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    Skydive Taft
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  1. How long approximately is the ground instruction of the subsequent levels?
  2. I am afraid of sensory overload. Yes, I've done a couple of tandems and know what it's like, but those jumps were basically ride-alongs; the TI took care of everything, and I hardly had to think about anything. But on an AFF jump, you actually have to focus and think about stuff and pay more attention to different factors. In the tandem jump, if anything went wrong I had my TI to deal with it, but this time it's all on my shoulders--a major responsibility that brings with it anxiety. I don't know if my thinking process would go smoothly. But it's something I wouldn't know how well I'd handle until I actually did it, for sure.
  3. The plane ride is the scariest for me. I even have trouble looking out the window while we are climbing in altitude. A fear of heights and the reality of us lifting ever further above the ground is kind of freaky, and when I look out and see roads and cars and trees so tiny, it nearly gives me vertigo. Yet, strangely, when they open the door and I walk up to it and get ready to jump, the fear usually dissipates at that point, and once I jump fear is replaced by awe.
  4. I'm singing up to do AFF level 1 this Tuesday. So, what can I expect for the first jump? I've read it's about a 6 hour ground course before the jump is done--what's covered during those 6 hours? What will likely be expected of me for that first jump? Any suggestion on how to best prepare or handle myself?
  5. [QUOTE]and what the different winds are doing between the ground and altitude[/QUOTE] How can you determine ground wind from up at altitude though? Sure, you can look at conditions while you're on the ground before you take off, but what if ground conditions change by the time you're at altitude?
  6. [QUOTE]Often, at GPS drop zones, this is abbreviated to "look down and see if the spot is sorta OK when the light goes on." But there's a lot more to it than that. [/QUOTE] Ohhh...when I did my tandem jumps, I remember seeing a green light at the back of the plane and wondering 'What the heck is that for?' (It never did light up, even when we went to jump, so they weren't using it I guess or something.)
  7. I e-mailed someone at my local DZ regarding if they honored SL jumps done at another DZ. I didn't get a straightforward answer in the reply, so I'm assuming they don't really prefer students coming from elsewhere that have done SL. The issue with hop 'n pops in the AFF vs. SL debate is one I've heard before. In the AFF program, is it usually the case you'll do just one jump from 5000' or so? I understand the importance of having practiced jumping out low in case of emergencies, so I'd be more than willing to ask my JMs if I could do a couple of 3000' exits. Regarding spotting--I've also heard that SL students are better at it (or even know it to begin with) than AFF students. Actually, what is spotting, trying to pinpoint the DZ thousands of feet below so you jump right over it? I never did get a clear understanding of what it entailed. And if it's not a skill that's directly practiced in AFF, I sure wouldn't mind requesting some instruction on that as well.
  8. Hehe...like I said, I wanted opinions. The SL course I was talking about that I'd drive 4 hours north for...they do their program in 2 days. So, during my days off, I'd go up there as soon as I got off work and then I'd leave the day I'd have to be back at work. So with hotels and gas, I don't think it would be anywhere near $600 as if I had to make it a couple of weeks' trip. But I am taken by some of the pro-AFF comments. Yes, it's best to build initial relationships at the local DZ, since that's where I would go to finish my A license after I did SL anyway. And yes, immediate freefall experience with instructors at your side is a good way to start things off. I'll probably go for AFF at the local DZ then. If I end up doing that, I just hope that I can do the best I can and hopefully not have to repeat any levels, though I know I'm bound to repeat at least 1 or 2.
  9. I now have saved up enough money that I can take a skydiving training course. I've just got a couple of tandem jumps under my belt, good enough to give me a taste of the sport and see if it's something I'd like to pursue, and the answer is a definite yes. I don't want to be a wuffo anymore. But now that I have the capability, I'm torn about which program I should go for. The two main traning courses available today as everyone knows are AFF and SL. (I know there are 'hybrid' program too, though). So here are my options: I can go to my local DZ which is a 30 minute drive from my house and do AFF there, or I can drive 4 hours north to a DZ where an SL course is offered. There seems to be pros and cons of doing both. AFF seems more intensive, definitely expensive, but more 'up-to-date' I guess you'd say. SL seems more gentle, is half the cost of AFF, an older method of training but still a means to an end nevertheless. I really can't make up my mind which one I should do. Should I do AFF since I've got the money or save myself $600 and just do the SL course? What's your suggestion?
  10. I'm glad to see you're experience there was good. I'm going to Lodi in December to do the SL course.
  11. I find it odd that some have remarked about some AFF students not knowing how to pack. Why shouldn't both AFF and SL students know how to back by the end of their respective course? Is it not a standard component of either training nowadays? Whether I took SL or AFF, before I was done I would be sure to ask my instructors to show me how to pack, if it appeared they would not volunteer the information. Why isn't it even a requirement for an A license? Not only would I want to know how to pack my rig so I can be confident that I had done it right, I ain't going to pay someone $6 every time I need to pack when I can simply do it myself. It's not that hard, is it?
  12. [QUOTE]SHE LIVES IN ENGLAND, why are you banging on about what it costs, and A license requirements, IN AMERICA?[/QUOTE] I'm aware she lives in England, and I know her circumstances may be different. My post was directed at pilatus' points. He said he did not understand the views that SL was better, so I was offering my reasons in consideration of what differences there may be regarding traning programs and cost in America in contrast to the UK.
  13. Maybe those are the figures one faces in the UK. But as for what I face in my neck of the woods... AFF - 7 jumps @ $1230 total, NOT including repeats SL - 10 jumps @ $500 total, not including repeats either but repeats are less pricey than AFF. But one has to look at the big picture, i.e. once you have 25 or so jumps in hand and have your A license, what have you spent so far? $1230 7 AFF jumps + 18 additional jumps to A license. $500 10 SL jumps + 15 additonal jumps to A license. All in all if everything went well, going through SL has three less jumps I got to reach for. In any case, if I went through SL and had my A license in hand I will have $700 more in the bank that I otherwise would not have had I gone for AFF. For my budget, that's an important difference. As in, included in the ticket price? Not always true. For my home DZ, you have to pay extra for video. Combined with the cost of AFF jumps that would accumulate very quickly. It would be nice to do something of a hybrid program but looking at the websites of many of my state's DZs, it appears they strictly separate SL from AFF, as in there's not much option for combining them.
  14. I also faced this dilemma. I too really want to get into sport skydiving and with the two main methods, one has to make a decision. At first I was seriously considering AFF, but now I've decided I'm going for SL. The main factor? Money. Doing SL will be half the cost of AFF, and as a college student straining to cover tuition and other bills, any avenue I can take to reduce costs is necessary. But it's also due to what the program offers. I would have liked to go for AFF for the immediate freefall time, and freefall is what I love most. But as others have said, canopy control and landing is the most important part of a jump, and the immediate focus on canopy control in SL is a good idea for me, I think. Once I'm more solid and can trust myself with canopy control and landing then I feel I can focus better on freefall dynamics. I'm also one of those individuals who works better in dealing with material one piece at a time. AFF looks pretty demanding and seems to throw a lot at the student at once, and I know I'd have to repeat a couple of levels. The more gradual approach of SL would be better for me in this regard. Plus, depending on the program I suppose, you get more actual jump numbers with an SL program than the 7 jumps of AFF. The SL program I'm going for has 10 jumps, so that brings me 3 jumps closer to the 25 for the A license for half the cost of AFF. Sure, after my 10th jump, I won't be near the freefalling skills of a student who just finished AFF, but those remaining 15 jumps to my A license should give me ample time to concentrate on that aspect of the sport. It's too bad SL is harder to find at DZs these days. My home DZ which is just a 30 minute drive from where I live only offers AFF, so to do SL I have to drive 4 miles north. Good luck with which every way you go!