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ManagingPrime

skydiving for loners?

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Very cool. I can see some of myself in your description of your progression.

I agree about the strangeness of the sport (socially)....I don't know what I expected, but it's still something I'm adjusting to.

At the end of the day I'm jumping because It's the best 60 seconds money can buy...with a few arguable exceptions. :ph34r:

I just don't like the feeling of being pushed into a certain direction that as you mentioned is "high pressure". It causes a knee jerk reaction to head in the other direction and reinforces the fact that I just kind of want to chill and do my own thing... and if that's alone so be it.

I guess that's my kind of "loner". LOL

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It's like herding cats, except that you can use a stick on the cats. :ph34r:



Cats have great agility, speed, and reaction times. You might have better luck using the stick on the skydivers! ;)
"It's amazing what you can learn while you're not talking." - Skydivesg

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Put on a wingsuit when you have the requisite jumps. You can fly with flocks, fly solo and enjoy the lengthy view, travel distances others can't, and you're nearly always the last guy out and last person down.
It's about as loner as you can get if that's what you're really looking for.
Just off A is the most important time to be social, IMO. Yes, others do count on you to play in the sandbox, but you need those relative skills no matter what. They form the foundation that will let you develop in any discipline (except perhaps CRW, where belly work has relatively little value).

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I would not say that I'm anti-social. When asked if I want to jump with someone I'm down and if anyone wants to hang out by the campfire and drink beers or whatever I'm down.... I'm just not that interested in group activities that will dictate how my time is spent in the sky and on the ground...unless of course as GB put it....I'm the dictator. ;)



Can you fall really fast???

You could always take up SPEEDSKYDIVING

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Pulling high sounds very interesting, but aside from trying to not land way off...what is to be learned?



Sometimes I like to hang out in brakes and enjoy the view, or fly around the clouds if they are high enough.

Then when I get bored, I'll use the altitude to learn the flight characteristics of my canopy (or a demo/unfamiliar canopy). Finding the stall point of your canopy, learning how it behaves during flat turns, etc are all valuable things to learn if you ever find yourself in a tight spot close to the ground. At my DZ, full altitude jumps and hop & pops are $23 either way, so I get the most out of my money. Just make sure you dress appropriately, it gets cold up there.

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FWIW - Despite being a bit of a loner, over 20 years of jumping, I have met some of the best people, made very close friends and been welcomed warmly even at DZs that did not know me at all.

I figure its like most things, I move a bit slower that the average person, travel at my own speed to see what iterests me... but then again... its my trip through life now isn't it... and I'm enjoying the ride. :)
JW
Always remember that some clouds are harder than others...

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Pulling high sounds very interesting, but aside from trying to not land way off...what is to be learned?



How about practicing your canopy skills and learning more about your main? Practice flaring from full flight, 1/4 brakes and 1/2 brakes, play with the front risers, do some flat turns and figure out which method works best for you, play with the rear risers, stall it with toggles, stall it with rears, figure out what control inputs give you the best glide...

Standard disclaimer - Be sure to talk to someone who knows canopy control about any maneuver that you haven't tried before you try them.

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Three things come to mind here:

If you are going to try to learn to sit by yourself - don't. You need someone relative to you so you know if you are sliding across the sky up / down jump run. Very dangerous to others and yourself. Have an experienced head up flyer with you and keep your shoulders orientated on line-of-fligh and your chest/back perpendicular to it.

Full altitude clear and pulls for your lonesome. Learn whatever canopy you are on inside and out. Stall it, dive it, bury a toggle, watch it and learn from it. It will save your life because when you need a shit load of experience and don't have it, you better have a big pocket full of luck.

As a few recent incidents have shown us, if you're going to be the loner do us all a favor and tell someone you find you when the load is down. And tell manifest you are leaving for the day. Don't be that dead guy off the DZ who is found a couple of days later because you are only concerned about yourself and you get a pattern and a rep. Your family will appreicate it and it won't give the media another chance to portray us as uncaring assholes.
It's called the Hillbilly Hop N Pop dude.
If you're gonna be stupid, you better be tough.
That's fucked up. Watermelons do not grow on trees! ~Skymama

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One thing that hasn't been said yet is that if you want to get into camera-jumping (one thing you mentioned), then logically that means you'll be filming other jumpers (unless the only thing you'll be filming is your feet as you back-track). So, you do need good relative flying skills to be a good camera flyer. Can't get those skills unless you jump with other people.

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Pulling high sounds very interesting, but aside from trying to not land way off...what is to be learned?




Sometimes you LEARN to STFU, relax, enjoy and have fun!


Take a deep breath, look around and appreciate how lucky you are to be where you are, doing what you're doing...B|

The 'learning progression' thing is basically a structured system to acquaint ya with the gear, drill in some life saving procedures and ingrain the 'rules of the road' so to speak so you can jump safely without taking any of us old guys out...once ya got that covered you can knit an afghan in free-fall if that's what YOU want to do!

Nobody jumped sky-boards until somebody got bored and did it, same with head down, CReW...you name it.

You don't HAVE to learn RW, Style, or Backward Night CRW for that matter...just go have some FUN!!:S

You DO know this sport is only a 'competition race' if YOU make it one, right?










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I am pretty much a solo jumper and am very happy with it. Having said that I do think a good grounding in belly skills is very important for every jumper.
I am lucky I can enjoy a jump for what it is. To just appreciate the pleasure of flying is very rewarding. On jumps where I set myself a goal I often try speed skydiving to see how fast I can go straight down. This is not as easy as it sounds but it is fun and I often learn something from it. My record in a prolonged dive is an average of 266mph. I have also recently started wingsuit jumping so that should keep me occupied for the next few thousand jumps.

I do get a bit of stick from other jumpers about not jumping with them but as fcajump said, It is my trip and I will travel it as I wish.

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First thing that comes to mind for me is what we used to call "The 40 jump slump". I am a bit of a social loner myself. I have been involved in all different aspects of the sport and love them all.

As for some of the suggestions presented above, they all take time and money to achieve. For instance, USPA recommends 200+ jumps before flying camera. Common sense dictates that you put lots of jumps with one camera on your head before flying two cameras. If your DZ follows the tandem manufacture's recommendations, they will not let you near a tandem until you have 500+ jumps.

As for wingsuits, you will not likely find anyone that will put you up with less than 200 jumps.

I had fun with belly flying in my early days but was frustrated with the lack of satisfaction when jumping with others of my ability and skill. 1-2 points on a skydive and playing the blame game when getting back on the ground was irritating.

One day there was a CRW camp at my local DZ so I signed up. Now these guys were all a bunch of odd ducks and loners in their own way. I did my first two-stack and was hooked. I joined a team with only 13 jumps (not likely to happen nowadays due to competition wingloading) and spent the next few years doing CRW and the occasional fun jump.

I spent a few minutes thinking about style and accuracy but never really had the time to dedicate to becoming competitive so maybe I'll revisit that in the future. S&A is a totally loner event, as previously mentioned, and also seems to be a dying art.

I was in and out of the sport following a little burnout from the CRW team, a life and career change when a little Cessna DZ opened a mile from my house.

With gear in my closet and a renewed interest in the sport, I discovered that I really enjoyed watching the whole range of emotions that a first-time tandem student experiences. I would come out and fill a solo slot on the plane and work on tracking, sit-fly, back-fly, etc.

One day the DZO asked my if I wanted to start chasing tandems and work towards putting a camera on my head. How hard could it be? I mean they fall straight down with a big drogue chute, right?

I quickly discovered that it wasn't quite as easy as it looked and had fun learning to fly. Next thing I know I am wearing the DZO's camera helmet and shooting video. With a huge learning curve in front of me I never got bored. I finally got around to building my own set-up and eventually added a stills camera.

One day something clicked and I found that I just wanted to be in the air. It doesn't matter what I am doing. Filming tandems, students, newly licensed jumpers, doing small way RW, CRW, tracking, wingsuiting, etc. All I need is an excuse to get back in the plane after packing my canopy (which BTW isn't my favorite part of skydiving B|).

Anyway the point of this long rambling post is eventually you will find what you are looking for in this sport as it has something for everyone.

My best recommendation is to take a little break and spend a weekend or two working around the house. This will usually make anyone want to sneak away to the DZ for a little altitude therapy.

Blue Skies,
Rick
Blue Skies, Soft Docks and Happy Landings!
CWR #23
(It's called CRW, add an e if you like, but I ain't calling it CFS. FU FAI!)

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I'm kind of bored with belly down



If you are bored with belly flying already, that suggests that you haven't tried some of the more interesting stuff:

Hoop jumps. After you get the basic hoop jump figured out I challenge you and nine others to attempt the Star Crest "SCSA" hoop jump. That is NOT boring.

See if you can get folks to introduce you to some of the more interesting 4-way randoms and blocks. I bet that some of the outfacing docks and blocks  with VERTICAL moves would prove to be interesting. 

See if you can get folks to introduce you to some of the challenging 4way exits. If memory serves me correctly, bipole-bipole is a handful. 

See if you can get some folks w/ 4way experience to put you on some mock 4-way competitive jumps.... Tough to be bored for most of those! 

P.S.  The basic Dale Carnegie course or a few months of Toastmasters will go a long ways toward taking the edge off the "loaner" comfort zone. 
The choices we make have consequences, for us & for others!

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You already know that it's your jump, and you can spend your time any way you please. The problem with the majority of 'solo' activites is that they are advanced activities. Anything that easy to do in a group, most skydivers will do in a group. Wingsuiting or swooping are not easy to do ina group, so they're considered 'solo' activities for most. With enough experience to start either of those, and then enough experience within those, they too become group activities.

As far as camera flying goes, it's not a solo gig. Every camera jump for hire has a list of goals that the person paying the tab axpects you to achieve. Even beyond that, you are working as a team with the people you're filming and everyone needs to work together to ensure success and safety.

Here's a couple of thoughts about the here and now - Go to the DZ and do whatever makes you happy. You can switch back and forth between solos, freefly, RW, high pulls, whatever. The key thing to keep in mind is your level in each area, and respect that. You may start to see some success in freefly, but make sure that if you try RW again, you approach it keeping in mind that success in freefly doesn't translate to RW. You might only be qualified for the most basic of RW jumps.

Another thing to keep in mind it that 'being told what to do' is also the same as being taught new skills. If you get involved with an organized RW jump, you're going to have the experience of the load organizer guiding your skydive. They'll put you in an exit slot that will challenge you skills, and likewise in freefall, your slot should be one you have to work at to fly correctly. This is how you learn and advance.

You can look at it as being told what to do, or you can look at it as being taught the skills you need to do whatever you want. Any of the advanced disciplines will take 200 jumps to even get started. The idea is that those 200 jumps are where you build a foundation of skills to take with you into the new discipline.

Want to fly a wingsuit? Knowing how to fly every slot on a 4-way exit will make you sharp in the door and on the hill. Both things you need to be able to exit stable with wings collapsed and transition to wings out on the hill.

Want to shoot camera? You need to be better than whoever you're filming at whatever you're filming. A novice freeflier would be hard pressed to get good video of the top VRW team. RW is a little different becuase the camera suits are used to 'cheat' and make it so the camera guy cam move faster than anyone else, but you have to know the moves before you can use the suit to amplify them.

Use your time how you see fit, but think about the future at the same time. You can do 100 fun solos, flipping, back tracking, pulling high, etc, but then you're the guy with 100 jumps that can't dock on a formation. Whatever you do, remember that it's your jump numbers and what you did with those jumps that dictates your skill.

There are a ton of stories about the guy with 1000 freefly jumps and 50 RW jumps who gets invited on a 'big' way, or a special jump, and is the only guy who doesn't make it into the formation. He may have more jumps that most of the other jumpers, but not the RW expereince.

As a side note, the tunnel is also somewhat of a 'dead end street'. It's fun, and can build certain skills, but it is not a replacement for jumps and actual skydiving experience. It will not teach you exits, being in freefall with a group of jumpers, or tracking away from those jumpers in a safe manner. Again, it's your time, just make sure you don't try to equate skills in the tunnel with skills in the sky, they are not the same thing.

As a nod to your situation, there is a jumper at my DZ who shows up about once a month to make a jump or two. I have never ever seen this guy do anything but get out dead last and pull at 10K. He jumps old gear with a big F-111 canopy, he flies around for 10 or 15 minutes and lands long after we forgot he was up there. He's a great guy, and loves every second of it. To each his own.

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there is a jumper at my DZ who shows up about once a month to make a jump or two. I have never ever seen this guy do anything but get out dead last and pull at 10K. He jumps old gear with a big F-111 canopy, he flies around for 10 or 15 minutes and lands long after we forgot he was up there. He's a great guy, and loves every second of it. To each his own.



best kinds of jumps.

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there is a jumper at my DZ who shows up about once a month to make a jump or two. I have never ever seen this guy do anything but get out dead last and pull at 10K. He jumps old gear with a big F-111 canopy, he flies around for 10 or 15 minutes and lands long after we forgot he was up there. He's a great guy, and loves every second of it. To each his own.



best kinds of jumps.



Now & then 'Demo' down a Spaceland will organize a mass cross-country...everybody just goes all the up, gets out and pulls.

Some people do CRW, some pay 'tag' back and fourth, some sit and watch the planet spin... I've never been on one that EVERYBODY didn't land smiling.

The sport is what you make of of it...I'm no rocket surgeon, but I do know that if ya get BORED skydiving, it's time to hide all the sharp knives 'cause there's some wires crossed somewhere in the hard-drive!;)










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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My recent dive flows are something like; Exit (working on getting head out cleaner...the recent mix of planes made that a little hit or miss). Go onto my back and watch the load for a few seconds. Start working on sit fly...back onto belly between 7K and 6K. Turn 180 and track until 3.8K - 3.5K.



If you are doing solos, tracking is not required, in fact if you are indeed tracking from 7k->3.5k you may run into other groups unless you are very careful to track off jump run.

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Good advice. I'm tracking away from jump run, but I did chill out on the track after I came closer than I would like to a two way that got out before me. Recent video has me spooked about mid-air collisions.



You may have spooked them, too.
A good practice is to look at the airport aerial and plan your flight path based on that. Share it with others. This not only sets you up with a plan, but it demonstrates you're thinking about your skydive prior to boarding.
It'll also help you set the stage for other disciplines once you've got more experience.
Learn to track both right/left patterns. You'd be surprised at how many people can't go to the right (under the plane in many instances) while maintaining stability and heading.

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Good advice. I'm tracking away from jump run, but I did chill out on the track after I came closer than I would like to a two way that got out before me. Recent video has me spooked about mid-air collisions.



If they got out before you AND you were tracking, they should have been way below you. Were you freeflying prior to tracking?
Blue skies,
Keith Medlock

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They were advised that I would be working on sitfly...gave a 5 second count. Did not track until about 5K...there was a good bit of vertical (maybe 300) and horizontal (maybe 200) seperation....which may be laughable to some...but as a low number jumper it was close for me...or maybe I'm just becoming more aware of the other jumpers on the load. In any case, it got me to pull real quick. lol

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