Sep 16, 2003, 10:13 AM
Post #1 of 37
To start off, I'm very new to the sport. I've done a few static line jumps a few years back, and just never got around to going through the AFF program. Well, last weekend I did a tandem at Skydive City (Z-Hills, FL), and it was friggin money! I loved it, so as soon as landed I signed up for the AFF course and I'm starting this weekend.
Now I'm sitting here at work, and my productivity is shot all to hell because all I can think about is skydiving. I got to thinking...What is the AFF experince really like? Of course I talked to the instructors, and I've read a few things in this forum, but I was wondering what the members of this site have to say on this subject.
So this question goes out to everybody, newbies and veterans alike. What was your AFF experience like, (bad or good)? Any advice?
If the members on this forum won't mind, I'll probably post my experiences as I go through it.
BTW...this site is hands down the most informative sites I've found on the sport. Good job!
(This post was edited by SDiver218 on Sep 16, 2003, 10:15 AM)
AFF is going great and I love it! But, I think the weather must hate me or something. I either have crappy, cloudy skies and no wind or beautiful, blue-for-miles skies and high wind. Every time I drive out to the dropzone (2 hours away!) and say I'd like to jump at least twice, I've been lucky if I get to jump once. And, yesterday....2 hour drive and spent the afternoon chatting with friends and staff and watching base videos instead of jumping due to wind. It was fun and a great way to spend the afternoon, but the drive home is soooooooo much better when I can jump and get my fix!
Edit to add: My friends and I have decided that instead of saying we're going to the DZ to jump at least twice, we're going to publicly announce that we're only going to observe. The way we figure it, maybe that'll psych out the weather and then we can finally get through the training jumps!
Otherwise, AFF rocks. I'm on jump 3 which is the same as L1 except the JM's are going to let go...so now I just have to be aware of my body position and how to fix an instability. Some friends were practicing for L6 and that looks awesome! One JM and a exit dive and a backflip...cool!
You're going to have so much fun with it! And don't expect your mental obsession to go away anytime soon!
(This post was edited by Dagny on Sep 16, 2003, 10:28 AM)
skymama (D 26699)
Sep 16, 2003, 10:26 AM
Post #4 of 37
Welcome to the forums! AFF is both exciting and at times overwhelming when you're trying to remember everything at the same time you're experiencing the adrenaline rush. Just relax the best you can, and you'll be fine.
Breath, relax, enjoy and Ask Questions... There are no stupid questions in skydiving.. You should feel comfortable with what you are being ask to do.. Ask you instructor if you do not understand something..
I always feel bad if things just don't "go right" and a student doesn't pass a level. However, when the student says "I didn't understand".. That is a bummer because a question may have solved any miscomunication..
Congrats on your first tandem. Please feel free to post away your experiences, im currently on my 5th jump overall and YES there is a mental obsession. AFF is a blast! Even if you have to repeat a level. Just listen to what your JM's tell you and you'll be fine.
If you haven't read something similar yet, this link will describe a AFF syllabus similar to what you can expect.
Many AFF students feel a sense of "sensory overload" on their first jumps. Having already done a tandem, you may find the sensory intake more managable.
Different students may have weaknesses in different areas; for me it was my legs.. I had to really make a concious effort to keep them aligned and in position to stop unwanted turns. Many students consider their 'release dive' (usualy level 4) to be the hardest, psychologicaly. I coped well because I had huge faith in my JM. I could see him nearby at all times and so, in a way, it was as though he had never let go of me.. merely being a few feet away gave me reassurance that things would be OK.
Some students have said that the levels seemed to get easier as they got 'more difficult'... because even though more skills need to be demonstrated at each level, the mind is increasingly more aware of the surroundings and better conditioned for dealing with the intense sensory input.. so you can focus better on the tasks at hand.
I also found at my DZ that the AFF training was rather more 'personalised' than what the static line students experience. The AFF instructors are usualy among the most qualified instructors at the DZ.. and all their skill and attention is devoted to one person.. you, for the duration of your jump. It's very reassuring. Also, AFF students often get preferential treatment at manifest because they are usualy more profitable to the DZ than qualified members and static line students.
...And was I scared on the flight to altitude ? Every time ! But as soon as I'm out the door, fear gets left in the plane, the 'game face' is on and the fun starts. So will it be with you.
AFF is a wonderful thing. I am have done 6 jumps and I just passed level 4 (I failed 4 twice) You are going to love it. IF you fail a level as I did make sure and don't get frustrated or disappointed, I did and it didn't help at all. I went back the next week with a fresh mind and passed it with flying colors (no pun). When you go up again you will just learn more and come out of it a better skydiver (I am guessing on that seeing how I am still a student) So get out there and do it to it, come back and let us know how it went!!
EDIT: I just read the dive flow for level 6, backloops sound fun!! Can't wait to give them a try... Does anyone have a video of a "backloop" so I can get an idea on what to do before I go up?
(This post was edited by ifics on Sep 16, 2003, 5:08 PM)
Well, as an AFF Instructor, I think it is a great way to coach people and help them learn our sport. I know you'll enjoy yourself, and I hope you grab a couple of books on the subject to help you learn even more.
Most bookstores, at least in my area, don't stock these. However, you can buy them through Amazon.com or order them through a bookstore. I had Barnes and Noble order them. Only took 4 or 5 days to come in.
All three are good, but I HIGHLY recommend Parachuting: The Skydiver's Handbook. It should almost be required reading IMHO.
I had a funny experience, i was doing my practice pulls as instructed, concentrating fully on the exercise in hand, when i realised that when i did my last GASP check, there was no Primary instructor! I gave the 5,5 signal, the Secondary instructor signalled to pull and the rest of the jump went well. When i landed, the Primary instructor was waiting with tears streaming from his eyes. I asked what was wrong and he said ' Just watch the video' On my last practice pull, i did it with such enthusiasm that I punched him square in the face and off he went across the sky!! Mental note to self - When involved in a bar room brawl, think practice pull, practice pull, practice pull HA HA sorry Dick!
That is so freakin' funny!!!! Good thing he had a sense of humor about it...hope you bought him a recovery beer.
I wouldn't laugh so hard except that I watched my friend, who is going through AFF with me, come within millimeters of making her JM a soprano while doing a practice pull on our pre-jump. Hehehe...I bet he'll rethink his attire when working with us! Helmet...check. Jumpsuit....check. Protective cup...check, definitely!
I had a funny experience, i was doing my practice pulls as instructed, concentrating fully on the exercise in hand, when i realised that when i did my last GASP check, there was no Primary instructor! I gave the 5,5 signal, the Secondary instructor signalled to pull and the rest of the jump went well. When i landed, the Primary instructor was waiting with tears streaming from his eyes. I asked what was wrong and he said ' Just watch the video' On my last practice pull, i did it with such enthusiasm that I punched him square in the face and off he went across the sky!!
OMG....That's friggin hilarious. My advice is, if you have a problem with your Primary Instructor, wait until you get on the ground before you clock him. Brawling in freefall may not be the safest thing in the world to do...Hahaha
I did AFI for my student jumps and let me tell you, they are a blast. There are 3 jumps now that i will remember for the rest of my live, and enjoy telling them to others. My 1st tandem, 5th (1st solo) and 19th (pilot chute in tow, cutaway, cornfield 1/4 from DZ by a lake) went swimming to get my free bag hehe. As for backloops they are fun, but the best is when you are able to jump out doing flips!
I did my AFF last summer at DeLand, and it was great! Because of my tunnel time, I could do it in 5 jumps, but I still had all these "what ifs..." in my head.
I shouldn't have! It was nothing but fun! My instructors where really cool and made me feel safe. I asked loads of questions, but they never made me feel like a dummy. They said I'd be a dummy if I didn't ask those "stupid" questions!
Like metalslug says, the exit is also still (after 20 jumps) the most scary part for me, but as soon as you're out...WOW
As far as advice, as a newbie myself, I can only say that the tunnel helped me a lot, and that I've seen lots of other AFF students that where stuck on some level, have the problem fixed in no-time with a few minutes in the tunnel.
Well up here in canada it's called pff...a little different course but i am sure it's really close to what your doing...I have finished my levels now and am onto doing my solos to get the checks in the box for my licence....had a great time doing it all, it was a blast! My first 2 levels are on skydivingmovies.com under students...pff1and2 i think it's called
(This post was edited by Canuck278 on Sep 19, 2003, 11:30 AM)