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unruly

One Eyed Skydiving

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I know there is an older post about this but wanted to bring the topic back up and hopefully connect with someone like me.

Was born with glaucoma in my left eye, completely blind in it.

Did 5 tandem jumps last summer/fall and loved it. Instructor allowed me to wear altimeter (switching between left and right hand to find comfort level) and allowed me to pull the cord, grab the handles and steer in for landing.

Ground school starts next week and my instructor called last night to confirm details. He has some concerns about my vision, depth perception and ability to find the canopy handles. I too share those concerns LOL but being one-eyed all my life is all I have ever known and probably over compensate in ways that even I don't know.

Wanted to see if anyone else has experienced this with an instructor and how you worked through it to ensure everyone was comfortable in the process.

I am in Columbus, Ohio and will be training at the Ohio Skydiving Center south of town.

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Most depth cues are monocular. In fact, only convergence and retinal disparity are binocular. This is why one can drive with one eye without too much trouble.

Having said that, there may not be many monocular depth cues when looking down at the ground on landing.

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I have weak vision in one eye with the resulting loss of almost all depth perception. I think you'll find that you can compensate without much difficulty. If your Instructor has doubts they should be able to run you through enough drills to determine whether its safe for you to jump. Landings can sometimes be a bit challenging due to the lack of depth perception but I think there are others out there with the same issue that don't know it due to never have their depth perception tested. I know of least 2 active jumpers with prosthetic eyes and one of them even has their AFFI rating. I did tandems and AFF for 12 years and it was never an issue.

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I have been blind since birth like you. The best advice i can give you is, dont make an issue out of it. Focus on the important part, the training. Even students who can see with both eyes struggle with depth perception in the beginning. Student canopies are big and forgiving. You will just have to "learn" your height for landing. Goodluck!

Dave
AFFI
Ready...Set...Go..!

SkydiveSwakop

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I recently lost a lot of vision in one eye due to corneal erosion and worried that it might end my jumping days. Happily it didn't.

Despite contrary training I have NEVER looked at the horizon when I land and I haven't biffed in 46 years of jumping. I look at the imaginary threshold of my "runway". As I get close to the ground I look down to see what familiar objects like weeds, grass blades and stones look like. What can I resolve, what is still beyond resolution. My brain converts that changing info into distance cues and tells me when its time to flare. Hard to explain but it works.

Here is what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiiHs_OtGJA You can see I am looking down a lot not just out.

377
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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There is a packer at Spaceland named Ed that lost his left eye when he was a kid. He has to over 300 skydives now and is one of the better canopy pilots I know with that many jumps. Better than most people with two working eyes.

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Binocular vision is only used the last 33 feet before touch-down. The disadvantage of binocular vision is that it only comes into play the last few seconds before touch-down. Binocular vision can be so scary that it is called "ground rush." We teach students to keep their eyes on the horizon to avoid ground rush.
Different people use different cues to judge when to flare for landing. For example, refer students to the 6 foot tall fence along two sides of the landing area at Pitt Meadows Airport.

Another example was that I used to wait until I could focus on individual blades of grass before flaring. That technique worked well until my second night jump!

The famous one-eyed pilot Wiley Post used to judge his landing approaches by the changing shape of the runway ... as he flew down final approach.

In the long run, you are going to have to learn to judge your landing approach by angles, so binocular vision is not that important.

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I jump with a guy who has one eye and he does fine. It doesn't seem to affect him at all from what I can tell. Get on a load!!!
Chad B Hall
Woo hoo!
My goal is to make every jump a fun and safe one. Blue skies!
Some of my videos...

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Did you play sports as a kid? Probably didn't do well at baseball but what about football, basketball? I had ambliopia (sp) as a kid and now have next to no vision in my left eye which turns out and up. (Wall eyed I think is the expression) I played sports, was a springboard diver before starting skydiving. I never had a problem because of lack vision. It's only a problem if you think it is.
Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossilbe before they were done.
Louis D Brandeis

Where are we going and why are we in this basket?

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I have amblyopia too (still have vision in both eyes, such as it is, but can only use them one at a time. It's like a superpower, haha). I'm not known for my graceful landings - I tend to slide in. But I have 1300 jumps, and work in the industry.

If you want it, do it. This sport is for everyone!

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When I come in for landing I actually have a visual cue that I call all green. I look at the landing area somewhere 45 degrees down, and when I lose sight of the horizon in the perihpheral vision I know its time to apply the brakes. I also take into an account wind speed and air temperature. So if there is no wind or I am landing with a a bit of the crosswind I'll start my flare just a bit earlier just to slow down the canopy and have a secod more to make my corrections during the final stages.

I have both my eyes but I think landing is possible without one too.

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