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  1. For me, that's too much altitude loss as well. Yes, a smaller slider affects opening speed, but if you are unclear on the equipment specs, I hope you relied on a rigger for ordering the slider. It's not always the slider. I jumped some student canopies in Z-hillls that a few of us complained about, they all went in for re-lines. But that depends how hard it has been jumped. There are definitely things you can do in packing... like, if people taught you to do anything to the nose when you wrap the tail around, that encourages sniveling. But talk to a good instructor, there are also things you can do under a sniveling canopy to encourage it to open.
  2. I've done late flares before, you can't really PLF them. You just crash in with your ass and a foot or something. My foot took some massive impact from one, and then from an early flare on the next jump, had me limping the rest of the day. I think it's better to flare early than late if you have a good PLF. I was never able to get good at gauging when to flare by looking ahead at the horizon, I am usually glancing sideways when I start the flare, looking at nearby flags or whatever in relation to the sideways horizon. Looking forward at the horizon gives me a pretty good idea when it's time to glance sideways, but isn't enough to tell me when to actually start the flare. Using the glance cheat, I am usually starting the flare at the perfect height, then I just have to judge how quickly to finish punching it out. This is for two stage flares, which they didn't teach student jumpers for some reason. But I expect the glance would still work for a one stage flare. I've noticed certain times looking ahead can help determine when to start the flare, but only when I was looking directly at where I was going to land, "the point that doesn't move", etc, and it takes a while to train your eye for that. The advice "look towards the horizon" didn't help for me, and I think the advice "look ahead 20 feet or so" might be missing the reason for why it works, such as the landing spot being roughly 20 feet ahead. Then again, that much information is hard to apply if they have untrained eyes. I also have never tried consistently looking 20 feet ahead while landing, so that's interesting.
  3. I can see it as a problem if you are practically head down in the track, but it seems to me that a normal track isn't enough horizontal speed for the canopy to really come out sideways to the relative wind. So if your slider is controlled, it should open normally. It will open further behind you, and that will contribute to the shock you feel, but not necessarily more opening force. Although, there are scenarios where the slider is not controlled, or various other mistakes in packing. For this reason, pitching from a track is a bad habit to have!! Skydiving mistakes can add up and cause chain reactions, so the goal should always be to control the slider AND pull stable, etc.
  4. That's a good point, it might be highly dependent on packing inaccuracy whether it makes a difference. It's hard to imagine a scenario where the wind blows the slider downwards because of a late track. I suppose you would have to test subterminal openings and awkward body positions with awful pack jobs, that's where the REAL magic happens.
  5. I had one several years ago, I partly blame it for the fact I get hypoxic easily. I can't drink any alcohol, it sticks to my blood and prevents proper oxygen delivery. Had to ride the plane down once after getting drunk the night before, I didn't believe the signs when my heart rate kicked up for a second, got on the plane anyway, and half-way up my lips started getting numb, hands cramping up, etc... it passed after we landed and I took a walk. But yeah, I might suggest staying away from drinking and smoking, and also whippets! Smoking seems to be the least problematic of the three.
  6. I didn't like the shape, design or material of the d-bag. I also didn't have much faith in the MARD system, the pin and cloth design. Maybe it's fine, it just made me feel weird. The closing sequence probably wouldn't bother me much on its own, just coupled with other things added to my dissatisfaction. I'm not very experienced though, so my instincts are suspect, and I'm sure there are Wings containers now with designs that differ from what I've seen.
  7. Lol... I also hated packing Wings reserves, not because it's annoying, which it is, but because most of that annoyance came from feeling like the entire system was inferior. Maybe if I brought up my concerns to a manufacturer, they would be able to ease my frustrations on why it was fine, but I never did, even though I lived in Z-hills for a total of 6 months. I just continued to bash them, along with the other riggers I know, because we are sometimes fond of doing that. Still, customers who own Wings rigs are happy with them. Side note, I know the chick from the ad ->
  8. Wow. That is one of those bittersweet, momentous human stories that shows how meaningful the people in our lives are. If only those came with second chances... wasted potential is built into the physics of our lives, it sucks. Sorry to hear of that devastating loss, but you seriously honored him. Well done.
  9. Actually, the part that talks about reserves doesn't seem to fall under "recommended" lifespan. "Once a component limit has been reached, it is no longer certified for use. If further use is intended, it must be returned to the manufacturer for possible recertification." The word "must" is very important here. "Reserve canopy is limited to 25 uses, 40 pack jobs or 20 years in service, whichever comes first. Reserve Pilot Chute limited to 25 uses. R.S.L and Skyhook limited to 25 uses."
  10. Wow, I checked the Sigma manual, and they do have recommended lifespans. I guess I never even read that part. "Reserve canopy is limited to 25 uses, 40 pack jobs or 20 years in service, whichever comes first." Although, it does say "recommended", and I imagine most dropzones are gonna take some liberties there, which I wouldn't lose much confidence about. However, if you think the owner is trying to hide information from you, then yes I would feel very uncomfortable working for them.
  11. There's no expiration date on it or anything. I guess that is the simple answer to what you asked. Was there anything specific you were concerned about?
  12. I am gonna dispute that it harms business. Tandem fatalities have resulted in INCREASED business for dropzones, it didn't deter customers, it in fact reminded people that skydiving is a thing. If a fatality didn't deter them, why would this? What it damages is your ego and reputation, which is part of owning your failures.
  13. Exactly what Putin wants you to think!
  14. Hmm, I kinda threw shade at Z-hills there... but hey, that's what I was told. Can't edit it out now, apparently.
  15. I was almost 32, and it was a little over a year ago. I was looking to do new things, just to get out of my comfort zone and do some fun stuff. I went to a strip club for the first time, went skydiving, and took a motorcycle class that I failed because I couldn't pull off the figure 8 thing on the Harley Street 500 they supplied. So I decided against riding motorcycles. I saw a "learn to surf" billboard on my way to the wind tunnel, and thought, "Oh, I know what's next!" but it didn't happen. My first skydive sucked, and I was more afraid to do it the second time, but that's why I had to go through with it, so I did my first AFF jump, and landed feeling like I could go right back up and do it again. That's why I always tell people I think everyone should skydive at least twice. Then I started hanging out on the dropzone a lot, I think it's fun hanging out on the airstrip with a bunch of outgoing people, chatting it up with the first timers, etc... and I was attracted to the freedom of it, the counter-culture elements, and thought, "Hey, I would love a career in this environment." I started to immerse myself into the lifestyle, learned how to pack mains from the sole packer on the dz, and found I was enjoying it and was good at it, so I started looking more into the gear and different packing methods, packing reserves, BASE rigs, stuff like that. I started thinking about possibly coaching or being a cameraman or TI, but I pretty quickly realized that wasn't my path, since I don't have a desire to jump several times a day. Still, I continued to pursue packing and rigging, got my rigger's ticket before even finishing AFF, then continued to work on my skydiving. Lots of people told me you don't need to be a skydiver to be a trusted rigger, but I disagree, so I continue to focus on the sport very broadly to continue gaining experience in every area. That's when I left home for a 7 month skydiving vacation, basically. I lived in a tent in Z-hills for about 6 months total, and went to work in Hawaii for a month, but I didn't fit in there. Now I've done 50 skydives, knocked out the B license requirements, and am continuing to work on my rigging knowledge. Eventually I will leave again to camp on a dropzone, or whatever other living arrangements they offer for employees. Unfortunately, I never made it into the employment sector at Z-hills. I wanted to be a packer, but I found out later that they considered me lazy and a squatter because I only jumped once a week or so, and wasn't looking for other employment where my rigging skills would go unused. Oh well. I just remembered you only asked about first jumps, but hey, this is still relevant! Because it shows how much of an impact it had, and was my first time knowing what career I wanted.