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paul_s

Tips for sliding in landings?

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I have trashed ankles and will need to start sliding in landings. Any tips?

Is there a certain wing loading I should be sure to have so I don't slam into the ground?

Anything I should do to reinforce the bottom of the container so it doesn't get worn down sliding in?

Best technique for how to slide it in without getting hurt?

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I was told this info yesterday after my first slide in landing.  I do not have much experience yet or had a chance to practice it.  take it for what it is worth:

1 - finish your flare but make sure to keep your wrists pointed to your ankles and together over your knees.  Keeping arms in like in a PLF

2 - rock slightly to one buttock  so your tailbone does not take all the abuse.
3 - raise your feet so there is less chance of getting snagged

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Who suggested you start sliding your landings?
An instructor? I somewhat doubt that.

Sliding is actually a pretty advanced technique. Its usually used when the forward speed is faster than can be run out. Tandems often slide in because they can't run and a PLF would end up with the pair rolling on top of each other. 
You need to have your flare dialed in pretty well. You need to stop your descent at just the right height, get your feet down gently and keep adding toggle to the flare to slowly add weight as you lose speed. 
Any mistake will be painful. Any irregularity in the ground (holes, ruts, bumps) can also be a problem (see below).

If your ankles aren't in good enough shape to handle the impact of landing, or the stress of running one out, then learn to PLF really well.
You can go from 'feet touching' to 'rolling onto your hips' with very little stress on your ankles. 

I'll slide in sometimes, usually when the wind is really low. Jumps early in the day are prime candidates. The morning dew on the grass also helps the sliding. 
But watching the ground is vital. I was coming in, planning on sliding, and just as I was about to touch, saw that there was a pretty deep tire rut in the grass ahead (maybe 6"deep). If I had slid into that I likely would have broken something. So I PLF'd it. A couple grass stains and a bit damp from the dew, but that was it. 

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Thanks. This is helpful.

As background, my doctor has recommended I give up skydiving. I'm not going to, but my ankles are trashed so I need to land without any impact whatsoever to the ankles. PLF'ing is out. I've got 350+ jumps so have had plenty of good and bad landings before but never intentionally made sliding in my go-to in all circumstances, which it will likely have to be going forward. These are helpful tips. Please keep 'em coming. Many thanks.

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1 hour ago, paul_s said:

As background, my doctor has recommended I give up skydiving

Is your doctor familiar with sports and with skydiving? If so, you might want to consider it, really, unless you’re willing to give up walking in the long run for skydiving in the short run. 
If they’re not, then go shopping for one who is. Because you’ll almost certainly be doing more walking in your life than skydiving. 
Wendy P. 

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Thanks. I'm kind of past that point. I haven't been able to walk on my left ankle for two years. Obviously, that isn't a viable long-term plan. I'm either going to do an ankle replacement, in which case any shock at all to the ankle could break the replacement so landings are a big no-go, or a below the knee amputation. I'm pretty far past the point of giving up walking. Walking gave up on me years ago. 

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I wasn’t suggesting that, really. I’ve known several amputee jumpers, both AK and BK. Also not from skydiving. I won’t give sliding tips because I don’t slide; my depth perception isn’t awesome and I don’t want to hurt my back. 
My suggestion would be the largest ZPX canopy you can get, along with a similarly-sized reserve. And talk to a very experienced and creative canopy coach, or a tandem master who takes a decent number of handicapped passengers — they really know how to finesse the landing. You need something specific to you, because you also need to be able to handle less-than-optimum landings (wind gust, landing traffic, off landings, reserve, etc). 
And good luck. 
Wendy P. 

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Many thanks. That's super helpful. I wouldn't be surprised to find that upsizing my canopy is part of the picture no matter what. You make a good point that I'll need to be able to handle less-than-optimum landings. 

What wing loading do you have and how do you deal with not getting blown away on windy days with a large canopy?

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I started in the 1970’s on rounds. I have plenty of experience with off landings, and my first square was a 230. I weighed 120. It performed better than my round had (and I LOVED my round). Did a cross-country once when I’d hooked it up backwards (always check), and stood up the landing. 
The key is don’t do stupid shit. If you’re lightly loaded, don’t jump in 20 mph winds even if everyone else is. I’m about 1.1:1, because I’m 66 and female, and bone density deteriorates with age, especially in women. I was jumping in 16 gusting to 23 on Saturday, and quit. Plenty of others were quitting, too. 

My other secret is that I fall down a lot. I plan to PLF, and only stand it up if it looks perfect. Which means I walk away from all my landings. 
I’m assuming you have some sort of really serious brace for your worse ankle, and maybe for the other one, too. That’s something else to investigate — an immobilized ankle and a PLF might work for you. But talk to someone where you jump who can brainstorm about how to make it work safely — you don’t want to jam people up with having to call EMS (not to mention the hospital sucks as an after-jump destination). 
Wendy P. 

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Got a buddy who wrecked both ankles in a non-skydiving accident and he slides in almost all his landings without any drama, then again he's had a lot of practice at it! The trick is convert all your vertical speed to horizontal and then slide in favouring one buttock as already mentioned. It's important to keep your hands up and canopy in full flight so you can transition to horizontal flight with a well timed decisive flare. Problem is that really nailing your flare takes a lot of practice and during the learning phase you're going to take some knocks.

Also this only works when you have a nice smooth landing area, great for the swoop lane but not an option if you're landing off in a ploughed field (or a random rut on the DZ), my buddy has to run those out and they hurt like hell. It's a question of when not if you land out so ask yourself if thats something you can deal with.

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(edited)
On 5/18/2021 at 6:47 PM, paul_s said:

And, to clarify, my ankle injuries are not skydiving-related. I'm not the best canopy pilot but that's not the cause of the bad ankles. 

I'm paralyzed below my knees.  I wore paraboots and landed on my feet for my first jump after a 14 year layoff.  If that doesn't work, wear AFO's.

Edited by PROGRESSIVE

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Aim for a wing-loading of 0.7 pounds per square foot. That is the wing-loading that most students start at along with BASE jumpers and precision landing competitors. BASE jumpers often have to land in tiny clear areas between rocks and hard places and cannot always do a full flare before landing. In practice, this means that most students start with 280 square foot canopies, though I have been known to hang small female students under 230 square foot parachutes.

Also remember that USPA, CSPA, BPA advise students to quit jumping when winds exceed 15 knots because that is when lightly-loaded canopies start landing backwards, people get dragged and landing injuries increase.

Even after thousands of tandem jumps in turbulent Southern California weather, I quit jumping when winds reach 22 knots because it gets too turbulent and I collect too many bruises. More than a 5 knot spread between gusts also increases the number of bruises during landings. By 22 knots, winds start developing weird and wonderful vertical drafts that can slam you hard during landings.

The ideal winds - when you don't want to run out a landing - are around 10 knots. That way a less-than-perfect flare will set you down with minimal horizontal speed.

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