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Rashiid

Tunnel Time vs. Buying a rig (New skydiver)

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Hello, I 'm not sure if there is a similar post to this but I just wanted to get different points of view on this topic.

I just got my A-License and I'm having this inner-conflict with myself, should I buy a rig and progress in skydiving doing RW stuff? or buy a bunch of tunnel time and learn to free-fly which is the reason I actually got into the sport? I always admired free-flying and thought that was the way to skydive.

So what do you guys think? get some tunnel time and learn to free-fly in the tunnel and then go back to skydiving? (i'll try to stay current but i'll be renting gear) or buy a rig and get my jump numbers up and then go learn to free-fly? the first plan makes more sense to me financially (I'm a college student so money is an issue) but I just wanted to hear what you guys have to say.

Thanks!

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Hi Rashiid,
if you take tunnel coaching to learn freefly straight after your A license, you will burn through the money you'd spend on a decent used system quicker than you can say "Sitfly", and unless you're a particularly gifted student, you'll be at most halfway stable by that time, but will lack the ability to put these skills to use in the sky.
I'd say buy a rig, learn to fly belly until you can comfortably fly a 4-way and then go on to freefly.
Even though I'm a freeflyer myself I realized (a little late) that belly is the fundamentals and you will need those skills way more often than you might imagine at this point.
Not to mention the increased proficiency in canopy flight if you go for the rig instead of the tunnel.

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Buy a rig. There's so much more to the sport than the freefall. IMO, learning to fly your canopy is most important for you right now. If you're spending money at the tunnel and on rental fees, you're taking money away from being able to jump and learning to fly. In addition, just spending time hanging out at the dz will allow you to make better friendships, find people to jump with and you'll be able to absorb information from your elders in the sport.
She is Da Man, and you better not mess with Da Man,
because she will lay some keepdown on you faster than, well, really fast. ~Billvon

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Easy, just answer one question first...

Do you want to be a skydiver, or a tunnel flyer?


Sure, of course you can do both, lots of people do, but they're both expensive, time consuming and demanding to learn. They're also just different enough from each other to not be a direct skill crossover, if that makes sense.

I think you've already received great advice. Concentrate on jumping first. Getting some good gear and putting that first 100 jumps on it is huge, you're going to learn a TON!!! Don't rush past the basics, there's plenty of fun to be had flying on your belly. Someone mentioned to fly on your belly until you're comfortable in a 4-way. Why stop there? The skills you need to dock 12th on a 12 way or turn 10 good points on a 4 way will serve you well no matter where this sport takes you later!

I also feel you'll save a bunch of money at the tunnel if you show up there with 100 skydives (or more!) and a solid flying foundation. You will progress quicker, and also, by then you'll know and be friends with coaches and tunnel instructors who can help you find ways to fly in the tunnel a LOT cheaper.

Of course, that advice is worth exactly what you paid for it! ;)

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Skydivers skydive, buy a rig and jump as much as you can. Save up fgor tunnel time when and where there are good deals.
Learn what skills to work on to lead up to FF skills, and then go do that on your skydives. Spend lots and lots of time visualizing - skydive skills, break off skills, canopy skills, and FF skills. Practice on the ground is free and a absolutely works - get some.

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I want to be a skydiver.
It seems like i'm trying to skip the basics and jump to the advance moves real quick, I always tend to rush to try to learn everything ( its just a habit I have). Buying a rig seems to be the way to go for the first hundred skydives and at least until I get my B-license with all the canopy courses with it.
Thanks for the detailed advice and hopefully I'll get into FF when i'm ready.

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Thanks for the advice .. I will probably put a hold on my freefly ambitions for now until I get the basics done and get better under my canopy. So buying a rig seems to be the most ideal for my situation .. Thanks for the advice again.

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My suggestion would be to do a simple 10-15 minute block in the tunnel (with a good coach) to help with your belly skills. That way you can use those in the sky. I did my first 15 minute belly block after 75 jumps, and it really helped me with slowing my fall rate and docking. I kinda wish i did those 15 minutes a little earlier but it stil worked out pretty well.
No farting on the plane!

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I think it depends on what your timeframe is. You won't be a safe skydiver with 10000 hours in the tunnel and 0 jumps, that's the plain truth. If you choose to front load tunnel flying, you'll definitely work out your body in the sky pretty quickly but, there are a lot of things you can't practice. Exits, approaches, break off, that pesky parachute thing. If you invest in tunnel training your energy in learning to skydive can be focused on those things you can't learn in a tunnel.

I had done I think 6 hours in the tunnel - all belly flying - by the time I had like 50 jumps IIRC. I was a pretty scared skydiver, though. Having the body flight skills definitely helped me. I think my first tunnel trip was in between jump 8 and my solo (USPA... 10 years ago... lol). I ended up buying a second hand rig because one came up, that doesn't always happen.

I guess the summary is: if you choose to go to the tunnel, you should be working on skills applicable to skydiving if you want to be a skydiver. If you can wait on your skydiving progression, there's no reason you can't go do a bunch of time in the tunnel and get good at whatever you want just don't fall into the trap of assuming body flying skills mean you can safely skydive.

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One thing I came to believe when it comes to learning in the tunnel is that not only pure flying time matters, but also thinking and visualizing, so it's not that important to spend too much time too quickly. You can occasionally go to wt say 15 minutes twice or even once a month. Surely you will not learn as quickly per wall clock time, but you will make progress. I met a lot of fellows that fly less frequently than I do but started sooner and did that consisntenly and they're decent flyers. This is the way we go with my gf right now, per unit of flying time she must be progressing faster than me.

tl;dr buy a rig, try to fly a little, but give priority to the skydiving development, that's my opinion fwiw

Also, never met a person who would say freeflying is anything short of extremely hard, you will have more rewards from skydiving initially, much more time and effort is required to really enjoy freeflying.

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Whichever way you choose you are going to have to seriously up your budget if you want to learn to fly your body.
I would suggest 8/10 hrs of tunnel time is a great investment towards body flying skills. Ideally at least keeping current with rental gear while getting comfortable under canopy.
Then, you will be faced with the even more difficult budget decision: coaching in the sky or in the tunnel.

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Maybe consider registering with International Bodyflight Association (IBA) or just check out their site to see the skills progression dashboard. https://tunnelflight.com/

IBA's learning plan organizes bodyflight skills in a manner that provides a foundation to build and add safety to learning the next skill.

Took me about 12 hours in a tunnel to learn levels 1 and 2. Thought it would get easier as I progressed but it hasn't for me. Building muscle memory (reverse alzheimers to me) takes me quite a bit of time.

Sample IBA dashboard below:

IBA dashboard.JPG

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Just mentioned the IBA so Rashiid could go look at the recommended learning sequence for bodyflight.

One good thing among others about the sky is there isn't any wall to collide into. ;)

I would think it takes a lot of skydives to rack up hours needed in freefall to learn the numerous flying skills folks desire to do at 45 seconds of per freefall during a skydive.

Of course I only tunnel fly so either route someone takes is fine with me. To each his/her own.

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wan2doit

Just mentioned the IBA so Rashiid could go look at the recommended learning sequence for bodyflight.

One good thing among others about the sky is there isn't any wall to collide into. ;)

I would think it takes a lot of skydives to rack up hours needed in freefall to learn the numerous flying skills folks desire to do at 45 seconds of per freefall during a skydive.

Of course I only tunnel fly so either route someone takes is fine with me. To each his/her own.




There are so many more things beside flying skills that are needed to make it in skydiving... Awareness, canopy skills, group flying skills and such.

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I'd go with the rig. Best feeling when you are not dependent on rentals anymore.

You should also ask yourself, do you skydive because of the whole experience or just freefall skills? If it is the second then just drop skydiving and lock yourself into a tunnel. Safer, cheaper and you'll get the same thrill for less money.

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