0
mjskiii

level-3 is killing me

Recommended Posts

I'm embarrassed to say that I've now failed level-3, 3 times. I feel great during the jump, I do all the correct procedures, etc, but I just can't seem to stabilize enough for the instructors to let me go. I seemed to do OK in the wind tunnel, but am just not translating that to the jumps. My arch is not perfect, but it's not bad. The instructors suggest that maybe I'm just not relaxed enough, which is possible, but things are getting a bit discouraging. Is this rare to not get it after 3 tries? Any tips or suggestions? Thanks for any advice you can send my way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
get good on level video footage of the jump so you can see exactly what your body is doing in freefall. No matter how descriptive your JM is during debrief, there is always room for interpretation. IME debriefing with video has always proven to be leaps and bounds more helpful. Also what are the exact reasons they won't let you go? Poor Arch? Leg awareness? arm awareness? built in turn? start from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First time being released, yup, it happens.
I have repeated my level 3 (or 4? Can't remember) 3 times (if not 4 times).
You'll click and be just fine (or not, who knows).
I'm standing on the edge
With a vision in my head
My body screams release me
My dreams they must be fed... You're in flight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I assume AFF is same as back in the days?

1st: no release from any of the JM's.
2nd: secondary releases
3rd: Both release..
Is that so??

When I did lvl one and two in Spain, Mitch was stressing for me to "relax" AND arch well. Then you avoided being so "buffety" in the air. This really prepared me for lvl 3 and I am convinced this made it easy.

So if you are too tense, it is hard to get a good arch as well, but you also want a strong arch. I don't know how that combination is. I am only speaking from personal reflections and memories as AFF student.

Another thing with AFF is the incredibly steep learning curve. Is there anything else in the world where you acquire a new skill set so rapidly? Any other thing you learn that is so exciting??

Also, when you arch to get out, is different in the way you arch when terminal.
Most of us are tighter in the body upon exit and more relaxed when reaching terminal speed.

LVL5 was my SOB. I went with Mitch doing turns when my second turn started spinning so far to the right that he had to level me off. Probably due to poor arching and arms. Then when I was supposed to move forward, I dipped down and went over my head, which was still tough to deal with. The rest of jump was on/off with staying steady. I remember hanging in the canopy and yelling "Sorry Mitch". When I came down he gave me a HUGE thumbs down. At that time, Maria was also having challenges with other student struggling with lvl 6. We could watch every AFF from ground camera and learned a lot from that. It was an exciting time. AFF is such an intense experience in introspection, at least it was for me.

My long-term memory is perfect (about certain things) and things are more and more coming back. No drugs, Rorshach test or psychoanalysis, just great memories.

In AFF what you are imperfect in will carry over to the next jump and when enough bad habits accumulate, you are likely to fail next level, IMHO. There is a lot to learn from every jump.

Finally, try to keep a good insight into your heading right before release. It is easier to stay steady if you have something on ground to focus upon.

There is still lots of time to learn it..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mjskiii

Is this rare to not get it after 3 tries?



Not at all.

The fact that you can do it in the tunnel is all the proof you need that you can do it. It's the same air, you're just wearing a rig and massively more full of adrenaline.

Your instructors are right, listen to them :)
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jtiflyer

get good on level video footage of the jump so you can see exactly what your body is doing in freefall. No matter how descriptive your JM is during debrief, there is always room for interpretation. IME debriefing with video has always proven to be leaps and bounds more helpful. Also what are the exact reasons they won't let you go? Poor Arch? Leg awareness? arm awareness? built in turn? start from there.



The instructor on my 1st attempt filmed it and I clearly had a horrible arch and was basically looking down the whole time. No video of the next 2 tries, but was debriefed on relaxing more. One instructor said my changes in hand movements were too aggressive and perhaps that caused instability. I think the relaxing thing is becoming a theme, but strangely, I feel pretty relaxed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DrSher


I assume AFF is same as back in the days?

1st: no release from any of the JM's.
2nd: secondary releases
3rd: Both release..
Is that so??

When I did lvl one and two in Spain, Mitch was stressing for me to "relax" AND arch well. Then you avoided being so "buffety" in the air. This really prepared me for lvl 3 and I am convinced this made it easy.

So if you are too tense, it is hard to get a good arch as well, but you also want a strong arch. I don't know how that combination is. I am only speaking from personal reflections and memories as AFF student.

Another thing with AFF is the incredibly steep learning curve. Is there anything else in the world where you acquire a new skill set so rapidly? Any other thing you learn that is so exciting??

Also, when you arch to get out, is different in the way you arch when terminal.
Most of us are tighter in the body upon exit and more relaxed when reaching terminal speed.

LVL5 was my SOB. I went with Mitch doing turns when my second turn started spinning so far to the right that he had to level me off. Probably due to poor arching and arms. Then when I was supposed to move forward, I dipped down and went over my head, which was still tough to deal with. The rest of jump was on/off with staying steady. I remember hanging in the canopy and yelling "Sorry Mitch". When I came down he gave me a HUGE thumbs down. At that time, Maria was also having challenges with other student struggling with lvl 6. We could watch every AFF from ground camera and learned a lot from that. It was an exciting time. AFF is such an intense experience in introspection, at least it was for me.

My long-term memory is perfect (about certain things) and things are more and more coming back. No drugs, Rorshach test or psychoanalysis, just great memories.

In AFF what you are imperfect in will carry over to the next jump and when enough bad habits accumulate, you are likely to fail next level, IMHO. There is a lot to learn from every jump.

Finally, try to keep a good insight into your heading right before release. It is easier to stay steady if you have something on ground to focus upon.



Thanks a lot for the insight. I agree with the culmination of bad habits. I have to think that on some level I'm stressing over making the same mistakes, which likely contributes to me doing just that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joellercoaster

***Is this rare to not get it after 3 tries?



Not at all.

The fact that you can do it in the tunnel is all the proof you need that you can do it. It's the same air, you're just wearing a rig and massively more full of adrenaline.

Your instructors are right, listen to them :)
Thanks! I'll get it at some point. Just may cost me a fortune and a lot of cool points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
crazydaisy315

I had to repeat level 3 twice, then did the tunnel and passed it. Then repeated level 4 three times, hit the tunnel again and nailed 5, 6, and 7 in one weekend. It happens, hang in there!!

As I said then, and still say now: I can barely relax on the ground, let alone at altitude.



Yep, the relaxing thing has got to be at the root of a lot of this. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mjskiii

I'm embarrassed to say that I've now failed level-3, 3 times. I feel great during the jump, I do all the correct procedures, etc, but I just can't seem to stabilize enough for the instructors to let me go. I seemed to do OK in the wind tunnel, but am just not translating that to the jumps. My arch is not perfect, but it's not bad. The instructors suggest that maybe I'm just not relaxed enough, which is possible, but things are getting a bit discouraging. Is this rare to not get it after 3 tries? Any tips or suggestions? Thanks for any advice you can send my way.



Wont add any value here, but just look at my last post, i couldnt even get out of the plane, let alone fly. Nothing to be ashamed of, you are miles ahead of me... if i were you, i would keep trying. I will leave the tips to the pros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I failed cat b twice last year around this time. At the time I really only had money for one money pit and I was trying to fill two. Things that led to the failures was,

1) too much time between jumps. Every jump was like the first jump as far as my skills and waiting almost a month between jumps. Putting money into other things contributed to this.

2) driving distance to the dropzone. 5hr drive and I had to be there at 8:30 am. Between lack of sleep from the night before and the long drive I was already tired when I got there which affected my mental focus.

3) I kept overthinking everything things. Exact body positions in free fall, when pulling ect. This also led to me thinking in depth about malfunctions which isn't a bad thing but I continued to think about them on the plane on the way up instead of the task at hand.

At the time I was trying to get something started with woodworking. So I was thinking I was dumping money in skydiving and getting nowhere, but I could get something going with woodworking and possibly make money for skydiving later. I stopped jumping for almost a year but I had plenty of time to think.

I changed how I approached skydiving this year and it helped immensely. First thing was go to a different dropzone. It wasn't that I didn't like it there but the distance was killing me before I got on the plane. I ended up liking the atmosphere at the new dropzone better anyway. Second plus was that it also cost less per jump which led to more jumps in a short amount of time. I had to stop woodworking as well due to two others living with me being highly allergic to sawdust and finishes, so I'm using money that would have went into that as well.

With money and driving distance covered, my last problem was myself. One would say I have obsessive behavior when I do thing. Right now, if I'm not jumping, I'm reading on the internet about it or going through diveflows in my head some with malfunctions others just relative work. When I get on the plane now though, I only think of the task at hand and go with the flow. The door opening on jump run still gets the nerves going, but once I'm in the sky I go with the flow. Poor exit (had plenty of those) no problem I have a minute to get level and do what I want to do. Controlling my breathing on the way up really helps calm me down. Only thinking about what I need to do instead of what could happen made a huge difference as well. If I need to do my emergency procedures, I already know what I'm going to do on the ground. no need to think about it in the plane, just be ready when you need them. When I go through my diveflow in my head I end it with a canopy check, and everything that I thought about on the ground picks up from there if needed.

I didn't think I was going to type this much, I hope it helps. I'm 19 jumps in now and I'm looking to complete my license this weekend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Being flexible enough to arch well will help. You said the tunnel was okay but more range of arch will never hurt at this stage.

Stretching is largely free. If you are not supper limber, you can practice your stretching at home. Investing that sort of time in the sport also helps you in your determination.

I was sore from trying to arch and hold it. I recall thinking, I could do that 3 or 4 times right now the results (flattening out during the jump) would be the same. That might not be your problem but working on it can't hurt your progress.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Think of long hair blowing in the wind. In FF, let your arms and legs relax and let the wind blow them back like hair.

The words "hard arch" implies rigidity. In FF, rigidity is your enemy. If your belly button is the lowest point on your body in FF, you are in an ok position. You don't need to strain yourself to do it right.

Don't fight the wind. Let gravity and the wind do all the work. Enjoy the ride.
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
davenuk

+1 for relax, it's hard but it's a BIG factor.

i've repeated lvl 4, lvl 5 3times, lvl6 once.

then span out on my consoles.... last consoles have been really good though, so yeh, reeeeellllaaaxxxxx.



Heh, they always told me to relax and I'd look at them like I didn't understand the words coming out of their mouths. I remember the first time I actually relaxed. It happened in the wind tunnel, and I thought, "OH! So THAT's what they meant when they said 'relax!'" I don't think I'd ever actually done it before. Not as a discrete step anyway. I flew so much better after that. It helps with driving, too, as it turns out.
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Practice arching by laying face-down in a hammock. Feel the muscles across your chest, belly and thighs stretch as they relax into the hammock.
Alternately, you could lay your spine on a giant Swiss ball and feel gravity stretch those chest, belly and thigh muscles.

As an earlier poster suggested, as long as your belly button is your lowest point and your chin is up, you will fall stable. The next step is learning to relax your arms and legs. So work hard on your arch (e.g. butt cheeks clamped tightly together) for the first few seconds after exit, then start relaxing arm and leg muscles. Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes and wiggle your nostrils ..... um ..... er ........ breath through your nostrils. Durning dirt dives, feel air flowing through your nostrils as you focus on the horizon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Level 3 is a difficult level and I had to redo it 5 times. I heard a lot of the same from my instructors "you need to relax", "hit the tunnel", " work on your arch". All of it was true, but how do I relax and work on a bad arch? For the fourth try I went on a slow day and after the jump my instructor asked me to arch and noticed I started shaking. He asked why I was shaking and I told him it was my back and he laughed and told me about breaking his back and he could arch fine. He told me it wasn't my back but that I was trying to arch with my abs, he then showed me how to really arch. Stand about a foot and a half away from a wall and stick your hips into it like you are trying to hump it and lean your upper half back away from the wall, your pelvis should be the only thing touching the wall. I have passed that on to anyone I see shaking when they try to arch. Relax? Smile during the exit and free fall. Remember you didn't fail those jumps, they are learning experiences and they count towards your A. I finished AFF with 13 jumps and I was that closer to my A.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Relaxing was (and still is) a big barrier for me too. I struggled a bit with stability early in AFF, and my AFFI predicted an issue with Cat C (level 3) and asked me to go to the tunnel during the week. 10 minutes helped a lot, but what really helped was having an instructor who helped me relax. He was just very chill and he smiled a LOT. When you're having fun with someone who also seems to be having fun, when they smile at you, it's hard not to smile back. Smiling = relaxing for me. It's easy to get too intense out there, especially early on.

I passed Cat C easily, and when I moved on to the next levels, I asked subsequent instructors to smile or make faces at me. One of them made such goofy faces it helped me laugh and relax a lot, and I passed the rest of AFF with no problems. (Of course, I had to try the last coach jump 3 times before getting a swoop and dock, but that was a different story altogether.)

Long story short, maybe what you need is an instructor who makes you feel more comfortable? I always perform better when I'm relaxed and comfortable, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Keep trying, bud. You'll get there!
I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0