How To Tube: Getting It Right
Outside of the physical progress with your tunnel flying skills, there are some things to keep in mind when you visit your local tube that will aid both efficiency and enjoyment for yourself and those around you.
Once signed in at the facility the instructor for your session (each session as they rotate) is the one in charge and should be the person you approach first with any questions or concerns - not the hoity-toity fancy coaches or other flyers (or even the other instructors).
He or she does this every day and is under pressure to make everything run smoothly and on time. If you instructor is doing their job properly he or she will find you plenty previous before your session and discuss what is going to happen - they should enquire after your intentions but also let you know who else you will be sharing the tunnel with and what they are doing too. If you are with a coach who has overlooked this quick but necessary part of the process then consider getting a better, more communicative coach.
If you are a student - do not hesitate to get involved! Not asking when you need to know something will probably only result in looking like an arse in front of a bunch of people than a functioning human in front of one.
If you are not with a coach and are relying on instruction from the tunnel staff - seek them out and talk to them before you start. The job of tunnel instructor is all about good efficiency - with time and energy both - and if you embrace this they will go the extra distance for you will do better out of your training as a result.
Tunnel Monkeys enjoy teaching people stuff in the tube, it is why they do a physically demanding job for crappy money - yet those same reasons lead to short patience with disorganised and unhelpful flyers. You can aid them by personally finding and talking to either the instructor for your session, or if your instructor is nowhere to be found or prohibitively busy - the tunnel driver. The driver will (should) be halfway responsible for keeping track of your session anyway so you can relay your intentions - the two should constantly relay information to one another before and throughout the session.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Be Ready: Tunnels all try to avoid running late and to buffer against the things that make this happen they will try to operate ahead of time as often as possible. Arrive early.
Brief early. Be ready to start and ready to go first.
- Accommodate: When conducting a session an instructor has to consider many things, not only the requirements of every individual in the group, but what is happening both beforehand and afterwards. It might seem quiet but there can be anything form a long list of circumstances that require the maintenance of a tight ship - things like television crews and scheduled maintenance always require more time and extra work from the staff.
- Don’t Leave Your Shit Everywhere: The tunnel might let experienced flyers take drinks and such into the staging area but not the newbies - this is because you can be trusted to be safe and organised with your things. The same goes for around the building.
- Tunnel facilities are public places and the companies that operate them want to appear suitable as such, so put your pants back on and clean up after yourself.
- Know What Else is Happening In Your Session: Learn how long you will have between each of your rotations. Never rely on having long enough gaps between your flights to brief as you go (see part 3 for more). Plan accordingly. You are paying for those twelve seconds it takes your team to put their helmets on and set up - the clock is running.
- Thou Shalt Not Take The Piss: The instructor for your particular session is the only one you need to talk to about your plans, and they are in charge. They do not give a single fuck about “what they let you do last time” or what “usually happens” because you “fly there all the time”.
- News Travels Fast: Instructors whine and gossip like nobody else. If you are difficult with one of them everyone will know it before the day is out. This works the other way around too. It only takes a small amount of communication and consideration to get the staff on your side, and they will see you right.
Finally - remember be nice and have fun. There is no substitute for more tunnel time and quality coaching, but everything you can do at the edges to facilitate a positive and productive experience at the tube helps. Putting in a bit of effort to try and make things easier for those around will reflect in both you own skills and the opportunities you are presented with amongst your flying community.
I'd say that talk to the controller when he is driving the tunnel is really not a great idea. Especially when first-timers are in the tunnel or something like first headdown lift-off happens. Last thing I want is someone who want to know where is his beloved coach right now or where he could get duct tape. Please do not do that.
All tunnels are different, of course, and every place have its own rules.
More articles in this category:
- From Tunnel to Sky - by Kirk Verner & Gary Peek (Posted: 2017-01-12)
- How To Get That Wind Tunnel Job - Vince Arnone Talks You In - by Annette O'Neil (Posted: 2016-12-30)
- How To Tube: Getting It Right - by Joel Strickland (Posted: 2016-10-07)
- How To Tube: Managing Sessions and Understanding Rotation - by Joel Strickland (Posted: 2016-09-29)
- How to Tube: Buying and Using Time - by Joel Strickland (Posted: 2016-09-12)
- How To Tube: A Guide To Getting The Most From Your Tunnel Sessions - by Joel Strickland (Posted: 2016-09-05)