jcunniff

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Everything posted by jcunniff

  1. Today, I became the latest member of the Dudeist Skydivers. I will confess to being NCB #8 , but that's a thread for another day. I don't know if I need a Dudeiste Skydiver number, so that's cool. Stay mellow, take care of your friends, and make new ones.
  2. Right... that was a on a segment of SkydiveRadio.
  3. Howard would tell me to mind my own f*cking business, but as he can't... Our friend, Howard White, has died at home. Howard was a frequent contributor to Parachutist, his recent series on jump aircraft will be a reference text for many years to come. Many people knew him, and he'd choose to jump with some of them. If you were among his friends, you knew where you stood, even if he hadn't been on a load with you in years. And as he was a jumper for many years, everyone has a story... I remember the time I managed to get to the DZ before him on New Years Day, and in taking his slot, broke his "First load of the New Year" streak. I think that was 1983, but he remembered it for years. Still, he encouraged me to keep broadening my horizons, (by jumping somewhere else), and kept saying he'd make a jump with me, some other time. Blue skies, HW. Thanks for being you.
  4. I'll miss you, Burt. You did it well, and with style and grace. BSBD. -Jack
  5. Gary was a friend and teammate of mine over the years. Once, on the ground after a good day of doing 20-way team, Gary looked across our team's circle at me. He radiated confidence and cameraderie. To this day, I remember how he made me feel at that moment. It's a favorite "Gary memory" of mine. Those of us whom he helped in the sport will never forget him. He was a solid friend, and more than generous in every sense of the word. Blue skies, D-6969. -Jack
  6. Saturday saw a new Illinois sequential record, as BJ Worth, Roger Ponce DeLeon, Larry Henderson, and other organizers put a 107-way through two points. Similar to the 252-way sequential planned for Thailand in 2010, the 107-way sequential was built with wackers breaking off and joining other wackers for long spiraling arms around the base. Here's a link to the 2010 World Team sequential dive planned. http://www.theworldteam.com/10_11Sequential_2010.htm BJ had a personal commitment on Saturday, when the successful formation was built, but Larry called him to tell him of the group's success. Larry also advised him that two jumpers on the dive were injured on landing, when they ended up downwind of the landing area and had off-field landings. Congrats are due to the group, made up of locals, other US-based jumpers, and foreign jumpers, many of whom are looking for invitations to participate in World Team 2010 and 2011. Many Dropzone.com regulars participated in the event, and will likely chime in with their stories. -Jack
  7. I just uploaded the portion of a video I have, with a great example of "don't be that guy". http://www.vimeo.com/2664961 Not to pick on the fellow in question, but this shows a guy who went low, and couldn't make it back to the level of the formation. As you watch the video, you'll see why we get concerned about people that don't recover when they go low. This isn't exactly tracking-related, but it sure would surprise folks when they track off, and find this guy out there. - Jack
  8. John, you're exactly right. The people who go low and then don't track away safely from the big-way over them can cause problems at opening time. I've got video from an event a year or two ago, where someone went low, and then rather than tracking in one direction or another, he's seen going back and forth under the formation at a pretty good horizontal speed. I'd surmise he was looking to see if he was getting clear of the formation, then losing track of which way he was facing, and going off in a new direction. Glad he wasn't near me at opening time. - Jack
  9. Following up on the Incidents thread about the collision at breakoff between Deb and Sky at Z-Hills, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to take the discussion about tracking over to here... I had said that there's something I hear at the DZ, especially on big-ways; "Track as though my life depends on it". In context, though, this gets said right after the organizers say, "Track like your life depends on it." Being disciplined while tracking has always been stressed. At first, it meant, go as fast as you can from the center. Some people were flat-tracking right from the beginning, but others would dive a bit more vertically and then flare out. Their rationale was probably that they'd get further out if they converted that vertical speed to horizontal. The downside with this is that (besides it not being as efficient as those folks thought) is that it's hard to maintain visual contact with the other people you're tracking near. With twenty-ways and smaller, that might not have been as important as it is on the larger formations, but tracking discipline nowadays means that we all stress flat-tracking. It's a lot easier to know who's near you when you maintain a tracking group for the appropriate number of seconds after break-off. Having said that, body type does play a part in how efficiently we track. To compare Sky and me, for instance... Sky's what, 5'5" and 200 pounds, I'm 6'5" and 210. My surface area is going to let me track faster and maintain relative altitude a little higher in the track than Sky's surface area and shape. If we were tracking near each other, I'd be thinking about this during the tracking portion of dirt dives to ensure that I'd be drilling into my head to factor that altitude/distance difference into my scan during tracking. Tracking like your life depends on it includes the visual scan of people in your area. One other thing I'll put out here: tracking starts at break-off, it's true, but let's start right at the point where you turn outward. Within the tracking group, there should have been discussion about which way people were going to turn to get into their track away from the center, so safety starts from there. You don't need a funnel when you're turning to track. Also, the way in which you turn outward does matter. In big-ways, you don't drop a knee and turn the way you would if you were turning points in four-way. Guy Wright has been advocating a "superman" turn, where you get your arms in front of you (think "beachball" recovery position from going low), and conserve some altitude as you turn slowly outward. Then bring your arms slowly back until your track starts to develop. Keeping an eye on the tracking leader and the folks next to you is important. You will naturally separate vertically and horizonatlly as the track continues, unless you're fortunate enough to have the same body type, weight, jumpsuit style, and tracking style. But being disciplined, rather than just getting the heck out of Dodge, you should be maintaining visual contact with the rest of your tracking group. If you're on the outside of a big formation, you might be breaking off at 5500 and tracking to 2700. That's going to get you lots of separation from the center, and probably a bit from the people near you, too. The part I tend to get concerned with is when the track stops, and I look, wave, and pull. In motorcycling, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches something called SIPDE. Scan Interpret Predict Decide Execute. So at the end of the track, to use that method, I'd scan to ensure I'm aware of where the other folks from the tracking group are, interpret what I'm seeing, predict whether or not I need to react (turn or delay), decide what if anything I have to do, and execute that. Rather than doing this at 2200 (if that's my designated pull altitude), I'm doing SIPDE all the way through the track. I'd adjust my vector if someone was drifting in my direction, maybe watch their wave and make sure I'm clear of them before waving and pulling myself. Thinking about what happens at the end of the track before I get there should mean that there will be no surprises. The only surprises I get (and it does happen from time to time) is when someone in a later tracking group (from the next wave toward the inside of the formation) tracks down to my altitude. I've seen people shoot past me during my wave, throw, or opening. I'm a good tracker, but if they track off early from the next wave, and then take it down (going out further than the others in their wave), it's not safer for them, nor for me. That's the long version of the "track like your life depends on it". I'm sure I've given people something to think about, and I hope to learn from replies, too. -Jack
  10. Wow! Nice job. Talk about handling the pressure. I was wondering if they'd get it done, the N took a bit of time.
  11. One of the people on one of the 100-ways did their 402nd jump that day. Numbers alone can't tell the whole story. I've jumped with people with more than a thousand jumps, who couldn't do a simple four-way. (You don't learn a lot when nine hundred of your jumps were doing a solo after putting out a static line student.) One of the people I was load organizing a number of years ago brought her brother over, and said he had just gotten off of Level 8s, and she asked if we do a three or four-way together. He had maybe fifteen jumps, and no tunnel time. But I figured, we'll keep it simple and he'll get a chance to do his first three-way. It went just fine, and over the course of the next month, he kept progressing at a nice pace, and was one of the better jumpers on eight and ten-way jumps within a month or two. He really had good perception, and quickly learned. If people kept their distance from him because of low jump numbers, they'd really have missed out, and he would have, too. Bottom line: if you make the acquaintance of a serious load organizer, and can show that you're able to learn, and fly safely on a 20-way, then you can get onto larger things. If you can make the commitment to go to a big-way camp or two, such as the P3 ones, you will learn, and the people who can recommend you to be on a 100-way will get to see what you can do. If it's what you want to do, then you can make it happen. If you're at a Cessna DZ, well, you're going to have to do some traveling, but it can be done. -Jack
  12. Re difficulty/challenge... Although it's not anything standardized, it's sort of fun to multiply the number of people by the number of points completed. A twenty-way round, to a twenty-way in-out, though, is probably more difficult to complete than a straightforward forty-way... so you can't just say that a particular "number" that you get from multiplying people by points is a good way to compare difficulty of skydives. It's fun to use that as a starting point for assessing complexity, though. -Jack
  13. Yup, been surpassed in size, as the original post said. I don't think there have been any other 100+-ways that completed more than two points, though... and that was Billy's point. -Jack
  14. I checked the logbook, altitude on these jumps was 17.5. -Jack
  15. Hi, all... I had been enjoying checking out dropzone.com over the past day or two... it's been a while since I've been here, and the fact is, I'd rather contribute than stand by and just be entertained (or saddened) by what's been posted. (I just read about Ahmed Kotb's death today, and even though I can't count myself among his friends, I had known him from various events, and will miss him at future ones.) Anyway... Here's a link to a video I just put up on youtube - the 4-point, 106-way at Cross Keys from 2001. There was a terrific talent pool. During this event, we completed a 100-way from 13,500 when the clouds were a little low... and the last dive of the last day, we did a big-way sequential that I don't think has been surpassed. The 2-point 118-way was bigger, the 2-point 139-way was bigger... but this is a pretty dive, worth sharing. (Video by Skeff) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDR8Ti5RIlU -Jack
  16. Yup, I was there. (Hi, dinosaurs who know me... I don't tend to post here, but do check in periodically.) I don't know how many completed big ways I've been on, definitely over a dozen events of 100+ completions... but this one had it all. It had malfunctions (two on one load; I shot accuracy on one of the pilot chutes, for a dead center), it had fun milestones (a lot of 00 jump celebrations, from a 400 on up), and it had TWO groups each with 100-way completions. Lots of great effort from the folks who are new to bigways, and lots of support from the folks who've been doing it for a long time. I don't know how many different nationalities were represented, but I'd guess there were fifteen or so. And (with the exception of this post), not a lot of ego. Everyone was doing what it took to get the completion. Bigways are all about perception, and making small adjustments so that you don't have to make BIG ones. It's a learning thing, and it takes a while for the subtle lessons to sink in. But people learned, and we got some nice pictures. What I will remember: being really proud of the LARGE group of people who were on their first 100-way. You folks rock, and you're the ones who are going to keep big ways happening. Please keep learning, and applying what you learn, and sharing it with others. -Jack
  17. TSR was a good time. Fun, safe, well-organized, and no egos. Too bad we didn't get the sequential done, but back-to-back 150-way completions were great! There was a great Alpha Team bench, and a number of people came up from the bench to be on the record. Kudos to the organizers, who made use of every square inch of the DZ's fields for landings. Pick-up vehicles were in every area before people exited the planes. One jump had pick-up vehicles setting records for "furthest pick-up from the DZ". There were a few aircraft issues, quickly dealt with. Oxygen was perfect. As always, it was good to see old friends and make new ones. -Jack
  18. _________________________________________________ The declared goal was 200. That was way back in the planning and recruiting stages. Reality sets in, though, and whether or not you end up with that number of people on the skydive, it's still a world record. 140 people were in their assigned slots, the planned two points with those people were executed. If it's never been done before in the history of the sport, it can be called a world record. -Jack (By the way, the taste of a cold beer after being on a record is pretty damn good. Sour grapes don't taste as good, I'm guessing.)