Feb 18, 2002, 3:22 PM
Post #1 of 16
Dealing w/ Traffic
Depending on what aircraft you normally jump from, you may be used to several other canopies sharing the sky near you, or haven’t even seen someone else in the air with you. Dealing with traffic is two-fold. First fly predictably, this will allow others to know where you intend to fly and leave room for you. Second, watch other canopies and try to predict where each canopy intends to go. Plan your approach and landing to accommodate others and be prepared to modify your approach plan as people don’t do what you think they would.
A universal signal to ask if someone sees you under canopy is to kick your legs. If the other jumper does not kick their legs back, they do not see you. Give them extra room. Even if they do kick their legs back at you, continue to keep an eye on them, just because they see you now, does not guarantee they will keep track of you.
If you are working on a particular canopy skill, do a solo hop and pop. Not having other traffic in the air with you allows you to focus completely on flying your canopy without distractions.
you may be used to several other canopies sharing the sky near you, or haven’t even seen someone else in the air with you.
When I visit a new DZ I usually sit out the first few loads and watch the landings. I'm looking to see things like the effect of the winds on canopies, who's not paying attention (and likely to become an obstacle), who's landing in what direction and where and when, and finally how tight the landing pattern is. A few extra minutes on the ground observing is a good idea I think.
Don't forget to look for outs and check out the areas adjacent to the landing area. I saw an accident back in Nov where I think a major contributing factor was that the guy never noticed all the power lines in this area. If he had just looked up when he drove in the outcome may have been differen't.
"I only have 133 jumps, so I don't know shit..right?"-Clay
You should get a breifing anytime you go to new DZ, DZ policies, aircraft/spotting procedures, the landing area, outs and obstacles, etc. The traffic article is aimed more at home DZ stuff. Let's run w/ it though. How about a list of things to look out for and check when going to a new DZ.......
Let's run w/ it though. How about a list of things to look out for and check when going to a new DZ.......
I'll byte. I'm sure others can come up with others but here goes...
* Landing obstacles (power lines, buildings, trees, etc). * Things which may cause turbulence/rotors (buildings, trees, etc.). * Prevailing winds and how that impacts the landing pattern (especially taking into account the influence of rotor-producing structures). * Spots people pick to land... do the swoopers land in a different place than the regulars? What pattern do they use to set up the landings? * Overhead photos so I can get a sense for outs.
I'll generally ask people for landing input as well.
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."
After seeing the over head and talking to manifest, I try to find out the landing area rules and watch at least 2 loads land. The I try to find a regular to ask all the non-landing area related stuff such as, what outs are bad ones to land in, such as the pasture with the bull, farmer McNasty's, will golfers try and hit you if you land on the greens (SDH), will the dirt bikers hit you if you land on the track(Elsinore). Is it hunting season and to avoid the field between the tree lines if you can, Is that really dark green stuff grass or soy beans. If you are in Texas and several other Southern states, always ask which fields are cotton fields, I've found it best to avoid them.
You're right, and I do. But I'll also sit out a load or two and watch the people coming in. I'm not going to depend on the communication skills of said jumper to get me everything I need to know, nor am I going to depend on him telling me what he thinks is important. Ask and watch. I think sitting out a load or two to get the pulse of the landing area isn't a big loss, but rather a tremendous gain. But that's me, I wasn't suggesting anyone else do it.
I'm with you 100%, sitting out a few loads isn't going to hurt my weekend, and can only help me. I've jumped at DZs in different parts of the country and they all do things different. Local jumpers are great for finding out a lot of info, but personally I like to see where everyone really tends to hold over or how the pattern is really flown not just how someone thinks it should be done. Also for DZs without high performance areas, I want to know where to avoid so I don't get hit by someone swooping the "beer line". Another place is the Pea pit(s), are there people shooting accuracy? If so I'll avoid that area to, cause those people tend to hold in brakes and do s-turns on final. After watching all of this plus what the winds are doing, I pick where I want to land and mentally figure some flight plan accordingly.
This months Safety Check in Parachutist deals with canopies of different sizes and speed. Mr. Duran did a good job of thinking it out. There are many ideas on exit orders and the logic behind them are all based of what people believe to be sound. I've been to DZ'z where belly flyers go out first and where freeflyers exit first. Now we look at complicating the exit order due to canopy speed, so as to not make a zoo out of the landing area? Well when somebody gets the exit and landing order down to an exact science, I'll follow that. But in the mean time, I am responsible for my own safety. No matter what DZ I'm at, I go for the least used area of landing area. My head is on swivel looking for anyone that don't see me. Awareness is the key to survival. No matter what skill I may be working on, I need to be prepared to change my plans. I have done my share of hosing people and have had my share of being cutoff. Live and learn. If I do something stupid I expect some polite ass-chewing to remind me of it. And I will politely explain my perception to someone else if I feel they are unsafe. You would be suprised at how many people cannot take any criticsism, feel they are above being told anything and think you are a total As#$*hole if you mention it to them. A person I know firmly believes that everyone NOT jumping a canopy as small as his should be prepared to get out of his way, or at least everyone on the load is supposed to be aware of him. Of course he like to land dead center for proper audience approval. I hate to sound like I'm raving, I'm not. My personal well being is up to me. I have to be prepared to take whatever measures required to ensure it.
I think flying a small canopy takes on a certain responsibility. Because the canopy I fly is so much faster than 99% of the canopys I usually share the sky w/, any collision would be my fault. I have seen people that fly small canopys yell at other people for "screwing up their set-up" for their hook turn. No one owns the sky and if you fly a small canopy you should have to take on more responsibilty for maintaining clearance from other canopys. A sabre 190 is a sitting duck and has zero chance to avoid a collision if I come out of a hard turn in their direction. So clearance is up to me. If someone can't deal w/ traffic and blames other people (that are below them and can't see someone setting up for a hook above them) for getting in the way, they should turn in their rocket for a manta because they aren't ready to fly or at least hook that canopy.
All true. HP canopy pilots must be twice as vigilant as people jumping larger, less heavily loaded mains. Personally, I dump higher now than I ever did with canopies even 30 square feet larger than I jump now (a 65 and a 75). I am generally in the saddle at 3,000, sometimes 3,500 according to what I was doing on the dive and where I got out of the plane. I like to get open, check my airspace, do my post-opening slider stowing, etc, then aim over to the landing area. I always land in either one of two directions; both directions of the beer line according to what we choose at the beginning of the day. I make no moves whatsoever to beat people to the line. I would rather let everyone in a hurry out of the way, then throw my turn. People 1000 feet below me under larger canopies are in my way in one turn, so I do my best to position myself in a spot where they will be clear, or I will have plenty of time to beat them safely down to my turn point. Loose canons get their asses handed to them where I jump. Our student traffic is tremendous, so people are very well aware of what they need to do to stay out of trouble here.