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SkyDivesAreUs

Dropzone etiquette?

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First off, hello everyone!

Did my first tandem within 2 months ago amd fell in love instanty, since then started my AFP and because of 15 minutes in a wind tunnel after my CAT B-1 jump I've been blowing through my AFP with no problem and my instructors even said they have nothing to say or correct after we land.

Assuming I pass, my next jump will be my graduation jump to solo status followed by my high and low solo jumps, and while theyre telling me how great I'm doing, I'm still very unsure of myself and what I know about the sport.

I've been reading the SIM and watching safety videos but I feel like talking to people with experience would be a better way to learn but usually the instructors are pretty busy and I dont want to hold them up with beginner (probably basic) questions.

Im still blown away by how much there actually is to this sport. Everyone I've met at the DZ has been awesome and super chill but is it annoying for some noob to come up and ask things about safety, canopy control, ground speed and why its important(overheard others talking about it, never heard of it before that), a more in depth explanation of a gear check (only have a basic understanding like make sure the pin is fully pushed in), I feel like Im going to be there a lot so I dont want to get on peoples nerves and Im usually pretty shy and reserved around people I dont know so I dont know a good way to go about it without being annoying but Im nervous about my own abilities especially because I realize its not just my own safety but other peoples safety I have to worry about too.

Any tips on the most important things to focus on for someone who is basically just starting out or a decent way to ask people at the DZ without annoying them? I've already learned so much but theres been so much information thrown at within a relatively short time span that its kind of hard to keep track of and remember everything too.

Sorry if this is a stupid question, I just cant stop feeling like this is something Im really gonna be invested in and the last thing i want to do is be that annoying guy at the DZ but at the same time make sure im doing and know what im supposed to

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Hi :) You already answered your question.

At first, students are only told basics and mandatory safety instructions. If not, the amount of informations would be too huge and students coulds loose focus on primary things to keep in mind.

I think there's no way you'd annoy people by asking questions. It will demonstrate you dig in safety and progress which is a very good thing with students (you know, some saw freefly, wingsuit, mister bills and whatever looks cool and want to do it because they feel ready)

Just learn step by step. Is your DZ organizing events for rookies ? teaching some basic canopy piloting lessons, jump run understanding, how to plan a tracking jump, and so on ? I did learn a lot in these little classes.

Internet is also a great source of information even if you CANNOT rely on it like the messiah's parole. Always actualy ask some instructors / experts at your DZ even if you don't have doubts about new knowledge you got.

Welcome in the sky dude :) stay safe and blue skies ;)

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welcome


at this point try to learn with your Ears, and with your Eyes..

watch and listen .. try to stay on top of When loads will be Exiting and observe canopy control techniques of those who are landing... Some examples will be good ones and some could be Bad ones. try to differentiate between the two.
Questions should NOT be discouraged, at any progressive DZ... :)Just be sensitive of when and whom you ask...
Oh,,, and bring BEER,,, every once in a while ;)

jmy

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Agreed!
The challenge is asking when they are in a mood to chat .... not rushing to pack for the next load.
Evenings are a great time to ask a few questions and listen to stories about all the mistakes that Parachutists Over Phorty (POPS) made when they were young and beautiful. They will cheerfully share their stories around the bonfire in he evening. They will share 3 or 4 stories if you bring a pizza or case of beer.
POPS really do want young jumpers to acquire their knowledge .... without the scar tissue.

The next best timer ask questions is during rainy days. Sign up for he next packing class at your DZ. Packing classes will answer many of your questions about gear.
Stay curious, because curiosity keeps you alert: checking gear, checking your buddy's pins, checking the spot, swivelling your head to watch other canopies, checking the windsock one more time, etc.

Because the day you quit learning is the day you should quit skydiving.

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Congrats on your jumps so far!

There are ways you can go about asking questions that are not "annoying" If you hear someone talking about something you want to know more about, just ask. Many of these skydivers will be glad to pass on knowledge especially since it benefits everyone's safety for you to be proficient. If someone thinks you're annoying you'll likely know it and know who not to ask next time. When in doubt, bringing a case of beer is a good ice breaker ;)

A good way to get some questions answered would be before/after a coach jump ask them anything you feel you need answered. I remember being fresh off AFF and having questions about everything from spotting, to landing patterns, wingloading, gear, exit order, EPs, etc. There were a couple of coaches/instructors that I asked hoards of questions to because I recognized they were knowledgeable and wanted to share that knowledge. Some of the questions you have may also be part of your coach/instructor's teaching plan.

Personally I think it's great that you are so curious and aware enough to know you don't know it all. The people I worry about are the ones who never ask questions and think they know everything. As someone said in this thread, skydivers love talking about skydiving :)
I was put on this earth to do one thing. Luckily I forgot what it was so I do whatever I want.

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Some good advice to me was, "Pay attention to the SIM because it was written in the blood of those that went before us." Read it in detail and understand what you read. Asking questions based on what your read in the SIM is never annoying.

Some people say, "Stay off the Internet", regarding skydive advice and information. I spent a lot of time on this forum, reading and paying attention to who spoke with authority that was rarely challenged. I picked out a handful that when they replied, I was careful to ready their posts. I didn't always agree, but I wanted to hear what they said. I quickly made friends with a couple of those people and felt that I could pick their brain if I wanted a one on one away from the DZ.

You local instructors might have a different view of something for a very specific reason, so always visit with them if you have something on your mind to learn or to try. If it don't make sense to you, say so. Failure to speak up is an invitation to a problem. It is your quarter and your life.....and as you said, other's as well.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Thank you all so much for the responses! My one instructor already briefed me on beer haha, basically told me it's commonplace for people to buy the DZ beer after every milestone like upgrade to solo status, acquiring a-license, every 100 or thousand jumps, or if you do something dumb :P or if you're just always hanging out after hours then it's just decent to occasionally pitch in too. Since my next jump is a graduation jump I've been looking forward to doing that as it seems like it would definitely be a nice icebreaker and easy way for me to meet and get to know some of the regulars who go there.

There's one guy at the DZ who is a newer A-license holder who has been getting a little shit from the more experienced jumpers for various reasons lately and every time they're going over stuff with him about better ways to do stuff or what he should be doing instead I always stand by and listen in just so I don't make the same mistakes, at first I was afraid I was coming off as awkward and creepy for just eavesdropping on people but based off some of the comments it seems like that's something I should be doing especially if it's something I'm unfamiliar with :)
@Dos, It doesn't seem like they offer little classes like that, or they're at least not listed on their events page on their website, they might though so I'll just ask whenever I'm there later this week. I know at the very least they do canopy courses a few times a year, I believe a week or two ago they had Brian Germaine come in for one but unfortunately I believe you had to have an A-license to attend.

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If you've paid a lot of money out to learn to skydive, then these instructors have an obligation to teach you to skydive, and there is a lot more to that, than just the jumps themselves.

They should be teaching you to do proper, comprehensive gear checks before you graduate to your A licence.

Also how to pack, spot, and a host of other things that are important in your education. After all, you will be in the position of passing your knowledge onto other newbies, down the track.

People who demand more money to teach these as extras, are doing the sport a disservice, and IMO, are just rip off merchants. Its likely a lot of them learnt this stuff for free when they came through the system.

Having said all that, the advice to buy the old DZ farts a beer, is one of the best ways to find things out....back in the day, prolly 50% of what a skydiver learnt, he learnt at the bar. I certainly did. There is usually quite a bit of down time on the DZ, weather holds etc, and that is the time to pounce on others sitting around.

As someone else said, keep your ears and eyes open. When you are getting a gear check, or others are getting one, ask the checker what they are doing and why. A lot of stuff he can explain as he does it, so you are not holding things up.

Watching from the ground, ask about the spot, opening point and flight patterns you are watching. There is usually one or two experienced guys hanging around, maybe waiting for a load. Go and stand next to the radio man when students are in the air, listen in to his commands and see what is happening.

If you have a riggers loft on the DZ, go and watch him on the job, he is a mine of knowledge, and is often happy to chat as he works.

There is no limit to what you can learn, but you have to be pro active. If you really are annoying someone when they are busy, you'll soon find out, but IMO most jumpers, as has been said, are happy to share knowledge with you.

Just avoid the DZ loudmouths.....they usually "know it all" but in my experience, know 50% of SFA.

And another important point. I've been involved with skydiving for 40 years, and haven't stopped learning. There is so much to know, I doubt anyone knows it all, or ever will.

As for not being allowed to attend Germains course, what is that all about? Sitting at the back, listening and watching costs nothing.

Did he even know about it? Maybe there was a reason, but I can't think of a good one. The chance to listen in to him is too good to pass up.

Then there is the internet, publications and what not. Plenty of options if you want to become a skydiving nerd. There are no limits.

Go for it.
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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Damn that actually might of been my mistake, I went back to look at their announcment of it in early September and the exact phrasing was " All A license holders are welcome" but in the comments one of my AFP instructors said it's highly recommended for students of all levels. It would of been a two day course and 6 jumps to go with it, I might not of been able to do the jumps because I'm still not at solo status but I might of been able to go just to sit in and soak up as much information as possible. Looking back it seems like they had him come at least two times this year so hopefully early next year I'll already have my license and be able to get the full experience B|

I've actually been considering buying his video canopy course for the time being, do you think it would be a worthwhile investment?

It's cool to know I've been doing some things right, at my DZ if you walk through the hangar they have a door that leads to a back patio where the field everyone lands in is, I got advice from one of the highly experienced jumper who has been jumping for 25 years and has over 29000 jumps and he told me stand out there and watch landings because I might learn a thing a two and have been doing that ever since :D Every time I go too I spend at least ten to fifteen minutes in their training room practicing my EP's on the set up they have, hopefully won't need them for a long time but still want to be ready.

I'm almost intimidated to some degree about all the information that goes with skydiving, of course not intimidated enough to keep me from learning and doing it ;) thank you for all the tips it's greatly appreciated!

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Good stuff on here so far!!

Don't be afraid of your first cutaway, be prepared. Handle it and you'll be confident that you can handle emergencies!!

The best way I've heard beer explained: experienced jumpers don't care about the first time you went through a cloud, launched a 4 way, did a hybrid, or had a cutaway. But, hand me a beer and we'll happily hang out, listen, and share our own stories.

The best way I've seen the A-license beer: buy a bunch of different 22oz bottles, bring cups, and introduce yourself to everyone that hangs out for beer time. Using cups and trying different beers naturally brings conversation.

The best way to handle advice or lessons about jumping: know who you are talking too. Your instructors, tandem instructors, and anyone with over 1000 jumps is more likely to have good advice... though the newer people often like to talk/share more whether they know what they're talking about or just like to talk like they're an expert. When you seek advice, take the damn advice!!!! If you have the answer you want to hear all figured out before you ask, and you're going to try whatever you're asking about anyway, please don't even ask. If you want to do stupid or crazy shit, go ask the jumpers who have done it how you can do it safely and what safety concerns you need to figure out before you do.

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I've yet to meet someone who has in anyway showed annoyance at my questions, although my social skills are lacking and I don't express myself very well. But I always feel like the next one will (I rationally know that my feeling is wrong) -- this is my own problem. I find it easier to save my questions and ask them at time when it is clear that they wouldn't worry people, e.g. during a canopy course.

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bgrozev

I've yet to meet someone who has in anyway showed annoyance at my questions, although my social skills are lacking and I don't express myself very well. But I always feel like the next one will (I rationally know that my feeling is wrong) -- this is my own problem. I find it easier to save my questions and ask them at time when it is clear that they wouldn't worry people, e.g. during a canopy course.



I have something of a sense of shyness, made worse at the DZ full of people who are way, way better at this stuff than me - but I'm getting to open up, and beer after the plane is away helps.

After I did my hop and pop, the regulars were planning to go for dinner on Sunday night before they headed home (most live 1.5-3 hours from the DZ). I asked if I could join them, rather meekly, and one of the guys laughed and said, "Why do you keep asking?! Of course!!!". That helped feel like the ice was breaking. On a patio over beer several of them actually started offering me some really useful observations and feedback about how I'm progressing, and it was great to finally get that feeling of being "part of it".

It'll come. Don't hesitate to ask, and when you hand someone a beer and ask them a question it helps!!!

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Getting experienced Jumpers attention and help is not difficult if you show true dedication, then they will take notice of you and want to help. Below are some examples of dedication.

Spend a lot of time at the DZ, both rain and shine.
Jump your ass off.
Try not to scare anyone.
Do low Jumps when the ceiling is low, Jump when it's cold, Jump when it's hot, jump when it's wet, jump solo, jump with coaches, jump with other low-timers, Jump at dawn, Jump at dusk, Jump your ass off.
Don't be shy.
shut up and listen.
Respect the experienced jumper but don't brown nose, asking them to sign your log book is a good ice breaker.
Buying beer is nice, but don't over-do it (brown nose)
Don't complain about petty shit or gossip.
Do your own packing, at least until you are "in"
Jump at other drop zones.
Tunnel time will help technique but it will not bond you to other SKYDIVERS.
Jump your ass off......did I already say that?

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Just wanted to come back and say thank you all again!

Graduated AFP and did my first High solo yesterday at sunset which was the most incredible view ever B| Bought beer and hung out at the DZ for a few hours after the last load, met a lot of people and got a lot of great advice. Most of the people I talked to reassured me of what you guys said, never be afraid to ask questons but just make sure I'm asking the right people, a lot of them didn't mind sitting down with me having a beer and just going over stuff in detail with me and even reassured me that even if it's something super basic, it doesn't matter, ask if you don't know. Was a lot of fun and now I know a lot of names and regulars who go there!

Not that it's relevant but that high solo....omg lol Was by far the best jump I've had and had to be the most fun thing I've ever done in my life, felt like I had SOO much time up there because I wasn't focused on doing certain routines with an instructor. I almost can't imagine a scenario now where I'd stop jumping after how amazing that was. Definitely curbed some of my fear about all this and made me more confident in my own abilities at least to some degree.

Wasn't planning on jumping today but still went to hang out at the DZ because I knew they were gonna be busy today and I wanted to watch people coming in for landings so I had a better idea of what to do in heavy traffic but changed my mind after a few hours and did my low solo today which I didn't think I'd like but it was awesome having the sky to myself and being able to play with the canopy without fear of people being around me and me fucking up somehow. Even though I messed up my position on exit and went unstable for a few seconds. (can't stop looking at the ground for some reason when I first leave the plane instead of remembering to keep my head up and arched)

But anyway, thank you all so much!

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obelixtim

People who demand more money to teach these as extras, are doing the sport a disservice, and IMO, are just rip off merchants. Its likely a lot of them learnt this stuff for free when they came through the system.

Very true. I'm happy to teach noobs all kinds of stuff when it's slow. .

Quote

Having said all that, the advice to buy the old DZ farts a beer, is one of the best ways to find things out.

Best Advice Ever.. . ;):D

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Funny enough I had almost the same experience... At the end of my program I went to do my high check for my solo CoP - and blew it. I didn't like my first backloop so I went to do another one and made a hash of it and ran out of altitude for the other skills.

On landing, the instructors had a little chat and decided that what would likely help is a few "no pressure" solos without an instructor - just to go up and try things out. The first one was the second last load of the night as the sun was low. It actually make me laugh as I was getting on the plane that I wasn't sure at first where I was supposed to go in the order, but that was sorted out quickly and that jump was awesome. It set me up to get a lot more in and repeat the check out jumps with a lot less hassle.

After that it was great to get some beer, listen to some stories, and all that, made me realize the value of the regulars at the DZ even when not jumping.

SkyDivesAreUs

Just wanted to come back and say thank you all again!

Graduated AFP and did my first High solo yesterday at sunset which was the most incredible view ever B| Bought beer and hung out at the DZ for a few hours after the last load, met a lot of people and got a lot of great advice. Most of the people I talked to reassured me of what you guys said, never be afraid to ask questons but just make sure I'm asking the right people, a lot of them didn't mind sitting down with me having a beer and just going over stuff in detail with me and even reassured me that even if it's something super basic, it doesn't matter, ask if you don't know. Was a lot of fun and now I know a lot of names and regulars who go there!

Not that it's relevant but that high solo....omg lol Was by far the best jump I've had and had to be the most fun thing I've ever done in my life, felt like I had SOO much time up there because I wasn't focused on doing certain routines with an instructor. I almost can't imagine a scenario now where I'd stop jumping after how amazing that was. Definitely curbed some of my fear about all this and made me more confident in my own abilities at least to some degree.

Wasn't planning on jumping today but still went to hang out at the DZ because I knew they were gonna be busy today and I wanted to watch people coming in for landings so I had a better idea of what to do in heavy traffic but changed my mind after a few hours and did my low solo today which I didn't think I'd like but it was awesome having the sky to myself and being able to play with the canopy without fear of people being around me and me fucking up somehow. Even though I messed up my position on exit and went unstable for a few seconds. (can't stop looking at the ground for some reason when I first leave the plane instead of remembering to keep my head up and arched)

But anyway, thank you all so much!

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