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AFF1- Rode the plane down :(

 

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stringtheorygal

Oct 5, 2012, 2:23 PM
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AFF1- Rode the plane down :( Can't Post

I never posted an introduction post so I guess this is as good a time as any Unsure

Ground school- have been studying on my own for weeks, made power points on how to deal with different malfunctions, flashcards, dry-runs, etc. Did fine on the written test.

Jump Time- not once, but TWICE I tried to do my AFF1. The first time I had all my gear on and essentially started hyperventilating (and then I cried because I was totally embarrassed in front of some tandem students. Not pretty). Have not had this level of fear yet AT ALL. Loved my tandem , have been feeling comfortable in the days leading up the AFF1. (Though I did have a horrific nightmare last night in which I slammed into the ground because I froze and couldn't take care of a malfunction. Urgh).
So instead of getting on the plane, I took about an hour to relax and regroup. Felt ready to go and confident.

Second time- Get my gear on, going to the plane, notice my harness feels kind of loose (around my legs and behind). I see on everyone else that their harness looks quite tight in those areas. Perhaps it's because I have no junk in the trunk, but there is some serious space around my upper thighs(or what feels like it). I know my perception is heightened because I'm about to count on this equipment (with my help) to save my ass. I understand the risk of a too-tight harness but this just didn't feel secure-- to me. Apparently the harness was as "tight" as it will go. I let my instructor know as we were taxiing to takeoff that I was not ready. Unsure Took off, got to altitude, and felt even more certain did not want to go because of *what I felt like* was a loose harness (again, this is my novice perception).

Bottom line- nerves + feeling insecure about my equipment resulted in my riding the plane down. And feeling like crap (and utterly embarrassed- not one but TWO refusals in one day.)

I want to do this, but I want to leap from that plane having zero doubts about my gear so I can completely focus on the jump, deployment, canopy control, landing pattern, emergency procedures, etc.

Advice? Am I nuts? Do slender women have problems with harnesses being too loose/large? Do I need to go to a DZ with a larger selection of student gear?

I refuse to give up on my dream to learn how to be a great skydiver, but today's events were discouraging. Any words of advice would be appreciated. I do believe I want to jump. Why? Because I imagine if someone told me right now that I will never get to do it again, I would be extremely upset.

Help!


Divalent  (C 40494)

Oct 5, 2012, 2:47 PM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I want to leap from that plane having zero doubts about my gear ...

Unfortunately that is not possible. Just like it is not possile to have zero doubts that the guy driving towards you in the opposite lane isn't going to veer into your lane and cause a headon as you drive down the highway. All you can do is evaluate the statistical likelihood and either accept the risk or not.

I've never heard of an AFF student falling out of their gear. For that matter, I've never heard of any skydiver falling out of gear that was otherwise properly secured (chest strap on, legs in the the leg straps). The risk must certainly be vastly less than 1 in 10 million. For this particular scenario, I'd venture the risk is less than the risk you took just driving to the DZ. There are things to "worry" about in skydiving, but on the scale of things, IMO this one is pretty near the bottom of things I could conceive of.


FlyingPortagee  (A 64429)

Oct 5, 2012, 2:57 PM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

The nightmares are pretty normal. I had skydiving nightmares when I started. You shouldnt be discouraged though. There will be setbacks and bad days but the AMAZING days will outnumber them by far. You shouldnt jump till your 100% ready. As for the harness questions I'm not qualified to get into that but it might be a good question to ask in the "Instructors" section. Keep your head up. Blue skies.


Bertt  (D 99999)

Oct 5, 2012, 3:02 PM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

A) The harness should fit. Without seeing it on you, we can't tell if it did, but your instructors can tell.
2) Given the content of your posts on here, I'd say go to the wind tunnel in Orlando until you can hold a heading and make simple turns. Kind of like swimming, you feel better about jumping into the deep end of the pool if you know how to swim.

Do what you will with the above advice - I'm not there and you are.


stringtheorygal

Oct 5, 2012, 3:18 PM
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Re: [Bertt] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Did tunnel time, felt very comfortable. Stable, making turns. Went great. I'm hoping that experience will pay off when I actually *get in the sky*.


stringtheorygal

Oct 5, 2012, 3:43 PM
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Re: [Divalent] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess by the statement "zero doubts about my gear" I would be referring to a glaring problem (misrouted strap, too tight, too loose, etc) that could be avoided by proper, routine checks prior to the jump.


stringtheorygal

Oct 5, 2012, 3:46 PM
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Re: [FlyingPortagee] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for your encouraging words, Portagee. I'm going to push through these tough first jumps so I can get to the amazing ones!


pchapman  (D 1014)

Oct 5, 2012, 3:48 PM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

It is possible that for thinner, smaller individuals, the leg straps don't easily tighten right down.

A LITTLE bit of looseness shouldn't be a problem except mentally.

Leg straps don't have to be super tight, but you don't want too much slack from legs to shoulders either. Leg straps can OK being a little loose for example if the main lift web is snug so you are tightly contained from crotch to shoulders up against the shoulder straps.

If there is looseness there, on opening the chest strap can ride up a lot and be up against your throat. Not a good feeling, not good for being able to look around, and dangerous if it went too far. That does happen when a harness gets too loose. (But you aren't going to fall out just because of that.)

So see if there is other gear that fits tighter, or make sure the leg straps are absolutely tightened all the way (with one set of the ends of the leg pads folded away to prevent the leg pad ends from stopping the harness being fully tightened). If that's still not enough it gets trickier. A DZ might be willing to remove a bartack in the leg pad to allow the pad to slide back a bit on the strap, allowing more tightening.

Make sure your instructors are aware of the issue so they can see what can be done.

I've also heard of people finding pads to slip over the leg straps, both to compensate for crappy foam if the student gear is older, and to bulk up the leg strap area a bit. (The pads might be ones sold for protecting one's shoulder from a seat belt.)


As for the fear that newbies get in the sport, well, that's a common issue and there are plenty of threads about overcoming fear. Hell, that's part of the fun of throwing yourself at a planet. And it's kind of a hazing ritual, as we experienced jumpers get to crack a smile at the newbies. Wink

Still good for you for standing up for yourself and deciding not to jump when you felt uncomfortable. It may cost you money and embarrass you but skydivers need to be ready to back down too.

[edit:]
P.S. - Standard procedure on dz.com is that if a slender girl is uncertain about gear fit, we guys request that she post photos of herself in underwear, so we can better evaluate the situation. That's also the way the world works...


(This post was edited by pchapman on Oct 5, 2012, 3:51 PM)


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
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Oct 5, 2012, 6:39 PM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the forums (officially!)! Smile I'm wondering...do you think it would be worth it for you to do another tandem so you could feel a little more comfortable with exiting? You can tell your TI you'd like it to be more like a training jump than a thrill ride. Maybe he or she could let you take control and talk to you about where you should be setting up on each leg. Do you know where your fear lies the most?

As for the gear, this is another situation where you need to talk to your Instructor before you get on the plane and voice your concern about it being too loose. Don't be afraid to speak up, people will respect you for making safety a concern.


stringtheorygal

Oct 5, 2012, 7:06 PM
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Re: [pchapman] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

PChapman- That last bit actually made me laugh out loud. I needed that today- so THANK YOU!

I appreciate the very thorough post. My instructors assured me that the leg straps were a bit loose but would be fine. Logically I know to trust their expertise but I suppose my imagination got the better of me. Instructors have been great; my apprehension was due to my own insecurities and not a reflection on them, for sure. I think you're spot on with the problem being mental in nature.

I like the way you frame-the newbie fear as a hazing ritual of sorts- I'll have to remember that. :) "With hard work comes great award" is certainly applicable to this sport from what I gather.

I have indeed read about fear and although I know it's natural, it sure is tough when it gets the better of you- and such a strange emotion when you *know* this is something you want to do.

Thank you again for your perspective and the laughs!


stringtheorygal

Oct 5, 2012, 8:15 PM
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Re: [skymama] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Skymama, thank you so much for your warm welcome! You know, I think a working tandem might just be the trick.

To be honest, I believe my fear is two-fold:

A) Malfunctions- specifically horseshoe and oddly enough, line twists. Do I know how to handle these problems and have I been trained sufficiently "by the book"? I believe so. But as a *soon to be* green skydiver still getting my head around the environment in ideal circumstances, dealing with a malfunction is, well, a daunting prospect to say the least. Something I'm sure every student goes through, but there just isn't any truly realistic practice/simulation for the EPs. It's a risk I personally have to reconcile. I do have to be careful not to let my mind go wild. Yes, mals can happen but they don't happen EVERY time and there is a greater chance of a successful deployment than not.

B) Landing Pattern Accuracy/Landing without breaking my neck!
I think a working tandem is a great idea to settling some of these canopy flight fears.

I did speak to my instructor before we got in, he tried to reassure me, but doubt grew into fear from hangar to aircraft. Reptilian brain kicked in- visions of slipping out of the harness, etc.

The plus side, which I am trying to recognize, is that the humiliation of backing out a jump in an aircraft full of seasoned divers did not dissuade me from speaking up. I don't know if I got a lot of respect, though. Face-palms, yes. Crazy

Thank you again, SM. I appreciate your input and I think a working tandem may be just the thing I need to make a smooth transition into jumping with my own rig.


jimmytavino  (A 3914)

Oct 6, 2012, 4:28 AM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Hang in there, and try not to Over Analyze, tooo much..

power point, flash cards, etc especially about malfunctions can be creating an OVER emphasis on that one part of your instruction...ok??

think more about relaxing, breathing, envisioning Moving TO the door, and then the positive, energetic and smiley faced exit,, for the start of your adventure....YOU are more capable than you may think....

if your size ( dainty) results in a sense that your legstraps are loose, consider extra clothing, shorts, pants, sweatsuit, etc to increase the bulk UNDER your jumpsuit and simply cinch down the legstraps to the Max... But try not to allow that distraction to lead your mind, astray.....Smile

You live in a wonderful state for skydiving. Great DZs All over and super experienced and NICE people at EAch one of them... skymama has made an excellent point, about another tandem... speak with your instructors....

your post prompted a couple of questions...
what sort of airplane?
and did one of your instructors stay WIth you ?? in the plane.. for the descent???
good luck..

you'll be Ok and as they sometimes say......in less sypathetic places,,,ShockedCrazyWinkCool

"shut Up and jump" !!!Wink

jmy


Kalrigan  (B License)

Oct 6, 2012, 10:05 AM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

First I would like to say welcome to the forums, and the sport. Everyone here has given you great advice, I just would like to see if I can help and maybe the words coming from a newbie just like you might encourage you.

As I said I'm very new to the sport, just finished my 6th AFF and funny enough PChapman has been my instructor for my first 2 jumps hehe. Anyway, let me try and break it down one concern at a time.

1) Gear and harness in particular: Just like you I'm always worried about my harness coming loose and not being tight enough to hold me well, but all my instructors have been great. They have watched me strap myself, made sure everything is secure, safe and in good condition. Then again, I am not exactly a slender woman to it might be different.

2) Nightmares: I think they are pretty normal, happened to me when I first started a lot. The more I jumped the less frequently I got those nightmares, they still happen just not as much anymore. I mean, you are jumping out of a plane for the first time in your life, that's pretty nightmarish enough to be honest, but as long as you are confident in the knowledge you have received from your instructors you should feel more confident. What helped me a lot at the beginning was knowing that my instructors are great, experienced, and know exactly what to do in case anything goes wrong. After all, you are jumping with them right next to you. Knowing both of them will be around me the whole time you're flying down, they actually hold on to you, made me feel a lot safer about the jump.

3) Doubt in gear: I don't think it's possible for you to have absolutely ZERO doubts in your equipment. Just know that as long as you take pre-caution and try your best to follow what you are taught to be safe you will be fine. Malfunctions will happen, line twists will happen, but you should be ready and prepared enough to deal with them.

I also believe you are stressing yourself way too much with the whole powerpoint stuff and what not. It's great to know what you're supposed to do if the worst were to happen, but what you are doing might be affecting you psychologically and scaring you more than you should be in the first place.

Now when it comes to fear of the jump itself, you will be scared and chances are the first 10 seconds or so you will be in shock after you jump, I definitely was, but that gets easier as well. I would be lying if I said I don't get scared still every time to come up to the door, but it's a good thing. One of my instructors told me: "See that fear that you have? Hold on to it for as long as you can, because once that is lost, you'll start doing stupid stuff."

Another tip, you will be expected to relax your body for the flight, and it is definitely easier said than done. What helped me to be honest with you was something my instructor told me, he told me to make sure I'm smiling on the way, smiling while exiting the plane and smiling flying down. That's what I do now, that and watching the horizon helps me relax more than anything else I have tried.

Good luck, and I hope you stick around with the sport. It's a beautiful activity, wait until you your instructors let you fly down without holding on to you, and the first time you pull your own canopy, and the first time you land by yourself. Feelings that I can't even describe. You will be in love.


(This post was edited by Kalrigan on Oct 6, 2012, 1:57 PM)


shorehambeach  (C License)

Oct 6, 2012, 10:26 AM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the bit i really got stuck with ! The mental side of skydiving.

When I posted my concerns someone guided me to Namowal brilliant blog -

http://tailotherat.blogspot.co.uk/...chutting-school.html

I was always amazed by 'those' people who could just open the door and jump out.....

Someone told me to have faithtin myself and in my instructors, faith in my training and faith in the fact that the parachute wants to open....

I put my legs straps on so tight I could harldy walk - but it worked for me....

Blue skies...


(This post was edited by shorehambeach on Oct 6, 2012, 10:27 AM)


Trafficdiver  (D License)

Oct 6, 2012, 12:37 PM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

I weight 225 without gear on and on my first few AFF jumps I was nervous the equipment was too loose. It wasn't, I was fine,

These first few jumps you just have tell the voices in your head to shut up and jump out the door.Smile


Lazarus_762  (A 67183)

Oct 6, 2012, 1:28 PM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

speaking from my limited experience, I think you are not afraid of being unprepared or of gear failure...my biggest obstacle was simply admitting to a deeper fear. Jumping out of an airplane is scary. It evokes a basic fear hard wired into every human- the fear of falling. Admitting that I am afraid was a huge step in my training. I asked one of the pros at the DZ how long it took to stop being afraid. He said he would let me know if it ever stops scaring him... of course you are scared! Admit to that deeper fear, take a deep breath, and JUMP! Like the shoe ad says, just do it
Cool


stringtheorygal

Oct 6, 2012, 9:19 PM
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Re: [jimmytavino] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

jmy-

I think you're spot-on about studying over-kill. I made a conscious decision NOT to crack open my color-coded study binder today. :)

The airplane was a Cessna 206. I did my tandem out of a Caravan, so the exit procedure for the 206 was a bit unnerving (at least it was during practice!). One of the instructors did ride down with me. I'm sure he was *thrilled*.

I'll remember to smile on my next exit- I sure had perma-smile when I left the plane for my tandem (and for about a week after).

Shutting up and jumping... Cool


stringtheorygal

Oct 6, 2012, 9:43 PM
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Re: [Kalrigan] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Kalrigan! You've made great points and I think you've touched on lots of things I'm experiencing. Over-thinking? Check! I'm putting away my materials and ENJOYING my AFF1. I'm prepared and I need to believe that.

"make sure I'm smiling on the way, smiling while exiting the plane and smiling flying down"

I LOVE this advice. I'm fairly certain research suggests that merely using those muscles can facilitate the matching emotion. Wonderful!

Don't worry, I'm sticking around. IF my instructors will have me Laugh


stringtheorygal

Oct 6, 2012, 9:53 PM
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Re: [shorehambeach] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Shore-

I LOVE the TOTR blog!!! It needs to be published in book form and available at every dropzone.

Funny, in "real life", there aren't too many people you can turn to and ask "so, how did you get through your first SKYDIVE?" Laugh It's so wonderful to have this community for reassurance.

"Someone told me to have faith in myself and in my instructors, faith in my training and faith in the fact that the parachute wants to open.... "

^That's fantastic. I'll remember that for sure!


stringtheorygal

Oct 6, 2012, 9:57 PM
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Re: [Trafficdiver] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

TD-

Voices will be getting a talking-to and put in their proper place! Cool


stringtheorygal

Oct 6, 2012, 10:23 PM
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Re: [Lazarus_762] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Lazarus-

Oh, I think you're right-on. Was I nervous about my gear? Yes. Was it also a "convenient" excuse to ride down? It was. Unsure

Being around the dropzone with all of these seemingly "normal" people having zero problems jumping is, well, a mindf*ck! Wink I suppose I got myself thinking the fear was a sure sign of unpreparedness or weakness. You begin to wonder...what is my problem? But you're right- the very act of skydiving IS unusual and frightening! And admitting the fear is pretty freeing; good to know that even the old pros get the jitters.

Ah well, moving forward! Thanks so much for your input Smile


dthames  (B 37674)

Oct 7, 2012, 4:18 AM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

I doubt there is anything I can say that will make a huge difference. What you desire to do, must win over that which is holding you back. It will most likely be completely up to you to shift that balance. Education about the gear, dive plan, and trusting yourself will all play a role, I think.

From an old Clint Eastwood movie....."Endeavor to persevere."


Lazarus_762  (A 67183)

Oct 7, 2012, 4:51 AM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm heading for the DZ right now...and my heart is already beating a little faster than usual...scared? Yeah, a little! But also, excited - I'm going skydiving! WOOT!
CoolCoolCool


kenthediver  (A License)

Oct 7, 2012, 7:23 AM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

EJ, welcome to the sky = or at least the ride up (so far - now jump!!!)! I detailed my AFF experience earlier this year - after I got over the initial sensory overload, the thing that scared me most was the harness failing. But I did a bit of research - and as fat as I am, there is NO WAY that I will break a harness that has been maintained. The load bearing factor of the harness is very great - and as you are really dinky then the harness should never fail. Learn the kit checks, trust the equipment, and enjoy the jumps! It is awesome!!!


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Oct 7, 2012, 7:57 AM
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Re: [stringtheorygal] AFF1- Rode the plane down :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Flip your perspective of fear. I never feel so thoroughly alive and in the moment as when I am afraid. That is part of why skydiving hooked me in the first place. As crazy as it sounds I love the feeling fear gives me. It feels as if all of my senses go into high definition. It is like a sudden injection of the best drug in the world. The sky is bluer, the grass is greener, and I become hyper alert. Everyone feels fear when they start in the sport. Those that don't are either liars, or they have a screw loose. To be honest sometimes I still get a pinch of fear when doing something new in the sport. My first tandem (as the instructor) I felt that old familiar feeling creep in. Put a big ass smile on my face because I hadn't felt it in awhile, and I missed it. My first cutaway was amazing. It feels really good to save your life. Remember fear is temporary, but regret is forever.

I respectfully disagree with others that have stated something similiar to laying off the studying and preperation. I am stoked to hear a student put in that kind of work. There is only so much information I can bombard a student with in the first jump course. Getting your own time in the SIM is awesome, and is to be applauded. The sport is risky. You CAN die. If you are willing to accept that risk the next step is do do everything you can to ensure that you don't (die). The only way to do that besides actual experience (that comes with jumps and time) is by doing exactly what you have been. Know what to do when the shit hits the fan. Throwing yourself out of plane without that knowledge is suicidal. Your first jump course was just the bare legal minimum.

You just need to accept fear. It is okay to be afraid. Just don't let your fear keep you from your dreams. Learn to embrace it, or just kick it in the balls. Wink

The dreams are normal.


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