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chasitie

Getting over the fear?

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So i’ve done about five or so tandeems. I’ve gotten really comfortable doing those. I would really like to do my AFF but the only thing really holding me back is fear. What are some ways to get over that? Just doing it or? What did you do to just go for it?

Also, curious about why you got into skydiving? I’d love to hear some of your stories (summed up) :)
Thanks!

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Do it! I'm afraid of heights, part of the reason I decided to go skydiving was so I could push through the discomfort of it and be more confident stepping out of my comfort zone. I was only gonna jump once, but when I realized I was even more scared to do it a second time, I had to do it again!

The first time I jumped(tandem, vids posted in introductions), I was calm all the way up, until they swung the door open and the air rushed in. Then I started to freak out! Looking back, that jump is characterized by a bunch of negative emotions. But I would have still told you it was awesome.

The second time I jumped, AFF level 1, I was nervous the whole ride up. But once I got into the procedures, it was sort of automatic, and I landed feeling like I could go right back up and jump again, I felt great about it. No way I could've jumped again after my first jump, I crashed out on the couch and couldn't stop my legs from twitching, thought I was gonna vomit, etc.

I've still only done 4 jumps in all, due to a lot of bad luck, but I'm definitely a skydiver now, and plan to jump all over the country and make a sustainable lifestyle out of it.

By the way, the people I talk to have said that fear doesn't go away until you've done around 200 jumps!!

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See if you can set up some time at the end of a jump day to talk to an AFF instructor at the DZ. Discuss specifically what your fears are: be it gear, freefall or landing a canopy on your own. Whatever it is maybe some more knowledge and understanding will help with your decision.
diamonds are a dawgs best friend

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Personally I didn't really have fear; butterflies when the door opened for about the first 6 jumps sure, but not fear. Part of that is just my personality as I am a very calm analytical type (engineer by trade). But the other reason I was calm for AFF, which might help you, is that I studied. A lot. I found some super helpful videos on YouTube from Australian Parachute Association called "Cutaway". Watched them many times and imagined these scenarios and the response in my mind throughout the day (I would go through the motions of my next dive flow while jogging. Neighbors probably thought I was crazy with the strange hand waving). Studying what might go wrong helped me gain confidence that I would know what to do if it happened to me. I also enjoyed watching others AFF videos, gave me an idea of what to expect. I also studied the gear, and even started reading the SIM (It's a free pdf download, you should check it out). When I finally took the AFF ground school it turned out to be largely review. Knowledge is power.

As for why I went through AFF, it was purely the cost at first. I finished my first tandem, loved it, but thought, "it was fun once but not worth all that expense to do it again." Then they dangled the half-price 2nd jump at me like a carrot, and I thought "well maybe just once more." Then I started reading about AFF and crunching the numbers and realized in the long run I could bring the cost per jump down to a more sustainable level. After I started studying for AFF I was fascinated with the gear, the procedures, etc. I really loved learning the new subject. Then after a few AFF jumps I discovered the joy of doing flips, tracking, back flying, etc. All fun stuff that tandem passengers never get to do. Most of all I think I've fallen in love with the peace and quiet of being alone under canopy. Best of luck to you getting over your fear; the best still lies ahead.
Max Peck
What's the point of having top secret code names, fellas, if we ain't gonna use 'em?

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As with anything in life, you can get used to anything if you do it enough. In virtually all examples and scenarios, if you're scared of something (anything really), more experience with that something will make you less scared of it in most cases.

I was pretty nervous on my first few jumps. I had some anxiety on the drive home after my first day of AFF jumps and it was bad enough that I lost sleep over it and had trouble focusing the next day. Fast forward to my graduation jump two weeks later and I was substantially less nervous and I was able to focus more on the material and less on the fear. By the time I did my license check dive for my A license, the nervousness was diminished to the point that it was barely even noticeable. I would sit in the back of the airplane looking at all the very nervous first-time tandems on the ride up and think to myself 'yep, I know what that feels like.':P

So to answer your question, you just have to get out and there do it. You will be nervous on the first jumps just like many of the students that came before you and will follow after you. It will go away with experience and time. Just make sure you discuss your concerns with your instructor before the jump.

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I finished up my A license a few weeks ago so all of that AFF/STP is still in my head. Like another poster I have a bit of a fear of heights, but with my job I kinda just suck it up and go. I also get a little tweaky on planes. Doesnt matter if it's a jumbo jet or Cessna 182, I just get a little shaky. But even from my first tandem, I found that as soon as I'm out the door I'm calm and focused on the moment at hand and what I need to do. I've found that pushing myself and my personal limits stretches those limits out and I get more comfortable with what I'm doing. Now I'm a lot more nervous going up in an 80' or 120' condor boom lift than jumping out of a plane and being able to conquer that fear has given me the confidence to continue doing something that I have come to love. Don't be afraid to push yourself and your comfort levels. That's how you grow. On a personal and possibly spiritual level. Good luck.

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Hi Chasitie,

Welcome to the sport :)
I found out on AFF that my biggest challenge (apart from breathing smiling enjoying relaxing staying stable pulling staying altitude aware ..... Smile) was controlling the nerves and fear.

Jennifer (a skydiver and illustrator) wrote this blog during her AFF - it helps explain the battle in the brain that goes on when you jump out of a plane.

http://tailotherat.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/skydiving-duck-iii-parachutting-school.html

There's many pages but its worth a good look !

I was gripped with fear for my first 30 - 50 jumps and that subsided after 100 +

Controlled fear is good, normal and healthy..... with the fear comes the payback of enjoyment :)
The nerves dissipate with jump numbers, time in the sport and knowledge.

Blue Skies.

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I thought after 49 years of jumping I was over the fear but technology proved that assumption was wrong. My resting heart rate is around 67-72 BPM. My ham radio buddies and I have rigged up radio telemetry gear that sends jumper position, altitude, speed, heart rate and blood oxygen level to the ground in real time. My HR has soared as high as 173 BPM during jumps, so yeah I am still scared. I just didn't want to admit it. ;)

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

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chasitie

So i’ve done about five or so tandeems. I’ve gotten really comfortable doing those. I would really like to do my AFF but the only thing really holding me back is fear. What are some ways to get over that? Just doing it or? What did you do to just go for it?

Also, curious about why you got into skydiving? I’d love to hear some of your stories (summed up) :)
Thanks!



Don't "get over" your fear, use it. Fear is nature's way of reminding us that we play a dangerous game. Fear keeps us honest and careful. Properly harnessed, fear can steer us from "stupid" to "calculated risk".

Up to but not exceeding the point of dysfunction, fear is good. Fearlessness is only useful to warriors.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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What fear, specifically, is holding you back from doing AFF?

There are lots of things people are afraid of. Some are reasonable (fear of screwing up the landing and getting hurt, for example), some aren't (fear of a double mal for example).
Training and knowledge can help mitigate some of that.

Keep in mind that stepping out of an airplane 2+ miles up is a very unnatural act. If you aren't afraid, at least the first few times, there is something wrong with you. Or you don't fully understand what you are getting yourself into.
I used to jump with a TI who had awesome 'student interaction' skills. He was a very good judge of what to say and how to say it for any given student. He understood who to joke with, who to be 'gentle' to, that sort of thing. One of his comments would be "Did you know that 2 instinctive fears for humans is heights and loud noises? Even babies are afraid of those. In a minute, we're going to open the door, lean out and take a look. The wind will be loud and it will be a long way down. Have fun!"

Jenn's (Namowhal) cartoons are great. Probably the best and most accurate depiction of the beginner experience I've ever come across. Very good description of the fears and some of the underlying aspects of it.

Also, don't be 'afraid to be afraid.' There will be fear. Understand that and work with it. Courage isn't the absence of fear, it's 'saddling up and going ahead, even when you are scared silly' (paraphrasing John Wayne).
Early on, I had a lot of fear issues. Some of it is still there and always will be. I had a very experienced camera flyer tell me that, even after thousands of jumps, he was still nervous on the plane. He said that if that ever went away completely, then he wasn't taking the risks seriously and it would be time to hang it up.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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I was skydiving back in the early 90's and stopped skydiving in 97. Logged 58 jumps. Started off with Static Line, but then transitioned to AFF, which really helped. I seemed to always be nervous. I agree with another's post, Fear is a good thing, if you don't have some fear, you become complacent, and to me, that is dangerous. Now that we have the internet and youtube, you can learn a lot from there. When I was jumping, we didn't have that available, let alone Forums like this. Here is a quote that I remember being in a book I bought when I was skydiving: It's all right to have butterflies in your stomach. Just train them to fly in formation.

Blue Skies and never stop learning!!

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chasitie

So i’ve done about five or so tandeems. I’ve gotten really comfortable doing those. I would really like to do my AFF but the only thing really holding me back is fear. What are some ways to get over that? Just doing it or? What did you do to just go for it?

Also, curious about why you got into skydiving? I’d love to hear some of your stories (summed up) :)
Thanks!



I was never scared once I left the aircraft but sometimes the ride to altitude would give me a stomach ache I was so nervous. No, not nervous, scared. It just took a lot of jumps in a short time which I didn't have much of a chance at. The DZ I started at went under a few months after I got off student status and I just sort of spent time looking for another DZ until I found Ravenswood. I think a big problem for me is that Bidwell went under while I was still a novice. The jumpers there were very supportive and helpful but then I'm jumping at another place where they were all nice but I was seen as regular jumper just not with many jumps.
My theory about fear in the plane is that it's part of your mind trying to talk the other part out of jumping. It gets really bad. But then once you take that step it realizes that there's no going back now, shrugs its shoulders and tries to help out.
I wish I could help more with the fear but all I can really say is that it does get better. A lot better.

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chasitie

So i’ve done about five or so tandeems. I’ve gotten really comfortable doing those. I would really like to do my AFF but the only thing really holding me back is fear. What are some ways to get over that? Just doing it or? What did you do to just go for it?

Also, curious about why you got into skydiving? I’d love to hear some of your stories (summed up) :)
Thanks!

bowling or golf
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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I ask, Exactly what are you afraid of?

Canopy flight? Start studying how the canopy works and how to fly it.

Depending on the gear to keep you from hitting the ground hard? Study how the gear works, how emergency procedures work, how dependable the reserve opening is, etc.

I have done things in life that I am not 100% comfortable with, but it is hard to remember doing anything that I was afraid to do. I also grew up doing things that were a bit daring, so maybe I just learned to ignore how I feel and do it.

Consider this....someone puts a 10" wide board on the floor and asks you to walk the length if it. No problem. Can you do it 1000 times in a row without stepping off? Most likely. Are you sure? Sure, I am sure. Raise it up 10 feet off the floor and do it there. Now raise it 30 feet off the floor and do it there. This is indoors without wind being a factor. Are you still sure you can do it? If not, what has changed? Maybe it is just the fact that you have to be sure that you are right, that you can do it every time without fail. Now, which is true, can you really do it every time, or have you convinced yourself by worrying that you might fail, that you will not be able to do it every time?

If that be the case, it boils down (in my view) that your management of your own confidence is where the trouble lies. If I have good reason to think I will fail, I will most likely avoid the activity. If I have no good reason to think I will fail, I will most likely do it.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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shorehambeach

***I ask, Exactly what are you afraid of?

.



I think its the whole jumping out of the plane bit.

It certainly got me for the fist 50 + jumps......

:)
You see that is what confuses people (my opinion). For students there should be two big concerns.
1. Will I get a good canopy over my head?
2. Will I be able to safely land that canopy?

If you can say a pretty safe Yes to both questions, then the act of leaving the aircraft should not play into any real concerns under normal exit conditions. I know there is a lot more to it than that, but in the end you have to trust yourself and the equipment, or yes you might be afraid. So, "what exactly is the concern/fear" is a good first step to see what needs to be addressed.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Quote

Exactly what are you afraid of?



I think that's a good question and very helpful IF the fear is really more of a concern or a type of mental worry.

My guess is that it's more likely a simple physical/emotional experience (something in the pit of your stomach, not so much in your rational mind).
For example: I once went through a process with a group of people that I completely trusted which included facing your fear of death, where in the end I was lying in a "grave" on a beach and they started shoveling some sand on top of me (this was after hours of other activities that were all designed to make your body (if not your mind) feel that what you are experiencing was real) and I knew with absolute certainty in my mind that I was completely safe, yet my body went into one of the most intense feelings of panic I've ever experienced. It took all my self-control not to jump up and run away.

Anyway, even though the feeling is probably irrational, it does respond to things like visualizing success and also knowing more about what you are about to undertake, so for example reading "the parachute and its pilot" by Brian Germain (who also has lots of videos online about the topic of fear) can be really helpful. (I think it reduces the irrational aspect of fear not only because you gain knowledge on how to stay safe but--as you read about the topic of skydiving--your subconscious mind imagines itself doing the activity many, many times over and--as the subconscious usually can't tell the difference between imagination and reality--it gets more and more used to it)

Here is what helped me to pretty much completely get rid of the fear while getting to altitude. I started my AFF late in the season and I always felt completely fine once I was out the airplane but "THE DOOR" just scared the living sh...t out of me. Not only jumping out of it but also the fact that they left it open during the ride to altitude and I often had to sit right next to it.
Well, after passing AFF it got too cold for me to want to keep jumping and in the winter I went to the tunnel instead. I got very used to the feeling of entering the tunnel, where you would basically trust the feeling of the air that would meet you immediately and hold you up and support you. At some point I realized that it must be the same in the airplane--since the wind coming from the front would be there as soon as I stepped out--already going at pretty much terminal velocity.
So, somehow, in my mind it changed from "jumping out into nothingness" to "leaning into the air coming from the front and immediately being held up by it". Once this change had happened in my mind, I was surprised that as soon as I started jumping again in spring, my fear of stepping out the door had vanished. I just trusted the air meeting my body as soon as I leaned out the door. This also somehow made my fear on the way up go away. There was nothing to worry about anymore (again: this is from a FEELING perspective. I still make sure I know I'm about to engage in a dangerous activity and do everything reasonable to ensure my safety, including gear checks, planning the jump and jumping the plan, and simply not jumping if there is anything too sketchy about it.)

Now: I'm pretty sure my fear will return to at least some extent when I do my first jump into "dead air" from a balloon or even helicopter--we'll see!

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