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JohnMitchell

Keeping track of time

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I just read May's incident reports in Parachutist. A jumper with 200 jumps frosted over his full face visor when breaking off at 4500'. He couldn't read his altimeter so he kept tracking until his audible sounded and his red light flashed at 1500'. He pulled his main and ended up with 2 out after his AAD fired. . .

Shouldn't he have kept better track of time in his head or is that asking too much? I feel this jumper is too "gadget" dependent. What would he have done if his audible and warning light had not worked?

It takes approximately 5-6 seconds to fall 1000' on your belly. If you're at 4500' and tracking, you better be pulling in 10 seconds. Going 15+ seconds? Not smart in my book. That ground is waiting for you. [:/]

Any other thoughts out there?

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JohnMitchell

I just read May's incident reports in Parachutist. A jumper with 200 jumps frosted over his full face visor when breaking off at 4500'. He couldn't read his altimeter so he kept tracking until his audible sounded and his red light flashed at 1500'. He pulled his main and ended up with 2 out after his AAD fired. . .

Shouldn't he have kept better track of time in his head or is that asking too much? I feel this jumper is too "gadget" dependent. What would he have done if his audible and warning light had not worked?

It takes approximately 5-6 seconds to fall 1000' on your belly. If you're at 4500' and tracking, you better be pulling in 10 seconds. Going 15+ seconds? Not smart in my book. That ground is waiting for you. [:/]

Any other thoughts out there?



On FJC I was trained to pull if I lost altitude awareness. Student lessons aren't just for students. Whatever he was thinking turned out to be a poor strategy for him but improvising in the moment can produce some poor decisions.
Why did he have an aversion to pulling a little higher?
Why the heck did he track for 15 seconds? Try it, it feels like a very long time when burning altitude after break-off.
Perhaps he was overly concerned about proximity because nothing really makes sense about his decision making. In emergencies you need to fall back on the big sky principle, wave and pull and trust that other jumpers are doing their part.

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JohnMitchell

I just read May's incident reports in Parachutist. A jumper with 200 jumps frosted over his full face visor when breaking off at 4500'. He couldn't read his altimeter so he kept tracking until his audible sounded and his red light flashed at 1500'. He pulled his main and ended up with 2 out after his AAD fired. . .

Shouldn't he have kept better track of time in his head or is that asking too much? I feel this jumper is too "gadget" dependent. What would he have done if his audible and warning light had not worked?

It takes approximately 5-6 seconds to fall 1000' on your belly. If you're at 4500' and tracking, you better be pulling in 10 seconds. Going 15+ seconds? Not smart in my book. That ground is waiting for you. [:/]

Any other thoughts out there?

For some reason my first alti check is always around 7k. And 3k I know it's time to go. Didn.t jump w/ any alti a couple times and ,I guess, after a couple hundred jumps you figure it out from visual. And coming thru a cloud and see ground rush you really know it's to get off the pot. B|
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

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JohnMitchell

I just read May's incident reports in Parachutist. A jumper with 200 jumps frosted over his full face visor when breaking off at 4500'. He couldn't read his altimeter so he kept tracking until his audible sounded and his red light flashed at 1500'. He pulled his main and ended up with 2 out after his AAD fired. . .

Shouldn't he have kept better track of time in his head or is that asking too much? I feel this jumper is too "gadget" dependent. What would he have done if his audible and warning light had not worked?

It takes approximately 5-6 seconds to fall 1000' on your belly. If you're at 4500' and tracking, you better be pulling in 10 seconds. Going 15+ seconds? Not smart in my book. That ground is waiting for you. [:/]

Any other thoughts out there?



Not getting excited when the unexpected happens is (in my book) very important. Events like this make you wonder what the person was thinking during this period of time.

I also think that some people don't trust their own judgment very well. Or maybe they just never learned what a 10 second freefall delay was :)
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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A jumper with 200 jumps frosted over his full face visor when breaking off at 4500'. He couldn't read his altimeter so he kept tracking until his audible sounded and his red light flashed at 1500'.



Assuming he had a standard audible, one alert at 4500 to break off, one at 1500 saying too low/too fast, and one at (pick it) 3000 saying pull now. Why not pull on the second alert?

Quote

Whatever he was thinking turned out to be a poor strategy



Yep.
Shit happens. And it usually happens because of physics.

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Heck if he tracked from 4.5 to 1.5, he pretty much doubled his tracking time, if one guesses that 3.0 is a pretty typical modern pull altitude for a newbie/intermediate jumper.

With his 200 jumps I think he should immediately strap on a wingsuit, because there one can easily double one's freefall time. For most of us, it messes up our sense of time & altitude but he's already all adjusted to that!

.... Just kidding.

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When I read that one I speculated to myself that he was concerned about pulling without being able to see the others around him. Commendable, but there are limits.


JW
Always remember that some clouds are harder than others...

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fcajump

When I read that one I speculated to myself that he was concerned about pulling without being able to see the others around him. Commendable, but there are limits.
JW



This was my thinking, too: he was uncertain about his horizontal separation so he added vertical separation. I've seen the deadly results of freefall into canopy collisions. Yes, there are limits; but I can understand the thought process.

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I'm glad you guys brought that up-- I hadn't thought of it, and was thinking the whole "idiot" thing. But that makes sense. For those of you reading this wondering how to make sure you have good separation, you can't be sure that no one is opening close to you, either.
Were I in that situation, it'd be five seconds or so, wave for three to five seconds (ie A LOT), and then pull. Unless there's an even better idea out there.

Better that everyone think I'm an unvigilant asshole than wonder anything else.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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JohnMitchell

I just read May's incident reports in Parachutist. A jumper with 200 jumps frosted over his full face visor when breaking off at 4500'. He couldn't read his altimeter so he kept tracking until his audible sounded and his red light flashed at 1500'. He pulled his main and ended up with 2 out after his AAD fired. . .

Shouldn't he have kept better track of time in his head or is that asking too much? I feel this jumper is too "gadget" dependent. What would he have done if his audible and warning light had not worked?

It takes approximately 5-6 seconds to fall 1000' on your belly. If you're at 4500' and tracking, you better be pulling in 10 seconds. Going 15+ seconds? Not smart in my book. That ground is waiting for you. [:/]

Any other thoughts out there?



I think that jumper is up for a Darwin award at some point.

You are spot on with your assessment, John. Hell I can't even remember the last time I looked at my altimeter while tracking.

On a similar note, why the hell did we start teaching people to use an altimeter under canopy and while setting up for landing? We've bred a generation of skydivers who are spending their canopy rides reading numbers instead of watching for traffic.

>:(
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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chuckakers

On a similar note, why the hell did we start teaching people to use an altimeter under canopy and while setting up for landing? We've bred a generation of skydivers who are spending their canopy rides reading numbers instead of watching for traffic.

>:(



For better or worse...this is sort of the "Flight-1 Effect" (and other canopy courses, too). Outside of the "pattern replication over random area X to land where you want" a lot of the stuff taught in these types of courses are incredibly altitude specific - though, for good reason.

Granted, the total population of jumpers that have been through those courses is small - but growing as its required - but I've even heard discussions of "altitudes" just milling around the DZ - mainly in context of "my setup." Couple the professionalization of canopy work + the "bar school" information transfer...well, I'm not 100% surprised.

Try to build a better mousetrap etc etc...

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chuckakers

Hell I can't even remember the last time I looked at my altimeter while tracking.

Thanks for bringing that up, Chuck. I know you remember the days of "break at 3500, pull by 2000." You didn't have a lot of time to f-around. You break, turn, track some, wave and check, pull.

Now I have people wanting to break at 5000. be open at 3000. Okay, fine, I understand comfort zones. I'll tell them to track for 5 seconds, wave off and pull. Then I'll watch them do all that but pause 2-3 seconds reading their altimeters. Wasted move, wasted time. You'd be better off spending that time tracking farther or looking for other jumpers around you than staring at your altimeter. Heck, break at 4500' if you want to do that and get more skydiving done with your friends.

Is it the AFF training, where we train people to "lock on"? Or just redundant gadget dependency. Heck, I never got to use an altimeter until my 2nd 10 second delay. They said just count to keep track of time. I guess that's the lesson that stuck with me. ;)

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chuckakers


On a similar note, why the hell did we start teaching people to use an altimeter under canopy and while setting up for landing? We've bred a generation of skydivers who are spending their canopy rides reading numbers instead of watching for traffic.

And furthermore ! ! ! :D:D

I'm not a swooper. But we all know many that do. Some talk about using digital readouts, accurate to the foot, to gauge their swoops. I asked a very experienced friend of mine, who makes a living being paid to swoop, about that. He says he just looks at the ground and knows if he has the altitude to huck a 270, 540, whatever. Seems like a better way to go.

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Andy9o8



This was my thinking, too: he was uncertain about his horizontal separation so he added vertical separation. I've seen the deadly results of freefall into canopy collisions. Yes, there are limits; but I can understand the thought process.

I thought of that too, having actually been in his position, frosted blind in freefall. The longer you track, the less likely you'll hit a friend and the more likely you'll hit the ground. Risk assessment can sometimes be a balancing act. I do know one thing. You'll most likely miss your friends. You will never miss the ground. ;):D

Sometimes ya gotta trust that good wave-off you gave. :)

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On a similar note, why the hell did we start teaching people to use an altimeter under canopy and while setting up for landing? We've bred a generation of skydivers who are spending their canopy rides reading numbers instead of watching for traffic



Yes, it's cultural, but in part due to the evolving nature of jumping. At Cessna DZs in the 70s, especially in the pre-Otter days, half the canopies in the air were rounds, and it took 100 jumps to get to jump a square. Usually a max of 4 of us under canopy at any one time. There were no "patterns", especially for rounds, you just landed in an open spot. Even if you had a square, you spiraled wherever you wanted, and landed wherever. So, we just used our eyes, and gauging altitude under canopy was (and frankly still is) pretty easy (unless you wear an eyepatch and say "Arrrrr" a lot).

Eyeballing is still an important and under-emphasized skill. But with modern emphasis on everyone flying a predictable pattern to avoid canopy collisions, and with more canopies in the air at Otter DZs, there's more emphasis taught on specific altitudes for turning onto the last legs to landing. That breeds a lot more use of altimeters under canopy than when we were pups.

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JohnMitchell

I just read May's incident reports in Parachutist. A jumper with 200 jumps frosted over his full face visor when breaking off at 4500'. He couldn't read his altimeter so he kept tracking until his audible sounded and his red light flashed at 1500'. He pulled his main and ended up with 2 out after his AAD fired. . .



Hopefully, he'll move the, "Oh Shit!! Stop the dive tone" - UP.
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

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JohnMitchell

***
On a similar note, why the hell did we start teaching people to use an altimeter under canopy and while setting up for landing? We've bred a generation of skydivers who are spending their canopy rides reading numbers instead of watching for traffic.

And furthermore ! ! ! :D:D

I'm not a swooper. But we all know many that do. Some talk about using digital readouts, accurate to the foot, to gauge their swoops. I asked a very experienced friend of mine, who makes a living being paid to swoop, about that. He says he just looks at the ground and knows if he has the altitude to huck a 270, 540, whatever. Seems like a better way to go.

Maybe it's a better way to go only because *he is very experienced*. He already survived that very dangerous phase where you progressively replace "hard-coded teachings" with your own experience.

For the average person trying to learn and/or improve consistency, the aids given by digital altis and canopy are alarms are enormous. I agree that there is use VS abuse problem but at the same time you can't disregard how helpful these tools are based on a few examples of things gone wrong or on how a few jumper misused/abused them.

Maybe when and if I'll have that experience, I'll be able to eyeball the enter point of a turn, right now I thought I could and I almost bounced following a low-turn (technically, I did bounce, just a little). Next weekend, you bet I bought a new digital alti and switched my N3 inside my helmet to get canopy alarms and took everything one step back to work on my consistency. These tools help me do just that.
I'm standing on the edge
With a vision in my head
My body screams release me
My dreams they must be fed... You're in flight.

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Andy9o8

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On a similar note, why the hell did we start teaching people to use an altimeter under canopy and while setting up for landing? We've bred a generation of skydivers who are spending their canopy rides reading numbers instead of watching for traffic



Yes, it's cultural, but in part due to the evolving nature of jumping. At Cessna DZs in the 70s, especially in the pre-Otter days, half the canopies in the air were rounds, and it took 100 jumps to get to jump a square. Usually a max of 4 of us under canopy at any one time. There were no "patterns", especially for rounds, you just landed in an open spot. Even if you had a square, you spiraled wherever you wanted, and landed wherever. So, we just used our eyes, and gauging altitude under canopy was (and frankly still is) pretty easy (unless you wear an eyepatch and say "Arrrrr" a lot).

Eyeballing is still an important and under-emphasized skill. But with modern emphasis on everyone flying a predictable pattern to avoid canopy collisions, and with more canopies in the air at Otter DZs, there's more emphasis taught on specific altitudes for turning onto the last legs to landing. That breeds a lot more use of altimeters under canopy than when we were pups.



I know that in a way this is an "anti-gadget" thread and I am okay with that. I started jumping in this gadget and Otter culture of predictable landing patterns. The article below caused me to get an audible alt so that I could keep my eyes on the sky under canopy. I think the gadgets are good assets, but poor crutches.

http://www.dropzone.com/safety/Canopy_Control/Saved_By_The_Beep_754.html
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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DanG

Rip off the visor/ditch the helmet. You still gotta fly your canopy and land.

This. You beat me to it.
i have on occasion been accused of pulling low . My response. Naw I wasn't low I'm just such a big guy I look closer than I really am .


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sammielu

The idea of waiting until you hear some beeps to do something - on every skydive - is training your body for complacency. It freaks me out!


I see what you mean.
I will not claim it can be seen this way and some do.

But I do believe there is a "passive waiting" and an "active waiting", sort of speak.
Meaning, I want to use these tools as aids to know when my window is closed, oops, sorry you were distracted by something in the pattern now it's too late to turn, when I am already low, when I fucked up and need to go to plan B etc. or to reinforce that everything is alright etc, not as a "Pavlov's Dog Skydiving" sort of thing. I agree.
Not sure I succeed, but again: like any tool, if used properly they can be great and effective, you can't disregard the use of audibles or digital readings to set your maneuvers all together. I do believe that for 1 jumper that uses them poorly, there are 9 that are helped in their progression by them.
I'm standing on the edge
With a vision in my head
My body screams release me
My dreams they must be fed... You're in flight.

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JohnMitchell

.......he kept tracking until his audible sounded and his red light flashed at 1500'. He pulled his main and ended up with 2 out after his AAD fired. . .

...... What would he have done if his audible and warning light had not worked?.......



He would have had only 1 out. :P:S

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