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Future Jetman

To wingsuit or not to wingsuit?

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Hello everyone,

I had recently made my 200th skydive and I am now allowed to do a wingsuit first flight course by the USPA restrictions.

Flying a wingsuit was the reason I started skydiving and I always said my 201th jump is going to be with things but...

I recently started to talking with some instructors and wingsuit flyers at my DZ and some of them recommended that I would wait and make more jumps before the FFC. Some of them said that for most skydivers 200 jumps are not enough and you should get more experience. On the other hand I know some skydivers that had began wingsuiting right on the 201th jump and of course they are saying to just buy a suit and start learning.

I want to hear some more opinions on this matter. If 200 is really not enough - what do you recommend? I know for most its not a number problem (there are plenty "old" skydivers with at least 1000 jumps who can still be dangerous to others). For me, I have descent skills with tracking and angle flight, I know how to keep on heading and to do a good break off track. I am also pretty descent under my canopy and can return from a longspot if neccessary.

What do you think? Wingsuiting is my dream but I also understand (at least I think I am) the dangers of the dicsipline and the dangers of recklessness in this sport.

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(edited)

Virtually all skydivers would benefit a bit from waiting more than 200 jumps to fly a WS. It's similar to downsizing. There are few scenarios where waiting and mastering your current wing a little more wont be beneficial prior to downsizing.

That said, I dont know you or your skillset and some people do take a course at 201 and do fine. I would recommend talking to a rated WS instructor about your goals. Dont just pick some rando off the DZ who flys suits. Find someone who actually holds a legitimate WS instructional rating. Squirrel and Phoenix Fly publish their instructors on their websites.

Edited by 20kN

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I am a wingsuit coach and did first flight courses for around 40 students until today. Some have exactly 201 and perform very well, while others with the same jump number struggle. Same goes for more experienced people, there is no guarantee that it will work out better just because somebody has more jumps. Being current plays more into account, having 30 jumps in the last 2 months is better than having 1000 jumps over 20 years and only 10 jumps in the last months.

I would not worry too much about that, if you don't rock the first jump, just retry and do another one with your coach.

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I am a wingsuit coach and agree with the above comments.

My first WS flight was my 201st jump and I went fine. However, I was current and had been preparing for well before hand, both in the skydiving I was doing, and research and visualisation at home. 

Since then my DZ has bumped up their minimum numbers to 350 for a first WS jump. While I don't have a problem with people starting on 201, it is true that some are under-prepared. The 350 jump minimum has meant more first WS flight students are now better prepared, but of course you still get the odd one who isn't. 

I hear from some of these people that they really want to wingsuit and they're super keen to do it, but have evidently done no research whatsoever, not on first flights, suit types, or just basic preparation.

To OP: whatever the jump numbers, it sounds like you're almost there. Keep jumping and it won't be long. It's worth the wait. :D 

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(edited)

200 is fine and most of my first flights are with 201 people and it is a great "number" to be at starting ones wingsuit journey and that is universally accepted as the minimum - and it is a minimum. As stated above, its not so much the numbers other than that minimum, its how your skills really are at what at you current freefall discipline you do now plus how current you are right before the wingsuit flight. I also usually ensure that the student I am about to train, is deemed good at what he/she does at present. For older / more experienced skydivers that wants to join the flock, I focus on some things a bit differently than for the youngster. Experienced / youngsters it all good and same'ish. 

Numbers... current skills... but gear matters A LOT.

I ensure that the students gear is actually adaptable for wingsuit use and do not compromise. If its no good, its no wingsuit jump. Bridle length (if its way too short I have a PC with bridle/bag they can use), proper PC size and that they are at an acceptable wingload below 1.4 having a docile compatible canopy. If they borough'ed it for wingsuit use, I make sure it fits not too tight in the main tray but actually fits as it should, and sometimes I repack their main if I am in doubt it will work well just to get a feel for it myself. I always repack their PC to ensure it is done optimally. I am serious about gear and I find zero reason to jump with a guy who will probably be having crazy deployments and guaranteed linetwists  

Edited by birdynamnam

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3 hours ago, birdynamnam said:

200 is fine and most of my first flights are with 201 people and it is a great "number" to be at starting ones wingsuit journey and that is universally accepted as the minimum - and it is a minimum. As stated above, its not so much the numbers other than that minimum, its how your skills really are at what at you current freefall discipline you do now plus how current you are right before the wingsuit flight. I also usually ensure that the student I am about to train, is deemed good at what he/she does at present. For older / more experienced skydivers that wants to join the flock, I focus on some things a bit differently than for the youngster. Experienced / youngsters it all good and same'ish. 

Numbers... current skills... but gear matters A LOT.

I ensure that the students gear is actually adaptable for wingsuit use and do not compromise. If its no good, its no wingsuit jump. Bridle length (if its way too short I have a PC with bridle/bag they can use), proper PC size and that they are at an acceptable wingload below 1.4 having a docile compatible canopy. If they borough'ed it for wingsuit use, I make sure it fits not too tight in the main tray but actually fits as it should, and sometimes I repack their main if I am in doubt it will work well just to get a feel for it myself. I always repack their PC to ensure it is done optimally. I am serious about gear and I find zero reason to jump with a guy who will probably be having crazy deployments and guaranteed linetwists  

SOLID reply. Tracking jumps, both slick and with a two piece dedicated helps. Same boat, I'm a 201 guy, just find A GREAT COACH and live the dream man. Can't echo the right set up enough, get your gear RIGHT. Get ready to relearn skydiving all over, because it's different, real different.  Also, if you ask the guys at squirrel real nice, you can get a demo...  Enjoy. 

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(edited)
12 hours ago, birdynamnam said:

 I always repack their PC to ensure it is done optimally.

I am curious what you consider is 'done optimally'. I am fairly sure the way I pack my PC wouldn't match what you consider optimal (I follow Brian Germain's PC folding technique), but I've never once had a PC hesitation, not even on race suits in 1050 WS jumps. WS BASE is another story and I pack my PC very specifically for that type of jump.

I do agree about the gear though. Having a really good PC (e.g. SkySnatch) is important. That said, I've also jumped my Freak 3 with a Katana and Zulu on several occasions--I do ensure I use my SkySnatch at the minimum and my WS container though.

Edited by 20kN

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(edited)
14 hours ago, 20kN said:

I am curious what you consider is 'done optimally'. I am fairly sure the way I pack my PC wouldn't match what you consider optimal (I follow Brian Germain's PC folding technique), but I've never once had a PC hesitation, not even on race suits in 1050 WS jumps. WS BASE is another story and I pack my PC very specifically for that type of jump.

I do agree about the gear though. Having a really good PC (e.g. SkySnatch) is important. That said, I've also jumped my Freak 3 with a Katana and Zulu on several occasions--I do ensure I use my SkySnatch at the minimum and my WS container though.

I repeatedly find this on people's gear: main trays to tightly packed (solution: loosening the loop "a tiny bit" can improve on that, but as explained the parts Rig, Canopies must fit together), all the bridle packed into the PC roll (solution: taking some of that out stuffing it under flaps with slack in both ends), PC not formed good enough and just stuffed into the BOC (solution: taking the extra time to pack it neatly tapping it to fill out the entire pouch provides lighter pull, and yes I also use Brian's way of packing). Those are the main culprits and I have solved severe issues for people just focusing on those. I just recently nailed that bug down with a highly experienced wingsuiter that kept getting linetwists and a lot of cutt's. All 3 mistakes above was in play. He thought it was improper deployment technique or sloppiness at that. Anyway I solved the problem completely. Sometimes the problem has simple solutions

Edited by birdynamnam

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