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rp4643

AFF training and Radio's

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I'm doing my AFF ( I wont mention DZ's) and on my first AFF -1 training skydive I was basically talked down to the landing zone, great experience. Since then I continued my training at another DZ and my Cat A and B jumps the radio wasn't working. I did all the steps necessary to land safely before the jump with good planning. Unfortunately, with the radio not working I landed way short of the DZ and flared much to early ending up with a good butt drag and ankle digs.. The second jump I was told to hang South but later I was told I should of hung North. (No wind Condition) I landed ok that time but on a very slight turn out of my cross wind turn and tweaked an ankle some. These are both highly noted DZ's. Not having working radio's for newbies in my book isn't acceptable. I basically failed and have to redo much after jumping twice at the second DZ. Radios are a training aid and it does help someone not experienced in getting better with landings. I'm just venting out here but opinions are welcomed. I will not return to the second DZ. Also after doing wind tunnel for 10 minutes shouldn't an instructor at least look at the video as it is an added cost to help the student as well as required. Bad goggles and a hard to read altimeter don't help the matter either. I should of stayed at DZ number one.

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Not having working radio's for newbies in my book isn't acceptable.



Radios are simply not necessary.

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Radios are a training aid and it does help someone not experienced in getting better with landings.



This is true, but they still aren't necessary. It sounds like you had a bad experience at DZ number 2. Have you tried to calmly and reasonably convey your concerns to the DZO or manager? A well presented criticism can sometimes start the ball rolling on improvements.
Owned by Remi #?

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Personally, I think that although radios may not be strictly "necessary" for students, they make learning to flare at the correct height so much easier that there really isn't any reason for not having them for the first few jumps.

How much practice did you get with PLFs on your initial training? Maybe you should revisit that and get some more practice if you have twisted an ankle - a decent PLF would have prevented that and I was taught that it is a vital skill. I know a couple of jumpers at our dz with hundreds, if not thousands of jumps who still occasionally PLF, just so they know they can do it in an emergency. It may not look cool but it's a lot better than ending up in hospital!!

Since I am still a very new jumper, I always prepare for a PLF even if my landing looks like it's going well (feet and knees together from 200' downwards), and then judge from the wind direction, my speed over the ground and how my flare is going whether I will attempt a stand up landing or whether I will just roll. I have rolled more often than not, but have never hurt myself, even with flaring slightly early and with crosswind and downwind landings.
A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

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labrys

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Not having working radio's for newbies in my book isn't acceptable.



Radios are simply not necessary.

***Radios are a training aid and it does help someone not experienced in getting better with landings.



This is true, but they still aren't necessary. It sounds like you had a bad experience at DZ number 2. Have you tried to calmly and reasonably convey your concerns to the DZO or manager? A well presented criticism can sometimes start the ball rolling on improvements.

No I did not. I just chalked it up to experience and learning, Like you said they are not nesessary but they do help.
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Unless you are ready and willing to land without radio assistance, don't jump. Radio assistance is unreliable:

- batteries can fail
- students' ears can plug up due to the pressure changes in free fall.
- if the student is landing somewhere other than the target area, the instructor may not be able to see the student well enough to give much help.

Excessive use of the radio can impede student learning.

Why should I look at your tunnel video? It isn't likely to change what I am going to teach you for non-release jumps. Hint: In my experience, the students who want to show me their tunnel video often are a challenge in the air. For AFF students there can be a HUGE disconnect between tunnel performance and performance in the sky. That planet rushing toward the student can tremendously degrade performance.

This is a dangerous sport, not an amusement ride. If you aren't ready and willing to save your own life....don't get on the plane.
The choices we make have consequences, for us & for others!

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We were told at my school that the radio was simply for backup, but not to rely on it AT ALL. (In fact, radio was not mentioned in the FJC classroom session at all, but my instructors explained its use and limitations to me as they strapped it on me.) I did enjoy hearing my instructor's voice (the times it worked), but have been fine continuing on without it after the first few jumps.
My instructors took the radio away pretty quickly.

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GLIDEANGLE

Unless you are ready and willing to land without radio assistance, don't jump. Radio assistance is unreliable:

- batteries can fail
- students' ears can plug up due to the pressure changes in free fall.
- if the student is landing somewhere other than the target area, the instructor may not be able to see the student well enough to give much help.

Excessive use of the radio can impede student learning.

Why should I look at your tunnel video? It isn't likely to change what I am going to teach you for non-release jumps. Hint: In my experience, the students who want to show me their tunnel video often are a challenge in the air. For AFF students there can be a HUGE disconnect between tunnel performance and performance in the sky. That planet rushing toward the student can tremendously degrade performance.

This is a dangerous sport, not an amusement ride. If you aren't ready and willing to save your own life....don't get on the plane.



Agree, no argument from me, but really this is 2013 not 1960. Skydiving has advanced greatly and we cant afford a student a communications device that is reliable. We cant look at a training video? Because why? Really. Ok, then rule one loose the radio totally as it gives some students false dependence, not good and secondly dont say wind tunnel time is needed to be a skydiver. These are tools not required to learn. Sounds like ill be inventing a skydive radio that can be used between skydivers in the air and on the ground. Think of being able to communicate like we do while scuba diving, by talking.
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Well ask yourself this. What if nobody used radios for students? Would that have stopped you from jumping? Also you can buy a nice set of goggles with clear lens for 20 bucks.awesome investment btw. As for the altimeter lens hard to see through, new goggles should help but id talk to them about it if its really that bad. Just be prepared to hear " nobody else had problems with it.

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catyduck

Think about "personal responsibility" and reread your original post. ;)



Not much to say about that other then its all about my own responsible being. I'll get there, believe me I will. Btw, I did invest in some goggles and im looking for a altimeter with a large face. The radio, Ive given up with trying to figure that one out, they either work or they dont, so whats the sense? Well I should say they worked great at DZ number one and helped students greatly. So whatever, Lol, see u in the sky.
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and we cant afford a student a communications device that is reliable



What you meant to say was, "and they don't want to pay for a student communication device that is reliable." There are PLENTY of radio options that work, and work well. The issue is they cost a bit up front and most DZ's want to go the cheap route. Those cheap ones can work, but the rechargeable batteries need to be changed when they are not as reliable as they used to be, thats what I've noticed.

Paragear used to sell an air to air communication system, but it was pretty expensive and never really caught on.

A nice easy to read altimeter is the Altimaster II and you can pick up a used one on here for $45-60. They are very reliable. Here is a link to a new one for reference:

http://www.chutingstar.com/skydive/altimaster-ii

Vote with your wallet, go to the place that makes you feel comfortable, if something doesn't feel right or you are unsure about anything ask before you jump. Ultimately you are responsible for your skydive and canopy flight/landing which I think you get. Ask questions, make friends with those "old" jumpers, they have a lot of experience and are usually eager to share advise.
We're not fucking flying airplanes are we, no we're flying a glorified kite with no power and it should be flown like one! - Stratostar

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Maybe I will see you in the sky! I'm glad you're finding gear that works better. You could ask in the disabilities forum, maybe, if anyone has had success adapting a magnifying lens to the face of an Altimaster?

I just got a little worried to see you blame a radio mishap, changing winds, your instructor, ill-fitting goggles, and your altimeter for...actually, I'm not sure what, exactly. Having to repeat AFF2? Heck, most people end up repeating a level or three. You still fell from the sky, had so much fun you want to do it again, and walked away from the landing. That's not a failure, that's amazing!

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Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

What you're describing is that you had some problems on your first jump at a new DZ, but then you made another jump without accounting for those problems.

So if the radio failed on your first jump, and you had a rough, off-field landing, why didn't the prep for you next jump include additional work in the area of canopy control and flight planning? You knew that the potential existed for the radio to fail, but you went up to jump again unprepared for that circumstance.

Who is to blame for that? Let's say you didn't know how to pull the PC on the student rig at the new DZ, and an instructor had to pull for you. Would you make another jump without being trained how to pull the PC on their student rigs?

The same holds true for goggles or altimeters. If they gave you equipment you could not work with the first time, why would you move forward and jump again under the same conditions?

You are the only one who really knows what you are thinking and feeling, and unless you speak up and let your feelings and concerns knows, you cannot expect them to be addressed.

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catyduck

Maybe I will see you in the sky! I'm glad you're finding gear that works better. You could ask in the disabilities forum, maybe, if anyone has had success adapting a magnifying lens to the face of an Altimaster?

I just got a little worried to see you blame a radio mishap, changing winds, your instructor, ill-fitting goggles, and your altimeter for...actually, I'm not sure what, exactly. Having to repeat AFF2? Heck, most people end up repeating a level or three. You still fell from the sky, had so much fun you want to do it again, and walked away from the landing. That's not a failure, that's amazing!



Thanks Catyduck, I agree with you, Im not blaming anyone just myself.
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davelepka


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

What you're describing is that you had some problems on your first jump at a new DZ, but then you made another jump without accounting for those problems.

So if the radio failed on your first jump, and you had a rough, off-field landing, why didn't the prep for you next jump include additional work in the area of canopy control and flight planning? You knew that the potential existed for the radio to fail, but you went up to jump again unprepared for that circumstance.

Who is to blame for that? Let's say you didn't know how to pull the PC on the student rig at the new DZ, and an instructor had to pull for you. Would you make another jump without being trained how to pull the PC on their student rigs?

The same holds true for goggles or altimeters. If they gave you equipment you could not work with the first time, why would you move forward and jump again under the same conditions?

You are the only one who really knows what you are thinking and feeling, and unless you speak up and let your feelings and concerns knows, you cannot expect them to be addressed.



Exactly and well stated, Like I said you live and learn and im sure doing that in this sport.
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davelepka


The same holds true for goggles or altimeters. If they gave you equipment you could not work with the first time, why would you move forward and jump again under the same conditions?



Because that's the way things are?

Some DZ's have goggles that have crappy straps, gear that doesn't fit some students well, poor instruction on how to fly if a radio fails, overly busy instructors trying to sneak in an AFF between tandems, and so on.

It can be hard for students to know what is just a case of "well, that's the way it is in skydiving sometimes", versus "this place sucks, I should leave!".

That being said, you are right that one should at least bring issues up.
E.g., If there's a problem reading the alti, is it an old scratched one or did the student not put it on tight enough or are they taking too little time to glance at it?

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pchapman

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The same holds true for goggles or altimeters. If they gave you equipment you could not work with the first time, why would you move forward and jump again under the same conditions?



Because that's the way things are?

Some DZ's have goggles that have crappy straps, gear that doesn't fit some students well, poor instruction on how to fly if a radio fails, overly busy instructors trying to sneak in an AFF between tandems, and so on.

It can be hard for students to know what is just a case of "well, that's the way it is in skydiving sometimes", versus "this place sucks, I should leave!".

That being said, you are right that one should at least bring issues up.
E.g., If there's a problem reading the alti, is it an old scratched one or did the student not put it on tight enough or are they taking too little time to glance at it?

Thats exactly how I felt. it was like here is your bucket of goggles just pick one out a pair. Then I get done with my jump and while I'm walking over Im told everything I did wrong and then the instructor is calling for a tandem student. I mean really. Im left sitting there wondering whats next. Finally im told to see blah blah for the next skydive. Really as a newbie you dont know whats normal and whats not so how do you know? Again, I made a poor decision of not going back to DZ one. On the other hand Drop zone two was highly recommended. Ive spent a total of $1200 not to mention my travel expense ($400) and I'm still on Cat B or AFF2. Seems me passing AFF1 a week prior at DZ1 didn't hold much water at drop zone 2. Live and learn I guess. BTW I have shown my disappointment with DZ2.
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As a current AFF student, I just want to tell you old pros that having a radio on the first few jumps was incredibly helpful for a newbie. I knew the process in my head, I'd studied the overhead, I knew the numbers and where I was supposed to make those turns -- BUT everything looks very different from the air to what you expect on those first few flights and, personally, I thought that 1000 ft. was going to look a whole lot closer to the ground! Also, where to flare. Yes, you can figure it out on your own, but having somebody yell "FLARE!" on those first few jumps is super helpful in teaching your eyes and mind to recognize that spot. On my most recent jump, I landed with minimal radio input (in fact, I was already doing each of the steps before he gave instruction over the radio, so was annoyed when the instructions came -- "I know! I'm doing it!") and I flared before he said anything (new canopy so technically I flared a bit early, but still landed smoothly and safely). Sure, if there had been no radio from day one, I'm sure that I would have figured it out, but having that radio input for a few jumps made it a lot easier to understand the mechanics of canopy flight and landing. I don't like hearing this, "If you need radio help, then you should take up a new sport!" nonsense. Technology makes life easier and is a wonderful teaching tool. Why not use it where available? Good luck with the rest of your AFF! I'm heading into my Cat D1 jump on Sunday, blue skies permitting :)

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NickyCal

As a current AFF student, I just want to tell you old pros that having a radio on the first few jumps was incredibly helpful for a newbie. I knew the process in my head, I'd studied the overhead, I knew the numbers and where I was supposed to make those turns -- BUT everything looks very different from the air to what you expect on those first few flights and, personally, I thought that 1000 ft. was going to look a whole lot closer to the ground! Also, where to flare. Yes, you can figure it out on your own, but having somebody yell "FLARE!" on those first few jumps is super helpful in teaching your eyes and mind to recognize that spot. On my most recent jump, I landed with minimal radio input (in fact, I was already doing each of the steps before he gave instruction over the radio, so was annoyed when the instructions came -- "I know! I'm doing it!") and I flared before he said anything (new canopy so technically I flared a bit early, but still landed smoothly and safely). Sure, if there had been no radio from day one, I'm sure that I would have figured it out, but having that radio input for a few jumps made it a lot easier to understand the mechanics of canopy flight and landing. I don't like hearing this, "If you need radio help, then you should take up a new sport!" nonsense. Technology makes life easier and is a wonderful teaching tool. Why not use it where available? Good luck with the rest of your AFF! I'm heading into my Cat D1 jump on Sunday, blue skies permitting :)



Thanks for that comment I was starting to think it was only me. I kept hearing a radio is essential for your first few jumps to get the feeling. I think it does help, least that's what my partner I started jumping with told me. I sure as hell wish I had a working radio on my second skydive.
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NickyCal

Sure, if there had been no radio from day one, I'm sure that I would have figured it out, but having that radio input for a few jumps made it a lot easier to understand the mechanics of canopy flight and landing. I don't like hearing this, "If you need radio help, then you should take up a new sport!" nonsense. Technology makes life easier and is a wonderful teaching tool. Why not use it where available? :)



I totally agree. We were also taught not to rely on the radio (and I lost radio contact for a while on my AFF1 so have first hand experience of making judgement calls on my own whilst relying purely on my training) but why on earth suggest radios shouldn't be used at all, when they make those first few jumps so much easier and safer?
I had mine for the grand total of 7 jumps - once I'd passed my AFF levels (apart from the hop and pop), it was considered that I didn't need any extra support and should get on with practising what I'd learned. I had no problem with that.

People learn at different rates, there are numerous discussions on these forums about how even experienced skydivers make stupid mistakes when under pressure, so why remove one potential safety margin from brand new jumpers by suggesting they shouldn't even need a radio? Rely on it, perhaps not; do without it entirely, what value does that add???
A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

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Radios are a backup device only. If they don't work, then you should have no troubles landing safely, if you do you were either inadequately trained or are jumping inappropriate gear.
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

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