0
jcunniff

Tracking... (big-way, especially)

Recommended Posts

Following up on the Incidents thread about the collision at breakoff between Deb and Sky at Z-Hills, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to take the discussion about tracking over to here...

I had said that there's something I hear at the DZ, especially on big-ways; "Track as though my life depends on it". In context, though, this gets said right after the organizers say, "Track like your life depends on it."

Being disciplined while tracking has always been stressed. At first, it meant, go as fast as you can from the center. Some people were flat-tracking right from the beginning, but others would dive a bit more vertically and then flare out. Their rationale was probably that they'd get further out if they converted that vertical speed to horizontal. The downside with this is that (besides it not being as efficient as those folks thought) is that it's hard to maintain visual contact with the other people you're tracking near. With twenty-ways and smaller, that might not have been as important as it is on the larger formations, but tracking discipline nowadays means that we all stress flat-tracking. It's a lot easier to know who's near you when you maintain a tracking group for the appropriate number of seconds after break-off.

Having said that, body type does play a part in how efficiently we track. To compare Sky and me, for instance... Sky's what, 5'5" and 200 pounds, I'm 6'5" and 210. My surface area is going to let me track faster and maintain relative altitude a little higher in the track than Sky's surface area and shape. If we were tracking near each other, I'd be thinking about this during the tracking portion of dirt dives to ensure that I'd be drilling into my head to factor that altitude/distance difference into my scan during tracking. Tracking like your life depends on it includes the visual scan of people in your area.

One other thing I'll put out here: tracking starts at break-off, it's true, but let's start right at the point where you turn outward. Within the tracking group, there should have been discussion about which way people were going to turn to get into their track away from the center, so safety starts from there. You don't need a funnel when you're turning to track. Also, the way in which you turn outward does matter. In big-ways, you don't drop a knee and turn the way you would if you were turning points in four-way. Guy Wright has been advocating a "superman" turn, where you get your arms in front of you (think "beachball" recovery position from going low), and conserve some altitude as you turn slowly outward. Then bring your arms slowly back until your track starts to develop.

Keeping an eye on the tracking leader and the folks next to you is important. You will naturally separate vertically and horizonatlly as the track continues, unless you're fortunate enough to have the same body type, weight, jumpsuit style, and tracking style. But being disciplined, rather than just getting the heck out of Dodge, you should be maintaining visual contact with the rest of your tracking group. If you're on the outside of a big formation, you might be breaking off at 5500 and tracking to 2700. That's going to get you lots of separation from the center, and probably a bit from the people near you, too.

The part I tend to get concerned with is when the track stops, and I look, wave, and pull. In motorcycling, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches something called SIPDE.
Scan
Interpret
Predict
Decide
Execute.

So at the end of the track, to use that method, I'd scan to ensure I'm aware of where the other folks from the tracking group are, interpret what I'm seeing, predict whether or not I need to react (turn or delay), decide what if anything I have to do, and execute that.

Rather than doing this at 2200 (if that's my designated pull altitude), I'm doing SIPDE all the way through the track. I'd adjust my vector if someone was drifting in my direction, maybe watch their wave and make sure I'm clear of them before waving and pulling myself. Thinking about what happens at the end of the track before I get there should mean that there will be no surprises.

The only surprises I get (and it does happen from time to time) is when someone in a later tracking group (from the next wave toward the inside of the formation) tracks down to my altitude. I've seen people shoot past me during my wave, throw, or opening. I'm a good tracker, but if they track off early from the next wave, and then take it down (going out further than the others in their wave), it's not safer for them, nor for me.

That's the long version of the "track like your life depends on it". I'm sure I've given people something to think about, and I hope to learn from replies, too.

-Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the post, good info there. What about this?

Yeasterday at the DZ, I went low on a 20 way and couldn't for the life of me recover. I stayed close to the group so they knew where I was and then I turned and tracked off at 6K (they were breaking off at 5.5). I'm a pretty good tracker and I held it for about 10 seconds, looked left and right, saw some folks above and behind me so I did a 180 and scanned. I was at just under 4K, saw nobody close, did another 180, tracked for another 4 seconds, stopped, waved and pulled at ~3K. Just as I released my pilot chute, I spotted another jumper close & waving himself. I don't know how I missed seeing him but he spotted me and delayed his deployment to get some vert separation.

My question is this. Should I have stayed near the group like I did or should I have tracked off earlier, later, pulled higher, what? I did what I was taught to do, stay near the formation, but was still unseen by at least one other (who I too missed somehow).

Trying to be safe...
"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" ~Samuel Clemens

MB#4300
Dudeist Skydiver #68

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Thanks for the post, good info there. What about this?

Yeasterday at the DZ, I went low on a 20 way and couldn't for the life of me recover. I stayed close to the group so they knew where I was and then I turned and tracked off at 6K (they were breaking off at 5.5). I'm a pretty good tracker and I held it for about 10 seconds, looked left and right, saw some folks above and behind me so I did a 180 and scanned. I was at just under 4K, saw nobody close, did another 180, tracked for another 4 seconds, stopped, waved and pulled at ~3K. Just as I released my pilot chute, I spotted another jumper close & waving himself. I don't know how I missed seeing him but he spotted me and delayed his deployment to get some vert separation.

My question is this. Should I have stayed near the group like I did or should I have tracked off earlier, later, pulled higher, what? I did what I was taught to do, stay near the formation, but was still unseen by at least one other (who I too missed somehow).

Trying to be safe...



1. You're not a very good tracker with only 165 jumps. That amount you tracked away from everyone else wasn't anywhere near enough. Well I guess if you have a few hundred/thousand hours in the tunnel I may be wrong.

2. 10 seconds wasn't long enough.

3. Doing a 180 while tracking or with others who are tracking is very dangerous.

4. You shouldn't be stopping halfway through a track and turning and looking around to find people. You should be looking while tracking.

4,5....
There are soooo many things that seemed dangerous and very confusing in your post I would suggest sitting down and talking properly with an instructor who has some big way experience.

Your choice of staying near the formation and tracking off 500ft higher sounds reasnable to me. Although that really depends on how far below you are. The main problem was at breakoff you need to track properly not this start stop start stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I'm a pretty good tracker and I held it for about 10 seconds, looked left and right, saw some folks above and behind me so I did a 180 and scanned. I was at just under 4K, saw nobody close, did another 180, tracked for another 4 seconds, stopped, waved and pulled at ~3K.



Why did you think that this was a better idea than tracking as hard as you could all the way to the designated pull altitude?

How much horizontal seperation do you think you lost by stopping and turning a slow 360 in the middle of your track?

If you hadn't stopped and bimbled about in the middle of your track, do you think you would have been as close to another jumper on deployment as you were?
Do you want to have an ideagasm?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not disagreeing with anything you wrote, but I would add that keeping an eye on people who track off with you is not hard. Spotting people who tracked off early because they went low (or whatever reason they give) IS hard, and may not happen until you see their canopy opening right under you (that has happened to me). People who habitually go low generally don't track far enough either.
...

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John, you're exactly right. The people who go low and then don't track away safely from the big-way over them can cause problems at opening time.

I've got video from an event a year or two ago, where someone went low, and then rather than tracking in one direction or another, he's seen going back and forth under the formation at a pretty good horizontal speed. I'd surmise he was looking to see if he was getting clear of the formation, then losing track of which way he was facing, and going off in a new direction. Glad he wasn't near me at opening time.

- Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you go low, you should continue to work your way up until you reach your breakoff level. If you are to breakoff at 4000, then you need to continue to work the skydive until 4,000. Leaving any sooner will cause people to not know where you are.

You should never turn around in a track. Continuing along your radial is expected and predictable by others on the dive.
John
Arizona Hiking Trails

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the good info. Most of this stuff I already do but I am after all, only 400 jumps (+7h tunnel) and want to make it into the invitationals and records.

Now, it gets tricky when you're squeezed for the first time between two people and have to make a split-second decision:
On one occasion at a bigway camp, I got squeezed between two people in my radial (during the team tracking period). A person next to me got low and then enroached into my radial. I had a choice between staying in my tight radial (only 2 degrees of clear angle) or immediately crossing over to space that was at least 30 degrees of clear angle on the opposite side (i.e. a 30 degree section of pie that had nobody tracking). That was in the first 3 seconds of breakoff. He overrotated slightly and I overrotated slightly, so I had a choice to squeeze myself in a tight radial with ~2 degree of clear airspace room, or continue and cross over to a ~30 degree of clear airspace. I chose to crossover -- keeping a hawk eye on him 20 feet below me. By less than 5 seconds after breakoff (for a 20+ second track), I was in the middle of the roomy radial. First I apologized. Then later I wrote to Larry Henderson about this asking for more info given the circumstances, and such complex situations are a tough call -- considering both of us overrotated -- but that I intentionally decided to cross to the roomy radial in a hurry, as a preemptive action just in case he would later start to track underneath me in a tight radial of little safety margin. Correcting my overrotation was thought of but I decided to continue the crossover because there was more than 10 times as much clear airspace on the other side of him, now being squeezed myself.

Best thing is to avoid this situation in the first place.
This is often why bigway camps now use the "tracking team" technique, where groups do tracking RW for the first 5 seconds of a breakoff (staying close together: The high guys need to dive down to match the level of the lowest tracker). Usually these tracking grouips are between 2 and 5 people, often a weed whacker's worth at a time. Then after a few seconds, fan out. The purpose is to establish continuous visual contact with your tracking neighbours and make sure everyone is tracking at the same level.

However, in my case, I was the leftmost person in my tracking team and the other guy was low, so I was ending up being 'squeezed'. There are many opportunities for action, depending on the situation.
- Allow myself to be squeezed between two neighbours' tracking radials that's very tight, and being prepared/hyper-aware for evasive action (tracking longer, even to under 2000ft if necessary)
- Execute immediate evasive action to cross over to the "roomy airspace" opposite side of a low tracker that's about to go underneath me, if I'm already crowded on my radial. (Again -- only if in the very first few seconds of a breakoff, the 'tracking team' stage of a breakoff)
- Dive down to same level if he's only a few feet below, so he can establish visual contact and steer back into his radial. (only if still in the 'tracking team' stage of breakoff -- the first 5 seconds -- and he's not enroaching into my radial already)
.... There's really no one size-fits-all for all situations.

Again, this happened on only one jump, but it has lots of lessons worth learning as there are clear dangers apparent from these situations. I just accepted the comments that I crossed a tracking path, then later explained what happened to ascertain how serious the situation was, and it's never easy to determine what the right choice of action was. Given a pickle of a situation, I was told I potentially did the correct course of action, although that ideally it shouldn't have happened in the first place if *everyone* stuck to their radials.

Mistake or not? Even the organizers are not sure, given this information supplied.
Moral of the story: Jumpers need to be careful about enroaching in each other's tracking path. If you are low, don't make it complicated for the jumpers above you. The high jumper has more ability to do evasive manoevers than the lower jumper does. Work very hard at the tracking team. Have an accurate radial if you're forced to track while low -- and breakoff quickly (don't be tardy) at designated altitude if you're low. Or whatever altitude is assigned by the organizers for people who go low: i.e. breaking off along with the outers.

And finally, if you're low, please get the hell away from the formation (not to track, but put some good horizontal separation while watching the formation) if you can't maintain horizontal stability while trying to fall slow. Some people fly wildly sidesliding back and forth when they're low, like some newbie skydiver. Thanks to 7 hours of windtunnel I'm now getting good at staying still horizontally while trying to fall slow, and I've elevatored back up into my stadium more than once and continued my approach. But so many people fly wildly after they go low -- I've had myself and my neighbours taken out by people flying under the formation! Staying horizontally still while falling slow is not very easy at first, but please do the formation a favour and back away, sideslide away, or whatever reasonable evasive manoever to get the hell away from the formation so you don't take all of us out! (And please keep your head down: Looking up while low, makes you fall faster, and make you even lower faster. Looking up reduces drag and speeds up your fall. That's why you turn 90 degrees so you can keep your head down and still see formation while trying to fall slow. And if you're just two or three feet low, immediately resist the temptation to lift your head (so you don't suddenly drop low). That may mean looking up with your eyes alone, at least until you're more than a few feet low -- then you immediately turn 90 degrees, rather than tilting your head upwards. Valuable tips that can slow you by as much as a few mph in some cases. Bigway camp league stuff, most bigway veterans will be familiar with all of this. But people who are recently entering the 40-to-100-way leagues have to learn these essential skills (myself included!) of slowfall recovery.

Now I need breakoff funnel practice -- (okay, just kidding, but something I need to be prepared for) -- I've never been in a breakoff funnel before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi, Jack.

Good post and good replies. I am just sorry that a fatality had to occurr to prompt this discussion. I guess all of us big-way people are thinking along the same lines lately. I just submitted an article to Parachutist about this very same subject. It should be in the February issue. Kate Cooper-Jensen reviewed the article. Parachutist also asked me to write a companion piece covering safety under canopy on big-ways. It should appear in the March issue.

Blue Skies and Safe Big-Ways!
Ed Lightle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First i dont do bigway stuff! But i question 2 things that you say. First you say if tracking off in a group then fanning out. If one of your group members goes low then you should match. Maybe that is how it is done in big ways, but i dont aggre with going down to low man. If i am tracking next to someone and they sink out that is there problem! I know its better for them to know were you are but the more you sink out the closer you will be to the group that will be tracking below you. You suck at tracking enought to were you are sinking out, and another person that is tracking at a lower alt. has a better flat track, then you maybe meating for unitencinal crew.

Secound you say that if you get below the group you should turn 90 deg. so you can see the formation. Why would it not be better for you to turn your head sideways (while facing same direction). Then you can see the group and create a little slower fall rate.

Once again i dont do big ways, so maybe you guys just do things different.
Nothing opens like a Deere!

You ignorant fool! Checks are for workers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
>Maybe that is how it is done in big ways, but i dont aggre with going down to low man.

On bigger breakoffs, tracking as a team is often essential.

>Secound you say that if you get below the group you should turn 90 deg. so you
> can see the formation. Why would it not be better for you to turn your head
>sideways (while facing same direction).

Because if you turn your head sideways while facing the formation you will not be able to see it well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
>Should I have stayed near the group like I did or should I have tracked
>off earlier, later, pulled higher, what?

Depends on the dive. 90% of the time, you should do everything you can to stay with the formation until breakoff, then break off with them and track as far as you can to 2000 feet. If the organizer tells you to break off high if you go low (happens sometimes on very large dives) then do that.

>I was at just under 4K, saw nobody close, did another 180, tracked for another
>4 seconds, stopped, waved and pulled at ~3K.

Yikes. Don't do that. Track AWAY from the center.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just uploaded the portion of a video I have, with a great example of "don't be that guy".

http://www.vimeo.com/2664961

Not to pick on the fellow in question, but this shows a guy who went low, and couldn't make it back to the level of the formation. As you watch the video, you'll see why we get concerned about people that don't recover when they go low.

This isn't exactly tracking-related, but it sure would surprise folks when they track off, and find this guy out there.

- Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

>Should I have stayed near the group like I did or should I have tracked
>off earlier, later, pulled higher, what?

Depends on the dive. 90% of the time, you should do everything you can to stay with the formation until breakoff, then break off with them and track as far as you can to 2000 feet. If the organizer tells you to break off high if you go low (happens sometimes on very large dives) then do that.

>I was at just under 4K, saw nobody close, did another 180, tracked for another
>4 seconds, stopped, waved and pulled at ~3K.

Yikes. Don't do that. Track AWAY from the center.



Thank you for a meaningful response. To clarify, any tracking done was away from center (I know I was in position because the gentlemen I saw near me was the person I was supposed to dock on, hence I was on the right radial).

I have heard differing opinions on what to do if low from experienced organizers. Stay all the way to assigned breakoff; go early and forever, get away and pull high...

I believe I did right by staying and breaking a tad early but probably should have simply rolled over to check above and behind vice stopping my track and doing the 2 180's. Won't do it again.

to another responder:

Despite my low numbers, I can track. I have been on a number of tracking dives and can keep up with some very experienced folks. I know I can fly flat and can outdistance most (probably due to experience in aerodynamics). Not really sure what was meant by tunnel time helping in tracking. Last time I looked, it would be pretty hard to track in a tunnel.

Guess it's best to just learn to stay with a floaty big way.
"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" ~Samuel Clemens

MB#4300
Dudeist Skydiver #68

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnDeere,
(And others wondering what the hell this is about)

First of all, you are correct, but you're also correct there's some 'extra' skills needed in big ways.

To preface for those not familiar with me being an up-and-coming bigway jumper concerned about these kind of matters. I've now been in several 100-ways and a few dozen 50-way jumps, so I am learning a lot from the World Tem caliber Organizers who organized the camp. Kate Cooper, Tony Domenico, Larry Henderson, Dan BC, Tom Jenkins, Doug. They are the same people who are helping organizing the next 500-way World Record in year 2010 (Or shortly after). I'm trying to 'make it in' the invitationals (and it's tough on a limited budget too, with 150 jumps this year alone with over 100 bigway-camp-specific jumps) THAT SAID... I'm still a bigway newbie, relatively speaking.

So let's explain why the "World Team" caliber Organizers teach people to stay with catch up with the low guy in some cases. Firstly, it's ONLY for the first 5 seconds of the breakoff. Secondly, after that, if you're an outer-wave breakoff wave, you should do your best track -- low guys be damned. :)
Another perspective: The "real" breakoff that you are familiar with, does NOT actually begin until about 5 seconds after our breakoff. We actually break off a little early due to the large size of formations -- as an outer-wave breakoff of a 100-way, breakoffs can be in the neighborhood of 6000-7000 feet. For the first 5 seconds people breakoff in clumps of 3 to 5 people apiece. These clumps are tracking teams doing tracking RW with each other for 5 seconds. If one of the guys in these teams of 3 to 5 people sink slowly, the rest of the team is supposed to level down. Ignore the other teams (as long as they're not interfering with your radial, even if they're doing worse than your team -- don't track worse than the low guy in your team). BUT... After 5 seconds, fan out and go ahead and do your BEST track (if you're an outer). That's when the REAL breakoff that you are familiar with, ACTUALLY truly begins. But in bigways, there's often really the equivalent of a 5 second tracking RW ballet inserted between the bigway and the familiar breakoff.

In bigways, breakoffs can be very complex multistage ballets. It's a lot of fun, very thrilling, exciting, and you must do it very well, or you're kicked out of bigways in the name of safety -- you don't want to kill others.

The Innermost (base) may sometimes be asked to avoid doing their best track to avoid catching up with the next wave. Outermost does best track. I'm specifically saying outermost as a typical example, because generally in a bigway, there can be 3 or more multi-stage breakoff waves! The innermost people, for example, may be specifically asked to do a more steeper track to avoid catching up with outers -- You're not supposed to be good trackers if you're the last breakoff wave -- you don't want to fly over the people who broke off earlier!! -- That's depending on how the formation is set up. Usually, what the organizer says becomes like one of the Ten Commandments for that specific bigway skydive.

Here's an example 100-way breakoff
(Specifics varies, but you get the idea, this is written for those unfamiliar with bigways.)
___

Outer Breakoff (first-wave)
Breakoff: 7500 feet, Pull: No higher than 2500 feet
+0 SEC: Base gives leg kick to signal first breakoff.
+1 SEC: Outers whackers have finished turning 180 degrees. Tracking teams immediately form, one team per outer weedwhacker
+1to5 SEC: Tight tracking teams of 3 to 5 people fly away in bunches. Tracking RW.
+5 SEC: The real breakoff occurs. You fan out and do your best track.
~25 SEC: Gulp! You finally pull, at the lowest altitude you feel comfortable ever having pulled at. Yes, you spent nearly 30 seconds tracking away from the bigway.

Second-Wave Breakoff
Breakoff: 6500 feet, Pull: 2800 feet
+0 SEC: Base gives second leg kick to signal next breakoff.
+1 SEC: Second outermost weed whackers have finished turning 180 degrees. Tracking teams immediately form, one team per weedwhacker
+1to5 SEC: Tight tracking teams of 3 to 5 people fly away in bunches. Tracking RW.
+5 SEC: The real breakoff occurs. You fan out and do your best track (or close to it), but keep a visual of the outers, and do not endanger them.
~20 SEC: You finally pull at designated altitude.

Third-Wave Breakoff
Breakoff: 5500 feet, Pull: 3000 feet
+0 SEC: Base gives third leg kick to signal next-to-final breakoff.
+1 SEC: Innermost weed whackers and anchors have finished turning 180 degrees. Tracking teams immediately form, one team per weedwhacker
+1to5 SEC: Tight tracking teams of 3 to 5 people fly away in bunches. Tracking RW.
+5 SEC: The real breakoff occurs. You fan out and track. Don't overtake the wave in front of you.
~15 SEC: You pull at designated altitude.

Base Breakoff
Breakoff: 4500 feet, Pull: As soon as clear of base
Base sometimes scores a second point before breakoff.
+0 SEC: No signal, just begin breakoff. No tracking teams.
+1 SEC: Finished turning 180 and track a little lazy. Hawk eye on everybody too.
+5 SEC: Approx pull altitude.
___

Note: Details vary. The times above are roughly approximate. The specific altitudes vary, and the tightness of the breakoffs vary. It's often spaced tighter than the above. An example in larger bigways (like 200+ ways), sometimes outer teams stick together to do 10 seconds instead of 5, but this gives a general rough picture of how complicated a 100-way breakoff is. World Record league bigways often have more than 4 stages of breakoffs.

And that's not the only thing! Sometimes the organizers actually delibrately slightly delay the first wave breakoff by delaying the leg kick by about 500 feet or so, to give more time for the formation to complete. This is never done on the first bigway jumps, but when the formation is already becoming almost successful on consecutive jumps. So instead of 7500 feet originally, the first leg kick might occur at 7000 feet or even 6500 feet, and the breakoff waves spaced at smaller feet intervals. This is only done when video and observations show that everyone is doing excellent breakoff separation on previous jumps, with tons of space between everyone, then the organizers become comfortable making breakoff a little bit more frantic. Yes, they did this at 400-way World Record on the final jump -- intentionally delayed breakoff signal. You're actually asked to resist the temptation to breakoff on your audible and wait for the leg kick. Scary, eh?

But as they say... A stable formation at 6500 feet is always safer than a massive funnel at 7500 feet. :)
Anyway, the breakoff procedures for a 500-way can be even more complicated! Now, the bigway camps use very simple methods of teaching you breakoffs -- you're only worried about instructions specific to your breakoff wave, and they are choreographed on the ground in many dirt dives, you actually dirt-dive the tracking teams (tracking RW) and multi-stage breakoff. Usually a minimum of three or four times before the 100-way. For a first-time 100-way, sometimes additional dirt dives even occurs the day before too, for the next day's jump -- basically I remember dirt diving about 5 times for the first full 100-way on Day 3 of the 100-way camp, if I remember correctly.

Want to learn with the same organizers who might put you on the next World Team? Go to www.bigways.com, and register for the Perris P3 bigway camp. (Or go to www.skydiveperris.com and go to the Expert section, Calendar, and click on the Perris P3 camp days typically in the month of May and September).

The beginner bigway camp starts you at 20-ways and ends at 50-ways. If you do well, you can do the 100-way camp on the subsequent weekend, which starts you at 50-ways and ramps up to 100-ways. Two consecutive weekends of bigway jumping madness for beginners. The Perris P3 bigway camps are famously considered to be the world's best bigway camps for bigway beginners. Come join us!!!! 16000 foot oxygen jumps too. Friends. Bombshelter. Skyventure. Meet the Who Who's of the skydiving world. Dozens of World Team Members. Get your foot in the door. Do your first multiple-plane formation load at this camp. And if you don't do well, sign up for the next camp, do better, and get invited to future events such as state records and maybe World Record. Old POPS guys. Young freeflyer kids. Sexy girl skydivers. (And even 3 gays in the mix.) Over twenty countries represented, people fly in from worldwide. At least one dozen Canadians too (including me). Be persistent. Lots of fun!!!! It's like a BOOGIE that is turned into a summer camp for adults -- as many as 200 skydivers mingling about at one dropzone all learning bigways. Perris P3 is the only camp that succeeded two consecutive 100-way loads, back to back, no propeller cut, both loads with bigway newbies, two separate teams (with only a few people transferred in between), with consecutive completions. The organizers are top rate teachers. Go click on the clickies above and become a Big Way jumper. B|

And we haven't started talking about the canopy piloting you're going to need to be doing when you're pulling. Designated landing areas for separate sectors or planeloads of the formation. And the thrill of being a passenger in a tight-flying airplane formation that sometimes feel a bit scary -- some bigways have been done with as many as 17 planes flying in a V formation. You learn lots about stadiums, radials, sheepdogging, red zone, quick recovery, no-momentum docks, and lots more.

See, Big Ways are NOT boring 1-point jumps!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I believe I did right by staying and breaking a tad early but probably should have simply rolled over to check above and behind vice stopping my track and doing the 2 180's. Won't do it again.



There's a thread in Safety and Training right now on that subject that you'd do well to read!

Seriously - that you thought it was appropriate to stop and start turning around in the middle of a pretty big breakoff shows a very, very scary lack of knowledge. That's not a dig at you, that's just acknowledging the reality of the situation.You'd do well to think long and hard on this subject, and talk at length with whoever organises the big ways at your DZ about ALL the safety skills and contingency plans involved in big way jumping before you go on another one. If you didn't know this one, there's probably a lot more that you don't know.
Do you want to have an ideagasm?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[replySeriously - that you thought it was appropriate to stop and start turning around in the middle of a pretty big breakoff shows a very, very scary lack of knowledge.



My stopping my track initially was with the intention to deploy. As I checked my altitude and saw that I was at 4K, I decided to go a little farther and a little lower, thus the 2nd 180 and mini-track.

I get it... I have no business getting on any more large formation jumps until I get some training.
"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" ~Samuel Clemens

MB#4300
Dudeist Skydiver #68

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote


to another responder:

Despite my low numbers, I can track. I have been on a number of tracking dives and can keep up with some very experienced folks. I know I can fly flat and can outdistance most (probably due to experience in aerodynamics). Not really sure what was meant by tunnel time helping in tracking. Last time I looked, it would be pretty hard to track in a tunnel.

Quote


I think your extreme overestimation of your tracking ability is also part of your problem. You need to realise that at your tracking ability you need to track as long and as hard as possible from breakoff. Check your altimeter while tracking next time instead of stopping.

Tracking dives are rarely a good measure of how well you can track away from a formation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was watching a base dvd and it got me thinking about tracking technique. What is the best body position for a fast flat track? The base jumpers were wearing track suits, witch I know are different then RW suits we wear, but the booties looked similar. They were pointing their toes out to the side, is that something we could do to increase are tracking?

My next Question is on suit design, is there any way to increase the suits ability to track, without the losing too much maneuverability? Bigways slow as they add people, maybe those on the outside should fly a suit made for just that.(slower fall rate and superior tracking.)

I don't know much but I do know things can always be made better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On bigways during tracks that exceed 10 seconds, I NEVER STOP my track without first LOOKING at least TWO altimeters:

Altimeter #1: Big ball of Earth
Altimeter #2: Wrist altimeter

Yes, I have to crimp my head down and turn my wrist to look at the altimeter, but I'm still tracking the hell away from the meat missles chasing behind me!!!

I'm sooner pulling at 1500 feet, if I HAVE to (thankfully not so far, but if someone is somehow tracking over me at pull altitude, I've got no choice but to wait!). People sometimes have done this at the bigway camps. Yes, there's been an AAD activation at one of the bigway camps. Be hyper aware. This is serious stuff. If I am an outer wave breakoff, my Altitrack shows me being under a fully inflated canopy typicaly a hair above 2000 feet. Sometimes a hair under, too. When deployments start at 2500, it happens.

There's a YouTube video of two skydive trackers colliding at over 100+ mph. Red spray visible. One dead, one crippled. NOT PRETTY It was a demo jump gone wrong, with two trackers trying to make an "X" and they collided near head-on. Google it -- see a midair freefall collision in video. That's why I, or you, or everyone else, don't stop my track with meat missles still chasing me from the next breakoff wave. You halt your track, but the tracker behind you is going to collide into you at well over 100mph, if you're unlucky. This video demonstrates what happens.

WARNING! DISTURBING CONTENT --
CLOUD OF RED, POSSIBLY VAPORIZED BLOOD AND BODY PARTS

CLICKY: YouTube Skydiver Freefall collision video -- Fatality in action

That said, even with the known risks, the bigway camps at Perris P3 have an excellent safety record, and arguably better and safer statistics than swooping. (Which is fun too, albiet done outside of a bigway event!) But no problem...do a few more single planeload ways, join the P3 big way camp, move on, and you'll just be a bit embarassed at having done something unexpectedly risky in the past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I'm a pretty good tracker and I held it for about 10 seconds, looked left and right, saw some folks above and behind me so I did a 180 and scanned. I was at just under 4K, saw nobody close, did another 180, tracked for another 4 seconds, stopped, waved and pulled at ~3K. Just as I released my pilot chute, I spotted another jumper close & waving himself. I don't know how I missed seeing him but he spotted me and delayed his deployment to get some vert separation.




Please please please, never do that again! Yikes
Dom


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Quote

I'm a pretty good tracker and I held it for about 10 seconds, looked left and right, saw some folks above and behind me so I did a 180 and scanned. I was at just under 4K, saw nobody close, did another 180, tracked for another 4 seconds, stopped, waved and pulled at ~3K. Just as I released my pilot chute, I spotted another jumper close & waving himself. I don't know how I missed seeing him but he spotted me and delayed his deployment to get some vert separation.




Please please please, never do that again! Yikes



I got the message, thanks.
"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" ~Samuel Clemens

MB#4300
Dudeist Skydiver #68

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0