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Stritar

AFF 1 - Didn't jump

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Hey there, AFF 1 can be nerve racking. I don't think it is that you can't do it. During my AFF course up until the very last few jumps I would literally get so sick on my stomach the entire day. I couldn't eat and had to take pepto and go to the bathroom before every jump. Go back up. One thing that helped me was this...say fuck it. Whatever happens will happen. The odds of anything bad occurring are lower than doing day to day activities. Some of the people on here are major assholes....the fact that you got up for an AFF course and didn't get out doesn't necessarily mean you're not cut out for the sport. I've seen plently of people get out the door who should take up basket weaving instead. Have an instructor work with you on being calm. The first 5-6 jumps are terrifying...then they become fun. Just get to 5-6 and you'll blaze through them. On my AFF level 2 I had 1 instructor and as soon as we were out the door I brought my knees up to my chest and took him for a wild ride for 15 seconds before he high pulled me at 10K. I still got back up in the air again and then started passing my levels. You'll do fine. Don't give up. What are you scared of?

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Have a search on here for "Tail o' the Rat", a great cartoon series penned by Jennifer which put feelings of a new skydiver into visual form brilliantly.

I wonder what she is up to these days.



After her injury I don't think she really got back into the sport. Not 100% sure of that.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Stritar

Thank you everyone for constructive and encouraging replies. There are weird thoughts running in my mind but there is still this urge to do it. So I will most likely do it again sooner or later.... sky won't go anywhere..



This is easy bro, I'm going to walk you through it. First, you need to get a bottle of water. I prefer Dasani but you can use whatever you like. So what you will do, is remove the cap and make a small hole in the center. You can use a drill bit, heat up a nail with a lighter, use your imagination, but put a hole in the center about the diameter of a peppercorn. Now you are going to drink exactly one third of the water. You could dump it, but you should hydrate for your skydive, so you might as well drink it. Now, you are going to replace that one third with vinegar. This gives you two parts water to one part vinegar. If you can find any, put a dash of strawberry or lemon extract in it (this is an added luxury mostly for smell good factor, but not critical to the mixture). Once all this is done, you put the cap back on the bottle and get in the shower. Squeeze the bottle firmly, forcing the mixture out, and use this to thoroughly rinse the sand out of your vagina. Once you have completed this, go do your jump. That's it.;)

I'm totally just joking around with that bit. It could have been fear, doubt, anxiety, nerves, or maybe you simply weren't ready. Any of that is perfectly acceptable behavior. You did a tandem, which is something 99% of people are too scared to do. Then you came back. You are already in a small elite group of people who do extraordinary things. So welcome to the our little family.

Now you know what to expect when you get back in the door at altitude and you'll be mentally prepared for it. Know that you have two competent instructors with you. Your parachute WILL open (and if for some reason it didn't, fuck it, you have a second one). As you ride up, focus on breathing. Nice and relaxed, slow deep breaths. Mentally rehearse your exit. Think about the placement of each hand, each foot, your exit count, your circle of awareness, and landing pattern.

The second jump might be just as scary. On your 10th jump you may ride the plane back down because you just aren't feeling it. But as you gain experience, and you gain confidence in yourself and your equipment, it fades away and becomes an activity that you purely enjoy.

I was scared my first jump, first hop and pop, jumping my first pack job, and first time landing with rear risers. Last weekend, I was at a little Cessna DZ, and I dozed off during the slow climb to altitude. When I woke up, I looked over and saw another dude playing Tetris on a Nintindo DS. I just thought to myself, "damn skydiving is great" and I closed my eyes for a few more minutes.

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The fear thing is a natural part of skydiving.

It wouldn't be as cool and amazing to a lot of people if there weren't those mental hurdles to get past.

Remember you're not the only one. Plenty of others have gone through the same thing and made it past it. Every jumper has been a slightly clueless student at one time.

It's almost like a hazing ritual to be allowed into the sport.

But nobody is being mean and doing it to you-- it's the sky doing it to you. You may get some ribbing about it (eg, creative get-the-sand-out-of-your-vag suggestions). Although there are instructors who don't quite know how to deal with someone with the mental part of being a student, generally jumpers are supportive about how to focus & relax and get past the door monster or whatever freaks a newbie out.

Plenty of other newbies have asked on this forum about how to deal with fear that either stops them at the door or gives them problems finishing their assigned tasks in freefall.

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Stritar

Thank you everyone for constructive and encouraging replies. There are weird thoughts running in my mind but there is still this urge to do it. So I will most likely do it again sooner or later.... sky won't go anywhere..




That's the right attitude! :)
I have absolutely no memories of my first jump. None. A complete blank from gearing up to landing... that's how scared shitless I was.

When you look at it rationally, your decision to ride the plane back down was a lot more sane than mine to get out of it in the same situation... fear is ingrained in us at the deepest levels for a reason after all and homeosapiens is only around because we instinctively learned to to listen to that feeling.

Now things are a little different - skydiving isn't survival, it's a choice we make. As Derek said above the key is to understand that fear and to be able to control it. You don't need it to go away, but in skydiving you do need to be able to react when that fear is there. Whether that's getting out of the plane, or reacting in the event of a malfunction or emergency.

If you want to go back and try again, you'll have everyone's support. If you choose not to, you'll have their support too. Don't be worried about making the choice... :)

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Stritar

Jesus... I actually focused on that initial instruction bit, expecting to get some deep wisdom out of it.

Thanks for laughs and yes, I didn't really trust myself that day. I wasn't feeling ready I suppose.



No deep wisdom to it. Just clichés and motivational quotes. I kept reminding myself of all the people who have thousands of jumps and are still alive and still jumping. If it were so dangerous or so bad, it wouldn't be so "normal" to see these people enjoying their jumps.

Remember to breath, focus on what you are/will be doing throughout your jump, everyone is nervous at first but you are already doing something most people cannot. Courage is essentially being afraid, but pushing forward anyways.

It may help to "shadow box" it or "dirt dive" it as the skydivers say. Use a doorway in your house as a mockup. Practice breathing, if there are clouds, take note of their altitude (bottom and top). Go through all the motions. "On jump run" "is my radio on" "radio is on, are you ready to skydive" "fuck yeah I'm ready". Hand slide/fist bump everyone you can reach. Breath. Place foot, reach out and grab handle bar/strut/whatever, pivot being mindful not to scrape you rig against anything/anyone, poise, check in, check out, prop, up, down, away. Relax, arch, horizon, altitude, left instructor, right instructor, practice touch, repeat two more times, 5500 lock onto your altimeter, initiate your pull. Pull, pitch, arch, check your canopy, clear your ears, release brakes, listen to your radio for practice flares and turns. Flare and prepare for PLF.

You can go through the motions at home and drill yourself so that when you get in the door, you just go. Do what you have done 50 times in practice.

That's how we train Soldiers to run towards danger instead of away from it. Drill drill drill. When he time comes, you simply do what you are conditioned to do.

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You could just do what I did, and develop moderate claustrophobia. After sitting for ten minutes in a cramped plane with someone's rig on my lap and sitting on someone else's balls, all I wanted to do was jump.

(My claustrophobia has been cured after several jumps out of a C206 with five other people, legs and arms akimbo. But it really did help get me out the door for the first 20 jumps or so.)

Seriously, though. Deep breathing and visualizing the jump on the plane worked wonders for me. Another thing that helped was smiling. I remember on my last AFF jump, panicking, and having a very bored AFFI ask me specifically what I was concerned about. I gave him specific concerns and he asked me what I would do in such situations if I ran into trouble. It all ends up going back to your basic EPs, honestly. Really asking yourself what you're worried about, and drilling yourself on the solutions to common problems helps you own your role in the sport, so you don't feel so helpless. Being able to remember your EPs shows that you do indeed know what you're doing and can get out of almost any situation you get into--it's very rare in this sport to get hurt if you're doing everything as you were taught.

Mentally, one thing that helped me as a student was talking to people with lower jump numbers. Your instructors have been in the sport for so long that they may not remember what it's like to be so scared or lose confidence, but that newly-minted A license holder probably remembers it like it was yesterday. Talk to them, not for technical advice, but for mental reassurance. Very experienced skydivers can be a little smug sometimes, and don't always have the humility of younger jumpers. It's nice to know that you're not alone in your fear or insecurity.
I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.

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FlyLikeARaven

You could just do what I did, and develop moderate claustrophobia. After sitting for ten minutes in a cramped plane with someone's rig on my lap and sitting on someone else's balls, all I wanted to do was jump.

(My claustrophobia has been cured after several jumps out of a C206 with five other people, legs and arms akimbo. But it really did help get me out the door for the first 20 jumps or so.)

Seriously, though. Deep breathing and visualizing the jump on the plane worked wonders for me. Another thing that helped was smiling. I remember on my last AFF jump, panicking, and having a very bored AFFI ask me specifically what I was concerned about. I gave him specific concerns and he asked me what I would do in such situations if I ran into trouble. It all ends up going back to your basic EPs, honestly. Really asking yourself what you're worried about, and drilling yourself on the solutions to common problems helps you own your role in the sport, so you don't feel so helpless. Being able to remember your EPs shows that you do indeed know what you're doing and can get out of almost any situation you get into--it's very rare in this sport to get hurt if you're doing everything as you were taught.

Mentally, one thing that helped me as a student was talking to people with lower jump numbers. Your instructors have been in the sport for so long that they may not remember what it's like to be so scared or lose confidence, but that newly-minted A license holder probably remembers it like it was yesterday. Talk to them, not for technical advice, but for mental reassurance. Very experienced skydivers can be a little smug sometimes, and don't always have the humility of younger jumpers. It's nice to know that you're not alone in your fear or insecurity.



I never missed a beat once the door was open but waiting on the ground and waiting through the plane ride were very unpleasant. If I could doze off it would make everything better. On early jumps the instructors wanted to review the dive plan which made napping a bit difficult.

About students talking to newly licensed jumpers, I agree about the A guys and the common perspective. But students visiting with newly licensed jumpers, some instructors don't think that is wise. Even if you are not giving advice, you can have undesired/unexpected influence. It can be argued both ways but I respect the wishes of the instructor and I was asked to not interact with the students. It is possible to make their job more difficult and none of us would want that.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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dthames



About students talking to newly licensed jumpers, I agree about the A guys and the common perspective. But students visiting with newly licensed jumpers, some instructors don't think that is wise. Even if you are not giving advice, you can have undesired/unexpected influence. It can be argued both ways but I respect the wishes of the instructor and I was asked to not interact with the students. It is possible to make their job more difficult and none of us would want that.



That's an excellent point, and I should have been clearer. Absolutely look to your instructors above all else. And you're right that even if you're looking to lower jump number skydivers for emotional support only, it's very easy for technical advice to bleed into that. I retract what I said. While younger jumpers may empathize with your nervousness more so than instructors and experienced jumpers, you can slide down a slippery slope when you ask one of us for advice on how to handle fear and end up getting technical advice. I'm careful to always say "you should really talk to an instructor about that" when I get questions, but even at my low jump number it's tempting to give them my point of view, which may not always help and may end up confusing them.
I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.

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Stritar

Hello everyone,

I did a tandem jump a year ago and liked it a lot. I applied for AFF a month ago and had my AFF1 today. We had some wind issues and had to wait for a good portion of the day.

To make a long story short, when we came to me getting on the ledge and jump with both of my instructors I chickened out and landed with the plane...

I have some serious doubts about skydiving if its even for me. I was really in to it after doing tandem and waiting for the season to start again. Now I'm thinking of quitting completely. I feel massively disappointed about myself.



I am going to send you off to a link about me being "Too Scared to Jump" that I wrote 20 years ago about my student jumps in 1981.
Too Scared To Jump

I did my first jump in 1981. There was no AFF or tandem back then.
Jumping is much safer and easier now, but the fear factor is about the same.

Don't let anyone else tell you what to think about jumping. It's your decision - your choice.

Years later, I am the USPA Secretary and have been on the BOD for 11 of the past 13 years, have 4 world records, blah, blah, blah... so don't let 'them' tell you what's right for you.

YMMV

.
.
Make It Happen
Parachute History
DiveMaker

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Stritar

Hello everyone,

I did a tandem jump a year ago and liked it a lot. I applied for AFF a month ago and had my AFF1 today. We had some wind issues and had to wait for a good portion of the day.

To make a long story short, when we came to me getting on the ledge and jump with both of my instructors I chickened out and landed with the plane...

I have some serious doubts about skydiving if its even for me. I was really in to it after doing tandem and waiting for the season to start again. Now I'm thinking of quitting completely. I feel massively disappointed about myself.



I decided it wasn't for me...and quit AFF. After a year I still run through my emergency procedures occasionally and find myself thinking " it's a good day for jumping" when the skies are clear and winds are low ;) you're right when you say the sky isn't going anywhere, maybe one day I'll go back, and I suspect you will too, when you're ready.

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