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md202089

trying to figure out if skydiving is for me

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so i get very bored especially when im off work and have always wanted to do something exciting after watching loads of base jumps and skydive and summits on crazy mountains i found a very very small dropzone nearby. the owner operator has around 16,000 jumps and has been skydiving and teaching for 37 years hes been through several classes with uspa on safety and rigging and others im sure. so i set up a tandem last week and went. i was absolutely terrified when the door opened and we jumped.. pure fear.. i was scheduled to go in aff but i decided to try one more tandem even though i was scared shitless which went a lot smoother but still scared. my aff level one is next tuesday and of course im still nervous. has anyone been like this before? does it go away? one one side i dont want to do it because i know now the risks are REAL and you Can die but on the other side i dont want to back out cause im scared. everyone seems to love it so much. does anyone have some advice or personal opinions, it would help a lot and how often do malfunctions happen when good packing procedures are taken. thanks!

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Hey I'm doing jump 18-19 this week, At the beginning of AFF terrified was the word I used. It got better quick for me. By the time I finished AFF=8 jumps I was much better. That had been a stress kinda because it was time for my solos and I want to feel relaxed on exit. Now it feels like jumping into a big hot tub.(I live in SoCal)And is so fun!!! I've heard it goes away around 25-150 so it's different for everybody. I'm hoping it doesn't go away so fast because overcoming fear and the focus that comes with it are my favorite part!!

AS far as malfunctions, there are 2 instructors at my DZ with around the same amount of jumps-7000. One has never had a cut away and the other has 23. So go figure. Keep the emergency procedures fresh in your mind and you will be fine!

Good luck, I think terrified is appropriate for your first few jumps from a plane!!

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That fear you feel will keep u alive. You just need to harness it and use it to your benefit. As for your malfunction question, 1100 jumps and I've never had one and believe me I trash pack like no other...a friend of mine has 250 jumps packs meticulously and has 4 chops...just sayin

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one one side i dont want to do it because i know now the risks are REAL and you Can die but on the other side i dont want to back out cause im scared.



This is one of those decisions no one else can make for you. Not only can you die, you can also suffer life-changing injuries. Either the rewards are worth the risks or they are not - it's your choice.

Because "everyone seems to love it" doesn't mean it's right for you.

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I you aren't scared, then you don't understand the risks.

For me, the rewards are worth the risks. I just work through the fear and jump. The fear level goes down, but it is always there for me. And that's a good thing. If I don't feel some level of fear or nervousness, then there is something wrong. That means I'm getting complacent and that is dangerous.

It's perfectly normal. There's this Duck that's gone through AFF (and has gotten her A). Her story of the fears and everything else are pretty much dead on. And funny as all hell too.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Dude...fear is normal.
If you were not affraid then we would be worried about you!
Life through good thoughts, good words, and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay.

The only thing that falls from the sky is birdshit and fools!

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The first jumps are always pretty scary.
I was scared shitless in AFF jump 1 and jump 4 (with a really terrible jump 3).

The more you jump, the less scared you will be when you're at the door. The really uncomfortable feeling of "why can't I just calm down" eventually subsides.

imo, the best thing is to do tunnel time to gain confidence if you have one nearby.


Cheers! :)Shc

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Dont let the fear of a malfunction stop you. Good training and you practicing will keep you safe. As for the fear, that will never leave you will just be able to control it. I dont know what its like in your part of the world but over here in England, its the drive to the DZ and then home thats the dangerous bit of the day.
Always always pin check your reserve, make sure it moves and keep the cutaway cables oiled and ready as per the manufacture instructions and you will be fine. Then if the S**t does hit the fan, its just a quick chop and three seconds later you will be stuffing the pad and silver down your suit enjoying the white canopy above your head. Practice practice practice...good luck

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It very well might not be 'For You', and there is nothing wrong with that.

You already have more skydives than 99% of the people on the planet so if deep down it's a bucket list thing you've taken care of that and then some.

Bottom line you saw something that interested you and ya gave it a shot, kudos.

Only YOU can answer the question of whether it's right to continue, look hard at your motivation and be honest with yourself.

That being said, also understand that you probably have never put yourself in a situation like that before and you may not really understand your 'fear' so to speak.

The old question of are you running because you're scared or are you scared because you're running should be looked at.

It's a natural physical reaction that's been honed through time, the self-preservation thing. When your logical mind recognizes emanate danger you automatically flip the flight or fight switch.

When you understand that you tend to be able to harness the adrenaline surge and work the problem not run from it. It is fear or excitement? The two are very close emotions and you need to be able to discern which is which.

When cavemen quit running from dinosaurs and picked up a rock & a sharp stick...they ate better, well some of 'em did anyway.
The ones not 'smart' about it were eaten by the beast...same thing with goes skydiving.

You live longer when you don't just blindly attack.

The best way not to be consumed is to take measures to fully understand just exactly what it is that you're up against...knowledge IS power.

What you may consider doing is studying the sport at great lengths prior to 'jumping in' head first.

You may lose some of the inherent apprehension once you KNOW how the gear works, once you understand the safety measures implemented on each jump, once you are more able to 'trust' the environment you've put yourself in.

Read the book Transcending Fear by Brian Germain, he's a top notch skydiver with a very diverse educational background and I think he covers what's going on and how to handle it quite well.

Whatever decision you make will be the right one so take your time and think it through.










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

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When I did my AFF, I was pretty scared for the first 7 or 8 jumps. I was "potato chipping"(wobbling) & that was from not arching correctly. On that 8th or 9th jump, I went into a real nice super smooth stable fall & all of a sudden it "clicked." Ah... this is what it's all about. My instructor must have seen it in my eyes because when I looked over at him, he had a big grin & was giving me two thumbs up. He knew what I had just experienced. That was the moment for me of understanding why people jump.

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skydiving is for everyone.
not everyone can do it though.



i was gonna say "BASEjumping isnt for everyone; everyone can skydive tough!"

:P;)B|:D



True enough...hey, YOU ever make a B.A.S.E. jump ya couldn't walk away from? :P










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

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skydiving is for everyone.
not everyone can do it though.



i was gonna say "BASEjumping isnt for everyone; everyone can skydive tough!"

:P;)B|:D



True enough...hey, YOU ever make a B.A.S.E. jump ya couldn't walk away from? :P



uhm, not sure i get you right, so far i "walked away" from all my basejumps, but i said "NO" to one of them - did it another time subsequently.. :P
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
-Yoda

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Overcoming fear is a large part of jumping out of a plane, at least how I understand it. I was so excited to be jumping, I was not thinking of the fear when I took my place in the door.

One thing I learned about "scary" situations is; its best to have your mind made up before you have to act. For example, when I hit the door, I was thinking about the dive flow rather than realizing my fears. I was committed and checked any fear on the ground.

What I wasn't expecting was when the door flung open at 1k ft and seat belts came off. My chest strap was loose at this point because my radio earbuds weren't in, so I was stressing a little bit looking out the door as the plane banked. Maybe I crave excitement, but that shit was AWESOME!
I fly and stuff, its fun!

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It might be good for you to figure out what it is that you are afraid of. Do you instinctively fear heights, fear the strange foreign environment of the noise and wind of freefalling 120 mph (and your ability to function safely), or fear a malfunction that will result in your death? For all of those, the door is the gateway, but the solution to overcome it (if it can be overcome) is different. And I suspect everyone has at least of bit of each of these fears going into the sport.

Fear of a malfunction can likely be overcome by education: knowledge about modern gear, how it works, the safety features, the strengths and weaknesses, and with information about how likely malfunctions are, and what you do if you get one. Spending time at a DZ looking at gear and talking to folks about how it works, etc, might also help.

Fear of your uncertainty about whether you could keep your head in the game in the unfamilar environment as you fell 120 mph towards the earth will almost certainly diminish with with each successive jump, but some people adapt faster than others.

A strong instinctive fear of heights might be more problematic, although I've read accounts here by skydivers that have/had that, and how it diminished with time in the sport.

My fear going into the sport was mostly concern about whether I had what it took to keep my wits about me and perform in the free fall environment: would I be able to react if needed. I did a tandem the day before my AFF course, as a check. If I freaked out, I would not do the course. I did educate myself (reading incident reports here, and reading about the errors that are made, and learning a bit about the gear, and compiling data on the likelihood of a malfunction). I don't have a strong fear of heights. So for me, it was probably AFF level 6 jump where my eagerness to get to the door and jump exceeded the fear I felt creeping towards the door. Prior to that, it was in part a lot of trust in my instructors and my equipment that nothing bad was going to happen (but that was the rational side of my brain fighting against the primal part of my brain).

As a number of people said: it is something that only you can decide. But IMO I think you would be better able to overcome it if you can figure out what is most fearful for you.

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When cavemen quit running from dinosaurs and picked up a rock & a sharp stick



I was gonna make a smartass comment about the fossil record suggesting the dinosaurs dying out about 65 million years before the cavemen were running from anything, but then I remembered: fossils schmossils, Twardo was there.
--
"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?

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When cavemen quit running from dinosaurs and picked up a rock & a sharp stick



I was gonna make a smartass comment about the fossil record suggesting the dinosaurs dying out about 65 million years before the cavemen were running from anything, but then I remembered: fossils schmossils, Twardo was there.




:D:D:D;)










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

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one one side i dont want to do it because i know now the risks are REAL and you Can die but on the other side i dont want to back out cause im scared.



This is one of those decisions no one else can make for you. Not only can you die, you can also suffer life-changing injuries. Either the rewards are worth the risks or they are not - it's your choice.

Because "everyone seems to love it" doesn't mean it's right for you.


What Lisa said, but also.
The "EVERYONE" you see are only a small fraction of the amount of people who TRY skydiving.
The vast majority of people who try it DO NOT take it on as a sport.
Please dont feel that you HAVE to like it.
If you choose to not continue you will be with the majority, not the other way around.
You are not now, nor will you ever be, good enough to not die in this sport (Sparky)
My Life ROCKS!
How's yours doing?

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I just started working on Static line training...
I had a twist my first SL jump, no worries... was easy to overcome.
I had a horseshoe where my right rear riser wrapped around my left ankle my second SL jump... a little freaky, but still, stayed calm and am still here to respond to your post.

Yes, exiting the plane is terrifying.
Yes, if something goes wrong on deployment, still terrifying, but you'll find that (if you're like me) time slows and you simply evaluate, clear, cut, and ride to safety. (speaking from experience)

give your first AFF a try, and I'm sure you'll love it.
If you're too scared to even breath, try it another time or 2.

That's my experience, but only you can decide what's right for you.

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I'll give you my take on it after a very short time and only 11 jumps (so recognize the voice of inexperience when you hear it).

I am scared every time the door opens. I have ridden the plane down twice, once due to clouds and once due to high ground winds that picked up when we were climbing. I could feel the tension leaving my body when I heard I wasn't going to be jumping. I wasn't happy about it, but it made me very aware of how freaked out I am near the door. Once I actually step out, all that anxiety is gone, and I'm completely focused on the dive. I just don't have much room for anything else because I'm so engaged in what I am trying to do (I am not very good and need all neurons firing just to simply arch).

Today I had my first "oh crap" moment when I jumped a rig that had a pilot chute with a handle (small plastic pipe piece) instead of a hackey for the very first time. I knew it would be different, so I made sure to do some practice touches out the door. It was my first solo dive, so I could do whatever I wanted, but I tried to keep it simple with some aerobatics, then flat turns and toe taps just to work on my form. When I waved off and reached for the handle, I couldn't find it. Without really thinking, I reset, went back for try two, found the bottom of the container and found the handle and deployed. I realized later that I was holding my breath, scared out of my mind (I must have blanked because I don't remember thinking anything but "oh nooooooo!") but I did what I was trained to do, and I do remember this urge that had me going straight to the reserve if I couldn't find it again (I think I actually might have started to look down towards it when I found the pilot chute handle).

So, forgive the long story, but my point is this. Door anxiety may be worse for you than others, it sure as heck is for me, but that goes away after you're out the door. If you're scared of malfunctions, I'm right there with you. Practice in the EP harness over and over and over again until it is second nature, and it will be. I couldn't believe I actually reacted correctly, and I think I did it fairly quickly - I waved off at 5000 and after all the fumbling was under a good canopy by 3700 after a slight snivel and control checks.

Now for the "is it worth it?" For me, yes. Even though it scares me like crazy. I'm a wuss when it comes to pain and fear getting injured (and definitely fear getting killed). I will continue to jump at this point in my life. That equation can change depending on circumstances, and I suggest that each time before you go jump, you consider the "is it worth it" question. One day, I got two good jumps in, no problems, had a ton of fun, and I could have gone up on two more, but decided I had had enough and just didn't feel right for going up again. Coming down off the adrenaline just put me in a state where I wasn't 100% focused, so at that point I felt the risks were increased for me not doing things right and it wasn't worth it to go jump. Some days you might say no, it's not worth it today, and then you'll be right back at the DZ the next day ready to go. Maybe you'll say that one day and never come back. But definitely think about it each jump and take it one jump at a time. The next jump is the only one that really matters.

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We have made a sport out of an emergency procedure. It isn't for everyone. But there is only one way to truly know if it is right for you.

My dad was a private pilot. I grew up at the airport, in and around small airplanes. My first jump was a tandem and second was AFF level 1 out of a Cessna 206. Even with all the time in small planes, I suffered from sweaty palms and butterflies in my stomach during my early jumps. At first, I called it nerves. But it really depends on how you look at it. A wise lady told me the trick was to get the butterflies to all fly in the same direction. I will still get a butterfly or two in my stomach and my palms still sweat a bit. The difference is that now I look forward to that feeling because I think of it as anticipation of the fun I am about to have and it means I am totally focused on the jump.

I started learning more about how the gear worked as soon as I could. Having that gear knowledge helped me be even more comfortable about relying on it. A great way to learn is to go to the DZ and after jumping is over for the day, hang out and just talk to the jumpers. That is where I learned so much that you just can't get out of a book.

Good luck on your AFF.:)
50 donations so far. Give it a try.

You know you want to spank it
Jump an Infinity

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It's perfectly normal. There's this Duck that's gone through AFF (and has gotten her A). Her story of the fears and everything else are pretty much dead on. And funny as all hell too.



Thanks for the plug. My early jumps scared me silly (at least on the plane). I still remember the dry mouth and jelly legs. Heck, I would actually start shaking as I got near the freeway exit that lead to the drop zone. Before those jumps I don't think I knew it was possible to be so freaked out.:$
Believe it or not, back then even videos of people exiting planes triggered the fear response!
But, as others have said, the fear calms down after awhile. I still get nervous, but it's more of a "pay attention and check the equipment" prompt as opposed to the "Aaaaaaagh! You're gonna fall out and it's gonna be so scary and you'll die." feeling. I figure it will help keep me on my toes.:)
My blog with the skydiving duck cartoons.

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