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Snowflake

Freefly Safety

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We had a FF Seminar last night and a couple points were brought up that most expirienced FF'ers already know that we newbies don't so here they are.
1 after deployment don't fly up or down jump run because you've beat the belly flyers to deployment altitude and if you open and fly up or down jump run you might get a "show" they played a video of someone flying up jump run and they look up and coming down right in front of them is someone getting ready to open (and I mean right in front of them)
2 Don't go belly to earth at break off transition to a track by doing half a catrwheel and a 180 this way your not decelerating real fast before your track which would be real bad if someone is directly above you which they shouldn't be but shit happens.
3 If there are high pullers behind you make sure you tell them to pull where they say there gonna pull so they aren't flyng through your space.
The guys who gave the seminar said that they got a bunch of the info from monkeyclaws seminar so if you get the chance to go to one I would highly recomend it
Blue ones
JG

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The only thing I would add is that many freefliers set their ProTrack/Dytters for about 500 feet above breakoff altitude. This gives you time to do a quick 360 and make sure no one is right behind you at breakoff.
The 1/2 cartwheel is good if you're in a sit/stand at breakoff. If you're head down you just want to gradually track out of it.
If I'm in a sit, I normally drop into a fast backfly and then back track away. That way I can check to see what's above me. Once I clear my air above me, I flip over to a standard track and make sure no one is under me.
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

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[/quote}The 1/2 cartwheel is good if you're in a sit/stand at breakoff. If you're head down you just want to gradually track out of it.***
I was aiming this at new people that are probably just starting to sit like me . I would have at least tried to start transitioning if I had known, although a little thought tells you thats exactly what needs to happen if you ever want to jump with groups. I had just never heard these before and it's possible everyone else knows but me (conspiracy theory?)
JG

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You have so much visibility when in a sit I don't think a 360 is really necessary. A simple 180 checking both above and below should be sufficient to keep everyone safe. Head down.....thats a little tougher. Leaving the formation on your back or at least doing a barrel roll or two is a great idea as well.
"Houston? That place is full of Crack heads and debutantes."- Hank Hill
Clay

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180 checks are great if you plan to dump in a sit. If like the rest of us, you wanna 'monster swoop' (as Pat Works calls it) your way outa there first, then a 360 barrel roll is a pretty good idea when you belly out!
Back tracking is cool, but remember, when you begin, you don't fly particularly far on your back - you also can't see the formation due to your body attitude. If you do back track, just make sure you can see where everyone is going first. It may look cool of video, not so good when you turn to dump and realise someone is either chasing you doing the same thing or right below you.
n9 aka Rob

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If I'm in a sit, I normally drop into a fast backfly and then back track away. That way I can check to see what's above me. Once I clear my air above me, I flip over to a standard track and make sure no one is under me.

Zennie: that statement worries me...
I'm by no means a sit/free flyer... BUT my understanding is that the universal rule in tracking is that its the high man's responsability to make sure to track clear of the low man. If you're on your back at the start of the track, and someone is lower and decides to track for not very long, there might be a problem there....
Educate me if I'm wrong about Freeflying tracking....
Remster
Muff 914

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I personally think the rule should be universal, but at least in freeflying, since you have people potentially both above and below you it's important to make sure you have clear airspace both above and below.
So I generally start the first half on my back and clear above and then flip over and clear below. If you start on your belly you run the risk of corking into any freefliers above you.
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

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If you start on your belly you run the risk of corking into any freefliers above you.

Zennie,
my opinion, anybody correct me if I'm wrong: You run the risk to cork up in both cases not only by starting on your belly but on your back either. The winds don't consider if the presented body is on its belly or back ;-)
That's why you should be taught to do a 180 cartwheel at separation, accelerating into a fast headdown and then gradually track away with a fast barrel roll before wave-off.
Of course "beginners" shouldn't do that - but they shouldn't fly together in such big ways where they can't overview if there is anybody else below or above them ;-)
Blues Marcus
--
Perfect speed, my son, is being there. - Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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"someone is lower and decides to track for not very long,"
It is accepted almost everywhere I have been, that if you are low on ANY type of medium to big way, you break early, and track long. Remember that most FF loads will break higher, around 5500 to 4500, this gives everyone the chance to track like hell.
I've seen Zennie's break offs, and am more than happy to continue jumping with him, he is only on his back until he sees where everyone else is going (the move Zen described enables you to see who's above and immediately behind you whilst keeping an eye on the swarm), then as he described, barrell rolls into a fast/flat track. I try and perform the same procedure, but with less flair and panache... The very real danger of belly tracking out of a freefly is a corking issue, ie as you transition to a flat track, you will slow down dramatically, endangering anybody above you (and yourself), therefore the transition to track MUST be carefully considered.
As a convert to the dark side, I see a lot of "cross polenation" (sp?), and common ground in safety procedures between the two disciplines.
The same rules apply to RW and FF wrt going low, docking etc, ie
Don't dock hard, slow is safe, and slow is fast.
Don't dock from above.
Don't dock from below.
The danger zones on any formation load FF or RW are directly above, and below the formation.
If you are not in, and not going to get in, as b/o approaches, turn and burn early.
My two cents worth,
D

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The winds don't consider if the presented body is on its belly or back


Actually it does. To a degree...
Read Pat Works stuff. And I can verify it's correctness, I can fly in a relaxed backfly as fast (if not faster) as I can in a sit. That's the beauty of backflying. It has about the widest speed range of any body position. So I drop into a relaxed backfly, don't cork and gradually start backtracking away. It's a gradual thing. No sudden vertical speed changes.
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

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Just so there's no misunderstanding, I'm not saying the 1/2 cartwheel is wrong. I'm just presenting another alternative. There are experienced freefliers at our DZ that favor both approaches. The backfly transition works best for me. ramon likes the 1/2 cartwheel.
The big thing is not to have a dramatic change in vertical speed, such that you cork (or scream down) into another flier.
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

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It is accepted almost everywhere I have been, that if you are low on ANY type of medium to big way, you break early, and track long.

Sorry, but if's dont cut it with me.... When I m above, its my job to make sure no one is under me.
I see you points guys, but I still think that by starting on your back, you're exposing yourself too much.... Yes, you wont have anybody above you from start of you track, but the danger comes from below.
Remster
Muff 914

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"Sorry, but if's dont cut it with me.... When I m above, its my job to make sure no one is under me."
If you've never been taken out of a formation (especially RW)by somebody below you, you are a lucky guy indeed.....
If you are talking about tracking/dumping issues, then nobody should be pitching that close to the swarm, we are talking about 4500-5000 here, back tracking out of a freefly swarm is, IMHO, a whole lot safer than belly tracking out of it. Of course as you pick up speed you transition to a belly flat track, and come pull time, nobody should be on their back. Just as in RW, FF break off and deployment altitudes and procedures should be discussed during the dive planning.
D

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the danger comes from below.


Quite the opposite in freefly. Corking is your biggest danger. If you get in the habit of starting on your belly you present a very grave risk to your fellow freefliers who are above you (as well as yourself) cuz one of these days you're gonna cork into someone.
And again, I'm not talking about a half cartwheel here. You're not corking and if you really want to clear what's below you first that's the way to do it.
But in all truthfulness the real danger comes from both places. In freefly you are, as nacmac notes, in a 3 dimensional swarm. At any give time there can be people above, below, in front and behind you. So at breakoff time you need to clear all of your airspace completely. So it really doesn't matter which you clear first (well, behind you obviously first), so long as you clear it all. It's also another reason why freefliers will generally break higher... around 5000 ... to get enough time to slow down and clear their airspace.
If you were on a freefly and just turned, looked below and dumped, I *guarantee* you won't be invited on any more freefly jumps. So if you get anywhere in freefly, you know this. I venture a guess that the same behavior would be met with equal disdain in the RW world.
Even if you're conscientious about making sure no one is below you are you willing to bet your life that the other people are doing the same for you? Nothing personal to my fellow fliers, but I'm not. The people above me are as much a risk to me as I am to those below.
IMHO, every responsible skydiver, be it RW or freefly, should check his or her airspace both above and below before dumping. Someone else said it before me but it's true... better to be safe and alive than right & dead.
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

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IMHO, every responsible skydiver, be it RW or freefly, should check his or her airspace both above and below before dumping.

Bingo. And learn to track WELL - hard and flat. I was on a larger RW dive a couple of weeks ago. I was on the outside ring; turned and tracked hard at 4500. Was just slowing down and ready to pull when holy shit! There was someone from the inner ring right below me, waving off. Damn. Went back into my track, watched this person pull as I got some distance ahead, flared out, quick look above as I waved and then dumped. Glad I didn't have a Cypres on that one...
Tracking is NOT accomplished by diving away from the group. I am constantly finding myself above and ahead of others who left at the same time I did. It's a survival skill... learn to do it well...
pull and flare,
lisa
--
What would Scooby Doo?

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***
How the heck is that the opposite!!!!! If someone corks, he's comming from below! Yes, its dangerouns to the one corking, but as far as "watching out for #1 goes", the danger is coming from below....
Again, I agree, if there is someone below, and they track on their back, they will not deploy when someone above who is also tracking and looking above. The logic fails when you get to the "top of the ladder" as one guy will initially track looking up, seing nothing is above, and then get back on his belly to track. He will be vulnerable from someone either corking from below or dumping early.
With "traditional tracking" you watch out for whats below, and its YOUR job to stay clear of anyone below you....
I still fail to see the logic of tracking on ur back 1st, and leaving your safety up to the people below you...
Remster
Muff 914

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If you were on a freefly and just turned, looked below and dumped, I *guarantee* you won't be invited on any more freefly jumps.

I garrantee you;d get axed in RW too.. but again, if someone has a good case of ground rush, either real coz your low, or an illusion, and he dumps early in the track (hell, I'f I know I'm low, I wave and dump) and you are looking up while above, it will be a sad event....
Not to start a flame war, but it dont make sense to me....
Remster
Muff 914

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I still fail to see the logic of tracking on ur back 1st, and leaving your safety up to the people below you...


Just so we're on the same page, are you saying the only way one should track away from a freefly dive when starting from a headup position is by starting with a 1/2 cartwheel?
I didn't want to get into this, but the big argument I've heard against the 1/2 cartwheel is you go from a moderate head up speed to a fairly fast head down. Sort of a reverse cork. That's why I shy away from it.
So my options are, flip straight to my belly (cork) or drop into a backfly and glide out of it. One of my coaches advocates the second method as does Pat Works.
Now as far as the odd case of someone dumping early, I think my odds are better in a flat track away (even if I don't see them) than bearing down on them in a head down -- which is what you'd be doing if you 1/2 cartwheeled it.
Maybe the difference in opinion is due to the realtively small size of freefly jumps. A "big-way" in a freefly jump is 4-ish. A *really* big way is 10 or more. In RW the sky can be filled with other jumpers who, if out along the vertical axis will most likely be low. Thus the concern for those below.
Since you said earlier you don't freefly, maybe this is a case of one person viewing the problem through RW glasses and another viewing it through freefly glasses. The environments are just different.
FYI, I don't start on my back tracking away on RW jumps (though I do a slow barrel roll right before pulling).
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

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Hi all,
I think this could be interesting for you ;-) :
"Break Off and Opening
- Minimum break off altitude for more than a two-way
group is 5.500ft.
- Minimum break off altitude for a two-way is 5.000ft.
- Before break off visual awareness is critical, i.e.
everyone knows where everyone else is.
- Freeflyers should go into a progressive track to ensure
safe break off.
- If possible always track 90º to the jump run.
- Perform a barrel roll to check there is no one above you,
prior to opening.
- If someone is below you and you are clear-PULL!
- After opening fly your canopy 90º from the jump run.
This allows free space for the skydivers who have
jumped after you. Do this until you can see the groups
that jumped before and after you."
Stolen from "A Freefly Guide" from Babylon Freefly, Empuria Brava.
Download the complete guide (*.pdf) here:
"A Freefly Guide"
Have fun
blues Marcus
--
Perfect speed, my son, is being there. - Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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How the heck is that the opposite!!!!! If someone corks, he's comming from below! Yes, its dangerouns to the one corking, but as far as "watching out for #1 goes", the danger is coming from below....


I think what Zennie is saying is that it's dangerous because the transition could lead into corking, which kicks you up into your group.
His method sounds like it centers around control. Transition first onto the back because it's smoother and allows him to keep his group in sight. When that danger passes he can flip over and run a standard track.
If that's wrong Zennie, let me know. I'm curious about this stuff because I'll have to do it myself someday.

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Heh, this is taking on the flavor of an RSL debate.
And no, I'm not taking any of this personally or feeling like I'm in a flame war. It's a very good, thought-provoking discussion.
The only thing I disagree with is pulling with someone underneath you. If I have a sniveller or a high speed mal things could get really ugly.
As far as citing my authority for the backtrack method, I'd have everyone take a look at the safety chapter in Pat Works' "The Art of vRW".
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

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Zennie...I'm with you. You can pretty much keep the fall rate up on your back and slowly move away(Very Safe). Then flip over and really put some distance between you and the circus. Maybe one final roll to make sure you are clear above and you should be all good to dump. Of course...after that craziness where the collision occured I decided I really don't have all the skills to be flying with more than 4-5 at most. Funny though..I was watching that video on my "Me" tape again last night and noticed that right as that collision is happening you can see me in the background. ABOUT 75 Yds away and trackin to beat hell.
"Houston? That place is full of Crack heads and debutantes."- Hank Hill
Clay

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His method sounds like it centers around control. Transition first onto the back because it's smoother and allows him to keep his group in sight. When that danger passes he can flip over and run a standard track.
If that's wrong Zennie, let me know.


That is a pretty good summation.
"Zero Tolerance: the politically correct term for zero thought, zero common sense."

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Hey, bumping this to the top. I searched for Freefly Safety and look what I found. I'm a low-number jumper and have been doing more free-flying than I should and wanted to look up safety issues concerning freeflying. Aside from discussion about how to transition from a freefly position to a track, would this be a good summation of the timeline from airplane to landing for low time jumpers in small (4-max) groups:

* Jump with experienced jumpers.

* If there are high pullers behind you make sure you tell them to pull where they say there gonna pull so they aren't flyng through your space. (Should really be accounted for through proper horizontal separation? But I guess vertical separation is at least better than none.)

* Upon exit make sure everyone is accounted for.

* During the dive keep everyone in view.

* Don't cork (if you can).

* If you're high on the formation your skydive is done, track away 90 degrees from the flight path. Go solo next time.

* Maintain altitude awareness. If you're on the exterior of the pack, break first track hard.

* Don't go belly to earth at break off too quickly.
-In a sit. Look up to make sure you won't cork into anyone.
-Head down. Transition into a track.
-Use quickest method to get into a track.

* Track like a SkyBytch.

* After deployment don't fly up or down jump run because you've beat the belly flyers to deployment altitude and if you open and fly up or down jump run you might lose your spleen.

Thanks,
Doug
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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