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  1. Lots of great advice in this thread. One additional suggestion: plan your pattern turn altitudes on the ground and then compare them to your actual turn altitudes in the pattern. E.g., if your plan is to be directly across from your landing spot at 800 feet, turn base at 600 feet and then final at 400 feet glance at your altimeter before each turn and see how that compares to your plan. You can then adjust your plan on the next jump based on this data. Even though the wind may be a little different it's still a good way to dial in your landing pattern skills. A digital altimeter is helpful for this as it will be easier to read small differences in pattern altitude than on an analog altimeter. And, at the risk of stating the obvious, don't let this distract you from keeping your head on a swivel watching traffic. Have fun!
  2. Tnx Jimmy and great to hear from you my friend. Hope you've been well and look forward to seeing you at The Ranch soon! Cheers
  3. Your analog altimeter doesn't actually read altitude. Instead, it reads barometric pressure. As you change altitude the barometric pressure changes, e.g., the pressure drops as you go up, which moves the needle on the display. This means you need to calibrate it to read "zero" on the ground before you jump. You should do this before every skydive. This is because as the weather changes during the day the barometric pressure changes. The greater the weather change the more the pressure change -- as much as a few hundred feet on the altimeter display if a cold front is moving in. Talk to your instructors about developing a standard pre-flight procedure that you execute the exact same way before every jump. Among the things this might include are: carefully inspecting your gear (also in the exact same way every time), practicing emergency procedures, checking the winds, discussing the landing pattern and of course, setting your altimeter to zero. And have fun!
  4. I've been using a Digitude since I started jumping, but pretty much everything I fly has analog gauges in the cockpit. I don't feel there is a significant difference in time to read either of them. IMHO the big advantage of using a digital altimeter skydiving is how much more information it provides to help you fine tune your landing patterns. To be clear, one should never rely on any particular instrument -- your eyes come come first. But being able to check your numbers, e.g., "I planned on being 800 feet AGL across from the peas on downwind, I glance at my Digitude and see I'm actually at 900 ft" is really valuable training. Hard to get that level of detail from analog.
  5. Something else to consider is how good it will feel to pay off any debt related to your divorce and get all of that crap behind you. Much to be said for starting the new year with a clean slate on that front. As for taxes, while you must file your taxes on time you don't need to pay them on time. You can always file for an extension to delay paying what you owe. I believe the IRS offers a 120 day extension with zero interest or a longer installment plan or extension with a modest penalty. Not sure what the options are for your state taxes. (I am NOT an accountant so do check your specifics.) Details here: If it was me I'd pay off the unsecurred debt right now and be done with it, even if that cost a few pennies more in the long run. And good luck with the debt free plan Tink -- thats' an excellent way.
  6. All great suggestions above. If you enjoy (or at least have a tolerance for) textbooks, here are two excellent free downloads from the FAA: "Pilot's Handbook Of Aeronautical Knowledge" "Risk Management Handbook"
  7. Link to a NYT article about this:
  8. If what is reporting is accurate then this seems to fit a familiar pattern: "I've got mad skills, so the rules don't apply to me." Check. "This was successful which proves it was safe." Yup. "I've made n-thousand jumps without so much as a broken finger nail, and I was only promoting the sport of parachuting in a positive manner." True. It's not like he's the chair of the USPA "Safety and Training" committee and took out a spectator or anything.
  9. Good advice in this thread. Here is a little more, courtesy of Bill Von: A VERY good guideline for deciding whether or not one should do a balloon jump is whether or not one is qualified to do a demo. Demos are off-DZ jumps, as are most balloon jumps. To do the simplest, most basic demo USPA lists the following requirements: USPA C license or higher minimum 200 jumps 50 jumps within the past 12 months five jumps within the previous 60 days using the same model and size canopy to be used on the jump That's from an incident thread regarding a jumper with 130 jumps flying a Saber 2 loaded 1.1-to-1. She misjudged when to exit the balloon (lots of trees in the Northeast) and in trying to land in a confined area she was very badly injured. Thread here:;post=4160982;page=1;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;mh=25; As others have said, perhaps it would be best to spend some time working on your canopy skills and overall airmanship. Enjoy that process (!) and make a balloon jump one of your future skydiving goals.
  10. from the article: "Amid the turmoil caused by the suspension of “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson in relation to an interview he gave with GQ, an outpouring of support has emerged from those defending the bearded A&E star. Which only prompts one to wonder whether these people really know whom exactly it is they’re defending. However real and natural it might appear, “Duck Dynasty” is a sitcom. Not all the dialogue is written, but as even the Robertsons freely admitted on the “Today” show, “They come up with ideas and we just get to be ourselves in the situation.” So while Robertson can be taken at his word that he’s a man of faith, the character that people know from TV is just that: A character……"
  11. I seem to recall a few years ago there was someone posting here in the same semi-cohernt style. Anyone remember the name of who I'm referring to? Are you back, sir or madam, having just been released?
  12. The non-Apple apps I use the most (no particular order): HopStop -- subway / train directions Pro HDR -- takes high dynamic range photos Stopwatch -- big display is handy when cooking, stretching, etc. and not wearing reading glasses 11C Scientific -- An HP 11C Calculator Video Space -- shows disk space needed for different video file formats / time AirWX -- aviation weather with METAR, TAF and Winds Aloft Dropbox -- file sharing between iPhone and my computers Uber -- hails a cab Jump -- remote desktop control / VNC BikeShare -- finds available Citibikes and places to drop them off (NYC only) NY Times -- (under "Newsstand") updates fast and then does't need net access so one can read the entire paper anywhere Also, since I too am pathetically clumsy with it, a case that offers great drop protection: Cheers!
  13. Note the product placement shot at 1:16 for some stupid brand of shaving cream. Sure looks like a deceptive viral marketing video to me. *sigh* Nothing against commercials, mind you, but the levels of dishonesty in this shit is right up there with so-called "reality tv."