and then flattening out into a track. The dive allows
>speed to build up and then the track converts the downward velocity into horizontal
>distance.

One of the best ways for RW types to learn to track is to participate in tracking-team practice for bigways. This is typically done on a smaller dive (20-40) and involves using a tracking leader to set fallrate and horizontal speed. By having someone to fly relative to you can learn how various body positions affect your fallrate, and can learn how to start a good track without a dive.

When a tracking team is working well together it's pretty cool to watch. You turn as a group, rise _above_ the rest of the formation as you start the track, then watch the formation recede under your belly as you track away. Not only does it give you good separation, it lets you watch behind you for potential traffic.


5.samadhi

Jun 2, 2012, 7:15 AM
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Re: [billvon] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

thats totally awesome Bill about the bigway techniques, I do not have any experience in formations larger than 10 and I kinda doubt I will ever do bigways personally.

I find it hard to wrap my head around the physics but from what I understand a steeper angle of attack will result in more lift which will result in more horizontal distance. You will arrive at the location (deployment location) faster, so perhaps there are nuances like you suggest (rising above the formation) that are critical for bigway skydivers that I know nothing about (having no experience with that).

for maximum horizontal separation, the physics seems to suggest a steeper track though (near 45 degree). but again thats just physics though they dont always tell the whole truth.

thanks for the edumacation Bill Cool

edit PS by the way rereading your post about tracking team practice, in 20-40 ways...sounds wicked fun!!!!! I hope someday I would get to do a 40 way!!!!


(This post was edited by 5.samadhi on Jun 2, 2012, 7:18 AM)


matthewcline  (D 21585)

Jun 2, 2012, 7:21 AM
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
thats totally awesome Bill about the bigway techniques, I do not have any experience in formations larger than 10 and I kinda doubt I will ever do bigways personally.

I find it hard to wrap my head around the physics but from what I understand a steeper angle of attack will result in more lift which will result in more horizontal distance. You will arrive at the location (deployment location) faster, so perhaps there are nuances like you suggest (rising above the formation) that are critical for bigway skydivers that I know nothing about (having no experience with that).

for maximum horizontal separation, the physics seems to suggest a steeper track though (near 45 degree). but again thats just physics though they dont always tell the whole truth.


thanks for the edumacation Bill Cool

You are being misinformed if this is being taught to you by some one.

A flat track will deflect (no true "lift" btw, just more wrong info) air along the length of your body-creating drive ans thus speed, lifting the hips, rolling the shoulders and a few other small things each person uses differently, slows down your fall rate (when compared to the formation still falling, the false perception of "lift"), this allows for more time to gain more distance, to be safer on opening.

Matt


MakeItHappen

Jun 2, 2012, 7:34 AM
Post #10 of 113 (2867 views)
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
thats totally awesome Bill about the bigway techniques, I do not have any experience in formations larger than 10 and I kinda doubt I will ever do bigways personally.

I find it hard to wrap my head around the physics but from what I understand a steeper angle of attack will result in more lift which will result in more horizontal distance. You will arrive at the location (deployment location) faster, so perhaps there are nuances like you suggest (rising above the formation) that are critical for bigway skydivers that I know nothing about (having no experience with that).

for maximum horizontal separation, the physics seems to suggest a steeper track though (near 45 degree). but again thats just physics though they dont always tell the whole truth.


The steep track then flatten out path is the 'least time' path (as you know from physics or math classes).

However, the idea is to get separation and know where your nearest neighbors are at deployment time.
If someone does the dive type track they will reach deployment altitude first. (as you correctly note), but other jumpers will be over that person just as the steep tracker decides to pull. That scenario has a very high probability of collision.
It is severely frowned upon to do steep tracks.
Flat tracks are better because you can keep your nearest neighbors in sight, gain horizontal separation from them and do not have one person opening under another person.
It does take a little bit longer to reach the assigned deployment altitude with a flat track, but we are not in a race to get to that destination. We are creating a specific pattern and positioning of jumpers so that they have the lowest probability of collision.

.


Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Jun 2, 2012, 8:00 AM
Post #11 of 113 (2853 views)
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Re: [dthames] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I know there must be an ideal angle, but I have no idea would be better.

13

There. I said it.


ufk22  (D 16168)

Jun 2, 2012, 9:24 AM
Post #12 of 113 (2841 views)
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

A successful track has NOTHING to do with time. Start thinking about covering the greatest horizontal distance for a given loss in altitude.
Using a diving track, you may well get to a given horizontal distance faster than me, but by tracking flatter, I'll be much further away when I reach your altitude.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Jun 2, 2012, 9:30 AM
Post #13 of 113 (2839 views)
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Re: [quade] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I know there must be an ideal angle, but I have no idea would be better.

13

There. I said it.

Big mouth.

Sparky


matthewcline  (D 21585)

Jun 2, 2012, 9:58 AM
Post #14 of 113 (2829 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
I know there must be an ideal angle, but I have no idea would be better.

13

There. I said it.

Big mouth.

Sparky

He is giving away all our "sky god" secrets!Tongue

Matt


sundevil777  (D License)

Jun 2, 2012, 11:55 AM
Post #15 of 113 (2796 views)
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Re: [MakeItHappen] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The steep track then flatten out path is the 'least time' path (as you know from physics or math classes).

How did you make this conclusion?


sundevil777  (D License)

Jun 2, 2012, 12:04 PM
Post #16 of 113 (2792 views)
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
tI find it hard to wrap my head around the physics but from what I understand a steeper angle of attack will result in more lift which will result in more horizontal distance. You will arrive at the location (deployment location) faster, so perhaps there are nuances like you suggest (rising above the formation) that are critical for bigway skydivers that I know nothing about (having no experience with that).

for maximum horizontal separation, the physics seems to suggest a steeper track though (near 45 degree). but again thats just physics though they dont always tell the whole truth.

Perhaps you've been listening to the atmonuti crowd, or maybe just trying to apply theory to a complex reality of skydiving, but don't trust either.

Fortunately it isn't necessary to understand physics, just realize that the best in the world do NOT do anything like a dive as you describe. Emulate them and listen to others describing the basics of how it is done rather than try to figure out a secret that others have not realized. Everyone that I've seen that is lousy at tracking does seem to lose a lot of altitude compared to those that are tracking well and leaving them behind.


5.samadhi

Jun 2, 2012, 12:09 PM
Post #17 of 113 (2790 views)
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Re: [ufk22] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
A successful track has NOTHING to do with time. Start thinking about covering the greatest horizontal distance for a given loss in altitude.
Using a diving track, you may well get to a given horizontal distance faster than me, but by tracking flatter, I'll be much further away when I reach your altitude.

I disagree but also don'[t really care. I have studied the aerodynamics so I can be familiar with them on solos (off of cliffs) when the time comes. I have no experience with tracking in big ways like I already admitted so obviously people like bill von will be better.

I know what I have studied though is that speed will translate into more lift which will equal further horizontal distance. you will arrive at deployment altitude faster and be further from your starting point.

it is the same idea behind a wingsuiter diving and then pulling into a horizontal glide. we trackers just have less lift because of our poor aerodynamic shape.


5.samadhi

Jun 2, 2012, 12:19 PM
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Re: [matthewcline] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
thats totally awesome Bill about the bigway techniques, I do not have any experience in formations larger than 10 and I kinda doubt I will ever do bigways personally.

I find it hard to wrap my head around the physics but from what I understand a steeper angle of attack will result in more lift which will result in more horizontal distance. You will arrive at the location (deployment location) faster, so perhaps there are nuances like you suggest (rising above the formation) that are critical for bigway skydivers that I know nothing about (having no experience with that).

for maximum horizontal separation, the physics seems to suggest a steeper track though (near 45 degree). but again thats just physics though they dont always tell the whole truth.


thanks for the edumacation Bill Cool

You are being misinformed if this is being taught to you by some one.

A flat track will deflect (no true "lift" btw, just more wrong info) air along the length of your body-creating drive ans thus speed, lifting the hips, rolling the shoulders and a few other small things each person uses differently, slows down your fall rate (when compared to the formation still falling, the false perception of "lift"), this allows for more time to gain more distance, to be safer on opening.

Matt
Hey Matt,
what do you reckon is doing the 'driving' if not lift:drag ratio? Is it magical? Tongue

I think our bodies are subject to drag and lift. we create lift with speed (thus the dive).

If you stall the dive then you will lose lift (pull too sharply out of the dive) - thus perhaps this is your "illusion of lift" comment (mistaking the zero-G feeling of the onset of a stall with "lift")???

hard to understand people on here lots of times Smile


sundevil777  (D License)

Jun 2, 2012, 12:35 PM
Post #19 of 113 (2781 views)
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
A successful track has NOTHING to do with time. Start thinking about covering the greatest horizontal distance for a given loss in altitude.
Using a diving track, you may well get to a given horizontal distance faster than me, but by tracking flatter, I'll be much further away when I reach your altitude.

I disagree but also don'[t really care. I have studied the aerodynamics so I can be familiar with them on solos (off of cliffs) when the time comes. I have no experience with tracking in big ways like I already admitted so obviously people like bill von will be better.

I know what I have studied though is that speed will translate into more lift which will equal further horizontal distance. you will arrive at deployment altitude faster and be further from your starting point.

Your understanding of general concepts is being applied incorrectly.

In reply to:
it is the same idea behind a wingsuiter diving and then pulling into a horizontal glide. we trackers just have less lift because of our poor aerodynamic shape.

A wingsuiter may go into a dive and then flatten out in order to achieve a very slow fall rate for a short time. That does not mean they will cover a certain horizontal distance faster. What a wingsuiter might do in the early stages of a base jump should not be considered applicable to tracking away on a skydive.


(This post was edited by sundevil777 on Jun 2, 2012, 12:39 PM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jun 2, 2012, 12:54 PM
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Here's what you need to know, you want to go up relative to others, not down. The slower your vertical speed, the better chance that nobody will be above you when you deploy, and the more time you will have to fly away from the group before opening.

Altitude is like money, don't give it away for no reason. The less you can use in a given manuver, the better off you're going to be after the fact.

You may feel like you're doing better with a dive and then a track, but it's an illusion. You feel the resistance of peeling out of the dive, and are mistaking that for lift, but it's not. If you feel like going right to a flat track is 'mushy' it might be beause you're doing it right, and slowing your vertical speed with a good, de-arched body position. It should be slower, and you should feel less reistance on your front side because of the slower speed. None of that is related to your forward speed, that comes from having your legs out and a slightly head low attitude, and you'll only feel that on the top of your head (which means not much).

Sitck your legs out and lean into the track. De arch to fall slow, and take advantage of the increased freefall time to track for a longer duration.

In the end, this might all be academic, because if you're tracking up or down the flight line into the airspace of another group, maximum distance from your group is not the goal. In those cases, the goal is just enough seperation from your group that you have time to turn away from another canopy is a collision is immenent. Tracking any further than that (in those cases) puts you needlessly close to the group before or after you, and risks a freefall to canopy collision as opposed to the canopy to canopy collision you're tyring to avoid with your track.

A woman was killed in Aus or N. Zeland within the last year or so when there was a canopy to freefall collision between jumpers from two different groups. It's real, it can happen, and something you need to be aware of.


jakee  (C License)

Jun 2, 2012, 2:11 PM
Post #21 of 113 (2745 views)
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I think maximum horizontal separation would occur after going briefly into a steepish (45 degree) dive for 2-3 seconds and then flattening out into a track. The dive allows speed to build up and then the track converts the downward velocity into horizontal distance.

You've already got 120mph to work with, just how much speed do you want? You will, for sure, get a more powerful track after diving at 45 degrees for 3 seconds, but it won't be powerful enough to claw back the 750 - 1000 vertical ft you've just wasted going nowhere but down.

In reply to:
That is what I always have done and I always open far away from everybody on 4-6 way skydives.

And how good are the people you jump with? No offense, but almost everyone at 250 jumps sucks at tracking, and a whole load of people with a whole load more jumps do too! Judge yourself against people who are awesome, not just people who are around.


(This post was edited by jakee on Jun 2, 2012, 2:12 PM)


matthewcline  (D 21585)

Jun 2, 2012, 2:27 PM
Post #22 of 113 (2735 views)
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Re: [5.samadhi] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
thats totally awesome Bill about the bigway techniques, I do not have any experience in formations larger than 10 and I kinda doubt I will ever do bigways personally.

I find it hard to wrap my head around the physics but from what I understand a steeper angle of attack will result in more lift which will result in more horizontal distance. You will arrive at the location (deployment location) faster, so perhaps there are nuances like you suggest (rising above the formation) that are critical for bigway skydivers that I know nothing about (having no experience with that).

for maximum horizontal separation, the physics seems to suggest a steeper track though (near 45 degree). but again thats just physics though they dont always tell the whole truth.


thanks for the edumacation Bill Cool

You are being misinformed if this is being taught to you by some one.

A flat track will deflect (no true "lift" btw, just more wrong info) air along the length of your body-creating drive ans thus speed, lifting the hips, rolling the shoulders and a few other small things each person uses differently, slows down your fall rate (when compared to the formation still falling, the false perception of "lift"), this allows for more time to gain more distance, to be safer on opening.

Matt
Hey Matt,
what do you reckon is doing the 'driving' if not lift:drag ratio? Is it magical? Tongue

I think our bodies are subject to drag and lift. we create lift with speed (thus the dive).

If you stall the dive then you will lose lift (pull too sharply out of the dive) - thus perhaps this is your "illusion of lift" comment (mistaking the zero-G feeling of the onset of a stall with "lift")???

hard to understand people on here lots of times Smile

Crazy

yeah, wtf do I or the others with 10,20, 30 times the experience in skydiving and instructing know.

Watch a video of true good trackers and compare it to your dive down use faux lift to glide out idea, the god trackers will be looking back and down at you as they leave you in the dust.

Matt


dthames  (B 37674)

Jun 2, 2012, 2:54 PM
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Re: [billvon] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like a great chance to get a Flysight and do some science.


pchapman  (D 1014)

Jun 2, 2012, 4:13 PM
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Re: [dthames] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

It does seem to me that a little extra head down angle at the beginning of the track makes sense, as that extra angle of attack will generate the horizontal speed quicker than otherwise. It may not be a popular concept but the physics makes sense.

But, that steeper angle is not held for long, because (a) it isn't needed to provide a good angle of attack for horizontal acceleration once some horizontal speed has been achieved, and (b) keeping the nose down angle for very long will increase your vertical speed over time. As others point out, you don't want to drop down far below other trackers.

Big way tracking with groups is a special case that's a little different, as there one is trying to stay with a group rather than tracking faster & further than everyone else. Staying flatter can also make it easier to see those around you and pick a safe flight path, if things are 'busy' at breakoff. Then starting off slower and without ones torso angled way down, provides a net safety benefit.

As an example of not getting head down enough, I've seen a novice adopt a really flat tracking position right at the start, body cupped but "flat" in the sense of almost level with the horizon. He thinks he's in an efficient tracking position, not diving off steeply. But since he hasn't really moved yet, he barely starts to move, with his angle of attack close to 90 degrees. Very inefficient for starting a track.

Let's say for example that someone in a good long efficient track has a body angle 10 deg. down from the horizon, and that's getting him a 0.5 glide ratio (which may even be conservative these days if there's enough time to accelerate, but breakoff tracks are often pretty time limited). The numbers are made up but in the range that people talk about. That glide ratio equals 27 degrees off the vertical. Thus his angle of attack is 90-27-10 = 53 degrees.

What does that imply for the start of the track? At the very start, tilting just 10 degrees nose down would be less efficient, as that's an 80 degree angle of attack compared to the relative wind from straight below. To get the supposedly efficient 53 degree angle, he would have to start 37 degrees head down! But as soon as horizontal speed is generated, the body would quickly have to flatten out towards the horizon to keep the same angle of attack, until deep in the track he is at the 10 degrees head down.

That initial 37 degrees down angle may seem excessive in practice, but shows how the angle relative to the horizon MUST change from the steeper at the start to shallower later in the track if one believes in a particular most efficient angle of attack.

If one believes that the best tracking angle of attack is something far from 90, say 60 or under, then the conclusion is that the track would have to be initiated with at least 30 degrees down angle.

The speed during the track doesn't matter as long as you can achieve that efficient glide ratio. Someone heavy might drop away a little from others, but if they fly by same method, the same glide ratio will get them to the same distance at pull time (even if that happens a bit sooner). (The light and heavy people should of course have have been able to match fall rates during the RW part of the jump, but still the heavy guy might have a higher fall rate for a given body position.)

Now since we are talking about low aspect ratio aerodynamics with no real airfoils, the lift & drag curves change very gradually with angle of attack relative to an airplane. For an airplane a few degrees difference in angle of attack can make a huge difference between "flying well like an airplane" and "totally stalled", but the changes are not as sudden for a blunt non-winglike object.

Therefore there should be a big tolerance to different angles of attack, with a range of them providing similar lift and drag values. This is borne out by the wind tunnel tests with people that Hoerner did in the 1960s. (The numbers there also support some of the atmonauti folks' claims about good glide ratios even at steeper body angles than normally seen in a track, even if other claims of theirs are beyond the realm of rational physics.)

The exact interplay between horizontal distance, vertical distance, and head down angles will depend on the altitudes available for the little tracking drag race, and the specifics of the lift and drag values. That's the tradeoff others talk about: If you focus too much on gaining horizontal speed by angling down too much, you will pick up more vertical speed. You'll get yourself further by your pull time, but if you get there 150 ft lower than others, the others will have about an extra second of freefall to surpass that distance by pull time, when moving say 80 fps horizontally.

"Getting big" on breakoff is usually said to make sense. By adding surface area and flattening out compared to some tighter arched RW position, you'll add drag and gain a little extra height over the time one has to turn around. Whether it actually helps during the track is another matter. Some will say that of course it will, as with a slower descent rate you'll get some extra time during the track until pull altitude, and thus be able to track further. The problem with this is that if the efficiency of the track is the same, with the same glide ratio, then reduced vertical speed also means less horizontal speed. So both the faster and slower jumper get to the same place by pull altitude, just that the slower jumper gets there a second or so later. So I think getting big doesn't have the size of advantage as is sometimes claimed. Still, no sense in wasting altitude during the turn away from the formation, especially if everyone else is following that technique -- In that case get big for the turn around.

Going back to the angle issue, in practical terms, consensus seems to be not to go very head down. It isn't particularly needed further into the track. Many will argue it shouldn't be done even at the start of the track. I personally find that getting a moderately steep angle quickly at the very start of the track is very useful to get fast horizontal acceleration right from the start. And I believe that it is supported by some tunnel data & physics.

As discussed, not going too head down at the start can have other benefits in terms of keeping sight of others and doing what other people typically do.

(As for my own tracking performance, I think I do rather well, and certainly am not dropping away relative to others on a track from a formation.)

I've attached a photo I picked up somewhere showing a breakoff. It would be a good focus for a discussion, as it shows some fairly steep angles at the start of tracking, people really working on getting the horizontal speed going. (A few have dropped away too steeply compared to others.) I don't know if some people would consider the head down angles too steep to start with.

Part of the confusion in this whole issue is whether "steep" means a steep flight path or a steep body angle.
Attachments: tracking2 (big way track off sample) adj.jpg (53.8 KB)


sundevil777  (D License)

Jun 2, 2012, 6:58 PM
Post #25 of 113 (2686 views)
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Re: [pchapman] Tracking away, down angle [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the argument with the OP is not about whether a substantial angle relative to the horizon is good. I think the controversy is whether starting with a substantial dive relative to the remaining formation (substantial dive meaning the result is a much lower position) is better. I think it is not, and some big way organizers would say that on break off you should actually rise up as you turn and track, and that tracking can be at a slower, or at least not much faster fall rate than before. Some of those in your picture show that.


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