Shakey Level 1, Do i continue? Advice please

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Hi All Skydiver in the Uk here


New to the forum and to the skydiving just wanted the opinion of a few experienced skydivers on this matter...


So I decided to uptake an AFF course, I had previously done a tandem jump, loved it and thought this was the natural progression as well as it being a good challenge for myself. I'm 28 years old, I play poker professionally and although that challenges me mentally I thought a hobby that challenged me physically was a great idea and this seemed perfect.


Last Thursday I did the ground training thought that although it was a lot to take in, in one day I felt I got to grips with it well enough. The next day was a bad weather and a “blow out” so I had the entire day to practice the routine of what we needed to do on level 1 to which by Saturday the day of my first jump I could do perfectly.


Saturday we didn't have great weather which mean jumping was very stop start all day, I was the last of my class to jump, the other three members had all landed by the time I was to go up in the plane. I was sat at the front of the plane with the door open thinking any moment now they're going to ask me if Im ready and then ill be going out the door, with the door open the instructors looked and decided that due to cloud jumping wouldn't be suitable and we flew back down. To be honest I thought if anything this eased my nerves, felt like I had gone past my nerves and now was just eager to get it done.


We arrived on the ground and after only 20 minutes of waiting around we was all ready to go up again. We arrived at 15,000 feet, the door opened, they asked if I was ready I replied yeah I positioned myself in the door and the three of us jumped out. At this point I effectively froze, I didn't check my altimeter once, instead finding it difficult to react and maintain correct form to the body position signals I was getting whilst being mesmerised by the beautiful views and was just enjoying the sensation of the dive. As I say I never checked my altimeter, I didn't do a single practice touch, I was however able to deploy the parachute relatively successfully myself (on the debrief later I was told my arch was none existent).


In the air with the canopy open I had some twists so that caught my attention and I corrected them, it was only around 30 seconds later I realized I completed forgot to do my checks, is it big, rectangular, damage free? In the air I only managed to land in the right place with radio help, I completely lost my bearings but managed to land sure enough in the PLA with a bit of a crash and roll (without injury as I bent knees and landed as I was had been taught in the ground school).


The debrief seemed a little scary for my instructor, I told her I completely froze, became mesmerized by the views and said “If I wouldn't have received the signal to deploy I would have just hit the ground” which I noted visibly shook her. I said I wasn't sure if I was going to go up again (I've already paid for the entire course but I wouldn't care if it wasn't refunded), she said with my honesty she doesn't know if she would okay me to go up again, but we agreed we'd sleep on it. Maybe I just said that about hitting the ground as I wanted a reaction as I was feeling sorry for myself about how bad I think the jump went I'm not sure.


So do I continue? Ive had a similar episode like this when I was learning to scuba dive, very different I know but I failed during a task we had to do on the ocean floor I panicked, aborted the dive and said I told the instructor I wouldn't be finishing the course. I slept on it, came back and got through that fine, securing a divers license so now Im thinking I can do the same here.


I really enjoy the sport, the community that they had up there at the dropzone, everyone was very friendly and likeable and I still feel it would be the perfect hobby. I am also kind of relishing the challenge, I picture myself going back and ace-ing the level 1 (or 2 as it may be that I have actually passed level 1 as some people say that level 1 is just about exposure to the jump) I just don't want to put me or anyone else in danger.


Id really love to hear the thoughts of some experienced divers,


Have People had a similar experience on level 1 and gone onto ace it in future?


Is there anything people would recommend doing before getting back up in the air?


Thanks for reading anyway and I hope it wasn't too long.

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Keep on at it and don't give up. Your first 'solo'/Level 1 is nerve racking enough without having to (a) wait all day for weather holds (b) have to come back down in the plane, once you finally get airborne, due to cloud etc. Your nerves must have been shot by the time you eventually exited. I'm sure you'll find your next jump/s far less stressful and more enjoyable - the weather is due to improve in the UK from tomorrow so hopefully you can crack on.  Oh - and forget the view - there's plenty of time for that once you've passed AFF. I'm sure you'll also get some sage advice from the instructors out there but other than trying to stick to what you learned in ground school, keeping altitude aware and keeping aware of your instructors for their signals in the air, there's not much more I can say. You aren't the first student to have had an 'indifferent' start to AFF - I speak from personal experience. Blue Skies and vasbyt. (ask a South African).

Edited by Bokdrol

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