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Exit order for tracking groups

 

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giffnyc  (D 18909)

Jul 22, 2013, 11:15 AM
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Exit order for tracking groups Can't Post

Our DZ, like many I'm sure, is seeing a lot more angle flying and tracking groups exiting the plane.

At our DZ, some of the more experienced angle and tracking flyers have been asking to exit first from the airplane. This has become a model for less experienced angle and tracking flyers when they join the discussion at the loading area.

I'm an RW jumper, and mostly team train, and mostly 8 way. We very commonly are out first and are often the ones being asked, "can I get out in front of you?".

I don't want to be a dinosaur. I don't want to be dick. I understand that at Perris, a large and highly experienced DZ, tracking groups exit early.

It doesn't make sense to me, particularly with less experienced groups that are intending to open higher. But I'd like to understand the reasoning behind those that think trackers should get out early. I'm open to changing my attitude - even advocating for this system if it makes sense.

Can some of you that have experience with this please offer your thinking? I'm not here to knock it down - I really would like to understand it, and especially understand what we need to communicate to less experienced trackers in this complex situation.

Thanks.


mahonie10  (B License)

Jul 22, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Re: [giffnyc] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

We just had this disscussion at my dz a couple weeks ago. And this is what the DZO explained to us. Because before this, non inflated tracking groups were exiting first, then belly, free, aff, tandems, and then inflatables. Long story short the DZO wants the large tracking groups out after tandems and before the wingsuits and tracking suits. Though he explained it further talking about not just exit seperation playing a factor but horizontal decealaration of the groups exiting. This i think has alot to do with the ability of the people tracking as well. Some new jumpers probably don't cover much ground when first learning to track so seperation come pull time could get sketchy when a 8-way group such as your self star burst and track like bats out of hell. With that he said to put solo or low expeirenced trackers out after the freeflyers and before aff/tandems. It makes sense to me, wheather or not it makes sense to you coming second hand, i'm sorry. He's a lot smarter man then me. It just takes more communication before loading the plane, when there is a large mix of groups on a load.


JBar  (D 31788)

Jul 22, 2013, 12:33 PM
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Re: [giffnyc] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

We are a single Aircraft (Porter) Dropzone, so the number of people that get on a load is quite limited. This means I can not speak for bigger places, just offer some thoughts.
I organize the occasional tracking jump, and the question always comes up, even with a max. capacity of 9 jumpers in the aircraft. The rule at our DZ actually won't help you as much, because tracking can pretty much go out anywhere in the exit order, since a separation from jumprun is normally guaranteed.
This of course under the pretense that the heading of the group is communicated with the pilot and other Jumpers on board.
If I take a tracking/angle group we can exit:

a) first and go anywhere between 90-180 to jump run
b) somewhere in between and perpendicular to jumprun
or
c) last and perpendicular to, or with Jumprun (given no AFF, Tandems, Wingsuits/tracksuits on the load)

Wind direction doesn't play as much a role as you would think, if you have someone that can lead the dive towards a good opening spot after the initial separation from Jumprun.
It becomes a factor though when you have strong winds and multiple tracking groups in the load.
But that should normally be discussed then and there,as it's hard to make up a rule without knowing the terrain.
Normally, group size and opening altitude are the key factors.
The General rule is that we exit by group size.
Even in a bigger airplane, an eight way with video is normally hard to top in size. That should put you guys out first most of the times.

Leaves the pull height as last point.
Normally we Organize our Exit order as follows:
1. Belly groups big to small groups
2. Freefly groups big to small
3. Freefall groups pulling above 4000ft.
4. AFF
5.Tandems
6. Wingsuit/Tracksuit
7. High Hop and Pops

Tracking somewhere between 1st and 4th, AFF/TD, WS going after.

If you have people pull higher in the group, that should automatically move them towards the back of the exit order, f.e. if you have a tracking and belly group the same size.

if someone looses the group for whatever reason it is important to have a plan b and be aware of the position in the exit order.

In general It is important to have someone in the group with experience that can gauge the abilities of participants and assures the right direction is maintained.

If I was you I would talk to your S&TA to include a standard rule for tracking groups into the exit order, so everyone's on the same page.


ManagingPrime

Jul 22, 2013, 5:29 PM
Post #4 of 44 (7700 views)
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Re: [giffnyc] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

At my home dz, trackers can go first or last, but almost always go last. Typically if there is just one tracking group it goes last, presuming there are no students, ws/ts or high pulls. Often, when there are two groups of trackers one goes first and the other goes last. While there is no policy that I'm aware of it makes sense for the more experienced group to go first if there are two groups.

With the growing interest in tracking/atmo this is a good discussion to have.


Squeak  (E 1313)

Jul 22, 2013, 5:42 PM
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Re: [giffnyc] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

most angle jumps i have been on leave 1st, we move away from jump run off the door, and leaving 1st reduces the risk of off DZ landings


ManagingPrime

Jul 22, 2013, 9:05 PM
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Re: [Squeak] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Squeak wrote:
most angle jumps i have been on leave 1st, we move away from jum run off the door, and leaving 1st reduces the risk of off DZ landings

Also, as far as group seperation goes it makes perfect sense. But, I'll use the pejorative "40 jump wonder", to include my own demographic and say, what about then?

Angle flying and tracking don't fit in the same box. Throw experience into the mix and you've got a new challenge for the local s&ta. Throw a board into the mix and you've got a royal fuxking nightmare.SlyLaugh


strop45  (D 957)

Jul 22, 2013, 10:20 PM
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Re: [Squeak] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Squeak wrote:
most angle jumps i have been on leave 1st, we move away from jump run off the door, and leaving 1st reduces the risk of off DZ landings
But increases the risk of serious injury or death if the group tracks back onto the flight path. Having given a tracking group 12 seconds exit gap, I was in a 4 way RW group where the cameraman from the tracking group ended up opening in between us as we were tracking away, i.e. we all passed him (mind you he was an aussie) under canopy on seperate sides.


Squeak  (E 1313)

Jul 22, 2013, 11:45 PM
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Re: [strop45] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

strop45 wrote:
Squeak wrote:
most angle jumps i have been on leave 1st, we move away from jump run off the door, and leaving 1st reduces the risk of off DZ landings
But increases the risk of serious injury or death if the group tracks back onto the flight path. Having given a tracking group 12 seconds exit gap, I was in a 4 way RW group where the cameraman from the tracking group ended up opening in between us as we were tracking away, i.e. we all passed him (mind you he was an aussie) under canopy on seperate sides.
that has nothing to do with exit order. that could have just as easily happend regardless of where they exited. That scenario is bad skydiving on one or more parties. no exit order.


IrishDave  (C 713)

Jul 23, 2013, 4:36 AM
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Re: [giffnyc] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm still a baby skydiver so please take this with a pinch of salt. I think this is an important conversation to have and I'm glad you brought it up.

My last 50 jumps have mostly been angle tracking jumps. This is what I'm talking about here.
Medium/Advanced level of jumpers.

BOTH DZs I did these at, we got out first. I assumed the reason was as follows.

1) We get out and immediately turn off jump run 90 degrees. It's relatively flat and fast so we have everyone together. This gets us well clear of jump run.

2) When everyone is together, we begin getting steeper and steeper. We then turn 90 degrees right again so the remainder of our jump is DOWN the jump run.

We've already got our initial distance away from jump run in the first 15 seconds of the jump and the remainder, which I think is the key part of deciding exit order, we're relatively steep and not covering much distance at all. It's almost vertical. Assuming everyone opens at a normal altitude, we're going to be down first and much further down jump run. I'm aware that wind drift will carry belly jumpers down jump run too but we'll have that compensated by the horizontal distance we got off jump run in the first half when we were flatter and faster.

There is still some forward movement here but not anywhere near your typical "sunset tracking jump bigway with all experience levels and people in RW suits w/booties".

The DZ that I just got back from, there were two tracking groups. The first (more experienced) got out first and tracked west of a N/S jump run, we got out second and tracked east. There was MASSIVE separation between all groups on the jump. The belly and HD jumpers all opened ON jump run where the two tracking groups opened OFF jump run to the east and west with LOTS of distance between groups. I can draw out a sketch of this if it will help.

Obviously, had we been out last, we wouldn't have made the turn down jumprun (bear in mind the second turn wasn't exactly parallel to jump run either, just to be on the safe side).


*** Another important thing thing I believe we need to understand is that on an angle/tracking/atmo (whatever the hell it's called) jump, the base/leader is on their belly and controls the direction. I've seen so many "flat tracking" jumps where the leader is on their back and cannot see the direction they are going at all. I still to this day have no idea why this is done. It seems ridiculously dangerous to me. I don't believe for a second that anyone is a good enough back tracker to be able to see out the back of their head and to make sensible direction decisions. Even if they can still see the plane for the whole jump. ESPECIALLY if they are the group out last. If I'm on my belly, I can direct the group AWAY from a group I can see under us, away from any dangerous deviations back ONTO jump run or direct us away from a turn back onto jump run. (Which I've seen MANY times with people on their back) ***


With that said, I'm definitely open to hearing from more experienced jumpmasters and trackers (steep). Obviously, I want to be as safe as possible and from my understanding of wind drift, steep trackers getting out first seems to be the safest option. If it is not, I really want to know. If a tracking group gets out last, there's a much higher risk of landing off unless a deviation from a straight track 90 degrees from jump is flown.

I'm not a DZO, S&TA or an instructor but I really want my tracking (steep) jumps to be safe. If what I'm doing now is not safe, I would love to know this sooner rather than later. Angle jumps ARE different to a traditional tracking jump as we all know it. I think it's important that we don't lump them into the same category.


emmett751  (D 32906)

Jul 23, 2013, 6:43 AM
Post #10 of 44 (7248 views)
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Re: [IrishDave] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Almost every place i have been trackers of all types have gotten out first. But recently at my home DZ they made a switch. Our exit order looks like this,(all groups go big to small).

1. Tracking:Flat
2.RW
3.FF
4.Angle Flyers (freefly tracking)
4.Students
5.Tadems
6.Wingsuiters/tracking suits


giffnyc  (D 18909)

Jul 23, 2013, 10:37 AM
Post #11 of 44 (7075 views)
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Re: [emmett751] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the replies - I hope those of you following the thread ask other folks that you know to join in - I haven't seen anything else written on this topic.

To sum up the discussion so far:

The main reason trackers would like to get out first is to give them the best chance to land on the DZ - I assume that means that they want a shot at the longest line away from the line of flight that still stays within the spot i.e. get out early, go 90 degrees off line of flight as far as reasonable, then track up the line of flight.

For multiple tracking groups, they'll go left or right out of the door, or will leave first/last. More than two groups is something to be discussed.

There is some difference in what flat vs angle tracking groups can do - I don't know a ton about angle flying, but I assume its steeper, and the time in freefall as well as distance covered is less. So some DZs put them out after the vertical flyers. Anyone know how its fall rate/freefall time compares with flat and vertical flyers? What do experienced angle flyers think?

Wingsuits seem to get out last no matter what. Makes sense - they have the most options, time, visibility and have a higher incidence of tail strikes.

I'm still left with the question of experience - I've personally seen our 8 way group overtake flat trackers. My theory is that they did not have enough experience to judge their position off line of flight, and turned up line of flight early. At this point we also have opening altitude issues. The person who mentioned groups that have back-flying tracking leaders raises a point I'd like to understand - can one of you tracking leaders way in? Does it make sense to put less experienced groups out later? That's hard to do in the real world.

I feel like, as a member of a group that has a higher risk of collision with a tracking group that goes awry, I want to ask if the group has a plan and what it is. But I don't want to be "that guy" all the time - big RW groups that get out early already get enough shit for the spot/the door/the crowding/the landing pattern/slow climbouts/etc. Shocked

More thoughts, please!


Ron

Jul 25, 2013, 3:16 PM
Post #12 of 44 (6648 views)
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Re: [giffnyc] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

RW large to small
FF large to small
Tracking
WS
AFF
Tandem


llloyd  (C License)

Jul 26, 2013, 4:02 AM
Post #13 of 44 (6556 views)
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Re: [Ron] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Ron wrote:
RW large to small
FF large to small
Tracking
WS
AFF
Tandem

I've never seen that order before. Do you know what the thinking is behind it?


Ron

Jul 26, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Re: [llloyd] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

llloyd wrote:
Ron wrote:
RW large to small
FF large to small
Tracking
WS
AFF
Tandem

I've never seen that order before. Do you know what the thinking is behind it?

You can put the WS last.... But the temptation of the WS to use the students or tandems as swoop toys often gets too great.

As long as the WS jumpers do not fly up the line of flight (and anyone flying a WS should be able to do that) there is no risk.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Jul 26, 2013, 1:04 PM
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Re: [Ron] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Ron wrote:
llloyd wrote:
Ron wrote:
RW large to small
FF large to small
Tracking
WS
AFF
Tandem

I've never seen that order before. Do you know what the thinking is behind it?

You can put the WS last.... But the temptation of the WS to use the students or tandems as swoop toys often gets too great.

As long as the WS jumpers do not fly up the line of flight (and anyone flying a WS should be able to do that) there is no risk.

So... worried about WS using tandems or students as swoop toys, not trusting them to do the right thing, but trusting them to do the right thing in the middle of the group?
A decent WS can use students or tandems as swoop toys regardless of their exit position, so the idea of not trusting them doesn't seem to make sense, but it can make a significant difference for landing on the airport or creating pattern problems. Putting WS that close to tracking raises some bigger concerns, IMO.


Ron

Jul 26, 2013, 3:22 PM
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Re: [DSE] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
So... worried about WS using tandems or students as swoop toys, not trusting them to do the right thing, but trusting them to do the right thing in the middle of the group?

One is an act that they intentionally do to get a rush, the other is a basic skill. Hell, I'd be fine with them leaving last as long as if they buzzed a person without permission they were instantly grounded. But the problem is the young hotshots that don't listen... Well, they don't listen.

Quote:
A decent WS can use students or tandems as swoop toys regardless of their exit position


A decent WS can also not fly up or down the line of flight. Heck, a decent WS flier can fly down the line of flight near canopies and not create a dangerous situation. The problem is the guy with very little skill that thinks he is a god and can do as he pleases and use anyone he wants as a swoop toy. I actually had to tell on such hotshot that if he got near me again that I would shred his WS into little pieces.

Quote:
Putting WS that close to tracking raises some bigger concerns, IMO.

True, and you know more about WS flight than me. But it is not YOU I am worried about. I think I could put YOU anywhere in the line up and have zero issues with you putting anyone in danger. But I am not talking about you, I am talking about people with little skill that think others are their swoop toys.

The danger of putting WS last is that I often see them using tandems as toys. Even if the TI agrees to the danger, the student most likely didn't and does not understand the risks.

And again, it is not someone who honestly has the skill.... It is those who think they have the skill.

I'd be fine with the WS out last.... As long as the first time they buzz a tandem they are kicked off the DZ. But that does not happen.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Jul 26, 2013, 3:34 PM
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Re: [Ron] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
As long as the first time they buzz a tandem they are kicked off the DZ. But that does not happen.

And this is the reality of how things happen here. They _are_ kicked off the DZ.
We also have a proscribed pattern exclusive to WS that effectively prevents WS from getting anywhere close to tandems, students, or fun jumpers.
For better or for worse, tracking and wingsuiting effectively require that the S&TA take a proactive role in determining flight patterns and taking steps to assure everyone follows them in order to reduce freefall conflicts, opening-area conflicts, tandem/wingsuit landing conflicts, and in our case, conflicts with other users of the airport.


Ron

Jul 26, 2013, 10:34 PM
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Re: [DSE] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

DSE wrote:
Quote:
As long as the first time they buzz a tandem they are kicked off the DZ. But that does not happen.

And this is the reality of how things happen here. They _are_ kicked off the DZ.
We also have a proscribed pattern exclusive to WS that effectively prevents WS from getting anywhere close to tandems, students, or fun jumpers.
For better or for worse, tracking and wingsuiting effectively require that the S&TA take a proactive role in determining flight patterns and taking steps to assure everyone follows them in order to reduce freefall conflicts, opening-area conflicts, tandem/wingsuit landing conflicts, and in our case, conflicts with other users of the airport.

Well, I wish every DZ was run like yours. And I wish every DZ had someone like you to 'organize' the WS jumpers.

Seriously, if more of you were around then we would not have half of the issues we have with WS's.... But I think you would agree that not every DZ has a guy like you.

I will gladly buy you a drink of your choice at our first meeting. And I will continue to direct people to you for coaching..... But not everyone is as skilled/knowledgable as you.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Jul 27, 2013, 12:13 AM
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Re: [Ron] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Apologies for the unintentional bold.
It's true, few dropzones have committed to managing wingsuits. However, taking a few minutes to discover a consistent flight path for WS and trackers will usually provide great benefit to everyone. It lets tandems and fun jumpers know where to expect WS at trackers, it provides a consistent behavior for the WS and trackers, and provides a means of gauging that consistency for the sake of safety.
And, it's simple to do, for most DZ's. It takes a bit more effort on a multiplane operation, but still doesn't take a lot of effort.
here is a link to our "Wingsuit Operations Guide/Reference Guide" that has been in use for a few years, updated each year. The greatest relevance comes in pages 1-16, and provides limited information for trackers.

https://docs.google.com/...WVk/edit?usp=sharing


IrishDave  (C 713)

Jul 27, 2013, 2:36 PM
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Re: [DSE] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

DSE wrote:
Apologies for the unintentional bold.
It's true, few dropzones have committed to managing wingsuits. However, taking a few minutes to discover a consistent flight path for WS and trackers will usually provide great benefit to everyone. It lets tandems and fun jumpers know where to expect WS at trackers, it provides a consistent behavior for the WS and trackers, and provides a means of gauging that consistency for the sake of safety.
And, it's simple to do, for most DZ's. It takes a bit more effort on a multiplane operation, but still doesn't take a lot of effort.
here is a link to our "Wingsuit Operations Guide/Reference Guide" that has been in use for a few years, updated each year. The greatest relevance comes in pages 1-16, and provides limited information for trackers.

https://docs.google.com/...WVk/edit?usp=sharing


That's a good read DSE, thanks for that. We're venturing a little off topic though. I think what the OP and many others here (including myself) are looking for is input from S&TAs or those who have already implemented a policy at their DZ as to the position of steep trackers/angle flyers in the exit order.

At your D what is the policy?

@Ron, you mention that trackers go out somewhere the middle in your scenario, is that all trackers (flat and steep)? If so, what is the reasoning behind it, what order do multiple trackers get out in, and what are the defined flight paths of trackers?


Thanks for all the input already.


giffnyc  (D 18909)

Aug 13, 2013, 8:40 PM
Post #21 of 44 (5405 views)
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Re: [IrishDave] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

To be clear, looking for info as IrishDave has stated above both for steep tracking angle flyers AND flat tracking "flocking" dives. I think they should be treated differently, but again, open to learning what I can.

The lane idea of the documents for WS is great - at least there is an agreed upon location for flyers that someone can point to on a photo.


IrishDave  (C 713)

Aug 14, 2013, 6:43 PM
Post #22 of 44 (5170 views)
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Re: [giffnyc] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

giffnyc wrote:
To be clear, looking for info as IrishDave has stated above both for steep tracking angle flyers AND flat tracking "flocking" dives. I think they should be treated differently, but again, open to learning what I can.

The lane idea of the documents for WS is great - at least there is an agreed upon location for flyers that someone can point to on a photo.

What I'm worried about is that it's going to be an injury or worse before people start to think about this seriously Frown


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Aug 14, 2013, 9:55 PM
Post #23 of 44 (5110 views)
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Re: [IrishDave] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
What I'm worried about is that it's going to be an injury or worse before people start to think about this seriously

This has already occurred, both in WS and tracking.
The "lanes" concept is a bit of a PITA but has been very effective for our DZ and other DZ's that have adopted the policy.


ouch

Aug 15, 2013, 4:39 AM
Post #24 of 44 (5060 views)
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Re: [DSE] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Can we put aside all of the logic and planning for a moment?
The best laid plans don't always go to plan.
On at least four separate skydives, when the angle flyers and trackers have told me they'll be in a specific place for opening, I have found myself (a flattie) right on top of them.
Somebody give these people a GPS!!!!


bradcurn  (D 897)

Aug 15, 2013, 5:27 AM
Post #25 of 44 (5045 views)
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Re: [ouch] Exit order for tracking groups [In reply to] Can't Post

Until the advent of "angled tracking" this foolishness of putting the trackers out first was always understood to be dangerous.

It has unfortunately been introduced at one of the dz's that I jump at, and my only experience of it has been dangerous and scary. Opening after a 4 way FS training jump, the "angled flyers" who got out before us were under canopy directly below us as we started tracking.

So now, I refuse to exit on a jumprun where trackers are getting out first.


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