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  1. FlyLikeARaven


    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. FlyLikeARaven

    Tall Tales

    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. FlyLikeARaven

    No opportunity to learn to pack

    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. FlyLikeARaven

    Stage 4 AFF repeat

    I would second this advice. I was nicknamed "Legs" at my DZ as a young jumper, not because my legs are sooooo sexy, but because I forgot they were there when I left the plane. They called me Legs and nothing else for a year or more so I wouldn't forget they existed. For me it was as easy as remembering them. Tapping toes helps, pointing toes helps, but for me, most of all, remembering that they were there, and I needed them to fly my body, was the biggest factor. It took several hours of tunnel time and a couple hundred jumps to get them doing what they needed to do. Keep in mind, I'm a slow learner and had developed bad habits early on in skydiving, so you may not need the time I needed to get my legs where they needed to be. As with many things in this sport, awareness counts for a lot. So be aware of your legs on your next jump, and press those shins down until you feel the tension, and keep pressing until you get the results you and your instructors want. Everyone thinks "I'm doing what I should be doing" until they see the video. I promise, your instructors aren't lying to you. You may think your legs are doing one thing, but if your AFFI says something else, they probably (not always but most likely) know better.
  5. FlyLikeARaven

    Fear is back

    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.
  6. FlyLikeARaven

    Cool Skydiving Exits

    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.
  7. FlyLikeARaven

    Elsinore and Perris

    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).
  8. FlyLikeARaven

    Simple crw with sabre 2

    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.
  9. FlyLikeARaven

    Simple crw with sabre 2

    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.
  10. FlyLikeARaven

    Am I being selfish

    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.
  11. FlyLikeARaven

    A bigun.....

    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.
  12. FlyLikeARaven

    a skydiving suit

    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.
  13. Opted not to jump on a low ceiling day; a handful did clear and pulls at 5k, but I wasn't in the mood for that, so I rode the plane down. I've thought about it, though--a few weeks ago I forgot to turn my AAD on but since it was an easy three way CRW jump with two experienced dogs, I went for it. Had it been a freefall jump I'd have ridden the plane down. (I'm aware that things can go ass over teakettle on CRW jumps and require AAD, but the type of jump we had planned made it a lot less likely.) Only once do I regret getting out. I had just downsized, still below 1:1, and winds were really gusty. I got the ground speed and got out anyway, since I'm somewhat used to wind. I ended up landing in the parking lot and almost getting dragged out to the road, and came very close to landing in power lines. There's no shame in not jumping.