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pchapman

Wind tunnel for static line progression students?

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Anyone have experience using the wind tunnel as an optional part of a static line or IAD progression system (known as the "gradual" progression programs here in Canada)?

A local DZ is looking at the issue because a tunnel will be opening this season 1 1/2 hrs from the DZ, when in the past the closest tunnel was 6 hours away.

Everyone talks about tunnel use for the AFF or PFF programs. But then why not offer some way for gradual progression students take advantage of the tunnel too, in a manner integrated with the DZ's system?

Someone suggested looking at what points it would be best to have tunnel training, such as at one or more of the following points:
- before the first static line jump
- before the first 5 sec freefall
- before the 15 sec freefall

This shouldn't be about whether a tunnel is needed or useful, but how to make it fit with static line and similar systems -- ones where students are normally left on their own to figure out stability.

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I don't see it as being a good requirement. Add-on, maybe -- but for the S/L portion, maybe just to prove to the student that they don't have to hurry. Because the tunnel doesn't simulate coming up to speed very well, and that's part of the challenge of S/L.

But for the early delays, and figuring out how to get rid of that turn or spin, it'd be magic.

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 did a short 6 minutes of tunnel between static line and free fall and I feel it was helpful. Now that I have my A license I am going back for 75 minutes to improve my FS skills. For me, I was able to have some assurance that I could achieve or regain stability as I progressed.

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Not an instructor, but a S/L student who spent a lot of time getting there -

I had a very hard time transitioning from Hop & Pops to the first, short delays.

I actually ended up doing an AFF jump to gain the confidence I needed to make my first successful 5 sec delay.

IMO (worth what you paid for it, maybe a little less :P) If I had been able to get a few minutes in a tunnel learning basic "boxman" stability, perhaps a bit of instability recovery, learning how to "trust the arch," it would have helped me immensely.

As you said, the part where the student is "normally left on their own to figure out stability" is where I had the most trouble.
For me, that was leaving the Hop & Pop and going to the short delays.
"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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Great idea!
After Pitt Meadows ran out of freefall instructors, they were fortunate that a wind-tunnel operated near Vancouver for a couple of years.
They sent all their IAD/traditional freefall students to the tunnel and noticed a dramatic improvement in progression.

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pchapman,
I just became licensed this past summer, using the IAD system. I would be worried that the added cost might scare potential new divers away from the sport. Even if it is considered "optional" how many students would tell their instructors "no" when posed with the "option" of "you should do some tunnel time."

One thing that you said in your last paragraph of the original post was "ones where students are normally left on their own to figure out stability." Maybe I was blessed with the greatest instructors on earth, but I was never left to figure anything out on my own. I can't tell you how many times I had to "flop" out on one of those "outlines with wheels" and spun around on the floor of the hanger practicing the proper positions and movements to achieve the desired goal that the dive intended to achieve. Always at the direction of an instructor, never to "figure out for myself." My most chilling jump of the entire progression was the "go unstable" jump. They had pounded into my brain so many times the importance of a really good arch, that I really was having a hard time trying to figure out WHY DO YOU WANT MY TO GIVE UP MY ARCH and do flips, rolls, etc etc:)
I am going to Seattle in about 3 weeks to do some tunnel time to work on tracking etc. But I really would worry if the added cost would have be a part of my IAD.

Just my 2 cents.

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I shouldn't have used the term "tracking." My bad. I want to work more on being positive of my body position (arch/de-arch) for better up/down control. And leg/arm position for better movement forward/backwards. All in all, just to be more aware of where my body is going in relationship to my body position.

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tunnel time will be the most valuable prior to 15 sec delays.
If a student is going to have a problem that the tunnel can help, this is usually where it starts.
5 sec delays don't give them enough time/speed to really get into trouble.
tunnel time prior to the class will have no significant value until they reach terminal, nothing wrong with that, but most s/l 1st jump students never get to freefall.
This is the paradox of skydiving. We do something very dangerous, expose ourselves to a totally unnecesary risk, and then spend our time trying to make it safer.

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Don't do it to rush your training along. Do it because it's fun! You didn't need those large briefcases full of cash anyway! Otherwise you wouldn't have taken up skydiving! Heh heh heh.

Thing I like about my tunnel time is I can see a pretty reasonable progression in my ability from the videos. Almost none of my skydives are on video, but every minute of my tunnel time is! If I go back and watch them, it's very easy to see that I'm improving. That feedback was very useful to keep me motivated as a student. It's also nice to see how far I've come.

I did my first session between AFF 2 and 3 and credit it with being able to hold a heading. AFF 3 is where they potentially will let you go for the first time. If I had a do-over I'd probably want to do half an hour in the tunnel prior to my first skydive. Going into the program knowing how to fly my body probably would have been helpful to me, personally.
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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I think one of the most important things for student is stable deployment and you can learn it in tunel. There are toooooo many incidents and accidents because of that.

This one is interesting, sorry you can use google translator

http://www.transport.gov.pl/files/0/30651/20131651U.pdf

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The hard part is that a gradual progression is designed to have the student prove they can do one task before allowing them to move on.

I had an AFF student show up with an hour of tunnel time. His first jump was Cat A. Second jump was Cat D - 90, 180, and 360 turns in a single jump. His third jump was barrel rolls, back- and front flips.

He got the chance to prove his skills because an AFF jump gives you time to do that.

I think you can only responsibly advance a static line student a little at a time. After a successful practice throw, you can give him a real throw; but would you feel good about giving him a 10 sec delay so he can show you some turns?

I could imagine a jump where the student exits, does two practice touches and deploys on the third.

15 mins in the tunnel can teach a student all they need to know about A-license skills. That can be done at any point and will be beneficial.

The hard part is integrating it into a program deliberately designed to be "gradual"

Jonathan

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jonathan.newman

The hard part is that a gradual progression is designed to have the student prove they can do one task before allowing them to move on.

I had an AFF student show up with an hour of tunnel time. His first jump was Cat A. Second jump was Cat D - 90, 180, and 360 turns in a single jump. His third jump was barrel rolls, back- and front flips.

He got the chance to prove his skills because an AFF jump gives you time to do that.

I think you can only responsibly advance a static line student a little at a time. After a successful practice throw, you can give him a real throw; but would you feel good about giving him a 10 sec delay so he can show you some turns?

I could imagine a jump where the student exits, does two practice touches and deploys on the third.

15 mins in the tunnel can teach a student all they need to know about A-license skills. That can be done at any point and will be beneficial.

The hard part is integrating it into a program deliberately designed to be "gradual"

Jonathan



........................................................................

You just explained a great program - for a tunnel-rat - to demonstrate all the must-know freefall skills in two or three jumps, but he still needs to survive a couple dozen canopy rides before he is ready for an A License.

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pchapman

Anyone have experience using the wind tunnel as an optional part of a static line or IAD progression system (known as the "gradual" progression programs here in Canada)?

A local DZ is looking at the issue because a tunnel will be opening this season 1 1/2 hrs from the DZ, when in the past the closest tunnel was 6 hours away.

Everyone talks about tunnel use for the AFF or PFF programs. But then why not offer some way for gradual progression students take advantage of the tunnel too, in a manner integrated with the DZ's system?

Someone suggested looking at what points it would be best to have tunnel training, such as at one or more of the following points:
- before the first static line jump
- before the first 5 sec freefall
- before the 15 sec freefall

This shouldn't be about whether a tunnel is needed or useful, but how to make it fit with static line and similar systems -- ones where students are normally left on their own to figure out stability.



From a person who learned via static line, I don't see the value prior to any freefalls. I think the most benefit would be gained prior to the 15 second delay, with some value added prior to any freefalls.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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nigel99

***Anyone have experience using the wind tunnel as an optional part of a static line or IAD progression system (known as the "gradual" progression programs here in Canada)?

A local DZ is looking at the issue because a tunnel will be opening this season 1 1/2 hrs from the DZ, when in the past the closest tunnel was 6 hours away.

Everyone talks about tunnel use for the AFF or PFF programs. But then why not offer some way for gradual progression students take advantage of the tunnel too, in a manner integrated with the DZ's system?

Someone suggested looking at what points it would be best to have tunnel training, such as at one or more of the following points:
- before the first static line jump
- before the first 5 sec freefall
- before the 15 sec freefall

This shouldn't be about whether a tunnel is needed or useful, but how to make it fit with static line and similar systems -- ones where students are normally left on their own to figure out stability.



From a person who learned via static line, I don't see the value prior to any freefalls. I think the most benefit would be gained prior to the 15 second delay, with some value added prior to any freefalls.

.................................................................................

Funny!
When I was trying to graduate from 1/2 second freefalls, to five second freefalls, a bit of tunnel time could have saved me a dozen jumps.
... but that was back in 1979 ...
Since 1979 I have earned S/L, IAD, Progressive Freefall and Tandem Instructor ratings.
What do I know????
Hah!
Hah!

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Interesting about how Pitt Meadows did make use of a tunnel for static line progression students.

At the moment I'm kind of thinking that, as many have said, there would be a great benefit for a static line progression student to get tunnel before the 15 sec delays. That's where the in-freefall stability & movement skills become important.

But I can still see a great benefit too, as a few have noted, if a student manages to get around to doing tunnel earlier, before freefall. (As long as the student's progression isn't drawn out so long that they don't get to long freefalls for 6 months after doing tunnel, and so forget some of the lessons. But any very drawn out progression will allow lessons to be lost.)

Tunnel may not help you climb out or step off a plane, but it will give you a feel for what to experience after stepping off. So it teaches something about the end point you are trying to achieve, even if you still have to figure out the bits in the middle. (Jumpers do have to deal with subterminal air on exit, but still.)

It may be instinctive to us feel what chest to wind is, to adopt a neutral body position, not flail in the air, and not be bothered by all the wind pressure and noise. But all of that can be lacking in students, and can be taught in the tunnel.

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riggerrob

******Anyone have experience using the wind tunnel as an optional part of a static line or IAD progression system (known as the "gradual" progression programs here in Canada)?

A local DZ is looking at the issue because a tunnel will be opening this season 1 1/2 hrs from the DZ, when in the past the closest tunnel was 6 hours away.

Everyone talks about tunnel use for the AFF or PFF programs. But then why not offer some way for gradual progression students take advantage of the tunnel too, in a manner integrated with the DZ's system?

Someone suggested looking at what points it would be best to have tunnel training, such as at one or more of the following points:
- before the first static line jump
- before the first 5 sec freefall
- before the 15 sec freefall

This shouldn't be about whether a tunnel is needed or useful, but how to make it fit with static line and similar systems -- ones where students are normally left on their own to figure out stability.



From a person who learned via static line, I don't see the value prior to any freefalls. I think the most benefit would be gained prior to the 15 second delay, with some value added prior to any freefalls.

.................................................................................

Funny!
When I was trying to graduate from 1/2 second freefalls, to five second freefalls, a bit of tunnel time could have saved me a dozen jumps.
... but that was back in 1979 ...
Since 1979 I have earned S/L, IAD, Progressive Freefall and Tandem Instructor ratings.
What do I know????
Hah!
Hah!

I got well and truly stuck on the 10 second delays, where it was obvious I had stability issues. My comment was qualified with 'most value'.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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I think the tunnel can be an excellent tool for transitioning from static-line to free-fall, but I would be inclined to modify the progression system a bit and send them 'all the way up' after they have proven they can actually save their own life - by pulling a free-fall parachute system at least once or twice, preferably while being belly to earth/into the wind without losing stability in the opening. Just let them open @4500ft the first longer freefalls and put audible back-up gadgets on them.
(Yes, you should explain the pitfalls...)

In the tunnel they can practice just about everything you need to survive a free-fall - you could even have them train a high speed malfunction, pulling / throwing a pc and keeping an eye on an altimeter without going all over the place.

Granted - you would not want them to try a tracking, but regaining stability can be learned in a tunnel, just as a stable pull. And the beauty of it is that apart from the travel cost, any serious static-line student will immediatly recognize the 'bang-for-buck' the tunnel can give him.

For the safety of the student at pull time there is not much difference between coming from +5000ft for a 15/20 seconds delay or coming from +9000ft for "a longer spell of the real stuff". They have to pull their main parachute at terminal velocity at the right altitude and preferably stable but 'Hey, it is no big deal!"

There really isn't much point in having people go through several five- eight- and 10 second delay jumps, they often get frustrated and find it hard to ease into it.

If you build enough tunnel-airtime into the program I bet you can even teach everybody to wave off before the pull :)

"Whoever in discussion adduces authority uses not intellect but memory." - Leonardo da Vinci
A thousand words...

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mattjw916

***tunnel time to work on tracking

that's not going to work out the way you hope

You would be surprised. I train military freefall parachutists for a living. Each of our students gets 20 minutes of tunnel time prior to their first one-on-one jump: ten minutes with just a jumpsuit and another ten minutes with a tunnel rig on. In that second ten minutes during one of their rotations we teach them to track. We, as instructors, put our back up against the wall and have them fly up to us. We then grab them by the rig at the shoulders and give them a shake to prompt them to transition into a track. Another instructor on the net adjusts their body position. We shake them again and they resume a neutral body position. It works perfectly.

Chuck

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