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sraja

No Wind Days!!

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Last saturday there was absolutely no wind at the dropzone. I made three jumps and this is how they went -
1. Bumpity bumpity bump! Not so bad...
2. Whoa!!! Bumpity bumpity bump!! Still not so bad..
3. Stop!! I am at position "4" on my flare and it still going as fast as normal flight!!

I stopped jumping right after that. The speed was too scary for me. I asked around and all the experience jumpers seem to think no wind days are the most fun but there was a lot of carnage amongst the low time jumpers :)

Now, I have heard various techniques to try on no-wind days and I do intend to try them the next time around but I am interested in hearing what techniques you use to slow down and get a tip-toe landing on no-wind day. Personally, I prefer about 10mph winds to get that right flare and gentle touch down... but hey! who knows in another 200 jumps I could be the one going whee!! on a no wind day.

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I dearly love no-wind days because I get plenty of laughs watching people burn in under canopy. IMO, the reason so many people burn in on no-wind days is that they simply don't know how to fly their canopies all the way to the ground. This applies even to people with thousands of jumps so don't feel bad about having problems.

Without going into a lot of detail, the bottom line is that a canopy develops maximum lift just before it stalls. Conveniently, this is also when forward speed is minimal.

A great landing is a well-timed stall, i.e., a stall where your feet touch the ground just as the canopy is about to stall.

Different kinds of canopies can have *very* different stall characteristics and different levels of efficiency at converting forward speed to lift, so there is no one single technique that works for all canopies. On my Triathlon 175 I generally do a smooth, single-stage flare from full flight and have no problems landing on days with no wind. Other canopies, e.g., 9-cells, seem to do better with a two-stage flare, though.

Look for an experienced jumper who jumps the same type of canopy you jump, and at about the same loading. If they are getting great landings on no-wind days then watch them very carefully as they land and talk with them to find out exactly how they do it.

Walt

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I love it! Used to scare me but now I love those fast approaches where you can just level out and glide along the ground. That is, now I've learnt how much furthur I can really brake my canopy without stalling it. Surprised me just how much extra power there is to be found at the end of a flare when you need to get that last bit of lift. It did take me a long time to mentally get over the rush of wanting to get to the ground and get my feet on the deck though, possibly as I'm not very good with heights!

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LOVE LOVE LOVE no wind days.

Fly your canopy until you are on the ground! Wait for it to set you down, dont reach out for the ground. Aim for the longest "swoop" possible once you get it into level flight.


What do you do when someone throws a big planet at you?
Throw your pilot chute in defense!

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I realize that you are considered a low time experienced jumper and the most important thing right now is knowing when to decided to jump and when to stay on the ground. But at some point soon, you are going to need to get over the "I must land into the wind and it must be [insert wind speed here] knots for me to feel good about it" since one day YOU WILL LAND OFF and you may not be able to land into the wind and could very well end up landing downwind. There has been no shortage of people seriously messing themselves up in this sport because they seem to feel they have to land into the wind and then they do something stupid under canopy low to the ground.

No as far as my preference on wind is concerned, unless I am doing a round of zone accuracy, I generally dislike landing into the wind on the vast majority of my jumps. Crosswind landings are the most common landings I do and as long as the winds are less than 15 kts a good downwinder always gets the blood circulating. But what can I say, I am in the minority as I am a competetive swooper. I swoop for the ground rush. Nothing more, nothing less.


Try not to worry about the things you have no control over

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Without going into a lot of detail, the bottom line is that a canopy develops maximum lift just before it stalls.


Some canopies (such as my own sabre2) will generate so much lift that they will go up quite a lot if you go to max flare.

Obviously the only people that can tell you how you would be better to land your canopy are going to be coaches. However the best bit of advice I've ever had is that you should land exactly the same whatever the wind is doing. "There is no wind."

I've just moved from F111 to ZP, so I now love Nil-Winders!

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I prefer no wind days to anything. I can maximize my surf and get mini swoops, especially if I time my flare just right.

I think a staged flare is more important on a no wind day because you want to finish the flare completely. Stage, plane out, finish finish finish. I've seen way too many people burn in on no wind days because they only flare half way.

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the best bit of advice I've ever had is that you should land exactly the same whatever the wind is doing.



Can you elaborate please?
Mykel AFF-I10
Skydiving Priorities: 1) Open Canopy. 2) Land Safely. 3) Don’t hurt anyone. 4) Repeat…

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>>the best bit of advice I've ever had is that you should land exactly
>>the same whatever the wind is doing.

>Can you elaborate please?

The actual physical part of the landing (where your hands move to, how much tension there is on the brake lines etc) is exactly the same no matter what the wind - unless you are actively turning, as you are during a good crosswind landing. However, the visuals are quite different, and this often screws people up.

(I love low wind mornings when the grass is wet!)

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In no wind days, you can also use "uphill flare" technique: after you level off and your feet are almost touching the ground and you still have some forward speed, pull the toggles down more (but not below the stall point!) to go 2-4ft up. This will dissipate your kinetic energy as you go uphill. When your forward speed bleeds to almost zero, finish the flare to almost the stagnation point for the tip-toe landing.
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Let me give you a bit of perspective.

When you first learn to land a canopy, you learn to do it as a simple (to the point of being kind of mechanical) procedure and there's good reason for that. Early in your skydiving career there is a shitload of stuff to learn and most of it is of a much higher priority than landing with finesse on a no-wind day.

Early on, you learn to do a smooth, single-motion flare when you get down to some height above the ground. Works great under most circumstances. The trick is to get really consistent about judging that height where you start the flare.

A great many people don't get much past that level and that's why they burn in on no-wind days.

Other than avoiding obstacles and nasty landing areas, there are two things you need to accomplish for a good landing:

* Slow your rate of descent to a near stop as your feet touch the ground.
* Slow your forward speed to a near stop as your feet touch the ground.

By far and away, IMO, slowing your rate of descent is the most important. A high rate of decent will hurt you if you hit the ground. Having a high forward speed when you hit the ground produces more of a "glancing blow" and is not as likely to hurt you--unless you run into a wall, a tree, or something vertical, that is.

Virtually any modern canopy in good condition will slow your rate of descent with even a half-assed flare because they are very good at converting forward speed to lift. It's not as easy to slow your forward speed, though. That's where facing into the wind comes in handy.

When you are faced into the wind, you can do a half-assed flare and slow your rate of decent to a near stop and the wind slows your forward speed for you.

In effect, the wind is compensating for your relatively weak flare. That doesn't happen on no-wind days, though, so you'll have to hit the ground running and hope you can run fast enough to not fall down. Some jumpers intentionally slide in on their butts on no-wind days.

A couple of posters have responded with a somewhat cryptic answer of, "finish your flare". They are correct, but they're not explaining what they mean by that.

Repeat 100 times: "When I flare, I am converting forward speed to lift."

Remember, most canopies are far better at slowing vertical descent than they are at reducing forward speed. That's why you often see jumpers skimming parallel to the ground on landing. Not only is it normal, it's fun!

Let's say you are coming in fast on a no-wind day and you've reduced your rate of descent but not your forward speed. You are hauling ass just a couple of feet above the ground. What do you do? Press those toggles down further as you watch your sink rate. You have excess forward speed. You can convert that speed to lift. The idea is to keep travelling parallel to the ground until your forward speed bleeds off.

One poster noted that on his Sabre 2, he can flare and go back up quite easily. That's true for many of today's canopies. Doing so is not a good flare, though. The idea is to keep flaring just enough to keep your canopy level and your feet above the ground until there is no more forward speed to convert to lift. Oh, and be sure your feet are not very far above the ground when that happens!

That's the short version, but I hope it helps.

Walt

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One poster noted that on his Sabre 2, he can flare and go back up quite easily. That's true for many of today's canopies. Doing so is not a good flare, though. The idea is to keep flaring just enough to keep your canopy level and your feet above the ground until there is no more forward speed to convert to lift. Oh, and be sure your feet are not very far above the ground when that happens!



If you do that under a small enough (where "small enough" is a function of the canopy type and density altitude - you can get away with a couple sizes smaller at sea level than on a summer day outside Denver, and smaller sizes with elliptical planforms than square and cross braced vs. conventional construction) parachute and/or with enough tail wind you'll be going too fast to run, or at least fast enough that stopping is not pleasant.

You need to be intelligent about energy management. Sinking so your feet would be below ground level if you extended them and popping back up to ground level before the canopy stops flying will set you down with less forward speed than if you tried to fly the parachute all the way into the ground and the same vertical speed.

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This is from someone at your experience level so take with a grain of salt. I am just starting to stand my landings on no wind days. I used to hate them.
I am NO expert on canopy anything. This is just what helped me.
I start my flare higher. And I flare slower with no wind. With zero winds I start my flare almost twice as High as I do in 20 mph winds. 10 mph almost 1/2 way between. This is what works with what I'm flying. It took some trial and error.(I still don't have it down perfect at all) I might do something very different 50 jumps from now, but this is what works for me now. I'm not advising, just sharing my simple method.
"I'm not sure how it's going to turn out, except I'll die in the end, she said. So what could really go wrong? -----Brian Andreas

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I like no wind days better. I got my pro rating in no wind conditions.

newer jumpers do need practice flying their canopies in those conditions. You'll get the hang of it eventually. I didn't like them to begin with either.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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Thank you Walt! That explanation really helped. I am eager to try out the stuff now on a no-wind day. Which is tomorrow!!! Like you mentioned - I am able to reduce my rate of descent but the forward speed at full flare scares the crap out me. I have also gathered the following advice from fellow jumpers at the DZ

1. Flare, rock back in your harness and butt slide using heels
2. Do a punch flare as compared to a staged flare but do it a wee little later than you would normally do a staged flare
3. Try finding the sweet spot up high and apply that down below

And for the other poster who asked what the bump bump thing was - it was meant to convey the way I skimmed, slid and tumbled across the ground last saturday. :P

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Be prepared to run your landings out. I find that having one foot ahead of the other helps. Also, once you find that sweet spot, I.E. the perfect flare, you can just slide your feet across the grass for yards... and not fall down. :)
And if I don't get the lift I should have gotten on my flare, I opt for the baseball slide with one foot tucked under the other knee.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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have you checked up high if you can stall your canopy? If not, you may not be getting max flare.

I had some trouble landing 0 wind days with my pilot 210! (wl about 1,05) When I rotated my toggles in my hands so that i shortened the brake lines in that way (10 cm or so / 3 inches) i had no more trouble landing.

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When I rotated my toggles in my hands so that i shortened the brake lines in that way (10 cm or so / 3 inches) i had no more trouble landing.



What may work for you may not work for others. Flying slow by wrapping your toggles isn't the smartest thing to be doing. Go back and read what Walt was talking about concerning forward speed and lift. I don't agree 100% with what he says, but I do agree with the majority of his comments. Personally I wouldn't be advising people to change the control range of their canopy. But that's me ...


Try not to worry about the things you have no control over

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