Thinking about jumping.....

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Let me at least preface this by saying, I have a few friends who jump, and most of my family have done tandems. I pretty much thought they were crazy, which is odd because that's usually what people think of me. I don't know why, I tend to do things pretty conservatively, like jumping off bridges (over water, not freeways) feet first or just diving when everyone else is backflipping or doing gainers... though I do tend to grab wild snakes at every chance (hey, I love reptiles). As a child I did do a roof drop with an umbrella. Hid the remains of the umbrella and tried it with a bedsheet, didn't have enough altitude for it to open, but enough brains not to go to 2 stories. Anyways....
A coworker just did his AFF, and I catch him grinning occasionally, when he doesn't realize he's even doing it (I suspect he's remembering freefall). Still didn't really have the urge, we discussed it, something about falling straight down didn't super appeal to me. Then he said, you can always get a wingsuit....now that appeals to me. Has ever since the first time I saw my hero, Wile E. Coyote, take his
Acme brand Batsuit for a test flight. Except I didn't know these things actually existed, save for some European in a home made thing being a daredevil to get on TV.
Then he showed me that Need for Speed 4 video on YouTube. Holy #^%!!! Those things actually exist?! And they work?! What? Maybe I SHOULD watch TV or YouTube!
Now I know what you're thinking...and I know how that video, or any like it, affect a viewer. Who wouldn't want to do that, besides Superman, and then only because there's no cape and you can't put your arms in front of you. Heck, every comment is "I'm gonna do that!"
I commented about it to a friend who BASE jumps, whose opinion I respect. He wouldn't even mention it, just said, "Go get your AFF, make a few thousand jumps, learn to fly a canopy. Then you might be ready to consider BASE."
Now, he didn't say consider wingsuit BASE, and I know what that means. And I'm not delusional either, but again, who wouldn't want to?
Man this is going to be a long post. Sorry.
One of the reasons I've never skydived (Skydove?), to be honest, is that I have imagined it. Frequently. And in every one of my daydreams, I deploy the chute, and at that moment it snaps open, the harness slows down real quick. I don't. I slip through it like sand through open fingers. I usually stop the daydream there, you know, not being suicidal and all. So I start my research at "harness failure", and find my daydream hasn't manifest itself once in reality. I was surprised to learn the main cause of accidents are low turns, I have a friend who was cut off low to the ground, turned to avoid, and shattered his leg, injured his back, and can't jump anymore. Then I see the stats, the numbers of fatalities to jumps is staggeringly low. Not so much with BASE. But, with regards to skydiving, the fear is alleviating as I read more about it. It seems to me, that even as low as that number is, it could be lower, that, as is the case with so many things, operator error is more common than equipment failure.
So I quit watching wingsuit videos, started watching skydive videos, particularly AFF jumps. It looks like a lot more fun than I had thought, and watching freefliers, honestly it doesn't look at all like dropping straight down. It looks like freedom. And when I saw canopy flight, again, freedom. I almost can't believe "they" just let you fly around in the air under a canopy, with no control tower directing you, or altitude requirements, it seems even more free than piloting a small plane. And cheaper on gas.
I haven't made that first jump, but now it's "yet". And I'd still like to put on a wingsuit, but I feel like to even think about doing it within 5 years of starting jumping at all would be rushing it.
But, I'd like general advice. I've been reading on this forum for a bit, and the one thing I've taken away from it so far is that there is a LOT more to it than it seems, I feel I have a good understanding of how something seemingly simple can be complex. I'm a tattooer, and the machines I use were designed over a hundred years ago, they are exceptionally simple devices, just an oscillating relay, technically there aren't even any moving parts. I spent 3 years learning how to tune one, with guidance from some of the best in my industry. I'm not a slow learner, just a very thorough one. I don't even want to jump until I know EXACTLY how the main and reserve both work, not just my canopy, but that hotrod swooper too. I want to know why it's even a hotrod. I need to know about aspect ratios, even though I aspire to own a slow opening, gently landing rig. I drive a 4 cyl. Camry, if that's any help. I consider it high performance, not because it is, but because I can make perform the way I want. That's what I want in a rig. I want to be safe, healthy, walking and breathing. And grinning.
Sorry about the long post, but I want to be honest about my motivations, fears, abilities, and attitude. Always open to any suggestions, criticisms, insults, whatever someone with more experience deems necessary.
Thanks in advance, be safe!

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So go jump.

Although it is falling straight down, it sure doesn't feel like it.

A good understanding of the gear is smart.

Brian Germain's book "The Parachute and it's Pilot" is a good place to start understanding the way canopies fly.

The FAA Riggers Handbook is a book designed to teach riggers how to pass the written test. If you are a detail weenie (that's not an insult BTW) it's got lots of technical details. It's also a free download.

The USPA Skydiver's Information Manual is the basic text for the rules and such. Also a free download.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Once you're in the harness you'll realize how secure it is. You're gonna get hooked though... I did, LOL.
My original thought was that "they" should pay me for the first couple jumps and IF I survived, I would start to pay them for continued training. Needless to say it didn't work out that way. Still hooked though.

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Thanks for the advice...going to do it in a month or so....planning on getting hooked, so I want to be ready for it. Plus that'll give me time to read some more, I tend to research things before just jumping in (no horrible pun intended).
One question I do have, though, is regarding frequency. Obviously staying current is important, but is there such a thing as overdoing it initially? What would be a good pace, not so much regarding progression, but jumping in general? I have 2 days off, but my schedule is flexible enough I could jump on days I work as well. The DZ my coworker jumps at is roughly $50 per jump, rental and ride up, but if you are going to make 4 jumps the rental is $25 for all 4, meaning you can make 4 for $125....they also sell blocks of 50/100 for a discount. I like discounts.
But would this be too much initially? Would it create too much strain on my back or neck during deployment, or legs on landing? Is it something you need to work a resistance to? What about my cardiovascular system, would it basically be the opposite of scuba diving, going from more to less oxygen/pressure that often having an effect that I don't want?
I'm not too out of shape, I mountain bike occasionally, and take some impacts on my legs doing that (sometimes other body parts too), but I've learned in the past that pushing even a little too hard can bite back, and put you further behind than staying at a slower, steady pace will take you.

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I did my last AFF jump and my first solo "student status" jump today. My 7th and 8th.
In a perfect world I would say spend a day on your 1st, then the next day do your 2nd and 3rd, next day 4th, 5th, next day 6th, 7th. You get the idea.
After your first jump you will have a pretty good idea what you are dealing with and you will be able to decide for yourself if the above progression is right for you.
Talk to your instructor, you might be able to show all the required skills in less than 7 jumps, might take more, everyone seems to be different.
Lemme know how it goes!

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For the most part, you probably won't be able to overdo it at first. That's what I was initially going to comment after your first post. Go Jump, but don't get discouraged if you have to sit around until you get off of student status. Just get out to the DZ early or, since you have a flexible schedule, call ahead to the DZ on a weekday and make sure they have AFFIs available for you to jump with.

I just started mid-July and have 41 jumps already; and that's with having to sit out several weekends. If you jump a lot in a short time, you will likely be a little sore. Getting in better shape is never a bad idea for any athletic activity- and skydiving is more rigorous than you probably realize yet.

As mentioned above, check out the Skydiver's Information Manual (SIM). There is even an android/iPhone app. You can see the requirements/dive progression, basic safety requirements, licensing requirements, and a whooole lot more.

Cost is really high at first, but it cuts down to the prices you've been told pretty quick. Get those student jumps out of the way now, before the weather is too bad. Students have more restrictions.
7-Way Hybrid at night? F*$k Yeah!

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going to do it in a month or so....

It might be a good idea to just book the AFF or tandemjump. I decided to do a tandem "in a month or two" in July 2010. I didn't actually pick up the phone to call the DZ to book it until September 2011. I jumped 5 days later. I had doubts, and I kept "forgetting" to actually make the phone call. It might not work the same for you, but I could've had my A licence by now, had I just Immediately booked the jump in 2010. :S

Just my two cents.

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