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PLF practice

 


cgriff

Aug 11, 2014, 9:37 AM
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I moved to Florida this year, and realized, I no longer have any "winter" which got me aching to get back in the sky. At that point, was at 244 lbs... It took me longer than I'd like, but I'm back under 220 now, so I redid my ground school on Saturday, and passed level 1 on Sunday. It feels SO good to fly again! What was most interesting to me was the differences between the training I had previously (WAY back in '06) and the training this time around.

The biggest difference I think was in regard to PLFs. We drilled them over and over and over the first time through. This time, we talked through "rolling out" excess horizontal speed on landing, but we didn'd do any practices. Apparently there was an injury of some sort associated with the practice itself (rather than a real live PLF on landing) so they don't do the drills any more. Is this pretty rare? Did you guys have to jump off tables and such?


dthames  (B 37674)

Aug 11, 2014, 10:18 AM
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cgriff wrote:
I moved to Florida this year, and realized, I no longer have any "winter" which got me aching to get back in the sky. At that point, was at 244 lbs... It took me longer than I'd like, but I'm back under 220 now, so I redid my ground school on Saturday, and passed level 1 on Sunday. It feels SO good to fly again! What was most interesting to me was the differences between the training I had previously (WAY back in '06) and the training this time around.

The biggest difference I think was in regard to PLFs. We drilled them over and over and over the first time through. This time, we talked through "rolling out" excess horizontal speed on landing, but we didn'd do any practices. Apparently there was an injury of some sort associated with the practice itself (rather than a real live PLF on landing) so they don't do the drills any more. Is this pretty rare? Did you guys have to jump off tables and such?

Jumped from a chair at one DZ.

At another DZ everyone that wanted to jump had to PLF from progressively higher platforms until you could do a good PLF from 5 feet, onto a gym mat.

At yet another DZ, jump 23 going from the student 288 Manta to my 210 Pilot, I did PLF practice from a step ladder into the pea gravel pit right before my first flight on my canopy.

Some do still insist on practice.


strife  (D 5457)

Aug 11, 2014, 4:44 PM
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we did some night jumps over the weekend and the loads had do go through a series of PLF practices prior to jumping.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 11, 2014, 10:07 PM
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When I did my first jump course, we spent most of Sunday morning rolling around in the grass.
Mind you, that was back in 1977 and the planet was much harder back in those days.
Hah!
Hah!


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 12, 2014, 4:26 AM
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I hope that's not a trend in the sport. I personally know two jumpers who would clearly be dead had they not performed solid PLF's.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Aug 13, 2014, 9:15 AM
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chuckakers wrote:
I hope that's not a trend in the sport. I personally know two jumpers who would clearly be dead had they not performed solid PLF's.
From what I've seen, it is a trend, Chuck.

In the 70's and early 80's, round student canopies meant a lot of PLF practice or a lot of injuries. Try as I could, I never got my injury rate below ~3%. Lots of sprained ankles and the occasional broken bone.Crazy

Of course, the advent of the (usually) soft landing student square canopies made injuries almost a thing of the past. Any kind of flare on those big bad boys seemed to yield an injury free, if not graceful, landing. Dedicated PLF practice in the FJC became minimalist to non-existent.

To this day I still have the students do 3-4 PLF's, hopping off a trailer fender maybe 2' above the pea gravel. I'd like to give better training but we don't have a dedicated PLF platform at the DZ, so I improvise. I think some of the instructors skip it entirely.

As any experienced jumper knows, sooner or later you're going to have a hard landing. PLF's have kept me out of the hospital more than once. For us former round jumpers, they're almost reflexive. Unfortunately, I've seen way too many serious injuries among newer jumpers who were never really trained to PLF and didn't when they really needed to. A simple poor landing turns into 6 months in a cast and maybe never jumping again. Unsure

If you don't know how to PLF, learn how. It may really save your a$$ someday.


(This post was edited by JohnMitchell on Aug 13, 2014, 9:17 AM)


topdocker  (D 12018)

Aug 13, 2014, 10:08 AM
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JohnMitchell wrote:
chuckakers wrote:
I hope that's not a trend in the sport. I personally know two jumpers who would clearly be dead had they not performed solid PLF's.
From what I've seen, it is a trend, Chuck.

In the 70's and early 80's, round student canopies meant a lot of PLF practice or a lot of injuries. Try as I could, I never got my injury rate below ~3%. Lots of sprained ankles and the occasional broken bone.Crazy

Of course, the advent of the (usually) soft landing student square canopies made injuries almost a thing of the past. Any kind of flare on those big bad boys seemed to yield an injury free, if not graceful, landing. Dedicated PLF practice in the FJC became minimalist to non-existent.

To this day I still have the students do 3-4 PLF's, hopping off a trailer fender maybe 2' above the pea gravel. I'd like to give better training but we don't have a dedicated PLF platform at the DZ, so I improvise. I think some of the instructors skip it entirely.

As any experienced jumper knows, sooner or later you're going to have a hard landing. PLF's have kept me out of the hospital more than once. For us former round jumpers, they're almost reflexive. Unfortunately, I've seen way too many serious injuries among newer jumpers who were never really trained to PLF and didn't when they really needed to. A simple poor landing turns into 6 months in a cast and maybe never jumping again. Unsure

If you don't know how to PLF, learn how. It may really save your a$$ someday.

I can't reiterate this enough! Definitely saved me on a number of occasions and when it really mattered. So many AFFI's feel it is not worth the time to teach and the students don't know they aren't getting it.

Learn em, live em, do em.

top


ufk22  (D 16168)

Aug 13, 2014, 10:31 AM
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cgriff wrote:
Apparently there was an injury of some sort associated with the practice itself (rather than a real live PLF on landing) so they don't do the drills any more. Is this pretty rare? Did you guys have to jump off tables and such?
This sport is full of modifications to deal with "problems" that really aren't. One person got a slight injury doing PLF's and that was the excuse to quit "wasting time" teaching it.
"It's a safety issue"???????????
I always teach PLF's in my FJC's. I use it for two purposes, the PLF and to teach them to look forward, not down, when landing. I sit on the ground about 20-30' away from them, and they have to not only do the PLF, but maintain eye contact with me throughout. A perfect PLF isn't necessary, just a good one, but if they look down at all, they need to do two more. The timing on landing flares has been a lot better since I started doing this. I can usually get a class of 6-8 students through this in 15 minutes or less.


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Aug 13, 2014, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
One person got a slight injury doing PLF's and that was the excuse to quit "wasting time" teaching it.
"It's a safety issue"???????????

I grew up on a dropzone and have been continuously instructor rated since 1982. I teach proper PLF's and all of my students do them until they can do them correctly. Also, I am a stickler for having students land with their knees bent and their feet and knees together, even if they are going to stand it up. Seeing students flying around in "gumby mode" like a big X and reaching for the ground on landing makes me nuts.


fencebuster  (D 29918)

Aug 13, 2014, 7:19 PM
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+1


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Aug 13, 2014, 7:35 PM
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SkymonkeyONE wrote:
Also, I am a stickler for having students land with their knees bent and their feet and knees together, even if they are going to stand it up. Seeing students flying around in "gumby mode" like a big X and reaching for the ground on landing makes me nuts.
I like your approach, but the latter is becoming the norm. Unsure


rjblake  (A 70178)

Aug 14, 2014, 3:17 AM
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I did my training in the military back in '85. We spent the first week of training doing PLFs - all throughout the day, every day. As a result, there were no landing related injuries that I can recall. Sure these were under round chutes and some with full kit. I saw a group of AFF students practising their PLFs recently. Must have done no more than 2 each. Call me old fashioned, but I'd hate to see one of them need to carry out a PLF in earnest.


tkhayes  (D 18764)

Aug 14, 2014, 4:17 AM
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not sure that the value of real PLF practice is worth doing. I have seen several injuries during practice over my 33 years.

Plus a PLF makes sense with a round parachute, whereas the forward movement of a square generally makes it quite a different fall that is difficult to simulate from a chair or picnic table.

However I do see the value of teaching it to some degree, even making people do 'just one' of them to make sure they are not 100% uncoordinated goofs and can grab the concept of 'land tuck and roll', and/or 'if you are going to fall down then fall down and do it right'.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Aug 14, 2014, 8:00 AM
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tkhayes wrote:
not sure that the value of real PLF practice is worth doing. I have seen several injuries during practice over my 33 years.
I've never seen an injury during practice, but my old DZ had a very nice platform in a pea pit for practice.

Quote:
Plus a PLF makes sense with a round parachute, whereas the forward movement of a square generally makes it quite a different fall that is difficult to simulate from a chair or picnic table.

However I do see the value of teaching it to some degree,
It's true squares land differently when properly flared. Most the injuries I see are from landing hard, maybe on uneven terrain, or into the side of a ditch, etc. There the dynamics are such that just having your feet and knees together with the knees slightly bent could make all the difference.


skytribe  (D 9403)

Aug 14, 2014, 10:03 AM
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The DZ I learnt at in UK many years ago spent a lot of time on PLF's. On the ground, from the top of boxes, running up and jumping off ramps and finally on a fan trainer.

I've used them a couple of times under squares.

My current DZ in the States does include them in the 1st jump course but quite frankly the standard is minimal. ie jump off fall on the floor and we can say you did it. I believe that is because that's what many of the young instructors believe this is a PLF and therefore teach to that standard.

Not saying its the best technique for squares but a common issue for students is flaring high. Hence it can be quite useful for early jumpers as they hold there toggles and PLF.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Aug 14, 2014, 11:25 AM
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skytribe wrote:
Not saying its the best technique for squares but a common issue for students is flaring high. Hence it can be quite useful for early jumpers as they hold there toggles and PLF.
Couldn't agree more. Sooner or later everyone has a hard landing.


rehmwa  (D 12816)

Aug 14, 2014, 12:36 PM
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SkymonkeyONE wrote:
I am a stickler for having students land with their knees bent and their feet and knees together, even if they are going to stand it up.

I think this is more important than PLFs.

with this comment, I am NOT saying that we have to choose one vs the other. Please don't strawman that.


rehmwa  (D 12816)

Aug 14, 2014, 12:37 PM
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tkhayes wrote:
However I do see the value of teaching it to some degree, even making people do 'just one' of them to make sure they are not 100% uncoordinated goofs and can grab the concept of 'land tuck and roll', and/or 'if you are going to fall down then fall down and do it right'.

I'm of this mindset during PLF training - I want to see a couple good ones. Then I emphasize feet and knees together and bent.


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Aug 14, 2014, 5:08 PM
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At one time our DZ decided that PLFs were too dangerous to practice.... until the student injury rate went up. We returned to practicing PLFs and the injury rate went WAY down. Even when done poorly... any attempt to fall down and roll it out rather than trying to "stick it" standing seems to make a huge difference in outcome.

BTW A couple of years ago we had an AFF student who was over 70 years old. He was a previous airborne soldier from long ago. He realized that his age made him very vulnerable to injury (and slow to heal). Therefore, he did beautiful PLFs on every landing for the first 15-20 landings until he was confident that he could stand up safely. He completed his license without injury! Wink


dthames  (B 37674)

Aug 14, 2014, 7:24 PM
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tkhayes wrote:
not sure that the value of real PLF practice is worth doing. I have seen several injuries during practice over my 33 years.

Plus a PLF makes sense with a round parachute, whereas the forward movement of a square generally makes it quite a different fall that is difficult to simulate from a chair or picnic table.

However I do see the value of teaching it to some degree, even making people do 'just one' of them to make sure they are not 100% uncoordinated goofs and can grab the concept of 'land tuck and roll', and/or 'if you are going to fall down then fall down and do it right'.

One of our outdoor activities as a kid was running and jumping off a high creek bank, over the water, and crashing on a gravel bar 10 feet away and 7 or 8 feet below us. We were all the time jumping off of something. A controlled crash was just part of everyday life.


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Aug 14, 2014, 8:25 PM
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I once started a thread saying something like "the PLF should be your most common emergency procedure." I still feel that way. Why? Because one is in control of most of the skydive, but landing can still be a crapshoot because of others, last-minute wind, etc. And a good PLF is how you deal with that.

I come in always ready to PLF. If the landing looks good, then I change to a standup. It's a mindset as well as a physical ready thing.

But, and I'll actually say this out loud, I have 2300+ jumps with no injuries serious enough to keep me from the next load. 500+ of those were on rounds, when I was young and willing to do whatever it took to impress people BlushTongue. I PLF'd a round jump just last year, so I haven't completely grown out of it.

Personally, I really think it should be an important piece of skydiving.

Wendy P.


Woofie

Aug 15, 2014, 9:52 AM
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wmw999 wrote:
when I was young and willing to do whatever it took to impress people BlushTongue...

Tell us more details about this... ;-)


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Aug 17, 2014, 9:33 PM
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wmw999 wrote:
I PLF'd a round jump just last year, so I haven't completely grown out of it.
Still jump a round occasionally? I want to party with you, Wendy. Cool

Quote:
Personally, I really think it should be an important piece of skydiving.
Hugely agree. Smile



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