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  1. Richy - if you profile is correct, and you have only 12 jumps then please, please ignore all comments and advice given on here and TALK TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR. In time you will learn that there is not a one size fits all solution, different people in different countries have different ways of doing things and you will learn what works best for you. However, at your current experience level your best chances will come from following your training as given to you by your instructors. Paul
  2. ps5601

    Exit Order Safety

    I always thought that one of the advantages of running a big to small exit group was that the bigger the group, the longer they take setting up in the door. As such, the biggest group can start to set up "short" of the spot, with them being in the correct place by the time they have finished setting up, and therefore giving the last group the best chance of getting out in the right place (not so important for a 4-way, but much more so if you are doing 8-way). If a smaller group got out first with their exit at the earliest place for them to safely make it back, and THEN the larger group sets up, you have taken up a large amount of the exit window for just 2 groups, resulting in a higher chance that more people will end up very deep
  3. Hercs are OK but not all that special (and who pays over 100 bucks to jump one - it was about £20 at the last Herc boogie way back when). However the nicest tailgates are either something like the MI-8 helicopter or the AN-72 Jet (nearly as big as the Herc, but much cleaner air on exit). Paul
  4. When mini-risers were first introduced they had a problem with them breaking where the hole goes through the riser for the cutaway loop to link the small ring and cutaway cable. 2 solutions were developed, reinforced risers used by most people, or the PdF method of reversing the risers so a hole was not needed. All PdF rigs have reversed risers to my knowledge. Paul
  5. Different UK DZs have different ways of doing things. A small cessna place may just keep an eye on who is walking back in. Bigger turbine DZs with multiple planes typically require the jumpers to check back in. The DZ has a list of who was on what load (either paper or computer) at a point where nearly everyone has to walk past and you check your name as you walk back in. Sometimes 1 person may sign off their team etc as long as you know they are down safe. Normally, if someone is missing the DZ calls them a lot on the PA, then saying that they will have to shut down if they don't appear (so others are also looking for them now). When they re-appear the DZO or CCI gives them a good talking to, reminding them to check in. I have not known a DZ to have to shut down and call in emergency services for someone who just forgot to check in. Blue skies Paul
  6. "US 135" is crudely, a canopy from a US manufacturer - I gather they use similar method of measurement and so a PD 135 would be pretty much the same physcial size as an Aerodyne or Icarus 135. However a PdF 135 would have a physcial size that was slightly smaller. As PdF have pretty much given up sport parachuting sales it's not an issue that will be around for much longer. Blue skies Paul
  7. I am sure that there are better people than me to answer this, but as I understand it PdF have a different way of measuring their canopies compared to the Americans. One measures the surface area (as best they can) and the other measures basically the shadow that is cast on the ground. Because the canopy is not a 2D object measuring direct surface area can be a problem. Anyway, this difference in method leads to PdF canopies being slightly smaller than US canopies for the same quoted size. At least this is as it was explained to me when I used to jump a Spingo. I don't know exactly how much smaller a PdF canopy would be compared to a same quoted size US canopy, but I doubt it would be a whole size smaller. I was told that my Springo 140 was about the same size as a US 135. Hope that helps Blue skies Paul
  8. If you want to be able to go and jump with random people who have little to no experience then going to other countries will allow that. If you want to learn how to skydive (and by that I don't mean how to save your life when you jump from a plane, but how to fully control your body in freefall) then you will have to pay for a coach no matter where you go. Coaches on a UK DZ can be hard to find (especially hard if you want to find a good one who does not want paying) - but no harder than on any other DZ I have been to iin or outside of the UK. It can be hard work, and it does take time to get good. Turning up for a couple of hours and expecting stuff on a plate then leaving again when you haven't got on a lift with a free coaching jump and bitching on will not get you anywhere. Having said that, if you do decide to go abroad most people find that a short (week or so) burst of intensive coaching in a warm climate with good weather will get them better faster than spending the same sort of time on a UK DZ, mainly because you can do more jumps in that time. Maybe you want to do that, then come back and play in the UK when your skills are good enough to be able to jump with others and not need looking after. Good luck to you Blue skies Paul
  9. From what I know and have seen, once you are no longer a student and have your A licence, there are no BPA or DZ weight limits in the UK. HOWEVER, if you do no have your own equipment, you will have to borrow or rent gear. If you are doing this from the DZ then there is a good chance that they will impose their own restrictions (so every DZ will be different). If fact, jumping at any UK DZ, and the gear you chose, is at the discretion of the CCI - so if they do not like your gear choice for your experience and size they may say "no" - for this information it would be best to contact the DZ you are planning on jumping at when qualified. The more jumps/experience/proven skills you have, then the less restrictions will be placed on you by the DZ (I know 15 - 16 stone people jumping sub 100ft canopies, but they have 1000s jumps and decades in the sport). A couple of general notes to add. Bigger people are generally more likely to injure themselves on landing - more mass, more momentum, canopies fly faster and bigger people are generally less fit (yes I know there are exceptions). Also, once qualified, bigger people typically find it harder to find others to jump with as they generally fall faster (and there is a limit to how much lead people are willing to wear) - so if you can lose some weight and get below about 14 stone that is generally better. Good luck and Blue skies Paul
  10. Look at the 2nd picture on the left hand side near the top you can see what looks like the edge of the US flag - certainly not the Scottish or UK flag.
  11. The only circumstances I can think of where I am not sure if seatbelts should be used (I know the FAA mandates it for take off/landing, just throwing out a hypothetical) is if you are sitting near an open door on take off. On the one hand you want a belt to stop you falling out the door (never did like sitting by open doors on the cessna etc on take off without a belt on) - but there is a risk (granted, probably smaller than falling out) of a premature deployment through the open door. If that happens and you are wearing a belt there is a very high chance of you bringing the plane down. You are already low and slow, then add the drag from an opening canopy attached to a belt in the plane. Of course, it is now pretty rare for people to be in planes without a door on take off as we have all decided we like to be warm - and we should all be checking gear and watching our handles. Just a thought Blue skies Paul
  12. John, there is no way any of that will fool the DZ management. Everyone knows you need matching gear to look cool and experienced!
  13. Not that we would ever jump through a cloud - but should one happen to get in the way the response would be different depending on what part of the jump we were on, what the type of jump was and what the cloud was like. If I was swooping to a formation and lost sight of it due to a cloud I'd stop the swoop, maybe to a fast fall depending on how close I was when I lost sight. If I'm in formation and the cloud was thick I wouldn't key to the next point until we were out of it in a big way but would continue as normal on a small jump (8-way). If tracking on a small jump and I knew there was no-one in front of me I would keep the track on straight through the cloud. If I were in a tracking group close behind several people post a big way I would back off slightly (but not stop) to give more space between me and the people around me. On deployment I have always maintained deploy at the pre-determined altitude (if you wait, how long do you wait - the base may be down below 2K). If you wait and come out the bottom you may see others around you have done the same - now what. If you are in cloud at deployment you are already in a sh*t place. Buy yourself time by slowing the dive down with a canopy (note - I am NOT saying pull higher than normal). Under canopy you generally have more chance to avoid cloud - and if the clouds are this low and solid (not scattered) you have really mis-planned your dive. General rule, no sudden hard turns, eyes and ears open, spot where as many people are as possible before entering the cloud and hope you come out the bottom quickly and alone. Blue skies Paul
  14. It used to be that novice jumpers could jump with more experienced people in the UK, but some of the "experienced" people were only just able to keep themselves stable and were outright dangerous (jump number may be high, doesn't mean they are good). As the sport (at least in the UK) moved from small club jumpers to larger skydiving centres and people moved around more it became harder for everyone to know everyone, who to stay clear of and who to go to for coaching. So, the BPA now have a FS (formation skydiving) coaches rating - it is pretty simple for anyone half decent to get (2 years in the sport and 300 jumps with proven FS and coaching ability I think). In theory, if you have the FS coaches rating you are good enough to coach and there are a lot of them around. The trouble is, like everything else some coaches are better than others. There is no "rule" on coaching costs either. The unwritten rule is that the student covers the cost of the slot of the coach, some DZs have reduced costs for coaching slots to help with this (oh and once the student "graduates" they buy the beer!) If the person coaching is a world class skydiver you would expect to pay slot and then some. If they are your mate you would expect mate's rates, nearly everyone though is just cover the slot. A good coach will GUARANTEE that they will always be in the right place in the sky, and will spend quite some time on a brief and de-brief. If your coach can't sit with you then they ain't a good coach and you should get someone else. If they want to charge you money (not just cover slot) ask around, if people can't say "oh, that's X - they won the nationals/world meet/is a professional coach" then don't pay! The other problem is that a lot of people like me go to the DZ for a specific event (team training, boogie etc - not at all when it's cold) and don't just hang around, and so are not available to help out - I have no idea how to fix that. However, if you can find a good coach (knows their stuff, isn't asking for money) hold on to them! A good coach will save you LOTS of time and money - even with the cost of covering slots. You will learn faster and be better and safer for it. Blue skies Paul
  15. I hate to break it to you, but the majority of the jump planes I have been in have seat belts that will not do very much in the event of a plane going down. If you have belt fastened properly, which is to say it has at least 2 points of contact (lap belt on a bench seat would count), and it is properly tightened then it has a chance of doing it's job. If you have a belt that has only 1 point of contact and/or is not tight (95+% of jump flights I have been on) then it has very little chance of doing much. At best you will move (or parts of you will move) several feet through the cabin and pivot around the single point of contact. Anyone using a lap belt on a straddle seat, or on the floor will come straight out of it. With the way that the majority of seatbelts are used in most jump planes it does little more than make the takeoff legal with the local authorities. And while we are at it - all these people that refuse to secure lose objects are also a threat to everyone else on board. Helmets are designed to be worn - so put it on! I know some camera gear is heavy and risks more injury to the camera person in the event of a crash and/or the carmeraman wants to film the take off etc - however in this case secure the camera to yourself using a short lanyard. In the event of a plane crash an unsecured camera becomes a 2lb missile! Happy jumping Paul