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  1. I don't in any way want to encourage you to downsize. The advice given above is smart advice - after a certain point, reducing the size of your canopy increases the risk to your person. You should stick to what you can safely and comfortably fly and land in all conceivable conditions and circumstances. Having said all that, I just wanted to mention that for me much of the pleasure of jumping smaller canopies isn't about the performance of the canopy at all - it's simply about the convenience of having less fabric to deal with, and that's not an insignificant benefit. Packing is easier. Collapsing, gathering up and carrying the canopy and climbing into the dropzone van after landing are all easier. Having smaller canopies in turn allows me to have a smaller, lighter rig - and that means that I have a better aerodynamic profile in freefall, take up less room in the plane and in the door, and get less sweaty walking around in my kit on a hot day. Of course none of the above will be of any consolation when your pocket rocket is winding up on you during opening, or you're trying to get yourself safely to the ground in a tiny field after a bad spot on a gusty day. I'm just saying, it's not all about performance.
  2. MikeJD

    So embarrassing. Need to repeat aff2

    He's kidding. It's an inversion of this meme, as a joke. It did make me laugh, but you probably have to have been in the sport for a while to get it: http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=3796489
  3. For a small island, we've actually got quite a decent number of wind tunnels available. There are iFly tunnels at Milton Keynes, Manchester and Basingstoke (with two more planned at Birmingham and Bristol). Any of the currently open iFly tunnels should serve your purpose, and obviously it depends on where you are, but my favourite UK tunnel is actually Bodyflight at Bedford.
  4. You could also consider visiting a wind tunnel before you get back into the air. I know people who do that before the start of every season, never mind after a 10-year layoff. It won't help you with the aspects of skydiving that are likely to kill you, but it will at least reassure you that you can still fly your body in freefall - and removing that worry might in turn allow you to focus better on the important stuff.
  5. Maybe you missed the fact that up until the last couple of weeks or so we'd had practically no rain for months on end! It's a shame you weren't ready to start learning in May - you've missed out on the best UK summer in decades - but of course life does get in the way... As for your plans, I don't really see anything wrong with them except that as a newbie skydiver you might find 5 jumps a day, day after day, a bit hard going. Also, as others have said California is a long way to go. Even though you've done a tandem that you obviously enjoyed, have you considered the possibility that you might start AFF and just decide that you don't like it or it isn't for you?
  6. I'm guessing everyone involved in the HALO jump filming in Abu Dhabi is sworn to secrecy - but does anyone who isn't sworn to secrecy have the lowdown? In particular, I'm curious to know: - Whether Henry Cavill also jumped (I think it's unlikely). - For the final filming, whether Cruise, Cavill and Cruise's cameraman were really alone in the back of the C-17 for that long shot leading up to the exit (also seems unlikely). - Whether the oxygen bottle and hose worn by Cruise were just dummy props, given that Cavill appears to temporarily disconnect Cruise's hose so that he has to reconnect it before exiting. Whatever, even based on the trailer and the behind-the-scenes footage, that looks like spectacular work from all involved.
  7. MikeJD

    Frap Hat Manufacturer

    I didn't mean to give the impression that I'm still jumping a frap hat - I've been wearing a full-face helmet for the last sixteen years or so, and there's nothing about the frap hat that I miss (well, other than its portability, and that's hardly the top criterion when it comes to choosing gear to protect your head). However, I do think it was worth pointing out that a full-face skydiving helmet's resemblance to a motorcycle helmet shouldn't lull people into thinking that it provides a similar level of protection. As Rob says above, to do so the helmets would need to be significantly heavier and bulkier than they are. I know people who've been knocked unconscious, and who've had facial injuries, even while wearing a full-face helmet and where there was no obvious damage to the helmet itself. I guess the bottom line is, get the best head protection you can, and be careful out there.
  8. MikeJD

    Upper age limit for student

    I'd say there are two factors to consider - the rules of the governing body in that locale, and then on top of that the view/ assessment of the Chief Instructor or DZO. Presumably you mean in Australia, and presumably you're talking about AFF or a static line FJC rather than a tandem. I don't know what the APF says, but in the UK the BPA has an upper age limit of 55 for first-time students, so there would be no question of a BPA dropzone training a 70-year old - they wouldn't be allowed to. Maybe it'll be relaxed at some point, but right now those are the rules - however, I know for sure that other countries have a higher (or possibly no) age limit.
  9. MikeJD

    Skydiver Suffers Seizure During AFF Jump

    Cygnus-X1: also, the instructor reaches across to pull the handle on the right side of the student's harness. Albeit this is an unusual configuration for main deployment these days, it'd be odd if that were the position of the reserve handle. Plus, if you watch the video more carefully you can see it's a main canopy that's deployed.
  10. MikeJD

    Skydiving Suits - Kids - Superheros

    Hi, Would help if we knew what country you were in since presumably local would be better. I'd think any of the manufacturers who currently make jumpsuits in child sizes would be willing to customise them, but beware that this would probably be expensive depending on the level of customisation. Custom colours are a standard offering, but if you want to change the design of the suit itself that could get prohibitive. No harm in asking though! The only manufacturer who I know produces jumpsuits for kids is Bev Suits. But I expect there are others.
  11. MikeJD

    Vol. 1 #1 Summer 1964

    Cheers, Squeak. It was great to browse through that.
  12. Congratulations, guys. I notice Ms Rasche has done the usual journalistic trick with the term 'skydiving'. Is it one word, is it two words, is it hyphenated? Let's hedge our bets and alternate between all three versions at random.
  13. MikeJD

    New to the sport

    Welcome! I've never done a tandem, but it does seem by far the way most people get into the sport. When you say you had an amazing time after you left the plane, were you very nervous up to that point?
  14. MikeJD

    New and Excited

    Welcome! There's nothing quite like the heady days of your first few jumps. Mine were nearly two decades ago, but I can still vividly remember that feeling of excitement and adventure. It's a whole new world you're opening up for yourself. Enjoy!
  15. MikeJD

    Ash Dive information needed.

    Good luck with that in this sport . I've only been on one ash dive and I'd say you've already made one of the most important decisions - to let someone else do the release. I guess it's something that the people closest to the deceased would like to do, but it's not a trivial thing to achieve in freefall and if the jumper's skill levels aren't up to it then it will spoil the dive for everyone. I'd also be quite tough about which and how many people are encouraged to take part in the dive itself - a memorial big-way is still a big-way, and there will be a temptation for low-timer friends of LeRoy's to want to be involved when they might not have the experience for it. Better that they contribute to everything that needs doing on the ground. I think a short memorial video is a great idea - something upbeat to commemorate the good times. It can be played on the day and people can also take away a copy as a keepsake - or maybe you could send copies on with the ash dive footage added. One good thing about skydiving and BASE is that there's never any shortage of footage that someone could compile! I've been to skydiver funerals where people were invited to wear something in a particular colour associated with the person, which I think is a nice touch. Lots of us have certain signature gear colours that we tend to stick to - not sure if that's true in this case. Best of luck with the organising. I hope everything works out on the day.