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Exercises to home EP skills

 


love2drop

Apr 21, 2014, 7:24 AM
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New to skydiving, wondering if anyone has input on honing EP muscle memory skills. Not easy to practice "in the environment" in a sport that moves so quick. I have been SCUBA diving for several decades and procedures are easy to train for in real time while engaged in the sport. Does anyone really know what a chop feels like until it happens? I mean, does a cutaway and reserve pull in a rig feel the same as a cutaway and reserve pull on a training harness loaded with string?

I do technical SCUBA diving and am new to skydiving. I like to have as much knowledge as possible in a sport that has very little if any forgiveness.

I would think that I have just as much chance at a MAL on my first AFF jump as someone does on their 1000th jump. I would like to be as ready as possible, I don't like "trust me" dives in SCUBA or skydiving.

Thanks, .. CJ


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Apr 21, 2014, 9:08 AM
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A hanging harness will get you a somewhat realistic simulation. Someone on the ground can spin you around so you feel how violent a malfunction sometimes feels, and you'll get to feel the "drop" that happens when you cutaway your main.

It's not exact, and it certainly doesn't simulate some types of malfunctions, but it's the best you'll get on the ground.

In addition to the muscle memory of touching your handles and knowing how to find them if you can't see them, I think one of the most useful things you can do to prepare yourself for a malfunction is to build a very strong altitude awareness, a strong understanding of your main deployment sequence, and a strong understanding of your decision process once you deploy your main canopy and see that it's not a good canopy.

Lots of people have wasted lots of time trying to "diagnose" malfunctions, and they get below their decision altitude trying to figure it out and fix it. What they really need to be doing is saying "I'm at my decision altitude and this isn't landable... I will get rid of it." (Skydive Mag had a nice reminder about that recently: http://www.skydivemag.com/...cle/loss-of-altitude).


airtwardo  (D License)

Apr 21, 2014, 10:07 AM
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If you have your own rig...setting up a hanging harness at home is easy and helpful.

'Knowing' what it feels like to chop is something you kinda just have to imagine...lol.

I think the key is to have the muscle memory part down - but even more important is the recognition & decision end of even initiating the EP...be 100% confident that you DO know what to do when & how.

That confidence of knowledge & ability will supersede that little twinge of being unsure because of no 'real time' experience.

When the time comes and you react almost without conscious thought...because you KNOW instinctively what to do - you'll wonder why you even had any doubts or concerns. Cool

Being absolutely clear on the what & when is actually the hardest part. That 'decision tree' so to speak becomes a little confusing when first starting out. I do a lot of visualization drills to make sure I'm mentally on the right page...then add the proper sequence of hand & body movements - if nothing else, touching the area the handle would be, even if I'm not wearing a rig while doing it.

Gets the rhythm in sync as far as muscle memory...if in the real world you start to do something out of order - that caution & warning light comes on in your hard drive. Wink


councilman24  (D 8631)

Apr 21, 2014, 10:51 AM
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As twardo referred to you need to make ALL of the decisions on the ground. Hard deck for cutaway, hard deck for pull the damn thing, YOUR procedure for PC in tow. How long your going to mess with a fired brake. Or line twist, which USPA lists still as not a malfunction but when you get to higher performance canopies often are. Body position for cutaway. Etc. etc. The biggest thing is being willing and ready to accept that you HAVE to use your reserve. NOW!

About muscle memory. some may be fine but during a cutaway the handles are NOWHERE near where they are on the ground or in freefall. If you don't look, don't feel, don't pay attention you may be pulling on the wrong thing. In addition after a cutaway they may not be where you 'muscle memory' thinks they are. Procedural memory for look reach look grab pull pull is great. relying on muscle memory for finding the handles isn't so great.

Get in a hanging harness with your rig and a VERY experienced instructor and get it right, several times.

But also remember most of us have survived our first, second, twentieth cutaways.Wink The ones that don't are the ones that don't do it when they should.


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Apr 21, 2014, 1:42 PM
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Perhaps it is helpful to think of learning EP's as two interrelated but separate processes.

The first and WAY more complex process is assessing the canopy and deciding on a course of action.

The second process is the "hand jive" that executes the procedure.

It is critical that we proactice BOTH processes.

One thing that I found helpful as a noob was watching terrifying youtube videos of skydiving malfunctions. What I learned was how incredibly fast stuff can go bad. I didn't try to use the videos to learn the correct responses (I relied on my instructors for that)... but seeing lots of mals on the videos helped me understand better what bad stuff can look like.

My friends who are both jumpers and divers have told me that in their opinion, the biggest difference between diving emergencies and jumping emergencies is TIME! They say that jumping problems can require assessing, deciding, and acting much more quickly. Of course, in both sports running out of air is bad.


mistercwood  (Student)

Apr 21, 2014, 10:54 PM
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GLIDEANGLE wrote:
One thing that I found helpful as a noob was watching terrifying youtube videos of skydiving malfunctions. What I learned was how incredibly fast stuff can go bad. I didn't try to use the videos to learn the correct responses (I relied on my instructors for that)... but seeing lots of mals on the videos helped me understand better what bad stuff can look like.

This has been my approach so far - about 80% of the clips in my Skydiving youtube playlist are mals and screwups... I figure I can learn more seeing what NOT to do if there's a problem.


love2drop

Apr 22, 2014, 2:19 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input. After reading your responses I believe that muscle memory was not so much the major concern for me, more concern being the correct procedures for handling different situations.
The EP's seem pretty straight forward for a HS MAL as does identifying the HS MAL. I feel that as a student pulling at 5500' I could handle the EP's in a HS situation. The LS MAL's, in my inexperienced opinion, seem like they would take more thought process to determine the correct course of action. Being in a violent spin with an open canopy, or a 2 out, seems to me to be a more stressful situation to deal with then say a bag lock or PC in tow at 5000'. Or at least the HS MAL seems to me to be very clear cut as far as the response. The LS MAL doesn't seem to be that clear cut. Line twists, line overs, break fires, broken line/s, un flyable canopy, 2 outs, etc. would most likely take place at a lower altitude than a HS MAL and would seem to me to take more time to analayze before coming to a decision on how to react. Can I land it or not, should I disconnect the RSL or not, can I kick out of these twists, should I pump the brakes some more to try and drop the slider etc. all of which is eating up my altitude, some fater than others.

Maybe I am over thinking this stuff and should just go fly and let the "on the job training" take its course?


On a side note, I spent the morning at the DZ waiting for clouds to clear enough for Cat A jump which never happened. Been waiting 6 days now for weather to clear.

At least a bad day at the DZ (weather wise) is better than a good day at work. Will try again tomorrow.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions and coaching and for the links to some awesome information.

CJ


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Apr 22, 2014, 3:00 PM
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Re: [love2drop] Exercises to home EP skills [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Can I land it or not

It all boils down to this question, no matter the speed of the malfunction. If you're not under a landable canopy by your decision altitude, say bye-bye to it. It really doesn't matter what it is. If the malfunction seems "clearable" but it's not clear by your decision altitude, stop fucking around with it, no matter what the problem is.

Too many people have died in this sport trying to fix a problem all the way into the ground. Or they try to fix it to a point where they no longer have another option.


hillson  (D 33134)

Apr 23, 2014, 8:57 AM
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Bad wx recently? Sounds like FL. Yup...Zhills. I'm not going to add to the remarks prior to your Cat A but seek out the instructors - particularly when the wx is shit. Avoid the "bar school."

My repack is due in month or two. If you still think jumping for you and neither of us has had to use Plan B by then...if we can make the schedule work I'll let you put on the rig and pull the handles in the loft. If you have your A license. If still a student...will check with the staff as my equip is a bit different (soft reserve handle vs d ring).

I'm there most weekends so just ask around. Except this one as I'm *suffering* on a business trip to Germany.


Di0  (A 68711)

Apr 23, 2014, 10:22 AM
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love2drop wrote:
should I disconnect the RSL or not

That's something worth to discuss with your instructors, every once and a while, even after your first few jump.
Personally I do the following, but take it with a grain of salt, your instructors are qualified the best to go through these kind of things.

My thought process on this issue in case of a MAL is simple: if my reserve is out and I didn't want it to be out (which means my main is still attached, packed or not), I undo the RSL.



The only two other cases I undo my RSL are "preventive" and are: in flight is if I have to land with sketchy winds but I undo it only once below cutaway altitude (although I'm reconsidering this procedure, now that I have a skyhook and that thing could save my ass potentially to very very very very low, not that I want to test if the advertisements are true and one should always trust training and procedures written in blood over fancy backup devices, but if everything goes wrong, I mess up because I'm stupid and I cutaway too low instead of adding fabric, etc., I'd prefer to be considered the stupid skydiver that is lucky to be alive because of the skyhook rather than being dead. So with a skyhook and high winds, I generally undo it as soon as I touch the ground, if I need to cutaway because of an unexpected strong gust).
Again, you should talk about this with an instructor, I think SIM recommends to undo the RSL once below 1000ft (no-cutaway altitude) when landing with high winds, on roofs, in water and other potentially similar dangerous situation.

Basically, if you reach the point where you can't cutaway safely anymore but you might be forced to do it only after landing for whatever reason, undo your RSL, it's only an harm at that point.

Only other time I undo my RSL, is when doing high pulls, because chances of getting tangled with another skydiver when both doing stupid stuff at 10k, or an airplane flying by, are after all higher then not being able to find your handles in time if you're doing a high pull (note: this is a very personal assessment, nowhere in the SIM, it's not necessarily correct or true, but it makes sense to me).


(This post was edited by Di0 on Apr 23, 2014, 10:30 AM)


Deimian

Apr 23, 2014, 11:27 AM
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Di0 wrote:
Basically, if you reach the point where you can't cutaway safely anymore but you might be forced to do it only after landing for whatever reason, undo your RSL, it's only an harm at that point.

I see no point in doing that. You are distracting yourself at a low altitude, when things are even more critical due to the ground proximity and lack of time/altitude. What is preventing you from disengaging your RSL as soon as you land? Even more, what are you doing jumping in winds high enough that might require you to cutaway to don't injury yourself once you are on the ground? On my opinion, if you can't control your canopy on the ground you can't control it on the air. The only exception I would make is if you are going to land in a deep water body, but I don't think it happens that often, or does it?


Di0  (A 68711)

Apr 23, 2014, 11:36 AM
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Deimian wrote:
Di0 wrote:
Basically, if you reach the point where you can't cutaway safely anymore but you might be forced to do it only after landing for whatever reason, undo your RSL, it's only an harm at that point.

I see no point in doing that. You are distracting yourself at a low altitude, when things are even more critical due to the ground proximity and lack of time/altitude. What is preventing you from disengaging your RSL as soon as you land? Even more, what are you doing jumping in winds high enough that might require you to cutaway to don't injury yourself once you are on the ground? On my opinion, if you can't control your canopy on the ground you can't control it on the air. The only exception I would make is if you are going to land in a deep water body, but I don't think it happens that often, or does it?

Yes and no.
Meaning: absolutely yes, if you are in that situation, you already messed up by deciding to board the airplane but sometimes winds pick up while riding to altitude, some other times, we simply get over our head and take the wrong decision, at that point you have to land like it or not, thinking about what you should have done before boarding the plane (i.e. cracking a beer and watching others land) is not going to help.
As to whether there is a point or not, I think it's on the SIM, undoing an RSL only takes literally 2-3 seconds, if that, and not much attention, you barely have to look at the thing, honestly I do it if I don't know where exactly I'm going to land because of whatever reason: I might end up being too close to the plane, ending up on a roof, that kind of shit that might happen at the last moment (unlikely but who knows...), I'd rather take 2-3 second when setting up my pattern at 700 ft, where I still have enough time for corrections, rather than struggling to find my RSL ring when I have my knees on the ground, my canopy is dragging and inflating, I am having a hard time finding my balance and I need to chop that thing FAST.

You make a good point, jumping in winds so high that you have to cutaway on the ground is a MISTAKE (even much more so for low-experienced), but once you do that mistake, there is no need to do a second one (in my opinion) by landing with the RSL still attached and making a cutaway on the ground a lot more complicated and potentially useless.

My 2c.


(This post was edited by Di0 on Apr 23, 2014, 11:41 AM)


Deimian

Apr 23, 2014, 12:06 PM
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Di0 wrote:
Yes and no.
Meaning: absolutely yes, if you are in that situation, you already messed up by deciding to board the airplane but sometimes winds pick up while riding to altitude, some other times, we simply get over our head and take the wrong decision, at that point you have to land like it or not, thinking about what you should have done before boarding the plane (i.e. cracking a beer and watching others land) is not going to help.
As to whether there is a point or not, I think it's on the SIM, undoing an RSL only takes literally 2-3 seconds, if that, and not much attention, you barely have to look at the thing, honestly I do it if I don't know where exactly I'm going to land because of whatever reason: I might end up being too close to the plane, ending up on a roof, that kind of shit that might happen at the last moment (unlikely but who knows...), I'd rather take 2-3 second when setting up my pattern at 700 ft, where I still have enough time for corrections, rather than struggling to find my RSL ring when I have my knees on the ground, my canopy is dragging and inflating, I am having a hard time finding my balance and I need to chop that thing FAST.

You make a good point, jumping in winds so high that you have to cutaway on the ground is a MISTAKE (even much more so for low-experienced), but once you do that mistake, there is no need to do a second one (in my opinion) by landing with the RSL still attached and making a cutaway on the ground a lot more complicated and potentially useless.

My 2c.

I guess our thinking process is different. I rather spend these 2-3 seconds disengaging the RSL on the ground than on the air. What is the probability of these 2-3 seconds being of vital importance for survival once you are on the ground? What is the probability of the same number of seconds being of vital importance for survival while you are in your pattern? I assume the first one is way lower than the second.


Di0  (A 68711)

Apr 23, 2014, 2:46 PM
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Deimian wrote:

I guess our thinking process is different. I rather spend these 2-3 seconds disengaging the RSL on the ground than on the air. What is the probability of these 2-3 seconds being of vital importance for survival once you are on the ground? What is the probability of the same number of seconds being of vital importance for survival while you are in your pattern? I assume the first one is way lower than the second.

Yup, I mean: I see your point, but my conclusions differs and I'd rather take a couple of seconds under canopy (if I can and it's safe to do it, if not... sure, it can wait, but let's be honest, if everything is going fine most of the times there is plenty of time to take a couple of seconds to undo your RSL even if you're already in the pattern, granted my primary focus should always be on flying the canopy, especially when landing in high winds).


Not saying you're wrong and I'm right, you actually make a lot of sense, but I feel "safer" doing things the other way when/if I can.

You have to admit we both have a logic for deciding to go either way. As long as you don't do stupid things without even thinking, it should be OK either way. I guess.


airtwardo  (D License)

Apr 23, 2014, 9:45 PM
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Quote:
You make a good point, jumping in winds so high that you have to cutaway on the ground is a MISTAKE (even much more so for low-experienced), but once you do that mistake, there is no need to do a second one (in my opinion) by landing with the RSL still attached and making a cutaway on the ground a lot more complicated and potentially useless.

OR ~

You could just land...Both your arms are fully extended finishing the flare, keep your right toggle at full extension and let go of the left one - the canopy will turn a 180 and nose dive into the ground...if it doesn't collapse, grab some more right brake line and start pulling.

Tandems do it all the time but they need help because of the size of the canopy and the awkward strapped together thing...it's pretty simple on a 'standard' sized canopy.

The 'oh my god I'm gonna be dragged' thing, is for the most part a holdover from the round parachute days...back then in high winds you had one shot to try and run around to the side then back of the parachute, and the wind would actually help collapse it - if you weren't fast enough or the winds too high ya either cut away* or went for a ride!

*back in the round days you would only cut away one side barring a cross-connector - made getting it straight again easier.

IF you're on a square & you aren't experienced enough that you can't dive it into the ground after landing & the winds are SO high you're getting dragged...the price of a repack is the LEAST of your problems! Sly


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Apr 23, 2014, 10:22 PM
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GLIDEANGLE wrote:
Of course, in both sports running out of air is bad.
LaughLaughLaugh My favorite line when I take scuba divers on tandems. Cool


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Apr 23, 2014, 10:25 PM
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airtwardo wrote:
IF you're on a square & you aren't experienced enough that you can't dive it into the ground after landing & the winds are SO high you're getting dragged...the price of a repack is the LEAST of your problems! Sly
I take a tip from the old tandem manual. If it's an amazingly windy day, I disconnect my RSL at 1000' in case I have to chop when I land.

It actually came in handy once. . . Smile

But that's a long story. Wink


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Apr 23, 2014, 10:25 PM
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airtwardo wrote:
IF you're on a square & you aren't experienced enough that you can't dive it into the ground after landing & the winds are SO high you're getting dragged...the price of a repack is the LEAST of your problems! Sly
I take a tip from the old tandem manual. If it's an amazingly windy day, I disconnect my RSL at 1000' in case I have to chop when I land.

It actually came in handy once. . . Smile

But that's a long story. Wink


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Apr 23, 2014, 10:27 PM
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Re: [love2drop] Exercises to home EP skills [In reply to] Can't Post

You can practice your EP's with your rig on, or even just in your head. Repeat the steps until they are part of your DNA. Cool

Ask an instructor for guidance if you feel you need any.

One of the hardest things of handling any problem is accepting that you really DO have a problem. I think denial gets people into trouble more than anything.


lyosha  (A License)

Apr 24, 2014, 7:44 AM
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Get someone to suspend you by your big rings so that you are hanging from them like you would be under canopy a foot or so off the ground.

Cut away.

(disconnect the rsl...)


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Apr 24, 2014, 8:04 AM
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Make sure, too, that you practice your EP's correctly. Are you looking and grabbing the handles properly? Are you pulling in the correct direction? The correct direction is always the direction the cable housings run. On most rigs, that means straight down, but many people practice punching straight forward, away from their bodies. This is wrong.

Are you arching as you prepare to cutaway? Do you extend both arms back into your arch after you cutaway? I put my feet on my butt and arch for all I'm worth before I even pull the handles. I'm 10 for 10 on stable cutaways. Smile

Do you plan to keep or throw the handles. I prefer to hang onto them, some prefer to throw them. Make your choice, then practice it that way.

Hope this helps. Smile


Trafficdiver  (C 39999)

Apr 25, 2014, 1:50 PM
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I like to practice my EPs in the tunnel. It's interesting to see what your body does when you bring your hands to your chest. I try to imagine getting both handles pulled before I hit the net.

The non-skydiving tunnel instructors have no idea what I am doing.Smile


wicodefly  (B License)

Apr 25, 2014, 9:06 PM
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In regards to disconnecting the RSL, I have a comment and a question. Any input is appreciated.

- Thanks for the tip on collapsing the canopy, I will use it. My plan is if for some reason I start getting dragged really badly (I don't jump in windy conditions) I'll cut away, even if that means my reserve PC pops. Obviously I'd try to disconnect RSL first, but if it's not possible for whatever reasons, I'll cut away on the ground.

- Question: Why disconnect RSL in a two out situation before cutting away the main? Is it absolutely necessary? What if you have Skyhook?


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Apr 26, 2014, 7:31 AM
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wicodefly wrote:
In regards to disconnecting the RSL, I have a comment and a question. Any input is appreciated.

- Question: Why disconnect RSL in a two out situation before cutting away the main? Is it absolutely necessary? What if you have Skyhook?
Unless you're jumping a rig with dual RSL attachments (Racers, correct?) I feel it's not necessary. People say that the RSL will cause the main to stay attached. I have a hard time seeing how that could happen, esp. with the tension off the pin end of the reserve ripcord. (assuming that either the AAD has fired or the reserve ripcord has been pulled.) I don't include disconnecting the RSL in my EP training for 2 out on single RSL rigs.

Comments to the contrary are welcome. BTW, I am NOT a rigger.


councilman24  (D 8631)

Apr 26, 2014, 8:25 PM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Exercises to home EP skills [In reply to] Can't Post

JohnMitchell wrote:
wicodefly wrote:
In regards to disconnecting the RSL, I have a comment and a question. Any input is appreciated.

- Question: Why disconnect RSL in a two out situation before cutting away the main? Is it absolutely necessary? What if you have Skyhook?
Unless you're jumping a rig with dual RSL attachments (Racers, correct?) I feel it's not necessary. People say that the RSL will cause the main to stay attached. I have a hard time seeing how that could happen, esp. with the tension off the pin end of the reserve ripcord. (assuming that either the AAD has fired or the reserve ripcord has been pulled.) I don't include disconnecting the RSL in my EP training for 2 out on single RSL rigs.

Comments to the contrary are welcome. BTW, I am NOT a rigger.

If you have a rsl that has two rings on the reserve flap with the lanyard ring in between them the force required to bend the cable between the two flap rings is not insignificant. RC cables usually have a permanent u shaped bend after a cutaway/rsl deployment. With your weight supported by the reserve canopy the drag of the main might not be enough to immediately pull that cable out between the rings. Releasing the rsl would alleviate that issue. BUT a faster way to eliminate that issue is to pull the reserve ripcord.Shocked Much faster than undoing the shackle.Wink

I don't know if this has ever been an issue in an actual two out cut away but it could be.



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