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SoCalJumper

I'd like to learn a thing or two about spotting

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Who does it anymore, in skydiving actually over an operating DZ?

Obviously if you look out and you're somehow over a lake I wouldn't jump. But all I've ever seen for the most part is a green light and I'm in the exit order somehow.

The only time I've actuality spotted in 600 jumps where the hot air balloon jumps, and I've landed off fewer times than that.

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I'm guessing you're not the first guy out the door very often. If you were, you'd learn to look, in case the pilot remembers the jump run from yesterday and not the one he was told this morning.
You don't have to outrun the bear.

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Bertt

I'm guessing you're not the first guy out the door very often. If you were, you'd learn to look, in case the pilot remembers the jump run from yesterday and not the one he was told this morning.



I do it a lot, have dozens of video from the GoPro with nine+ guys that can go fuck themselves screaming Go, Go, Go. I think it looks short, and sometimes it is but I don't land out. Or do I put the last out tandems long by spotting?

I'm not jumping a canopy the size of my mother-in-laws bra and feel comfortable lading anywhere anyway.

Do I turn around and tell the entire plane to shut their mouths? Because I'd like to close the door sometimes for those with big mouths and not eyes but I don't think I'd jump much at that DZ any longer afterwards.

So your guess is incorrect. And is this on the first load of the day, or does the pilot often fade in and out of his days and flight operations?

I'm betting the nine guys with the big mouths can't fly a plane, and the pilot is more reliable. Ultimately my eyes are my own judge for my life as I pointed out, but every-time that light turns green the people who can't see anything have the loudest mouths.

And even being the first out on any given load (morning or afternoon) doesn't stop the yelling.

Point being, spotting, it very rarely applies ever in practice.

And I've always thought the screaming Go, Go, Go, was damn near an inflight emergency they way it's conducted daily just about everywhere I ever been.

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Point being, spotting, it very rarely applies ever in practice



You are 100% incorrect sir.

Spotting applies every time. The need for corrections is fewer and further between based on the use of GPS, and the pilot's ability to very precisely put the airplane exactly where he (or she) is told, but who tells them where that is?

More experienced pilots can figure that out themselves, but otherwise and during the course of the day, it's up to the jumpers to keep the pilot posted on changes in the conditions and the need for adjustments to the spot.

You, as a jumper, can take an active role in this. Sit by the door and pay attention. Take into account the winds, and the make up of the load.

Let's say it's an Otter, with a 10 way, 1 AFF and 2 tandems. You're talking about 4 'groups' leaving the plane, with the last two being very 'easy to please' based on their pull altitude and canopy size. In that case, there's less of a need to rush the 10 way out of the door, and less of a need to keep the group separation to the minimum dictated by the conditions. So if the light comes on 5/10ths before the DZ, and the winds call for 6 seconds between groups, the load in this example could wait until 3/10ths to begin the climbout, letting the 10 way exit closer to the DZ. The rest of the load could also give them 7 or 8 seconds separation to allow for extra space in the sky.

Take that same day, and now make the load a 4 way, a 3 way, three 2 ways, and two AFF lv 1's. Now you're in a much different place. You're talking about 7 groups needing to exit on the pass, with the last two groups (AFF lv1) being slow to exit with two instructors needing to get back to the DZ. So the 4 way needs to be on the ball ready to go on the light, and rest of the load needs to have their feet leaving the door right at 6 seconds in order to make it work for everyone.

Throughout all of this, you as a jumper involved in 'spotting' can take a minute after you land and pay attention to where the rest of the load opened up. How far out are those tandems or AFFs that got out last? If you were in the first group, where did you open? If not, ask someone from the first group where they opened. Were they short? Could they have been shorter? Ditto for the tandems or AFF instructors, how long were they? Could they use an adjustment on their end?

Pilots are generally pretty good at what they do. GPS is darn near 100% reliable, but with that said, all they can do is react to what they're told from the jumpers who are back there 'in the trenches' watching the proceedings keeping the 'front office' posted on what's happening.

Note/Disclaimer - ask at manifest how it all works at your DZ before interjecting yourself into the process. Anyone can observe, ask questions and collect data, but not just anyone should get involved in making changes that will effect everyone. Look into the system that's currently in place, and if you want to become an active part of it, ask the correct way to go about it.

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Why is it important to me..
out landings are not great.
I spot because I want the last guy out also to land on the DZ.
Other air traffic
I spot before the green light is even on. That way, when it comes on and we need to rush a 4way out, we can go immediately. Also gives time for correction to the pilot.

Other reasons - when you go to some far off beach, with a shitty old cessna, and no GPS, you need to know how to spot, and correctly according to wind, horizon etc. Sea landing is pretty much death.


Then there is also the GPS failure.

Specially with rookie pilots, I have plenty asked for either adjustment, or to make another pass.
You have the right to your opinion, and I have the right to tell you how Fu***** stupid it is.
Davelepka - "This isn't an x-box, or a Chevy truck forum"
Whatever you do, don't listen to ChrisD.

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So your problem is really with the guys who see the green light and have to go immediately regardless what the guy in the door sees ??
Easily solved. If you're a little short, hold your hand up and wait for a few seconds, then go.
If you're way, way off, move over and invite the loudmouths to go ahead. Some people can't be told, they have to be shown.
(Well, have a little consideration. Don't let them go out over a big lake or a formation of Chinook helicopters!)
You don't have to outrun the bear.

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On most of my skydives, I'm getting out toward the end of all the groups. I'm usually either tracking or doing a high pull (12K hop and pop :-) Tracking kind of forces you to spot since the Pilot's spot is really only good for people who are planning to go straight down (And the Pilot's spot always seems to be excellent for those jumps.) Tracking does have the advantage that you're going to your spot as much as it's coming to you. Being later in the load order (ever since that ONE guy...) is nice, since no one's anxious to get out at that point. All the belly jumpers have already left and the wingsuit guys are always taking a farther spot than I am.
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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When you landing in a stadium you kind of make sure the spot is right.;)

We have people that have been falling meat on record big ways that can't get a 182 on the right side of the the DZ. Those of us that spotted for student wearing rounds do pick a field, with pick a weed for the spot.:P One guy was spotting a Twin Bonanza load into an air show. The crowd line was a half mile long and we were going to spread ourselves out along the crowd line. This tool spotted so bad that none of the load hit the airport, that has a 10,000' military runway.>:(

Get a round, get out at 10,000' and you'll learn how to spot.B|
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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I know that when I used to spot a lot, I was never half as good as GPS is today. And I thought I was pretty good.

Now I spend the time I used to use doing marginal spots looking for aircraft. It's a better use of my time, and something the pilot cannot really do well. I'm watching the plane's path too, but as long as the spot is reasonable and the traffic is clear, I'll get out when the light comes on.

I do get really annoyed when the person in the door never looks out and just goes when the light comes on. He has the only real opportunity to make sure there's no traffic below.

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I do get really annoyed when the person in the door never looks out and just goes when the light comes on. He has the only real opportunity to make sure there's no traffic below.



This is a good point, and one reason I don't like the DZs who's door procedure is 'green light, open the door, and go'. It takes away the chance to really make a good scan for traffic. I much prefer opening the door a couple 1/10s before the spot, and taking your time looking for traffic before the light comes on.

Checking the spot is easy. Long before the door comes open you should already know where the spot should be. Checking that it's correct only takes a second - "The spot should be over the north end of the runway, and we're right over the north end, good".

Everything else should be time spent looking for traffic. Let's remember that means looking out, way out, in a big circle for approaching aircraft. An airplane doing 100 mph (slow for an airplane) will cover about 1.5 miles in 60 seconds, so that's where you need to be looking for a plane that will be in your airspace at the end of your freefall. If you want to check traffic for the whole load, you need to expand your search out to 3 or 4 miles out, as the end of an Otter load will be opening up another minute or so after you (and keeping in mind you might be 30 seconds from exit once you open the door and start your traffic scan). The main point is that anything right below you is not going to be your problem, it's the guy a couple miles out who's not listening to local frequency for the 'jumpers away' call.

An additional thought is that you need to lean waaaay out of the door to see under the plane and out far enough to be effective. Anyone you see in the door who is supposedly 'checking traffic' who doesn't get mostly out of the door and look under the plane is not doing much at all.

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>And I've always thought the screaming Go, Go, Go, was damn near an inflight emergency they way it's >conducted daily just about everywhere I ever been.

I couldn't agree more. Always a pet-peeve of mine too. Especially, since I grew up spotting round parachutes when the motivation to learn/spot was very high. So in every single case when I was looking out the door, I knew more than all those idiots yelling "go, go, go."

Here's a website that is worth checking each morning before heading to the DZ.

http://aviationweather.gov/products/nws/sanfrancisco

By knowing the winds aloft forecast you can then look out the door before jumping and see how much the uppers effect your drift in FF. Todays forecast by way of example:

In the region of Ontario Airport (ONT) @ 12000ft, the winds and temps are predicted to be 3627-07. Translation......winds from the north (360 degrees) at 27 knots (27) and the temperature at that altitude will be minus 7 degrees Celsius.

You'll learn a lot by applying this simple task and you can take some measure of comfort at least, in knowing that you have better information on hand than all those bozos screaming go, go, go. And if nothing else, you'll at least know how to dress for the freefall portion of the jump. :-)

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Southern_Man

Go spend some time at a C182 DZ. You will learn a thing or two about spotting there.



THIS. You will not really learn to spot at a turbine DZ.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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I couldn't agree more. Always a pet-peeve of mine too. Especially, since I grew up spotting round parachutes when the motivation to learn/spot was very high. So in every single case when I was looking out the door, I knew more than all those idiots yelling "go, go, go."




Hi Robert,

My way of dealing with that was to take my helmet off, a full face, lean back in and ask them to repeat, I didn’t hear them.

Sparky
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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Hi Buddy,

Yeah, I had ways of dealing with it too. Mostly, just ignoring them. Or, stepping aside and asking them if they wanted to go now. That just slowed things down even more however, since now they were wondering if there was something out there I had seen which they didn't know about. Ha! That caused them to then take a really good look, which just pissed everyone else off even more.

I guess the thing that bothers me most (and possibly the original poster as well) is why would our playmates want to poison the atmosphere by yelling at one-another when we are about to experience one of the most incredible experiences life has to offer.

(I'm preaching to the choir by responding to you directly on this Michael, you taught me more about skydiving than dozens of others combined.)

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Mostly, just ignoring them. Or, stepping aside



I would take my helmet off so they could get a good look at my face…..you know in case they wanted discuss the issue on the ground. ;)

Sparky

Thanks for the kind words for an old man. :)
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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Let's not forget that 6'19" thing you have going, too

Actually, I find that Spaceland jumpers aren't screamers about the spot. Probably has to do in part with the fact that the whole area is an out, and the DZ is (generally) good about getting you.

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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