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angrypeppers

AFF Level 2, not so good...long

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I'm not too happy with myself right now. I failed Level 2. Because of some mental errors on my part, I ran out of altitude before I could do the turns. Crap, crap, crap!

Except for having to wake up at 0530, today started out great. Even after giving myself 90 minutes to wake up and get out the door, I somehow still ended up leaving the house late. I tried to make an hour's drive take 45 minutes. Didn't work. Lesson #1: get to the DZ on time, or even better, early!

I don't really know why, but for some reason, I just wasn't feeling too confident about the jump on the drive up to Longmont. On my Level 1, I had a bit of trouble getting out the door but the rest of the jump went fine. That was three weeks ago and I've spent a lot of time reviewing that exit and preparing myself for this one.

The safety briefing went fine, as did the practice bibs. I checked in with manifest, and asked to be put on a load later in the AM. I wanted a little time to practice the dive flow a few more times. I listened to the AWOS, and the weather sounded nearly perfect: Vis +10 miles, no sig clouds to 12000, temp 10 C, winds calm. Nice! I'm feeling pretty good about the jump. I want to jump!

Finally, the instructors come over and we get go over the jump again. We review practice exits, procedures, the dive flow, and the exits some more. I told Brady and Brad about my troubles on Level 1, and they both gave me plenty of encouragement about this one. We got geared up, and waited for the ride to the airplane. Once at the landing area, we had a few minutes to review the dive, and watch the previous load land. The Otter finally rolled up and we got on board.

The plane ride up was nice. We reviewed everything again, and I really just tried to relax. The other jumpers were cool, just chatting away, asking about my jumps. All in all, I was feeling pretty good at this point.

Finally, we got up to altitude, and the door opened. It's still a strange, surreal sight to see people fall away from the plane. Way cool, but I got a bit of nerves again as we scooted back to the door. Brad told me to just take a few deep breaths, and relax. Standing in the doorway wasn't nearly as bad as my Level 1 jump. I got the shake, Prop, Up, Down, Arch, Arch, Arch! I remember while falling out that I did much better on the exit. This is good because: 1. I exited on time, and 2. my brain is processing things better.

We got stable, I did the COA, no problems so far. The practice touches went well. Brad was giving me the extend legs signal, so I tried doing that, but it wasn't working. He would tap my legs, I'd extend them, then pull my legs back in. So we spent some altitude getting that sorted out. Here's where the jump went wonky.

After I got my legs sorted out, I went back to my practice touches! Even now, I don't know why I did that. I remember thinking that that was a really stupid thing to do. Luckily, Brady and Brad saw what I was doing at about the same time I corrected myself. But we were now down to about 7000' so I didn't bother to try the turns. I was so pissed at myself! What if they thought I was was trying to deploy? Uggghhh.

I waved off and deployed on schedule, and waited for the canopy to open up. It did, but was about 90 degrees off heading. I saw what was going on, and got my hands to the risers, fast! Either I was able to prevent the twists, or it just wasn't my day to experience twists, but either way, the lines were straight, the chute looked good, and I was on my way.

The canopy ride was fun! I did the controllability check, all was well, so I just tried to fly the canopy a bit, and enjoy the ride. By now, I knew that I had busted the ride.

The flight down went fine. I'm getting much more confident in my turns, and how the chute flies. Brady was on the radio giving me corrections, and I set up to land. The flare was OK, and I did my first real PLF on landing. We gathered up the chute and headed off to the trailer.

Good things:
1. My exit was much better than Level 1. I did what I was supposed to, and we left on time.
2. I think I'm altitude aware almost to a fault.
3. I'm able to mentally process what's going on much better than my earlier jumps.
4. I realized the potential for line twists when the chute opened, and reacted properly.
5. PLF. While standup landings would be cool, I recognize that I'm still very new to this. PLFs can help prevent injuries, and I'm all in favor of that.

Bad things:
1. Showed up late which threw me off right from the start.
2. I'm still having problems with leg extension. I know this is somewhat common for students, but I have enough tunnel time that it shouldn't be happening. Need to work on that...
3. I screwed up the dive flow. I knew the flow, but didn't follow it when I went back and did the second set of practice touches.
4. Setting up a landing pattern. I'm getting better, but still have some work to do.
5. Need to work a bit on keeping my head up throughout the jump. I'm fairly good about it, but still not totally there yet.
6. Monitoring heading. Even now, I have no idea of what direction we were pointing in freefall. Maybe that's part of the mental overload I'm working on...

Overall, I'm fairly happy with the jump, even though I have to repeat the level. My exit was much better, and I'm more aware of what's going on during the jump. My canopy skills are improving too, which is nice. So, even though I have to repeat Level 2, I'm making progress. I know the turns will be fine next jump.

Another nice thing is getting to meet new folks. The guys on the plane really helped me feel more confident and relaxed. I had fun flying with Brady and Brad. I got to talk to one guy from my AFF class, and another guy I flew with in the tunnel. I met one other guy who drives about five hours from NE Wyoming to do his jumps. There was also a guy there for a tandem that was a surprise birthday present from his wife. He was a trip! Kinda nervous and excited all at once. He had a billion questions, and I tried to answer them as much as I could as a two jump wonder. But he came over and thanked me after his jump. Said it helped, so that was nice.

Chris
Burn the land and boil the sea,
You can't take the sky from me.

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OK so... you have to repeat the level. Other than that, I'm battling a bit to see why you are beating yourself up so much! Landing pattern needs improving? Body position needs improving? There are people with many more than 3 jumps who can still say that! You had a good, stable exit, you pulled on time (I would say that's better than trying to complete the tasks and pulling low, and certainly shows you had altitude awareness), you're becoming more aware of what's going on in the air... all in all sounds like a reasonably good jump to me!

It's good, of course, that you want to improve, but some things take time to become natural. Good luck with your next jump!
Skydiving: wasting fossil fuels just for fun.

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Sounds to me like you are doing really well! Tons of guys on my AFF had to repeat levels. It is a pain in the rear, but it will hopefully translate into greater confidence in the air later down the line.

My second jump was definitely my scariest, and I was far from relaxed for the whole jump, so much so that when I tried to extract my PC from my leg strap (I had a BOC ... :$) my JM couldnt move my hand due to the adrenaline coarsing through me! Thankfully the following jumps became easier.

Is there any way you can get lots of jumps done in a day? This is a MASSIVE help for nervous fliers as the first one alwasy takes the edge off the fear, leaving you freer to think about your dives!

Well done for posting, I think its good you are thinking about everything you need to do to improve.

Best of luck and little white fluffy ones!

Ross

EDIT: Oh yes and don't worry so much about twists! They come out pretty easy on a student canopy, just grab the risers, as you rightly say in your post, give a kick and out they come. Its quite a buzz actually. Don't watch those spinning high velocity linetwists on skydivingmovies.com until you've downsized to a little postage stamp parachute :P. They can be educational, but mostly you'll just scare the tezzers off yourself.
http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/troll.htm

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No big deal. I thought I wouldn't pass AFF1 and I did. I didn't do too well on AFF1. I moved my arm towards my face to look at the altitude and got confused a few times trying to remember what to do. The instructors also had to pull for me because I had trouble finding the hackey sack.

On AFF2 I did much much better. Still needed to work on my legs a little bit, but I was pretty happy with AFF2 besides the fact that I hesitated a little and lost altitude and was not able to do my turns or dive.

When I repeated AFF2 I did that much better. I got my turn in and my dive, did all my COA's, etc. The landing was great. The one real thing I needed to work on was I didn't exit exactly as I should.

A lot of people repeat levels and I've seen some videos of some pretty bad attempts at level 1, so I wouldn't beat yourself up. I did at first then I realized most people don't do too well on AFF1. Besides some people repeat a lot of levels.

I'm still a little scared to death of walking up to that door in the aircraft so don't feel bad about any exit anxiety. I found myself saying "why in the ____ am I doing this?" yesterday. You just remember that all that fear dissapears as soon as you exit.
Rodriguez Brother #1614, Muff Brother #4033
Jumped: Twin Otter, Cessna 182, CASA, Helicopter, Caravan

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Don't worry! I failed my AFF-2 as well.

But I graduated this morning!


Remember that this is something completely new for your mind to digest. Jumping out of an airplane and falling at 120 mph takes a little getting used to.

The poster that said if you can jump more than once in a day to do it is spot on. My first jump of the day has never been the most relaxed jump.

I know it's really disappointing to fail an AFF and have to pay that money all over again. But stick with it. Soon you'll be certified, and you won't have to worry about an instructor judging your jump. At least not until you get a coach.

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I'm basically OK with the jump. I should have gotten back in the air yesterday, but really couldn't stick around to wait for a slot to open up. I went up today hoping to get on the list, but I was probably number ten on the wait list.

I feel pretty good about the jump, but now know that I need to get things done a little faster. And to not hork up the dive flow either!

Thanks everyone!
Chris
Burn the land and boil the sea,
You can't take the sky from me.

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There are some people that roll through AFF without repeating any of the jumps. Those people are the exception to the rule. Quite a few people end up repeating at least one jump. For me, I repeated two jumps...

With that being people don't "fail" AFF levels. A student has X number of tasks (TLO's) to complete at any level of AFF. The instructor has the very tough job of training his student to successfully complete these tasks as well as maintain body position/atlitude awareness etc etc. With some students it sticks with others it doesnt. If you don't complete the learning objectives, your body position is out of whack, you lose alti awareness etc etc you repeat the level. It isn't failure but rather the instructors call. You are not failing but rather being given another chance to work on skills that in the end are the things that make you safe and keep you alive. He/She is ultimately responsible for turning out a student that is equipped with the skills to be a safe individual while on self supervised student status and beyond.

Don't be so hard on yourself. You didn't get the "Take up Golf" speech. So you instructors probably see you as a good skydiver in the future. Relax a lot of people have some difficulty in AFF. Have fun while you are at it After all that is why you jump isn't it?

As a side note: You can see by my #'s I am not a guru on the sport. However, I have been there done that with problematic AFF jumps. Trust me it gets better...


"Uh oh! This is gonna hurt!"

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what up,

I'm in AFF at mile hi too. I feel you with being late, I got in trouble for being an hour late yesterday. Just call them to tell them you are going to be late so they are prepared for that. When I did my level 2 I totally skipped my prcp's and went right for the turns. Luckily I realized it and Brady flashed me the sign so I was able to start over and finish up my manuevers. Did you jump at 12.5? After level 4 yesterday, I'm ALOT more confident with exiting, as it's a little diffrent with one AFFI. Good luck! B|



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Don't beat yourself up. Moving fast through AFF is not the important thing here. Having fun is. If you are having fun thats all that matters. It took me 19 jumps and an hour in the wind tunnel, before I finished my hi and low solo, so what. That meant I only needed 6 jumps to get my A license, and I did that in 7 jumps. It may cost a little more but in the long run learning to be save and have confidence in yourself are the most important things, AND HAVING FUN, because FUN is why we are here!!!!!
It doesn't have to make sense, It's just the way things are.

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You're fine dude. You pulled on time, you had an uneventful canopy ride, you were prepared for line twists even though you didn't have them.. so, you didn't have time to do the turns. Now you'll know to get them in on time on the next one!

And for the record, I have 50 jumps and I need to work on both my body position and my landing patterns :) You're fine bro.

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I'm really feeling pretty good about the jump overall, even though I didn't get to the turns. My exit was great, the canopy ride was good too, I was ready to handle the twists if they happened, and I pulled on time. All in all not bad. I just have to get through the flow a bit faster. We jumped at 12000 BTW.

Thanks for the encouragement!
Chris
Burn the land and boil the sea,
You can't take the sky from me.

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Well, my instructors gave me a present today and passed me on my Level 2. It was a perfect day for jumping, though a little cold. Sit back and relax, as this noobie tells his tale...

I arrived at Mile Hi an hour early this time. While waiting for the briefing, some of my AFF buddies and I chatted, and I reviewed the briefing questions. The hangars were kind of quiet. Guess the cold was chasing away some of the tandems or something.

The briefing with Justin went well. There were six of us students: Me, Benji (Level 5), Kristen (Level 3), and two other girls who's names I never did learn who were also on Level 5. After the briefing, we practiced with vests for a while, then practiced exits. We'd be on the King Air today, which is new to me. No sweat, just a little different than the Otter. Cool too, since it would be a new jump plane for me.

After the drills, we had a little bit of time before we had to gear up, but I got my stuff ready anyway. Too much nervous energy I guess. Finally, we got the call for our load, and we headed to the trailer. Kristen and I would be jumping on the same load, along with one of her friends who was doing her first tandem. We took the ride to the loading area, and waited for the plane to roll up.

It's still strange to me: getting on an airplane that you're going to jump from. Once the plane arrived, I noticed that the adrenalin is already flowing. My mouth is dry, and I'm getting really focused on my jump. I've been dirt diving all week, but still stumble a bit on the dive flow. I chalk it up to nerves, but it's still a bit disconcerting to me.

The plane ride was fine, though not quite as comfortable as the Otter. I go over the dive again and call out the important altitudes as we climb. We review the exit again, and try to relax. I try taking deep breaths, but it's really not working for me. I still have dry mouth, and am a bit nervous. It's getting better for me each time, but I'm not totally there yet. Finally, the light comes on and it's time to go. Two guys go out, then Kristen's group, and finally, it's my turn. I like the King Air door. It's taller than the Otter, but more narrow, so for me at least, it's a little easier. I get the shake, and we leave the plane.

We seem to get a little head down, though maybe that's just a noobs perception. Anyway, we're stable soon enough, and I start the flow. All's going OK, but I'm still getting the extend legs signal...need to work on that. The COA and practice touches were OK, and I actually did the turns! They were sloppy, and I was backsliding through them, but it was fun to actually do something besides falling straight down. Wave off and deployment were on time.

The chute opened up at 90 degrees again. Didn't twist up, but I was ready (again) if they did. Maybe it's the big chute (290 / .76 WL), or maybe bad body position, or both. But it was there, square, and controllable, so all was right in the world. I spent some time just flying a bit, trying to get more comfortable with the canopy. I'm still a bit tentative with flaring and turns, but I'm getting more confident with each jump.

I actually set up a proper pattern, and flew it. I kept an eye on Kristen since she was ahead and below me. I was watching the praire dog holes too, lest one reach out and grab my feet. The flare was OK, and I dropped in from a foot or two. Didn't stand it up, didn't PLF, but kinda hit and stumbled. Should have just done a PLF.

Once the canopy was collected, Travis came over and asked about the jump. The debrief is strange for me. I'm still pumped from adrenalin, and my thoughts aren't making it out of my mouth in coherent sentences. At least, that's how it seems to me! So I gave a rundown of the jump to Justin and Travis, at least as well as I could. Justin told me that we were falling pretty fast because of my leg position.

I think the jump went OK. Not perfect, but fairly well, and much better than last week. I didn't brain fart. I was able to (sloppily) turn. I pulled on time.

Thoughts:
1. Dirt diving at home paid off. I was much more comfortable with the dive flow, especially since I knew that I could complete it in the amount of time we had.
2. I need to work on legs more. The funny thing is, in the tunnel, I'm fine: I can turn, move forward/back/left/right, change my fall rate, etc. But it was different out in the sky. As Travis pointed out, in the tunnel, I'd know I was backsliding when I'd hit the wall. On the jump, I had no idea it was happening.
3. I like the exits on the King Air better than the Otter. The doorway is taller, so I can get myself outside easier. Of course, that will probably change once I get past the levels where I need two instructors with me. I definitely like the Otter more than the King Air for the trip up.
4. With each jump, I can remember more of what's going on, and process hand signals better. I guess I'm just getting a little more confident.
5. I still need to work on heading control, legs, legs, legs, and relaxing.

Many thanks to all of you for giving me encouragement. Thanks too to Travis and Justin for helping me have a fun jump! And the most thanks to my jump buddy Kristen for helping me over my Level 2 obstacles.

Clear for Level 3!
Chris
Burn the land and boil the sea,
You can't take the sky from me.

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