dthames

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  • Main Canopy Size
    188
  • Reserve Canopy Size
    190
  • AAD
    Cypres 2

Jump Profile

  • Home DZ
    Skydive Skyranch Siloam Springs Arkansas USA
  • License
    D
  • License Number
    34390
  • Licensing Organization
    USPA
  • Number of Jumps
    1160
  • Years in Sport
    7
  • First Choice Discipline
    Wing Suit Flying
  • First Choice Discipline Jump Total
    930

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  1. dthames

    Easiest Stability Exits

    When I first started, the first couple of seconds, I failed to do what I had planned to do. Maybe the diveflow was where my brain was at and not on the exit. First things first! I knew what to do but just failed to do it. At that time I was doing static line jumps. My exit was hanging from the strut of a C-182. I had been instructed to get the go cue from the instructor, arch, look at the bottom of the wing, release, and watch the plane. After he said Go, I would just release and my exit was not as planned. After understanding that my focus was not where it should be, I told the instructor, "This is what I am planning. Before I look at you for my cue/permission to release (from hanging) I am going to mentally revisit my exit steps. I will then look at you for the cue. If you think I have froze up or something, just give me 5 seconds to finish that task". So I got into position and thought to myself,......"I am going to do this, this, this, and watch the plane". By revisiting the steps I needed to do for my exit, I was able to "remember" them better. I still practice that today. I fly wingsuits and one specific suit that I have, I must think about the extra force needed to keep the leg wing tightly shut when I exit. If I get ready to exit and then think "Keep those knees tightly together", I have better results with controlling that aspect of the exit, because that step is fresh in my mind.
  2. dthames

    Things to do before AFF

    I was 54 when I started. My arch was poor and it hurt my progression. Yes work to be flexible in your arch. I did specific stretches twice a day for 10 weeks, which got me over the hump.
  3. dthames

    Things to do before AFF

    As veazer pointed out, you don't want to go to AFF training and have to "un-learn" things. I studied a lot and forced myself to keep my mouth shut (mostly) in the first jump course. I have flown RC aircraft in my younger days and understanding landing patterns, low turns, how to crash during a landing were things that I considered valuable to me when learning to fly the parachute. I am not saying go fly model planes, but knowing about canopy flight is another thing you can study. There are a couple of books out there on canopy flight that are worthwhile. A lot of people do a few jumps and then after a few jumps start worrying (more) about things. I often say, "When you go jump, you are putting your trust in the equipment and the guy operating it." Learn about the equipment during your training, learn you can trust it by understanding how it works. Learn how to use it. Those two factors always gave me a lot of confidence when I had the thought....."should I be doing this?" If you haven't learned it yet the common skydiving answer is,...."you will probably be okay."
  4. dthames

    First jump: Tandem or AFF?

    I did AFF for my first jump. I had a pretty good basic knowledge of what would be involved in the landing....landing pattern, keep flying speed, flare as you land...which gave me confidence to do that in on own for the first time. I am pretty sure everyone would benefit from at least one tandem before landing solo....but MANY have done their first landing "solo". Static Line training has existed for decades and was the first jump for everyone for a long time. But also, a lot of those jumped round parachutes.
  5. dthames

    So embarrassing. Need to repeat aff2

    That is good news. I was ready to reply to your original post and saw this. I will post my reply anyway in the chance it might help someone else. I was 54 when I started and had issues with motion sickness. Once I got that largely under control a new problem came up. I was asked to repeat level C (not my first repeat) because I had flipped over when released. I was told my arch was okay at first but then got lazy. As I filled out my log book a voice in my head said, "I could repeat that jump 3 or 4 times and the resulting arch would be the same". My back and butt were sore from arching, just 2 jumps on Sunday and 2 on Wednesday, but sore. I could do no better.....at that time. Many say repeating a jump is not failing. Outwardly I would agree, but on the inside, I couldn't repeat the jumps knowing I would do no better. That "failure" was something I knew would sour me on the sport, so I quit right then. Quit AFF, for sure. Quit skydiving....well we will see. I had done a few static line jump when working on the motion sickness problem and I knew I could repeat a SL jump for $75 without such stress on myself as an AFF jump, so that was my plan. Before I could continue, the plane at the DZ was in the shop. It was winter and we had no plane for several weeks. Lucky for me when I was doing the AFF at a vacation dropzone, the instructor (also 50+) showed me some ways to work on being flexible, resulting in a better arch. When I finally got back to jumping, my arch was better and my progress was much better. It might be something physical, or the need to study up on how the canopy works (better understanding, less fear), or studying the SIM more. But a smart person will know when, "maybe I am not ready for this right now, but I will be back shortly".....go home, work on whatever and come back. Anyone having trouble, step back and think it through for a while. Try to learn the root cause of your problem.
  6. dthames

    Deployment Techniques

    As others have said, many ways will work fine. One thing that I wish that I had learned earlier than I did was to fly stable a deployment position. In my early days I would tend to be a bit head low during deployment. One day the wind at 3500 feet was over 40 MPH and I am lightly loaded under canopy. I didn't want to pull in that wind, and I didn't want to be low and have problems with my pull. So about 4000 feet (normally would pull 3500-4000) I put my and on the handle, folded my legs enough, and started falling almost straight down like a belly jumper. I keep my hand on the handle and my eye on my mudflap altimeter and waited until below 3000 to pitch. My terminal speed was about 70 MPH so that fall was several seconds. It was a great learning experience for me. It taught me to focus on my stability and that rushing deployment in any way was not necessary. I would encourage any new bird to learn to fly with both hands on the bottom of your container for 10 seconds, stay stable and in control. You can steer with your shoulders. Practice that a few times and it will help your deployments, because you can better focus on your flying once you have a bit of practice at managing "level" attitude in that position.
  7. If I was afraid, I would not jump. I grew up managing fear and doing crazy stuff as a kid. I don't ever remember any 'fear' in skydiving but in my early jumps waiting to go up and waiting to get out of the aircraft were often difficult. Some say everyone is afraid but manages it. I don't really agree that everyone is afraid. I think people are different and everyone has to approach the sport in a way that works for how they are. If the sky calls you back, worry look into some fear management education. Until then, support your wife and don't be jealous. She will have relationships with other jumpers that you might not understand. Note, I have a great non jumping wife.
  8. Not necessarily true. I think many DZs want a student to start and finish at the same location and transfers tend to be more case-by-case. I have seen DZs that will not accept transfers and will require you to start over, or at least start back a few levels. I am not an AFF instructor, but I suspect some instructors would have reservations about doing a release jump with a student they have never jumped with before, know nothing about and at a DZ they know the student has never jumped at before. The ISP is intended to be part of a progression that involves start-to-finish training with an instructor or two who know the student and know what s/he needs to work on and what s/he is strong with. I would agree staying in one place is best. If there are issues that cause you to need to moved to a new DZ, then a student should not be afraid of a move. My student history is a bit of a story but over the course of 7 months I was force to jump at three different DZs (or not jump) because of circumstances and two more by choice. Yes, I had to repeat some jumps so a new DZ could take a look at me.
  9. dthames

    Swift 3?

    Sorry but I have to take exception to "Everyone". I have nothing bad to say about a 7 cell for wingsuiting but 6 years ago, there were none on the market (aimed at wingsuiting). What was recommended (and still is today) is a stable canopy without a lot of taper. Very often those that recommend 7 cells are trying to sell one. I have many friends that love their new 7 cell canopies. No one has given me any specific reason that makes me want to put down my money to replace my 9 cell. But that is just me.
  10. dthames

    Swift 3?

    I can't answer about the suit. I have been flying a 9 cell Pilot since I was a student. A 7 cell might be better in some cases, but I have never considered giving up my 9 cell.
  11. dthames

    FlySight navigation mode

    I listen to my vertical speed, once every 3 seconds. Post breakoff, I try to see how slow I can get my vertical, just playing around. I get better and better, beyond what I ever thought that I could do.
  12. 4 hours each way for me. I do it as a day trip and normally do 6 wingsuit jumps per day. 7 jumps would leave me dangerously tired on the return trip. This last year was a bit slow but before that, 2 times a month was common, on average.
  13. dthames

    FlySight navigation mode

    I will have to search but I think I have a config for that. It has been a while since I used Flyblind.
  14. Not directed at you or your choices but if a person's top priority is to stay healthy and keep jumping, even a minor injury can ground someone. No one wants to be hurting for months. I reached out with my foot on landing #8, and took a little shock to my heal that was sore for a number of weeks. He didn't keep me from jumping. Many jumpers have somewhat minor accidents that take them out for the season. You can't be too careful if your main goal is to jump.
  15. The stair-stepped rubber cone type earbuds that I wear can really get some pressure difference between the outside and the space between the eardrum and the earbud. I think the faster you go down, the more likely it is to be a problem. Wingsuiting, it is normally a problem. Also, it depends on how well you seat them when you exit. Leave them a bit loose and it is better.