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CobraRover

AFF level 3 help

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Hey everyone, just posting here for a bit of advice really. Currently doing my AFF course but ive hit a bit of a brick wall.... level 3. Wondering if ive rushed things a little?

My level 1 went really well, secondary instructor released me for a while. Level 2 went even better, with sec instructor releasing for the whole of free time and flying round my front. Both levels my instructors said my body position was fine.

The next day, my back and my legs were shot to pieces, but with confidence sky high from the day before i thought id fly through my jumps no problem.

Level 3 i had my instructors changed. They advised me what to do if i started turning, but said i probably wont as my body position had been fine on previous jumps.... but it did! I cant stop turning to the bloody left! I dont know whether its coz i was in so much pain and i couldnt get my arch right, or because im just crap :P Anyway, a retake followed.... which i also failed with the same turning to the left problem. This time i had a weight belt on to help me arch (and coz im rather light and have a really slow fall rate). My instructors later told me i could be arching more, but i really felt like i was giving it all i could, and im now thinking that i maybe neglected focus on my legs and arms because of this, which may have added to my turning problems.

So, all in all, ill be going into my 3rd level 3 attempt. I havent done it today, coz i can hardly walk with the pain im in, but if i fail again im gonna have to stop the course as i cant afford it, which is the last thing i want to do after hyping myself up for a year and taking a week of work. So in the back of my mind, i have money troubles and on top of that my confidence has been shot to bits by my last 2 poor performances. Did anyone else experience similar problems on level 3? And if i cant do this within 3 attempts, what are the chances of me messing up on later levels?

Thanks for reading

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Hey Cobra,

Welcome to AFF and to skydiving. First I think it would help if we know where you were located. Country/DZ, etc. I am guessing you are from Europe somewhere but that is just what I am getting from your post and could be completely wrong.

I have a couple words of advice. Please don't come to dropzone.com or the internet to learn to skydive. Learn from the instructors you have available to you at your dz.

Be prepared. You are about to get advice from all kinds of people. Some will be appropriate and good, and some will not be. You will have people of all levels replying to your post. All these things will be going through your head on your next AFF jump. I would rather see you go in with a clear mind and the advice from your instructors.

Drop zones should have an approved list of books, materials from which you can learn from. DZ.com unfortunately should not be one of them.

That is what I have to offer you. I think I would be doing you a disservice without fully knowing the problems through discussion with your instructors or videos of your jumps.

Keep with it. You will get it. Category C is a really big transition jump.
Kim Mills
USPA D21696
Tandem I, AFF I and Static Line I

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Many of us had difficulties when trying to control our bodies in the air. Unwanted spiraling is pretty common. My boyfriend has just finished his AFF course and he also stucked at level 3. We were talking about it a lot at that time and he also practiced a lot on the groud. Asymmetry might cause you turn and it's not easy to control your extremities, especially your legs because you can't see them. It can help a lot if you practice the body position with your instructor or an experienced skydiver or at the mirror at home. A camera flyer - that is the video he/she makes of you - can be a huge help.
Don't give up!

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There are two things that caught my attention in your post -

Quote

The next day, my back and my legs were shot to pieces, but with confidence sky high from the day before i thought id fly through my jumps no problem.



and this-

Quote

if i fail again im gonna have to stop the course as i cant afford it, which is the last thing i want to do after hyping myself up for a year and taking a week of work.



It sounds to me, based on the above, that you're trying to get through AFF in short time period (a week), and that because of that, you're pushing it.

Making a first jump, with the whole day of training, is a tremendous physical effort invovling muscles that you're not used to using. If you went on to make a second jump, it's no wonder that you were worn out and sore the following day.

This is where trying to finish AFF in a week is a problem. It's not something you can count on being able to finish in a week. Often times, students will pay for jumps, one or two at a time, as they go. Even if you jump every weekend, you have five days in between to recover.

Seeing as things went well for the first two, you obviously have the ability to skydive. I think what you need to do is come up with a slightly less ambitious plan for getting through your training. You need to be feeling good, both physically and mentally, you should be well rested, and well fed before even considering making a skydive. It's not only a matter of performing to the best of your ability, it's a matter of being the best position possible make a SAFE skydive.

There are other benefits to extending your training. You'll spend more time at the DZ, and have more exposure to that environment by the time you complete your training. It also helps financially, as it gives you time in between jumps to replenish your bank account.

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Quote

This time i had a weight belt on to help me arch (and coz im rather light and have a really slow fall rate). My instructors later told me i could be arching more,



Am I reading this right??? Your instructor put weight on you???

Just relax and listen to your instructors. Im sure you will be fine..
Never give the gates up and always trust your rears!

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It took me 4 tries at level 3. That arch was hard to find for some reason... I found it and had no problem with the rest of my AFF. Stick with it!

Quote

Quote

This time i had a weight belt on to help me arch (and coz im rather light and have a really slow fall rate). My instructors later told me i could be arching more,



Am I reading this right??? Your instructor put weight on you???



I was instructed to look into weights to increase my fall rate. I found a weight vest on dz.com. I was wearing 8lbs on my 4th attempt at level 3. level 4 I started wearing 12 lbs. of weight, which all of my instructors liked very much. I have actively started reducing the amount of weight I am dependent to wear to stay up with the "average" weight jumpers.

ExPeCt ThE uNeXpEcTeD!
DoNt MiNd ThE tYpOs, Im LaZy On CoRrEcTiOnS!

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The best thing that ever happened to me was tunnel time. I spent about 180 bucks I think, spent ten minutes in the wind tunnel perfecting my body position. I have had no problems on any of my jumps.

Don't know if you have a tunnel nearby. :|

The problem with trying to learn in free fall is that you only have 40 seconds of training for each jump which doesn't give you time to experiment with different foot positions and different arm positions. At first I was flying all over the place, smashing my face on the wall, spinning, etc. After 7 or 8 minutes I had it down and could control my movement, turning, etc. It really lets you know what muscles you use in free fall too, because my back hurt like a bitch for about a week afterwards.

I highly recommend. :P

Good luck!

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12 lbs? You're nuts. Really. I weighed the same as you when I started skydiving, never needed weights just needed to learn to ARCH. These days I do sometimes wear weights to stay with heavy tandem combos but that's it. You don't need weights to keep up with average sized jumpers, you need to learn to fly :S

I'm not an AFF instructor but giving someone, especially someone of normal weight, 8lbs to wear during student jumps? Sounds like lazy instructors to me :S

ciel bleu,
Saskia

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Here is a short and simple idea for ya.

SMILE!!

I didn't fail any AFF levels, but my instructors noted that when I was smiling at them, sticking my tongue at them etc..my body naturally relaxed into a perfect arch. To me it sounds like you are *trying to hard* to arch. Just relax, smile, laugh, sing, stick your tongue out etc whatever relaxes you and do the tasks at hand, the arch will come naturally. ;) Don't give up, and have fun!

-Evo
Zoo Crew

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Quote

I agree 12lbs is a lot (a way lot) but according to his profile he weights 123lbs without gear. That's well below average for a man. Especially in Texas.



Bingo! I am a tad bit on the skinny side.

Quote

12 lbs? You're nuts. Really. I weighed the same as you when I started skydiving, never needed weights just needed to learn to ARCH. These days I do sometimes wear weights to stay with heavy tandem combos but that's it. You don't need weights to keep up with average sized jumpers, you need to learn to fly :S

I'm not an AFF instructor but giving someone, especially someone of normal weight, 8lbs to wear during student jumps? Sounds like lazy instructors to me :S



My arch has vastly improved since AFF... I don't need the weight near as bad as I did before. My instructors could only slow down so much. They definitely weren't lazy. They were working their asses off to stay with my floating arse. I was still going through AFF and my body control just as wasn't natural like theirs. I have the vest if I need it, but I don't depend on it. I have very good range and can adjust readily with almost anyone. There are the occasional anvils that I have no hope with unless I strap on the weights.

ExPeCt ThE uNeXpEcTeD!
DoNt MiNd ThE tYpOs, Im LaZy On CoRrEcTiOnS!

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Quote

It took me 4 tries at level 3. That arch was hard to find for some reason... I found it and had no problem with the rest of my AFF. Stick with it!

Quote

Quote

This time i had a weight belt on to help me arch (and coz im rather light and have a really slow fall rate). My instructors later told me i could be arching more,



Am I reading this right??? Your instructor put weight on you???



I was instructed to look into weights to increase my fall rate. I found a weight vest on dz.com. I was wearing 8lbs on my 4th attempt at level 3. level 4 I started wearing 12 lbs. of weight, which all of my instructors liked very much.


IDK Im new at this AFFI thing. I have around 80 jumps as a instructor. I would not put weight on a student but thats just me...
Never give the gates up and always trust your rears!

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Rover:

1. Smile, Breathe, Relax. I am not kidding.... this is very helpful.

2. I have found the language used regarding arching to be sometimes unhelpful. I have heard the term "arch hard". Unfortunately that often implies arching rigidly. I have found that thinking of "arching deeply" is more helpful for me. I smile, breathe, relax, and ooze into a deeper arch (like a melting chocolate bar).

3. I am 52 years old so I have to work diligently on my flexibility. I have found this helpful with my arch:
I lie on the floor face down as if I was going to do a push up (with my hands on the floor in front of my shoulders) and then push my chest up...WHILE LEAVING MY PELVIS AND LEGS ON THE FLOOR. This helps me stretch those parts of me that need to stretch for a good arch.

4. Tunnel time has helped many folks in your situation.
The choices we make have consequences, for us & for others!

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Tunnel time.

I was having problems getting relaxed on my level 3 and 4, did 5 minutes in the tunnel (with a coach) which was basically practicing turns for the most part, and it REALLY helped and I easily passed level 5. Was worth every penny.

Oddly enough it helped most with my pre jump anxiety because I knew from the tunnel time I could fall stable and do turns with no problems. Once I knew that, I could relax and start having fun instead of being all stressed out.

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After a days rest i went back and got through my level 3 no problem, must have just been worn out coz i didnt feel like i was doing much different but everything just slotted into place :) Also got my level 4, 5, 6 and 7 done in the same day no problems at all. Cant believe i was having any difficulty - now it seems so easy!

Thanks to people for the advice :) Helped me relax a little more leading up to going again.

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My AFF #3 was terrible also. 1 and 2 were beautiful, but they almost made me repeat number 3.

I had a slight cold and didn't feel well and almost decided not to jump because of it. I didn't want to get ridiculed for wimping out with only 2 jumps under my belt, so I went up. My exit was horrid, I couldn't get stable which caused me to barely be able to get my objectives complete within altitude.

I have since learned that if I'm not 100% feeling good, I'm staying on the ground despite what the local skygods might think about me.

Also, my instructor suggested I take a deep breath right before exit to help with relaxing and it has worked wonders for quick stability.

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