Forums: Skydiving: General Skydiving Discussions:
Under canopy, looking behind

 


dthames  (B 37674)

Jan 7, 2013, 6:21 PM
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Under canopy, looking behind Can't Post

I have often heard is said that under canopy you need to keep your head on a swivel and keep an eye on all other canopy traffic. I cannot do like Regan from The Exorcist and actually spin my head around. But, an easy way to look right behind you is to grab you rear risers and twist yourself under them. You can spin around 150 degrees or so with very little effort. You can get a good look over your shoulder in just a second or two. Twisting like that under my Pilot does not cause any issues and it continues to fly straight. I don't know about any other canopy. While this might not be a new trick, it is new to me.

Of course you would only want to do this when you were clear out in front.


wasatchrider

Jan 7, 2013, 7:03 PM
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Re: [dthames] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

never used this in skydiving but I do it quite a bit jumping cliffs and turning around to watch friends jump after


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jan 7, 2013, 7:09 PM
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Re: [dthames] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

 
This is not a good manuver to encourage. Essentially, you're inducing a parital line twist, and all it takes is one instance of 'over-amp', and you will go too far and actually put yourself into line twist.

The last place you need to be concerned about is directly behind you, as you have no way of getting there. Making a turn of any sort will cause a loss of altitude, and thus you need to be more concerned with the area behind and below you, which you can see by looking under your arm.

If you make a flat turn, you can lose less altitude, but then the rate of turn will be slower, and you'll have more time to 'look ahead' of your turn to clear your airspace. By that I mean that you have your head turned far into the direction of the turn, far ahead of the heading of your canopy. You will see the area that your canopy will be in momentarily if you continue the turn. If you do see traffic, you can stop the turn before you're even headed in their direction.

I applaud your desire to be aware of your surroundings, but placing the control of your canopy (which you will lose if you induce a line twist) over being able to see the area of least concern seems foolish at best. Keep your head on a swivel. Turn it every way you can to look for traffic, and if you feel the need to scan your blind spot, make a 45 degree heading change, and that blind spot will come into view. If it proves to be clear, take the 45 back and return to your original heading.

Your canopy can only fly you out of trouble if you can control it. Protect your ability to control your canopy at all times. Inducing line twists (to any degree), aloowing lines to go slack in turns, or excessive stalling can all lead to a lack of control, and should not be employed on a a regular basis on a 'regular' jump (regualr meaning a non-training jump, where you did not either exit on your own pass, or do a hop n pop from full altitude).


potatoman  (Student)

Jan 7, 2013, 11:48 PM
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Re: [dthames] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

Old trick, I have done it a few times, then jump onto a high performance canopy, and you find yourself going into a spin/line twist. Suppose you can counter and try and balance it out to carry on going straight, but is it worth it?

I only do it when I find it really neccesary, like when I know I had a couple of swoopers behind me on the load, flying back, and possibly get into their way. I would then grab both front and rears, and check. But, remember the rules of the sky, the guy behind you must keep his eyes on you, not the other way around.


dthames  (B 37674)

Jan 8, 2013, 3:50 AM
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Re: [potatoman] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the seasoned insight.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Jan 8, 2013, 9:37 AM
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Re: [dthames] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Thanks for the seasoned insight.

Dan, Dave's input is what we are thankful for. Take it to heart.


Scrumpot  (D License)

Jan 8, 2013, 9:41 AM
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Re: [popsjumper] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

Buzz Kill(er's) Tongue


pchapman  (D 1014)

Jan 8, 2013, 3:52 PM
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Re: [dthames] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

I won't be quite as negative about it, although Dave has pointed out some pitfalls. Still, twisting to see directly behind really doesn't seem all that necessary normally. If in a crowded environment, it distracts one away from looking everywhere else, plus takes away your normal steering.

About the only times I use it is when I know I'm well clear of traffic ahead and am playing around with watching a buddy flying behind, or trying to spot people far off and behind (maybe during a bad spot or cross country).

But personally I think it isn't a bad little "practice canopy exercise", something new and different to try for some folks.

One gets a feel for the pressures involved in creating a twist, and the effect of pushing and pulling on different risers. As you get to higher wing loadings and faster reacting designs, the canopy will get more sensitive -- so you may end up starting to dive away in a turn the first times you try it.

I don't think one need be too worried about the twisting up issue - unless one really confuses right from left. With just over half twist at the most, it is easy for the harness to try to untwist itself. Much of your time when learning this maneuver is spent trying to stop oneself from instantly untwisting.

I've even done it with a fairly lightweight tandem passenger early on final approach, flying backwards for shits & giggles. (Not on a regular fare-paying tandem in traffic.)


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Jan 8, 2013, 5:55 PM
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Re: [pchapman] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for encouraging the young jumpers to do unnecessary stupid shit.
Crazy


(This post was edited by popsjumper on Jan 8, 2013, 5:57 PM)


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Jan 8, 2013, 6:53 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The last place you need to be concerned about is directly behind you, as you have no way of getting there. Making a turn of any sort will cause a loss of altitude, and thus you need to be more concerned with the area behind and below you, which you can see by looking under your arm.

The guy directly behind you could be the guy behind and below you moments later. I prefer to know where EVERY jumper is that could affect my trip down, whatever I have to do to achieve that.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jan 8, 2013, 8:07 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
The guy directly behind you could be the guy behind and below you moments later. I prefer to know where EVERY jumper is that could affect my trip down, whatever I have to do to achieve that

Of course, it is a dynamic situation. That's why the solution is to look where you're going. Yes, you can check around to get an idea of what's what, but your eyes need to be focused on where you going to be momentarily any time you are doing some other than flying 'straight and level'.

Let's say you do torque yourself just short of a line twist and look behind you. By the time you straighten yourself out and commence with a turn, that guy who was out of the 'danger zone' may have flown into it.

There is no way to replace the value of looking ahead of your turn. It's a must every time you change direction. Look where you're going to be, and if there's something there at that time, stop the turn before you get there.

It's a bad precedent to set. Modern canopies with their steeper trims and faster roll rates (even the bigger ones) should not be taken close the edge of 'uncontrolled' flight as a normal practice in traffic. It's not neccesary, there are other ways to clear your airspace while maintaining a wide margin of controlability of your canopy. As I mentioned, and simple 45 degree heading change and back again will reveal anything that is directly behind you to start with and maintain your ability to immediately react to any traffic conflict that may arise.


kuai43  (C License)

Jan 8, 2013, 9:30 PM
Post #12 of 14 (990 views)
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Re: [Scrumpot] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Buzz Kill(er's) Tongue

Absolutely. I've done it dozens of times. Always at appropriate altitudes and having cleared my airspace. Lots of fun when flying with others. As it's been said, those with small, twitchy canopies might not want to do it, but then they probably know better or they wouldn't be on such a canopy, right? And is dthames really going to spin up his Pilot 210?

As pchapman puts it, you're going to find yourself fighting to keep the harness from untwisting. After all it is a huge 1/2 twist in your lines. Wink

For even more fun, try to keep the 180 and see how well you can steer....
Thanks for your attention and now that this pied piper has led all the young jumpers to their newest peril, please flame away. Cool


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Jan 9, 2013, 3:15 AM
Post #13 of 14 (941 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
The guy directly behind you could be the guy behind and below you moments later. I prefer to know where EVERY jumper is that could affect my trip down, whatever I have to do to achieve that

Of course, it is a dynamic situation. That's why the solution is to look where you're going. Yes, you can check around to get an idea of what's what, but your eyes need to be focused on where you going to be momentarily any time you are doing some other than flying 'straight and level'.

Let's say you do torque yourself just short of a line twist and look behind you. By the time you straighten yourself out and commence with a turn, that guy who was out of the 'danger zone' may have flown into it.

There is no way to replace the value of looking ahead of your turn. It's a must every time you change direction. Look where you're going to be, and if there's something there at that time, stop the turn before you get there.

It's a bad precedent to set. Modern canopies with their steeper trims and faster roll rates (even the bigger ones) should not be taken close the edge of 'uncontrolled' flight as a normal practice in traffic. It's not neccesary, there are other ways to clear your airspace while maintaining a wide margin of controlability of your canopy. As I mentioned, and simple 45 degree heading change and back again will reveal anything that is directly behind you to start with and maintain your ability to immediately react to any traffic conflict that may arise.


So I should look in the direction of the torque during a turn on a roll rate steeper than the margin of bullshit?

Thank you, Professor.


airtwardo  (D License)

Jan 9, 2013, 9:06 AM
Post #14 of 14 (859 views)
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Re: [dthames] Under canopy, looking behind [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I have often heard is said that under canopy you need to keep your head on a swivel and keep an eye on all other canopy traffic. I cannot do like Regan from The Exorcist and actually spin my head around. But, an easy way to look right behind you is to grab you rear risers and twist yourself under them. You can spin around 150 degrees or so with very little effort. You can get a good look over your shoulder in just a second or two. Twisting like that under my Pilot does not cause any issues and it continues to fly straight. I don't know about any other canopy. While this might not be a new trick, it is new to me.

Of course you would only want to do this when you were clear out in front.

I wouldn't recommend doing that Dan, as noted it 'can' cause you some canopy control problems and when doing it your concentration isn't really where it should be, which is in front of you.

I wear a tight fitting open face helmet with wraparound sunglasses most of the time, very little if any peripheral vision is obstructed, I'm also pretty flexible and found that when I turn my hips and neck all the way to the stops in either direction I can 'see' the full 180 degrees behind my direction of flight.

Try it...put your gear on and face one way, turn your hips and neck right noting what the limit of your peripheral is...then do it to the left. You will be surprised at how much rear-view coverage you have.

Another little 'trick' my wife taught me...

She's a pilot with over 30,000 hours in everything from a Pitts to a 747, spotting 'traffic' is part of her job description.

A quick 'scan' for conflicting traffic is best done by relaxing your eye somewhat and not 'focusing' on a certain area of the sky. Instead look off in the distance at a 45 degree up-then down angle off the horizon...'up' for what's above you & 45 degrees 'down' for what's below you.

Think about letting your eyes pick up movement and 'motion' first...then narrow your focus to actually identify the target as far as direction of flight and approach speed.

It takes a little concentration & training to make this a 'natural' thing, but once you do you will be amazed at the things you notice that you never did before.

There is a reason they say keep your 'head' on a swivel and not keep your whole body swiveling around, you're currently doing most of your jumping at a smaller less congested DZ, when you get into some crowded skies you'll not wanna be messing with the risers to see where ya been! Wink


BTW~ how was your Z-Hills adventure?


(This post was edited by airtwardo on Jan 9, 2013, 9:11 AM)



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