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Westerly

Pitching in a Track

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Often I see people say things like pitching in a track is the worst thing you can do and it's going to slam the crap out of you, ect. So I set out to see what the flight pattern of a track actually looks like. Looking at my FlySight I found that my fall rate actually slows in a track, not speeds up. That is assuming you're doing a flat track and not angle flying or something like that. I was able to get my fall rate to as low as 105 MPH in a track, whereas I cant go that slow no matter how hard I dearch in the standard box position. So then I looked at forward speed. On average, maybe 25 MPH in a flat track. However, that's nothing compared to a wingsuit and you can have fantastic openings with a WS all day if you know how to fly the openings correctly. So while pitching in a track is obviously not ideal, I am not sure it's as black death as some seem to think it is.

Edited by Westerly

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I'll kind of agree with you here Westerly. Pitching in a track isn't inherently bad. It can be, and might OFTEN be, depending on the tracking situation, but isn't necessarily so in all cases, so it can be perfectly fine.

Now if one has a fairly short track, as is typical in a quick breakoff from an RW jump, then one might not be slowing down all that much vertically, and one is adding horizontal speed -- so the total velocity might be higher. And some people don't track all that efficiently. And  dumping in a track means the opening starts with one 'less upright' or body in line with the canopy deployment -- so it can be snappier on the neck and feel worse, if the canopy is already snappy to begin with.

So there are many cases where yes slowing down from the track before pitching is the right thing to do.

But on the other side, I've done long tracks where my vertical speed went way down. (Measured by Protack, with data on a computer so I wouldn't be fooled by any short term data fluctuations from body position changes.) With a canopy that opens reasonably well, pitching from that track tended to produce nice smooth openings, at least as smooth as normal. I love pitching in a track on that canopy! Even though I had some decent forward speed going, I think my total speed was lower or no faster than in normal freefall.

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I remember hearing the same stories....but I pretty much always dump without slowing down. I've never noticed a different between that & not.

I'm willing to bet it came from some old fart that couldn't track to save his ass (his vertical speed actually increased dramatically and horizontal motion was minimal).

Just my thought on it.

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Depends entirely on the canopy.

I had an old Stilleto 120 that "never hurt nobody". No matter what, it opened wonderfully and on-heading. When I was doing RW with it my MO was always "track like a mother and dump." Now, was I technically dumping while in a track body position? No. But I was so fast on the hackey that I definitely retained most of my fwd speed. 

I learned not to do that on my Velocity 90... still sniveled like crazy but much more sensitive to heading performance, so I always took a moment to square up a bit.

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I can see it as a problem if you are practically head down in the track, but it seems to me that a normal track isn't enough horizontal speed for the canopy to really come out sideways to the relative wind. So if your slider is controlled, it should open normally. It will open further behind you, and that will contribute to the shock you feel, but not necessarily more opening force.

Although, there are scenarios where the slider is not controlled, or various other mistakes in packing. For this reason, pitching from a track is a bad habit to have!! Skydiving mistakes can add up and cause chain reactions, so the goal should always be to control the slider AND pull stable, etc.

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On 3/22/2019 at 6:11 PM, linestretch said:

I remember hearing the same stories....but I pretty much always dump without slowing down. I've never noticed a different between that & not.

I'm willing to bet it came from some old fart that couldn't track to save his ass (his vertical speed actually increased dramatically and horizontal motion was minimal).

Just my thought on it.

Easy now...the art of tracking has improved significantly in the past 30 years.  Back in the day the idea was to get as much speed as possible and convert that into horizontal movement.  I can definitely attest to having been slammed by dumping in a track.  You could even hear it from the ground when people used to open at 2 grand.  Kind of a "crack" followed by several folks giving it a woooh!

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