Forums: Skydiving: General Skydiving Discussions:
AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed

 


shotwell15

Jul 25, 2012, 5:42 AM
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AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed Can't Post

 Hi Everyone,

I'm an AFF student in need of some input. I recently took my level 2 jump and was bummed to learn that I need to repeat the level--the problem seems to be stability, or lack of it.

My exit on my level 1 sent me and my JMs into a back flip immediately. We recovered fairly quickly, but the unexpected flip really threw me off my game during the rest of the FF. During my debriefing I learned that I jumped out in the fetal position with one knee up ( i'm 6'4, 215lbs, so door setup is awkward). JM gave me some tips on practicing my arch before my next jump.

With two weeks in between jumps, I spent some time practicing my arch and visualizing a successful exit on my next jump. We tried a new door setup, with my left knee down. Counted off...Arch!

Exit seemed stable(ish). Immediately began COA. Then I loose my goggles and have my glasses exposed (which stayed on during FF!). Did fast, half-ass practice touches. Moved on to the altitude,arch,legs,relax routine. Overall I had a great time and was happy to avoid flipping on our exit.

During debrief I learned that my legs were on butt the whole time. I didn't respond to hand signals, but I think vision impairment contributed. JM said that that I wasn't stable at any point and that it took a lot of effort to keep me stable. He recommend tunnel time.

I found a tunnel 5 hours away and booked a scant 4 mins. I concentrated on my legs but found that i needed more arm movement and seemed to have trouble getting off the floor part of the time.


So here is my dilemma: Should I go give give the L2 jump another try, even though I wasn't all that pleased with my tunnel time? Or should I go and do some more tunnel time (maybe 15mins?) before I give L2 another shot. If the tunnel were closer then I would have no problem, but its 6 hours away from me.

Although I am very new to skydiving, I've found that I really love it and cant stop thinking about it. I really want to get this.

Any thoughts welcome. Thanks!

-AM


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Jul 25, 2012, 6:04 AM
Post #2 of 16 (2188 views)
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Re: [shotwell15] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm no longer an active instructor, but if the tunnel is 6 hours away, and if you were pretty aware on your last jump, I'd seriously consider just doing another jump.

Think about letting the air blow your arms and legs back -- that's how you have freefall assist your arch. And don't concentrate so much on the Level 2 objectives that you forget awareness etc. There is plenty of time to complete the jump objectives if you're aware. Set a timer for freefall time, take off the first 5-8 seconds (getting stable after exit), and then see how long you have to complete them. It's a pretty long time. If you focus on awareness as well as objectives, then what happens on the jump won't overwhelm you as much, and you can pick it apart and think about it, both realtime and after the jump. That's golden.

Remember that repeating a jump doesn't mean you failed. It just means that you need more time to complete the objectives than the ideal candidate. Nothing wrong with that.

And I believe that trouble getting off the floor in the tunnel isn't your problem, it's the tunnel's. The windspeed should have been turned up some. In freefall on early jumps, it's your instructor's job to maintain the same freefall speed as you, not the other way around.

Wendy P.


cocheese  (D 24000)

Jul 25, 2012, 6:07 AM
Post #3 of 16 (2186 views)
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Re: [shotwell15] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

Tough decision, but you need to work on relaxing so maybe tunnel would be best.

Make a vacation out of it and try to go two days in a row with more than one session per day.

Taking time to rest and reflect is good.

Congratulations on your commitment and efforts so far.


jinlee  (D License)

Jul 25, 2012, 6:58 AM
Post #4 of 16 (2163 views)
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Re: [shotwell15] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't be too hard on yourself and it sounds like you learned a lot. I would personally forgo the tunnel time at this point, although your instructor knows better than I how unstable you were.

Make another jump and gather more information as to making a nice, slow, relaxed, stable exit from the airplane.

At 6'2" and 215 I'd venture to guess your trying to fly with your upper body strength and this is typical... but not what you need to do. Your weight and center of gravity is your pelvis and hips.

Going to a ball-like fetal position makes you a fast falling student that your instructor is going to have to chase, and chase quickly.

Losing your goggles is never a good thing in freefall.

Although I am curious, who deployed the parachute? You or the instructor?

My opinion, your Instructor was there and he/she knows better than I how your performed.


(This post was edited by jinlee on Jul 25, 2012, 7:37 AM)


peek  (D 8884)

Jul 25, 2012, 7:23 AM
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Re: [shotwell15] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Exit seemed stable(ish). Immediately began COA. Then I lose my goggles and have my glasses exposed (which stayed on during FF!). Did fast, half-ass practice touches. Moved on to the altitude, arch, legs, relax routine.

Consider the possibility that losing your goggles may have made you very nervous and caused most of your problems. Get the goggles issues fixed, even if it means purchasing your own (the type with strong elastics). Perhaps all your jumps will go much better after that. Of course tunnel time never hurts.


theonlyski  (D License)

Jul 25, 2012, 8:09 AM
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Re: [peek] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Exit seemed stable(ish). Immediately began COA. Then I lose my goggles and have my glasses exposed (which stayed on during FF!). Did fast, half-ass practice touches. Moved on to the altitude, arch, legs, relax routine.

Consider the possibility that losing your goggles may have made you very nervous and caused most of your problems.

+1

My AFF1 the goggles weren't very snug, they flew up and the bottom edge of them lined perfectly up with my eyeball, so I couldn't really see a damn thing. Made the jump a LOT worse.


shotwell15

Jul 25, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Re: [jinlee] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks everyone for the input. It's much appreciated.

I was able to deploy on my own at the correct altitude.

I definitely plan on doing more tunnel time at some point, but I'm starting to think that I should give the L2 another try first. I do recall my JMs saying that I kinda panicked briefly when I lost my goggles. Perhaps this had more of an effect on my performance than I originally thought , especially since i was worried that i was going to loose my glasses.

Again, thanks for everyone's advice.

-Adam


DcloudZ  (B 37320)

Jul 25, 2012, 10:17 AM
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Re: [shotwell15] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

At my dropzone the AFF course includes 20 minutes of tunnel time (15 minutes away from my houseTongue). So I was fortunate enough to get a lot of FF practice in before my actual jumps. I'm not sure it made much of a difference because I kept a level head and just did what my instructors told me to do and nothing was ever very complicated. If you relax and visualize what you are going to do in your jump it will greatly help you accomplish your objective during the actual jump. I suggest you redo the jump without extra tunnel time. If you end up not accomplishing the objectives again you still did another jump and that seems like a fair deal to me Wink Relax, visualize, and have fun! Cool


shotwell15

Jul 25, 2012, 11:48 AM
Post #9 of 16 (2041 views)
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Good points. I'm thinking way too much about it. I totally agree that I need to relax. I'll keep practicing my visualization and breathing.


cocheese  (D 24000)

Jul 25, 2012, 1:22 PM
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Re: [shotwell15] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

They say they want a good hard arch. Well this makes the student stiff and locked up. Just hang there like it was water and you are on an inflatable raft. No pain or tension in the arch.

SmilingSmile tricks the instructors to think you are chill. = Better chance of passing the dive.Sly


jacketsdb23  (D 29802)

Jul 25, 2012, 3:04 PM
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Re: [shotwell15] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

I know the tunnel people are gonna hate this....but....

Skydiving has thrived well before the tunnel was around. Most of your instructors learned how to skydive without the tunnel. The goal is learning to skydive, while having fun, and being safe.

F*ck the tunnel. The tunnel is being used as a crutch.

Listen to your instructors skydiving advice. My opinion is that instructors are leaning to much on the tunnel. Go to the DZ, jump out of a plane, have fun, be safe, and learn.

Its not a sprint to see how quickly you can graduate or earn your license. Its a journey that should be enjoyed.

Now...if you love the tunnel....and have money for both....go do it. But the tunnel is not the same as skydiving.

Maybe if there was a tunnel for canopy .....eh, nevermind, different subject :)


excaza  (C License)

Jul 25, 2012, 3:17 PM
Post #12 of 16 (1962 views)
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Re: [peek] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Consider the possibility that losing your goggles may have made you very nervous and caused most of your problems.
This happened to one of the guys in my class, he went out of the plane and one of his shoes came off immediately. His other shoe was starting to come off and he wasn't stable at all because he was too preoccupied with keeping his shoe on. His instructor just pulled the damn thing off off and he was fine almost instantly.

There's a lot of stuff going on and it's easy to get preoccupied and lose awareness of other things, especially when just starting out (I'm sure it happens to experienced jumpers on occasion too). I had to redo my level 2 because I couldn't find my handle on the practice pulls and got so flustered I stopped paying attention to everything else. Didn't have a problem on my level 1 and haven't had a problem since. You just need to relax and stay aware. You already recognize what you have to work on, which is the most important part. Never stop learning!


(This post was edited by excaza on Jul 25, 2012, 3:22 PM)


rehmwa  (D 12816)

Jul 26, 2012, 7:00 AM
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Re: [shotwell15] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

What? don't you have your own instructors?

You should get encouragement here, but other than that, you have live instructors that you are working directly with that, supposedly have your . If you find them incompetent, go to another DZ - better than an internet forum.

It's only your Cat B - pretty early in your career


shotwell15

Aug 5, 2012, 9:54 AM
Post #14 of 16 (1687 views)
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[Update] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Three weeks after my first attempt at L2, I decided to head to try out a new DZ yesterday. The decision to move to a new DZ was primarily due to it being a little less expensive than my first. It doesn't look like I'm going to breeze through AFF, so I need to budget conscious.

I arrived at the DZ confident and prepared for my jump. The last two weeks were spent practicing my arch and visualizing a successful jump.

While registering, the DZ boss (not quite sure what this is called) reviewed my log book and said, " it says you need tunnel time before your next jump. Did you do that?". He continued, " because right now, reading your logbook, it doesn't look good". He continued the questioning, when I finally said, " if you are not comfortable letting me jump, I understand and will continue with my other DZ". After a moment of consideration, he said that he would have someone work with me.

Pirate. I'll be honest, that exchange pretty much shattered my confidence. I had a couple of hours of waiting to let that stew. "Was I already getting the 'how about golf' speech", I thought. I'm not that great at golf either, so it my have to be something like Bingo. Tongue

I hear the 20 minute call followed by name over the loud speaker. I quickly met with my JM, geared up, discussed the dive flow (which was different than my first L2 jump), and we were off.

On the way to altitude i tried to relax and visualize/remember the new dive flow. I found myself getting a little worked up in my head. Despite my best efforts, I was kinda of in a negative place. It was weird because I was a lot more nervous than on than my previous jumps.

errr. Well, bottom line, I'm feeling a little discouraged at the moment--I need to repeat my L2 jump...Again. It's those damn telephone poles i have for legs that was the culprit.

I did however, notice that I had definitely had improved my form since my last jump. The silver lining?

The logbook entry reads:

"Good exit cadence. Dearched on exit. Good response to shake but could still use more arch. Good COA, good response to legs signal but they came back up (can always do the toe taps to check legs). Did 3 PTs + TTs. Did left turn. Locked on @ 6K and pulled at 5500. Good Landing. Remember arch, legs, + relaxing. Repeat Cat B".


I thought about trying it again in the same day, but decided to wait until next weekend. I really liked this DZ and my JM and will stick with this one.

I plan on incorporating more toe taps into the dive. These really seemed to help, and were a new addition to the dive flow. I also need to work on relaxing my body. I'm normally a tense person, so this is proving to be a challenge.

I'm still having fun, so I plan on staying the course. But I have to say, that it's really discouraging to have to repeat a level this many times so early in the program. Unsure

-am


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Aug 5, 2012, 1:54 PM
Post #15 of 16 (1670 views)
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Re: [shotwell15] [Update] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
it's really discouraging to have to repeat a level this many times so early in the program. Unsure

-am

I understand your feelings of discouragement BUT!!!!!!!
That mindset is counter-productive. Geez....

Here's one you might consider:
"Holy Crap that was fun! I didn't accomplish all the goals but I know what to do now! Bring on the next one!"

Nobody, and I mean nobody is perfect on any AFF jump. Nobody."

Shotwell...there's a reason for the repeats. Your level 3 jump will be a release jump. Your AFFIs need to be somewhat sure that you will be stable before they release you.

With your feet on your butt, you will be backsliding AND there is the danger that if you get your knees down below your hips, you may be flipping over backwards....not good.

The legs are all important in skydiving. After you are released for self-supervision, you will find that you will be doing most of your flying with your legs. What are your AFFIs doing right now? They are using their hands to dock and to give you signals and pulling for you if necessary...they are flying with their legs.

So, getting your legs out, keeping them out there, feeling the air pressure on your shins and feet and keeping them still is our goal. When you can do that with some semblance of consistency, you'll be good to go.

You'll get it...not to worry.

Oh, and put me down as another "do the jumps, forget the tunnel"


lookoutbelow  (A 63826)

Aug 5, 2012, 1:55 PM
Post #16 of 16 (1668 views)
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Re: [shotwell15] [Update] AFF Level 2 - Advice Needed [In reply to] Can't Post

That log entry sounds very positive to me. Leg issues and dearching are very normal, especially so early in your career. At least you know what to work on.



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