Dec 15, 2003, 7:11 AM
Post #1 of 6
First flights on S3
I picked up my new S3 from Bird Man last week, and headed out to Sebastian on Friday afternoon for the weekend. I got there in time to make 3 jumps that afternoon, 7 total for the weekend before the weather turned, all on my S3. Before this weekend I had approximately 45-50 wingsuit jumps - all but one of them on a Classic I, the other one on a GTi I was able to borrow for a jump.
On the first flight, I planned to do several practice pulls since I had heard about some people having issues finding their hackey(I use a Mirage freefly handle) due to the large wing. I have never had a problem on my Classic or the GTi, but the wings are significantly smaller. The exit went perfectly, and I immediately noticed the significantly faster forward speed and slower vertical speed(I almost kept up with the airplane, and it descended faster than I was for the first time). I made a crosswind turn, and once I got settled on heading, made a few practice pulls. The first time I had to pull some of the wing out of the way to get to my handle, but the other several times I got my hand on the handle immediately with no fabric in between my hand and the handle. Every time I collapsed my wings for a practice pull, it felt like the floor fell out from underneath me. I then tried a few different things with my legs to slow down and dirty up for pull time, and everything went as expected. When I was approaching 6000ft, I bent my knees to slow my forward speed, arched, and held that for about 5 seconds. I then pulled, and as I threw the PC I brought my knees down to sit me up as the bag was leaving my back. I still had quite a bit of forward speed based on how far I was flung in front of the canopy, but it was a nice, slow, smooth, on heading opening. 13.5k exit, deployed at 5k, average speed 78mph.
The second jump I just planned to fly the suit, and pull at 5k. No special maneuvers. The exit got a little squirrely, and I ended up doing a couple rolls, but I think I opened one wing a little quicker than the other. Got stable, and just flew the suit in a normal pattern. I realized why people said their arms get tired when trying to max the suit out. I had the grippers most of the flight, but dropped them and picked them up a couple times just to see how easy or difficult it might be to pick the grippers back up. No problem there. When I pulled, everything was going well until the canopy was fully inflated(everything was on heading until this point), then my body started spinning while the canopy flew straight, eventually ending up with about 6 line twists. I was just starting to unzip my left arm when the canopy started to spin(Sabre2 loaded at 1.5+) to the right. I ended up on my back while I was unzipping the right arm. I grabbed the risers(well above 4k still) and pulled hard on the left rear, and the spin slowed enough to let me kick out of the twists(legs still zipped). After the line twists were out, the canopy straightened out and flew straight. I assume some lines got trapped assymetrically in the twists, causing the turn. Everything else was normal, I finished stowing my slider and unzipping my legs by 3k. Average vertical speed 62mph.
The next several jumps went great. I did several tight turns, rolls, and a little back flying. Average speeds varied from 55-65mph on those jumps. The only issue I had was on jump 6 I made a lazy pull. I grabbed the PC handle, tossed it, and after about 2 seconds hadn't felt anything, so I reached back again. I couldn't find the handle, but I felt bridle. I pulled the bridle out, and felt the bag leave my back. I think I just had the PC part way, but not all the way, out of the BOC, and the first thing I found when I reached back was the excess bridle that was stowed in the PC. I couldn't see the PC behind me when I looked, so I'm ASSUMING it was still partly in the pouch. I started the pull at 5k, and I was finally under a good canopy at 4k. It seemed to take forever, but apparently it didn't take as long as I thought. On this jump, my pro-track showed my deployment at 10,900ft, so I guess I slowed below the point(at least for a couple seconds) at which it thought I deployed. The PT was not set in SLO mode as it probably should have been.
On jump #7 I loaned my Classic to another jumper who had done a BM jump a few months prior. We reviewed the procedures for the suit, and then hooked it up to his rig. The plan was for me to exit, then he would exit about a second behind me. I would then just shadow him, but nothing too close since I'm still new to the S3. Exit went well, and I flew 45 degrees behind him to the left, and about 30' above. I was suprised how much I had to arch and keep my arms back to descend with him, and how much I had to bend my knees to stay slow enough to avoid passing him. He made his crosswind turn, and did a few practice pulls. I collapsed my wings as he did to stay with him. When he made his turn to downwind, I decided to jump over to his right side since we were flying a bit tight of a pattern for my liking - I wanted to get a bit more separation from the tandems that exited ahead of us. This is where I made my mistake. I flew over and behind, and evidently flew through his burble. I rolled hard right and realized I was in his burble, so I would have to recover after leaving it. I immediately ended up on my back, in a fast spin. I had thought about spin recovery quite a bit before I first jumped the suit, thanks to a conversation with Chuck and Tamer several weeks ago. I knew that arching would just make it worse, so I didn't even try that. I immediately brought my knees up to my chest and arms in at my side/in front of me. The spin stopped almost as quickly as it started, and I arched with wings still closed, which rolled me over to my belly. Then I opened the wings and resumed flight. Total altitude loss was less than 1000ft. I caught back up to the other guy, but was slightly below - so I stayed down lower since we were close to his pull time. I watched his deployment, flew 90 degrees away for a few seconds, and pulled. Average vertical speed was 79mph.
I was suprised how quickly the spin developed and accelerated. I'm glad that I had read about spin recovery here and talked to Chuck and Tamer about it when we jumped a few weeks back. I felt like I pretty much operated on autopilot when it came time to recover from the spin.
Unfortunately, I probably won't get any more jumps in before Eloy....but I'll be there the 25th through the 3rd or 4th....looking forward to flocking with everybody!
Good job on handling the spin. Once you get a bit more solid in the suit a burble from a classic shouldn't cause that kind of trouble. I don't know how comfortable you are with your FF handle but you might want to consider going to a hack if you continue to have problems with the pull sequence. I look forward to flying with you in Eloy
Good job on handling the spin. Once you get a bit more solid in the suit a burble from a classic shouldn't cause that kind of trouble.
I seriously doubt it would have caused any problem had I been flying the same direction as he was - but I was flying almost perpindicular to his line of flight. He turned, I elected to fly straight until I was on the other side of him, then parallel and catch up. This put me in his burble almost perpindicular to it. Lesson learned!
In reply to:
I don't know how comfortable you are with your FF handle but you might want to consider going to a hack if you continue to have problems with the pull sequence. I look forward to flying with you in Eloy
Actually, I'm more comfortable with the FF handle than a hackey for an all around rig. When I get my BM dedicated rig, it will have a hackey - but for the other types of flying I do, I am most comfortable with the FF handle. I've used just about all the deployment types - ROL with plastic handle and hackey, BOC with hackey and FF handle, and pull out - and prefer the FF handle. I was using pull out up until I got to try an FF handle on a Mirage, then I switched to that. I felt that pull out was a safer deployment method for the flying I did than was a throwout with hackey. I now feel that the FF handles are safer than both. The whole problem was my lazy pull. I failed to pull the PC out completely - totally my fault.
Eloy should be....well....fun? well, that's an understatement, but all I can come up with right now..
I've got the freefly handles on my rigs, and I prefer them too. Maybe think twice about having two different types of handles. I'm from the school that says it's better to have one set of procedures to screw up rather than more than one.