0
acho

AFF student with not so great success

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

All my life I wanted to jump. For some reasons I started my first AFF when 38 :)

Prior that I had one tandem and I loved it.

So last november I started my AFF-P as this was the only available option I found. Two tandem jumps with checking altimeter, practice touches and some turns on the second one - great.

Then the next day I got rig for me on my back and headed with the instructor for AFF jump #3. not bad free fall, pull on time, nice opening - cool. The instructor landed and tested the radio - worked -cool again. Started the landing pattern as instructed and it looked good but it was no wind day and I overshooted the landing zone by ~200 ft which was not something very bad since I have miles of desert to land. Then I decided that the radio is not working any more and the ground is too close and mooing too fast and decided to flare /instructed on 3 stage flare/ after stage one my instructor shouted on radio STOP since I was high /about 30 ft above the ground/ and I decided to return to full flight. The canupy dived and the instructor screamed FLARE, FLARE, FLARE. I did it and rolled in to the dirt but no injuries so lesson learned - never return toggles if flared too early.

After that the instructor said next jump tomorrow and I started to get ready to go. All of the sudden he came to me and said that there will be one more load today and to get ready for jump. OK, got ready but still not so happy from my landing. At altitude I had very little time to get in position for exit but it was not a problem. Free fall was ok, pulled on time, nice deployment and after few minutes started landing pattern with corrected altitudes for turns so I am not goint go overshoot the landing zone again. So far so good but I was heading to overshoot it. The fun part is that the landing zone is ending at big fat ditch so guess where I was going to land - the ditch. Listened to the radio for the flare signal, flared and was about foot short to clear the ditch. I hit the wall of the ditch with my legs forward and busted my ankle big time - multiple fractures, surgery, screws and plates and months of recovery.

7 month later after my doctor cleared me to jump again i was on vacation back home in Europe and decided to do the AFF there. Did only one jump due to bad weather and airplane problems. Needless to say that the landing was not so pretty but no injures :)

When I got back to the states I decided to continue with my skydiving affair and started AFF again but in different DZ. did 3 jumps there so far and needles to say that landings still look ugly - sliding on butt, dragging hands on the ground leaving skin in the dirt but this is ok.

The problem is that I feel hopeless about landings and this takes over my mind and is messing up with the other tasks in the air. I love to jump but hate to land ;)

So the million dollar question is - do I have to give up and end my skydiving affair or to continue jumping? How should I free my mind from thinking about my crash landings and do the rest of the tasks good /in free fall I am not so bad, a bit unstable but ok/

Anything helps - I know that there is no way to learn something online but need to get encouraged or discouraged to continue.

Thank you and I am sorry for the long post

P.S. While I was waiting for the 3 days to pass before I can post after registration I was reading the forum - so far I am at page 160 :)

P.S. 2 - All the instructors I had so far are great and really try to help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

So the million dollar question is - do I have to give up and end my skydiving affair or to continue jumping? How should I free my mind from thinking about my crash landings and do the rest of the tasks good /in free fall I am not so bad, a bit unstable but ok/


Your landing experience is very like mine --- AFF 1, I flared too late, and crashed. AFF 2, I flared too early, realized it, let go, and then the canopy dove and I crashed. AFF 3 and 4, I forget when I flared, but I crashed.

AFF 5 I landed on my feet, and was completely surprised --- I hadn't known a landing could be so soft.

I wish I could say that AFF 5 flipped a switch in me, and I landed fine thereafter, but that didn't happen at all. It took many jumps and a canopy course before I even started figuring out how to land somewhat consistently. I still biff landings occasionally.

But I can say two things that might be helpful:

1. It does get easier. The more you land, the more you'll be able to judge how high you are, and when and how you should flare. Try to look at the horizon, and not the ground.

2. Learn to PLF, and prepare to do it every jump. In fact, perhaps intentionally PLF the next 10 jumps or so, just so you can convince yourself that doing a PLF can easily save you from injury you might otherwise have sustained. Once you know that you can safely PLF, then perhaps rough landings will scare you less, and you can start working on standing up landings again, always ready to PLF at the first sign of trouble.

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My first 5 or so landings were so bad I almost quit. Because of poor instruction I wasn't taught to flare at all on my first jump (but to land with 50% brakes I think), and on the next jumps I flared so late I was barely at 50% when I 'landed'. On the sixth I finally flared a little higher with a full flare and something just clicked, and I was good after that.

What were the problems on your last few landings? Flaring low, going fast? Or are you lacking confidence in landing on your feet because of the time you got injured?

If you flare too high or strongly and pop up, do not let up on the brakes. Keep them where they are, and when you start losing lift/altitude use the rest of the brakes for a normal flare. This has saved me a couple times while downsizing. The problem is when you flare too high and then go to full flight, the canopy surges forward and toward the ground because it's looking for air to inflate it.

Coming in high was also often a problem for me on student canopies. Remember you can do s-turns to lose altitude. Nothing radical and only minor corrections when below ~200ft.

Another thing I had to learn the hard way because during instruction I was reinforced more with having to land into the wind than avoiding non-building obstacles. Your first priority is landing clear of obstacled be they bushes, ditches, benches, trees, planes, hangars or buildings! Landing into the wind is secondary to that. I was lucky never to injure myself, but have had a landing through a bushline into a river, one through a 4 foot hole in a barbed wire fence and one just short of the same fence (with canopy landing on it).

I hope some of this is of use to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
snowlep

Your first priority is landing clear of obstacled be they bushes, ditches, benches, trees, planes, hangars or buildings!



No, your first priority is landing with a canopy overhead. That's why you don't hook turn or let go of an early flare, because it can kill you if you do. Second priority is landing clear of obstacles. Third is into the wind.
"Skydivers are highly emotional people. They get all excited about their magical black box full of mysterious life saving forces."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mathrick

***Your first priority is landing clear of obstacled be they bushes, ditches, benches, trees, planes, hangars or buildings!



No, your first priority is landing with a canopy overhead. That's why you don't hook turn or let go of an early flare, because it can kill you if you do. Second priority is landing clear of obstacles. Third is into the wind.

True

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To be perfectly clear the s-turns are very gradual and elongated. Not looking to lose altitude in the turns but rather shorten the distance of your flight in one direction. Don't go more than 25-30 degrees on either side. Remember, your canopy starts turning before you do. As mathrick said, the first priority is to have the canopy over your head and not to the side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not an instructor but you can double check these tips with one:

-Look at where you are going (that point that is moving directly towards you, not moving up or down in your field of view), not at what is under you. That can help you to time the flare better.

-Get somebody to film your landings and debrief them. The way you react -and the altitude- is better analyzed and corrected from an outside point of view. That way you can correlate your experience and POV with what is really happening.

-Practice your flare up high. I guess you did it already. But different canopies have different flare characteristics. If you are constantly using different gear, remember to check that in every jump to get familiar with how that particular canopy feels.

-Flare all the way down. I can't remark enough how important this is. I've seen people with hundreds of jumps that are not flaring all the way down, and are landing hard regularly, sometimes busting their ankles (nothing too serious though). You can get away with it, but you are missing the opportunity to make the landings softer (and funnier by the way).

-Do not put your arms up right before touch down. That is the difference between a nice and soft landing, and a small tumbling. Keep them down, and symmetrical. The skydive is not over until both feet are on the ground and you are not moving forward anymore, so don't relax your arms before that point.

-Keep your arms symmetrical on flare. If you feel like the ground is coming at you from the right, pull a bit more on the left. If you feel like the ground is coming at you from the left, pull a bit more on the right. On landing, many people tend to reach with their arms to try to protect themselves against the ground. What you are doing in that case is pulling the toggle, which is producing a harder turn, and making the situation worse. Arms on flare should be always symmetrical.

-The sliding part is weird. At your experience level you shouldn't have a lot of forward speed, so the sliding should be minimal. What's your weight and which canopies were you using? Maybe you should ask for something larger (even though I assume that they are giving you the largest canopies they have).

Don't sweat it. Once the landings "click" you'll nail them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

To be perfectly clear the s-turns are very gradual and elongated. Not looking to lose altitude in the turns but rather shorten the distance of your flight in one direction. Don't go more than 25-30 degrees on either side. Remember, your canopy starts turning before you do.


If you do S-turns of 25-30 degrees in the main landing area on final at either dropzone that I jump at, someone will probably yell at you. You could now be in the way of an imminently landing canopy, who thought you were landing straight in, like everyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Preparing to PLF on every jump is excellent advice. Really. A PLF isn't a sing of failure, it's a sign of preparation for the unexpected. Eyes on the horizon is also excellent advice.

Because both of these allow you to do them early, which means that you're prepared, and can actually experience the landing, and possibly remember what happens when. If you need to, ask an instructor to help you with flare timing only -- figure out the rest for yourself.

Note that most of my landing advice is for people to whom it's just not intuitive. It's not for me, and never has been. But I e walked away from every jump and been able to go again. So it's not impossible.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ghost47

Quote

To be perfectly clear the s-turns are very gradual and elongated. Not looking to lose altitude in the turns but rather shorten the distance of your flight in one direction. Don't go more than 25-30 degrees on either side. Remember, your canopy starts turning before you do.


If you do S-turns of 25-30 degrees in the main landing area on final at either dropzone that I jump at, someone will probably yell at you. You could now be in the way of an imminently landing canopy, who thought you were landing straight in, like everyone else.


If somebody is having an imminent landing above 200 ft the ground is probably a bigger concern for them, unless they are doing a HP landing in which case they'd be heading at an even higher speed towards the same obstacle the student is trying to avoid, as well as raise the question of why do an hp landing so close to a student in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
snowlep

If somebody is having an imminent landing above 200 ft the ground is probably a bigger concern for them, unless they are doing a HP landing in which case they'd be heading at an even higher speed towards the same obstacle the student is trying to avoid, as well as raise the question of why do an hp landing so close to a student in the first place.



They could simply be on a much faster canopy. Or close beside you.

I would echo the advice to avoid getting into the S-turn habit. At small dropzones with big landing areas you tend to get away with it; a places with higher traffic all landing in the same general bit of grass, you have an additional duty: fly as predictable a pattern as possible. This is where people getting shouted at for S turning comes in.

Most canopy fundamentals courses will start off by teaching accuracy via having a good setup and putting your turns in the right place. When you overshoot you overshoot, but you now know where to move your pattern start point on your next jump.

(Of course, try not to land in the ditch too :P)

Once you have acquired in your bones the right pattern to fly in different conditions, you will always have it.

Mostly, don't beat yourself up too much. Landing in the right place takes practice and sometimes instruction! You'll get it.

(Great advice from others about PLFing too.)
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
snowlep

To be perfectly clear the s-turns are very gradual and elongated. Not looking to lose altitude in the turns but rather shorten the distance of your flight in one direction. Don't go more than 25-30 degrees on either side. Remember, your canopy starts turning before you do. As mathrick said, the first priority is to have the canopy over your head and not to the side.



If you're not this guy's instructor, please, STFU, listen more and ask questions.
Remster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi acho,

I also started AFF at 38 - last year :)

I'm obviously still a beginner, so my comments come from knowing what it's like, not great expertise or experience.

First of all, congrats for not giving it all up after your accident.

Yes, carry on if you feel you want to :)

I had to move to different dropzones during my licence training, it made matters more complicated. (Divergent advice etc.) Try to stay at one DZ, you may achieve greater consistency.

I also had to avoid an unexpected obstacle one (barbed wire fence) so the flare right after clearing it was weak and I broke a bone in my foot. (Nothing like your injuries, though.) Winter came, it healed... come spring I was nervous as hell but started jumping again.

As long as you're flying large student canopies you needn't be afraid of flaring a little too high (too early) - better than not at all or too little (too late). Hold the flare and you'd just float down! Happens all the time. There was a great video out there on the internet showing this, but I can't find it right now.

By contrast, I found myself starting the flare slightly too late sometime, so I couldn't use the canopy's full flaring power - resulting in landing hard or too fast.

Someone suggested landing with a PLF intentionally for a couple of jumps, just to get practiced. I guess that's sound advice. PLF's are actually quite fun! (Just don't do this if you're coming in fast on a no-wind day - you'll end up rolling on the ground very fast.)

I may get flamed for this, but don't do S-turns on final. It messes up everyone's landing pattern, and you'd be at a high risk of collision - at very low altitude too. There are other, better solutions if you're coming in too high, and the many experienced people around here can surely offer some good technical advice.

That being said, it's great to have you going on! Happy landings,

Andrei

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

If somebody is having an imminent landing above 200 ft the ground is probably a bigger concern for them, unless they are doing a HP landing in which case they'd be heading at an even higher speed towards the same obstacle the student is trying to avoid, as well as raise the question of why do an hp landing so close to a student in the first place.



Imagine that you're a belly flyer with a larger canopy. You get out first, do your jump, then pull. 10 seconds after you left, a freeflyer with a smaller canopy exited. He did his jump and pulled.

Because his freefall was shorter, and because he's on a smaller canopy, he's descending faster than you are. You may not see him because he opened behind you.

So now you're on final, and flying straight, say 20 feet parallel to the right edge of the landing area. The other pilot, seeing that you've staked out that line, has taken a line 40 feet parallel to the right edge of the landing area. Plenty of separation. Because he's on a faster canopy, he's going to land right around when you do.

But now you notice you're a little long, and so you turn left 25 degrees so that you can land on target, intending on turning right 50 degrees after a few seconds. Now this other pilot, who's going to land in 200 feet, sees a canopy coming toward him. He doesn't know when or if you're going to turn right. So he needs to assume that you're not going to, and there's going to be a canopy collision if he doesn't take action. So he needs to turn left. If he's not expecting this, and doesn't do a flat turn, maybe he makes a low turn too close to the ground.

Or, imagine that HIS buddy is 60 feet parallel to the right edge of the landing area. When he turns left to avoid you, HIS buddy is now impacted too.

If the only way you can avoid hitting an obstacle is an S-turn, then I wouldn't fault you too much for doing it (though I'd probably still be unhappy that you put yourself in that situation in the first place). Otherwise, just land long and walk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ghost47


If the only way you can avoid hitting an obstacle is an S-turn, then I wouldn't fault you too much for doing it (though I'd probably still be unhappy that you put yourself in that situation in the first place). Otherwise, just land long and walk.


This seems reasonable and was the jist of my comment. Thank you for the constructive response.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You might consider and ask your instructors about some IAD jumps. You would be under canopy right after exit, 4,000-5,000 feet and the entire skydive would be dedicated to canopy flight. No reason to do other jumpers until you get the canopy flight and landing to not be a worry.

Also, seek out ways to learn more about canopy flight and landings (good sources) so that when you jump again you will have increased confidence rather than the "oh no, here we go crashing again". Mind over splatter is a critical element. "Know" you will have success, don't just hope for it....by being well prepared.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for all the courage you are giving me and all the advices!

No, I am not going to give up!

The problem is that I never had that nice and smooth horizontal glade and never managed to do PLF /probably I don't knot the correct position for it/.

Another problem at the touch down is that I am lifting my legs up like tandem lading - not sure if it is from the tandem jumps I had or just attempting to protect my ankle but in the last 4 jumps my legs are up and forward and when they touch the ground they just slide and I am sitting with some force on the dirt /we do not have grass, we have dirt since we are in the desert/.

I weight 200 lbs and currently /for the past 3 jumps/ I am jumping manta 260 and from what I read it is correctly sized canopy for my weight.

I am sure that after I land not so ugly just once I will relax more and will not think so much about it at the exit and free fall. In the holding area I am doing lots of flares to practice, event tried if I can stall the canopy just to know what it is and how far in to the brakes it will stall and it does not stall from 7-10 seconds of full brakes /this was the longest I tried/.

I am not 20 years old anymore which contributes to be conservative skydiver with no desire to try crazy stuff. I am kind of brave but not stupid so I am not scared but nervous about landing.

Last jump I had idiotic landing - i did all possible mistakes but one - flaring. I read wrong the wind and started approach to land in to the wind. The instructor was talking to me on the radio but it was so loud that I did not understand even a single word. At final I got some nice cross wind, attempted to do small corrections so I stay over the dirt, don't know why but pulled wrong toggle and did almost 90 degrees turn /in the final/ toward some not very friendly landscape and barb wire fence of the airport. I knew that low turns are big NO so I tried to force myself not to do anything ant eat what it is going to happen. Lucky me I cleared all the obstacles and ended landing on the runway. The positive experience from this madness was that my instructor was thinking that the radio is not working and didn't tell me when to flare but i flared on my own - may be far from perfect but in result I got the well known to me butt drag on the runway. Somehow I hit the runway with my right fist and left sum skin and blood and probably I twisted my shoulder a bit but is it getting better.

I will be not able to jump in next week or so due some work excuses but then I am looking forward to jump again

Anyone know good learning material regarding PLF so I can read/watch and practice it on the ground?

Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lots of good stuff here. Ask for video (and then video debrief) of your next landings. There are things you're doing that you're not aware of (applies from jump 1 onwards to forever). Seeing what you're doing can help you focus on and learn what your instructors want you to focus on and learn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My landings were crap for the first 50 or so jumps. After that they ere still crap but I could stand one up occasionally. Coming up on 400 jumps, they're just starting to get to the point where I feel pretty good about them.

They were so bad that early on, I committed to doing several PLFs on coach jumps, no matter how good I thought the landing was going to be. I still have a pretty good PLF. The PLF is your friend. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

Also, canopy course early and often, will help a lot. Once you get licensed, you can do hop and pops until you feel comfortable landing.

In the near term, discuss extensively, the canopy bits with your instructors. What to do when things go wrong, how to clean up your pattern, that sort of thing. Focus on the thing you feel you suck the most at, and stay on it until you get better at it.
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I dont care if I look cool or silly when landing. I only care if I am hurt or not ;)

I believe that I look cool if I can walk by myself :)

My current instructor is very good instructor - he breaks down the small but important thinks so I can understand them better. The landing pattern is no brainer since my instructor made it very clear following lines on the airport. I i find myself higher on last turn just have to do ribbon like turn to get lower.

I will ask for video of the landings.

Any good source to learn more about PLF?

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The PLF is the parachute landing fall. They should have demonstrated it to you in ground school. Perhaps they called it something else. Make them show you again!

I practiced it a few times in ground school, and quite a bit since then. I've also demonstrated it for a few students. It's a lot easier to practice on padded floors or carpet. A properly executed PLF when you know your landing is going to hell could mean the difference between you walking away from it or not.

I was quite proud when on my first night jump, after they said "It's going to look fast when you're coming in!" I did a picture perfect PLF without even thinking about it, because it not only looked fast, it WAS fast. The winds had shifted after the lights had been set up, and we were all landing downwind.

Needless to say, I wouldn't put complete faith in any one thing. They're just tools in your arsenal. Try to get better at landing, too. As soon as you can get a canopy course, that should help a lot. They'll help you clean your pattern up, too.

Your instructor probably sees a lot of people over the course of time that you're working with him, so it's often a good idea to remind them what you're having trouble with. So if you're finding yourself always high on final, tell him "Hey! I'm always high on final! What can I do to my pattern to fix that?"
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Andrei_Serban

Here's the video I was talking about.... showing a high flare, and a very un-dramatic touchdown:
https://vimeo.com/79496775
It's out of an online article by Scott Miller:
http://www.skydivemag.com/article/better-nil-wind-landings
Have fun!
Andrei



That is not what I would call a high flare.

The video also show the person letting up very slightly on the toggles after the initial quick flare. This is not unusual, and should be understood by newbies that it was OK to do because the jumper didn't let up much and kept flying it.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To the OP, in one of your recent replies you mentioned almost turning wrong. Students don't get a lot of time to practice canopy work until they are in the air. The jump is dirt dived but how often is the canopy flight?

As a student I did a few jumps at a DZ that was like walking back in time. The fellow that ran the place had been doing the same thing for many years. He had a process that worked well for him and first time jumpers.

He had movable landmarks on the landing area for turning points and would move them according to the wind. Then had had models of the markers that he would lay out one the ground by the hanger. Students would hold their hands over their heads, as if holding the toggles, and walk the pattern. They would pull their hands down, simulating turns as they walked the pattern. This type of practice builds muscle memory. This training could include the flare also. Talking, walking, and pulling down according to your training and what you are seeing.

Practicing in this manner might be of great benefit to you if you hesitate to know the right thing to do, while flying. It is not uncommon that someone might say, "I knew what to do, but somehow I didn't carry it out in a timely manner". If you know exactly what to do and you know you are correct, you can even walk it out by yourself and tell someone watching you what you are doing and why. Explaining to others is also a reinforcement tool for what you know.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0