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Everything posted by neilmck

  1. I keep it as my Saturday Secret. After working and having lunch for 5 years with the same people I recently mentioned it to them when they asked about my week's holiday. Had a fun discussion about it, but I have never mentioned it since. The problem is, after answering the obvious questions the conversation inevitably becomes one sided and potentially boring to them. So sure, mention it to your good friends once and have a great joke about it but leave it that, if they are interested they will bring the subject up again.
  2. I learnt on rounds so a PLF is natural for me. If I'm coming in fast I will just continue the roll as much as is needed. I have never hurt myself on landing. My concern with students today is will they ever get enough practise to do it instinctively. The idea of sliding-in a landing that you know is going to go bad, seems absolutely crazy to me. If it is going wrong just do a PLF and protect yourself in both the vertical and horizontal axis.
  3. Coming back to skydiving after a 25-year break I noticed two big differences to when I jumped in my 20's. Loss of upper body strength and ability to run. I found the freefall was fine, just the undercarriage wasn't what it once was. If you have spent the last 30 years sitting behind a desk then you might want to take up jogging with regular sprints. You just need to do it until you can jump off a 2.5 foot high wall and land running. The upper body strength comes in handy when things go wrong. Sorting out twists and stuff. I was surprised how quickly my arms got tired when I was working with my risers above my head. Best motivation I have ever had to go to the gym regularly.
  4. Quand on veut, on peut. When one wants, one can. Most people think they would want to go skydiving but if they really wanted to do it, they would already be doing it.
  5. I think the most important thing is to always be consistant within each domain. The system that you learn at school is only important for short distances. Everyone can appreciate 3m or 10 feet, but most people cannot really appreciate what is 300m or 1000 feet. For beginners the distances that we use in parachuting are just numbers so as long as you always use the same units when parachuting it is okay regardless of what you learnt at school. In the UK they have been teaching in meters for 50 years but still jump in feet. So in France you jump at the number 4000, break off and track at the number 1500, stop tracking at about 1200 to 1100 and pull at 1000, if nothing has happened by 600 - panic. The problem only occurs if like me you go and mix the two within the domain of parachuting.
  6. Finally got to speak with the 81 year old parachutist at the DZ. She explained to me that when she started they didn't use altimeters, just their eyes. Then they started using aircraft altimeters that where huge and kept flapping around when in freefall. The aircraft altimeters in France were in meters at the time. It was at a later date that there was an international agreement for pilots to standardise on feet, the parachutists continued to use meters.
  7. Doing PLFs make me feel young again :) I was also lucky to start on rounds, now whenever a landing looks dodgy I can instantly do a PLF at the last second. So far I have been lucky and never been hurt, nothing worse than bruises.
  8. The reserve is a 40-year old round and the container is a Talon Classic that cannot be modified for an AAD so none of this is allowed to be jumped in France, however it did work last time I jumped it. :) The years roll by faster than you think. The DZO gave me the details of a museum in Strasbourg who would be interested by it, just I can't admit I'm old enough to be donating my stuff to museums.
  9. I did the same, kept my chute for the day I would go back skydiving. Finally did give into the bug, 25 years later. Funnily enough the DZO won't let me jump my old kit though, even if it did work last time I jumped it.
  10. Yep that's the one. I've been looking for that on and off for a long time Thanks!
  11. Being scared is normal, everytime I'm in the aeroplane I decide that I'll make this jump my last, when I land I'll pack-up my stuff and go home. Then when I'm in the air it all changes. As Ghost says whatever you decide, you have already done some amazing stuff, more than most people ever dream of.
  12. Most jobs get boring after doing exactly the same thing for X years. I'm not a TI but I wouldn't recommend doing it just because you enjoy skydiving. Falling down the same tube day-in-day out must be pretty dull. However if you enjoy people and giving them one hell of a mind blowing experience then things are different...
  13. Has anyone got a link to the old Sony advert of the guy skydiving in his armchair?
  14. The only comment I have made on this subject is on the difficultly I am having receiving the program in France. However I have read the contents of this thread and I consider the good points to be good points. I do not see how someone's perceived opinion of any association could change a good point into a bad one.
  15. For me, if you are one of the few who is going to stick with the sport then you will stay to the end of the static line course. Static line is a hell of a lot cheaper for the vast majority who do not stick with the sport.
  16. I agree, unless you still doing loads of sport you need to go to the gym to work on upper-body strength. Also I found the under-carriage isn't what it once was and had to take up jogging as well.
  17. The drop out rate depends how you look at it. How many AFF jumpers are still in the sport 3 months after they complete their course? The drop-out rate is huge, if it wasn't parachute centres would very quickly be over-run when you see how many are trained each week.
  18. Jumping with a wingsuit is far cooler. And the great thing is that instead of doing it alone you can do it with plenty of other parachutists.
  19. Stick with it. Before AFF you would jump with a static line, then 3 second freefall before pulling, then 5 second, 10, 15... Each time it would take about 10 jumps before you could progress. So to get 7 minutes freefall experience took about 50 jumps and even then you were only doing 20 seconds of stable falling before pulling. Freefalling is like nothing else your body has ever experienced, it takes time to learn it and for it to become second nature. Don't get disheartened, stick with it, it is definitely worth it.
  20. Depends on the DZ. If you live near the sea there is no such thing as a good or bad weather day as the weather can change in an hour. Here where I live, if the weather is bad in the morning it will be bad all day and the DZ might not even open. When you are a beginner a bad weather day is a good day to learn/practice packing...
  21. In France there is a 20 year limit on reserves.
  22. If I had waited until I could afford it I would never have started. However when I started there was only static line so you could do it very cheaply and it was okay to have slow progress (it took me over a year to get my first 3 seconds of freefall). These days it is probably a good idea to have saved up enough money to be able to complete your AFF ( with a few extra jumps) quickly otherwise you will not progress enough and will have to retake expensive jumps. After you can do cheaper jumps to keep current. You probably won't progress much until you have a job and a decent salary, but what the hell, you're still skydiving. Most DZs will rent you all the gear you need. I'm not the best guy to give advice on talking your parents around. 30 years later and my father who is 88 years old is still trying to talk me out if it.
  23. Have you tried calling your local DZ.
  24. After coming back from a 25-year break one of the big differences I see is the skill level required. 30 years ago there was only belly flying, so you could easily get to a reasonable level just jumping with experienced skydivers for free, which is what everybody did. And that was enough to really enjoy yourself and jump with everyone on the DZ. Why people wanted to complicate everything by inventing free flying, I'll never understand. Now if you want to jump with everyone else you have to free fly and spend God knows how much time in a tunnel. At some point you will get fed-up of jumping by yourself, trying to figure it out and spending $$$ per jump and getting no better at it. It is at this point you decide it is cheaper to pay for coaching either in the sky or at your local tunnel.