Dec 20, 2001, 5:25 AM
Post #1 of 7
I was just curious on how people break off after a Ffly dive – I have been on a few dives where there have be collisions between Ffliers because people have turned 180 as they go flat or just peeled off backwards and have had people behind / above them……. I know we should all be aware of where everyone is on the dive but sometimes you hear your dytter and you just peel off or turn 180 and flat.
I myself will turn to find a clear corridor before I go flat and this means I normally go flat and track around 4000ft (most go at 4,500) I then barrel role before deployment just to make sure no one is above me.
Sometimes we all jump with people of varying skill sets and it would be nice to brief everyone on how to break safely – there is not enough thought about this IMHO.
Can you explain how you break from ffly dives to cut down the possibility of collisions or how do you explain to someone say who is on your 4 or 5 way who is not that used to jumping with that many people?
Just trying to get a bigger picture on how people jump safely……………. More knowledge – more fun!
"In a world where we are slaves to gravity I am pleased to be a freedom fighter"
This is something that the "Pro" free flier at SD Atl always makes a major point of when doing coaching dives with us less experienced people. He always tries to get people to do a 180 to check the air behind them before they just take off. I think it's a very good idea when you are Head Down to do a 180 and start your track on your back. Then roll to your belly to really grab some air and slow down. Of course, on a two or three way I usually have the others in front of me so I don't have to worry about it. 4 way and up I start to worry a little more about where everyone is. Situational awareness is key!
If you are in a sit (and or don't go head down at all), during a freefly dive , especially a big one it is easier in a sit to see who is below and above you (we're talking bad campfire where everyone does not make it to the base). Do a 360 in a sit to see which direction you will track.
Don't go flat (you will cork and not stay with the skydive), do a half cartwheel to slight head down and start your track as a head down or very steep track (purposely go as steep as you can if you are not a head down jumper).
this maintains your speed with the group and moves you away from them before you level out into a flat track.
If you are facing the direction you want to track (it is clear above and below), You can also do a Half front loop into a steep track.
The point of this is you can be killed by someone going flat beneath you (there was a death in Florida). If you have iffy airspace above you you want to maintain a freefly fallrate as you get outta dodge. clearing space on youe level is good, but it is a 3d sport and when you are doing big jumps sometimes people are above you (regardless of whether they are supposed to track off high or what...sometimes they are where they are not supposed to be)
Best thing is to talk about it, and make sure you know the peoples habits that are on the jump with you.
Some like to swoop out of the head down, This will put them much lower than someone that just goes flat and tracks. So although the jump may have all been on one level, it quickly goes to many level's.
One thing to consider, though, the low person has the right of way. So turning and looking up has really limited benefits. What are going to do, not pull? Of course it is not a bad habit though, if you are not too low, you can burn it down and away from a higher jumper.
My point with that, though, is the higher jumper should be more concerned with who is below, he can see it better, turn and get out of the way. Besides if he is the higher level jumper, but he has the habit of looking up, he may not see what is below.
I know people that alway go low, then say, 'the lower jumper has the right away.' While that is true, there is an etiquette thing, if you are always making people change to your style, that isn't nice, and can be dangerous.
Anyway, the main point is try to learn what the people on your jump are going to do, and that includes when and how they plan on breaking off.
I just thought of another reason why I am not a fan of spending too much attention on looking at who is above you.
Have you ever been comeing down an aisle in a store, walking toward somebody? As they are walking toward you, you both are sort of looking at each other, but not really, you don't know which way he is going, nor he you. You then walk into each other. In the middle of a giant fricken' aisle.
If only one person was looking he would have gotten himself out of the way, instead of both second guessing what the other is going to do.
See my point?
With that in mind, track straight, and don't dump high. You won't confuse anyone above you that way.
sometimes they are where they are not supposed to be
You are being polite. All too common is the person not exactly where they are suposed to be. ESSssspecially when you have all sorts of skill levels involved.
Here comes the do it er die sererio.. That break off is essential. The alt is previously determined. Margin of error is limited. You must know how to get in and out of situations. What Ramon is outlining here is critical. Do go into the steep track and get outta there. As much for yourself as the rest of the campers. Track away - do not suddenly lose alt or dive into anyone. As Ramon points out... the end of a freefly doesnt mean -Hey, belly time.
The right of way is one thing, very true you dont want to cork into anyone or vise versa. These events happen quickly at break off, without trying you are now going as fast as you will go in this FF dive.
You also are looking for above, below, left, right, in front of and behind you. Hence, 3D.
How long does it take you to determine which way a guy is going to track now? Add one more guy, add one more, add one more... How long do you have?
My personal break off alt is 5000, 4500 or so for small groups Or depending on landing conditions, who I am jumping with, drop zone, people factors known or unknown, dive plan solid or experimental, as well as the -Door Snapshot- or Other ... blah, blah, blah.
What I call the Door Snapshot -for me- is the last chance I have to know or see where we all are on a skydive. I often look at everyone in the eye just before Door and check for attitudes or situations. Do I have a buger on my jump? Is there anyone not right? Am I not right? ARe we all clear on the plan? Is everyones gear ok? Is somebodys stuff going to blow up in my face? Or maybe do I have a buger in there someplace? Is there that one guy who is going to go off someplace where I cant see him? Did anything happen on the plane to change anyones last drill? ARe we lining up right in the door or is there a last second change? Did a guy fall out, How many seconds ago did he leave?
Best to identify these choice items before you exit the aircraft is all I am saying... That way at break off you can sorta judge how you can better react to your situations.
Remember how we always say an accident wasnt just ONE thing that happened??
I was on a campfire hybrid once whereby ALL were excellent skydivers with over 500 jumps or more up to thousands. (Except me. But that doesnt mean that I was the bad guy here. I was chosen for this skydive because I was good. Not because I was standing around looking cute.)
Anyway, a bunch of us doing a camp around 3 guys 2 fast belly flyers with one person, Tommy, standing under the 2 bellys, then us dock around that or orbit. Was the plan.
It wasnt the prettiest hybrid campfire I have ever been on, and we had complications. Tommy's trying to get under and stand difficulties arose out of the fall rate issues between him and the 2 bellys. That put off and delayed everyone coming in to dock idea. But we were all coming in anyway in hopes that the base would pull it off.
You put an experimental skydive in combination with this being the first skydive for this group and some guys from outta town and anything can happen.
Imagine the base going to hell. I am counting 3 on Base -Joe, RW Scott, & Tommy . Then myself, Levin, Gladewater Chris, Deaf David, 2 Eloy guys-Jim and Marc. That is NINE. All of us are flying and manovering, head, stand, sit, stand, sit, head and whatever. All watching that base and each other. It still falls apart other than all of us in proxcimity to each other.
At breakoff ...Marc does his thing.. head down outta there at breakoff. Textbook perfect. He tracks... now I am above him... I track to the right... Marc tracks to the right... I look up-Clear!... I track further right... (he is so small down there I dont know if he sees me or not) check again above -nothing..
Now I am in position to pull safely. I wave off and start to pull. (Any other skydive with Marc and I, I can pull above a person. -Pull and fly away, yeah.- I just cant let him pull before me or under me.)
What I didnt know......is ........ Meanwhile, Tommy is above me somewhere. He was part of the base that blew up. He had tons of shyt to get out of and that put him looking around for a serious out. He had one spot available and his out was above me, I think he said he had no other choice slot but that one and then -there I was.
I tracked into the spot right below him? and he tracked into the same spot just above me?. BOTH of us were looking. (remember 9 freeflyers are out there) and I am a slower faller than Marc or Tommy, yet I am inbetween. Could have been both of us or one of us.
A lot of things can be said about what each of us did in this skydive, all 9 of us. Very simple to do from my living room and good 7 months later.
I went to let go of my hackey and I always keep it in my hand till I clear the air above me once more before I let it go. I let go -then- I saw Tommy coming in fast as the hacky is leaving my hand. I watch him as my slider is not even down yet. As soon as I can, I grab a riser turn left. Tommy missed my canopy by millimeters. I HEARD the wind as he went past me. All he saw was a blur of purple while in deep prayer and trackin to the right.
This is an example, in my life, as one skydive that never leaves you. Everybody has a story or will have one. What happend or what went wrong? Who knows, Man, who the hell knows? It isnt just usually one thing.
Fact of the matter is this, all of us did what we could with what we had -and we all walled away. I could sit here all day and say .. Well, If I would have done this and one guy would have done that, then the other guy wouldnt have been here....
We flat wound up in a situation wherby our experiences and reation time for that instant was very important.
So my moral of this story is ...see if you can work with it.. you got any other choices at this point? Be quick and smart about it. Try to avoid the issue before hand. If you have a skydive go to hell and you will... (on a FF) best to get outta there, knowing where everyone is and make your call based on all the info you have. Go home saying, "Man that one went to hell" like I did.
Eventually we will have a 'Guilt Jump'. Better a guilt jump than a dead jump. I always wonder what would have happend if... Tommy would have tracked left as I riser turned left... OR I riser turned right and he tracked right also. I think we all know the answer to that one. Thing about it is, Tommy wonders that one too and we still are very close.
So, I list my mistakes here in hopes that it makes just one of you -think.