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Everything posted by dthames

  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.
  16. Others have answered similar to what I would have said. Adding to that, I do jump with a sealed audio earpiece in my right ear (Flysight device). Wingsuit jumping the decent is slower but still at times there is a bit of pressure on the earpiece after deployment. I can reach in my helmet and un-seat it if it is bothering me. I have had hearing damage since I was 15 and have tried to protect my hearing since then. At age 60 now and still want to save what I have. You can't get it back.
  17. I had more problems with the waiting to go up and the waiting to get out, than I did actually getting out. Many times someone would get out on a low pass and I just wanted to get out rather than wait for the ride to the top. How many people would ride a ski-lift to the top of the mountain and not want to get off the lift to ski down the slopes? Learning to trust yourself to perform safely is pretty important. Be a good student and that trust should come soon. Don't fail to study.
  18. I flew with Reg at several events prior to last week. I saw him Thursday when he first arrived at our camp. I reached out to shake his hand, but instead he gave me a hug. Thanks for the hug, Reg. Blue Skies, my friend.
  19. I have WS friends that often cut away but I seem to never have any issues. I think the two big factors are, 1. Your ability to fly and deploy straight...like keep straight through deployment. 2. Your wingloading. I am very lightly loaded and have wonder what all the line twist talk is about. I did have some issues early on but thanks to a larger canopy, my twists were always stable.
  20. dthames

    AFF Stuggles

    Study the SIM and be sure you know your diveplan well. Leave no room for uncertainty. Ask your instructors questions until you know for sure what to do. People are often shy to ask, but ask. It is your money, your life. In the air, I had issues. I had to repeat jumps and I couldn't really deal with that very well, as my physical condition was an obstacle. (couldn't arch well) I ended up switching to static line training so that I could learn more gradually and more on my own. For me there was a certain learning of what the air felt like as I was trying to be stable. Once I understood how to feel the air, it was only 4 or 5 more jumps and I was a lot better.
  21. My first jump was AFF. At age 54, I had some experience with things that are interesting and I had been in a jump plane, secured by the open door, some years before my first jump. On my first jump I was told to start making my way toward my exit position (Caravan). My heart started pounding and then settled in less then 10 seconds. I remember thinking, "Was that IT"? I had some specific goals when I started jumping. Never was one of those goals "to be thrilled". 15 or 20 jumps into my training I did something that was really fun for me and that was nice to be really enjoying the sport. But as a serious student, there was not a lot of time to just have fun. It was "fun" but getting the jumps done properly often was top of the list and the fun would come later. I was a much better ground student than when I was in the air. I had to really work to preform at a reasonable level, so that focus also kept me from the fun a bit. But I knew I wanted to jump and I pushed through the student phase.
  22. You might ask yourself these two questions. 1. Do I trust the equipment? (thinking that when I exit the aircraft, this backpack full of fabric is what I expect will get me safely to the ground.) 2. Do I trust the skydiver? (thinking that when I exit the aircraft, this skydiver/me is going to get me safely to the ground.) You really should not be jumping if you are not ready to truly say yes to both questions. Look at your education process in light of those questions. Saying yes might not remove all fear. But if you can't say yes, you will most likely have fear issues. I observed someone trying to skydive that would never trust themselves. They were a mess.
  23. I also fly very lightly loaded and often in large groups. As you get more experience, you will learn to see these situations coming, sooner, and have more time to make corrections that don't have negative impact on you or others. On low wind days, I can fly a wider pattern than most others. On a windy day, I can fly a much tighter (overall closer to my landing spot) than others. This helps me put a little space between me and many others.
  24. As already stated, it's very much a personal choice with a lot of different concerns that are involved. Educate yourself and decide what you want.
  25. Turbulence is pretty short lived, so just keep flying as normal is what I do. I am lightly loaded and hot weather thermals (not what I call turbulence) have both bounded me around and kept my decent rate very low. When jumping at a DZ that you are familiar with, it is not hard to learn where the thermals tend to be. It is also useful to know that if you need to get back from a long spot. I fly with a Flysight and also listen to my vertical speed under canopy. It is interesting to see how the type of ground you are flying over often changes your decent rate. Plus or minus 5 MPH in the vertical is not uncommon. My average vertical is about 12-13 MPH.