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ph.nilsson

Thinking of A-license after tandem jump

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Hi everyone, first post for me, here goes!
So, a couple of weeks ago I finally cached in on an old birthday gift, a tandem skydive jump. It was quite simply put one of the more awsome things I've ever done and I really haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Thus, I'm considering taking a course and actually start jumping regularly, but there are a couple of questions that i'd like to have answered first :)

Firstly, I'm afraid that I'll just be way to scared to actually jump out of the bloody plane. I assume that there are one or two people who had the same feeling before their first jump(s), how do you actually deal with that?

Secondly, I'm curious about how one actually learns skydiving? Do you simply get tossed out of a plane with a parachute, or is there some progression involved in the process? This is related to my being scared to death of the actual going out of the aircraft-part of the jump, I'd be much more inclined to do so if it was somehow done in steps...

All answers are appreciated, thanks!

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There may be one or two people who weren't scared of jumping out of a plane their first time (or first few times), but they're probably not right in the head. The rest of us had what is a perfectly natural human of what is, when you think about it, a very unnatural thing for the human body to do. (But after you stick with it a while, somewhere along the line it starts to feel almost as natural as breathing ...)

And yes, skydiving instruction is very much a progressive thing. The first jump course is the most involved, to get you ready for your first solo jump; there's quite a bit of classroom and practical training involved. From there, each subsequent student jump should reinforce what you learned on that first day, and add additional skills and competencies, up to the point where you earn an A license.

Then the real learning begins - with an A, you've been deemed by your instructors to be safe enough to progress in the sport. If you approach it with the right attitude, you'll take the A as a "license to learn" not an "I know everything there is to know now" free pass.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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You've already made your first leap and you want more, so I doubt you'll be too scared to make your first AFF jump. What I was most scared of was not the actual jump from the plane, but the opening. Would I be able to deal with a malfunction when all my sense were already on overload. That's where you just have to believe in the gear, and in yourself. And, honestly, you have so many tasks to remember and perform during your first AFF jump, you don't have time to be afraid. The entire fall is scripted.

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Firstly, I'm afraid that I'll just be way to scared to actually jump out of the bloody plane. I assume that there are one or two people who had the same feeling before their first jump(s), how do you actually deal with that?



I'm the biggest chicken ever- I'm the type who gets nervous on a stepladder. Even looking at pictures and videos of people leaving the plane scared me!
Yet it didn't stop me from going out that !@^&* door each time. I'm still quite new at this, but so far learning how to skydive is one of the best decisions I've ever made. It's been amazing.
When I was little, Peter Pan was my favorite story and I remember thinking it was too bad that it wasn't real- that you couldn't really fly or go to Neverland. Well, this comes pretty close.
My blog with the skydiving duck cartoons.

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I just did my first jump (tandem) this Monday so I can understand what you must have went through...

For me, the jumping out wasn't so scary as it was the anticipation of jumping out. Frankly, I think jumping out of the plane myself as opposed to with a tandem instructor is actually less apprehensive.

Went he placed me on the edge of the plane with my feet sliding out it felt like I had nothing to hold on to and could prematurely slip out of the plane before we were all mentally ready. My arms were told to be crossed across my chest, my feet were dangling out the aircraft, being blown backwards by the 90mph winds, and the tandem instructor deliberately set me RIGHT on the edge.... almost like the slightest nudge could trip me over.... it is the same feeling you get when you are standing unbalanced at the very edge of a swimming pool, just waiting for your friend to give you a gentle nudge to push you over the edge....
whereas opposed to you deliberately jumping into the pool when you are mentally and physically ready...

All things considered, I think jumping out of the plane yourself is MUCH less apprehensive... simply because you are in control of your own emotions, the timing, and there is nothing unexpected. The anticipation is removed from the equation, because you know when you are ready.

As we all know actual free fall at terminal velocity feels like floating on top of a cushion of air with a wind tunnel being blown at you, hardly "scary" at all... and the scenery below is so miniature, so far away and so seemingly abstract, distant and removed that you don't have any sensation of height or fear of falling...

For me as a first time jumper, I had imagined that second only to the actual act of jumping out of the plane, that the few seconds of "falling" (before reaching terminal velocity and stabilizing into an arch position) would be most scariest.... in that it would feel dizzy, disorientating, and like that empty stomach feeling you get when on a roller coaster ride that suddenly plunges down or even in fast elevator that goes "down"ward....

Surprisingly, I didn't experience this unpleasant "falling" (zero-g) sensation... I think this can be attributed to the fact that unlike jumping off a building or in one of those roller-coaster rides that drop straight downwards, the moment you exit the plane there is already 90mph winds blowing at you, and that lateral wind creates a vector g-force that eliminates the unpleasant effects of "zero-g" and the empty stomach feeling that comes with it all...

And before you realize what happened you are already a terminal velocity in freefall anyway...

For me at least, it was actually LESS disorientating/dizzy than some of the batman rides at Six flags that I've been on.

If you are scared about jumping out of the airplane do some visualizations... think of it less like falling off a tall ladder and plunging towards the ground (I'm more scare of heights than anyone I know) and more like you are an astronaut in orbit around the earth and doing an extravehicular excursion. Pretend you are in the confines of very high altitude or "outer space" and you are leaving your space capsule to do a spacewalk, and that the freefall is simply you are doing a reentry back into the atmosphere in your heat-shield enhanced spacesuit. Once the chute opens just think of yourself as a glider coming in for a landing.

After all, altitude is just a matter of attitude. It all depends on your perspective and frame of reference anyway.

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The first jump course is a real confidence builder. It is normal to feel fear in the first several (or more) jumps. But the confidence you will get from the instructors and others in your class should help you to feel the fear and jump anyway. Good luck, and welcome to the best sport in the world!
"Here's a good specimen of my own wisdom. Something is so, except when it isn't so."

Charles Fort, commenting on the many contradictions of astronomy

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Surprisingly, I didn't experience this unpleasant "falling" (zero-g) sensation... I think this can be attributed to the fact that unlike jumping off a building or in one of those roller-coaster rides that drop straight downwards, the moment you exit the plane there is already 90mph winds blowing at you, and that lateral wind creates a vector g-force that eliminates the unpleasant effects of "zero-g" and the empty stomach feeling that comes with it all...



I definitely felt the drop on my first jump (a tandem) but it became much less noticeable with each jump. Now it doesn't feel like a drop at all. I'm not sure if my early nerves were exaggerating the sensation... ...or if I just got desensitized after doing it repeatedly.
My blog with the skydiving duck cartoons.

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You'll have instructors to help stabilize you and get you familiar with your surroundings. Also, the more you jump, the more your body will acclimate with the environment and after awhile you don't get the same butterflies in the stomach when you do your freefall. Your body will get used to it and more importantly, your head will get used to it :-)

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I'm the biggest chicken duck ever


FIFY ;):P:)


Heh heh.;)

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Namowal - Just wanted to say I LOVE your blog and your duck has helped me keep my confidence after some crappy jumps :-)



Thanks! I'm not exactly mastering this sport yet, but I have learned that I can (and have!) gotten better at things that once gave me trouble.
My blog with the skydiving duck cartoons.

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So, itook a second tandem yesterday, wasnt actually scared at all, and got to see a guy make his first aff jump right before me. As soon as i figure out when ill be working this summer im booking the course, thanks for the encouragement!

onequestion tough, how do you generally get in touch with other skydivers? Im fairly certain none of my friends would even consider joining me for the course. Are skydivers generally so friendly that i wont seem wierd just going up and saying hi,or how do one usually met one's jumping buddies?

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onequestion tough, how do you generally get in touch with other skydivers? Im fairly certain none of my friends would even consider joining me for the course. Are skydivers generally so friendly that i wont seem wierd just going up and saying hi,or how do one usually met one's jumping buddies?



Don't worry about it. Show up to your first jump course, you make your first couple of skydive friends then. Keep showing up and soon you have more skydiving friends then you can count.
"What if there were no hypothetical questions?"

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