FOF

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  1. I haven't posted or even lurked on these forums for a number of years, but I was inspired to share a quick note today. My name is Scott Miller. A couple of decades ago I started something called The Canopy School at Skydive DeLand, which became the Freedom of Flight Canopy School. Later, in collaboration with some awesome gentlemen from the PD Factory Team, that canopy school was transformed into Flight-1. I've been away from the skydiving world for a while, but I still stay in touch with some old skydiving friends and visit DeLand from time to time. I'm always impressed to see what Flight-1 has become thanks to all of the work that Ian, Shannon, and the rest of the crew have done. Back when I was teaching my canopy courses, students would always fill out a registration form at the start of the day. For all of these years, I've had all of those forms sitting in a couple of boxes in a closet. It always seemed worthwhile to keep them around, but yesterday I decided to run them through a scanner so I can finally get rid of the paper copies. Looking through all of those forms—almost 3,000 of them, from 8 years worth of canopy courses—brought back a lot of memories and emotions. It's hard to describe what it was like to look back at all of the DZs that I visited and to see some of the peoples' names on the forms. There was one feeling that percolated to the top, though. Above all else, I felt very, very grateful. I was, and still am, grateful for everyone who supported me and believed in what I was doing back then. I'm grateful for all of the jumpers who signed up and attended my courses. I'm grateful to the DZOs who invited me to come teach at their drop zones. I'm grateful for the local jumpers who did all of the planning, organizing, and coordinating to make the camps happen at their DZs. I'm grateful for the manifestors, managers, and everyone else who made all the moving parts fit together during the courses. I'm grateful for the pilots who flew extra passes at 5000' even though it's extra work, and who were willing to drop people way the hell upwind when we did the "long spot practice" jump at the end of the day. I'm grateful to Bob Hallett for supporting this whole project from the very beginning, and throughout. I'm grateful to all of the Relative Work School, Freedom of Flight School, and Flight-1 coaches with whom I had the honor of working and collaborating. I'm grateful to John LeBlanc for teaching me most of what I know about how canopies really, actually work. Gratitude is powerful. Taking a few moments to be grateful for someone or something—to think and feel a deep, genuine sense of gratitude—can bring so much joy into our lives and put things in a very different perspective. If I could go back in time, back to when I was a kid or even when I first started jumping, and pass myself a note, it would say, "be grateful for the people you have in your life and for the time that you have with them." That's why I'm here today. To share something that I'm very grateful for, and to pass you that note. Be grateful for what you have in your life. Be grateful for the people in your life and for the time that you have with them. Take some time every day to think about what you are grateful for: in skydiving, but also in other parts of your life. Practice a little gratitude every day, and watch it transform your life. Thank you for letting me share this with you today. BSBD Scott
  2. Shake your groove thing, big man! I want to see you in your mumu on the Regis and Kelly show! - Scott
  3. As long as the locking stows remain in place the canopy will stay in the bag until line stretch even if the other stows "dump" prematurely or are free-stowed. You already completely agreed with VTmotoMike08 about this point, didn't you? I believe you also addressed this in your first post: That's why I've specifically been using the term "bag strip" during this discussion rather than "line dump."
  4. Your experience jumping the FX without brakes stowed certainly gives you reason to be skeptical of manufacturers' recommendations, or at least that particular recommendation. Did you really follow it without question, though? Or did you think it over beforehand and decide to follow the recommendation anyway? I'm not saying we should follow anyone's advice without question. I've given careful consideration to PD's recommendations regarding line stow tension and length, and believe they are based on sound theory, supported by thorough testing, and reinforced by feedback from jumpers in the field. I might not be concerned if this was simply a discussion about the benefits vs. risks of double-wrapping. As you pointed out, there are other ways to make tight stows and if someone prefers one of those alternate methods that's fine. I just question how some people can be so thoroughly convinced that the original poster did not experience line dump / bag strip. I also wonder why only one other person addressed the issue of short line stows. A bag lock is a serious malfunction, but hard openings seem far more common. Even the exceptionally hard openings that result in equipment damage or injury seem to occur more frequently than bag locks of any sort. There are some convincing arguments supporting the idea that hard openings can be caused by bag strip, and I'd rather risk a slim chance of having to chop a bag lock compared to the risk of being knocked out under a damaged canopy.
  5. Just to be clear, the information in my last post about double-wrapping was in reference to using standard rubber line stow bands on sport rigs. Also, I personally use large rubber bands most of the time. I don't double-wrap stows on tandems and I believe that UPT specifically recommends against it. I have seen one bag lock on a sport rig that appeared to be caused by double-wrapping, but the jumper was not using standard rubber bands. Can you provide more information about the bag lock you mentioned on the sport rig? Standard rubber bands? Large or small? Size and condition of pilot chute? Was the bag actually found with a "stuck" line stow? Any video of the opening? I've heard one or two other people say they've seen this happen, and use that as an argument against double-wrapping, but I'm not convinced there weren't other factors involved in those cases.
  6. The difference you mention between line dump and bag strip is technically valid and accurate, but since bag strip involves line dump on the locking stows it's probably reasonable to use either term in most discussions of main pack jobs. It could depend on whether you wish to emphasize the cause or effect. About a year and a half ago I saw a video that clearly showed this. The owner of the video offered to make a copy after he landed from his next jump. Unfortunately the tape did not get cued up properly before that jump and the video was erased. I was devastated. There might be numerous other videos out there showing bag strip, but unfortunately it can be hard to recognize. In the video mentioned above the bag strip occurred just before the bag left the top of the frame. If the videographer had been a few feet closer it might simply have looked like a hard opening with no clearly discernible cause. Even during a normal deployment, the time elapsed from pilot chute release to the d-bag opening might only be 0.5 seconds (15 frames of NTSC video). By it's very nature, bag strip could reduce this time even more. If you don't analyze the video frame-by-frame the bag strip might easily be missed. The video I saw had already been reviewed a number of times by several very experienced jumpers who had not recognized the bag strip. It doesn't surprise me that no one has fulfilled your request, although it's unfortunate. I would love to see another example on video, too! But for the reasons I just mentioned, a lack of such video doesn't necessarily tell us much about how often bag strip occurs. Bag strip can cause that type of catastrophic damage, but the severity of the effects might be influenced by exactly how far the bag is from the end of the lines when the canopy dumps out: if the canopy is closer to the jumper when the bag strip occurs it will have more time to inflate before reaching the end of the lines, with potentially more devastating effects. In the video I saw the bag strip occurred relatively close to the end of the lines, and the opening was extremely hard but did not cause injury or equipment damage. As with anything else, there are variables involved and varying degrees of effects. People sometimes describe a quick inflation, where the canopy comes out of the bag normally then goes "whack!" But I've often heard people describe an "instant opening," where the canopy seems to open hard and fast immediately after releasing the pilot chute. Doesn't bag strip seem the most likely explanation for these cases where there's a dramatically reduced time between P/C release and snatch force? That could possibly be a result of bag strip. If the canopy leaves the bag prematurely it probably won't remain neatly on heading while it reaches the end of the lines and inflates. I recognize there are differing opinions about this, but it should be noted that the manufacturer of the canopy in question recommends double-wrapping if necessary to ensure that the stows are tight enough, particularly the locking stows. I've made thousands of jumps with all stows double-wrapped on a wide variety of canopies, including test jumps for that particular manufacturer where the openings were videotaped and analyzed. Many other jumpers and professional packers double-wrap all stows and consider it an important step in minimizing the risk of hard openings. There are also a significant number of people who have eliminated problems with hard openings by double-wrapping their stows. The most effective way to help someone eliminate opening problems is to actually look over their gear with them and then see how it is being packed. Without being able to do this, the first and best piece of advice we can give is to make sure all manufacturer's recommendations are being followed. Mmittelman, you said up front that you usually make your stows short, only 1.5". PD believes that short stows promote line dump and specifically state this in their packing instructions. Your first course of action should simply be to make your line stows between 2.5" and 3" as they recommend, and see if that helps. For more info see http://performancedesigns.com/docs/hrdopn.pdf.
  7. I started skydiving in the era when AADs were still awkward and less reliable, and even after the Cypres became available I made a few thousand jumps without one. A number of those jumps were spent catching spinning AFF students with nothing to protect my cranium except hard-earned skills and a soft leather frap hat. Even without an AAD watching over me, I cheerfully participated in four-ways, eight-ways, and bigger dives that I suspected were going to be complete zoo loads. On the other hand, I've made a few thousand jumps on rigs that were equipped with modern AADs and don't have any tenacious objections to wearing one. Like others who have replied here I can think of at least one friend who was saved by an AAD. I also mourned the loss of a good friend who died because an AAD fired when it wasn't expected to. Making a significant number of jumps without an AAD, particularly when first starting out in the sport, gives someone a different appreciation for the phrase "after you leave the airplane you are dead unless YOU take some positive action." I'm not sure I would have the same appreciation for that concept, or that I would have developed that appreciation as early in my skydiving career, if every one of my jumps had been made with an AAD. People who always jump with an AAD can make a number of very good arguments to support their decisions, and the decision to jump without an AAD is most certainly a serious choice, but the decision to jump with one should be given equally serious consideration. AADs dramatically reduce some risks but increase others and can introduce new complications. These days when someone chooses to jump without an AAD you might find it perfectly reasonable to question that person's decision and scrutinize their motives. Are you just as willing to thoroghly scrutinize someone's decision to jump with an AAD, or even more importantly, your own?
  8. I agree that being a skydiver doesn't make any of us a better person than anyone else on the planet. A good attitude and kind heart are much more meaningful than the length of your last swoop or the number of years you've been in the sport. But you must be a fast learner, dude! I had to do a lot more than just fall out of an airplane 70 times before I really understood that concept!
  9. The Kestrel wind meters are turbine-type (little fan blades). I've also used the cup-type. I've never played with one of the Radio Shack units that Winsor mentioned but they sound pretty interesting - especially if they work well and are reasonably priced. All kidding aside, I don't see anything wrong with your desire to get your own wind meter and check the winds in the landing area, particularly since the DZ doesn't have one available. It can be a great learning tool, especially if you also pay attention to the other things people have mentioned like flags, windsocks, and trees, along with the feel and sound of the wind. Soon you'll be able to relate the effects of the wind to a certain wind speed you've measured on the meter, and probably won't need the meter as much. But everyone learns differently, and some people just want to see a number!
  10. Don't you feel special because you skydive? You're unique, part of an elite group. You're participating in an extreme sport, going against the grain instead of conforming and following the norm. Most skydivers feel that way to some degree, don't we? Why does that all change when we get to the DZ? Why do so many of us instantly turn into 8th graders, obsessed with "fitting in" and "being cool," totally paranoid about what everyone else thinks? I suggest you go to one of those girly fashion stores at the mall and buy a small bag covered in neon blue fur to use as a carrying case for your wind meter. Wear it around your neck at all times when you are not jumping, and check the winds frequently. Remember, you might have to stand out there for a while to read the peak gusts. If someone laughs at you, who cares? You're a skydiver! You have blood of ice and nerves of steel! Enthusiastically give them some s**t right back! And don't forget to feel completely vindicated when a student, instructor, or the most experienced jumper on the DZ comes up to you and asks you what the wind was doing the last time you checked. BTW, I own a couple of wind meters and the Kestrel is my favorite. I don't have a good case for it, though, so let me know if you find a store that has those furry blue bags on sale. - Scott
  11. There are still a few spaces available in the canopy skills courses I will be running at Skydive Greensburg in Greensburg, Indiana on June 9 & 10. If you are interested then please contact Amy Romig at (812) 371-8809 or [email protected] Information about other currently scheduled courses can be found at http://www.freedomofflight.tv/public/events/index.php. - Scott
  12. Check out this document: http://performancedesigns.com/docs/Best_Performance1.pdf from this page: http://performancedesigns.com/support.asp?filter=sport The document is from PD's web site but the information applies to any canopy, unless the manufacturer of your canopy specifically provides different information. - Scott
  13. I'm really glad that people are finding the PD packing video helpful. As a few people have already stated, though, packing is something that you need to learn through supervised, hands-on instruction. The video PD offers was never meant to be a substitute for direct instruction. Written instructions or advice can also be helpful, but can't really replace supervised lessons, either. Sam, you mentioned that you're still an AFF student. If one of your instructors gave your packing class, just let him or her know that you need more help. if you paid someone for the packing class then you should have left that class knowing how to pack. Don't hesitate to go back to the person who taught the class and politely let him or her know that you need more instruction. If it was just an informal, free packing lesson from one of the jumpers on the DZ then speaking with your instructor is still a good idea. He or she should be willing to give you more help, or at least direct you to someone else who can. You might certainly find the PD video helpful. Someone at your DZ might even have a copy already. But you still need to have someone supervise and assist you while you're learning to pack. - Scott
  14. As "losty" pointed out, it might not really be accurate to ask who "invented" head-down flight. Like many other aspects of skydiving and life, it would be more accurate to say that head-down evolved from a number of sources. Some friends who spent a lot of time at the Pigeon Forge tunnel during the 80's have credited John Suiter and another tunnel flyer as the first people to master controlled head-down flight (sorry, I don't remember the second person's name). Of course, as "apoil" mentioned, early RW jumpers used head-down "no lift" dives to reach formations quickly. Jumpers who perfected this technique might argue that it actually was controlled head-down flight, although the degree of control they exhibited was arguably much more limited than today's head-down flyers. For many many years (decades, even) classic style jumpers have used head-down dives to gain speed before starting a style series. This maneuver looks virtually identical to an extremely fast falling head-down freefly position except that it is performed on a solo style jump instead of being used to fly relative with other jumpers. I've also heard John LeBlanc talk about doing two-way tracking and "no lift" jumps with Olav Zipser at ZHills or DeLand back in the 80's. Olav is generally credited with bringing modern head-down flying techniques out of the tunnel and introducing them to the general skydiving community, with coining the term "freeflying," as well as helping to promote and develop freeflying into the discipline we see today. Sit-flying also evolved from various sources. Norm Kent, Gus Wing, Rickster Powell, and a few other camera flyers were already known for their sit-flying camera work by the early 90's. Around that time sit-flying RW was often called by the French name, "chute assis," since many people were introduced to it by French jumpers like Phillipe Vallaud. And many years before then, as far back as the 70's if I'm not mistaken, Roger Nelson and others were known for doing RW on their backs or "freak-flying." Chute assis and head-down merged into modern freeflying / VRW. It could probably be said that freeflying also has its roots in freestyle skydiving, developed and popularized in the 80's by Deanna Kent, Mike Michigan, Tamara Koyn, and others. I'm sure that other names and places could be added to the ones I've mentioned here, and I wouldn't be surprised if anyone corrected or clarified some of the dates or order of events. What I've written is simply based on my own understanding and recollection. It would be really interesting if someone wanted to do a bit more research, maybe even interview some of the people involved, and write an article on the history of freeflying similar to some of the historical articles that have appeared in Parachutist recently. This sport has a very interesting history, and I'd love to see more of it researched, recorded, and preserved before too much of it fades into the past. - Scott
  15. If you have two canopies out and it is necessary to cut away the main, there are a couple of reasons why it is recommended to release an RSL if time and altitude permit. For one, there is a general concern that any RSL could potentially, possibly, maybe create a greater risk of entanglement if it is connected. There are also differences in the way RSL's are designed and exactly how they operate on different harness and container systems. The RSL's used on certain rigs have a greater potential than others to create an entanglement if the main is cut away with both canopies out. If you jump with an RSL you might want to talk to a rigger or instructor about dual-deployment situations and how important it is to release the RSL on your particular rig. You might also find information in your harness and container owner's manual. If you feel like you need more information after consulting these sources you could contact the manufacturer of your harness and container system.
  16. That's an important point. Some possible solutions to dual square situations are not mentioned in the Dual Square Report, and others are specifically discouraged, because the test jumps demonstrated that they could potentially worsen the situation or because there was an easier and/or potentially less risky solution. The report was intended to provide guidance for all skydivers, not just highly skilled and experienced ones. Low-time jumpers should always seek an instructor's advice if they have questions about handling these situations. Instructors should also consider the information in the Dual Square Report when giving such advice. That concept is completely valid to a certain extent, and you've provided some good information based on your own experience with a personal side-by-side. Other experienced jumpers have also had success following similar procedures. However, I'm not convinced that the procedure you described is always "the best thing to do," as you stated. Landing a stable, controllable side-by-side should still be considered a valid option. Making any special effort to "separate" the canopies before cutting away may also not be necessary: "Cutting away from a side-by-side that does not want to return to a biplane seems to be a safe action as long as no equipment problems exist, and the canopies are not entangled. It must be noted that RSL's were not used in any of these tests. Great caution must be used when cutting away in that scenario due to the varied styles and applications of RSL's." The PD tests indicated that side-by-sides involving mismatched canopies or highly loaded ones are less likely to be controllable or easily landed. Students and novice jumpers are more likely to be jumping canopies of similar size and planform, with relatively light wing-loadings. If they have something over their head that is flying and controllable, they may be better off sticking with it. Jumpers who do fly highly-loaded canopies or elliptical-type mains should realize that more skill and better decision-making abilities may be required of them in these situations.
  17. I can see why there might be some discussion about this. The Dual Square Report states that either landing the side-by-side or cutting away the main could be the proper response, depending on whether or not the side-by-side feels stable and controllable. The report also notes that canopy type and wing loading can be a factor in this decision: "The jumpers also did not feel comfortable landing heavily loaded side by sides, especially when a highly elliptical canopy is involved." In some emergency situations there is clearly one procedure that's the best course of action: if you have a line-over, cut away and deploy your reserve. In other cases the best solution is not always as clear. Imagine having a bad spot at a DZ surrounded by trees. You might be able to make it back to the airport, but you'll be cutting it close. There's a field right below your feet that looks big enough to land in, but it's much smaller than any place you've ever landed in before. What should you do? We should all be ready to follow standard, accepted emergency procedures when necessary, but we also must be ready for situations that require us to use our own judgment. This is especially true of dual-square situations, particularly the side-by-side.
  18. What should you do if you find yourself in the air with two canopies out? In the mid-1990's Performance Designs conducted a series of test jumps on behalf of the Parachute Industry Association to study this situation. The results of these tests were published in a document titled the "Dual Square Report." I was just reading a thread in the "Incidents" forum about a fatality that occurred several months ago involving a possible main-reserve entanglement. Several people began discussing dual-deployment situations and how they should be handled. One person suggested that people read the Dual Square Report for more information about this subject. Another person replied by stating "all those tests were done with very large F-111 canopies and don't apply to smaller ZP canopies that are in use today." During the past few years I have occasionally heard and read similar remarks about the Dual Square Report. I'm concerned about these remarks because first of all, they are not accurate, and second, they may cause people to disregard some very useful information. The dual square test jumps conducted by Performance Designs included small, zero-porosity, elliptical-type main canopies as well as small reserves. In fact, a variety of configurations were tested including small main / small reserve; small main / large reserve; and large main / small reserve. In addition, different deployment scenarios were tested including ones where the main canopy was deployed first, followed by the reserve; ones where the reserve canopy was deployed first, followed by the main; and others where both canopies were deployed simultaneously. It is true that some jumpers are now using smaller reserves and significantly smaller mains than those that were available when PD conducted these tests. A few of today's main canopies have performance characteristics that are quite different from those being used at the time. However, the PD tests are still the most extensive series of dual square tests performed to this day. The information gained from these jumps remains valid and useful. In fact, the majority of canopies in use today are the same or at least very similar to those used during the tests. In the last ten years a number of articles have been written based on information from the Dual Square Report, and it has also been the basis for the recommendations published in certain manuals. Since the Dual Square Report was based directly on the test results, reading the original report in addition to these other articles and manuals can be very informative. A lot of people will probably be discussing dual deployments during Safety Day next weekend. Although they do not occur very frequently, we should all know as much as possible about these situations and be prepared to handle one if it does occur. I strongly encourage everyone to read the Dual Square Report thoroughly and carefully, and understand the information it contains. Even if you have read it before, a thorough review can be very beneficial. We all need to make our own decisions in this sport, just as in life, but if at all possible they should be informed decisions. The Dual Square Report can be found in the "Articles" section at the bottom of this page: http://performancedesigns.com/canopyinfo.asp .
  19. I apologize if I made the wrong decisions when choosing the information I presented to you and you colleagues. Although many instructors thoroughly understand basic canopy skills, they are not always able to teach these skills in a clear, effective manner that their students can easily understand and apply. This is not just my own observation: it is what instructors themselves have told me. Instructors do not always attend a lecture or canopy course to learn groundbreaking new information. Some just want to know what is important and what is not, and how to present what they know more effectively. Of course, a lecture geared toward that goal may not satisfy everyone. The two are definitely different. Many people find their understanding of "basic" skills is not as thorough as they believe when they are asked to demonstrate those skills under canopy, or demonstrate them in a manner they are not accustomed to. A course environment also makes it easier to challenge what each individual expects from his or her own performance, and possibly raise those expectations. That is unfortunately true in some cases. We need confidence in ourselves to function effectively in a high-risk environment like skydiving, but overconfidence causes us to take excessive and unnecessary risks. Experience and good judgment helps us know the difference, but they are things that can not be taught. As instructors we can only stress their importance. We should also make it clear that what people learn from us is not nearly as important as their commitment to practicing what they have learned and their willingness to continue learning. I believe that far more people walk away from good instruction understanding these points rather than ignoring them. Thank you for your feedback. - Scott
  20. If you want to avoid being injured under canopy you definitely do not have to pay a professional canopy coach. Some people have an easy time learning to fly a canopy. They are able to master basic skills, and sometimes even advanced ones, without getting professional coaching or suffering serious injury. And there are certainly experienced, knowledgeable canopy pilots at some DZ's who are willing to provide good advice and guidance free of charge. Many people are not that fortunate, though. With all due respect to Chuck Blue, you will not find qualified people willing to provide good, free canopy coaching at every DZ. A lot of DZ's only provide minimal canopy control instruction to their students, and help is even harder to find after a jumper finishes student training. Even if someone is able to get additional training from people at their home DZ, it doesn't always help. Teaching, like canopy piloting, is a skill that must be learned and developed. Not every good canopy pilot has learned to become a good teacher. It's also very common for people to receive advice that is questionable, at best. I don't believe anyone intentionally gives bad advice, but a lot of misconceptions have been accepted as fact in this sport for many years. There are some very competent canopy pilots who have been exposed to this misinformation, have never questioned it, and freely pass it on to others. It's also common for people to get drastically conflicting information, leaving them unsure what to believe. The reality in our sport today is that many people want and need help with canopy flight but are not able to get it. They end up feeling nervous and uncertain under canopy, and have a difficult time mastering even basic piloting skills. They sometimes continue struggling for hundreds of jumps, or simply get frustrated and quit the sport. If these people have the opportunity to get help from an experienced, professional canopy coach then they should not be discouraged from doing so. The best canopy pilots at some DZ's are sometimes the strongest advocates of professional coaching. Even if they themselves are capable of providing good advice, they recognize that our sport has become very diverse, and it's difficult to master every aspect of it. Just as some people have dedicated time and energy to becoming good freeflyers or 4-way competitors, others have focused their efforts on canopy flight instruction. If someone is providing a good service for a fair price, many expert pilots will be the first to recommend that people take advantage of it. Should everything cost money? Absolutely not. Passing on what we have learned simply for the sake of helping others is a long-standing and noble tradition in this sport. That does not mean that professional instruction has no place or value in skydiving. We should be grateful for the people who spend their free time mentoring less experienced jumpers and ask for nothing in return. We should also recognize that people who have dedicated time and effort to developing a thorough curriculum, who are willing to spend the entire day teaching, and who teach four, five, or six days a week might be able to provide an even higher level of service. Unfortunately, they might not be able to devote this much time to teaching if they didn't charge for their services. Many people who make a living from skydiving truly understand the importance of giving back to the sport. The amount of time they have dedicated to skydiving enables them to provide some of the best free advice. The amount of time they spend at the drop zone helps them recognize the importance of doing so. As with any profession, not every coach provides the same quality of service. If you've attended a canopy course and feel it was not worth the money you paid, you are certainly entitled to tell others your opinion of that particular course or instructor. Hopefully you will also tell the person who taught the course! But unless you have received canopy coaching from every single person offering this service, or at least a significant number of them, is it really fair to make broad, derogatory statements about the value of professional coaching? Please remember that some people seek professional coaching because they have not been able to get help from other sources, and many people have actually found this type of instruction to be tremendously beneficial. Your statements might discourage someone from getting the help he or she really needs. As I've learned from personal experience, the shotgun approach is not always the best way to make your point. In an ideal world, everyone would receive proper canopy instruction starting from the very first jump. There would also be competent, informed canopy pilots at every DZ providing good advice and additional guidance. People would be willing to stay under conservative canopies, developing their skills at their own pace instead being in a rush to downsize. Some of us are working toward that goal, but we don't live in that world yet. For now, some of the canopy courses being taught by professional coaches are helping to fill the gap. Many people who take these courses are benefiting from them tremendously. They are making better decisions about the canopies the fly and the way they fly them. They are also sharing what they've learned with others and are helping to spread better information throughout the sport. They are becoming the new generation of instructors who are capable of providing better training for students. That is why USPA is promoting professional coaching at the present time. - Scott Miller
  21. FOF

    BASE 82 is gone

    Back when Jo was jumping in DeLand, we always knew when he was coming in to land. He would be the one yelling "wheeeeeeeeee!" when he started his riser approach.... Blue Skies, brother.
  22. The Freedom of Flight School's summer canopy camp tour is in full swing, and we may be coming to a DZ near you! Scott Miller and Jimmy Tranter provide some of the best canopy coaching available, and you won't have to skip meals for a month to get it. You can find a complete list of upcoming canopy skills camps on our web site at http://www.freedomofflight.tv. Some of these courses are already full, but space is available in others including the camps this month at The Blue Sky Ranch in New York and Skydive Dallas. See you there!
  23. We only require people to be current and "cleared to self-supervise" before attending one of our courses or skills camps. When a skills camp is held outside of DeLand, it's up to the host DZ to decide whether or not you need an A license to attend. Of course, you should also talk to your instructors at CSS if you plan on visiting other DZ's before getting your A license. They might not see a problem with it, or they might recommend that you make a few more jumps "at home" first. Our regular classes in DeLand and weekend skills camps at other DZ's are limited to eight people per day. Many of the weekend skills camps fill up quickly, so if you are interested in attending one it's best to sign up as early as possible. Flight-1 Camps can usually accommodate a greater number of participants, but we will need your registration and deposit at least 30 days before the camp. You can register online at www.flight-1.com If you have any other specific questions about our canopy courses and camps, you can e-mail [email protected] I was surfing around yesterday and happened to look at this thread and see your post, but I don't usually spend much time on dropzone.com. I just have a little free time right now thanks to Hurricane Frances. - Scott
  24. Mike, Canopy coaching is available year-round in DeLand, and we also run courses at other DZ's throughout the year. Visit www.freedomofflight.tv for more information. - Scott Miller
  25. The Canopy Skills Camp I had planned to hold at Skydive Chicago on September 4-5 has unfortunately been cancelled due to Hurricane Frances. Although the storm is not threatening Skydive Chicago, it's a different story at my house. I was scheduled to leave Florida for Chicago on the morning of Friday, Sept. 3. At that time Central Florida was still in the projected path of the storm, and I chose to remain here so I could be with my family and deal with any problems the storm might cause. I have been in contact Betsy Hoats at Para Concepts, who was organizing the event, and there is a chance we may reschedule the camp for a later date. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause for anyone planning to attend. Sincerely, Scott Miller Canopy Course Director The Freedom of Flight School at Skydive DeLand www.freedomofflight.tv