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  1. That's interesting... I haven't jumped (or checked in here) in about 9 months, and I think I may be in a financial situation where I can go back, and I was about to post a very similar question to this. I'm a little afraid that if I jump again now, I'll just run myself way the hell out of money again, and that's a bigger deal now than it was when I did it a year ago, because now I'm planning a wedding... and I know that if I'm going to get out of the sport, I should do it now before I get all addicted again. Plus it's been so long, I get door jitters now just thinking about it, like when I was a student. My fiancee's not too keen on me going back too, but she says she doesn't want to stop me. I dunno, I just have a lot of changes in my life right now and I need to figure out which direction I should go with this. M
  2. FallingMarc

    Blue Skies, Black Death (Roger Nelson)

    Condolences and only the best of vibes to all of Roger's family and friends everywhere. You're all in my thoughts and prayers. Marc
  3. I didn't know there were ever drop zones in Sidney, Seymour, or Savoy... but then again, I've only been jumping for a couple of years. There's Willard airport in Savoy (University property... no jumping allowed) and Frasca in Urbana (glider club I think, but no skydiving), but the closest DZ here I knew about was Rantoul (now they moved to Paxton, though). Marc in Champaign
  4. I don't know that I had much of a "sensory overload" after my first jump or two, but I definitely had tunnel vision for a while... actually, it wasn't until I did my first linked exit that I even saw someone else in freefall, even though I had done several before that with an instructor in the air with me (static line progression... I was told to do turns using the ground to judge heading, so that's all I was aware of until I had someone actively holding on to me, grinning at me). M
  5. FallingMarc

    It's ok. Just land off.

    Yeah, I know crops can suck for landing too, but nothing's really sprouted much yet here, so it's basically an open field for the moment. My biggest problem with what I did, after thinking about it for a while, is the actual decision I made at 1000'... I didn't think "I can make it there" and turn out to be wrong, that would be a simple misjudgement. I thought "I might not make it there... but I can handle landing downwind in this." I really, really try not to be cocky, or to overestimate my abilities... guess it jumped out and bit me anyway. M
  6. FallingMarc

    It's ok. Just land off.

    This Saturday at Archway was beautiful--sunny, hot, humid, almost no wind. The Golden Knights were there for the Lew Sanborn accuracy meet. I was in the mood to freefly, but it had been a few weeks since I had done anything but RW, so I decided to do a solo or two to find my sit before I got back with anybody-I'm still pretty inexperienced. Manifest, throw on a sweatshirt and shorts, gear up, get on the plane. I'm one of the last people out, doing a solo freefly, and jumprun is FAST with zero wind up high and a negligible cut. I get to the door and look down-we're a good distance out, but I decide to go anyway since I don't know these pilots (not our regular King Air) and I am kind of a weenie about asking for a go around. Mistake #1. I exit into a sit; it goes great, I play with cartwheels, flips, and standing up. I slow down and pull at my usual 3000, even though I know I'm already far downwind. Mistake #2. I turn towards the airport and determine that I might be able to make it, maybe, I hope. Under me, and spanning the entire way to the airport, is nothing but open fields. I get small, pull out on my rear risers, trying to improve my glide as much as I can. At 1000' I'm close, and I judge once again that I can maybe get around into the pattern, but I'm not sure. What follows is the Stupid Decision Du Jour: I decide to go for it on the theory that there was almost no wind when we took off, so if I have to land downwind, it won't be a big deal. I know. That was wrong in any case. Incidentally, the wind had picked up a little, and I landed a bit outside of the main area (at least I had considered the traffic implications of landing downwind in the middle of the main area) at a rediculous forward speed. I'm not injured, but I tumbled a lot and tore a bit of skin off my left knee due to my not being used to coming in that hot (I fly a Triathlon, dammit) and therefore flaring early and stalling a couple of feet up, while still traveling way faster forward than I can run. What I did wrong: at exit and pull time, I could have improved my position greatly, but I didn't. At 1000', I should have turned around and landed safely in the great big friendly bean field, but I tried for the airport, even though I was very unsure of my ability to get there. What I did right: When I realized I was going to land on the airport, but the wrong way, I didn't turn low, I rode it out, and I kept out of the way of the normal pattern. Did I embarrass myself in front of my friends and the GK? Yes. Did I learn? Yes. Did I know better to begin with? Yes. Why did I make a bad decision, knowing better? Who knows. In any case, this is directed at anyone who finds themselves on a long spot like that--It's ok. Just land off. Don't hurt yourself trying to get back! Blue skies, Marc
  7. FallingMarc

    Flat turn - AGAIN

    Bill, that's a brilliant explanation... I had no concept of a flat turn until I read that. When I asked as a student, I was just told that you could flatten out a turn by pulling both toggles down and pulling one more than the other. I knew one was supposed to practice this, so I tried a couple, but failed to really see the purpose in practicing it--well yeah, you just flare, and turn, but at the same time. Big deal, right? But now, I'm going to go practice holding a constant airspeed in a toggle turn. Awesome... Marc
  8. FallingMarc

    Is my first canopy too aggressive?

    Did anybody else tense up and stifle a scream reading this? Nothing at all against you, Sinkster, but what kind of instructor would not answer a question like that? Learning to skydive and fly powered planes at the same time, I am very disturbed at the lack of canopy training in general. How can we send people off to solo a glider, fly a pattern in traffic, and land unassisted, without teaching them much more than "pull one down to turn, both down to land."? Sure, most people come away intact, but there's no reason to leave out basic knowledge of principles of flight and canopy flight in student training. Sorry, this has just become one of my very few hot buttons. Marc P.S. ...and don't even bring up the letter in the May(I think) Parachutist that said "Bernoulli's Law doesn't actually happen, wings are curved to look pretty, and we just fly like paper airplanes...." We are all forced by the nature of our sport to be glider pilots; can't we train appropriately?
  9. FallingMarc

    Has everyone here had a cutaway?

    One cutaway in 75 jumps-- #23, graduation dive, either a line-over or tension knots with 3 or 4 line twists. Recognized the problem immediately but didn't look close enough to tell why the left side didn't inflate, just that it didn't. I tried to fight it because it wasn't spinning much(student main loaded at like .5) and I had plenty of altitude, but it was turning against the line twists, so I chopped and was under a 26' LoPo reserve around 1800 feet... never thought I'd be so happy to see a round canopy! Marc
  10. FallingMarc

    How to swoop !

    So in a high speed swoop, your highest rate of descent will be less than your peak airspeed? Actually, come to think of it, that makes perfect sense for a carving riser turn. I don't have a cypres manual, but for some reason I assumed it was designed to fire if you were *below* 750 feet and descending faster than 78 mph. Is that correct or does it fire *at* 750 feet? Say, someone is on a plane that goes up above 1500, arming the cypres, then something goes wrong and the plane has dropped to 900 feet when he bails out. He should be below 78 mph when he passes through 750 feet, right? Well, maybe not, it's too late and I'm too lazy to actually do the math. But assume he gets out close enough to 750 that he doesn't hit 78 mph until 500 feet. Will the cypres fire at that point? Maybe I should get a manual. Marc
  11. FallingMarc

    How to swoop !

    Question- If you're going over 80 mph on a swoop at the bottom of your arc... then couldn't you theoretically(or maybe you do, I don't know the physics of a swoop very well, I'm still learning to hit a target straight in) have a descent rate of the same speed or more in a high speed diving turn? And doesn't the expert cypres fire at 78 mph? I know a cypres disarms itself under 150 feet, but what if you're playing at those speeds up higher? Or maybe I'm not thinking straight. It's been known to happen. This just struck me as I was reading... Marc
  12. FallingMarc

    fall rates

    Hang in there... it gets better. I weigh about 140 and used to float like mad... was considering getting a big floppy jumpsuit to do CRW without having to deploy...
  13. FallingMarc

    Spinning in freefall

    DUDE. Mad props to you for sticking with it through an injury and a reserve ride on student status. I had a massive spinning problem too as a student. I never had a chance to hit a tunnel but I would totally say that's the way sto go. No pressure of hitting the gound at 120 but leanring the muscle memory. Otherwise, stick your feet out and relax... for me it was all my legs, I had no idea where they were, one was back on my ass and one was straight out, I dindn't dtop sopinning until I consciously stuck them both out then felt how the wind was there, then got used to flying with them parallel... as always, aweseome that you stuck with it, and always remember, you CAN do it! Marc
  14. FallingMarc

    Does it concern anyone that . . .

    Excellently put... it doesn't matter if you want to have fun with your canopy, or see it only as a means of getting to the ground safely. If you're ignoring the basics of survival in order to have fun, you're dangerous. Learn to walk before you run... and learn to land slowly, hit accuracy, crosswind, traffic, etc., before you swoop and spiral into the pattern... Marc
  15. FallingMarc

    Does it concern anyone that . . .

    Training students on the type of equipment they will be buying is one thing... but you don't need a Ferrari to learn to drive. Sure people can be taught on a wing loading over 1:1, but the margin of error is reduced. I haven't even been in the sport for a year, and I've seen students ignore the radio, not flare, bury a toggle at 30 feet, etc... We use ZP 290 Skymasters for students. The guy that turned low would not have walked away from his landing if he had been under a smaller sport canopy. Luckily for him, he had a lighter wingloading, and did decide to listen to the radio quickly enough to brush himself off and get nothing worse than a long lecture about low turns and target fixation. Some people need that margin of error before they learn the way to fly safely. I went from the student gear(loaded at something like .5:1) to a Triathlon at 1.1:1 at jump 35. I've put almost 50 jumps on it since then, and it still seems like a lot of canopy for me. I can't see myself downsizing anytime soon. I want to learn to swoop eventually, but not for a long time. I just don't see how it's safe to put brand spankin new canopy pilots under something that takes quicker thinking and reactions, until they are comfortable and safe flying something more forgiving. Marc