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wmw999

Often-used safety procedures: the PLF

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[soapbox]
I keep hearing about moderate injuries on landing, and I wonder just how many of them would be prevented or turned into inconveniences with a good PLF. Obviously a PLF won't protect you when the canopy hits first. But if you've blown your flare because of whatever (didn't finish that flat turn, left it too late, a little too early), a good PLF can really save your bacon).

The biggest part to it is having your pucker landing basic mode be the PLF -- i.e. the last-minute decision is to stand it up, not to PLF. PLF is the assumption.

Yes, your gear and jumpsuit can get dirty. Tough shit.

Feet and knees together, pressed tightly; a little (no more than about 20 degrees) bend in the knees and hips. If you're going straight forward, use your hips to pivot to one side or the other. If you're going backwards, same thing so the side of your hips ends up in the equation (feet-ass-head used to be common in the days of rounds :S)

People say a PLF won't help any more. There are times it won't, but any sport that involves falling teaches a good fall technique. Skydiving involves falling, and people should practice that fall technique. It has the potential to be your most commonly-used emergency procedure.
[/soapbox]

Wendy W.
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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[soapbox]
I keep hearing about moderate injuries on landing, and I wonder just how many of them would be prevented or turned into inconveniences with a good PLF. Obviously a PLF won't protect you when the canopy hits first. But if you've blown your flare because of whatever (didn't finish that flat turn, left it too late, a little too early), a good PLF can really save your bacon).

The biggest part to it is having your pucker landing basic mode be the PLF -- i.e. the last-minute decision is to stand it up, not to PLF. PLF is the assumption.

Yes, your gear and jumpsuit can get dirty. Tough shit.

Feet and knees together, pressed tightly; a little (no more than about 20 degrees) bend in the knees and hips. If you're going straight forward, use your hips to pivot to one side or the other. If you're going backwards, same thing so the side of your hips ends up in the equation (feet-ass-head used to be common in the days of rounds :S)

People say a PLF won't help any more. There are times it won't, but any sport that involves falling teaches a good fall technique. Skydiving involves falling, and people should practice that fall technique. It has the potential to be your most commonly-used emergency procedure.
[/soapbox]

Wendy W.



Yesterday at Couch Freaks I watched a guy with a main (someone else's) - reserve entanglement following a canopy collision drop almost straight down into a bean field. He got away with only an ankle injury following a great PLF.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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People say a PLF won't help any more


They've never said that to me...matter of fact, I have many times been congratulated on a glorious, big PLF...(maybe I shouldn't be bragging about that! LOL!!!)

PLFs are my friend. They have saved me several broken bones...I've had some horrendous landings, one a seriously bad judgment downwinder which resulted in a scraped face, shattered goggles, and several broken toes...but had I not PLF'd, I am certain I would've landed in the hospital.(Downwinder at sunset onto hardpan/part of the runway)...

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Feet and knees together, pressed tightly; a little (no more than about 20 degrees) bend in the knees and hips. If you're going straight forward, use your hips to pivot to one side or the other. If you're going backwards, same thing so the side of your hips ends up in the equation


One of the things people don't realize, though, is don't resist it. Relax as you touch down - breathe out - and let yourself roll if you have that speed to bleed off. Don't stick your arm out to stop the roll, or leg out. Keep arms and legs in, and roll it out to a stop. I can't describe the physics of it, but it's a method of spreading the impact energy through the body at a diagonal which will allow the injuries to be minimal. It's a lot like the drunk driver who walks away...it has to do with relaxation and nonresistence.

Ciels-
Michele


~Do Angels keep the dreams we seek
While our hearts lie bleeding?~
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At my DZ, it's taught during AFF course.



Its "taught" at every DZ around the country. What I said was, "Its not taught to proficiency." Most of the time, its taught with foam cushions to satisfy the BSRs. Folks will get one or two right and everyone will "golf clap," say good and move on to the next learning block.

You wanna get good at PLF's or teach them well? Here's what you do:

Demonstrate for the student all eight angles of the PLF - Front-front, Front Right, Front left, Left Side, Right Side, right rear, left-rear, rear-rear.

Let them do it on real ground (cause you know them pussy pads really feel like the ground, don't they).

Have them do five of each to perfection.

Then move them up to a chair (hold the chair) -have them do five of each to perfection.

Move them up to a pickup tailgate - have them do five of each to perfection.

Its not going to happen is it, Ivan?

And yes, that's what I teach. For the really ambitious (on a challenge), we get on the tool box on the back of my pickup. If you're right-handed, give me one good right side PLF, If you're left handed, give me on good left-handed PLF.

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Hear, hear....

When I started in the late 70's, PLF was a big part of the training (getting your first jumps took a few weeks then...). I must have made hundredes at the time, having to use rounds for the first 115 jumps then was kind of good incentive.

Practise is important. I would like to see the faces at my DZ if I try to suggest everybody do a PLF re-fresher...... :S But maybe I should....
---------------------------------------------------------
When people look like ants - pull. When ants look like people - pray.

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My general rules of thumb (applies to my own landings):

-if I can't see where my feet are going, I do a PLF. E.G., an off-DZ landing in a field of tall grass. This came from one landing I had in AZ . . . landed in some tall mesquite bushes, stood up, then realized I had about stuck my leg down a gopher hole that had been dug out by a coyote. I could have easily broken my leg if I had landed another three feet to the right.

-if I know I'm going to land hard, I choose a PLF. I have bruised my tailbone before, and it took a while to heal. A PLF will bring me back sooner.

99.9% of my landings are soft and controlled. For the other .1% I have the PLF ready. :)
Arrive Safely

John

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Terrific post. How many injuries each year would be prevented with a good PLF? I'm guessing lots.

As a side note, I switched to calling it/teaching it a PLR, (Parachute Landing Roll), when the APF switched.

Derek


That does sound like it was something you wanted to do insead of something that happened to you. It all so sounds much more gracefull.
Sparky
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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Wendy, I really wish I'd read your reminder about last Thursday. On Friday I went up for a two-way, but on the climb to altitude the wind had picked up some so after opening I found I had little forward penetration. I was barely able to clear the trees, but couldn't make the grass and landed in an ungraded area with knee-high grass. Once I cleared the trees I thought I was fine and kind of relaxed, but I put my foot right into the side of a six inch high ridge of rock-hard Georgia clay. Now I have a broken tarsal bone, a foot the size and shape of a bologna, and about a month to contemplate the merits of a PLF. :(
_____________________________________
Tolerance is the cost we must pay for our adventure in liberty. (Dworkin, 1996)
“Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.” (Yeats)

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Go read Bigun's post about really learning the PLF (I like PLR -- I really like that, except that 60 years' worth of jumpers have called it a PLF).

How many did you do, and from how high. Unless you can't count the number on both hands without reusing them, it's not enough. And it should be more, but that's why you can practice. And just think of all the attention you can get if you practice ;)

Wendy W.
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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When I did my retraining in March we actually did some PLF's in the peas... a couple of the people in the static line class were having problems so I helped them a bit. getting a little momentum will always help when practicing one.. I gave one of the guys a little momentum:P Grab the coat by the collar and induce a bit of sidewards movement. It is far better to do a good PLF.. instead of turning it into a PFL (poor [email protected]#$% landing)

Well he did his first jump and we have not seen him since:)

I was trying to help... really.....just cause he was just about 5'5".. and in the Navy... sheesh.. he was just not getting the whole PLF thing.... guess he has never gotten tossed around by a big girl before.

Amazon

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Wendy,

I totally agree with your support of the PLF for bad landings. Only a few people around the DZ seem to really understand. Most of us that are comfortable with PLFs seem to have learned them thoroughly at the same place: Ft. Benning, GA. They do have the instructional method down pat. If people in a first jump course actually had to go though a number of falls in a swing landing trainer, I bet many of them would stop there. That would be a mixed thing. To skydive, you should understand that hard landings may happen. But I don't think it would help their business. :S

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Here, here!!

I've made lots of minor mistakes and automatically go into a PLF. Of course we had the incentive that if we wanted to walk away from those military rounds we HAD to PLF. When I learned, we use the roof of a pick up cab as the "high" tower, about 6'. And backwards. I used to tell students that they would be brused after their first jump, not from the jump but from the training!B| The DZO went down to about 4' when he built towers, and I think he limits it to 2' and only a couple now (plus ground practice).

Hey, here's one advantage of being old and moldy.:P
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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The difficulty I have with PLF is that fraction of a second when I'm deciding whether to PLF or stand. You can't do both. For me, that decision point is usually about 3 feet off the ground and 20 MPH of forward speed - hard to find enough time to decide.

Now, if I'm doing a downwinder at high speed, no question - PLF - I figure that out at 100 feet. Likewise, if I have to turn suddenly at low altitude to avoid an object or jumper - PLF. Unfortunately, most of my half-assed PLFs are the result of attempting to stand and not doing so - then I try to do a PLF in the middle of it, but by that time, it's all over and I may already be hurt.

How and when do you make your decision to PLF? Have you become fast enough over your many years of jumping to react lightening quick and decide 3 feet off the ground? Or do you always make your decision from 100 feet?
Trapped on the surface of a sphere. XKCD

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Unfortunately, most of my half-assed PLFs are the result of attempting to stand and not doing so - then I try to do a PLF in the middle of it, but by that time, it's all over and I may already be hurt.



Note to self: Need to spend more time in landing area with video camera when Riddler is jumping.
"There are only three things of value: younger women, faster airplanes, and bigger crocodiles" - Arthur Jones.

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