Freefly Safety

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Uhm if you might cork you have no business in groups larger than 2? And with an experienced partner at that, not an equally inexperienced one?

I find FF groups seem much 'bigger' than FS groups, ie I´d jump an FS 8 way but no way am I jumping an FF 8 way.

ciel bleu,

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Here we go with a response given to me by the most experienced free-flier at my home DZ.

1) Establish a dive flow. Freeflying does not mean 'fuck off
in the sky'. Dive flows make it more fun, but more importantly,
it makes sure everyone is on the same page. Be sure to establish
a dive flow that everyone can achieve or attempt safely. Be
sure to address exit, breakoff, and speed changes.

2) If you are a newbie, openly and honestly asses your skills to
be on that jump. If it is over your head, say so. Maybe an
easier (safer) dive flow can be structured that allows you to
join in. If not, jump by yourself to work on your skills, or
work with a different jumper/group to establish a more-sane
dive flow (for examples, we can have an afterhours chat some
weekend with the freefliers ). Perfect example was my question
to a jumer this weekend "Can you hold a sit the whole jump?".
His first response was "Maybe". A Maybe is a NO. So, we
restructured the diveflow so that if he wasn't with us, his
jump was up and had to clear the airspace. That still had
risks to it, but they were a bit less than if we blindly believed
that everyone was at the same skill level.

2b) Stick to the diveflow. This is more and more important when
jumping with people you havent jumped with before -- you don't know
what they might do.

3) Exit - be realistic in your exit so that you give the best chance
to the group for staying together. Put the low timers where the
more experienced can see them. It is the experienced persons
responsibility to avoid the low timer. (In Anne Timpany's and my
collision, it was clearly my fault for aggresively shadowing her.
She changed directions quickly and drastically, and I wasn't in
the proper position/distance to avoid her)

4) Small groups. I can't stress this enough. I would assert
that a bunch of lowtimers going out together is moronic. Not
only is this a safety risk, but it is next to impossible to
learn on these jumps ("Is he moving, or am I??"). Think back
to the RW jumps described by Anne Melera and crew ("Hang on til
it hurts".) Same issues. Because there is no reference, often
people are trying compensating for each other, and it is difficult
to determine what is going wrong. Best jumps are with someone
(or two) more experienced freefliers. Let the others asses your
skills. Heck, I jump with lowtimers a lot, working on specific
dive flows to work on individual skills. Pretty much I am willing
to jump with almost anyone if they ask -- even more so if they
cover my slot! I have jumped with most of the freeflyers/upcoming
freefliers -- if you ask my opinion about who should/could jump
together, I will give you my honest assesment.

5) Situational awareness. You need to know (or have faith in
your other jumpers) where people are. This allows you to keep
yourself from getting in bad situations. This becomes more important
as breakoff time comes.

6) Breakoff requires more time and more care. Speed changes can
kill (or at least rupture your spleen). Situational awareness.
Keep speed up, and slowly bleed it off into a track. Again, the
smaller the group, the easier it is to know where everyone is.
Breakoff high. it is a better margin for error in altitude awareness,
and gives you more time to slow gently to pull altitude.

7) Flightline - I would say that if your freefly group is coming
down through an RW group, or beat an RW group to the same opening
location, then you are a jackass and need to have more separation
between groups. If you have broken high, you should have a better
margin for error if you do find the two groups getting close.

8) make sure you slow down before deploying. I think brad (?)
broke several of his lines on his canopy because he didnt
adequately slow down before dumping. Why stress your gear like

9) Always debrief. Suprisingly, I almost always do this. Mostly
cuz I like to watch the video. :)
But, it is a great tool for keeping each other safe.
I know a lot of people listen in to my
debriefs, and hopefully the drivel I spill helps them learn and
stay safe. be honest in your assesment of what happened.

10) hmm..lets see what else.. as for high pullers, you need MUCH more
separation between freefliers and bellyer (who are following).
There is a visual representation of this somewhere on the web. If
that doesnt scare you into lots of separation, then you are an idiot.

"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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