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    Skydive California
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  1. Nearly 900 skydives in and I still feel that sense of relief and calm when it's time to climb out. You're not alone. The best thing to do is close your eyes and visualize your jump. Not only does it take up time and energy otherwise spent on jitters, but it'll help you remember what you're supposed to be doing and when you're supposed to be doing it. Dirt diving is great and all but you can gain a lot by reinforcing it on the plane ride. Anyway, what else are you going to do in that 15-20 minutes?
  2. For more entertainment, check out "Wuffo Stories" on Facebook. It's been pretty empty lately, but sometimes there are good posts. I don't have much, just a handful of one-and-done stories and a few SL from old dudes at work, but my dad was the best at it. He's always been big on stretching the truth, and once I started jumping he would regale me with tales from his Air Force days. According to my mom, he never mentioned jumping in the AF, but when I started AFF four years ago, he supposedly had 8 jumps. When I got my A, suddenly that number was 13. Then 45. Then 80-something. Despite not having been in the Air Force since before I was born and certainly not having jumped during my lifetime. He eventually gave up on one-upping me.
  3. Where are you located, out of curiosity? It's been awhile since I got my A, but I seem to remember a packing test being part of the license requirements. That's in the US, of course. Edit: never mind, just saw the flag icon. Got it.
  4. The fear of skydiving should always be a little present. It does lessen over time, but it should always be there a little, if as nothing other than a small acknowledgment of the danger in the back of your mind. Anytime it's more prevalent than usual, ask yourself what exactly you're afraid of. A mal? Okay, practice your EPs and remember to stay aware of your altitude and traffic. Death? Remember that this is a potentially dangerous sport and that you have safeguards in place to reduce that danger, and think about and practice them. A long spot/bad spot? Be prepared to ask for a go-around if you're sure the spot is long, or prepare to pull high/use your training to get back from a long spot (obviously, address this with your instructor depending on the circumstances; my advice here is as an example and is not intended to be instruction). I have been in this sport nearly 4 years and after 4 weeks off to deal with some family stuff, I felt very anxious last weekend coming back. After 4 weeks! Hardly any time at all, yet I still felt nervous. I spent some time on the plane visualizing the jump and addressing specific malfunction fears I had. Once that door opened it was like I'd never spent any time away. Skydiving should always be a tiny bit scary-exciting. If it's ever neither, it's time to quit for awhile.
  5. Snake, scuba, and hotdog exits were my most fun, second only to the "dolphin" exit I accidentally came up with when someone told me to "leave the plane in a track." In my young mind, tracking is what you do to leave a formation, because I didn't know what a track dive was. Exiting the plane pinned out and unstable made me look sort of like a dolphin flopping around in the water. Eventually we got a bunch of us doing these, and the "pod" exit was born. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  6. tikl68's assessment is pretty good. But really, they're 20 minutes apart. Visit both! They're both great. I like Elsinore for the CRW dogs and their laid-back attitudes (and the nice views), and I like Perris for big-ways and their organization (also their bar and cafe are quite nice). I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  7. Ouch, that's like saying you don't need a parachute to jump because you've got a perfectly good helmet. The only excuse for flying CRW with such canopies is if both of them are already rock-solid CRWdogs with a proven history of flying millimeter-perfect next to eachother. But in that case they should know better than to think a trailing pilot chute is the only risk. They are very good swoopers, and very good canopy pilots in general. They are not CRW dogs nor very smart people in general--that's my takeaway after this whole scenario. I have let both of them know that I wash my hands of any guilt if they choose to continue to try to stack their Leias. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  8. Please train with an actual CRW dog before trying any of this stuff. I started CRW last year and won't get near anyone on a sport canopy, even more so after doing actual CRW. I've had people try to chase me on sport canopies after agreeing to proxy fly, trying to get on my topskin (they get a talking to on the ground). I've had people asking me to CRW with them on my Safire, and don't understand why I refuse until after they take a look at my Lightning setup. There are a couple of arrogant swoopers at my DZ who, because of my low jump numbers, refuse to listen to reason about doing CRW on their swoop canopies. They seem to think the risk is eliminated with an RDS. They used to be two of the handful of people I'd proxy fly with on sport canopies, but I won't anymore after seeing this attitude. Proxy flight and end cell bumps can be fun and safe, but you need a mentor with experience, a calm demeanor, and a commitment to a planned break-off. Real CRW is best taught by real CRW dogs. There are lots of them and they are super friendly and welcoming. Elsinore is a great resource on the west coast, and the Raw Dogs can help you out in the midwest, I think. It's worth the bit of travel to learn from real Dogs. They often have gear to lend and are very generous about it. I borrowed gear (and had to force them to accept some cash for the favor) for about 20 jumps before my own Lightning was built. CRW is a great discipline, and safe proxy flight is a great way to start. Be humble and listen to mentors you can trust. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  9. People have already cleared up the safety questions, but I have a couple of suggestions. If you bring your kiddies to the DZ, please make sure they have enough toys or whatever to stay entertained, and have someone there to watch them while you're jumping or training. Few things are less fun than trying to pack while a toddler is running across your lines and trying to figure out who it belongs to. There are many people who don't like kids, and dropzones aren't always kid-friendly. Your kid will hear questionable language and it'll be up to you to teach them the difference between adult words and kid words. An excited kid running on to a runway or into the landing area or hangar can quickly ruin a good time. That said, the few parents who bring their kids to the DZ I go to are fantastic about keeping them happy and the kids are well-behaved, although we have seen a few nightmare brats. If your spouse is picking up the slack while you're out jumping, be sure to pay it back. Don't make them be a single parent while you're out having fun. For every full day you're jumping, give them a full day of childcare so they can do whatever they want. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  10. I'm at a point in my jumping career where people keep asking if I want to be a TI or AFFI. I don't plan on making this my day job, so I've been happy to be a coach and fun jumper. Also, I'm a small woman with back issues, so I assumed the DZ would give me the big guys who would hurt my back even more, so as to comply with the rig weight limits. Am I way off base here? I assume any DZ worth its salt wouldn't go over its weight limit regardless of who the TI is, but I don't know. It doesn't affect my decision to decline to pursue a TI rating, but I'm curious. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  11. The dolphin has been suggested to me semi-jokingly for two things: CRW and as a throwaway rig for jumping into water. It seems to not be very highly regarded for any kind of serious freefall, but I'm going to echo the others in this thread who have said to ask your rigger. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  12. I always thought 100 jumps was way too soon to get a coach rating, so take your time. Of course, kind friends of mine have helpfully pointed out that 100 jumps at a small Cessna dropzone are possibly more meaningful than 100 jumps at a big DZ with a ton of jumpers where you can bust out 10 jumps a day on the weekends, so your mileage may vary. I got mine around 300 jumps (and I still am not sure I was ready). I have zero intention of making skydiving my career, but I got to know some students at my DZ and remembered how boring solos could be. I got my rating so I could join them on their "solos" and do nothing more than stay statics so that they could have a point of reference in the sky. I recently started jumping with them as a "favor" to the DZO (when, let's be real here, I get a lot out of it too), and I still have no intention of being an AFFI or TI, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of coaching. I feed off the student's energy and in return try to help the nervous ones feel a sense of calm. I do it as a way to pay back all the instructors and coaches and mentors I've had. I likely don't get paid for it, although my DZO is very generous and pays for my jumps. The new crop of young students I mentor will ultimately jump with them too, and any way I can foster a sense of safety and proficiency benefits the sport as well as the student and myself. Like I said, I don't want to become a full time DZ employee, my desk job pays nicely, but there is a lot of personal satisfaction in coaching. I enjoy it and really love seeing students' progression, and feel some satisfaction in knowing that someday I may be on their 100th jump and see how far they've come. It's the same mentality that probably convinced a lot of my mentors to jump with me when I had a lot fewer jumps--they just like to help, and want to guide safe, talented jumpers. That said, it's not for everyone. I was super nervous during my coach course, and teaching is a skill by itself, regardless of the material. My motivations were not career-driven, but rather driven by my desire to bring up the next generation of safe, reliable, happy, fun skydivers who do good things. So for me, there was a lot of value, but none of it is financial. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  13. Ask the DZO at your DZ if they wouldn't mind if you use theirs. Always be sure to make sure current students get priority to use them, and as a courtesy every few weekends or so, take a bunch home to wash. Our DZ is pretty generous about lending gear out, but of course paying students get priority, and you should check first. The fact that your suit is being built should help, too, since they would know the arrangement is not indefinite. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  14. Thanks, Grimmie. I just started thinking about getting my PRO, and I have a lot of work to do personally to make sure I can get and use the rating safely. I'll be following this thread for more advice, especially when Twardo chimes in. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.
  15. I had this same mal last summer, right around your jump number. It was a high pull, first time flying this canopy, and I had plenty of time to do all the proper controllability checks. I landed it without incident. However, don't listen to the peanut gallery on the ground. Everyone always thinks they know better than the canopy pilot, and everyone has an opinion on what they would've done. COULD you have landed it safely? ehh, maybe. We'll never know. But it's a lot more obvious that you could have landed a non-malfunctioning reserve safely, and there's nothing at all wrong with choosing that route. You chopped, you landed, you survived, you learned to be more careful while packing. No harm, and you saved your own life. I'm not a lady, I'm a skydiver.