Sep 29, 2001, 9:54 PM
Post #1 of 29
First freefall trouble
I just finished my 8th jump on a static line progression, a repeat of the 5 second delay. It went horribly. I lost my stability right off of the strut, made a complete roll, thought I had it stopped, then ended up on my back again. I reached the 5 count on my back, so I pulled. I had a nasty stepthru. I had both of my arms wrapped in the risers, and I was upside down (feet in the lines) under a good canopy. I got my feet down and managed to pull my arms out of the twisted risers and flew the canopy in just fine. The part that scares me is that I stepped through on my hop 'n pop also (again, nothing serious, my arm wrapped in the riser, I got out of it and flew the canopy in). Most of the people that I have talked to haven't had 2 stepthrus ever, let alone in 3 jumps. I also took a gentle tumble on my first attempt at the 5 second, and got lucky that I was on my belly when pull time came around.
So I guess my question is: What am I doing wrong? I went from a sloppy arch on the hop 'n pop to trying really hard on the delays, and it still didn't work. I'm really concerned. I've gotten lucky that I didn't have to cut away on either of those stepthru's, and I'm worried that I'm risking my safety for something that I'm just not capable of doing.
I have to agree with Skymedic. You can do at least the first jump of the aff-course. I would say the safety is more important then those few extra dollars. I'm still a student (newbie) myself and I'm still in AFF. I chose AFF because i wanted freefall from the very first time and because you're not alone in the air. First two jumps I looked at the ground beneath me what made me also very instable because I wasn't arching. Fortunatle my jumpmasters were there to prevent me from flipping on my back. Third jump I wasn't looking at the ground anymore but just put my head back and looked up as far as possible (still relaxed), arch, hips out and relax your hands...That was my first perfect 'fun' jump. You should practise your box position more with your instructor and at home in front of your mirror. Ask your instructor for advice... He knows best (I hope :) )
Although I'm not an expert (far from it :) )..a cutaway while your feet is in the lines sounds like a very dangerous situation. What is hop 'n pop and a stepthru?
Don't think you aren't capable of doing something because then you will fail at it for sure...
billvon (D 16479)
Sep 30, 2001, 8:11 AM
Post #4 of 29
hop and pop - low exit followed immediately by parachute opening. Good practice for bailouts.
stepthru - rotation through your lines or risers as the parachute is opening, resulting in a twist in the lines or risers. Often you get a good parachute anyway, but the risers are twisted, which can make it difficult to release the brakes and/or steer. It can also make it impossible to cut away.
I would love to try the first jump of an AFF course to see if it helps, but my local dz is fairly small and does AFF with three tandem jumps followed by the rest of the jumps with one instructor. Another dz is an option, but I'm in college, without a car, and this is the only dz that the skydive club gives rides to.
Doesn't America have public transportation like trains or busses? :)... Maybe you could ask your instructor to make an exception for you and still do an aff-jump with two instructors. Or isn't that allowed (against regulations)...
Three tandem jumps in AFF...what's the purpose of that? We don't have such an aff-course here in the netherlands...
I don't really get it either, and I don't think any of the instructors there like the system that much either. Beginners are encouraged to do a static line progression, to the point that they almost discourage aff.
Strange dropzone you have :)... What kind of advice have you had from your instructors to solve your instabilty... Well...if AFF isn't an option because of a temporary shortage of money I would go to a windtunnel like skymedic suggested. Skymedic is a very wise man :).... The use of windtunnels are cheap right?
Personally I wouldn't jump anymore (alone out of an airplane) until I am sure I can pull stable..
Also am i wondering if you have to pull within 5 seconds after exit how hard it is to become stable again if your exit isn't good. In 5 seconds you don't reach terminal velocity right? The stronger the relative wind is how easier it will be to become stable right? I'm not sure about this so correct me if I'm wrong.
Maybe it's an idea when you start jumping again to let your jm video your exit so you can see what you're doing wrong..
billvon (D 16479)
Sep 30, 2001, 2:52 PM
Post #10 of 29
>I would love to try the first jump of an AFF course to see if it helps, but my local >dz is fairly small and does AFF with three tandem jumps followed by the rest > of the jumps with one instructor.
So they will clear you to do 5 second delays, but would not clear you to jump with on a single JM AFF? Odd. Back when I taught SL, we wouldn't clear a student for 5 second delays until they could exit and open safely, at which point a no-contact exit with an AFF (or even SL JM) is doable. It's strange they would progress you to that point but claim you were not qualified to do a single JM AFF dive.
Brian, I didn't know you were on DZ.com... welcome to the group! If you'd really like to try an AFF jump, you could ask if there's any way they could do that. I don't know yet what the situation is on instructors since the USPA changed everything around.
To clear things a bit, the general feeling I get from our DZO is that he just doesn't like the idea of sending first-timers out on a solo freefall, hence the IAF program as opposed to regular AFF. I believe this is similar to how the USPA generally feels as well... that starting out with tandem(s) is the ideal way to get into the sport...?
In any case, it never hurts to ask at the DZ. Plus, ask your instructors anything you can think of that you think would help. Not just during the debreif, too... I've found that when I have problems, anybody out there wearing a purple shirt, actually, is willing to help anytime.
One last thing--don't be too hard on yourself. It's not easy, starting out. Just realize, in the air, it's all mental. Practice your arch on the ground, all the time, then in the air, just relax and let your body do what you practiced. That's what it took for me, anyway... I had a nasty habit of doing barrel rolls off the strut. So, all week, several times a day, I would lie down on the floor and arch hard, and hold it for 10-20 seconds. Look at all your limbs to see if they're symmetrical, then hold them there. You'll look wierd. Don't worry. If you mix in some sit-ups and push-ups, people will assume you're working out, and leave it at that. But seriously, once I did that for a week, I really had it in my head, and then that weekend, I thought to relax, and it really worked.
Three tandem jumps in AFF...what's the purpose of that? We don't have such an aff-course here in the netherlands...
That's actually AFP, it's what I did. 3 Tandems followed by the AFF progression but you only have one JM instead of 2 for the first 3 jumps. The point is to get some canopy flight instruction from the guy on your back before they stick you under your own. As well as getting used to FF before you don't have someone strapped to you. Ends up costing about the same (slightly more) because you don't have that extra instructor for the first 3 solo jumps.
Why not try a tandem jump?? That'll give you some exposure to freefall and a stable body position.
I have read all the other responses and have the following to offer:
First, you haven't yet stated whether you are hanging or poising off from your left foot. If you are hanging, then it is my guess that you are over-amping and bending forward at the waist to try and actually see your ripcord before you pull it. That, probably compounded by having your legs either too far up on your ass, too close together, or a combination of both.
Believe me when I say that I have seen it ALL in my 15 years as an SL Instructor. I won't give the "go" signal to a student until he or she has their legs and arch just the way I want it. That is to say: arched from the pelvis, knees just barely bent and far apart with toes pointed (forming more of a big "x" than a relaxed arch. Keeping your legs wide apart and your feet extended more will make them act more as "training wheels" and give your more lateral stability when you are reaching for the ripcord or pilot chute.
Now, what we do to prevent the bending forward at the waist problem is we remove the "look" part of the original "arch, look, reach, pull, check" sequence. We do this because of the way that our student gear is configured; which is to say, more like up-jumper equipment. By that, I mean that back when we were using ripcords and spring-loaded pilot chutes, the ripcord came out down on your hip, just like where your hand deploy would be. In a good arched position, you just can't see it anyway unless you de-arch and look under your arm (which is obviously not good). We stopped using the spring-loaded pilot chute/ripcord method after we just figured out that there was no reason to do that, only to have to nearly immedately re-train them to use hand deploy via the BOC (which you CERTAINLY can't see, even if you ball up). Now, we do a lot more muscle memory drills prior to the first freefall. I have them rig up completely and then stand against a wall or up against a tree, making sure that the only thing touching it is their dick (or lack thereof). I also make damn sure that they are holding their feet and legs exactly like I want them at exit (spread wide with toes pointed, knees slightly bent). I make them "arch thousand, reach thousand, pull thousand" like 50 times prior to each jump at that early stage. I tell them that there is absolutely no reason in the world for them to be de-arching and searching for that pilot chute handle and have them try and see it while practicing on the ground. They generally get my point and don't have any problems. Should they fuck up and do it anyway, I make them do a ton of remedial "tree fucking" prior to their second attempt at it. If a student at least pulls in a timely manner, even though unstable, then I will usually give them a second chance at the 5 second delay. Screw that up and it's back to PRCP's or the better option: what I refer to as "the one man drag", AKA an AFF level 4.
We have found that the majority of truly ate-up SL students can be un-fucked by taking them all the way to altitude just one time and letting them get "the feel" of terminal velocity and some "hands on" coaching. Once they get the big picture, then they are plugged back into the SL program and zip right through. "Why not just finish them AFF?" Because they don't need it and we cannot spare the instructors normally. We have certainly made exceptions to that, and have finished quite a few students by just going ahead and completing levels 5-7 before sticking them with a coach. This, though, only when we have extra AFF guys hanging around. Also, we have been known to modify the standard SL progression in the students favor if he exhibits truly exceptional airskills. Our SL program, while generally "typical" as far as following the SIM recommendations, has the great benefit of giving the students almost twice the normal amount of freefall time, since we do all of our 30 and 45 second delays from 13,000 out of the otter, one-on-one with a rated Instructor. They can normally knock out all of the tasks that they would normally do on five jumps in just two, maybe three since they are actually logging a minute of freefall on each of those dives. Very nice, and the students are not rushed at all.
We have a very high success rate with our students and rarely have to intervene with "the one man drag" fix-it. Keeping most of our instructors focused on one training method means we don't have any duplication of efforts as far as classroom work goes. We still offer AFF to the people that just have to have it that way, but normally incorporate it by way of the tandem progression method (also known as AFP in some places). That's three tandems where the student actually has tasks to complete (not just joyrides), then straight to AFF level 4. This, in our opinion, is better for the club than teaching straight AFF because we never have more than one Instructor tied up with a single student. It is also more economical to the student.
With the new ISP requirements in place there are far more options open to the schools. Lots of places have hybrid programs in place and they tailor their programs as needed to get their students comfortable in the air. The bottom line is that we all want our students to graduate with that A-license and be safe jumpers.
Hey Marc! It's always a little wierd to run into people you know in real life out on the internet somewhere. I was planning on talking to somebody the next time I can get out to the DZ, and was really trying to find out what I could work on in the dorms. I've been arching everywhere for the last couple of days, and it's becoming a lot easier to "just do," without having to go through the whole "ok, point toes, dick out, let go, arms out" thought process. I'm determined to get it right next time, dammit.
I'm A Year, And Over 200 Jumps Into This Great Sport. But One Thing That Might Help You Here. I Trained At Sky Dive Space Land In Rosharon Texas, I Did 4 Tandems, Groundschool, Then The AFP Progression Method. My Exits Were Really Shitty, Until My Dive Master "The Little General" Told Me, "Hey, When You Exith The Aircraft, Just Relax, And Watch Ir Fly Away" It Worked, And The Rest As They Say Is History!
Hey Brian, Congrats!!! Sounds like you worked out some of those kinks! I think I saw you out there today, but was so in my own little world that I did not introduce myself. I am sorry! ( I am the one who landed on her feet and made a big deal about it......)
Congrats to Brian for nailing the freefall, and to Anne for nailing the landings, and to everyone for just being so awesome! Hehehe, I'm in a really good mood... probably because I was skydiving all day today, and I'm going to skydive more tomorrow...
I had a similar problem the previous weekend when from the two 3 sec jumps I did stepped towards the 5 sec ones. (Before saying anything it is interesting what my instructor said when beginners jump:
3sec=immediate opening 5sec=3sec 7sec=5sec ...
For me it was true the first 5 sec was really 2,5-3 seconds. I jumped out but the problem was I did not arched so my legs started to lift, finnaly when I was in a sitting position I thought it is a great time for opening I pulled the ripcord... I jumped four 5 sec and the problem was the nearly the same during all jumps. Later we figured out that I did not jump strong enough as I jump from an Antonov An-2 I have space so it should not be the problem.
I hope next time it will be OK.
Interesting that one of the more experienced jumpers said that the chute - RS 4/4A - I jump with he always opens in a sitting position "so it does not brake your back". Fortunately this is a round chute so it can be openned safely -according to instructors- in such positions as for example spinning when a square chute would cause problems and also can be opened safely at 600m ~ 1800ft.
Nice to hear that somebody else isn't just cruising through the SL program. While I haven't had any step-throughs or problems like you're describing, I have had all sorts of stability issues.
I nailed my PRCP's and my first 5 second freefall. But sometime between 5-seconds and 10, I start going unstable and rock and spin and hurt myself on opening. It's been a mess.
In reply to:
Just realize, in the air, it's all mental.
I think this is what I failed to realize. I thought that I had to learn how to arch perfectly, and that my problems were caused by little mistakes. Now that I've drown myself in videos and advice, I'm convinced that my problems were because I was afraid of screwing up; that it was mental.
I haven't been able to get back up in the air, but I'm pretty sure that if I go, relax, and try to get 'arch like', I'm going to do just fine. The air seems to be very forgiving, and just knowing that is going to make me a lot more comfortable and *relaxed*. I just wish I could get up there to test out this new belief. ;)
Good luck with the static line. Realize that even jumps where you have problems are a lot more fun than sitting in the dorms. I'd rather have a spinning opening than stay at home.