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Everything posted by dgrabowski

  1. If someone had asked me (I have an engineering degree, somewhere) if this would even be possible, I'd be inclined to say "nope". Tunnel motors draw a ton of power, and the cost of the batteries to supply that power, plus the cost of the inverters, would be staggering. I'm super impressed - actually, almost bewildered - to read that this is happening.
  2. I think that since the dropzone converstion to the new format, some things like embedded files got broken. Here's the sizing chart. ICON Harness Sizing Chart.pdf
  3. I can't comment on the AFF program at Sebastian, as I've never seen it; that said, Sebastian has a great reputation and I would expect that its student program would follow. I simply chimed in to this thread because I happen to be a big fan of Spaceland's STP. Thirty minutes of tunnel isn't much, and how you perform in the safety of the tube may or not be relevant as to how you do in the air (with additional significant mental challenges as well as 25 pounds of gear in a restrictive harness). It doesn't matter how great you are in the tunnel if you are not altitude-aware, fail to follow instructions, or fail to deploy your own parachute on any AFF level; you'll have to repeat the level before you progress. We can get away with lots of things in the tunnel; there's no room for that in freefall. Your AFF instructors are in the best position to gauge your progress and ability to move along; your 'feeling' is not, especially before you even start. At the start of AFF, your instructors will most likely not take your tunnel time into account, and as you move along, they'll allow you to progress at your own pace. It's certainly not unheard of to combine the goals of two higher levels into one jump, but it's extremely common for students to repeat levels because they didn't perform satisfactorily. Whatever you do - stay safe, listen to your instructors, and jump as often as you can.
  4. The Skydiver Training Program at Spaceland (all of them) is, in my opinion, by far the most well put-together AFF training program I've ever seen. My experience with STP is at the Mothership (Houston) as an AFF-I candidate; the same program is used at the other three Spaceland dropzones (Clewiston, Atlanta, Dallas). I base my opinions on four observations: 1. When I got my AFF rating in 2012, I chose to do it at Spaceland Houston, because I had already seen how well the program was put together and I wanted to get my AFF-I training based on that program. I knew it would make me a better instructor. Just take a look at the student manual that they hand out - it is ridiculously well done, with great photos and spot-on to-the-point written info. 2. Because the program is so well put together, the instructors have a clear template to follow. Combined with excellent instructors, this produces a better end result. 3. Many dropzones have student gear that is "one size fits none", and is old, beat-up, and doesn't hold together well (i.e., that "one rig that always has the floppy main flap"). Conversely, Spaceland's student gear is top-notch, new(ish), and very well maintained. 4. The end result is that the freshly-minted AFF grads who I see at Spaceland Houston really know their stuff and are ready and eager to learn more; they're solid in freefall, and even more importantly, they're solid under canopy. BONUS: Spaceland's "Mentor Program", which I believe is also at every location. New grads with less than 100 jumps get to jump with a coach (a "mentor") for NO EXTRA COST - just pay for your slot (and rental gear if you don't have your own). I've watched newbies come up through STP, through their mentor jumps, and now they are mentors themselves. STP in a week is fantastic; saw a bunch of students doing exactly that during the long holiday weekend. One of the often-overlooked factors to student success is currency; making more than one jump per day and jumping for multiple days in a row eliminates the necessity to "re-learn" forgotten skills as it just continues to reinforce them. I don't know what the end-of-the-line price is for STP, but my gut tells me that considering what the student gets out of it, it's probably worth a lot more than what you pay for it.
  5. Bring it up higher on the front of the bootie (think about kneeling on the floor in the plane) and you need a much thicker layer on the bottom. Put shoes that you jump with in the booties so they'll cure in the right shape. Put the goo on outdoors (those fumes are "bad" or "good bad" depending on your disposition) and then leave your jumpsuit out overnight so the goo can cure. After it cures, follow up the next day by filling in any spots that you missed. I use appx half a tube of goo for new booties. Touch it up as needed. Don't put your booties on until you're in the loading area, and take them off before you land. (Assuming you're not busy avoiding other canopies, etc - safety first!) With this, the booties are fairly bulletproof, but I usually end up with stitching or elastic wearing out within a year or two due to so many on/off cycles (400+ jumps/year plus lots of tunnel)
  6. +1 On 26-Jul-2012 someone submitted their contact information in response to your ad in the Dropzone.com Classifieds. Please reply to this email to contact the person directly. Username => karry112 URL => http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/classifieds/detail_page.cgi?ID=130462&d=1 Name => kenneth hines FromEmail => [email protected] City => Vancouver Country => canada Comments => Hello,i just wanted to let you know am interested in your Javelin J1KL with PD143R,that goes for $2000,i was actually browsing through your and saw it on there and decided to contact you to know if its still available and in good condition... Am from canada,and i will love to know how much you are actually giving it out for,and whats your best offer for it and more details about it...... Thanks Ken
  7. Biplane - landed in a tree in a forest. Details (and plenty of criticism - gotta love dz.com) here: www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=1157059
  8. Ranch Fallout, an advanced-class 4-way team from the Ranch, is looking for a like-minded 4-way team to join us to do 8-way (most likely Intermediate) at Nats this year. No practice beyond one or two jumps after 4-way comp is over, to figure out exit slots and fallrate. Interested? PM me.
  9. 11 and 18 can be done in a 12-footer, but you need to be very aware of what's going on as you're learning them. They can turn into painful mayhem very quickly. Best to start out by having 2-ways practice their moves separately before putting all four together. Targeting is super important - mistakes that would be harmless in the air the air (i.e., separation of pieces) will get ugly. 21 can be done, but it's very different from how it's normally done in the air. We've done it so many times that I think that our in-air-21 now looks like our 12-foot-tunnel-21. You can also do 22, but again, it's pretty funky. I was stunned the first time we tried it and it worked. The solos gotta get the hell out of the way (up) and the 2-way better turn on center and stop where it's supposed to. If you cut down to 3-ways, you can also train parts of 2, 4, 8, and 19.
  10. Show up at the Ranch on April 5th for the 4-Way Social. Make some jumps during the day, then socialize with like-minded jumpers in the evening. We're recruiting all skill levels, video folks, and packers... Informal coaching will be available throughout the season on most weekends from experienced 4-way jumpers. Plans are in the works to put together some more formalized coaching, as well as organized tunnel trips to SVNH to work on both solo and 4-way skills.
  11. Like many, I often keep a few dollars in a jumpsuit pocket. In a tunnel session at Skyventure New Hampshire this summer, the zipper on said pocket worked its way open. I wasn't aware of it, until the tunnel rat took the time to hop into the tunnel to pull stuck shreds of dollar bills from the netting. It was rather hilarous. Yes, we have video.. I'm not quite sure how much flew out of my pocket that day, but I did end up with most of a dollar at the end of the session. More than half of a dollar bill counts as a dollar, so it was part of the tip for dinner that evening. A month later, we returned th SVNH for more training, and I was told that the week after we left, they found additional shreds scattered around outside. Turns out that all the pieces matched up rather well. Image attached. So, SVNH does indeed give you YOUR money back.
  12. I completely agree with everything Goran said. It was a great time, it's a great tunnel, and Rob and Laurie were awesome hosts; they made sure that we had everything we could ask for (except for flush toilets; warning: the little basin in the porta-potty is NOT a sink, and the little pink thing is NOT soap). Judging by the number of looky-loos who drove down the street and pulled over to ask, "What is that thing?", they're going to be plenty busy with both skydivers and whuffos. I can't wait to go back in September with my team!
  13. 4-way competitions are based on a 35-second working time, not a breakoff altitude. You should be able to break off at 4500 feet -- those 35 seconds will most likely have already elapsed. MHO - don't compromise your feeling of safety (whether real or not) for your team. If you're not comfortable with the breakoff altitude, that is what will be on your mind during the skydive, and your performance will suffer. If I were you, I would ask the meet director if my team could exit from full altitude instead of competition altitude. You'll have extra time in the air (you could pull at 7000 feet if you wanted to). It won't count towards the competition, but you might learn something with the extra airtime.
  14. Going to Nationals next month. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who needs to stay connected. What's available at Perris? Dial-up? Kiosks? Wireless? Nothing at all? I sent them an e-mail a week or so ago... no response
  15. What for?? From the PD dual square report: "Intentional cutaways from biplanes showed that the main had the possibility of engangling with the reserve 11 out of 11 times" We are taught to NOT chop from a biplane. I can only guess the experience of your friend as being somewhat similar to yours, so this training was probably fairly recent. I think that your friend got lucky in this particular incident, and that he should probably speak with an instructor or S&TA to review what the proper procedures are for dealing with two out.
  16. Yep. I'm actually somewhat surprised that nobody has said anything about this, either in this forum or any of the folks who I spoke to in the days after the incident. (Most of the discussions I had with people focused on the fact that they thought that I had a Cypres fire due to a low pull) This is the one thing that I think I should have done differently (or, I guess, not done). As I hung there, I agonized about what to do. If I stayed put, how long would it be before someone got to me? It'd be a travesty to make it as far as I did, only to do something incredibly moronic like crack my head on a rock and bleed to death because I decided to try to climb down. Honestly, I really had no concept of time, so I can't say how long I was suspended before I started my trek down. But it seemed like an eternity. After I realized that I was safely (??) suspended in the tree, the only things I knew was that I was very deep in the woods, that nobody was responding to my calls for help, and from my vantage point, it didn't seem likely that even when (if?) they did find me, that there wouldn't be much of a chance that they'd be able to get me out. I was too deep in the woods to be rescued by some sort of vehicle with a ladder or bucket, and too high for a free-standing ladder. Above me, there were nothing significant to attach ropes or other rescue implements. The only benefit, I felt, to waiting was that there would be someone on the ground who could watch me climb down. And as I was about halfway down, I started second-guessing my decision, but at that point I had no choice but to keep going -- I couldn't just give up and stay on that little branch. Knowing what I know now, I figure it would have taken about an additional half hour from the time I decided to get down for someone on the ground to find me. That someone was a volunteer fireman, who had nothing with him other than a radio. Now, with all that said, I still agree that it was a stupid decision to climb down. I got lucky. Actually, I got lucky about three times on this jump.
  17. Unfortunatly the problems with your planes oxygen came when we had cloud cover limiting sight of the DZ. Aborting the 5 planes we already had at altitude would have been costly for sure, Not any more so than the 50-way we did from 9K due to clouds on Sunday, after we took a trip to 17K, circled, and then gave up and descended below the ceiling. However, that's really a moot point - on our aircraft, we were aware that there was an O2 problem at 12K. There was a communications breakdown that prevented the facts from being relayed. And I did not. I had absolutely no intention of giving that impression, and I apologize if I did. Absolutely. I've worn a shirt before and it never occurred to me. And judging by the reaction I got when I mentioned to folks on Saturday what I thought my problem was, it hadn't occurred to them, either. It wasn't. First 100+ yes, but hardly a stretch. Yep. And judging by the number of folks who were wearing t-shirts, longsleeve shirts, and sweatshirts, many people could have benefitted from larger suits. Absolutely. But let's be realistic here. How many people have jumped when they've had a head cold, a hangover, or just felt "down"? Like I said, I didn't detect anything that felt out of the ordinary. I'm not claiming that hypoxia was the cause of what happened to me. I merely suggested that it may have been a factor. Where were you at Roger & Mary's on Saturday night?
  18. The air was turned on at 12K. All I'll say is that we had issues with the O2 in our aircraft, and those issues were not sufficiently relayed to the other aircraft in the formation. Actually, if I recall correctly, the entire formation did a go-around at 17.5K before we jumped, due to low clouds. So we were up high for a *long* time.
  19. There was no real "justification" involved. It was at the upper limit wing-loading wise for what I was comfortable with. I've got a lot of jumps on 7-cell canopies, many with a higher wing loading than my current main (I used to weigh about 30 lbs more than I do now). Oddly enough, the previous weekend, PD was at the Ranch and I was hoping that they'd have reserves on risers so I could actually fly a 143. Unfortunately, they did not have any.
  20. What do you think this was? Was your shirt white? Is your main pilot chute white? Shirt was white -- sorry if that was unclear. When I looked back at it, I don't think I realized that's what it was, however. All I knew at that point was that it was NOT my PC. Actually, I do recall thinking, "What the F is that?!" Main PC is black with white mesh.
  21. When I put this rig together a year ago, I discussed with a number of very experienced jumpers/riggers this very question. The opinion was that the difference wasn't that significant. From the PD Dual Square Report - "Choose canopies that are not drastically different in size... choose a reserve that is similar in size to the main canopy." I think that less than a 20% variance counts as "similar."
  22. Good question. I figure I must have gotten *some* of my main PC out, and perhaps all the commotion of the reserve deployment kicked it out the rest of the way. How much -- I have no idea. When I went for my reserve, I definitely had *nothing* above me.
  23. Main: Sabre2 170 Reserve: PD 143 Wing loading: ~1.15 Container: Javelin Odyssey, BOC deployment with hackey handle Jumps: 900+, all RW; 200 in past year 100-way sequential jumps from 17,500 feet with supplemental oxygen at Cross Keys. I was a late diver from a trail aircraft on the outside of the formation. I was wearing a longsleeve shirt on top of my RW suit to adjust for a slow fallrate. There were oxygen issues on our airplane, but the pilots made the decision to continue to full altitude. For the rest of the ride to altitude, we all focused on being extremely calm and relaxed in order to conserve oxygen. An fun 100-way was built, and was followed by an uneventful track-off. At deployment time (a bit under 3000 feet), I reached back and grabbed, but didn't end up with a hackey in my hand. I tried a second time, and the same thing happened. I looked back and saw that I had a handful of white material that didn't belong there. Considering this to be a total, I grabbed my reserve handle and pulled. A fast on-heading opening followed (open at 1300ft, according to my pro-track), and I looked ahead and saw that I was fairly close to the golf course and that it would be an ideal place to land. Then I looked up. My reserve was there. But to my surprise, so was my *MAIN*, in a nice, stable biplane, with the main in front. I focused my attention to ensuring that the biplane stayed in its stable configuration, using slight input on the rear risers of the canopies to keep them lined up. I looked down and realized that due to the winds and the massive amount of square footage above my head, I was drifting backwards. If I did a 180-degree turn, I had a shot at a downwind landing at the end of the runway. However, a turn that dramatic didn't seem like a good idea to contemplate. I decided that landing in the trees (there's a dense forest between the golf course and the airport) would be a better option than risking the turn, and hoping that I'd make it back to land in the clear. Due to the slow speed, my entry into the forest was quite soft. When it was all done, I was suspended about 40 feet in the air (this is a completely arbitrary guess, somewhat based on the location of my main when I found it two days later), between two trees. All of my weight was suspended by the left side of my main canopy -- my reserve had actually fallen down below me. I knew that I was in the middle of the forest. However, I figured that my best option would be to try to wait it out. After what seemed like an eternity (but at that point, who can keep track of time?), with my left leg starting to become numb and my yells for help going unanswered, I decided to try to figure a way out on my own. It took a few attempts at pulling on a tree branch before I got close enough to wrap my left arm around the tree (it was relatively thin, maybe 8" in diameter). With my arm around the branch, and one foot somewhat secure on a lower branch, I cut away my main and lunged towards the tree trunk. I was able to hold on and stay in the tree, now completely released from my main. It took me a number of minutes to shimmy down, taking a few branches with me as I went. The last 20 or so feet, there were no branches at all, but my booties, sneakers, and "tackified" RW gloves provided enough grip to keep me from falling down. It was a good half-hour or more before I finally got out of the woods. John Eddowes flew his chopper overhead to locate me and verified that I was OK, and then I finally heard the sirens from the volunteer firemen and was able to find my way to a dirt road and met up with them. Other than some scratches, a couple bruises, and a few bug bites, I'm otherwise OK. Possible factors... 1. Hypoxia. Although I have experienced hypoxic symptoms before, I did not feel them at all on this jump -- at least, not during the ride to altitude. I had actually felt hypoxic on a high-altitude jump the day before, and we had full oxygen for that jump. Was my judgement impaired? Perhaps. Should we have aborted our ascent to 17,500 feet? Probably. 2. My longsleeve "dress for success" shirt. A teammate saw me the following day as we were getting ready to go up for another jump, and she noted that my shirt was a bit long and conceivably could work its way out to cover my hackey handle. Was it possible that when I thought I was pulling my hackey, that I was actually grabbing a handful of shirt? In hindsight, I think it's *very* possible. Some thoughts... - Main deployment: Try once, try twice, then go for the reserve. In hindsight, my second attempt should have involved a more concerted effort to locate my PC. I probably would have been able to deploy it. - Biplane: Fly it. I was quite concerned that since there is a difference in sizes between my two canopies (about 19%), that they may not play well together, but they actually seemed fairly docile with each other. I did not release the brakes on either canopy. After watching the two canopies flying together with all the brakes stowed, I figured, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Tree landing: Protect the head and try to grab some big pieces of tree and hold on. Wait for help. Okay, so I gave up on the last part -- because I felt that a) I would be able to get out, b) nobody was going to find me anytime soon, and c) even when they did, it would take a loooong time before they'd be able to set up any sort of rescue attempt, and d) I was very high up and couldn't fathom how they'd be able to get to me to get me down. First 100-way (technically, my first one happened a jump or two earlier). First reserve pull. First biplane. First tree landing. I still have some shopping to do.
  24. Ranch Feaniks, an intermediate 4-way team from the Ranch, is in a desparate last-minute search for an experienced video person to join us for Nationals. Everything is negotiable! Interested? e-mail: dave at fourway dot org or phone: 201-303-2379