Using rear risers on final and landing

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Did I do this right? At the last few seconds, on final approach another person makes a right hand turn (landing patterns are left at this DZ), . Completely focused fully on landing on the target. So I was about 50 feet above him, too late to turn and had to think fast. Oh, also an unexpected gust of wind came through which was blowing me towards him. My right foot just about hit the left edge of his canopy. I pulled down slightly on my left rear riser to counteract the wind blowing me sideways even closer to him. Once I was clear of him, I was close to the ground and needed a fast strong flair so I flared with my rear risers. One of my softest landings luckily and nobody was hurt. If I ever find myself in his situation again, should I use brakes instead? I was afraid I wouldn't have enough time to give a full flare with the brakes and my hands were already up on rear risers. Made sense at the time and I'm relieved it worked out.

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You saved yourself, happy to hear that. But imo this is not right at all: as it could have ended very badly and it looks like the situation was avoidable: 50ft separation??

Is the jumpnumber on your profile correct?
At 26 jumps you have no business with the rear risers on final. Your hands should be in the toggles.
It depends on canopy and wingload, but you are risking stalling your canopy, which could have ended painfully (like breaking your back).
If you didn't have time to react to him changing course, or if the gust of wind blew you into him, it seems you were far too close to the other guy as well.
You are the jumper that is higher and behind, it is your responsibility that both of you are safe. Keep sufficient horizontal separation in the landing circuit, so you have enough space and time for people (or the wind) doing crazy shit.

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Step 1 - ask this of the local instructors. ESPECIALLY if any of them saw the traffic issues and how you responded. Often things look very different to an outside observer.

Landing on rears - I've done it and it can be done safely.but done wrong you can collapse you canopy prematurely and drop hard. Get some coaching on how to learn this skill.

In this case, assuming the proximity you describe is correct, then sounds like you pulled did what was needed to avoid a collision.

At that point dropping rears and flaring could either be late/ineffective* and has the potential to drop both rears AND (inadvertently) one of your toggles as well. This ALSO would be a setup for disaster. *floating on rears will slow your canopy speed and make the flare less effective. To address all these concerns, get some coaching on how to hold/use/release risers.

Rears are another tool, but they can be dangerous too.

You're asking good questions... keep doing that.
Get some local instruction/coaching.
Practice up high to see how things respond.
Be ready to PLF with either solution as at that moment, either option can be a harder landing than expected.

Always remember that some clouds are harder than others...

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A couple questions:

Why did you turn with your rears instead of your brakes?

You said (second sentence) "too late to turn". What do you mean by that?

Do you know how to do a flat turn?

Do you know how to flare turn?

Please note that I'm not trying to rip on you. I'm simply trying to figure out your thought process.
I've encountered "more than a few" newer jumpers who have misinterpreted the "no big turns below xx feet" to "no turns at all" and end up doing some pretty funky stuff on final because they don't think that they can correct any deviations.

As noted above, this is something that should be taken up with instructors in person, and with people who know you.
"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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I mean, for sure you didn't do the single worst mistake that people can do in that case, and to which we have lost many jumpers: a "panic" toggle whip to turn.
You landed with a leveled wing and you managed to flare, in a dangerous and tight situation. Good job for that!
Rear-Risers flares are viable, but also an advanced technique that has a few serious potential drawbacks, so be careful with that. Generally speaking, I'd suggest to not try that unless you've talked about it with an experienced canopy coach and practiced a few times up high.

But as to whether you could have done anything better, beside that: it's really hard for me to understand exactly what happened from the story and your recollection, I back whoever says to ask to the instructors who were there and so the event unfold before their eyes, it's hard to do an armchair debrief in these cases.

One thing though, if you were aware of him for a while, you knew he was below you at 50ft of distance, then a little bit of brakes during the pattern would have helped increase that distance. Remember that the sooner you take a corrective action, the "less" of this action is required, so if you identify a potential problem sooner rather than later (i.e. a jumper close to you and below you), you can take safe corrective actions as soon as you see that, rather than waiting for shit like this to happen, after which all bets are off: you can do all the "right things" and still end up injured or worse.
I'm standing on the edge
With a vision in my head
My body screams release me
My dreams they must be fed... You're in flight.

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find your local S&TA or instructors and have a discussion about the incident. Sounds like you did well and that is the good thing. Any landing everyone walks away from is good. Not knowing ahead of time how your canopy would act on rears and choosing that isnt the best decision in the pattern but in light of the close proximity of the other jumper rear turns respond much more quickly than toggle turns,. Instincts have saved almost as many people as they have killed. Good luck and Blue Skies..

Uncle/GrandPapa Whit
Unico Rodriguez # 245
Muff Brother # 2421

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