Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
1st Out Close Call

 


pccoder  (A 43773)

Feb 15, 2004, 8:53 AM
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1st Out Close Call Can't Post

My 62nd jump was yesterday, one year from my 1st solo (Valentines). Anyway, I was base on a 3-way sit fly which went great. We broke off at 4500 feet and throw out at 3500 feet.

Unstowed the brakes and realized we were North of the landing area DOWNWIND. The lowers were maybe 10 mph, but it seemed that the uppers must have been 30 mph. I wasn't getting much forward movement on my way back to the landing area and the other two guys were right with me, only higher and we were all headed in the same direction. At 2500 feet I was seriously considering turning North and looking for an alternative; however having never landed out before and knowing the only alternative would be a baseball field a good quarter mile North or trying to land on a street in a residential neighborhood I figured I would go for the very North end of the airport like my 2 buddies were doing.

As I got closer to the ground I knew I wasn't going to make it; at 500 feet it was a given I was going to come up short and there was a small clearing between some tall pine trees and that's where I aimed. I negotitated my canopy with small inputs on the toggles and amazingly made it into the small clearing and stopped as I ran directly into a small chain link fence covered with shrubery.

No injury, just shaken a bit. This was my first real problem that I have had since I began a year ago. I tried to stay calm and my buddy who landed only 100 feet in front of me in a larger clearing was concerned but happy that I was fine and impressed that I didn't panic ( if he only knew Smile )

I've been thinking about it alot this past day and wondering what would have been a better alternative, go back to the baseball field? Ball up and fly rear risers all the way back to the airport?

Suggestions are VERY appreciated.


freeflir29  (D 10000000)

Feb 15, 2004, 9:06 AM
Post #2 of 25 (2621 views)
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

First and foremost. Make a decision on where to land NO LATER than 1000 Ft. 1500 is better. Every year there are MANY skydivers both seriously injured and even killed due to making an out decision too late. I have seen it time after time and it's just STUPID. Make your plan early. The earlier the better!!!!!
Second.....when going UPWIND rear risers aren't always help. You want to get all the GROUNDSPEED you can and create as little drag as possible. Just go with unstowing the brakes and get your body as small as possible. Now if you are going downwind rear risers are great. You want to stay airborne as long as possible in the given wind conditions. Just make sure that by 1000 ft you have picked out a place to land and have toggles in hand ready to fly the canopy! Glad you didn't get hurt.


murrays  (C 1285)

Feb 15, 2004, 9:51 AM
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Re: [freeflir29] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, depending on the winds aloft and amount of penetration you are getting ...Front risers may be how you reach a safe landing area.


pccoder  (A 43773)

Feb 15, 2004, 9:56 AM
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Re: [murrays] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't sure if that would be the way to go because I was desperatly trying to not lose any unneccesary altitude. I never did any left turns to line up for landing, I was straight in from the time I deployed till the time I landed. So, in my opinion I barely made it back.


wrightskyguy  (D 19665)

Feb 15, 2004, 10:25 AM
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

1st of all, I'm glad you're ok. This would be better posted in the safety and training forum.


pccoder  (A 43773)

Feb 15, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Re: [wrightskyguy] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

I had considered that, however this could have turned into a serious injury if I hadn't made it back, so decided to put it here. Next time (hopefully not), that's where I'll put it. Thanks.


freeflir29  (D 10000000)

Feb 15, 2004, 10:32 AM
Post #7 of 25 (2524 views)
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Re: [murrays] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Also, depending on the winds aloft and amount of penetration you are getting ...Front risers may be how you reach a safe landing area.


Very good point......although I would caution that I can't see fronts being of benefit unless you were actually going backwards due to high winds.


MakeItHappen

Feb 15, 2004, 10:42 AM
Post #8 of 25 (2513 views)
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
My 62nd jump was yesterday, one year from my 1st solo (Valentines). Anyway, I was base on a 3-way sit fly which went great. We broke off at 4500 feet and throw out at 3500 feet.

Unstowed the brakes and realized we were North of the landing area DOWNWIND. The lowers were maybe 10 mph, but it seemed that the uppers must have been 30 mph. I wasn't getting much forward movement on my way back to the landing area and the other two guys were right with me, only higher and we were all headed in the same direction. At 2500 feet I was seriously considering turning North and looking for an alternative; however having never landed out before and knowing the only alternative would be a baseball field a good quarter mile North or trying to land on a street in a residential neighborhood I figured I would go for the very North end of the airport like my 2 buddies were doing.

As I got closer to the ground I knew I wasn't going to make it; at 500 feet it was a given I was going to come up short and there was a small clearing between some tall pine trees and that's where I aimed. I negotitated my canopy with small inputs on the toggles and amazingly made it into the small clearing and stopped as I ran directly into a small chain link fence covered with shrubery.

No injury, just shaken a bit. This was my first real problem that I have had since I began a year ago. I tried to stay calm and my buddy who landed only 100 feet in front of me in a larger clearing was concerned but happy that I was fine and impressed that I didn't panic ( if he only knew Smile )

I've been thinking about it alot this past day and wondering what would have been a better alternative, go back to the baseball field? Ball up and fly rear risers all the way back to the airport?

Suggestions are VERY appreciated.

This is not an incident.

An incident would be a report on the jumper that opened right over an alternate airport with +100 of his closest friends, several miles from the Korat AFB, and tried to make it back to the Korat AFB. The jumper broke his ankle on landing in a small area. He decided not to land in the wide open area directly underneath him or a golf course that was available between the two airports.

Doing the same thing as your buddies on the jump may not always be wise. Differences in glide angle may allow them to reach an open area and not allow you to reach the same place.

see Get-Home-itis

The stationary point is the best way to guesstimate where you will land. You also have the option of running with the wind to an open area.
Decide by 1000 feet where you will land, I always do.
.


pccoder  (A 43773)

Feb 15, 2004, 3:38 PM
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Re: [MakeItHappen] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks alot, looks like this article will be very helpful.


jose  (D License)

Feb 16, 2004, 12:48 AM
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Its good that you looked around you and attempted to determine your possibilities. Your situational awareness is key in determining where you are going to put it down if you have to land out.

As soon as you have figured out, or have any questions what-so-ever about "making it back", go for the nearest, largest, clearest, widest, softest landing area that you can find. If this is directly under you and you are unaware of any other options between you and the landing area, TAKE IT! If this is in the opposite direction of the landing area, TAKE IT! Its great to stay with your buddies for convienence sake, but you are responsible for you and you only at this point, right? If they see you going for another spot, they will probably follow you, at least that is what I would do.

As Clay has said, make that decision early and at altitude, not a couple hundred feet. Its no big deal to land out, and no one is going to judge you for landing out further than the "other" guys. Besides, sometimes it makes for good stories and some funny looks from the whoffo's that see you come in. Heck, might even be a great way to collect some digits from the local hotties while you wait for your ride.Wink


Newbie  (C License)

Feb 16, 2004, 3:44 AM
Post #11 of 25 (2050 views)
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

i always look for "out's" on an aerial map and/or get an instructor to show me if im at a new dz.

It's best to know where they are before boarding, so come 1000/1500ft you don't have to find one - you just work on your approach to getting there.


freeflynick  (D 24960)

Feb 16, 2004, 6:36 AM
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Re: [jose] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Well said!
If the thought "will I make it back" even enters your head, you should be looking for an alternate. As this proves, if there is ANY doubt at all about making it back, its not worth the risk. Find the best alternate available, and take your time to get into the right approach pattern for your alternate.
And its often fun getting out and meeting the locals!!


davelepka  (D 21448)

Feb 16, 2004, 7:39 AM
Post #13 of 25 (1939 views)
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
At 2500 feet I was seriously considering turning North and looking for an alternative;
-------------------------------

I'm assuming that the wind was out of the South. If this was the case, you should have turned around. You would now be UPWIND of many alternate landing areas.
a baseball field a good quarter mile North

If you were at 2500 ft with winds blowing at 30mph, you would have been able to make a 1/4 mile easily. I'm guessing that with 62 jumps, you are jupming a larger canopy. With a good tail wind, and some brakes or rear risers, you can cover a good amount of ground with a 30 mph tail wind

If you were the first group out, expect to be downwind of the DZ. Additonally, the winds aloft should be available to you at all times. The pilot should know what they are, and should be willing to share that with you. With this in mind, you should be able to check your spot, and adjust your opening altitude.


jose  (D License)

Feb 16, 2004, 9:57 AM
Post #14 of 25 (1864 views)
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Re: [davelepka] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
If you were the first group out, expect to be downwind of the DZ. Additonally, the winds aloft should be available to you at all times. The pilot should know what they are, and should be willing to share that with you. With this in mind, you should be able to check your spot, and adjust your opening altitude.

Davelepka, I am hoping to clear something up here about opening alititude. Unless you are the LAST one out, with no other loads in the sky, and you have told the pilot that you plan on dumping high, you should NEVER EVER adjust your opening alitude for a long spot. Albeit, the letting the pilot know is more of a courtesy, but can also have an effect on his approach back to the DZ if hes the kind of guy that likes to stand the plane on its nose to get down.

Please, for the love of God, do not EVER dump high just to make it back unless you are the last one out and have given ample seperation between the last group and yourself. This goes for tracking to make it back as well. If you track back with the line of flight, and dump high as well, your just plain going to kill someone someday.

I posted this as a clarification only, thanks.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Feb 16, 2004, 10:25 AM
Post #15 of 25 (1848 views)
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Re: [jose] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

 
OK, clarification needed.

Adjustment of your opening altitude should be limited to small increments, say, less then 1000ft.

If you should realize that you are off the DZ, and want extra altitude, you can dump a little higher to give a bit more range under canopy. When jumping in a group, your opening altitude is limited by the breakoff alti, plus a reasonable track. With a good spot, you can feel free to track right down to your min, opening alti. With a bad spot, you can curb your tracking, and limit it to just enough to achieve adequate separation from your group. Under canopy with a bad spot, even an extra 100 or 200 ft can make the difference between an uneventful off-field landing, or an incident.

It is important to keep in mind that even if you have that extra 100 feet, if you have to use it, you have fucked up. Planning ahead, and choosing a safe LZ ASAP under canopy is job #1. If you are questioning your ability to make an LZ, pick one which is closer/easier to get to.

I agree that this clarification was needed. I did not consider my audience when I posted, and took some things for granted as being 'common sense'. This does, however, reinforce my point that canopy training is woefully inadequate in modern day skydiving. Aside from the 'no low turns' rule, and flying a pattern, survival under canopy also incorporates proper crisis managment when things go off-plan, and unitlization of resources in forming a new plan. Skydivers of all skill levels should consider if they have thought through possible scenairos, and what course of action they would follow in resolving them. Many times an off-field landing is a non-event, but the time will come when several variables will pile up, and create a hazerdous situation that will require the jumper to think quickly and clearly in order to prevail un-injured.


thezephr  (B 104263)

Feb 16, 2004, 1:34 PM
Post #16 of 25 (1761 views)
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like you did ok. I had my first land out in the new year jumping over empuria Brava. When i opened up at about 4000ft in was over the centre of the town which you are told to avoid at all costsShocked. The wind were pushing me further away from the airfield so i wasn't making it back there either. I saw fields to both sides of the town they looked a little out of reach but i had the altitude to make it so i made the decision and kept to it. I made it down easly and burst out laughin when i got down. The best advise is to make you choice early and stick with it.


jeffallen  (C 34831)

Feb 16, 2004, 5:51 PM
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Just wanted to get my opinion in on this. I was the concerned buddy of pccoder on this jump. Some info that was left out is that this was the first load of the day and our 3 way was the first out from 15K. the winds were posted and we were all aware the uppers wer stiff from the south west. We did experiance a little more drift in freefall than expected and upon opening around 3500' found ouselves a little downwing from the LZ. The first load of the day is almost like the "test dummies" for the spot for upcomming loads and all three of us had little concern of not making it back, at the time. Did not get muuch drive into the wind but did get back to the north end of the fieild. I did not chance clearing the fence around the airport property and took a safer out next the the raod on the grass. the other guy just cleared the fence withc barbed wire on top instead of landing in the clearing with me. pccoder came up a little shorter than we did and with a cool head and "a little luck" managed to keep himself out of the top tf the trees and put himself down in a very little clearing around the many trees. Givin the situation I think we made a good decision and I am gald we all walked away with some experiance and a story to tell. This is how you learn in this sport. We adjusted the spot and had a fun day of jumping. By the way. Fun jump. Jeff


fudd  (C License)

Feb 17, 2004, 6:36 AM
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Re: [jeffallen] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that this post rather should be in safety and training.
In my short jumping carreer so far this is my experience.

Anyway, one should always be prepared to land out. I've landed out more times than I've had linetwists the past 150 jumps. (my hornet just don't want to twist up even with sloppy packing Smile )

Before takeoff, know the different outs, power lines etc. Look at a map if possible. Take notes of big areas which has few or none good alternatives, so you could avoid them.

Moral is: If you're not picky about the spot and check it yourself every time, you will land out from time to time. Shouldn't be a biggie, just inconvenient.

I think you made the correct decicion following the other two. When landing out one should try to land together. (In a safe out of course. Two jumpers in a power line doesn't make a right.) If anyone get hurt, they got friends to help. It's boring to walk the long way home alone. etc. etc.

Plan for the worst, survive for the best.


streaker  (A 47552)

Feb 17, 2004, 6:49 AM
Post #19 of 25 (1553 views)
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

My level one AFF jump found me off the airport looking for an alternative landing area.

I came away with no harm done and confidence that I could fly the canopy into a small landing space.

From my perspective always look for the alternative rather than make a risky decision that could put you in jepordy.

Beatiful Landings!

Streaker


Scrumpot  (D License)

Feb 17, 2004, 6:54 AM
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Re: [streaker] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I came away with no harm done and confidence that I could fly the canopy into a small landing space.

Please... just be careful with that "confidence", okay?

Blue Skies,
-Grant


pccoder  (A 43773)

Feb 17, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Re: [jeffallen] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Jeff,

Something else I guess everyone should know... I realized after all was said and done that my very first solo (AFF 1) was a year ago to the day of this out landing and that landing was also out (however just past the fence in a soccer field) and I was talked into that spot by the instuctor on the radio. So, I haven't really considered that as an out landing, but I guess it would count too. :)

Valentine's Day Jumps = Out landings for Chris


streaker  (A 47552)

Feb 17, 2004, 4:57 PM
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Re: [Scrumpot] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

Grant,

Did'nt mean to sound cocky, but having landed off once, I know that it's definately possible.

Looking for an alternative landing area is much better than making hard low altitude turns or other decisions that leave you with no good alternatives.

LOL

Streaker


firstime  (B 28972)

Feb 17, 2004, 7:36 PM
Post #23 of 25 (1369 views)
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

landed off 3 times, 1st was AFF, the guy on the radio
forgot I was there, all I heard at 2500 was "find an out" which I did and a great stand up and no one saw it. The second, still on AFF not paying attention
to uppers but still made a decision high, I didnt
mind the walk. The 3rd was on my 50th jump, 1st
on my rig, again my fault.... 1st one out and a really
bad spot, had an out and a really long walk. Yeah
I have made some mistakes but my training from
some good instructors allow me to be here today.
On those 3 outs, the 1st was clear (no way) the 2nd
& 3rd were " maybe I can make it " I am not good enough for a maybe so I found an out.. No biggie
What I am saying is if look down and say maybe..
DON'T try to get back... I also was fortunate that both dropzones had some good outs. At 55 jumps
"maybe" is not in my vocabulary.


jeffallen  (C 34831)

Feb 18, 2004, 4:02 PM
Post #24 of 25 (1300 views)
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Re: [firstime] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

landed off 3 times, 1st was AFF, the guy on the radio
forgot I was there, all I heard at 2500 was "find an out" which I did and a great stand up and no one saw it.

__________________________________________________

I think I would be finding another place to get my training if my instructors "forgot" I was there. Every situation is differant when facing an out landing. Can I make it back? Maybe? Deffinately not? On the first load of the day not knowing exatly what the winds are doing, not being able to watch other canopies yet. a "maby" could be better than a deffinate no and having to land in strong wind in a very bad or unfamiliar place. Everyone should use thier best judgment at the time. I have five outs so far and they have all been very smooth. Decide early, commit to a good out and stay calm. Jeff


Monkeyb  (A 45920)

Feb 19, 2004, 12:07 PM
Post #25 of 25 (1259 views)
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Re: [pccoder] 1st Out Close Call [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll share my newbie panic story since it seems somewhat relevant to the thread. Although there's no real point to it, I feel the need to post it.

A couple of weekends ago on my second-ever AFF jump I had a rough freefall and the JM had to deploy the main for me. I was a bit shook up from the unexpected deploy, and when I looked up I noticed I had my first linetwist which shook me up even more (although it wasn't a big deal).

I couldn't see any other canopies nearby and couldn't figure out where I was since the dropzone was nowhere in sight. I was too nervous to steer my canopy and look around, and to top things off my radio wasn't functioning so I couldn't get any guidance from the ground.

I figured the smart thing to do was to wait it out until I got closer to the ground, and then I'd be able to see where I was, or maybe the radio would start chatting to me eventually. Well, next thing I know it's like 1500 feet, and I have absolutely no clue where I am or where I should land. I picked a random landing spot next to some baseball field, and had a rough landing (smashed into the ground) because of an early flare.

I get up and have no clue where I am, or if anyones gonna come pick me up. It's just a huge open field next to a road, and a house directly behind me. Fortunately for me, a hispanic family comes out wondering if I'm ok and how I ended up there. I was over a mile away from the DZ. Luckily for me the family offered to give me a ride back to Elsinore Smile

That would have been a hell of a walk back with the all the weight of the skydiving gear.

Yea I know this is probably a weak story, but I had to share. It was a great learning experience for me. The second jump that day went fine.

Now I know to look around and come up with a solid landing plan, instead of puckering up with fear and confusion hoping the radio will start talking to me and tell me what to do.


(This post was edited by Monkeyb on Feb 19, 2004, 12:09 PM)



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