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  1. becka

    Canopy transition for downsizing

    Try to find a female instructor or canopy coach, preferably close to your size to evaluate the situation. A bunch of people on the internet who have never flown a canopy at close to your size do not know what it's like. I don't know if you're ready or not, but I do know that someone who has never skydived at under 180 lbs cannot know how docile a lightly elliptical 170 can be at a .85ish wing loading. (Just as we cannot know what a 170 feels like at a 1.2 wing loading.) It also can be difficult for them to truly realize the added challenges involved trying to do all things on the checklist can be when you are loading at .7, particularly when this means you are wise to stand down even (and be less current) in many conditions when it's still reasonably safe for other newbies. Regardless, if you're going to be off for awhile, get another low bulk demo 190 to fly first so that you are current and aren't forcing yourself into a situation you aren't comfortable with. (For example, the aerodyne pilot if you can't do another on a pulse.) It sounded like you traveled to where the demo canopy was before, but you should be able to order one to be mailed to you when your season starts and they usually give you two weeks.
  2. I'm fairly new (about 100 tandems) and take up to 25% over my weight. More than some of my male colleagues can/will do. Less than others. Making it strictly about student's weight and ignoring the instructor's weight makes no sense. I'm not going to hurt someone because someone else thinks I should take up someone up who is double my weight. (I know some female and male TIs who can safely do that, so more power to them, but at least currently I cannot. And I won't pretend otherwise.)
  3. becka

    KA2 and Crossfire3

    That being said, I would think that PD would want maintain this canopy for people who want to and are prepared to actively fly their canopy.
  4. becka

    KA2 and Crossfire3

    I agree that I like the Katana exactly the way it is. A better stepping stone ideally would be people putting more jumps (and canopy training) in before going to a Katana and treating it with the respect it deserves. I don't mind an intermediate canopy existing since that is not likely to happen. However, I would like to buy another Katana in a year or so, not a Katana-lite designed for people who don't come close to following long standing recommendations.
  5. Thank you! I couldn't address that part correctly without sounding even more snarky than I feel right now.
  6. Have you missed the part about some people being in over their heads hurting/killing other people? It's not at all about banning swooping. It's not at all about banning high performance canopies. It's about something being in place to protect the rest of us from someone who gets a hundred jumps and think that they are the best thing that ever happened to skydiving. I really don't understand people "needing" to jump specialized equipment so early and other people defending their "right" to do so no matter who else it affects. Skydiving is amazing. If you love it and want to be the best, jump more. It doesn't take long to rack up a couple hundred jumps for a GoPro or Wingsuit. It doesn't take terribly long to rack up a thousand jumps if you want to start being a serious swooper on a cross-braced canopy. In the mean time, you can learn to be a proficient skydiver and canopy pilot. (This is not necessarily directed at you as you may have put in the time or are currently doing so now.) Just some thoughts from someone who is still a tourist. I think I need another 5 years to be a real skydiver. But then again, I don't want to wait...I should yell at someone for imposing on my rights.
  7. becka

    GoPro question

    I've never heard anything all that pleasant about military jumping, so I'm glad you made the transition so that you can enjoy yourself! Lots of fun to be had whatever discipline you choose. Have a great time flying!
  8. becka

    GoPro question

    Welcome to the sport! The GoPro does have some snag issues that vary depending on the type of mount you use. However, the bigger issue for many people is the distraction. New toys can make us forget about the important things like correctly routed chest straps, making sure handles are secure, pulling on time, etc. You might be surprised at how much of a distraction just remembering to push a button before exit can be. When I really need to concentrate on something else, I may have 5 minutes of inside the plane time on my video just so that I am not worried about fussing with the camera. It's not cool, but I get to do all my other important gear checks, etc at my preferred pace and time. For other people, the distraction can be worse in trying to get the great shot and forgetting to check altitude as often. There are bunches of low pulls where the distraction of the camera was a major factor. 200 jumps may seem like a lot now, but if you love skydiving, you will be there soon. Enjoy jumping for the sake jumping now and it will make flying a camera easier when you do choose to. FYI, there is a thread with a list of some incidents that had small cameras as a factor in stuff going wrong:;#3894693
  9. This post should be made a sticky. I'd like to see it with the downsizing checklist though the appeal should be considered to be much broader (wind, other weather, beach jumps, cameras, wingsuits, etc). I think almost everyone could find a jump (and plenty of other decisions) that they should have applied this logic to. I know I can. Best post ever.
  10. becka

    AFF instructor salary

    See I consider all the ground portion stuff (that is generally unpaid unless there is a jump accompanying it) to be work. And I see people who spend way more than 40 hours a week when that is factored in. The jumping (at least for those of us new enough to still be thinking AFFI is way more fun than work) is the part people are more interested in doing. If someone else did the training and all the AFFI had to do was the jump and maybe a debrief, then I would agree that the pay is fine, the hours are not at all long, and that it would be quite easy to work in enough AFFI jumps to stay proficient as a part-timer with time to work on your own skills. And at least for me, it cost more than $1500 to get that rating. I personally needed a bunch of practice before the course (and should have done more in retrospect). And that was working with people who didn't even charge me for the privilege. It was more expensive than 10 years of undergraduate/graduate education. Not many scholarships in skydiving. But for me, it was worth it even if I never earn it back. You learn a lot of stuff in the instructional courses that is good to know even if you aren't going to be an instructor. I'm still very green in this sport which is why I keep bugging popsjumper about his views. I understand diablopilot's and davelepka's points which is why I'm not bothering them the same way on this. (This is not say you don't have good points too, but in terms of skydiving experience we are both still at the point where we don't know the whole story even at our own home dropzones.)
  11. becka

    AFF instructor salary

    Can I ask (seriously) what careers you find worthy of pay? There is a lot of investment in most career fields both in terms of initial education and experience to improve. Even if there is love to do it, people without trust funds need to earn a living. You seem open to DZOs earning a profit, but I am curious why you think instructors must finance 100% of their living and then spend long hours working with students (only some of which appreciate them). This (as you probably know better than me) cannot leave much time/money for their own continued education in skydiving. If one loves the sport, he/she is going to probably want some time for that too. I completely understand that you think there is a lot to be desired in the quality of some AFF instructors, but the animosity towards the field (and thus all the instructors) is truly puzzling to me. Especially since it is far easier to make money doing tandems. (No disrespect to all the great TIs out there.) The way I see it is this: Is my dentist doing a lousy job because he makes (good) money doing it? I can assure you that he enjoys his work as much as anyone I know. Can I stop paying him because of this? He has been doing it quite awhile now and seems to be better than ever at his craft.
  12. becka

    AFF instructor salary

    I appreciate it and I apologize for getting overzealous my self. And I think it's awesome that you are going to get ratings and give back. I'm sure you will be one of the good ones. Hope I am too.
  13. becka

    AFF instructor salary

    I never mentioned the word "unions" before now. I know plenty about them though, likely more than you. (Do not assume that because I believe in ethical business practices that I am somehow ignorant.) I don't have any interest in debating unions with you because it is not relevant to anything I said and hopefully won't be in the future. I'm actually not interested in debating much anything with you at this point. I just hope that if you stick around, that you actually give back since you want everyone else to give you all that education for free or close to it. (For that matter, I hope I do a good job of giving back too.) A big thanks to all of you that take the time (paid or not) to educate the rest of us.
  14. becka

    AFF instructor salary

    Like I said, I respect what you do for the sport of skydiving. A lot. But you are the one being driven by emotion. You are going off on things that I haven't even said. And you fly from one extreme to the other. I let you get away with insulting me in your first post, but that doesn't mean I'm going to let you railroad me either. Your whole argument against mine was that there were bad instructors out there and so they shouldn't get more money to do bad stuff. I think everyone with any sense would agree that we don't want to keep, let alone reward, bad instructors (or any bad employees). And you misread my note on standards. I'm AGREEING with you that standard have often been lowered well beyond acceptable levels. I certainly did not call for them to be lowered further. So if I am wrong wrong wrong, so are you. :) It's by keeping the wage so insanely low that qualified people who do want to have a decent wage will avoid skydiving instruction as a full-time gig. Who the heck do you think you get instead? Hint: Only some of them are dedicated instructors with trust funds or satisfied by eating ramen noodles every meal. I have been fortunate enough to know several instructors who love teaching skydiving enough that they have sacrificed their well-being to do it. But it sure isn't fortunate that this is the choice they had to make. Here's the deal. There are some bad doctors out there, so let's stop increasing their fees for the next twenty years. Who do you think is going to become a doctor after twenty years? A few people who just have to because they want to save other people. But that's not enough. And so the rest are a bunch of folks who think it's cool to be called "doctor" and can now go to med school and get hired due to the lowered expectations. Skydiving is not some magical field where employees don't need to treated like (and expected to behave like) professionals.