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Posts posted by betzilla

  1. You do what you practice, mentally and physically.

    Being a rigger, I have abundant opportunities to practice my EPs (gotta disconnect the main and open the reserve to do the work, so....). My mental practice and physical rehearsal is, and has been since I moved away from student gear, one hand per handle, grab both; peel and punch cutaway, peel and punch reserve, with a 4-beat rhythmic cadence. The reality when opening rigs to pack them, is peel and punch cutaway, peel and punch reserve, *usually* bringing my right hand over for an assist with the ripcord. So... I get a hand on each handle before I begin pulling either of them.

    For me, the most important thing is being mentally present EVERY TIME I either rehearse EPs or pull handles on the ground, so I'm both building muscle memory and paying attention to what the handles feel like, and the various ways the process can vary. For instance, some jumpers' gear has ultra-mated velcro on the handles, so peeling a handle is not always the same. Most of all, because I've been jumping a soft reserve handle, and rehearsing to use it, for almost 20 years (!!. Omg, I'm an old-timer, lol), I am surprised by the feel of a metal handle when I pull one. My hand used to sometimes slip off metal handles, because I'm not in the habit of hooking a thumb, but lately I've begun to react quickly when I feel a metal ripcord, and get a thumb around it.

    I got off on a little tangent there.... Apologies to those who rolled their eyes, lol. But.... visualize and practice your EPs. Rehearse for all the scenarios you can think of, putting your mind into it -- total mal; spinner; horseshoe; lost handle. Do it a LOT. And when you drop off your gear off for a repack, pull your handles like your life depends on it! Because at some point, it will.

    • Like 2

  2. On 11/7/2020 at 9:42 AM, Howeller said:

    It's interesting to hear someone say they wouldn't recommend a tandem.

    That's not what I said. I said FOR ME, I think static line was the right choice. I do recommend tandems frequently. It's a great way to make a first jump.

    The difference is essentially: tandem = jumping from the 10m platform; static line = wading into the water; knowing in each case that people swim without drowning all the time. When I was kid learning to swim, I literally had to prove to myself that MY body could float, like, one limb at a time in the bathtub, before I dared to try actual swimming in the pool. Static line allowed me to do the same with skydiving. Some people don't need that slow pace. I guess I do...

  3. first, congrats on having your goal in sight! That is awesome!

    My first jump was a static line. I considered a Tandem, but I had a feeling I was going to love it, and would have to do the static line progression to learn, so I decided to save the hundred+ bucks.

    I did a tandem on the front later on, as part of a Tandem Instructor course, and it was overwhelming for me personally, even as an experienced jumper. I think if I had done a tandem for jump #1, I would've been one-and-done. Static line was perfect for me, because it essentially broke skydiving into bite-sized pieces that I could digest at my own pace.

  4. I started with a friend from work. We both got our A-licenses and packed student gear, and were instant dropzone fixtures. We talked a couple friends into making a first jump: one wouldn't get out of the plane, and the other was one-and-done, lol. Those are the *only* friends I've actually managed to talk into jumping, in almost 23 years.

    The moral of my story is, you don't need your whuffo friends anymore. You have us now! :p

    These days, I encourage people to try it IF they want to, but I'm done giving the hard sell. I don't want my friends to feel like I require them to skydive, and I spend energy nuturing my earthbound friendships just like I do my skydiving ones.

    • Like 1

  5. I used to build RDS' at Para Concepts.

    When you order an RDS from them, you get the slider itself and the lanyards you use to connect your deployment bag and pilot chute to the removable slider, instead of the top of your canopy. So at least with their model, you can do slider only or full. You can even switch from one to the other from jump to jump if you want to.

  6. Hiya Seth.

    HMU for help. I work at a Tony dealer. AND, I learned to jump at Skydive Allegan's predecessor -- Great Lakes Skydivers, formerly in Gobles. Yep - I peeked at your profile, lol. You'll get the same prices through my company that you would if you ordered direct, but you also get our many collective decades of experience selling and jumping Tony Suits (I have personally owned four of them, and loved every one). 

    • Like 2

  7. In my experience, once you get down into the low end of reserve sizing, the "one-size-smaller" idea about OPs doesn't really apply. In other words, I haven't found that an OP126 packs as small as a PR113.

  8. 4 minutes ago, sfzombie13 said:

    significant enough to cause a slight concussion or some sort of bell ringing without being incapacitated and call that hard.  that one would be a bit more difficult to quantify i would imagine.


  9. On 8/24/2020 at 6:42 AM, danornan said:

    Has anyone with magnets on you riser covers had a hard opening?

    Yes. I've had a handful of bell-ringers, one of them on a V3 with magnets. It was nowhere near as bad as the ones I've had on rigs with tuck-tabs and/or velcro, however, and none of these caused any injury or discomfort that lasted into the following day.

    One of the tough things about discussing heard openings, is that there is no standard on what is meant by "hard" - it's a totally subjective evaluation. For instance, we know a deployment that makes the jumper see stars, lose consciousness, or worse, qualifies as a Hard Opening. I don't think concussion and/or catastrophic injury is the appropriate threshold for a TOO Hard Opening. We need an objective metric, so we can gather info and meaningfully address the problem.

    • Like 1

  10. 1 hour ago, planetoi said:

    I felt like I'd had an epiphany after my first tandem, as corny as that sounds

    Doesn't sound corny at all. I suspect most of us felt that way after jump #1.

    So yeah. Totally normal to be nervous/scared/unsure as a new skydiver. I've gone through periods as an experienced jumper where I'm not sure the rewards outweigh the risks - I used to get really angry at myself for that. Now I accept that the desire will come back, and THAT is when I'll go jump.

    Don't be disappointed in yourself for letting your humanness show a little!

  11. 26 minutes ago, gowlerk said:

    On a tandem, the drogue system introduces most of the tandem specific malfunction modes that need careful training and planning to prevent.

    Strongly, STRONGLY agree with this ^^^

    Be careful that you aren't creating more problems than you are trying to solve...

  12. 20 minutes ago, cebra said:

    Since I came back, 1st jump fine, last 3 have been hard openings...the first one was really hard.  I had never had a hard opening before including 100 jumps or so on this canopy.

    If you haven't already, I'd have a trusted rigger look it over. I might be that first "really hard" opening caused some rib damage that's now allowing your canopy to inflate too quickly. Just a wild-ass guess.

    These weren't the first jumps post-reline, right?

    • Like 1

  13. On 8/8/2020 at 1:04 PM, planetoi said:

    it just feels shitty to throw in the towel when I loved it so much initially. Especially since I'll go throw life knowing that I gave up for no other reason than because I was afraid.

    You might also come back to it later.

    I kind of wonder if, because you're already a really good body pilot because of all your tunnel time, maybe you weren't expecting to be uncomfortable with skydiving - or AS uncomfortable with it as you suddenly are - and so you just weren't prepared for it? I don't know, maybe the lack of stuff that would occupy your mind as a newbie if you couldn't already kick ass in freefall is leaving room for your fear to expand into....

    It might also be that your nervousness is being magnified by *all the other anxiety-provoking shit* going on in the world right now, that you can't really do much about. Cutting the anxiety caused by skydiving is pretty easy compared with Pandemic anxiety, for instance.

    Whatever the reason, it's ok to stop jumping, whether it's for now or forever. To me, it doesn't make sense to skydive if you aren't having fun. Gravity will still work if/when you want to get back at it, and you'll still be able to fly circles around chumps like me (literally and figuratively, lol).

  14. 3 hours ago, Deimian said:

    The fingertrap is 10.5cm long. Maybe unpicking the bartack and lengthening the A2 is an option, I am not sure if a fingertrap that is 6cm long is enough.

    I think you'd be fine with a 6cm fingertrap (PD's, for instance, are close to that length), but DIYing it would IMO be frustrating, as changing the length of the finger trap would affect the amount of 'shrinkage' in that part of the line, so there will be trial and error involved to get it just right. If it were me, I'd rather avail myself of the free replacement line pair to avoid the annoyance.

    Seems like 5cm is a HUGE length difference for a 124 sq ft canopy! I wonder how flight characteristics differ after that change (I suppose not collapsing on fronts is a significant improvement!)...

  15. On 7/13/2020 at 1:49 PM, calfleming said:



    Does anyone have a v308 with a 135 main and OP 143 reserve. 


    If so how do they pack and could you share a photo, I just want to make sure its not too bulky, 



    I've packed this combo. If your rigger is good at bulk distribution, and you don't suck at packing mains, you should be fine (especially if your main is already broken in).

  16. The rigger who last packed your gear can mail you a new data card with all the info about serial numbers, etc, and the latest repack only, on it, so you'll be able to prove you're in date. You'll be missing documentation of any repairs that may have been done, but that's your only disadvantage, really. If you aren't planning to jump it before its next repack is due, you don't even need to bother with that - the next rigger will give you a new data card when they pack it.

    • Like 1

  17. Here are current price lists for Sigma parts and rigging work at UPT.

    When I was working as a DZ rigger, I received a regular weekly fee to pack and maintain all the school gear (tandem and student), rental rigs, and the owner's personal gear. Incidental maintenance like kill lines, overstitching, and small patches were included in that fee. Relines were not. I made my own drogue centerlines and made a generous profit on them, even charging far less than the UPT price.

    It's been several years since I've worked on tandem gear (I just don't have space for it these days), but for repacks I would probably add at least $20, maybe more, to the price I charge for sport gear.

    Needless to say, if you want to charge what UPT charges, your work needs to be factory perfect...

    Good luck!