Aug 29, 2012, 7:54 AM
Post #1 of 64
I was having a conversation with a whuffo friend of mine the other day, she asked me if I still get scared on jumps. Of course I do, but there are obviously different levels of 'scared' for different jumps. It got me thinking, what has been the scariest jump I've ever done. Either a 'normal' jump that TURNED scary, or an unusual jump that I'm not very familiar with.
My scariest jump so far as a licensed jumper, I think, would have to be a night CRW jump. Gearing up, walking to the plane, and on the ride to altitude, I was terrified, probably to the point that I was actually shaking.
So let's hear it guys, swallow your pride and admit/describe, what was your scariest jump? And what kind of jumps still scare the bejesus out of you?
Mine was around 100 jumps ago... It was one of those unusually calm days where there isn't much wind. I don't even remember the actual jump that well other than that it was a 2way that went uneventful...
Coming in to land on final, at about 40 feet, I felt a sharp tug and my canopy violently hooked to the left. I remember seeing 2 people who had landed before me, just in front of where I was about to land, staring back up at me with alarm. I also remember in that split second after it happened thinking "Oh shit, I'm about to die".
I immediately countered with my right toggle... I basically just pulled it for all I was worth and managed to get the canopy directly over my head again. I managed to get a little bit of a flare in at the end which let me do a pretty soft landing on my feet.
Later the ST&A let me know that it had been an invisible dust devil that had caused my canopy to hook and that I had done a good job not freezing up and trying to fly the canopy all the way to the ground.
I still get a bit nervous the first jump of the day if I haven't jumped in a week. I have a terrible memory and most trips to alt. I'm so busy going over the jump repeatedly so I don't brain-lock that I don't have time to be nervous. I also obsessively check my gear on every jump on the ride to altitude and that usually helps quell my fears.
The thing that really scares me is turbulence under canopy. I hate hate hate it, and flying the big 188 Pilot that I do I almost always have turbulence.
Well I'm still a newb, but on my first student solo I was in a cloud the entire free fall. I could barely see my altimeter and I pulled when I managed to see 5,500. As soon as my chute fully opened I broke through the cloud and saw land again. I was pretty scared.
Mine was scary cause of all the stupid shit I was doing. I went to a boogie and met up with a bunch of old friends. I was on a demo canopy which was a downsize and higher performance than what I had been jumping. Then they ask if I want to go do a demo real quick. So I had demo, new canopy with 5 jumps on it and a downsize going into a H.S. football stadium with NO Pro Rating. The ride up all I kept thinking was all of the stuff that could go wrong. I was nervous as hell. It all worked out and I landed right on the arrow on the field. Well I swooped and drug my foot over the arrow. If I knew then what I know now I would have gladly went to be ground crew and saved a few nerves that twisted. I had a perfect storm of stuff that could have gone wrong and hurt myself or someone else with. Guess I was a lucky S.O.B. that evening.
It was a cloudy day with a ceiling at about 3000 ft. We were doing hop & pops from 2900 ft. I exited, but as I stepped off the step I reached for my hacky instead of getting stable. I grabbed it as I rolled onto my back, the pilot chute went up through my legs. There was a hesitation in my main coming out. I continued my roll, my main deployed normally and there was no further "thrill." My friend who signed my logbook added, "Thanks for the excitement!"
During break off we were really tight up front so we didn't fan out as much as I would have liked. I check above me before I pull and notice someone directly above me about 500 ft or so.
I suck it a bit low so I can track farther away and pull and say a quick prayer. As soon as I'm under canopy I see this guy snivel right between me and the person next to me on break away. He was maybe 100ft or so from me and the other guy.
So apparently his goggles were loose, he couldn't see very well and lost track of us. He also apparently continued to track and pulled lower than he should have, given that he couldn't see and sniveled past me even though I opened lower.
He was a visiting jumper and had the lowest number of the group. Lesson learned: Don't jump with anyone I don't know or feel is skilled enough in a bigger tracking jump. And do mad crazy barrel rolls to check above me
It was my 3rd or 4th solo jump after aff. At 3500 ft the pilot looks back and tell us theres a problem and we need to get out now! the door rolled up and i said " i can still read the stop sign and you want me to get out!" so i did. lookin back its one of my favorite and most exciting jumps. but at the time it was the scariest.
My last jump, about 3 weeks ago. While reaching to pull the PC, I became unstable and tumbled. The lines on the opening canopy caught around my ankle, and pulled my leg straight up. Hurt like hell. Crazy thoughts, like 'If I cut away, will this just cause a big mess?' went through my head. Luckily, I was able to pull the lines off my ankle. Still waiting for the leg to heal completely.
But I did land right in the middle of the pea pit on that jump (without meaning to).
my 4th "console" jump after the AFF course. I got into a flat spin straight after exit (14k), and couldn't get out of it. I was arching like mad, trying to adjust my legs, arms, anything, but nothing worked. After what seemed like ages, with the spin getting so fast I could feel my toes start to tingle, I decided to flip onto my back to go unstable (anything to change my current predicament), then flipped back onto my belly, and the spin had stopped. I checked my alti, I was at 5k. Funny thing was that at no point did I get scared. before I flipped over, I do remember thinking "ok, enough of this rubbish, you need to fix this now or else its going to get horrible". After discussing with my instructor, and others, no one could give me a definitive answer about why it happened, other than to say my body position must have been bad. I was a little nervous on the ride up for my next jump.
Jump 101 I was doing a 2-way with a more experienced jumper. The plan was to follow him out the door about 3 seconds after he left so I could practice diving down to him.
I dove down spectacularly well but my ability to stop was less than stellar: I slammed into his rig at full speed and bounced off him, dazed. A few seconds later I saw a white canopy opening (around 11k), and I assumed I had hit him so hard that I instantly killed him and ripped open his rig. I just balled up and landed as soon as possible, waiting terrified as I saw his reserve descend.
Eventually I saw he was turning, which luckily meant he was alive. It turned out I had hit him in the right shoulder hard enough to pinch a nerve such that he couldn't use his right hand to pull, so he opened his reserve right away and was able to recover feeling by the time he landed. It also turned out he didn't have an AAD at the time. It easily could've been a fatality if I'd hit him a foot closer to his head. Anyway, things worked out just fine, we're now good friends and teammates, and I know my current rig has a good reserve in it since it's the one I made him use.
Moral of the story: watch for people diving down to you, and jump with an AAD.
About 2 weeks ago at Perris being stuck in a dust storm under a canopy which I only load at .95
The wind changed direction after I started my crosswind and had to land down wind dodging planes and the hanger... My canopy coach said, and I quote "Fuck you were hauling ass on your final!"
Turbulence and thermals were a massive surprise/wake up call for me! I started jumping in April in Australia (Autumn/winter) and I'd never had to deal with anything like it! Feeling my canopy fold and collapse and reinflate at 300ft scared the absolute bejeesus out me!
Jump no 90 to 95 tried to get me out of the sport, bad pack job (my own) on jump 90 made my try out my shiny reserve @ 1200 (lost my toggle) = scared, nice downwind landing (forced on me by another swooper cutting in) ankle seriously damaged on jump 93 = scared, get my rig back after repack ankle sorted jump 94 all well then on 95 the pilot lets us know the ride is finished @ 1800 and we all need to get out = scared $#!tles
My 4th reserve ride. I had a tension knot causing a rapid spin. The jump itself wasn't all that scary. I dealt with the issue calmly as I spun on my back. As I was dealing with it, I realized that I had lost altitude awareness and was also aware that time was slowed down for me. Upon that realization I cutaway immediately and pulled my reserve. Had an uneventful reserve landing. The scary part was afterwards when I realized that the loss of altitude awareness could have easily killed me. I had opened my reserve by 1500 feet, but that was still too close a call because it could have just as easily been 0 feet.
Scariest would have to be my first BASE. It was my 1000th freefall and the first antennae jump, year 1980, and BASE was not a coined word yet. It was one of those situations where you had to let your logical mind override your sense of fear.
As for airplane jumps it would be a jump at a Nationals Boogie at Muskogee, and what I fear most is when I put someone else in danger. After a fun jump and at opening, which was not particularly high, I could see my wife getting open just below me so I did a quick front riser spin to close in on her fast. I closed in all right, and way too fast. I ended up completely wrapped with her canopy and we lost a lot of altitude quickly during the process. Fearing we were getting low for a cut away but not able to verify that because I could see nothing but ripstop, and also knowing I was not getting out of her completely collapsed canopy I yelled for her to transfer (as you can imagine, we had a line of communication going and we had one good canopy).
At our slow airspeed her reserve took what seemed (and almost was) a lifetime to get line-stretch and inflate, at which time her round reserve and my square main pulled me to about horizontal to the ground, with my main about horizontal to me.
After she chopped I was able to get her main unwrapped and rolled under my arm just in time to land on the apron near the loading area, and she was caught on landing by Jerry Bird, an old friend of hers, after just making it over a hanger.
Lessons to be learned from that jump are numerous, but of utmost importance, never run out of altitude and ideas at the same time…
Like Phil, it could be one the 3 base jumps I did from the New River Gorge Bridge in 1984, after over 1000 skydives where it was drilled into you to be open above 1200 feet or so.
Skydiving, could be the canopy wrap at the Nationals in Red Deer, Two guys had cut away already, leaving two of us in some sort of weird dance, but I had lines all over I couldn't get out of. I was looking at the ground thinking I probably wouldn't die but would be busted up pretty bad, when the last guy did cutaway and open his reserve. Once he was gone his canopy pulled free of mine, and I managed to land the main in a farm yard using my risers to flare (still had a canopy wrapped around the lines/risers above me).
Opened my round reserve. Looked where I was heading. Great big lake. Step in harness, inside the jump suit. I'm gonna drown. Funneled the reserve down to about 50 feet. Popped it open and landed about 10 feet from the lake.