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fasted3

Landing off

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My motivation for this post comes from discussions in the wingsuit forum, but it applies to all disciplines, as I've seen it happen to all; in fact, I've seen more out landings without a wingsuit than with.
Full disclosure: I've landed out a lot, both with and without a wingsuit. No major problems, some good lessons learned, some good experiences, some not so much.
My concern is that sometimes too much emphasis is placed on not landing out, especially directed towards wingsuits, and here is why. To me, an out landing is like a cutaway. It is not a normal event, and not a desirable part of any skydive. It is, however, something that sometimes happens, and if it is necessary, then it is best to just do it and not be stigmatized for making this decision. We should not discourage cutting away because having people stick with a bad canopy for too long is not something we want to see.
It seems the same situation with landing out; we don't want people to do it, but it's better than 'get back itus,' leading to an unsafe landing.
If you can't get back safely, then pick a good spot and land there.
It's the safer option most of the time, and I know that almost making it back has led to some serious accidents. If you want to make it a big deal that everyone land at the DZ, you might be a factor in someone getting hurt.
I guess that's enough to get this discussion started, if anyone wants to.

Now for some entertaining BS personal observations. As stated, I've done it a lot, and a found a couple of folks that were all revved up to come get me when I did it, but when they got there, they gave me a ration of crap about doing it, like what a big imposition I was doing to them making them come get my ass. My solution was to carry a cell phone and immediately upon landing call the DZ to say I was OK and would not be needing any assistance getting back to the DZ. I'd rather walk than put anybody out. I also learned that the more you miss by, the easier it is to catch a ride back.

Don't get me wrong, it is a mistake to land out, and it should be avoided, and usually can be. I take pride in not doing it much any more, but if necessary, I'll do it again. I don't want to cause a wingsuit ban, piss off Farmer McNasty, or cause any negative impact on skydiving, but if necessary, I'll do it in a heartbeat, and I'd recommend that anybody else do the same.
But what do I know?

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If you can't get back safely, then pick a good spot and land there.
It's the safer option most ALL of the time,


FIFY

Because of this:
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...and I know that almost making it back has led to some serious accidents.



IMO, giving razz for landing off, agreed, is not the thing to do. The thing to do is give them razz about exit decisions, spotting, and flight path screw-ups. Re-teaching those things can do wonders for those who will listen and learn.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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I don't want to cause a wingsuit ban, piss off Farmer McNasty, or cause any negative impact on skydiving, but if necessary, I'll do it in a heartbeat, and I'd recommend that anybody else do the same.

Old fart alert.

I'm from the days of rounds -- I'm sure I have at least 50 off landings, and it wouldn't surprise me if there were 100. That's out of about 500 round jumps, and then whatever square jumps landed off after that (bigways are pretty bad for it).

To me it's way less serious than a cutaway. But you need to balance your needs (a safe landing) against the homeowner's (his house, new lawn, crop, etc). Consider your reaction to someone driving into your yard and saying that they had to because they skidded (or whatever).

You want to avoid wires, you want to land in the middle of the biggest uncultivated field if you can, for safety. But the homeowner wants you to land without taking out a swoop-swathe's worth of new corn or beets or whatever, and to get out of the field without spooking his or her horses, cattle, goats, or tromping all over the new crop because you're only worried about the dirt you got on your container.

Landing out is not a big deal. It's way better than hurting yourself trying to land on. But understanding how to minimize the damage is also important. And knowing where the Farmer McNasty's are in your neighborhood (and why they're that way) is also important. If there are horses -- you really can spook them and cause damage. It's real. And while the farmer doesn't want you to die, he also really doesn't want his thousands of dollars worth of horseflesh getting spooked, running across the field crazily, and getting injured. That's more important to him, just as your own health is important to you.

Respect the landowner's right to his land, and remember you're a trespasser. Yes, you're a trespasser with some legal protection, but you're still a trespasser.

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)

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If you define "out" as landing off of the dropzone property, then I'd say I haven't landed "out" all that much. But I'll often take an alternate (designated) landing area on DZ property over the main landing area for various reasons (traffic, wind direction, etc). I don't consider that to be landing out, though I guess some do feel like if you don't choose to land on the primary pretty grass strip you've somehow failed.:S

For those off-property landings, I've been pretty fortunate that none of them have been in planted fields, and as far as I know I've not damaged any private property. I've had to climb over a fence or two, and once I had to get picked up by the State Police (that's what happens when you land in their training facility on a day when it's closed :D).

Knowing that off-DZ landings can sometimes be riskier, if I see someone landing off and I'm able to watch them land, I'll do so to make sure they're up and walking about, and will let someone at the DZ know to go pick them up if they're not able to walk back reasonably. I hope someone would do the same for me. As others have noted, out landings run the risk of property damage, damaging relationships with the neighbors, and personal injury due to obstacles or rough ground. Even if the off landing area is flat and smooth, a jumper could still get hurt, and unlike in the main landing area, the injury might not be observed.

Like malfunctions, I agree that out landings shouldn't be taken lightly, and they can often be an opportunity for further education. I always like to start any debrief with kudos for making a good decision to land safely, then step back and talk through the decisions that got them there in the first place. Same goes for mals - the person did what they felt they needed to do to get themselves under a safe parachute; we can talk about preventive measures, or any troubleshooting they might have done up to their decision altitude, but will still commend them for taking action when they felt they needed to in order to land safely.

There does, however, seem to be a subset of folks in this sport who believe in and expect perfection in everything; that landing out should never happen and is always a result of grievous jumper error, and that all malfunctions can be prevented through perfect packing and body position. I'm one who believes you make the best decisions you can to stack the deck in your favor, but there's always a bit of shit happens that you need to be prepared for. :)
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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There does, however, seem to be a subset of folks in this sport who believe in and expect perfection in everything;...


With the exception of those who are their own worst critic, I don't know anyone like that. Never have. YMMV

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....that landing out should never happen and is always a result of grievous jumper error,


I saw what you did throwing "grievous " in there.:P

There are only two major issues that cause off landings that are outside of jumper control:
- aircraft emergency
- wind/ground conditions that come up where the jumper could not possibly have known about before exit.

These are the two things that might, just might, fall into the category of "shit happens" wrto jumpers actions.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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When you're going out with a decent-sized group, you're pretty much committed to going when the group's spotter says it's OK. Even if they're wrong. Yeah, I could, when going out late, stop in the door, evaluate the spot, and decide -- but no one ever really does that. Because the point of an RW jump (whether it's belly or FF) is to fly with your friends, and when they're already in freefall, it behooves you to join them quickly.

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)

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I had an off landing today in an empty cow field. I couldve made it back to the landing field but as I was setting back to the dz I saw another jumper landing off and decided to go land next to them. It sucks making that walk by yourself andI wanted to make sure they didn't decide to break anything on landing. If you have to land off, you have to land off. Sure spotting and flight patterns are usually the biggest problems of landing off but we are all just human and we will make mistakes and that aspect of it will never go away. The best thing we could do like others have said is to respect the land owners and try to butter them up as much as possible to make it right even if they are being an ass. If you decide to get defensive with the farmer it will only make it worse for the next guy that lands there.

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Absolutely. I'm more than willing to volunteer to spot when I don't know (or when I do :P) whoever's in the door. I'm not the best, but we'll miss the clouds, and get reasonably close to the airport (in that order -- sometimes they're mutually exclusive).

Yesterday we had someone in the door I trust enough that when we were on our second jump run, and he told the pilot that he needed a new one .2 to the south and starting earlier, I was just fine with that. We ended up with a downwinder, hitting no clouds, and right on the DZ.

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)

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I agree with your posts, landing off could happen to any of us and all of us.
I've done it. Only once at dz's.
A number of times at the convention - that sum bitch with the biplane did not want us beating him back to the airport - so he dumped me over the golf course. The other few times there were more related to so damn many aircraft, jump runs, jumping the jet (DAMN what a jump run!), and NOT wanting to land near THAT garbage!

One of my first lessons - never follow a visiting jumper down.
:P

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While visiting Zhills early this year, TK put on an accuracy seminar which suggested practicing. Imagine that. If you know you can put yourself down almost exactly where you desire, it makes an off landing less likely to hurt you, damage crops, or make someone mad.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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When you're going out with a decent-sized group, ....



Obvious.

Doesn't relieve you of the responsibility of your jumping.
Doesn't negate you having control over what you do.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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It was brought to my attention, and I fully agree, that people in this sport, as a whole, are getting entirely too lackadaisical about off landings.

They are hazardous and should never, ever be taken lightly.

There are numerous ways to avoid landing off.
Use them.

And yes, yes, things out of our control can cause us to land off.
Things in our control should never be the cause of it.
If you land off, just man-up, learn and avoid it in the future.

And yes, yes, you can plan to land off. Just realize that it's still hazardous and plan accordingly.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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Indeed, I carry a separate phone (with the telephone numbers of the DZ in it) for just that case. I also give the DZ's that telephone number, so they know what to call if I'm missing some how.

As far as off landings go, I agree they should be avoided if at all possible. But you should also be prepared for them, since they cannot always be avoided. Rather than just focus on making the right decisions all the time, I think we should also focus on knowing how to fix the wrong decisions, since they inevitably get made (I know, I've made quite a few of them myself. I've learned quite a few lessons that way as well)

And yes, knowing (and practicing) you can land within a 15m circle helps a lot for that, as does having a good decision altitude. Ideally, I want to know at 1500ft or higher where exactly I'm gonna land.

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Rather than just focus on making the right decisions all the time, I think we should also focus on knowing how to fix the wrong decisions, since they inevitably get made...


Bingo! Plan for the worst!

Quote

Ideally, I want to know at 1500ft or higher where exactly I'm gonna land.


The higher, the better, yes.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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popsjumper

It was brought to my attention, and I fully agree, that people in this sport, as a whole, are getting entirely too lackadaisical about off landings.

They are hazardous and should never, ever be taken lightly.

There are numerous ways to avoid landing off.
Use them.

And yes, yes, things out of our control can cause us to land off.
Things in our control should never be the cause of it.
If you land off, just man-up, learn and avoid it in the future.

And yes, yes, you can plan to land off. Just realize that it's still hazardous and plan accordingly.



The Earth is my LZ...I've never missed yet!


The drill here is to land on the surface of the planet & walk away ~ in roughly the same condition you left it...

Imaginary lines rarely cause penalties & fines, the lines that REALLY matter are the ones you cross in your head that put peer pressure over self preservation.

When someone bitches about 'having to come get you' ~ hand 'em 10 bucks as a 'tip'...and understand they're kinda 'new school skydivers'.

They've been conditioned to expect to be paid for helping someone else in the sport.

Didn't use to be that way, but it is what it is.










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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fasted3

My motivation for this post comes from discussions in the wingsuit forum, but it applies to all disciplines, as I've seen it happen to all; in fact, I've seen more out landings without a wingsuit than with.



Slightly off-topic but that can be attributed to the fact that there are quite a few less wingsuit jumps made in comparison to non-wingsuit jumps. Just sayin' :P
"Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way." -Alan Watts

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