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GPS for jumping, useful?

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I have always thought that wrist or sleeve mounted GPS gear could add a lot to skydiving safety. Just knowing ground speed on jump run would be invaluable for figuring out how long to wait between exits. I once did a sunset jump where fog formed during the freefall. It was zero zero visibility until I broke out at about 100 ft AGL, fortunately over a clear landing area. Sure would have liked a GPS telling me where the DZ was. One more thing, couldn't you use GPS to figure wind direction and speed by doing a contant rate full circle and looking at ground speed variation at different headings? Might take some software to make it easy, but why wouldnt it work?
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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I used a Garmin Forerunner a couple of times during skydiving. In my opinion it is a nice toy but in no way necassary.

Under a small fast canopy you do not have that much time to play with it and even worse, it distracts you from keeping an eye on other jumpers or may even distract you so much that you have to make a non optimal approach which may led to low-altitude turns you normally won`t do.

Of course, I specifically for skydiving designed GPS wich automatically calculates wind direction and speed would be nice but I would never want to be dependend on this.
It may be useful if you open and do not see the ground, but in these conditions you should not jump at all.

It is useful for wingsuit-flyers to record their track and compare and analyze it later on the ground - If somebody wants to put the effort in it...

Ah, yes, there is one thing where I liked it: Knowing the exact spot in the plane just before exit

alex

--
www.tandemmaster.net
www.skydivegear.de

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I have a Garmin Foretrex 201, and have used it in "anger" on a couple of occasions.

(ok no flaming for jumping in marginal conditons..)

One time the other tandem on the lift landed 1 1/2 miles away and I landed dead centre.

I use it in the goto mode, which gives direction, distance and speed.

Whilst in NZ they were in common usage, with no problems.

It is another weapon in the arsenal, to be used "just in case".

Bryn
Journey not destination.....

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A quick search will pull up this topic as we have discussed this several occassions already. The GPS receiver can be used for many different things depending on what one is trying to do. It is however a logging device and not something I would be staring at while in freefall or under canopy, unless it was a Cross country jump. A very good piece of skydiving specific Software that takes advantage of GPS can be found HERE
"It's just skydiving..additional drama is not required"
Some people dream about flying, I live my dream
SKYMONKEY PUBLISHING

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One more thing, couldn't you use GPS to figure wind direction and speed by doing a contant rate full circle and looking at ground speed variation at different headings? Might take some software to make it easy, but why wouldnt it work?


I use a GPS when flying powered parachutes, and yes, what you are describing will work. Watch ground speed and do a 360, min. speed is directly into the wind and the difference between min. and max. speed/2 is the true wind speed. I might be a bit concerned about someone fixating on their GPS and not scanning for other traffic, though.

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What would be nice is an automatic fuction that computes this so you only have to see the final result, not monitor the GPS screen during the entire 360 turn. The new helmet mounted head up display announced by a mfr might make it possible to see useful data and still see traffic. I still think GPS is invaluable for making exit timing decisions. Ground speed is what its all about and GPS gives it easily. I have sen people exit waaaay too soon after the prior jumper when they think that they can just use the 45 degree sighting trick. It is not a good relaible technique.

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The new helmet mounted head up display announced by a mfr might make it possible to see useful data and still see traffic.


Agreed, and if you could write a routine to take in ground speed vs. heading and show only the heading of max. ground speed, you would have a very useful piece of information. I have a Garmin, but it doesn't provide that option. I usually do a 360 after opening to check for traffic, if my GPS could do the wind computation for me while I was turning, I'd be pretty happy with that.

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That would be great. You think you can always tell wind direction until you land far away from your DZ and all the familiar wind visual cues are gone(streamers, pond ripples, etc). That happened to me on an evening balloon jump. Nothing but soybean fields below and no obvious visual clues as to wind direction or speed. I made a lucky guess and fortunately was right.

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if you could write a routine



One of the options that will be available for the Titan unit being designed by Alti-2 is that SW applications will be open to individual programming. So if you can write a prog the hardware will accept the SW. The Titan unit is a very nice piece of hardware that I am sure will be of a high quality and supported by the the great customer service that Alti-2 is known for.
"It's just skydiving..additional drama is not required"
Some people dream about flying, I live my dream
SKYMONKEY PUBLISHING

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The Garmin Etrex Legend is great for CRW and Cross Country jumps. It has a function which shows your glide ratio and glide ratio to destination. In other words, you'll know early on if you're going to land off.;) Not a must have, but a useful little tool.



Not sure what model is used, but CRW world record formation pilot and organizer Mike Lewis wears one (usually on a leg-strap) from time to time when he's piloting a big way, especially when it's partly cloudy or for some other weather or wind-related conditions.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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The Garmin Etrex Legend is great for CRW and Cross Country jumps. It has a function which shows your glide ratio and glide ratio to destination. In other words, you'll know early on if you're going to land off.;) Not a must have, but a useful little tool.



Not sure what model is used, but CRW world record formation pilot and organizer Mike Lewis wears one (usually on a leg-strap) from time to time when he's piloting a big way, especially when it's partly cloudy or for some other weather or wind-related conditions.



Mike uses the same model. I first saw him use it in Puerto Rico last year. On many jumps we were flying WAY out over the ocean. He showed me how he always knew if we'd make it back by using the glide ratio/glide ratio to destination function.


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Back to the top please. :D

Does any one know any more about this feature of the the Garmin Legend? I have been doing some clear and pulls deliberately from long spots and it sounds like a cool feature, and something to glance at while I am in deep deep brakes.

It would also be cool to confirm what my eyes are seeing via the sight accuracy technique.
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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You don't need a gadget for skydive.

FYI skydiving is VFR flying , either day or night. Your sunset load barely legal.

Learn to skydive and land without electronical gadgets!B|



I don't need an altimeter, or an audible, but they don't hurt either.

Sorry I just find this to be a silly and slightly close minded comment.

I don't need a lot of the things I have, and I don't rely on them either. I own a legend gps, and if it has this feature I think it would be cool to check out on cross countries, and deliberate long spots.
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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If you're talking about the glide ratio features, just check out the owner's manual. You can download it from the Garmin website. It will tell you how to customize your navigation display to show all sorts of neat data. You do have to set your landing area as the destination in order for the glide ratio to destination function to work, though.

If you're talking about the Jumpmaster program, good luck. There is a data input that I can't figure out (can't remember which one, but it will definitely alter your exit spot) & Garmin offers NO support for the program. Apparently, its a military program that they added as an afterthought.

I rarely use the Legend skydiving, but will use it on cross countrys & night CRW jumps. I even have the carry case sewn onto a altimeter pillow.


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Experienced jumpers can decide that without any gadget. If you don't try you are never going to learn that skill.



Perhaps, you should work on the reading comp, just as much as I should work on my accuracy trick. ;)

All kidding aside, I already practice using the accuracy trick. I said so in my post explicity. I never said I was going to replace one for the other. I already use it now on ever jump, and especially on every long spot. And I definetly wouldn't stop if I managed to figure the gps out.

You use your altimeter to back up what your eyes are seeing right? I just want to have a toy that can confirm what my eyes are seeing on a long spot. Toy, not a tool.

Now if my post was, I want to use my GPS to know if I will make it back, then I will agree with your comments.
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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I don't need an altimeter, or an audible, but they don't hurt either.



They might not hurt, but you'll hear a lot of people in this sport caution against using audibles very early in your skydiving career. I didn't buy an audible till I had over 100 jumps, and I'm very glad I waited. To this day I don't think an audible has ever *caused* me to take action on a jump; generally, I hear my audibles as I am breaking grips and turning to track or when I'm already in my track. I like having them there as a backup, but I'm glad I took time to develop my altitude awareness habits before that.

There is a fine line in this sport between embracing new technology and developing our instincts. You'll find a lot of the "old guard" believe that skydivers have become device dependent. Just do a search for the millions of "would you jump without an AAD" discussions on these forums.

The point is, developing skills and instincts without a backup or confirming device is really important in this sport because, ultimately, it's all you have.

GPS is cool technology, and we've certainly embraced it in this sport for spotting purposes, but just look at how many people don't *really* know how to spot. They say "oh, I know how to spot" but in reality, if the pilot weren't there turning the green light on they would be lost as to where to get out. That's because they learned in a place where they didn't have to really learn. Spotting at many DZs means confirming what the pilot has already done, not actually picking the exit spot.

I think that's the fear being expressed with you using such a device under canopy early on. You may think you're going to look with your eyes and confirm with the device, but it's easy to go the other way - look at the device and confirm with your eyes. That's what many people do with airplane spotting, even though they think they are spotting.

I learned at a cessna DZ where for every jump up till I got my A license, I had to look at the wind chart and draw three marks on a mockup of the landing area to say "this is where I'm going to climb out" and "this is where I think I should exit" and "this is where I expect to be open given that spot" and review that with my instructors. No technology at all involved there except the computer in my head.

Long, rambly, and a bit off-topic....
"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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Thank you, that was a very well written, and appreciated response. I will take what you said to heart, and I will try and resist using my audible and other gadgets for a while.

It is refreshing to read a post that actually has some really good advice in it, instead a one line warning, or comment about jump numbers. It makes it easier to be receptive, and that is ultimately why I am here for, to learn and get advice.

I haven't needed any gadgets besides my altimeter in my past 50 jumps, so I will see if I can hold off on my gadget obsession for 50 more.
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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Get one now. Set all 3 alarms to 1.5 or 2k. It could save your life.

Ideally you should never hear it if you do that.

No need to use it for breakoff or whatnot higher up (if you don't want to) - but down low is another matter.

---------------------------------------
Ex-University of Bristol Skydiving Club
www.skydivebristoluni.com

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