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Chiemel

AFF Student general questions

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Hey guys,

like the title mentions, I'm a beginner AFF student. Did my first jump on saturday, level 2 and 3 on sunday, and re-doing level 3 on thursday (for the best, I wasn't really at ease during that last jump). In the meanwhile, skydiving is all I can think about. My jumpmasters gave me some exercises/stretches to get a bit more in the relaxed position, and I've been doing them all the time.

So to finish my day, I came up with a couple of questions (that I'll be sure to ask my instructors aswell, just going through some info).

- At my DZ, there's alot of AFF1 students, about a class of 6 - 8 each week. Most of them said they will be continuing the course. But, on average (or a good guesstimate), what percentage of people doing the AFF course actually keep skydiving? (if there is one)

- How many jumps did it take for you to get comfortable in the air (crappy question, I know, just curious)? Are you ever completely relaxed?

- When experiencing a horseshoe malfunction, is the emergency procedure still the best solution? Wont the reserve just twist up into the main canopy?

- I realise it's something for the far future, but when would you make your first equipment purchase? 50 jumps? 100? 200? Would you save up for a rig, or start off with buying helmet, altimeter, overall, ...

- Any tips for improving my freefall posture at home?


So, sorry for the questions that don't have "factual" answers, but I'm still curious as how experienced skydivers look at these things.

Thanks!

Chiemel

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No idea about AFF thruput. Probably greater than 50% where i am Past AFF probably a bit greater.

Horseshoe: talk to your instructors. My procedure: IF I have the altitude...try no more than twice to clear the attachment point then full EPs: cutaway and pull reserve by my hard deck. If I'm in the basement I'll hit silver and deal with whatever happens then. Follow the SIM and your instructors...the horseshoe is pretty much a bar quiz every week or two me. FWIW my EPs are one hand each handle and chop for any malfunction (PCIT for example); my rental gear does not include an RSL.

Equip: analog alti (jump 2), full-face and audible (jump 52), digital alti (jump ~65), jumpsuit order (about the same). Saving money for a rig: every paycheck. Luckily I can afford to rent on the weekends and still jump while also putting away 1/3 of the paycheck every two weeks.

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- At my DZ, there's alot of AFF1 students, about a class of 6 - 8 each week. Most of them said they will be continuing the course. But, on average (or a good guesstimate), what percentage of people doing the AFF course actually keep skydiving? (if there is one)



Depends what they're there for. If they want to become a cool skydiver that all their friends are jealous of, they don't usually last long. If they're there because they want a challenge, something that will help them feel more in control of their life, etc... they tend to stick around.

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- How many jumps did it take for you to get comfortable in the air (crappy question, I know, just curious)? Are you ever completely relaxed?



I'm almost always relaxed, only time I'm a little nervous is during AFF and Tandem jumps... Those I actually prefer to be a little more on my toes for anyways.

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- When experiencing a horseshoe malfunction, is the emergency procedure still the best solution? Wont the reserve just twist up into the main canopy?



That malfunction is in constant debate, and is pretty much one of the scariest ones you could have. Almost always preventable too!

For this, talk to your instructors, they covered it in your FJC, and you need to cover it again anyways.

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- I realise it's something for the far future, but when would you make your first equipment purchase? 50 jumps? 100? 200? Would you save up for a rig, or start off with buying helmet, altimeter, overall, ...



Bought my first rig around 40 jumps, first altimeter, goggles and helmet around 15 jumps. Buy used gear when you can, it saves money for jumps! (that and you may decide to change gear not too long after so you don't want to take a big hit on resale of new gear)

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- Any tips for improving my freefall posture at home?



There's a couple things you can do, but those are only to be taught by your instructors. If you practice the wrong thing and get it set in your mind, you'll just have to waste jumps/time unlearning it.

Good luck!
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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- How many jumps did it take for you to get comfortable in the air (crappy question, I know, just curious)? Are you ever completely relaxed?


I'm never completely relaxed in the sense that I'm thinking, "Oh, this is just like walking down the side walk." There's a respectful, and I think healthy edge I'm on. My anxiety about skydiving decreased dramatically when I did my E1 jump and I realized I could get stable on my own without any trouble at all. At that point I was thinking, "Well, if things go poopy on anything, I can always get on my belly." That helped a lot.


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- When experiencing a horseshoe malfunction, is the emergency procedure still the best solution? Wont the reserve just twist up into the main canopy?

Just as a preventative tip, Brian Germain has his pilot chute packing technique on youtube. Should help a lot against horseshoes -- more so than other packing methods it seems.

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- I realise it's something for the far future, but when would you make your first equipment purchase? 50 jumps? 100? 200? Would you save up for a rig, or start off with buying helmet, altimeter, overall, ...

Personally, I would (and did) buy the little stuff first. Helmet (Benny is great if you don't want to blow hundreds $50-60). Altimeter. Goggles. Bought all those while in AFF / Student status. Then I slowly pieced together my rig. Bought my Wings new, as I wanted it a good fit, but got the main, reserve and AAD used (become friends with your rigger :) )
You stop breathing for a few minutes and everyone jumps to conclusions.

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...

Personally, I would (and did) buy the little stuff first. Helmet (Benny is great if you don't want to blow hundreds $50-60). Altimeter. Goggles. Bought all those while in AFF / Student status. Then I slowly pieced together my rig. Bought my Wings new, as I wanted it a good fit, but got the main, reserve and AAD used (become friends with your rigger :) )

Good advice there. Our DZ gives you a pair of new googles in the FJC so you don't have to use the old ratty ones. Keep an eye out for someone selling a used altimeter. I love the Alti-3's. They're inexpensive and will last a lifetime if you don't drop them.

It took a couple of dozen jumps before I could say the butterflies went away. The sport is even more amazing after that. :)

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- When experiencing a horseshoe malfunction, is the emergency procedure still the best solution? Wont the reserve just twist up into the main canopy?



That malfunction is in constant debate, and is pretty much one of the scariest ones you could have. Almost always preventable too!



What's the constant debate about a horseshoe?
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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What's the constant debate about a horseshoe?



Cut away/clear risers vs just firing reserve into the mess.
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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- When experiencing a horseshoe malfunction, is the emergency procedure still the best solution? Wont the reserve just twist up into the main canopy?


Just as a preventative tip, Brian Germain has his pilot chute packing technique on youtube. Should help a lot against horseshoes -- more so than other packing methods it seems.



You do know that what you are talking about is a premature deployment. That is only one type of horseshoe. What are you going to do for the others?
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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What's the constant debate about a horseshoe?



Cut away/clear risers vs just firing reserve into the mess.



You may want to re-think that kemosabe.

Firing the reserve is a last, last resort....and it's no procedure for a horseshoe. That only comes into play after you failed to deal with the horseshoe with sufficient altitude.

Clear risers?
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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How many jumps did it take for you to get comfortable in the air (crappy question, I know, just curious)? Are you ever completely relaxed?



About 9-11 jumps imo. It also depends on what your phobias are. After you do a few jumps, you should ask yourself: ''so what is it about skydiving that scares the shit out of me?''. Once you pass AFF, you'l prob be well & stable on your belly and you will be pretty relaxed.

My personal phobia was falling out of the harnesses. I know it is nearly impossible, but the rig seemed so simple (too simple). Once my mind got past that, you relax a lot more.


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- Any tips for improving my freefall posture at home?



Tunnels are really an excellent tool to improve freefall posture.


Cheers! :)

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What's the constant debate about a horseshoe?



Cut away/clear risers vs just firing reserve into the mess.

Wow, that debate was over in the 70's.

Two tries to clear, then cutaway and pull reserve. :)


And that was over in the late 70's.
:D:D:P

For a main horseshoe: Monitor altitude, try to clear, if unsuccessful, cutaway and pull reserve by decision altitude (hard deck)
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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Hey guys,

Hello!

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like the title mentions, I'm a beginner AFF student. Did my first jump on saturday, level 2 and 3 on sunday, and re-doing level 3 on thursday (for the best, I wasn't really at ease during that last jump). In the meanwhile, skydiving is all I can think about. My jumpmasters gave me some exercises/stretches to get a bit more in the relaxed position, and I've been doing them all the time.

So to finish my day, I came up with a couple of questions (that I'll be sure to ask my instructors aswell, just going through some info).

- At my DZ, there's alot of AFF1 students, about a class of 6 - 8 each week. Most of them said they will be continuing the course. But, on average (or a good guesstimate), what percentage of people doing the AFF course actually keep skydiving? (if there is one)



I can't give any real numbers BUT I've seen a whole lot more AFF students around than regular club jumpers, most of whom I would recognise by now. I suspect that like most sports, a significant majority become occasional participants (visiting the DZ once per month or less?). It's hard to say. I don't plan to go more than about once per month, primarily because of the cost. I earn about 30 skydives per month, and most of those I need to trade for food and rent.

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- How many jumps did it take for you to get comfortable in the air (crappy question, I know, just curious)? Are you ever completely relaxed?



I've done 12 jumps so far. I remember nothing from 1, 2 or 3, basically - absolute blurs. I was overwhelmed and not at all relaxed. Jump 4, level 4, was nice, that's your first one with only one instructor. I remember a lot of it. Unfortunately then I had a long break and my next jump was a bit shit, but after that they got ok again and the big increase in confidence and comfort came around level 5-6-7 and then BOOM, con 1 is amazing. No problem, grinning the whole way up and then just hurling yourself out and watching the plane flying away, seeing that you've got 8000ft to play with and just swimming around in the air.

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- When experiencing a horseshoe malfunction, is the emergency procedure still the best solution? Wont the reserve just twist up into the main canopy?



No comment

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- I realise it's something for the far future, but when would you make your first equipment purchase? 50 jumps? 100? 200? Would you save up for a rig, or start off with buying helmet, altimeter, overall, ...



I'm keeping my eyes open for cheap accessories (everything but a rig) right now and will purchase them when I see something at a decent price. I guess until I buy a rig I might as well keep borrowing the other gear because it's all included in the rental cost.

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- Any tips for improving my freefall posture at home?



Build a wind tunnel?

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- How many jumps did it take for you to get comfortable in the air (crappy question, I know, just curious)? Are you ever completely relaxed?



I would use a different term. I would go with when did I feel confident in the air. The answer to that was after my first AFF jump without the instructor holding on to me during exit. I botched it a little and ended up falling back down. I instantly and without difficulty flipped myself. After that I had no worries as I knew I could always get into deployment position.

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- How many jumps did it take for you to get comfortable in the air (crappy question, I know, just curious)? Are you ever completely relaxed?



I would use a different term. I would go with when did I feel confident in the air. The answer to that was after my first AFF jump without the instructor holding on to me during exit. I botched it a little and ended up falling back down. I instantly and without difficulty flipped myself. After that I had no worries as I knew I could always get into deployment position.



Same here, going fully unstable and bringing yourself back gives you great confidence and a sense of control.

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- At my DZ, there's alot of AFF1 students, about a class of 6 - 8 each week. Most of them said they will be continuing the course. But, on average (or a good guesstimate), what percentage of people doing the AFF course actually keep skydiving? (if there is one)

After the first AFF, my experience is that about 9/10 finish.

- How many jumps did it take for you to get comfortable in the air (crappy question, I know, just curious)? Are you ever completely relaxed?

My E-2 was the epiphany. No instructor there to stress me out-- I just enjoyed the jump and I remember feeling like "arch harder" and it just came together. Yes, you will get to the point that you are relaxed at exit. From 13.5K, it takes a while before bad stuff can happen.


- When experiencing a horseshoe malfunction, is the emergency procedure still the best solution? Wont the reserve just twist up into the main canopy?

- I realise it's something for the far future, but when would you make your first equipment purchase? 50 jumps? 100? 200? Would you save up for a rig, or start off with buying helmet, altimeter, overall, ...

I bought a Kevlar helmet after jump 5 and put my first scratches on it from a hard landing on jump 6. Buy the helmet, goggles, altimeter, etc, when you are sure you will get your license. The big ticket items can wait.


- Any tips for improving my freefall posture at home?

Practice arching on the floor with your feet on the couch, putting positive pressure on your legs.
Charlie Gittins
MEI-I, CFI-I
Sigma TI; AFF-I
FAA Senior Rigger

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Thanks for all your answers! Unfortunately, I wont be needing them the next couple of weeks... Started AFF1 last saturday, got to level 6 today, was going to do level 7 and a solo jump, but then stupidity struck...

My landing wasn't very confident at any time, and I landed on my ass all the time. So I was told to keep my legs down, flare, and run it out. Unfortunately, in somewhat panicky movement, I didn't continue flaring, and hit the ground a bit to hard. First cask, ligaments messed up. My own fault.

So next question (ofcourse I'm going to ask my instructors to run me through the landing tips again), any tips for getting a smoother landing? :P

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So next question (ofcourse I'm going to ask my instructors to run me through the landing tips again), any tips for getting a smoother landing? :P

At the risk of sounding dismissive, absolutely do not take any tips from here for getting a smoother landing. None of us have seen your landings and trying to implement anything somebody might say here could get really bad for you.

You have to TRUST your instructors. They're watching your landings. They'll give you tips on what to do. Don't take advice on this off the internet. Something somebody might say here might just pop up in your head as you're about to land, and what if it's wrong? Skydiving is not something you learn through the mail.
"For you see, an airplane is an airplane. A landing area is a landing area. But a dropzone... a dropzone is the people."

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...So next question (ofcourse I'm going to ask my instructors to run me through the landing tips again), any tips for getting a smoother landing? :P



Learn to PLF well.

Really, really well.

It takes a while to figure out when and how to flare properly and consistently. Getting the sight picture down is something that comes only with practice.

And no matter how good you get, there will always be the possibility of screwing up or getting tossed around by the wind.

Having the ability to PLF in your "toolbox" will save your ass (figuratively and literally) many many times in jumps to come.
"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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My landing wasn't very confident at any time, and I landed on my ass all the time. So I was told to keep my legs down, flare, and run it out. Unfortunately, in somewhat panicky movement, I didn't continue flaring, and hit the ground a bit to hard. First cask, ligaments messed up. My own fault.

Just like your instructors are telling you, flare all the way. It's really that simple. Make sure your hands go ALL the way down, like you're looking for change in the bottom of your pockets.

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If you are out for a period of time, use that time to study. Learn more about how the canopy flies and how to fly it. The SIM has some basic information and books like The Parachute And It's Pilot should also be useful.

I trust my instructors and value their guidance. But I always want to understand what I am doing and why. Ask enough questions that you really understand.

Recently I transitioned to my own rig. I was told that I didn’t fully flare on the landing. In fact, what was reported to me was not at all what I remembered. Thankfully I had it on video and could study it closely. Studying your landings with your instructors can be a big help.

I was curious to see how high I was when I started my flare because I tend to be late rather than early. I have attached a photo showing 3 frames of a landing with some reference lines. This type of thing can be helpful to see really where you were in different stages of the landing.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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