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Question about coming back from a long spot

 

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Deimian

Dec 7, 2012, 5:28 AM
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Question about coming back from a long spot Can't Post

So you have just open your canopy and realize that you are far away from your landing zone. Sometimes you can make it back with appropriate piloting. Those are skills that develop over time, with training, and specific things might be canopy dependent. I understand all that. My question now is:

Which way is more likely to take you back to your LZ? Unstow your brakes and hang on your back risers, hang on your back risers with the brakes still stowed, or leave the brakes stowed and use the risers just for steering and correct your heading, without pulling both of them permanently?

I guess that would be canopy dependent, but in general, what would be the way? Or maybe it is plainly a very stupid question?


(This post was edited by Deimian on Dec 7, 2012, 5:29 AM)


potatoman  (Student)

Dec 7, 2012, 5:48 AM
Post #2 of 72 (4528 views)
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Re: [Deimian] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

Read my signature first....

Lets take it top winds and bottom winds are the same direction.

When you are flying downwind, very long spot, deep brakes. You will float more, and the wind will take you there. Not too deep, then you will drop, so keep the airfoil there.
If less long spot, why bother getting your arms tired. Stow the slider, legturn into the downwind, and there you go.

When upwind, in slow windspeed. Less than canopy speed to get penetration.
No brakes, full up. if you are moving forward enough, there you go. Long spot, you will probably just make it, or plan ahead for the outlanding.
When the wind is strong, and you need to get upwind. Lets say windspeed and toggle up speed is the same. Time to hang on to the front risers. It is the only way you will get penetration (relative to ground), to actually move you forward.


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Dec 7, 2012, 6:03 AM
Post #3 of 72 (4510 views)
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Re: [Deimian] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I guess that would be canopy dependent, but in general, what would be the way?

Not a stupid question! It's canopy and jumper dependent. Only way to figure out what works best for you and your canopy is to go play with it.

In the canopy course we teach, we have jumpers do a hop and pop exiting about 2 miles upwind of the spot. They then try both sitting in deep brakes and using rears and decide for themselves which gets them further back.

You can leave the brakes stowed if you're using rears, but don't forget to unstow them long before your hard deck (imho, easier to unstow them),


(This post was edited by skybytch on Dec 7, 2012, 6:03 AM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Dec 7, 2012, 6:22 AM
Post #4 of 72 (4478 views)
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Re: [Deimian] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

 
This is a complicated subject, so I'll just post a few thoughts -

-First off, most modern canopies have very shallow brake settings. These help with those nice, slow openings, but they don't keep you up there very long with the brakes stowed, so pretty much plan on unstowing your brakes in any case.

-If you are upwind of the DZ (with the wind at your back), the idea becomes staying in the air as long as possible. The tailwind is helping to move you back to the DZ, so the longer you are airborne, the further the wind will push you.

For this reason, deep brakes are typically the best option as they provide the lowest descent rate, and the longer it takes to get to the ground, the further the wind will push you. So get yourself turned toward the DZ, and get on the brakes ASAP to give yourself the best chance to make it home.

-If you are downwind of the DZ (with the wind blowing in your face), now you have another problem. What you're trying to do now is penetrate as far into the wind as possible, so what you're looking for is higher airspeed, so the best option is generally full flight.

To aid that, you can tuck your legs up by bending at the knee and getting your lower legs behind your upper leg, thus reducing drag. Keep your arms in tight to your body, and maybe even behind your body, again to reduce drag. All of these little steps will boost your forward speed by a couple %, and help get you that much further into the wind.

HOWEVER - with all that said, here's the important info - 'getting back' to the DZ does not mean coming 2 feet over the trees to take a downwinder on the edge of the field. Getting back means making it to the DZ with enough altitude to spare to still allow you to fly a normal landing pattern and land with the regular flow of traffic.

All of the tricks and tips above should be used in an attempt to get yourself back to the pattern enrty point above the DZ, not just back to the DZ. If you cannot make the pattern entry point, then you need to divert to an alternate LZ where you can fly a landing pattern, and just take the off field landing.

The way you do that is to take your current altitude, let's say 3000ft, then subtract the pattern entry altitude, let's say that's 800ft. So you have 2200ft of altitude to make it back to the landing pattern.

Now that you know that number, cut it in half and see how far you get after flying halfway down. So you'll float along for 1100ft, and if you're not halfway back to the landing pattern, you're probably not going to make the other half.

Of course, during this first half you should be scoping out alternate LZs along the way, so if you do find that you didn't make it halfway back, now you're at 1900ft and you have a good working knowledge of all the places you just overflew. Pick one and land there using a standard landing pattern.


klippetop  (C 2629)

Dec 7, 2012, 6:33 AM
Post #5 of 72 (4464 views)
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Re: [Deimian] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been taught, that in my big ass student canopy, when I give myself a bad spot and risk going backwards because of headwind, it's better to be at a 45 degree angle to the wind. The theory should be, that I present less canopy to the wind and by zigzagging with flat turns, I can cover more ground.

I havent done it enough times to know if it's actually working yet. Any comments from the canopy gurus? Do i burn too much altitude on the turns?

Frontriser on the student chute isnt really an option (im not heavy enough).


elightle  (D 5966)

Dec 7, 2012, 6:54 AM
Post #6 of 72 (4439 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

I am an old timer who started on round parachutes, so looking for alternate landing areas was a must! I don't use Dave's calculations, per se, but I monitor my altitude vs. how far I am from the DZ, and I always have a spot picked out in case I can't make it back.


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Dec 7, 2012, 6:54 AM
Post #7 of 72 (4439 views)
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Re: [klippetop] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I've been taught, that in my big ass student canopy, when I give myself a bad spot and risk going backwards because of headwind, it's better to be at a 45 degree angle to the wind. The theory should be, that I present less canopy to the wind and by zigzagging with flat turns, I can cover more ground.

I havent done it enough times to know if it's actually working yet. Any comments from the canopy gurus? Do i burn too much altitude on the turns?

Frontriser on the student chute isnt really an option (im not heavy enough).

What?!?!? Crazy

Turning 45 to the wind will make you go sideways, and less forward.

You are in the air. You are part of the airmass. You can't "tack" like a sailboat because you have nothing to anchor you to the ground,


davelepka  (D 21448)

Dec 7, 2012, 7:11 AM
Post #8 of 72 (4423 views)
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Re: [elightle] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I am an old timer who started on round parachutes, so looking for alternate landing areas was a must! I don't use Dave's calculations, per se, but I monitor my altitude vs. how far I am from the DZ

I was actually taught that by another old timer, who called it the 'halfway-down halfway-back' rule.

It's not an exact science, just an idea for how to come up with a 'best guess' if you're going to make it.


klippetop  (C 2629)

Dec 7, 2012, 7:56 AM
Post #9 of 72 (4374 views)
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand that i dont pick up speed like a boat by going a little angular to the wind. And 45 degrees might be overdoing it. But I think the idea is, that the wind "sees" a smaller area of the canopy by going at an angle. Therefore it pushes less. But yes, I do go sideways when doing it.

It might not work. Therefore the question here. ;) But the advice came from the instructor at a canopy course where all of us on underloaded 240'rigs flew backwards.


labrys  (D 29848)

Dec 7, 2012, 8:41 AM
Post #10 of 72 (4330 views)
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Re: [klippetop] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
But I think the idea is, that the wind "sees" a smaller area of the canopy by going at an angle. Therefore it pushes less. But yes, I do go sideways when doing it.

Put a piece of 8x11 paper with the long edge on top flat on a surface. Imagine the wind hitting it directly along the top edge. That's what the wind "sees", right?

Now turn the paper 30 degrees or so to the right and imagine the wind coming from the same direction. Can you see that the wind now "sees" more surface area and not less?


klippetop  (C 2629)

Dec 7, 2012, 8:53 AM
Post #11 of 72 (4323 views)
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Re: [labrys] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
But I think the idea is, that the wind "sees" a smaller area of the canopy by going at an angle. Therefore it pushes less. But yes, I do go sideways when doing it.

Can you see that the wind now "sees" more surface area and not less?

Damn. You're right. There goes that theory...


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Dec 7, 2012, 8:57 AM
Post #12 of 72 (4318 views)
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Re: [klippetop] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I understand that i dont pick up speed like a boat by going a little angular to the wind. And 45 degrees might be overdoing it. But I think the idea is, that the wind "sees" a smaller area of the canopy by going at an angle. Therefore it pushes less. But yes, I do go sideways when doing it.

It might not work. Therefore the question here. ;) But the advice came from the instructor at a canopy course where all of us on underloaded 240'rigs flew backwards.

Number One, most important. I'm not ripping on you. This is a very common misconception. Probably second only to the 45 degree rule.
And the only way you learn things is to ask these kinds of questions.

The wind doesn't "see" anything. And it doesn't really "push" either.

You are in the airmass. You are moving along with it. Your airspeed in the air is completely independent of your ground speed. You can compare a boat in a river current to get the idea. Any speed the boat goes by powering the boat (motor or oars) will be relative to the water, not the shore. The speed relative to the shore will be a combination of the waterspeed and the current speed.

Think basic trig. If you have a headwind of 20 mph and a forward airspeed of 20 mph then your ground speed is zero. If you take a 45 degree angle, then your 20 mph forward airspeed is still there. But your groundspeed will be a function of the angles. Into the wind will now be 14 mph (or backwards 6) and sideways will be 14 (since it's perpendicular to the wind, it will be sideways 14).

Did these same instructors warn you about making sharp turns while travelling downwind because the tailwind might make your canopy collapse?


Deimian

Dec 7, 2012, 9:11 AM
Post #13 of 72 (4301 views)
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Re: [Deimian] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, it looks like I've started an interesting debate. I'm glad I'm not the only one learning here.


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Dec 7, 2012, 9:12 AM
Post #14 of 72 (4298 views)
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Re: [Deimian] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

Always always always pop the brakes. Follow your student drill - release brakes and control check. What you do after that depends but it should always be after popping the brakes.

Several people have died in recent years because they left the brakes stowed until finals... only to find a problem with their steering lines and as they were now way too low to cutaway and deploy their reserve they fought the problem to impact when it could have been solved or ditched after opening at 3,000ft.


Deimian

Dec 7, 2012, 9:25 AM
Post #15 of 72 (4284 views)
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Re: [mr2mk1g] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Always always always pop the brakes. Follow your student drill - release brakes and control check. What you do after that depends but it should always be after popping the brakes.

Several people have died in recent years because they left the brakes stowed until finals... only to find a problem with their steering lines and as they were now way too low to cutaway and deploy their reserve they fought the problem to impact when it could have been solved or ditched after opening at 3,000ft.

Very good point, I didn't think about that, but makes perfectly sense.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Dec 7, 2012, 9:37 AM
Post #16 of 72 (4269 views)
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I understand that i dont pick up speed like a boat by going a little angular to the wind. And 45 degrees might be overdoing it. But I think the idea is, that the wind "sees" a smaller area of the canopy by going at an angle. Therefore it pushes less. But yes, I do go sideways when doing it.

It might not work. Therefore the question here. ;) But the advice came from the instructor at a canopy course where all of us on underloaded 240'rigs flew backwards.

Number One, most important. I'm not ripping on you. This is a very common misconception. Probably second only to the 45 degree rule.
And the only way you learn things is to ask these kinds of questions.

The wind doesn't "see" anything. And it doesn't really "push" either.

You are in the airmass. You are moving along with it. Your airspeed in the air is completely independent of your ground speed. You can compare a boat in a river current to get the idea. Any speed the boat goes by powering the boat (motor or oars) will be relative to the water, not the shore. The speed relative to the shore will be a combination of the waterspeed and the current speed.

Think basic trig. If you have a headwind of 20 mph and a forward airspeed of 20 mph then your ground speed is zero. If you take a 45 degree angle, then your 20 mph forward airspeed is still there. But your groundspeed will be a function of the angles. Into the wind will now be 14 mph (or backwards 6) and sideways will be 14 (since it's perpendicular to the wind, it will be sideways 14).

Did these same instructors warn you about making sharp turns while travelling downwind because the tailwind might make your canopy collapse?

Thanks for that. It's unbelievable how many people actually believe the wind "pushes" the canopy and I've had that conversation with many long-timers....several were AFFIs......unbelievale.


DocPop  (C License)

Dec 7, 2012, 9:38 AM
Post #17 of 72 (4268 views)
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Re: [labrys] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
But I think the idea is, that the wind "sees" a smaller area of the canopy by going at an angle. Therefore it pushes less. But yes, I do go sideways when doing it.

Put a piece of 8x11 paper with the long edge on top flat on a surface. Imagine the wind hitting it directly along the top edge. That's what the wind "sees", right?

Now turn the paper 30 degrees or so to the right and imagine the wind coming from the same direction. Can you see that the wind now "sees" more surface area and not less?

This is not realistic. The relative wind under canopy is always from the front (unless your feet are on the ground).


klippetop  (C 2629)

Dec 7, 2012, 9:40 AM
Post #18 of 72 (4257 views)
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I understand that i dont pick up speed like a boat by going a little angular to the wind. And 45 degrees might be overdoing it. But I think the idea is, that the wind "sees" a smaller area of the canopy by going at an angle. Therefore it pushes less. But yes, I do go sideways when doing it.

It might not work. Therefore the question here. ;) But the advice came from the instructor at a canopy course where all of us on underloaded 240'rigs flew backwards.

Number One, most important. I'm not ripping on you. This is a very common misconception. Probably second only to the 45 degree rule.
And the only way you learn things is to ask these kinds of questions.

The wind doesn't "see" anything. And it doesn't really "push" either.

You are in the airmass. You are moving along with it. Your airspeed in the air is completely independent of your ground speed. You can compare a boat in a river current to get the idea. Any speed the boat goes by powering the boat (motor or oars) will be relative to the water, not the shore. The speed relative to the shore will be a combination of the waterspeed and the current speed.

Think basic trig. If you have a headwind of 20 mph and a forward airspeed of 20 mph then your ground speed is zero. If you take a 45 degree angle, then your 20 mph forward airspeed is still there. But your groundspeed will be a function of the angles. Into the wind will now be 14 mph (or backwards 6) and sideways will be 14 (since it's perpendicular to the wind, it will be sideways 14).

Did these same instructors warn you about making sharp turns while travelling downwind because the tailwind might make your canopy collapse?

Yeah, I'm convinced. Gonna try to find a decent way to point it out to the instructor maybe or just ask him again.

So im back to trying to be small with my arms and legs directly against the wind. Thx for the feedback..

Havent heard about the no sharpies in downwind either.


DocPop  (C License)

Dec 7, 2012, 9:40 AM
Post #19 of 72 (4256 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
-If you are upwind of the DZ (with the wind at your back), the idea becomes staying in the air as long as possible. The tailwind is helping to move you back to the DZ, so the longer you are airborne, the further the wind will push you.

For this reason, deep brakes are typically the best option as they provide the lowest descent rate, and the longer it takes to get to the ground, the further the wind will push you. So get yourself turned toward the DZ, and get on the brakes ASAP to give yourself the best chance to make it home.

-If you are downwind of the DZ (with the wind blowing in your face), now you have another problem. What you're trying to do now is penetrate as far into the wind as possible, so what you're looking for is higher airspeed, so the best option is generally full flight.

To aid that, you can tuck your legs up by bending at the knee and getting your lower legs behind your upper leg, thus reducing drag. Keep your arms in tight to your body, and maybe even behind your body, again to reduce drag. All of these little steps will boost your forward speed by a couple %, and help get you that much further into the wind.

To add to what Dave said - you should also make yourself small if you are upwind - it will still improve your glide ratio.


klippetop  (C 2629)

Dec 7, 2012, 9:46 AM
Post #20 of 72 (4251 views)
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Re: [DocPop] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
-If you are upwind of the DZ (with the wind at your back), the idea becomes staying in the air as long as possible. The tailwind is helping to move you back to the DZ, so the longer you are airborne, the further the wind will push you.

For this reason, deep brakes are typically the best option as they provide the lowest descent rate, and the longer it takes to get to the ground, the further the wind will push you. So get yourself turned toward the DZ, and get on the brakes ASAP to give yourself the best chance to make it home.

-If you are downwind of the DZ (with the wind blowing in your face), now you have another problem. What you're trying to do now is penetrate as far into the wind as possible, so what you're looking for is higher airspeed, so the best option is generally full flight.

To aid that, you can tuck your legs up by bending at the knee and getting your lower legs behind your upper leg, thus reducing drag. Keep your arms in tight to your body, and maybe even behind your body, again to reduce drag. All of these little steps will boost your forward speed by a couple %, and help get you that much further into the wind.

To add to what Dave said - you should also make yourself small if you are upwind - it will still improve your glide ratio.

Hypothetically, if windspeed is faster than canopy speed (so youre feeling the relative wind on your back). Wouldnt you want to make yourself big? I know that this is more rare than you going faster than the wind.


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Dec 7, 2012, 9:57 AM
Post #21 of 72 (4236 views)
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Re: [klippetop] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hypothetically, if windspeed is faster than canopy speed (so youre feeling the relative wind on your back). Wouldnt you want to make yourself big? I know that this is more rare than you going faster than the wind.

How would you feel the realtive wind on your back? Aren't you still going forward through the air?

If you could feel the wind at your back, the canopy would stall.

Let me ask this: Would it help a hot air balloon to deploy some sort of sail? Would this affect it's ground speed at all?


StreetScooby

Dec 7, 2012, 10:02 AM
Post #22 of 72 (4227 views)
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Re: [Deimian] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

Another thing to consider that's not related directly to your canopy. When I'm long on a spot, I find the nearest road and ride it. You'll get a thermal that will keep you up longer, even at 3K'.

Keep in mind when picking a off-DZ spot to land - there are power lines next to most roads, and you might not see them until you're low. Also, when landing in fields, keep an eye out for barbed wire fences. They're very difficult to see until you're right on them, and they will ruin your day. Try and notice any separation lines in fields, as that will most likely be where you'll find a fence. Don't wait too long to pick your spot landing off DZ. Also, get a feel for the wind direction somehow before choosing your landing direction. Blowing grass is a good indicator.


(This post was edited by StreetScooby on Dec 7, 2012, 10:03 AM)


klippetop  (C 2629)

Dec 7, 2012, 10:21 AM
Post #23 of 72 (4201 views)
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Aren't you still going forward through the air?

If you could feel the wind at your back, the canopy would stall.

Doh. Was thinking that if my groundspeed was lower than actual windspeed. But Im still going relative to the wind so I will always feel the wind against my face. And yes, I see that would stall the canopy..

In reply to:
Let me ask this: Would it help a hot air balloon to deploy some sort of sail? Would this affect it's ground speed at all?

Dont know actually. Wouldnt it move faster? My extremely limited knowledge about hot air balloons says that they cant steer and only move with the wind. Wouldnt a larger area then mean more speed? Or is the balloon always travelling at the same speed as the wind around it?


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Dec 7, 2012, 10:29 AM
Post #24 of 72 (4193 views)
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Re: [klippetop] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Aren't you still going forward through the air?

If you could feel the wind at your back, the canopy would stall.

Doh. Was thinking that if my groundspeed was lower than actual windspeed. But Im still going relative to the wind so I will always feel the wind against my face. And yes, I see that would stall the canopy..

In reply to:
Let me ask this: Would it help a hot air balloon to deploy some sort of sail? Would this affect it's ground speed at all?

Dont know actually. Wouldnt it move faster? My extremely limited knowledge about hot air balloons says that they cant steer and only move with the wind. Wouldnt a larger area then mean more speed? Or is the balloon always travelling at the same speed as the wind around it?

A balloon has zero airspeed. It is always moving with the wind (presumung a steady-state wind). All that would happen if you put out a sail is that the sail would hang there, motionless.

And don't worry about the "Doh." Being willing to admit that you don't know, or that what you think about something is not correct is the foundation of learning.

Like I said in post 12, this is an area that is very, very often misunderstood. Pops mentioned that there are AFFIs out there that don't get it.


airtwardo  (D License)

Dec 7, 2012, 10:30 AM
Post #25 of 72 (4193 views)
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Re: [StreetScooby] Question about coming back from a long spot [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Another thing to consider that's not related directly to your canopy. When I'm long on a spot, I find the nearest road and ride it. You'll get a thermal that will keep you up longer, even at 3K'.

Keep in mind when picking a off-DZ spot to land - there are power lines next to most roads, and you might not see them until you're low. Also, when landing in fields, keep an eye out for barbed wire fences. They're very difficult to see until you're right on them, and they will ruin your day. Try and notice any separation lines in fields, as that will most likely be where you'll find a fence. Don't wait too long to pick your spot landing off DZ. Also, get a feel for the wind direction somehow before choosing your landing direction. Blowing grass is a good indicator.

~That thermal thing may work on a hot no wind day, but if there is a cross wind of any significance at all it dissipates the thermal off & away from the surface creating it... you can still find some of it if you're good, but I seriously doubt it at 3K.

THAT being said, nothing wrong with heading for a road when you see you won't make it back...it makes it easier for someone at the DZ to snag you when you land, it keeps you off farmer Mcnastys crops, cows & meth lab...and though as you said there may be power-lines etc to be wary of 'other than that' - the area next to most roads are relative free of obstacles.

To reiterate a point made above...release the brakes on opening and do the control check 1st, finding yourself in or near the pattern is a really bad time & place to figure out you have a control line problem.

It's simple enough to put the released toggle over the fingers and then grab the risers with your hand to hold the brakes on without getting tired.

~you should know the 'basic' wind direction prior to boarding the aircraft...look at the windsock & face into the wind - note where the sun is in relation to your body position.
In 'most' cases that will remain the same for the time of the jump. (yeah yeah I know what about at noonSly)...look for other indicators, smoke, flags, trees blowing, how the canopy tracks...

Keep your eyes open for clean landing spots if you are long...it MAY be better for you to hold all the way down to insure an uneventful landing with a long walk than it is to take a shot at making over that forest with the huge pond full of alligators!


(This post was edited by airtwardo on Dec 7, 2012, 10:41 AM)


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