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Loboloco

Is it worth trying AFF if I am sh!t at tunnel work?

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Hey All

N00b here - to the forum and skydiving.

I want to start working towards my APF license and in the spirit of testing it out, have run two tunnel sessions (2 min/5 min). I am really, really bad at maintaining stability in the tunnel - the feedback I was given today was that I was too stiff initially and when I did try and relax my arms kept flopping right out. I can't seem to get the balance between relax and hold posture and till find the tunnel relatively scary.

I am wondering whether this is relatively normal for beginners and if I should continue with my thoughts re pursuing a license, or if I should explore alternative ways of flight (paragliding?). Any thoughts re whether I should continue with tunnel time too? It is at iFly and I think the different instructors each time might become mildly confusing re skills I will work on.

Thanks 
LL

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I'd say that's perfectly normal, it takes time to really "feel" the air and have your brain adapt to the new type of movement and muscle control.

What I'd recommend though, if you plan on more tunnel time, is to save up some money and do a bit more time in bulk (20 mins - 30 mins) rather than go to a a few minutes session and take a break for a period of time after which you again do a few minutes session.

Then again, that's just my personal opinion, the best advice you can get is in person from your own instructors - they'll be working with you through your training and will advise you the best on what, when and how.

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1 hour ago, Loboloco said:

I am wondering whether this is relatively normal for beginners and if I should continue with my thoughts re pursuing a license, or if I should explore alternative ways of flight (paragliding?). Any thoughts re whether I should continue with tunnel time too? It is at iFly and I think the different instructors each time might become mildly confusing re skills I will work on.

You have the equivalent grand total of seven minutes of skydiving. Tell me any other sport aht you can spend seven minutes in and be proficient (Please don't try downhill skiing.) :rofl: It's going to take you at least 50 - 100 jumps (50-100 minutes) in the sky to feel any kind of comfort in your abilities. The tunnel will accelerate that, but man - you got to give more time than seven minutes. 

Story: I knew a highly decorated Vietnam pilot (as in 43 air medals). He was all over the sky the first day of flying at flight school. He thought he was horrible at flying. His Instructor told him - try to remember everything you did today, because once you find the "hover button" you'll never be able to do what you did today. And, the Instructor was right -  once he learned to hover he had to think really hard about how to do some of the aerobatics he did on his first day. 

Same thing in skydiving - you know how many of us didn't have the benefit of tunnel and had to go out theri and flail for 20, 30 40 jumps until we found our "hover button?" (Hell, there are some national champions that will tell you - never thought I'd be in the nationals much less win anything) Or before other skydivers would even jump with us? Then one day; it happens. You find your "hover button." You no longer have to think about the mechanics of turning; you just just "think" turn and it happens. 

Please don't give up after seven minutes.     

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Thanks Binary and Bigun. I appreciate the support and suggestions. My biggest challenge is mental - I am not good at feeling like I am failing at things. I will push on. I want to try an intro paragliding course and APF Levels 1-3 before I commit to a full license course (still deciding which) next flying season. Good idea re the chunk of flying time, I will give that a shot once I finish my tandem and talk to my instructor. 

I am mostly relieved that I am not out of the ballpark bad. 

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1 hour ago, Loboloco said:

I am not good at feeling like I am failing at things.

If you pursue the sport and keep jumping you'll need to get used to that feeling a lot. You see folks doing awesome stuff, you work and train hard hoping that some day you'll be able to that and you keep trying and keep failing. But that's what makes it all fun. You manage to get better and do some stuff you used to hope you'll be able to do, but by then your appetite grew and now you want to do some even more awesome and more difficult stuff. But as I said, that's what makes it fun, it's an endless journey :)

The shit happens when you can't handle the feeling of failing so you push harder and faster than you should or are able to. Most of the stuff in this sport takes time and patience to learn.

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Relaxing is the key to stability, and damn it can be hard!  I'd suggest learning a few relaxation techniques before your next tunnel trip, then use them prior to your tunnel sessions.     

Also, smile when you are flying.  You're there to have fun, right?  And it just might help you to relax.  

As for failing, you only fail if you don't try.  As long as you are learning something each time, it's a win.  Even if you NEVER figure out a stable body position (the likelihood of that is slim), the fact that you did it at all means you are not a failure.  

Keep it up! 

 

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Stick with it.  Before AFF you would jump with a static line, then 3 second freefall before pulling, then 5 second, 10, 15...  Each time it would take about 10 jumps before you could progress.  So to get 7 minutes freefall experience took about 50 jumps and even then you were only doing 20 seconds of stable falling before pulling.

Freefalling is like nothing else your body has ever experienced, it takes time to learn it and for it to become second nature.  Don't get disheartened, stick with it, it is definitely worth it.

 

 

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