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AlsoTim

Yet another newbie with gear questions

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Hola,

I'm a new jumper (just finished AFF 3 this past weekend and waiting for good weather to jump 4). I've been jumping for about a month. My three jumps have gone really well, aside from a tumbled landing this past jump.

I've read as much as I could and I suspect the first piece of advice I'm going to get is to wait to buy gear and spend my money on jump tickets instead. However, I'm working with a limited budget so I'm trying to plan ahead and save some money to get some of the accessory gear when I finish up AFF - a good rig (even a used deal) is going to take several months of saving for me so I'm not even looking seriously yet beyond just trying to educate myself with what's out there.

That said, for accessory gear, which ones do you folks think are the most critical - or rather, if you had to piece together an accessory set over a few months what order would you do it? Asking around my DZ the consensus seemed to be a digital altimeter first and foremost - despite the relatively high cost, I can see why they're so valuable (being quick and easy to read, some with audible alarms, jump logs, etc..).

One of my instructors has generously offered me a hand-me-down full-face helmet that was given to him when he graduated AFF. I haven't tried it on yet, but he's about my same shape and size so I'm thinking it should fit, or at most just need a new liner.

I don't have enough experience to start picking out a jump suit yet, beyond my instructors noting that I fall fast. I know that I want to stay a belly-flier for a good long while - at least until I feel very confident in my skill there, and I'm not there yet.

What else should I be considering as I start to budget and plan for my new hobby of choice and in what priority? For a good digital altimeter I was recommended the Viso II, are there others I should be considering around or below that price point?



Again, please keep in mind I'm just trying to budget and plan - I'm not rushing out to drop $1000 on equipment when I'm a month in to a sport. The reason I'm budget limited is so I can continue to afford more jump tickets and tunnel time!

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If you are on a budget then you will probably find an analogue altimeter to be cheaper than a digital one. It should give you your altitude more than adequately for your level. Some people also state that for low jump number/inexperienced people a clock face style analogue alti is more intuitive and quicker to use than a digital one.

Depending on where you are jumping, if it is the UK, you won't be able to use that full face until you have 50 jumps + B licence, as they do restrict your field of view a bit. So you may have to look for a cheap open face helmet. A cheap and cheerful protec style is more than good enough.

Gloves and goggles can be got really cheap (comparitively) usually but they are worth having.

A hook knife is mandatory in the UK for A licence up I believe, not sure about elsewhere, but they are quite cheap and again worth having. Hopefully you'll never need it.

Audible altimeters are an additional nice thing to have, giving you a back up to your altitude awareness. Stress the back up part. Don't rely on them 100%! Some also feature jump logs which is nice in a geeky way.

Jumpsuit, get a cheap 2nd (or more) hand one that is functional and does the job. Once you have more money and know what level you want to go to in whatever your discipline(s) of choice are, then you can if you want get a more expensive bells and whistles one.

That should get you started.
Sky Switches - Affordable stills camera tongue switches and conversion adaptors, supporting various brands of camera (Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic).

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Asking around my DZ the consensus seemed to be a digital altimeter first and foremost - despite the relatively high cost, I can see why they're so valuable (being quick and easy to read, some with audible alarms, jump logs, etc..).



Meh, this is one of those things where it's a matter of personal opinion. Some peoples' brains are hard-wired to digital, others are hard-wired to analog, others can go either way. There's no "good" or "bad" here, just different.

Logging altimeters can be of two primary types; one is an audible altimeter (like the Protrack) that also functions as a logger, the other is a visual altimeter such as the Viso or Altitrack that also functions as a logger. The Neptunes are actually a third type as they can be used either as an audible or visual altimeter, and as a logger.

I'd venture to say that when it comes to a fancy schmancy altimeter, you don't know what you want yet. However, if you're going to start saving some money, one thing to do is to figure out what the best sources of used gear are and start to monitor them for deals (classifieds here, Facebook groups devoted to gear sales, local dealers, other local sources). Good quality used analogs can often be found for under $100, and that'll serve you well throughout your skydiving career, even if you eventually decide you want something with more functionality. Saving up cash so you can jump on the deals when they become available will be really helpful.

So yeah, an altimeter is a good place to start for accessories. Gloves are another. If your instructor's helmet fits... awesome, problem solved, but if not, a helmet's also a good "first purchase."

For a jumpsuit, sometimes people luck out and can find a used jumpsuit that's a decent enough fit (or can be with minor alterations) but most folks find that a custom suit is their best bet. You can ask around for recommendations on manufacturers, and then work with your instructors and the manufacturer to have the right suit designed to help you "dress for success" based on fall rate, etc.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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Another consideration in analog vs digital is that digitals use batteries - I have had my Neptune malfunction in freefall 3 times due to a low battery. Kinda gets your attention when you exit at 15K and after the formation builds it still reads 15K (and under canopy it reads 20 feet!).

As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD...

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NWFlyer

***Asking around my DZ the consensus seemed to be a digital altimeter ....



Meh, this is one of those things where it's a matter of personal opinion. Some peoples' brains are hard-wired to digital, others are hard-wired to analog, others can go either way. There's no "good" or "bad" here, just different.

...............................................................................

Consider the age of the customer.
For example, since I was invented before digital clocks, I struggled to learn how to read analog (round, sweep hand, etc.) clocks. Now analog altimeters are second-nature to me. I don't really focus on my altimeter, just notice glance at it long enough to note whether the needle is near the top (no worries) or near the bottom (6,000 getting close to opening altitude for tandems and FF students). When the needle rotates past horizontal (on the right side of the dial) I desperately want a parachute overhead.

OTOH digital altimeters just spit out raw data, that I need to process through my brain before the data means anything. I was always slow at math.
Hah!
Hah!

Meanwhile, customers born after digital clocks were invented naturally absorb digits, but need to pause - and think - about archaic needles.

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Consider the age of the customer.



Yup. I grew up with mostly analog clocks, with the switch to digital (at least for clocks) occurring at some point my later childhood years (I recall having digital alarm clocks in high school).

But, I'm one of those people who likes to wear a watch AND I've always used analog watches. So in the "look at my left wrist for information" I'm hard wired to analog for sure. But a younger set of folks who have grown up with digital clocks and use their cell phone's digital display as a mobile timekeeping device...
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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I'm a little older than that but have always had digital watches. And I think the analogy is not helpful. Looking at your watch on the ground is a totally different beast to gauging your altitude on a skydive with all the other stuff going on in freefall. Especially for a new jumper.

I use a digital alti for most jumps (sewn into the arm of my FS suit). I have misread it several times in freefall - with generally no harm done, I have quite a few jumps and an audible as well, plus teammates who are all similarly equipped and reliably on their game. But I have misread it nonetheless.

This has never happened to me with an analog alti (I always wear one on coach jumps or when I am freeflying or doing camera).

I do not think this is a coincidence.

Digital altimeters are great, but anyone who claims they are as readable as an analog is selling something, even if just to themselves.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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You can get a digital altimeter with an analog readout. It also has a logbook feature. But remember anything digital needs a battery.

http://www.l-and-b.dk/products/visual/altitrack

I wore one of these for 20+ years and never had a problem.

http://forum.altimaster.com/content.php?168-Alti-II

The one thing that will improve flying skills the most is a good jumpsuit.

Sparky
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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