Jun 8, 2003, 7:44 PM
Post #1 of 22
I got into the sport last July, and have been dreaming of the WFFC ever since then. I just finished my 50th jump last weekend, and expect to have my B-License and probably close to 70 jumps in time for the convention (weather permitting). I had a few questions...
1) I was hoping to have my own new canopy by then, either a Sabre 2 or Safire 2 170 (I already have a Javelin and reserve). But, from what I understand about the delays on new canopies this time of year (was told not to expect deliver in less than 8 weeks), I wouldn't likely receive it in time for the convention even if I ordered now. I ought to be able to work something out with my local DZ as far as buying/renting something that's used just to take with me just so I'd get to go. I was wondering how readily available demos were at the convention, and what likelyhood there is that I'd be able to make several jumps on a demo. I know that many manufacturers will be there, but could anyone tell me just how ready they are with demos? Is this something that needs to be arranged ahead of time? Does anyone charge a fee to demo?
2) Assuming I don't blow all my dough on the convention itself, do any of the manufacturers typically have canopies ready for sale at the convention? Are they maybe willing to sell a demo at the right price?
3) Regardless of whether I'm demo'ing or purchasing, I wanted to be able to pull at a reasonable altitude, if not do a full-altitude hop-n-pop to give myself plenty of time to learn the canopy before I have to flare for real at landing. I've read several posts about the pull altitude there being no higher than 3,000 feet, with some leeway. This matters to me a great deal because anything I demo/purchase will mean that I'd be downsizing at the same time. I don't have any canopy control issues, and haven't slid on my ass since about jump 20. Still, I want to approach downsizing very carefully just in case. What chance would I have of being able to open at a higher altitude without endangering anyone else who might be in the air (I'd be willing to land WAY off if that would make any difference)?
4) Related to question 3), I was wondering why the low pull altitude with so many jumpers in the air. The way I see it, a higher-than-normal pull altitude would be advisable since it would only provide more time to adjust landing patterns for the extra traffic I read about (albeit at the expense of less freefall time). Since it isn't done this way, I assume that my thinking on this point must be flawed. Can anyone tell me why?
5) I haven't bought an AAD yet, I'm sure the info is out there somewhere, but does anyone know if they are required at the convention? I'm not too thrilled about jumping without one anyway, but I wouldn't have any cash left to jump with if I bought one ahead of time.
6) In light of the above questions I have (I apologize for the long post), does anyone think I should just stop dreaming and hope that I'll be ready for next year?
I'll do this point by point based on my experience at WFFC:
1) Demos, lots of people have canopies there and the ranged from free to $5 a jump but that included the repack of the main into that makers rigs. On the other hand, demoing gear at the WFFC sometimes is'nt the best idea. Since you are limited to a point in your opening height there is little chance to play with the canopy so your only barely learning it before you have to land. If you want to land off the DZ and play withthe CRW jumpers on high hop and pops thats a little different, but it can be overloading to be demoing stuff and only have a few turns and then landing.
2) Money talks.. but most manufactors need the demos to go to the next boogie. Richmond is only 4 weeks away from WFFC so they need the canopies still at that boogie. Yuo'd be best off talking to the companies on this one.
3) If your opening high the only time you can do this is on a CRW load and then they land miles off the DZ. 3000 is a nice celing since there will be another load droping any time for 60 seconds to 5 minutes behind you. On a normal load you better go to the 3k area to keep the safety factor up.
4) Most people are used to dealing with Otter load traffic so its really not that big of a deal to all open and fly the pattern at the same time. 2k is low limit like the USPA says. Its at 3 k to allow the best balence of freefall and canopy. If people are opening at 5k then the load after them has to be open at that height too and most RW big ways don't break till 4500.
5) AAD's are not required at the WFFC.
6) Thats something you need to decide for your self. The big things to be aware of is canopy traffic.
hey, In regard to your last question...I don;t know how big your home dz is, but you may wanna go to a bigger dz, or go to a boogie or something before then, and see how you feel about the larger volume of canopies in the air. That may help ya decide on whether or not you are ready for the convention.
Strictly my opinion and not trying to kill your enthusiasm, but the WFFC is really no place for a low time jumper on new/downsized gear for the first time. The sensory overload of all those other jumpers in the air and the large number of canopies coming in to land calls for experience and familiarity with your equipment. They play by big boy rules at the WFFC, and no one is going to look out for you but yourself. The pull altitude is a case in point. Someone opening higher than 3000' risks having someone still in freefall from the same or a subsequent load smack in to his canopy.
Any accident is usually caused by a chain of risk factors or mistakes that when combined in the wrong order overwhelm the jumper. Let's look at your case:
Low experience jumper Unfamiliar gear Down sized canopy Desire to open high No AAD First Boogie Very large boogie, lots of people whose ability you don't know Lack of sleep and lots of alcohol (you'll see)
My advice would be to get some gear from your home DZ that you are comfortable jumping, and go with a group of friends you can jump with. That eliminates several of the factors above and will make for a safer trip. Focus on jumping and having a good time, not stressing over gear. Have fun!
First, ILweenie, I read your profile and I too jump at Archway. I'm used to the regular Caravan 12 to 18 or so per load, with the occasional Cessna load on top of that. The traffic there is quite manageable, imo. In fact, I even got to do an 8-way with Lew last weekend (he's as great a guy as everyone says he is).
Thanks also to CDRINF for the advice. This was why I was asking, for a broader base of opinions. Virtually everyone at my home DZ thinks I'll be fine and haven't expressed any concerns about me going when I ask them similar questions. I'm only a few hours away from Rantoul by car and have already taken off the vacation time, and, at this point, it's hard for me to think that I'm not going to end up going, if only to drink without sleeping ). Really, I'm just trying to figure out what I should expect from the trip. There's already a big group from the DZ going, and they have a good sense of my skill levels (some of the load organizers also from Archway).
I think it's pretty much a conclusion at this point that anything I jump with, other than the Skymaster 230s that I doubt I'd be allowed to take up there with me, will be new. I'm still going to try to arrange a rental or buy something used ahead of time which will allow me ample opportunity to jump it before going. But if that doesn't happen, and, if it seems as though people think I might be jeopardizing anyone else's safety, I may not choose to jump at all. I have no problem opening at 3,000ft as I've done this several times before after RW dives, but I'd hate to pass up on the chance to demo some gear when I'm out there, and I guess I just figured that most jumpers prefer pulling high the first time they jump a canopy, regardless of their skill level.
There's not too much I can do about the AAD right now, but I don't worry about hurting myself nearly as much as I do hurting anyone else. I'll have an audible by then, and I'm way too low-time to be freeflying. Also, I've never had any issues whatsoever about altitude awareness, including AFF 1. As long as I can avoid being knocked unconscious during freefall, I think that risk is one I'm willing to take, at least during the short term.
I guess I really need to do what I can to get something arranged ahead of time, less I ruin my neck by having to watch y'all in the sky all week instead of being up there myself. I'm still open for more feedback, but I think I have a better sense of what I need to do now. BTW, thanks to Phreezone as well, didn't mean to leave you out of my props
A bit of advice... call PD and talk to Kolla. Explain your situation to her and see if there is'nt a way you could get a demo PD canopy sent to you a week before WFFC. Then you can jump it a few times at home pulling high and learn the canopy, but could still take it to WFFC and jump it there. You might even be able to work out a deal to save shipping it back to PD by just handing it to them at the convention with all the right paperwork.
Kolla totally rocks and I want to thank her again in public for all the times shes helped me or one of my friends out with demo gear.
See you at WFFC. Tomas can point me out to you Pubwoof.. lets jump
hey Pub, when did you start at archway? i havent been to archway since early february, and lack of money has not allowed me to go back, since i live in the chicago area i usually go to hinckley for a jump or 2 when the spare change adds up...next time i go tho, we should do a jump! from what i hear, there isn't much a freefly scene down there anymore, so i wil lhave to get ya on your butt, then on your head!
also, if they know your skill level, i trust them, cuz they are very safety conscious down there.
Thank you tons for the link, I must admit, however, that I'm plenty embarrased since Gary Peek also calls Archway home . Him and I have talked about me going, but not with as much detail as is posted in that link. I'm going to ask him the same question(s) I posted here this coming weekend.
Thanks again Phreezone. I never thought about doing that. I guess I was too preoccupied with thoughts of either having my own before the big show, or using the convetion as some sort of toy store. I'm usually working during PD's business hours, so would you happen to know an email address I could use to reach her that way? I'll be there opening day and will definitely seek you out for a jump.
We've probably met before ILweenie, I changed my home DZ to Archway on 10/5/02. I did my first jump there with, of all people, the now famous (or infamous) Gary Peek. I've jumped there now about a dozen times at least. It would've been more were it not for the fact that I'm not too keen on the subzero hop-n-pops from the Cessna (too damn cold for me ). I was out for the Halloween boogie, the chili cook-off in December, was away through most of the winter, and started jumping regularly again this past April after they got the turbine back. Anyway, I wear the funny looking black-rimmed eyeglasses and the green-billed Perris Valley cap (from AFF 1), in case that helps you place me. If not, no worries, I'm still working on my infamous image .
(This post was edited by Pubwoof on Jun 9, 2003, 6:56 PM)
You are correct sir, Kolla rocks! Just minutes after posting my last reply, I saw that she already sent me a message here. Talk about proactive. PD should consider giving her a raise. She suggested I email her, which I did so, giving her the specifics as to the whens and hows that would work best for me. It would seem as though I owe you a jump ticket for helping me solve this issue, so, I guess our jump is on me. I'd offer up a case of beer, but I hear that all the beer is going to be in Rantoul anyway .
(This post was edited by Pubwoof on Jun 9, 2003, 8:00 PM)
CDRINF has saved me alot of typing here because he covered just about everything that I was thinking while reading your post. WFFC is awesome. BUT- it is not the place for someone of your experience level to be demoing canopies that are going to be much differernt than you are used to. You want to be making changes to your jumping one at a time not 4,5 or 6 at a time.
I have seen some demo's for sale. Last year at the end of the convention Icarus was selling a few for some nice prices.
I think once you get there and watch 4 or 5 planes, engines running, all loading at the same time you will better understand the importance of not opening high. They have a good system with two jump runs and separation between the planes on the same run but if you open high (and no one saw you and put all the planes on hold- that would cost you more beer than you can fathom) jumpers will be dropped on top of you. So another thing to keep in mind is if you have an inadvertant high opening (main or reserve) spin down to below 3K asap.
Yes opening demos high is ideal, but best done in a less busy airspace. So come the wffc, jump something you are familiar with, be careful and have a great time.
I haven't followed up since my last post yet, but it looks like I might have a good shot at being able to arrange the demo before the convention. Assuming I can do so (Kolla already emailed me about it), I'll have plenty of time to learn the canopy a week or two before arrival. Even if I get this solved, some of the best stories I've heard from the convention involve interactions with the star-struck locals after landing WAY off the airport. I'm certainly not in a big hurry to land where everybody else is landing regardless. Other than that, I hope to spend at least as much time learning at the seminars than actually jumping (more time for that back home).
Just to clarify, I did say that sometimes the glass was too big, but, of course, this could never apply to beer. When the beer doesn't match the capacity of the glass, it can only be said that the glass is half-empty.
The stories about landing way off the airport are from Quincy. Not that the locals are any less friendly at Rantoul, but most landings at Rantoul should be somewhere on the airport -- there are some very enticing areas to land in Rantoul that are not allowed. If you land on one of the football fields where the Chicago Bears are practicing, for example, you will have your wristband pulled and your convention will be over. Period. They made that abundantly clear last year.
There are plenty of low traffic areas to land in at Rantoul. Get familiar with your canopy before you come, keep your head on a swivel and have a ball.
Hey Pub, the airport in Rantoul is pretty big too, it's a former air force base, so there are plenty of places to land. in any case, just talk to the archway folks about canopy stuff and they should be able to help ya in as far as piloting and what you need to know and stuff, and should be able to answer questions bout the convention.
Reposted from the WFFC Message Board - Original Author: Gary Peek
Opening altitudes at the Convention:
We have heard that there are some jumpers that are concerned about the opening altitude policy that has been published in the past.
It has been several years since we revisited this policy, and during that time certain canopies have been designed that take longer to open than previous designs.
Therefore, after a discussion among a number of WFFC staff members we have updated this policy to the following until further notice:
"At the Convention there will be multiple aircraft droppping loads of jumpers over the same areas at short intervals. In order to insure that jumpers from an earlier load have descended below the opening area for the later load, jumpers must not open high!
Jumpers should plan their deployment altitude so that they have a fully open canopy no higher than 3000 feet AGL, and are expected to be familiar with the opening characteristics of the canopy they are jumping in order to do this.
If jumping a demo canopy, the supplier of the canopy should be consulted for advice on its opening characteristics.
If a jumper experiences a premature delployment or other situation that places them above 3000 feet under canopy, they must either quickly descend below 3000 feet or fly their canopy away from the jump run in order to provide clear airspace for the later jumpers."
(This means that if you have a deliberately slow opening canopy that you will need to plan ahead. We want everyone to be comfortable with the altitude at which they actually _pull_, but at the same time, need to have a maximum altitude at which your canopy is fully open.)
1) many of the rig mfg will have demo gear with several different type of mains for you to try. do get checked out on the rigs, pratice with it before you jump it some are BOC and others are on leg strap..also check with demo gear vendor on opening chartis of the main.. some take a bit to open..other open fast..
2) yes demo gear is often for sale, and someones always got some gear for sale at WFFC..
5) AAD are not required at convention, almost all the demo gear have add's now..
6) go to the convention and learn, attend semiars, meet / make new friends