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Everything posted by PixieUK

  1. I guess you'd be surprised just how many thousands of people only ever do one tandem, tick it off their bucket list and never come back, lol. I got into it kind of by accident. I never had any interest in jumping, it was never on my bucket list to do a tandem, my motto was basically "if the pilot is landing in the plane, I don't see any good reason why I shouldn't either". My boyfriend at the time (now-ex) had been a skydiver for several years but had given it up a long time before he met me. We had talked about him getting back into it and me possibly giving it a go, I'd even gone so far as to get a medical but then just shoved it in a drawer for a couple of years. Long story but we both did a tandem for my birthday (ironically, his first tandem, he had over 700 jumps logged at that point) and I was a bit, meh, take it or leave it, lol. I liked some bits, didn't like others, my right ear was incredibly painful on the way down, we had a hard opening and a hard landing and I really couldn't see the attraction. After talking it over with a couple of people, they eventually persuaded me that I had to try doing it by myself to really judge whether I liked it or not. So two weeks later I was back at the dz on my ground school. It was a real battle to get through AFF, the winds were frequently too high and even with rocking up every Friday night, staying all weekend and taking a week off work to try for mid-week jumping, it still took me over 6 weeks from ground school to getting my 18th jump and my (BPA) A licence. I was pretty disheartened by the whole process and it took me another 6 weeks before I came back to the dz. My first qualified jump ended up being a reserve ride because someone had packed a mal (locked brake toggle, I didn't even get to pull it out of the keeper) though I still managed to get back to the landing area. I went on to do 6 more jumps that weekend and just made it a whole series of firsts. Since I'd already had a cutaway, I didn't have any real nerves of jumping my first pack job (my instructor was also jumping one of my pack jobs on the same jump so he obviously had confidence in me, lol). I have never been really obsessed with jumping and even now, I can take it or leave it. If someone told me that I had to give up jumping for medical reasons for example, I would head off to another type of activity without really looking back. I have done a lot in 3 years of jumping, including competing in 4-way and Speed 8, big way, multi-plane big way, lots of tunnel time, helping to coach newbies and so on. There is still a huge amount to learn and lots more I could try, but if none of them materialise, I could walk away happy with what I've already achieved
  2. I did a tandem and when I got down, I confused everyone by being a bit "Meh!" about the experience I liked some bits, didn't like others. I wasn't terrified and kissing the ground grateful to still be alive but I wasn't euphoric and desperate to do it again either. So my instructor and my then boyfriend told me I needed to do it by myself to really be able to decide. So I signed up for AFF level 1 (was able to pay for each level as I did it) and a few weeks later, I finally understood what all the fuss was about AFF was a very emotional journey for me and when I got my A licence, I wasn't at all sure I would continue. I've persevered after considering quitting several times but I know I will never be an obsessive skydiver. It is an amazing thing to be able to fly though
  3. You haven't filled out any of your profile so I have no idea where you jump, but in the UK, many of the DZ's are "tandem factories" for a very good reason - fun jumpers don't make the DZ any money, in fact they usually cost the DZ money! One of the small DZs where I jump doesn't own a plane, they rent one and it costs around £600 per hour to fly it. That's without the pilot's fees, putting fuel in every 3rd lift, paying the ground crew etc. Since the max number of fun jumpers the plane will hold is 13, at £20 per jump ticket, a full load of fun jumpers doesn't even cover half of the cost of the plane, let alone the extras required to keep it running. And that's without even considering manifest, instructors, rigs for hire, insurance....... So fuel costs are nowhere near the biggest expense. For DZs that own their planes, there are hideously expensive maintenance costs including regular servicing after x number of flying hours, insurance, replacement of worn / broken parts etc etc. So again, fuel is probably a fairly minor consideration in the overall cost of running a DZ. And any time the weather prevents jumping, those planes are not providing any income at all but are still costing money, regardless of whether they are owned or rented and irrespective of needing to put any more fuel into them. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  4. Got engaged 4 months after 1st date,, married on 2 year anniversary of 1st date, divorced after 10 years as we grew apart. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  5. I learned - that even if someone says they love you and believes that they are your friend, their definition and yours may vary so much that they may as well hate you, the end result is the same. Cutting toxic people out of my life has left me so much happier
  6. I would say wait and buy whatever you can comfortably jump now. To give you a little perspective, I am considerably lighter than you and have just downsized to a 170 from a 190 at 200+ jumps. My CI was happy for me to downsize at 100 jumps but I was getting into big way at that point, and having a low wingloading was allowing me to get back from deep spots (when I had to track away from the landing area) and was giving me plenty of time to descend without getting in the way of more experienced jumpers in the same group who wanted to land quickly. If I can throw a Silhouette 190 around weighing around 145lbs, you should have no problem at all in exploring the performance envelope of a 190 and will probably have more success than I did at front riser turns (even with dive loops, my front riser stuff was more like pull-ups than getting the corner of the canopy to come down ). Do a search on downsizing on these forums - it might help you to understand why many very experienced jumpers state that a 170 canopy is a high performance canopy, regardless of wing-loading, and it is another one of the reasons I was in no rush to go smaller. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  7. Actually an hour is costing me £350 including coaching so not even vaguely comparable to a holiday in Spain (where the weather is also pretty rubbish at the moment) and wouldn't even get me flights to Florida, never mind accommodation and jumping, lol. I recently had a bad car accident and am not able to jump just yet otherwise I would be in the air, giving it a go. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  8. I'm assuming wearing a rig makes a difference as it will catch some air in sit-fly. Is it easier in the sky? I have a great tunnel coach and he assures me I'm making good progress but after an hour of tunnel time, I'm barely controlling my back fly and he still hasn't let go of me in sit fly. We are working at 75-80% tunnel power as the idea is to get me used to head down wind speeds very early on. I made the mistake of defaulting to belly flying when one back fly move went very wrong (remember that "hard arch" from AFF, lol) and quickly discovered why that's a very bad idea in a tunnel that's wound up to freefly head-down speeds when I would normally be wearing lead at 50% power I have another hour booked over the next couple of weeks but it seems incredibly slow progress compared with belly-flying. I guess there are a lot more variables. I can't try anything out in the air just yet as the weather has been awful plus it's getting pretty cold and miserable here. But I'm hoping to be able to try some of this out before the end of the month (my rig is ff friendly). Also, is it normal to find back-fly harder than sit-fly? In my sit-fly, I can maintain my arms, upper body, back arch etc and am getting the feel of where my lower legs and feet need to be. In back-fly, it still seems pretty random which bit goes wrong and trying to figure it out and correct one thing seems to make something else go out of kilter. It's great fun and I can definitely see that I am progressing but it does feel much harder work than learning to belly-fly A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  9. Brand new and VERY crispy Was hooked up week before last but weather has been rubbish so haven't jumped it yet, hoping for Friday. Had a go at packing it and it wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but then I have been packing a 190 into the 170 D-bag for nearly a year, lol. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  10. I find internet dating too contrived. I don't fit the 'normal' mould (I doubt most skydivers do, lol) and either the guys on there don't want me because I'm too adventurous and independent or I don't want them because they're too boring I did try several sites last year because I know several people who have met fairly good matches that way (and went to 2 weddings as a result!) and had some dates with potential, but they all turned out to have missed out something critical from their online profiles. Like a wife. And a drug habit. Or desperation (leading to one guy physically launching himself at me in a coffee shop whilst I was still holding a cup of tea!!). And why the hell do guys lie about their height???? I'm 5'8. If you tell me you're 5'11 and you're actually 5'6, did you really think I wouldn't notice??? And if you've lied about that, what else are you lying about that I haven't found out about yet? I'm not overly concerned with height, my last long-term ex was shorter than me but if you start off with a lie, there's not really any place to go..... I got fed up of being dumped by text, twice whilst sitting by my dad's hospital bedside (yeah, they knew!), and one ghosting My life is great, I'm happy being single, I'm not going to settle for a mediocre fit just to avoid being alone, so that basically reduces my pool of suitable partners to practically zero, rofl. If I happen to meet someone whilst skydiving, or at a party, or while climbing or at a festival, then great. If not, fine. So I deleted all my online profiles
  11. Ok, I've read the first couple of pages of responses and since they're all basically the same (with varying amounts of rudeness, lol), does that qualify as "I wouldn´t downsize if everyone would tell me that it´s a stupid idea :)" yet I have a similar number of jumps to you (nearly 180), have been jumping 2 years, have done 2 canopy courses and I'm still jumping a 190. I've had it for over 100 jumps and no-one I know would object to me downsizing to a 170 but so far, I'm not really bothered. I like knowing that I will land safely regardless of the conditions and what might happen during my landing pattern. On a 170, I might just about get to a 1:1 wingloading (apart from those big way jumps where I have a ton of lead on where my wingloading is already over 1) so being light isn't an excuse for downsizing. I have watched a friend smack into the ground on a 'conservative' wingloading (much lower than yours) and break her femur. One of the tandem instructors at my dz is just about to come out of plaster after breaking his femur on a tandem jump. Another friend is in hospital and is likely to be there for some considerable time after a low turn. I have been cut up on final and had to make adjustments at the last minute (thanks to canopy courses, those were harness turns or quick stabs on rears to 'move over' a few feet). I've had to land downwind in light wind conditions due to a fixed landing pattern for safety reasons. Any time my landing doesn't go quite according to plan, I'm confident I can land my canopy safely without needing to worry about "taking it easy" or being at the outside limits of my skill set. If I had to cutaway or had an accident in freefall and my AAD fired, my reserve wing loading is also conservative (150) so I am less likely to be badly injured if I can't control my canopy due to being unconscious (I do a lot of FS and big way jumping) or due to an injury. What size will your reserve be if you get a 135 as your main? What will your wing loading be on that? This sport is dangerous. Complacency in this sport is likely to get you hurt, possibly very badly. The smaller the canopy, the less your margin for error. I don't have enough personal experience to say don't downsize, but I've seen enough people get hurt to know that reducing the size of my life-saving equipment is not a priority for me at my number of jumps. Good luck whatever you decide A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  12. Two student Cypresses fired on descent at one of my local DZ's a couple of weeks ago. No idea why the pilot decided to do his usual steep fast descent but the CI made him very aware of his error shortly after the landing The only time I have come down in the plane I was a recently qualified A licence but was hiring student kit and I told the pilot myself that it was a student AAD as there was no instructor in the plane. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  13. Are you trying to do your turns too fast? You don't have to spin on the spot like a whirling dervish, a slow controlled turn will do :-) Also, try to keep as much eye contact with your instructor as possible so looking at them as you turn, then move your head round to look over the other shoulder as you keep the turn going past 180 degrees to finish back facing them. The slower you do your turn, the more control you have and the less opposing input you will need to stop the turn. If you whizz round like a spinning top, you will need to slam on some opposite turn to put the brakes on and stop the rotation. Much easier to take your time at this stage whilst you are still learning
  14. Actually, it's probably more about self-preservation and the subconscious than about creating 'extinction over time'. I do a lot of indoor climbing and fall practice is a frequent part of the training that I and my climbing buddy do, along with most of the climbers we know. There is no logic to the fear of falling, instinct will have any of us gripping onto the holds by our fingernails rather than just let go and trust the rope and our belay buddy, and we actively have to train to overcome that fear. And if we don't train for it for a while, and don't fall, then we have to start back at the beginning, because the subconscious is so strong, the fear will be just as bad as the first time we ever tried fall practice. And I suspect in skydiving, if it's around the 6th jump, it's probably a new stage of training. For me, jump 6 was my first exit without an instructor holding onto me (solo dive exit, go unstable and recover, with turns at the end). I'm guessing it would apply differently to static line students, maybe their first non-dummy pull or longer delay before throwing the pilot chute. And maybe performance anxiety plays a part which isn't a fear of jumping but of being watched and tested. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  15. I really struggled with my landings and patterns when I first started jumping, and it didn't help that different instructors at the same dz had different ways of explaining things and different ideas of how best to set up my pattern One of the things that really helped me to understand what height I should be flaring, was to start climbing the steps of the tower and have someone tell me when I was at about 15 feet. I then stood there, with my arms above my head and looked forwards, down and out to the sides, to see what it really looked like at the height I should start flaring. For me, it was a lot lower than I expected (more than one of my flares were started at about 30 feet!!). Before you jump again, get an instructor to show you how to do a PLF (parachute landing fall). As others have said, it is critical to learn how to do this properly (ask any older jumper who has jumped round canopies!) Also, try to flare smoothly, it is fine to glide a bit before finishing the flare if you have enough height. It sounds like you might be flaring a bit late if you have so much speed under that size of canopy that you are skidding along the ground but the only way to tell is to have someone video your landings and debrief you. It does get better with practice but only if you know what you should be practising and you need an experienced jumper who can watch you land to help with that. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  16. Have a chat with your instructors before trying this, they are the ones who know you and the planes you are jumping from
  17. 5 dz's in 2 different countries in my first year (UK and Spain). An additional dz in the UK this year, and have sat around on weather hold at 2 more but didn't get to jump Very lucky geographically because there are 5 dz's within a 2 hour drive of my house (one of which I still haven't managed to jump at, lol) with the nearest (part-time dz) being 25 mins away and one of my favourites being just over an hour away. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
  18. https://vimeo.com/64251059 Yeah, that deploying off the back thing is so under-rated. I don't think he'll be wearing his GoPro, lol. And in the UK, I need another 100 jumps before I could even consider having a camera! But I'll still be rolling off at least 2000' before deployment height
  19. This... With landing speeds of modern sport canopies PLFs are not the way to go, especially on no/lowwind days. There has been a read somewhere on here regarding that, if I remember correctly of course you have to draw a line between low and high loadings... Get on a Flight 1 canopy course. They will change your mind about low / no wind days! I learned how to step off my canopy ride regardless of wind conditions and it was worth every penny.
  20. Not particularly helpful for people to laugh, as loads of newbies do have this issue (it's AFF in the UK, but very similar principles). The way I got mine straight in my head was to deconstruct my altitudes from the ground up. At the time I was entering a pattern at around 1500', turning crosswind at around 1000' and turning onto final at 500'. So my first criteria was to be in a position to leave my holding area at somewhere between 1500 and 2000' depending on where exactly I was and what the wind conditions were. So that meant I needed to be under a stable canopy having done my checks by 2000'. And my hop and pop was to be at nearly double that height, at sub-terminal speeds so a nice soft opening. That helped put it all into perspective for me and reduced my fear quite dramatically. We had to do dive exits for our Level 8 (the hop and pop qualifying jump) to simulate an aircraft emergency but if you can do a float exit, that's actually much easier as your chest is already presented to the wind, just keep your chin up and let go
  21. Thanks all. We've had some guidelines from one dz - deploying off the back of the wingsuit is definitely a no! We should be able to get a close exit from the plane (will be either a Grand Caravan or a Twin Otter) so hopefully will get a stable exit
  22. I would like to do a wingsuit rodeo (as passenger) for my 100th jump and have a willing bird who is a fairly experienced wingsuiter but it doesn't seem to be a particularly common thing to do in the UK and he's not had a passenger before. What should we be considering when planning our flight? We will most likely be the last out of the aircraft and it will be a single load at a one-plane dz. Thanks
  23. What is it that you actually want to know? Maybe someone experienced could help more if you could be more specific. There are so many factors involved in mals that even a percentage figure won't tell you much. Some people have mals because they jump tiny canopies that will spin up unrecoverably, some people push their luck with replacing line sets and have a line break on a hard opening, a packing error can lead to a line over or a locked brake toggle, it can happen on your own gear, borrowed gear, rental gear...... It also depends on the individual - their currency, their experience level, the altitude at which they pulled, the type of jump they were doing etc etc I'm one of the unlucky ones who brings the stats down - someone packed me a locked brake toggle on student rental gear so I cutaway on my 19th jump on a Navigator 260 loaded at less than 0.7:1 Not a failure of the main as such, it was human error (and maybe with a lot more experience I could have fixed it or landed on rear risers). So my decision to cutaway was the right one for me and it counts as a mal statistically, but that doesn't mean it would have necessarily been a mal for someone with 1000 jumps who had pulled relatively high after an FS jump. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr