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Chris__

So much waiting in skydiving...?

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Posted (edited)

Hello people,

There is so much waiting in skydiving because of weather, and often there is something wrong with the airplane as well. Many unforseen things can disturb ones plans about skydiving. Also skydiving is a very short and intense experience. Like you set aside so much time for something that lasts for only such a short period of time. Is this short-lived experience so valuable that that makes up for all the waiting?

Seems to me that skydivers are really cool and nice people, so in order to compensate for all this time not spent being in the activity one gathered to engage in, one instead finds a lot of fun and joy in spending time together, partying, or sharing cool and interesting stories about skydiving, or discussing technical stuff about skydiving, etc.

But still, when I've been wondering whether I want to get into this or not, I find this a big dilemma, because I like to be really immersed in the activity that I'm focusing on, and not to go around waiting so much. How do you people deal with this?

Edited by Chris__

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waiting time hanging around is the best way to learn about the activity. Plus it's free.

weather hold ? Practice packing! Learn about different disciplines ! Get to know your co-jumpers ! Do some ground training, practice exits etc etc... Or practice your golf cart stunts.

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4 minutes ago, raftman said:

"and often there is something wrong with the airplane"     HMMM I might find somewhere else to jump.............

Not like super-often, but I've been to two dropzones, and it seems like in the total sum of what can disturb ones plans of skydiving, some unforseen thing about the airplane or the pilot is a common one. Probably far from as common as the weather, but next after the weather.

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I guess my question is more philosophical about the nature of this activity. This is like spending a huge ratio of the time one spends on this activity on preparing for the activity, but not on the activity itself. In other activities you spend much more time in the activity itself. I was wondering how you guys have justified it to yourself that this is worth it?

For instance I love kayaking, and I like to go kayaking for several hours and just totally immerse myself in the experience, and I like to do it often and again and again. But I would never get several hours in free-fall, not even close.

What is it about the nature of this experience and how one is organized around it that still makes it worth it even though it is such a short-lived experience, and many times the conditions are not even right for getting access to this short-lived experience?

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sounds like you're trying to make skydiving fit your preconceived notion of fun, or whatever it is you're adjusting to.  43 seconds of freefall can equal to a day playing golf, or shooting hoops.  it is the act of immersing yourself in the present with no room for error that is zen for me.  i call it church.  being at one with the universe.  perceptions can differ greatly.

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Part of the fun at the dz is hanging around with friends and shooting the breeze; when you’re a student, watching landings and watching packing also contribute. 
If only the skydive part is fun, there may not be enough return for you. 
Wendy P. 

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5 hours ago, Chris__ said:

I guess my question is more philosophical about the nature of this activity.

It's a fair question.

Let's use an idea situation for me, a skydive boogie where there is a lot of skydivers and enough airplanes to make 1 jump an hour all day if desired. That may not sound like a lot, but it is. Preparing / practicing the jump, getting gear on, riding on the plane, doing the jump, flying the parachute, landing, walking back to the packing area, packing the parachute, discussing / reviewing the jump with the participants, it all takes time and effort. Doing that more than 6-8 times a day will wear me out, and it is enjoyable to have small breaks in between jumps to sit back and watch what else is going on.

In a less than idea situation, it could be a weekend at a dropzone without a lot of fun jumpers, but plenty of tandems, now maybe I will be there all day and make just 3-4 jumps. Still can be fun, but devoting that much time can feel like a waste. There is only so many times you can hear "This one time, at WFFC"

There are plenty of other activities that have similar "do something intense and then do little" patterns. Baseball and golf are a few that come to mind and rock climbing probably also has quite a bit of down time.

 

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"What is it about the nature of this experience and how one is organized around it that still makes it worth it even though it is such a short-lived experience, and many times the conditions are not even right for getting access to this short-lived experience? "

I just don't think any of us can answer this for you, not me anyway. When I was just starting I would drive 2 or 4 hours to a dropzone on a cloudy day and just hope that a hole would open up. I almost felt like life without skydiving was kind of empty. I certainly wasn't thinking about it in the practical, analytical way that your question is directed. You were struggling with AFF a couple months ago. How did that resolve? Perhaps a tandem once or twice a year would give you the fix you are looking for without the investment in time and emotional energy.

 

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I know, right?

Waiting for the weather to clear up, waiting for your slot, waiting for the boarding call, waiting until you can exit, waiting until your AAD fires, waiting until you reach the ground, waiting until your parachute is packed....

Kidding aside, I too thought I'd never thought I'd get multiple hours in freefall. Yet here I am. And that is with at least half of my 1000 jumps being clear&pulls (five or less seconds of freefall), which I don't count.

As others have said, there is much more to skydiving than the actual skydive.

And please, don't go wasting your money on "one or two tandems a year". Save up for decent gear instead, or use it for tunnel time if the problem is/was something like stability issues in freefall.

Tunneling is a great way of honing your skills (especially on rainy days). Be sure to tell the tunnel marshall that you are a skydiver though and tell them what you want and need to work on, otherwise you'll likely get the carnival ride.

Better yet, organise a tunnel camp with other newbies and preferably get an experienced AFF instructor or coach involved (depending on the needs of the other trainees). That way you can buy a larger chunk of tunnel time, which is cheaper per person.

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Boring!

Like you, I am not a patient person.

I started packing student rigs to relieve the boredom.

On a busy day, that means barely having enough time for a sip of water.

Ask any tandem instructor if he/she is bored, while pushing to do a dozen tandems per day. They barely have enough time to grab a sip of water before running th catch the nest flight. Their greatest challenge is eating granola bars - in the airplane - without dropping crumbs down their students' collars.

Hah!

Hah!

P.S. When you find evening gab sessions around the bonfire boreing, just earn a rigger's rating. By the time you have finished all the minor repairs needed to launch the first load (Sunday morning), other skydivers will have eaten all the pizza, drank all the beer and deflowered all the virgins.

The last thing that riggers worry about is sexually transmitted diseases!

Hah!

Hah!

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Note also that the dropzone you go to can play a big part in how much time you spend waiting vs jumping.  

I jump at a 182 dropzone, and we're the only one on this side of the state.  As such, it is really popular for tandems.  On Sunday I showed up a little after 10am, immediately manifested, and finally got my first (and only) jump of the day around 3pm.  I could have done more if I had arrived earlier, but that's on me. I'm more than happy with getting 1 or 2 jumps in on any given day, I'm not concerned with racking up jump numbers.  In the mean time I got to hang out, chat with a lot of different people, watch tandem students having the time of their life, etc.  All that is good for me anyway, because I'm such an introvert that it is good to be forced to interact with people.  

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(edited)
54 minutes ago, gowlerk said:

<snip> move to somewhere near a large multi-turbine DZ.

Actually, my experience as a low-timer was that you do at least as much waiting at multi turbine DZs due to many low-timer specific issues.

That may be for instance since the DZ is not necessarily keen on high exit/high pullers in every load, or that the many instructors on-site are all very busy, or that available loads are spread wide apart due to the high number of fun jumpers and tandems etc. etc. etc.

This is not to start an argument that small or large DZs are 'better' than the other, it's just a personal observation that there was a period of experience in my logbook where I could barely scrounge out a mere 1-3 jumps a day regardless of the type of DZ I went to.

And the weather will likely remain an issue for a while, whether it be due to dust devils, rain, high winds or whatever in the general area. Also, OP, be prepared for conditions which allow others with (slightly) more experience to jump while you are benched.

 

ETA: In all fairness, my job strictly limits my jumping activities to the weekends, and has done so in every stage of my jumping career.

 

Edited by Baksteen
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For me, it's the whole DZ 'thing' that's enjoyable, from jumping/packing/sitting around waiting to jump drinking tea and chatting with like-minded people, checking today's jump videos and meeting new like-minded people. 1 jump, 2 jumps, 3 jumps + it's all OK for a day - no jumps does suck, though!

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On 8/25/2021 at 3:42 PM, Chris__ said:

For instance I love kayaking, and I like to go kayaking for several hours and just totally immerse myself in the experience, and I like to do it often and again and again. But I would never get several hours in free-fall, not even close.

Chris, You can do both. Life is about exploration. Learning new things and finding those things you are passionate about. After that, it's about balance. Juggling those things that are near and dear to you. There will be times that one becomes more important than another. It's about balancing your passions while being more vested in one than another. Or, it can be a series of experiences that you can reflect on as accomplishments in this life. 

 

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(edited)

Hello Everybody!

Thank you for all your beautiful answers to my questions!

It seems like every possible perspective has been covered here, and all of them totally relate to my skydiving and dropzone experience.

I feel like I have a much better understanding of the whole skydiving experience and culture because of these answers, combined with how I experienced it.

I did an AFF course in the end of May / beginning of June that only resulted in one tandem-jump.

Later in the summer (middle of August) I went back and did 3 more tandem-jumps to prepare myself for the possibilty that I might do the AFF course again next summer.

It is totally some of the most awesome experiences I've ever had. But the fear I experienced was unimaginable, and so much waiting totally contributed to psyching me out. And it almost did one more time when I went back and did those 3 extra tandems.

I was totally unprepared for everything about this course. Never been to a bootcamp like this before, and I had no idea that skydiving was such a bureaucratic and regulated activity with such an intricate social hierarchy and everything. I was getting psyched out by all the waiting and adjusting to this new social structure I was not prepared for suddenly being a part of.

But those are only excuses.

I thought I was ready for doing the AFF 1 jump, but when I entered the airplane. Holy smokes. I've never been so afraid. It felt like I sat inside of a torture machine dressed up as a stupid clown forced to be dropped of in HELL together with some crazy and unhinged people belonging to a cult which was glorifying ritual craziness. Or something like that. Words cannot describe the horror I felt.

So anyways. After having had to join the airplane down again after having totally refused to jump out of the open door. I mean in a calmed and controlled matter. I just refused to go anywhere near the open door and made it absolutely clear that I was not going to jump. So I spoke with one of the teachers in the evening and she could hook me up with a really awesome guy I could do a tandem with. So we did the next day. But even then I had to be forced out of the airplane. Or almost. I tried to pull out of it as we crawled towards the open door. But he just said: "Relax. It is going to be so fine." And I think I was just very glad he didn't buy into my bullshit, because when we sat at the door I was very relived and I was taking part in the exit-procedure, and when we were out of the airplane I was just so glad that I was going to get back to the ground "the right way." So anyways. Being in free-fall and being under the canopy was just something I totally loved, and I was sky-high for the rest of the day. But after this emotional rollercoaster I couldn't get myself to agree to one more tandem, or anything else. But I really thought I would go back again this summer and try some more when I had re-charged again.

And I did. So I did 3 more tandems. And my only goal this time was to go consciously and voluntarily through the whole process. And it was a pretty HUGE victory that I could do this 3 times - take part in moving towards the door, and not resist one tiny bit.

I really love being in free-fall, and also under canopy. It is just one of the most awesome experiences I can totally imagine. And also the group feeling when one is getting close to altitude and people starts to give each other fist-bumps and smiles because now it will soon happen. There is like electricity in the air. Even the most relaxed and cool people reveal their genuine and authentic joy in this moment.

But the horror of being there in the airplane and all the nerves building up. It is just unimaginable. And it is not logical, because as soon as I'm out of the door everything feels awesome. But if I decide to go back next year and start the AFF progress I have to know that I'm totally commited, and I have to be prepared for those feelings in the airplane telling me: "Why the fuck did I get myself into this situation AGAIN!?"

But I think I'm ready for jumping out alone (together with two instructors) next time. I just have to mentally prepare myself for those intense feelings in the airplane. So I might have some questions later about how to prepare for this. But I think you guys already gave me the answers in my first thread here - Just decide beforehand and know that when the time comes you might not be able to think rationally about it.

And I should probably think much more about the AFF task that I'm going to execute next time, and much less about all the philosophical aspects of this new experience I'm about to have, because now I'm much more familiar with what it involves, and I should just be ready for applying myself to the learning-procedure.

Lots of over-thinking here. But yeah. Pretty cool and interesting experience so far the whole thing haha... ;-D

So this was my first season of skydiving. Not quite what I had imagined as I was falling in love with skydiving through binging on skydiving on youtube for 3 months before this course, but still, probably the coolest summer I've had so far because of this totally new and wildly interesting experience and culture.

Anyways, thanks for all your great answers!!

Edited by Chris__

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(edited)
55 minutes ago, Chris__ said:

Hello Everybody!

Thank you for all your beautiful answers to my questions!

It seems like every possible perspective has been covered here, and all of them totally relate to my skydiving and dropzone experience.

I feel like I have a much better understanding of the whole skydiving experience and culture because of these answers, combined with how I experienced it.

I did an AFF course in the end of May / beginning of June that only resulted in one tandem-jump.

Later in the summer (middle of August) I went back and did 3 more tandem-jumps to prepare myself for the possibilty that I might do the AFF course again next summer.

It is totally some of the most awesome experiences I've ever had. But the fear I experienced was unimaginable, and so much waiting totally contributed to psyching me out. And it almost did one more time when I went back and did those 3 extra tandems.

I was totally unprepared for everything about this course. Never been to a bootcamp like this before, and I had no idea that skydiving was such a bureaucratic and regulated activity with such an intricate social hierarchy and everything. I was getting psyched out by all the waiting and adjusting to this new social structure I was not prepared for suddenly being a part of.

But those are only excuses.

I thought I was ready for doing the AFF 1 jump, but when I entered the airplane. Holy smokes. I've never been so afraid. It felt like I sat inside of a torture machine dressed up as a stupid clown forced to be dropped of in HELL together with some crazy and unhinged people belonging to a cult which was glorifying ritual craziness. Or something like that. Words cannot describe the horror I felt.

So anyways. After having had to join the airplane down again after having totally refused to jump out of the open door. I mean in a calmed and controlled matter. I just refused to go anywhere near the open door and made it absolutely clear that I was not going to jump. So I spoke with one of the teachers in the evening and she could hook me up with a really awesome guy I could do a tandem with. So we did the next day. But even then I had to be forced out of the airplane. Or almost. I tried to pull out of it as we crawled towards the open door. But he just said: "Relax. It is going to be so fine." And I think I was just very glad he didn't buy into my bullshit, because when we sat at the door I was very relived and I was taking part in the exit-procedure, and when we were out of the airplane I was just so glad that I was going to get back to the ground "the right way." So anyways. Being in free-fall and being under the canopy was just something I totally loved, and I was sky-high for the rest of the day. But after this emotional rollercoaster I couldn't get myself to agree to one more tandem, or anything else. But I really thought I would go back again this summer and try some more when I had re-charged again.

And I did. So I did 3 more tandems. And my only goal this time was to go consciously and voluntarily through the whole process. And it was a pretty HUGE victory that I could do this 3 times - take part in moving towards the door, and not resist one tiny bit.

I really love being in free-fall, and also under canopy. It is just one of the most awesome experiences I can totally imagine. And also the group feeling when one is getting close to altitude and people starts to give each other fist-bumps and smiles because now it will soon happen. There is like electricity in the air. Even the most relaxed and cool people reveal their genuine and authentic joy in this moment.

But the horror of being there in the airplane and all the nerves building up. It is just unimaginable. And it is not logical, because as soon as I'm out of the door everything feels awesome. But if I decide to go back next year and start the AFF progress I have to know that I'm totally commited, and I have to be prepared for those feelings in the airplane telling me: "Why the fuck did I get myself into this situation AGAIN!?"

But I think I'm ready for jumping out alone (together with two instructors) next time. I just have to mentally prepare myself for those intense feelings in the airplane. So I might have some questions later about how to prepare for this. But I think you guys already gave me the answers in my first thread here - Just decide beforehand and know that when the time comes you might not be able to think rationally about it.

And I should probably think much more about the AFF task that I'm going to execute next time, and much less about all the philosophical aspects of this new experience I'm about to have, because now I'm much more familiar with what it involves, and I should just be ready for applying myself to the learning-procedure.

Lots of over-thinking here. But yeah. Pretty cool and interesting experience so far the whole thing haha... ;-D

So this was my first season of skydiving. Not quite what I had imagined as I was falling in love with skydiving through binging on skydiving on youtube for 3 months before this course, but still, probably the coolest summer I've had so far because of this totally new and wildly interesting experience and culture.

Anyways, thanks for all your great answers!!

This is a joke, right? Shit, when I started I drove 2 and 1/2 hours to the DZ after work and often for no jumps at all. So then, as long as I was there, it was just talk to whoever was hanging out and drive home. They named me Crazy Joe. If you aren't just an internet socialite you should leave this site and go hang at your local DZ. Nothing you will learn here will compare, trust me.

Edited by JoeWeber

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(edited)
8 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:

This is a joke, right? Shit, when I started I drove 2 and 1/2 hours to the DZ after work and often for no jumps at all. So there, as long as I was there, it was just talk to whoever was there and drive home. They named me Crazy Joe. If you aren't just an internet socialite you should leave this site and go hang at your local DZ. Nothing you will learn here will compare, trust me.

What do you mean by joke? This is no joke at all for me. If you mean the waiting - after we were done with ground school on the AFF early on tuesday we had to wait until saturday before we could start jumping. After this I booked a tandem at the local DZ but it was cancelled because of bad weather (or well the weather was actually good but the TI decided not to come because he thought it would be bad). So to be on the safe side I booked one week on the DZ I was starting the AFF on. I arrived on saturday and we all had to wait until thursday before we could start jumping.

Edited by Chris__

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You have a broken listener. If your life is so busy and confused that you need to get counseling from people you don't know about the value of your time then you are a very lost soul. Here's the truth: ignore all of the touchy feely BS others have posted and commit yourself to a lot of time at the DZ. If all you notice is how they organize the port-a-potties you'll still have learned something valuable.  And if someone with a clue notices that you are there again and gives you some time be grateful. That, yo, is skydiving.

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3 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:

You have a broken listener. If your life is so busy and confused that you need to get counseling from people you don't know about the value of your time then you are a very lost soul. Here's the truth: ignore all of the touchy feely BS others have posted and commit yourself to a lot of time at the DZ. If all you notice is how they organize the port-a-potties you'll still have learned something valuable.  And if someone with a clue notices that you are there again and gives you some time be grateful. That, yo, is skydiving.

I was just trying to understand the "rythm" of skydiving and the dropzone experience so that I know what I'm going back to next summer if I decide to give the AFF course one more shot. I don't feel like a lost soul seeking counseling from people I don't know. I think everybody here said something very interesting about why and/or how they value skydiving. I find skydiving very intriguing myself. But having encountered these obstacles makes me wonder if this is something for me or not. So that is why I'm asking these questions. I have challenged myself enough regarding my fear of jumping out of airplanes for this season, so whatever happens practically regarding this will happen next summer.

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Aww, ignore Joe. He's been around a long time, but maybe he's getting old, crotchety, senile and jaded. Maybe he spent too much time as a dzo, where someone balking in the door is costing him money and pissing him off, rather than as an instructor where someone like you reminds us what it was like to be new.

Anyways...

 

3 hours ago, Chris__ said:

I've never been so afraid. It felt like I sat inside of a torture machine dressed up as a stupid clown forced to be dropped of in HELL together with some crazy and unhinged people belonging to a cult which was glorifying ritual craziness...  the fear I experienced was unimaginable...  the horror...

 

If you can just come to the realization that that's a pretty good description of FUN, then you'll be on your way to becoming a skydiver.

 

3 hours ago, Chris__ said:

Being in free-fall and being under the canopy was just something I totally loved...  as soon as I'm out of the door everything feels awesome.

 

Keep that in mind. Next time you're on the ride up, remember - You're not exiting the airplane, you're entering the skydive.

-------

3 hours ago, Chris__ said:

"Why the fuck did I get myself into this situation AGAIN!?"

  this is exactly why

3 hours ago, Chris__ said:

the group feeling when one is getting close to altitude and people starts to give each other fist-bumps and smiles

HA!

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