Mar 13, 2001, 12:07 PM
Post #1 of 17
I am a newbie (33 jumps) and am interested in trying freeflying. What are the special considerations as far as safety and drills are concerned in freefly? I have been told audible altimeters and not attempting to freefly with other inexperienced freeflyers are pretty much mandatory. What else should I take into account?
PS a similar thread was started in the Talkback forum, but I am interested in getting the 'Safety and Training' angle. Also, how do you old-school belly flyers feel about freeflying? Do you feel the RW discipline you have dedicated most of your skydiving career to is now in serious decline popularity wise as a result? Or do you feel there is enough scope in the sport for both to thrive? I do realize that I am posting a fairly contentious thread, but am looking for rational, objective advice/feedback (please).
A couple of things that you really need to be more aware of is your altitude awareness. your internal clock is going to be off due to the higher speeds that you will encounter. so you also want to make sure that when you do pull, you have time to slow down from 180 mph to 120 mph (give or take). Those are just a couple of the bigger ones that I am aware of. There are many more that you should get an experienced freeflyer to discuss with you. I am for the most part a bellyflyer, although I have done a few freefly jumps, and even a few BASE. I think that starting something new is exciting and can re-envigorate you. I dont think that FreeFly will eliminate bellyflying. Every discipline has its own fans. Me, personally, I would like to at least dabble in all of it, but a 4 way RW team is my major priority right now...but there is nothing to stop me from doing a sit/heads down or BASE when the mood strikes me...you just have to learn as much as you can before you start and take it at your own pace. Dont let others push you past your limits. If you are comfortable with your level and what you are doing, you can enjoy it more and have more fun...if you have that, you will learn more and be safer doing it.
Hi there! I'm a freeflier from the UK, and I would recommend that you start off by concentrating solely on sit flying. Find some friendly freeflier (and we all are - another great thing about freeflying!) and get him/her to jump with you. Most people will be more than willing to help you through the first steps. It's a good idea to do this, as by jumping with someone more experienced, you'll know how much you're moving around the sky and they'll be able to keep you safe and tell you what you're doing wrong and right. Don't be tempted into jumping with more than one other person before you're ready, as this can be very dangerous. It's all too easy as an inexperienced freeflier to zoom across the sky at 100mph and hit someone very hard! Be careful, do some 2-way and solo sit jumps, and have fun! Blooooooooooo skies! Tom Arnold.
Also, how do you old-school belly flyers feel about freeflying? Do you feel the RW discipline you have dedicated most of your skydiving career to is now in serious decline popularity wise as a result? Or do you feel there is enough scope in the sport for both to thrive?
I'm an "old school" belly flier and I'm not concerned about RW dying out, not considering the last US Nationals drew over 70 4 way teams (record attendance) and there are thriving RW competition circuits and large formation camps going on all over the country.
Personally I can't freefly for shit yet so when I do it's a solo or two way and it's a total out of control kick in the ass. When I want to be more serious or jump with a bigger group I belly fly and it's equally as fun.
imho the skydiver of the future will be striving to be able to fly their body in any position, which will open up whole new areas of freefall flight together and there will be no boundaries between belly fliers and freefliers... once again we will all just be skydivers.
I am not allowed to freefly on my own? Does this mean just practicing to get into a sit is out of the question? But I can do countless so many backloops for 45 seconds and that is considered safe and allowed? This is amazing!
I am NOT a reckless person (bought cypres along with my rig, own a pro track and am considering buying a dytter as well if I am going to seriously try freeflying), but I find those rules a little draconian to say the least!
If this means staying belly down for 10 seconds until the JM can't see me then fine. Hope somebody from the BPA isn't reading this! hahahahaha
(hmmm, might have to remove all my details from my profile now in the interests of anonymity!)
Just to "clear up" the position regarding "freekflying" in the UK.
There is a BPA qualification for the various skydiving qualifications. In this case it's "FF1" & "FF2". The primary objective is SAFETY!
"To obtain Grade 1 in Freestyle/Freeflying (FF1) the parachutist must first demonstrate (in a belly to earth position) the ability to:
a) Control fall rate b) Control horizontal movement (forwards, backwards and sideways) c) Achieve 'docking' techniques d) Turn in place e) Dive & approach a target"
Let's face it, these abilities show we can do the basic freefall collision avoidance stuff, especially at the bottom of the dive where we're going onto our bellies to deploy.
"The parachutist may then be introduced to FF (for FF1 training) by a CCI nominated FF2 Grade parachutist or equivalent of proven FF instructional ability, have received a full safety brief and demonatrated the ability to:
a) fly in a controlled sit/stand position b) Control fall rate in a sit/stand position c) Control forward and backward movement in a sit/stand position d) Control turns in both directions in a sit/stand position e) Fly relative to others in a sit/stand position.
Once FF1 has been obtained, the parachutist must not make FF descents with others without CCI approval & initially only small groups."
So... In short there's nothing to stop you going out yourself & trying to learn (as long as you let manifest know what you intend to try). But if you want the formal grade, then you have to do the programme!
While the above, from the BPA Ops Manual sounds draconian, in practise if you hook up with freeflyers at your local DZ you'll probably not even be aware of any restrictions.
I suspect that I will have met most of those Grade 1 criteria by time I have achieved my B license. I have another question for you : I am on 33 jumps at the moment and am considering skipping my A license and going straight for my B. Does the BPA allow this and what is the process?
ps maybe I should just mail the BPA in the morning and get it directly from them, so if you aren't sure, don't worry about it.
I started sitflying on student status so I wasn't as hesitant to just start experimenting once I was jumping on my own. Here are a few thoughts -
If you're jumping alone audibles aren't a must. Nice, yes but not a must. If you can't see your hand - arch onto your belly and look.
As long as you can hold a sit or stand and don't cork (pop onto your belly and rapidly decellerate) you can jump with others. You may end up no where near each other but what was your first attempted 4-way belly fly like? Same thing.
Learn to be unstable. It's not like belly flying where you will immediately have a stable relaxed position. Tumbling can be fun!
If you want to jump with others it is easier to exit docked. Lock legs / grab chest straps / etc.
Advice from somebody with only a little more experience, -mb
That's really cool about the different training levels necessary to freefly. I may be wrong, but I haven't heard of any such requirements here in the states... If there aren't, there should be. I think that's an awesome way to approach it while still allowing the jumper to decide...
It is pretty hard for me, because I met guys at Skydance with 1000 plus freeflys who were happy to jump with total newbies (ie me). I was unstable for a very long time the first two fun jumps when I first tried sit-flying and that didn't psyche me out (in fact I sort of enjoyed it). I have never minded going unstable on purpose either, which helps too.
Anyway, I am hoping to order a freefly suit from Flitesuit and go out for Skydance's boogie in June.
I think you save the princely sum of £1.00 by going straight to your "B" licence. Personally, I went for my "A" as soon as I qualified.
While the Ops Manual is a bit vague on "student status Vs "A" licence", it seems to say that before you can get your "B" licence, you have to hold an "A" license and have it endorsed with "IC1" (Section 2 (3)(3.2)) before you can get it endorsed as a "B". While the BPA issue the licence &"A","B" etc..., it's your CCI that issues the stickers for the disciplines so the licence basically has to go back & forth.
Mike, that's really tempting (£1 would feed my village in Africa for a month). But I think you're right and I better get that application for my A license in post haste (along with my BPA membership renewal). I think paying for check-out jumps every time I go to a new DZ might get a bit expensive...
Hi there! Cool - sounds good, I'd love to do a couple of jumps with you. I generally jump at Netheravon, but am always willing to try somewhere new due to the fact that although Nethers can be good, I have more often than not been up there on a beautiful day (blue skies no wind) and only got one jump in through no fault of my own! Anyhow, if you wanna meet up and talk freefly, let me know where you jump and I'll try and get there sometime, or get yourself down to Netheravon. By the way, with regards to trying freeflying on your own, it's a great way to practise, and if people try to stop you practising new skills on your jumps (good point about being allowed to do shitloads of backloops on your solos but not sit - bloody British attitude!) try a different dropzone! Hope to hear from you sometime to meet up and do some jumps, Cheers, Tom Arnold.
I appreciate the offer Tom. But since I am the Luke to your Yoda, why don't you drop me an email the next time you are going out to Netheravon and I will make sure I am there.
I have yet to jump in the UK, so have no preference yet about where. I was a bit surprized about your comment about only getting one jump in at Netheravon, since they mention on their site that they have the highest lift capacity in the UK. Do civilians get bumped easily?
Yes mate, Netheravon can be a little bit bollox. They do claim to have the highest lift capacity in the UK, but do they use it? Do they hell! Many a weekend I have gone there to find the place crawling with people - 3 turbines in the hangar (Cessna Caravan and two Turbine Islanders) and only one of them flying! Hence one jump in a day. And yes, civilians do get bumped off lifts without a second thought. Ah well, it's close to where I live (Southampton) and it's cheap. Sadly it's closed at the mo due to diseased sheep! With regards to freeflying in an RW suit - no problem. I had the same situation when I started to learn FF, so instead of using my RW suit, I wore a pair of jeans with a big baggy fleece (watch out for covering handles though!) on top so that it was nice and easy to stay upright. I don't particularly like sit-suits (the ones with the wings on the arms) because anybody can sit in one of those, and then when you take it off, you basically have to learn how to sit fly properly. You're better off not using one in my opinion. Anyway, if you drop me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, we can arrange to meet up somewhere in the UK (Netheravon or elsewhere - Hinton's a great DZ) and do some jumps. See you around, Big blue ones and no Foot and Mouth!* Tom. *by the way, to all those USA readers out there, all the diseased sheep stuff (if you didn't know) refers to an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the UK at the moment, resulting in a lot of DZ's being shut for fear of spreading the disease further. Bloody sheep!