Mar 19, 2001, 12:30 PM
Post #1 of 23
AFF level 4
i started doing my AFF about 4 weeks ago. Last week i did two jumps at level 4 of AFF but both times as soon as the JM let go of me a started to spin! both times anti-clockwise. seems like my legs are not staying position after the JM lets me go. i have tried counteracting the spin by moving my body against the spin but as soon as i take on my arch again i start to spin!
please advise on how i can work on this so my legs are in the right position all the time. i am finding this really frustrating as although i am spinning, i have full control over my decent i.e. not getting freaked out and losing form (but still spinning).
short of lopping off 1/2 of a leg and an arm, i would really suggest relaxing. you are probably having an asymetrical body position so one side of your body may be tense. If you totally relax, your arms & legs should normally put you symetrical and thus stable. Try some relaxation techniques before you exit the plane. Give it a whirl and let us know how you do.
The most useful thing I have tried is looking in the mirror. Try lying on the ground or a soft stool and assuming your arch. Looking from the side you will probably notice that one leg is asymetrical. If you don't have a good mirror use a friend and a creaper.
If relaxing is still tough-hey lets face it jumping out of planes isnt natural! You can make associations on the ground with relaxatyion. Here is an exercise:Lie on the ground and repeat a "keyword" to yourself and you take deep breaths and relax. It doesnt make a difference what that word is, but it should have some significance to you. (It could be a name, a relaxing place, or the word relax). Soon your body starts to equate that word with relaxation, kind of like Pavlov's dogs. So when you are up in the air, you say that word and your body automatically goes into a relaxed state. Give it a whirl, just make sure you dont equate the word with sleep...that would be bad. Just kidding, but give it a try.
I agree with the others here. Relax, it is the one thing I have been told from day one, and has been one of the hardest things to master. It did not take long, after finally just letting go and going nearly limp after exit, to realy feel the difference bieng relaxed in freefall. Everything got so much easier after just relaxing. Turns were easier, stability, and maintaining a heading are almost "natural" and I believe you are naturally more symetrical when relaxed. I actually changed my exit cadence during AFF from ready...set...go, to ready....set...relax, it helped.
Another rule of thumb, "If it's hard...you are doing it wrong." Skydiving is just pushing air, thats it...it really doesnt take much movement or effort to get the job done. Just relax and have fun and everything will fall into place. Seems to work for me.
Kerb – can’t give you any advice, since I’m there too. Actually, I was there two years ago. Did level 4 three times and failed miserable every time. Quit jumping because of it (only temporarily though, I’m starting AFF again as soon as I’ve got money). I spun too, even the two different JM’s I had couldn’t quit pinpoint why. Sick of the word “relax” yet? Don’t be. I’m convinced that it’s the key to doing it right. I know that was my problem. Let me know how you do, and tell me how you did it!
I drove my instructor crazy in my pre-wind-tunnel jumps because he'd tell me to relax, I'd feel relaxed and I'd still potato-chip like crazy. He'd say "It's the weirdest thing I've ever seen. You're there smiling, and yet your not relaxed."
The key, it turned out, was that I was only partially relaxed. My arms and legs were OK, but my hips and shoulders weren't. That's what I learned in the tunnel.
I just let my hips sink down naturally , and let the wind kind of flow over my arms and put them where they want to be. Once you get the feel for the wind flowing around your body, then you can learn to start working it.
thanks to all for taking the time out to give me your input. since my last post i have done two more jumps but failed..but the problem is relaxing!
but the three jumps i have done at this level have been really amazing..the first i pulled while i was spinning to my lines were all tangled up so i had to kick my way out of it..that was fun!!
the second was at sundown..and the pilot suddenly decided he would have to go home so we ended up jumping from 7,000 instead of 10,000 feet, i was nervous but enjoyed it but my legs were all wrong again. but the high points of this jump was a tamdam jumped after me so after my chute opened..we were quiet close to each other under canopy and were shouting in joy..and the landing was way cool..for the first time i landed on my feet although that was due to the absense of wind hehe.
on my third jump..i thought i was really relaxed and hyped up..as soon as my jump master went out the door i like followed him instantly..i took time to do all the steps but as i juped out..my arch was the worst..nearly flipped over (although i enjoyed the rush)..but never really became stable =( after the chute opened the winds were amazing..there were blowing from all directions and it was hard to maintaning direction..but all the same i managed to land on my feet again without any help from the ground! yeeaaa!
so although i didn't pass that level..every jump has given me a new experience and i have just bought another ten slots to keep trying =)
the thing is when i jump out of the plane the first 3 seconds i am kinda stiff..my feet stay in the same place while i was exiting the plane =( they don't wanna stretch out and make a nice beautiful arch =(
i am going to jump on sunday again..i have a sofa in the house that kinda resembles the structure of the plane's exit..i am on it doing my drill and telling my mind to relax and let go while in free-fall!
Boy, I can sure sympathize with that question!! For me, my spinning started on level 5! I tried everything, and it just seemed to get worse. There was never a "rhyme or reason" as to when it would start, but once it started I couldn't get it stopped. At one point, I dumped at 7,000 feet! Of course, the more people told me to relax, the more nervous I got. I tried practicing in front of a mirror, I did toe taps, breathing exercises before leaving the plane, and nothing worked - until I went to the wind tunnel!! 15 minutes of tunnel work out cured my problem. The interesting thing was the my feet and hands were symmetrical, but I was actually flying with a slight tilt to my pelvis! Once I stopped spinning, I got more relaxed, etc. etc.!!!! So don't give up - listen to the great advice, and good luck - you'll work it out!
I'm from Germany and started my AFF course last February in Lake Elsinore. I think we all have the same problems. What you are writing about your jumps sounds almost just like my jumps. And I as well can't hear the word "relax" anymore. Now I have 9 jumps, I'm still at Level IV (we had almost 2 weeks of rain in California) and can't wait until Easter to get up in the air again to do Level IV jump No. 4! I wish you luck for your next jumps!!! Anna
Stay with it. I have a friend who did level 4 8 times. She had over 20 jumps by the time that she finally completed her 3RW jumps and packing. She still jumps. It will come in time and you will be flying again.
Suggestion: before your next jump, do some muscle memory techniques on the ground. I would have your JM watch you to make sure that you are in the proper body position, but get on a creeper or on a packing mat and arch. Go over the specific moves, etc. Do that a few times and then do it again with your eyes closed and visualize the entire dive. Once you do that until you are too tired to arch anymore...Go jump! Then forget about everything while you are in the plane. You have already taught your body the moves, so you know them physically...now, what you have to to is let it happen. You can do it, but it could be a mental thing that is holding you back. Before you are about ready to leave the door, get a big sh*t eating grin on your face and say "this is going to be fun!". The dive will be much better. Give it a whirl and see what happens. If you let it happen your body will subconsciously take over.
i prepared all last week to try again but as i got to the DZ i saw one of the planes coming in but then something went wrong and it crashed..all 3 onboard died. they were not clients but 2 riggeres and the pilot coming in to start the day.
i know they died doing something they loved and like all of us they knew the risks. i really want to continue jumping but feel a little scared after the event.
has anyone else had to live through something like this? how could i deal with this fear better?
i knew the poeple who died..that they were a great bunch of people..i just don't know how to turn up at the DZ or start over again with what has just happened! how do you call up the DZ and ask about when it will be open again? how do you deal with seeing someone just before they met their death? i remember sitting at the DZ and thinking to myself 'live man live! you can't die! jump out and live!' but thy all died..all i could see is the smoke rushing into the air for like 2 hours..i was picturing their final moments in my mind..how do i start again?
i love the air..i love moment the door of the plane flies open..but at the same time i am so uncomfortable about thinking what i just saw..what just happened...i am so sad..and at the same time i don't know any skydivers here that i can share these moments with..i want to jump but i feel maybe there is something wrong with me to want to continue jumping..maybe i should be ashamed..maybe i could have done something to save their lives..so many thoughts...
Oh, man I am so sorry for you and the families and friends of those who died.
Don't be embarrassed at all. I have absolutely no idea how I'd deal with seeing something like that.
About the best advice I can offer you is to see if maybe you can talk to some of the Skydive Salt Lake folks. They've had to deal with something very similar, only on a much bigger scale.
I met a few of them in Vegas at Flyaway right after their loss. A lot of the Flyaway folks knew them as well. Everyone was trying to deal with it in their own ways, but you could tell it really shook everyone up.
I mean, what do you say when someone says "I just lost my dropzone." I said "I'm sorry. I'm sure they were like family to you." The person responded "No. They were family." Maybe not literally, but that's the strength of the bond we feel for each other.
I always wondered what exactly about war made military folks feel so close -- beyond friendship -- to each other. After skydiving, I understand.
I even have a hard time watching clips of bad accidents now, because I feel a connection with those folks I never felt before. Even those in other dangerous sports.
I can't even begin to imagine how you feel. What a horrible tragedy, and to witness it, too. I can tell you that I jump at a very buzy dz, and over the years, we have experienced our share of incidents. Not a plane crash, thank god, but two world record attempts in 3 years, and each had one fatality. To be in the hangar when a jumper is missing and presumed seriously injured or dead is not like anything I had ever experienced before. You find yourself looking for missing faces, and experiencing a guilty sense of relief each time you see a familiar face or friend. Guilty because you know that someone will be missing a loved one, relief because it is not your friend out there. I can tell you that being with your skydiving family helps you cope with the grief, because they will truly understand. We jump with people all weekend, and sometimes don't even know their last names, what they do for a living or if they have kids, brothers, sister, wives or husbands. Yet we share this bond, and they are family.
It's very early in your skydiving career to be confronted with one of the harsher realities of this sport. The longer you stay in it, the greater the chances that you may lose a close friend, witness an ugly accident, or get injured yourself. And while this was not a skydiving accident, it was never the less related to skydiving and has affected everyone at your dz.
How to cope with the fear? The only way I know is to get up in the air and make a jump. And I know for you especially that will not be an easy thing, because you are so new to the sport and you witnessed something so horrible. But if skydiving has become a part of your blood, then you will jump again. Take your time and do it when you are ready. And don't be afraid to call your dz, and talk to someone there. You are family now, that's just how it is with skydivers, and in hard times, families stick together.
I know how you feel. I am experiencing the same thing right now. A good friend once told me "If you stay in this sport long enough...you will either see someone die or know someone who dies doing this sport". Well, it happened on saturday. One of the guys from our DZ got killed in North Carolina. He used to do video for our team on occasion. I didnt really know him very well, but he was a nice guy and we used to have a couple of cocktails and shoot the sh*t around the bonfire at the end of the day. He was one of those guys that used to ask you "how are you doing?" and actually mean it...which is nice. I will miss him. The thing that I am having issues with is the reality of this situation. It is usually so far removed when it it in the incident reports of Parachutist. I have thought a lot more about what skydiving means to me and the people that I have the privilege to jump with and get to know. Skydivers are the best people on the face of the planet. I know that accidents happen, but we should all strive to be the safest jumpers we can. We should know our equipment and our procedures, it will save our lives some day. The better prepared you are the better off you are going to be in an emergency. He loved the sport and we will be having a service at the DZ for him. I dont particularly want to go in, but if I had to chose a way to kick it...I suppose I would rather go doing something I love. It is a grim reminder of what we all must face at some point and everybody has to come to terms with it somehow. We all have our reasons and I will keep jumping but I will learn from what has happened and carry a little bit of Rich with me forever. God's Speed. It was a pleasure knowing you...
I heard about this incident. I feel for the people who knew him. I don't know anyone personally who has died in this sport, because I've only been doing this for 9 months.
I can relate to watching someone else die. A few months ago we had a student die at our kung fu school. It was right in the middle of class. I was the last person to speak to him before he had a heart attack. I had never actually seen someone die before this. He had recently started at the school and was trying to turn his life around, but it was just too late for him.
I can understand people who would rather die doing something they love than being killed in a random car accident. None of us knows how much time we have left on the Earth. We need to make the most of every day keeping this in mind.
Unfortunately too many of us have been through losing someone that they knew or watching someone go in. We all seem to deal with it in a different way. I saw and helped with a person who crashed at our DZ. It was hard to deal with and I am going to go back this week to make my first jump since that day. I don't know if this will help but I always think that the people that we lost would want us to keep jumping and living on the edge where we can all see the beauty of life even if it also shows us how delicate it is. If you can't talk to the people at your DZ you can talk to us and we will understand. We share you pain. Be safe and God Bless.