Sep 9, 2013, 10:11 PM
Post #1 of 6
Cat-D Aff Jumps
Hi all! So I passed my cat A-C with flying colors. My instructors gave me excellent reviews and the two i flew with on my cat-b told me they have very rarely had a student track so fast and well. But then my d-1 jump came along and i promptly failed. Getting out of the plane and my practice pull were fine but when it came to turning I just spun left and despite what i tried I couldn't do much about it. My instructor told me after that I just wasn't putting in enough input and the spin was just caused by a slight lack of symmetry of my body and legs. Having not been able to jump for three weekends due to vacation and windy conditions I decided to stop by a windtunnel since it was only 15 minutes from where I live. There I felt a lot less stable than i do in normal free fall and i performed pretty poorly. Besides a few instances where i felt a quick, concise, and clean rotation, my body position (mainly my legs) was pretty much all over the place. I would get a little off balance with my turn, i guess instinctively try to counter with my legs and just completely lose control. Sometimes it ended in some pretty clean knee turns but that wasnt what i was going for . Im doing another d1 this weekend and like everyone who ever did an aff jump i really want to pass but i feel a bit unprepared and ready to fail after my time in the tunnel. Like i said i had a couple really clean turns where i kept my body straight and symmetrical and i really felt the quickness and control in them, but the second i twisted my upper body or my legs fell slightly out of position, i lost control and was slow or completely unable to recover. Nearly a month from my last jump i just want to enter with a bit more confidence and get these turns down! Let me know if you have any suggestions with what helped you with your turns or ways i can try and practice physically or mentally for my next jump. I plan to go over the dvd they gave me at the tunnel with my instructor so hopefully that helps. Thank you for any advice you can give!
Currency is a big deal in the AFF progression. Especially in the Cat C/D area, there are some big steps up in skills/learning with each jump, and the currency helps you to retain that.
Either way, Cat D can be tough. If you get 'lucky' and your Cat C goes really well, with you holding a heading the whole way down, or your instructors are super 'tight' and don't let your heading wander at all, you end up not having to make any corrections and you go into Cat D having to do controlled turns when you've never done anything but fall straight down.
Here's a thought - forget about the turns for now, and plan on the next jump being a Cat C/D. Go out, and make the plan to get relaxed and stable, and hold a nice heading. IF that goes well and you feel great, try a turn.
You're certainly not current, and if it didn't go well the last time, you might need a little 'pressure relief', and having the option to just fall stable and relax can have go into the jump with a more positive outlook.
Besides a few instances where i felt a quick, concise, and clean rotation
Nobody is look for quick, clean or concise on a Cat D. What we're looking for is control. Plan to turn at a slow pace, say 3 to 5 seconds for a 90 degree turn. Keep in mind that you have plenty of working time to do more than enough turns to move to the next level, so shoot for control over speed. That goes for just about every skill on every level of AFF.
I can definitely relate and struggle with pretty much the same thing. I'm on my level 7 now (I failed it) but I barely passed level 4. I actually thought I didn't because I went more than 90 degrees (like 360) but like the other poster said, they look for control. So while I overshot it, I stopped the turns and pulled on time. My problem, like yours, is my legs are off. They're a bit low and wide for my size so my center of gravity isn't quite where it needs to be. This cost me on level 7 because when I needed to turn and track in another direction, I went into a slow spin after my first successful track. Took me a spin and a stop later to attempt another track where I started spinning again and almost got out of control where my instructor needed to stop me but thankfully I stopped it right before she did. I had three instructors look at my level 7 video and I got great input from them all. After the last one looked at it, he saw what was my main problem and two of them helped me practice what's the proper form I need and input on my legs. I feel much better already about it because now we know what's the problem. Also, you may not have a problem with this because it seems you tracked really well but I seem to forget about my heading. My mind is focused on the tasks I need to do that I sometimes forget to find a reference point which causes instability in me.
Anyways, all that to say, I understand what you're going through and just hang in there, relax and have fun!
After a couple weekends of being grounded by weather I finally got a chance to do my d-1 on sunday and nailed it. It went perfect from the moment exiting the plane. That was by far the most confident I had ever been that i passed a jump! thanks for the advice everyone! just relaxing pretty much did the trick