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  1. It is impossible to take away your right to sue. What a waiver does it make it much more unlikely that: (a) you will win; and (b) a lawyer will take your case, because there is no real path to victory. But iFly may be balancing on the one hand, the amount of money they would make from letting you fly against, on the other hand, the amount of money they'd spend defending against a lawsuit multiplied by the risk that you will be injured and a lawsuit will be filed. The values they assign to that equation likely determines whether they let you fly. I know of at least one skydiver that has shoulder dislocation issues (to the point where he wears a brace every time he skydives) that I know also has tons of tunnel time, so it's not impossible.
  2. I've been seriously hurt three times: once from a hard opening (compression fracture, T8), once from having someone literally fly under me on final (tore MCL after I fell about 15ft to the ground), and once from a stupid decision while landing (broke my ankle). The first injury may have been the hardest for me to come back from, both because it was the first time I had been seriously injured, and because the injury was permanent and TO MY SPINE. But before I even went out to the DZ, I went through the pros and cons in my head. (I also re-learned how to pack, and vowed never to let anyone else pack for me ever again.) Once I had decided that I was coming back, then I went to the DZ and did a coach jump with one of my friends. The plane ride up was scary, stepping out was scary, letting go was scary. But I simply pushed through it. And, after I landed, the next jump became easier. So, that would be my advice: seriously go through the pros and cons in your head, and if you decide that you want to do the work of getting back in the air: (1) do all the work you can to minimize the chance that you're going to injure yourself again (reflect on why you chose the canopy you did, whether there were any voices you ignored, how the landing went bad and what you can do to have it not go bad again, think about whether your canopy now is the appropriate size, etc.); and then (2) simply push through the fear once you're there. Make the steps small: (1) get packed; (2) put on your rig; (3) get on the plane; (4) take off your seat belt, etc. after (9) step off the plane, you're skydiving. There's also no shame in waiting longer if you decide you don't want to go back right now. Nor is there any shame in hanging it up for the foreseeable future. Good luck!
  3. ghost47


    Everyone's parents are different. But I would not take my mother to the DZ when it was honoring someone who died skydiving. That just reminds them that you could die skydiving. For that matter, I'm not sure that showing them how much care everyone takes would help either, because they already have tangible evidence that despite all that care, you still almost died. But I don't think it could hurt to talk to them about what they're worried about, and try to really listen and understand. Because, the thing is, they're right. Skydiving is dangerous. You could die, or get seriously injured from it. Some former jumpers are quadriplegics now. That's just the reality. I don't think it helps your case to minimize this -- it makes them think that you are willfully ignoring the risks. Remember, though you are now an adult, in their minds, it wasn't so long ago that they had to physically stop you from touching the hot stove because you just didn't understand why you couldn't. It's hard for parents to transition into the space where their judgment regarding their kids' well-being is not superior to the kids' own judgment. Instead, perhaps explain to them what you love about the sport, and why you love it enough that you are willing to take these risks. Additionally (if you haven't already), explain what went wrong on your jump, and what you're doing to minimize the risk of it happening again. They may never approve, but perhaps through communication you both can at least get a better measure of understanding of the other. And, if you take them to a DZ, I'd do it on a regular day, not during a boogie, not during a competition, and definitely not during an ashdive or celebration of life (unless the jumper died of something unrelated to skydiving). My $0.02.
  4. I agree with the poster who stated that there's a limit to how slow you can fall, and that it's easier for someone to fall faster than to fall slower, especially if the faster faller still wants to be able to move with some sort of precision. That's why the typical convention is that if the exit funnels, you go to the low person. But I wouldn't think of this as whose "job" it is to match fall rate; rather, I'd frame the question as to what all parties can do to make the jump more successful. The faster faller can get a baggier suit, the slower faller can get a tighter suit and/or wear weight. Unless the disparity in fall rate is really that great (in which case you may just need to jump with other people), little tweaks like this should allow the jumpers to match fall rates and turn some points.
  5. ghost47


    When I first started skydiving, my mother sent me an article regarding two people who died bungee jumping, as proof that skydiving was dangerous. It seems like your mother is just doing or saying whatever she can to stop you from skydiving again. You can understand her feelings, even if you don't agree with them -- her beloved son was almost killed from doing something she sees as a complete waste of time and money. And he has decided to go back and do it again after he heals from his injuries! If she can only think of the right thing to say or do, she can save her son from certain death or serious injury. In my case, I was 31 when I began skydiving, and financially independent from my mother, and so I simply told her that I was going to do it, and I'm sorry if she disagreed, but it was my life. Thirteen years later, she still hates that I do it, and will periodically try to talk me out of it. I just mostly ignore her when she does.
  6. Thank you for sharing. I was wondering: 1. What were you and the coach doing from 12,500 to 3,300? Did he know you were having right-arm issues? What was your plan (i.e., did you intentionally wait to get to a lower altitude to pull the reserve, were you panicking, did it take you a while to figure out what to do, etc.)? 2. If the coach was going to pull your main, did he say why he waited until 3,300 to do it? Good luck in your recovery!
  7. I am. No one in my family is immunocompromised, but people I see at the grocery store may be. And my elderly mother comes over to visit my toddler once a week. I haven't jumped in over seven months and miss it a lot, but right now it just doesn't seem to be worth the risk. (And if anyone wonders why I go the grocery store then, the answer is I need food. I don't need to skydive. I want to skydive.)
  8. Riggerrob: While I'm sure Taiwan would love a U.S. military presence there, there are no U.S. military bases in Taiwan (at least none that are public knowledge -- China would have a fit). OP: just out of curiosity, are there DZs in Taiwan? A quick google search turns up only paragliding places. If no one has any leads, and there are DZs, maybe you could contact one of them (or even the paragliding places) and see if they have any recommendations. Most people living in Taiwan (at least that I've met) can speak some English or, if you have some native friends, maybe one of them can help you with the initial contact. Good luck!
  9. Well, obviously I don't know you or your DZ or your AFF-Is, and this is the Internet, but I'd be very surprised if you didn't have the knowledge to save your own life on a skydive. I don't think your instructors would have let you out of the plane for AFF-1 if you didn't have the knowledge. My AFF-1 was over a decade ago, but I'm sure they went over how to pull, and the different possible malfunctions, and what to do for each. I think what you lack is not the knowledge, but the confidence that you'll employ that knowledge correctly in the limited time you'll have. And, the thing is, you'll never know if you don't try, and if you do try and you're wrong, there are potentially fatal consequences (hopefully your AAD would fire your reserve, but that's obviously not something to be counted on). That shouldn't be sugar-coated. But really, the only way to gain that confidence is to do it. Again and again. So, if that's something that you want to do, then I'd just suggest you do everything possible to make sure that when the time comes, you know what to do. And, for me, that involves visualizing and practicing and visualizing and practicing and visualizing and practicing until you're just reacting. 5,500 feet (or 1,500 meters or whatever you guys pull at), wave off, reach for the hackey and pull and throw. Get to the point where there's no thought involved. Then do it. Or not. Many people live very full and significant lives without skydiving.
  10. I'm wondering if it's the lack of "safety nets" (for lack of a better term) that's currently freaking you out. Before, you knew that if you froze, or something went wrong, there was at least one instructor who would try to help. Now, there's just you. If that resonates with you, then I think you have multiple avenues. One is simply to stop. You've done what 99% of humans have never done: jumped out of an airplane at least 8 times and survived. You have nothing you need to prove to anyone if you don't want to continue, and if you enjoy flying, there's always the tunnel. Another is simply to commit. I don't care what I'm feeling, I don't care if I'm shitting my pants, as long as I am conscious, I am going out that door. And then do everything in your power to prepare yourself for saving your own life thereafter. Visualize how the dive will go, what you will do if you tumble, what moves you're going to try if any, when you're going to check your altimeter, how you're going to pull, what to do if you have a hard pull, what to do if you have a malfunction. Everything. Over and over, until it's automatic. Whenever doubts creep in, put them aside, and refocus on the diveflow, and visualizing how it's going to go. And then do it. A third is simply to wait. The sky is not going anywhere. If you wait too long, you'll need to repeat some (or all) AFF levels if you decide to return, but that's not the end of the world. But your choices are not binary -- jump now or stop forever. Maybe in three months you'll be missing the feeling. Or maybe you'll decide you're happier not skydiving. Good luck!
  11. First, you should see a doctor. Especially at your level, you don't want to be at 1,000 feet (300 meters) when you find out you can longer use your left hand to fly and flare your parachute. All of us (including me) may have anecdotes and some experiences, but no one can diagnose you over the Internet. About ten years ago, I was doing ten-way and had a bit of a collision with someone on exit. It was later theorized that I sustained a brachial plexus injury to the C8-T1 nerves during that collision. The dive went fine but, when I went to flare my canopy on final, my right arm suddenly had no strength, and I ended up having a hard landing because I was unable to finish my flare. I had about 300 jumps at the time and sustained no more than bruises. But I was still able to flare about halfway, so it could have been worse. But really, see a doctor before you jump. Having the use of your arms is very important.
  12. I think most people would agree that, if you set aside the issue of traffic, pulling at 4500 is safer than pulling at 3500, and pulling at 3500 is safer than pulling at 2500. And I also think that no skydiver should regularly be forced to pull lower than (s)he is comfortable. But, if you skydive, there's a chance you'll have to get out lower than you're comfortable with -- say, because there's an aircraft emergency. So getting out now at 3500, which is lower than your current pull altitude, will give you a taste of that, and let you figure out how to deal with that feeling, and still get stable and pull. As an aside, most jumpers I know pull between 3000 and 3500. After you get your A-license, assuming you intend to jump with other people, you will likely slowly begin to lower your pull altitude to around 4000 and then 3500.
  13. About ten years ago, I had a very hard opening on a Sabre2 190, and compressed T8. Best guess at the time was that my packer didn't stow the slider properly (the 190 was a "full" fit for my rig, and the packer was somewhat new). I also got a brace, and monthly checkups, complete with x-rays. After about six months, the doctor said that I looked stable. I asked several times whether I could return to jumping, and he refused to say yes (I think for liability reasons). But he discharged me, and I re-learned how to pack, and then went back to jumping. But I now jump a canopy with dacron lines, and no one packs for me anymore, even when I was team training and on a 20-minute call after I landed. A hard opening can do so much damage because we're going from 120 mph to 14 mph in less than a second. Think about how much acceleration is needed for that to happen, and how much force that puts on your body (I may have some of the words here wrong, I haven't taken a physics class for over 30 years). Is it common? I would say it's not UNcommon to have a hard opening. But having a hard opening to the point of compressing a vertebra I don't think is as common. But it can happen (you and I are living proof) and it's just another one of the risks we need to factor in against our love of flying.
  14. I don't think this has to be a binary thing: shut up or don't shut up. I think, instead, you can just qualify your responses. Someone asking a gear question you think you might know the answer to, but aren't sure? "I've only jumped twice in the past six years, and haven't worked on gear since _____. But, from my experience, you might want to think about ________." Then whoever is asking (and reading the thread) can get the benefit of your knowledge, while at the same time take into account that your knowledge might not be the most current. At the same time, you've made clear the potential limitations of your advice and have couched your opinion as a suggestion rather than an absolute dictate, so you need not worry that you're misleading some young jumper. Besides, on this site, if you give advice that is even slightly wrong, I'm sure someone will be along to correct you shortly
  15. Just out of curiosity, any reason you can't rent a 210 and try it out before buying?