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crazydaisy315

Newbie, not yet licensed, off-season - dealing with fear

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I just started skydiving this year, at the age of 41. I only got in 14 jumps this year, but finished my AFF, thanks in large part to 30 minutes of tunnel time. My last jump was basically the final AFF. I did a hop and pop that day too, but didn't have a good exit so it didn't count towards the license. I haven't jumped for 2 months now, as the season is over for my dz. I haven't really clicked well at my dz, because everyone my age is way more experienced, and everyone at my experience level is half my age. I've been thinking about taking a 1 week vacation in a warmer area to wrap up my A license.

But I'm struggling a little bit with the fear increasing the longer I go without a jump, as the memory of the last jump fades (which was absolutely epic). I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one! How did you deal with it? Am I being too proud for my own good to not reach out to my instructors and talk with them? Its not like they are bad people, but I just feel like an idiot. Any words of advice would be welcome!

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I had a tough time getting started because of several reasons. I was not able to continue training at the DZ where I made my first jump. This was sad at first but later I felt like it was a blessing. Later (still a student) it was not a problem for me to go to any DZ, show them my log, they would want to do an evaluation jump, and then we could continue at that DZ. Don't be afraid to go to another DZ for a winter vacation or just for a few jumps to increase your experience.

The longer you go without jumping, yes there is some concern with that. You can expect and should want to do some refresher training. Training and knowing your stuff will help your confidence and should reduce concerns. One thing you should do (my opinion) is to continue to study section 4 of the SIM. If you know section 4 inside and out, that is a plus!
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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crazydaisy315

But I'm struggling a little bit with the fear increasing the longer I go without a jump, as the memory of the last jump fades (which was absolutely epic).



That still happens to me, 250+ jumps later. Long layovers make me anxious, and I feel those familiar inklings of fear all over again. Kinda what makes it so intense B|

In all seriousness, reviewing your procedures and visualizing the safe and successful jump/landing over and over always seem to help me. Deep breaths in the plane, and nothing too crazy for the first jump back ... Usually just a simple two-way so I have someone to play with! :P

Best of luck as you continue on!
You may never get rid of the butterflies, but you can teach them to fly in formation.

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crazydaisy315

Thanks for the kind words and words of wisdom from all! I have no problem with refresher training, I'd be a fool not to at this point. I will review the SIM. It will probably be another month or two before I can go anyway, so I will really need the refresher training at that point.

I need to move south. :)




Come to the St.Patrick's Boogie in March in Fitzgerald,Ga. We always have instructors there and Hans brings student gear from Skydive the Farm. We'll get you in the air, get you to your first boogie and you'll get to meet people from all over.

There might even be people from your area coming. We typically have people there from half the states and a couple countries.

A trip to the tunnel isn't a bad idea either.

Where do you live BTW?

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Eloy over Christmas/New Year. Everyone's going to be there*.

Warm and sunny during the day, more planes than you can shake a stick at. You'll need to do a currency jump with an instructor, but otherwise you should be able to pick right back up where you left off.

I started in July of 2012 at the age of 42. You definitely shouldn't let the age gap bother you. It really doesn't take long before you start to notice the newbies looking at you with wide eyes, afraid to talk to you because you're such a badass. Telling 'em you only have 150 jumps, which really isn't that many doesn't help, either.

* For some value of everyone.
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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The only reason age might be an issue to you right now is cause you aren't licensed and you feel you have nothing in common with younger people or maybe don't feel you have enough sky experience to talk to those your age. In the sky, it doesn't matter how old you are, just how experienced you are. I'm 33 but I've jumped with younger 20 somethings and then older guys in their 50's/60's. With lower jump numbers, we are all just looking for others to do jumps with and age doesn't seem to play much of a factor in my opinion. This is coming from someone with only 80 jumps but experience at 5 different dropzones already which means I've had to get out and meet people and find people to jump with (load organizers are fantastic). You build relationships by jumping and I'm sure once you're licensed, those that are around your age will be there to jump with you and help you along
*If you fail to plan, you plan to fail*
*It's not flair, it's flare*
*Please use "your" and "you're" responsibly*

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Well when you aren't jumping you can sit around and read dz.com, searching for the many threads by newbies about dealing with fear! (And a few threads about fitting in at the DZ).

As for fear, one can work at figuring out if there's a particular thing that is at the heart of the issue.

General fear on jump run but OK once outside? Or is it something specific, that one can deal with? For example: Need a good emergency procedures review? Or a little shaky dealing with the 3-D positioning of the circuit?

If you can identify what is bothering you, then you can plan on what to study up on, what to ask instructors about, what to focus on during a jump, and what situations to avoid for the moment to keep things more manageable.

Admittedly if you have 14 jumps then there's probably plenty to learn in just about every category.

It can be a lot tougher to travel around to other DZ's when you aren't licensed yet, because a DZ wants to take a lot more care about finding out what you do and don't know. Other people will know better about how well some of the big winter-time DZ's handle students who come their way.

Feel like an idiot? We were all dumbass students at one point. No matter how capable we were in the rest of our lives, we had a lot to learn about skydiving.

And for what skydiving costs, a little fear and excitement gives you your money's worth. Conquering fears is all a part of skydiving.

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What is level 7? I've not had a lot of experience or any tunnel time worth speaking of, I don't know how I'll do beyond level 3. My level 1 was a pass but did a few things wrong/not very well. I know there are some things like tracking that you can't do in a tunnel but I don't want to do any rejumps/repeat levels because of the cost.

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I only started jumping again 3 years ago at the age of 56.
I find that butterflies start to develop the longer the layoff. An occasional rehearsal of EP's helps. I go from missing it so badly I want to jump in the car and drive south now, to wondering why I do this crazy thing.
I've had the urge to turn around on the way to the DZ as my mind mulls over the idea that I am going to board an aircraft and then throw myself out the door at altitude. I'm always fine after the first jump back, but definitely feel some anxiety on the first load.
It's forgotten once the red light comes on though :-) I like to start off with a simple 2-way to ease back into it.
So ... you're not alone in having those feelings (and apparently neither am I ) :)

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My Level 7 (E) was a front flip out of the plane, a backflip and barrel rolls in each direction during freefall. Checking altitude, getting stable and maintaining heading between each maneuver. My front flip was more of a dive, because I moved into an arch a little too soon. But my instructors were most concerned with getting unstable, and re-stabilizing yourself, without major heading drift. It seems like each dz maybe does it slightly differently.

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jeffrey27rj

The only reason age might be an issue to you right now is cause you aren't licensed and you feel you have nothing in common with younger people or maybe don't feel you have enough sky experience to talk to those your age.



THIS!!

Again, lots of good words of wisdom from other commenters too. My work load is fluctuating, but I'm considering a trip to Perris in January or February. Actually, when there isn't a big boogie or anything going on. Fewer witnesses to my inevitable rough landings and various idiotic moments.

Sounds like a lot of it is "suck it up, buttercup!" Which is true. conquering the fear initially was part of what was so cool about it, but its been creeping back in faster than I expected.

And this is definitely me:
PastorPete

I go from missing it so badly I want to jump in the car and drive south now, to wondering why I do this crazy thing.
I've had the urge to turn around on the way to the DZ as my mind mulls over the idea that I am going to board an aircraft and then throw myself out the door at altitude.


I was actually at Perris the weekend of the big wingsuit record, and was too intimidated to do anything. :S:(

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I started jumping at 37. I still remember during my drives to the DZ (an hour and a half) with ten to twenty jumps, looking down at the speedometer and noticing I had slowed to 40 miles an hour more than once while being nervous about my next jump, thinking about turning around, then remembering how much fun it was and putting the pedal down to 70. What you are feeling is normal.
On the social end, lots of people start in this sport and fade away. Once you've been around longer you'll find yourself getting along more easily with other jumpers no matter their age. It's not as bad as it used to be, but generally you need to prove yourself to a lot of people in this sport. Not by becoming great, but by sticking with it.
If you plan on traveling, make sure you call ahead and get information on what you'll need to do and what it will cost to jump as a student.
Avoid boogies right now, as the extra canopy traffic and all the stuff going on isn't the best at your level. Save that for after you get licensed.
Good luck, and remember that anyone that doesn't get nervous about this is kinda stupid.
This is the paradox of skydiving. We do something very dangerous, expose ourselves to a totally unnecesary risk, and then spend our time trying to make it safer.

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I got my license at 37 and the lead up to doing my recurrency jump after 6 months of snow and no jumping, was butterfly city. I told my instructor that I was a mess...I was trying to find a reason not to get in the plane...by the time we hit 1,000 feet in that tiny little 206 (nearly all my jumps are out of an Otter) I was relaxing more with every foot of altitude. By 3K I was smiling and ready to go. The long and short of it is time off allows our nerves to jump back up to jump 2 levels. Once you're out the door, or climbing to altitude even you'll feel better. Skydiving can be scary for us newbies when we are on the ground, in the air we tend to remember why we keep doing it. To a 'man', everyone I've talked to about this exact feeling says they experience it if they go awhile between jumps. That includes 2 of my AFFI's who both have over 5K jumps. You are not even close to alone on this one. Relax, smile, Arch, relax smile and pull. You be back in the saddle having fun as soon.
Blues and here's to an early spring for all us northern DZ folks.
"The lizards were a race of people practically extinct from doing things smart people don't do."

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crazydaisy315

I just started skydiving this year, at the age of 41. I only got in 14 jumps this year, but finished my AFF, thanks in large part to 30 minutes of tunnel time. My last jump was basically the final AFF. I did a hop and pop that day too, but didn't have a good exit so it didn't count towards the license. I haven't jumped for 2 months now, as the season is over for my dz. I haven't really clicked well at my dz, because everyone my age is way more experienced, and everyone at my experience level is half my age. I've been thinking about taking a 1 week vacation in a warmer area to wrap up my A license.

But I'm struggling a little bit with the fear increasing the longer I go without a jump, as the memory of the last jump fades (which was absolutely epic). I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one! How did you deal with it? Am I being too proud for my own good to not reach out to my instructors and talk with them? Its not like they are bad people, but I just feel like an idiot. Any words of advice would be welcome!



I took a 3 year break, and I can tell you the nerves came back for me as well. This was at about 500 jumps and 9+ hrs of tunnel time.

Once I decided to get back into it I sat through an entire FJC, and even asked questions. I learned a lot, and am now back in the air!

Warmer climates do help a lot, but don't be discouraged. It can also be done in colder places. Oh.... NEVER feel like an "idiot"! Even the most experienced skydiver was at your level at some point, and the ones who want to help you are passing it along.;)
Muff #5048

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Come South. Stay around Orlando and you can hit five or six different DZs. They will all have something going on over Christmas/New Years. Call ahead and see if one of them strikes your fancy.

You will need to do a recurrency jump. Talk to the Instructor and ask him/her who to jump with after that. They can point you to a Load Organizer that will set you up.

Go to Fitz if you can swing it. That will be a good opportunity on many levels.

The fear never goes away. Right now it is about the jump. Eventually it will be the fear of forgetting the third point. To overcome that, only jump with people who can't remember the second point. If you come South, I have a list of those people.

Relax. Enjoy. Make friends.
Shit happens. And it usually happens because of physics.

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Fear is what gives you the adrenaline rush. That's what draws people to start jumping. Embrace the fear and use it to your own ends. I only wish skydiving could still give me the level of arousal it used to.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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crazydaisy315


But I'm struggling a little bit with the fear increasing the longer I go without a jump, as the memory of the last jump fades (which was absolutely epic). I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one! How did you deal with it?

What you're talking about there is as normal as can be. Most people went thru the very same thing starting out, including myself. It just takes time and experience to build the confidence in your gear, training, and your abilities. If you can gut your way thru it, you'll find soon that it will all come together and you'll feel at home in the air.

I would recommend a skydiving vacation this winter to a major DZ with good winter weather and make some skydives there.

Keep practicing all your EPs daily, keeping them fresh in your head. Feel free to review the SIM and all other aspects of your training.

Once you suit up and get on the plane, keep visualizing the planned dive in your mind, over and over, going perfectly. When riding to altitude, never cloud your mind with negative images, worries of malfunctions, or any other "what if" concerns. If anything should happen, you've been trained to handle it, so don't worry about it. Simply concentrate on the skydive you're going to make. Remind yourself you've done this before and you know how to do it. B|

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crazydaisy315

***The only reason age might be an issue to you right now is cause you aren't licensed and you feel you have nothing in common with younger people or maybe don't feel you have enough sky experience to talk to those your age.



THIS!!

Again, lots of good words of wisdom from other commenters too. My work load is fluctuating, but I'm considering a trip to Perris in January or February. Actually, when there isn't a big boogie or anything going on. Fewer witnesses to my inevitable rough landings and various idiotic moments.

Sounds like a lot of it is "suck it up, buttercup!" Which is true. conquering the fear initially was part of what was so cool about it, but its been creeping back in faster than I expected.

And this is definitely me:
PastorPete

I go from missing it so badly I want to jump in the car and drive south now, to wondering why I do this crazy thing.
I've had the urge to turn around on the way to the DZ as my mind mulls over the idea that I am going to board an aircraft and then throw myself out the door at altitude.


I was actually at Perris the weekend of the big wingsuit record, and was too intimidated to do anything. :S:(

Wingsuiters should not intimidate you. We put our dresses on one leg at a time just like everyone else.

I went to the Zhills New Years boogie with 7 jumps and was on AFF category C, as I recall. There were plenty of experienced jumpers there making fools of themselves enough that I was not concerned with my lack of skills. Actually when you are one of many that suck you stand out less. Like, "Oh another student faceplanting" instead of "Hold on, I want to watch THE student land".

Beat down those things that try to hold you back and go after what you want.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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