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Everything posted by becka

  1. 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. 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. 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. Well since you were wrong about at least one supposed "sock-puppet" in the past, it's certainly not beyond reason to think you were again. A few years ago you accused someone I knew of being some Florida guy's sock puppet. And I certainly don't have any proof that you are correct now. Not saying you aren't, but given the history and the tone of this thread, I would want more than you got someone banned as evidence. In any event, I am certainly not wrong about the unnecessary nastiness on this thread. I read every post in it before responding the first time to make sure I didn't miss anything. You don't have to be this mean to get the point across that you disagree. If you are right, than let your reasoning show that. And unless you have first (or even trusted second) hand knowledge that the rest of us have not been made aware of, the three points I listed still stand.
  6. This was lost before (and probably will be again here too), but 1) It was the manner in which Nerra's request was rejected that appears to be the issue. A simple polite rejection wouldn't have inspired this thread. 2) Nerra asked for this while in the process of purchasing a $1500 reserve. (After the other stuff, but this purchase was in progress.) 3) Nerra has made it clear that asking for the repack was only because the store indicated they could not discount the gear due to manufacturer limitations. And then later clarified for those on the attack that this was certainly not meant to make a rigger work for free. Only a way to allow for a discount on the gear that was claimed not to be allowed through other means. As for a moderator having some nasty vendetta for something that is clearly not showing up in this thread, it's mean-spirited and uncalled for. Calling out a defender of Nerra for being sock-puppet was also super classy. Just because someone has a different opinion than you and is also willing to reply in multiple posts (as quade did) does not make them a sock-puppet. Being a moderator should include some kind of responsibility for civility especially when not given any kind of provocation. Actually that should apply for just being human, but having the green letters means that more weight may be given to your replies. I'm hoping quade is just having a bad day and read more into the OP's original response and that an apology for the tone taken will be coming. Sometimes people deserve a bit of reality, but the tone this thread took and the deliberate ignoring of any point that might be in OP's favor is so out of hand. I've never met Nerra, but nothing in this thread indicates why OP would be subject to this kind of mean-spirited response.
  7. Thank you! I couldn't address that part correctly without sounding even more snarky than I feel right now.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.)
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Actually my argument is well-thought out. And it is not in conflict with your insinuation that there are poor instructors who are only in it for the money. (Though let's face it, tandem instruction is far more prone to that as there is usually more money there.) As in ANY profession, there are going to be bad workers. Does that mean that the hard-working qualified people who devote all their daylight hours to helping students save their lives and become better skydivers deserve to be paid at the poverty level? That is not well-thought out. That kind of thinking is why standards "need" to be lowered, because many of the best will leave and those who aren't as qualified or flat-out don't care will take up the slack for a few bucks. AFF Instructors are in a business where many of the best decisions they make COST them in their paycheck. And yet many of them make those good decisions anyways. I want to use my shiny new rating to help students learn. And I won't do less than my best. But I sure as hell won't do it full-time. My full-time job allows me to skydive and live without being terrified it will rain for a week straight. (Still don't like it, but my cat and I will get fed.) But the people who devote their lives to betterment of skydiving deserve a living wage. These are the often people that mentor the weekend warriors like me. Now while I have never met you, I know that you have done and continue to do a lot of awesome things for jumpers. And it is so great that you do. Obviously you aren't in it for the money. You aren't the only one. I know many more. But if you want to keep most the people who care in the business, you have to take care of them. (This also can help rid you of shmucks who don't as their will be more good people to take their place.) Really, it's not just ethically correct to treat quality instructors well, it's good business. And most people are just asking that wages keep up with inflation. How is that so controversial?
  18. So you want the people doing this full time (and thus are likely to be the most knowledgeable) to be scraping by? You want the people in charge of teaching students to save their own lives to have to scrimp on time with the students so they can afford both rent and groceries? Seriously? Students will probably save money in the long run if their instructors pay at least keeps up with inflation. The instructor can then be expected and able to spend more time on instruction and debriefs. Less repeat dives, bad habits fixed faster, and less medical bills. A lot of instructors do these great things anyways despite it going against their best interest, but expecting them to is ridiculous. Instructors spend hours per jump for $35 - $50. If one is part-time, maybe this isn't so bad. However, this is only in good weather and full-timers need to eat and have a roof over their head when it's raining/windy too. (Keep in mind that every time an instructor stops a student from jumping in questionable winds, he/she is choosing the student's safety over getting a paycheck.) Learning to skydive is luxury. An expensive luxury. If you can't afford to pay your instructor a living wage, you can't afford to skydive. You too can go out and get a job the pays better so that you can be in the sport. Your job argument goes much better that way.
  19. I'm not going to address the cutaway and EPs as I feel that has already been done very well by some people who have explained it very well and have way more experience than I do. I will simply say congrats on saving your life and now you have more/better information when you need to use your EPs again. What I will address is the small canopy/wing-loading. And I do this knowing full well that I will take some crap for even mentioning that light girls shouldn't stay on 170s for their first 200 jumps. (Notice that I have very few posts and really only on this issue.) Every now and then it has to be said. The people talking about how you need to load more conservatively have your best interests at heart. But very few people have the experience of being as tiny as you and dealing with 5-10mph that turn into 10-15mph being enough to blow you backwards or give you the horrible elevator ride landing. It also cheats you out of the canopy learning experience that a heavier person can often get more of during student status. And finally, it simply is not enjoyable to be fighting a huge canopy all the time. You are fortunate to have been on a 170 as a student. And progressing to a 150 with the blessing of those who have seen you land is not unreasonable at your tiny size. Yes, you need to understand that a small amount of asymmetry will punish you more than the big guy/gal loading similarly on a larger canopy. I would be prepared to maybe do multiple demos so that you can get at least 50 jumps on a 150 in various conditions. And if you aren't 100% comfortable going to the 135, get a 150. They aren't had to come by and they aren't hard to unload. (Some guy who weighs 50 lbs more than you and has 50 jumps less than you will be happy to take it off your hands even though it's supposed to be the girls that get the free pass.) I weighed about 10 pounds more than you and was on a 150 from jump 75ish to jump 300ish if I recall correctly. It wasn't tragic but I at least loaded it at .9. Going to a 135 was nothing. Now that may be because of the 200+ jumps I put on the 150. It may just be that it isn't as a huge a deal as people think at a low wingloading. What I am worried about with you is why you immediately have a 135. Maybe I missed it, but in reading your initial post, you have purchased relatively old gear that is kinda okay for you to grow into. Did you buy it from someone at your dz? If so, that may be why you are being encouraged to go in that direction. You seem to like the sabre2, but you bought a spectre. Any particular reason? I have nearly 1000 jumps. Not a lot for this forum, but it's something. Half on old canopies with old lines and half on a nice new safire2 119. Regardless of wingloading, do yourself a favor and fly a canopy in good condition with well-maintained lines. (It turns out new lines are cheaper than a couple cutaways.) This is huge for canopy progression. And don't let anyone tell you that you should be on something more aggressive than you feel comfortable with. I still think it is very possible that if you are heads up and make good decisions in bad situations that 135 could be reasonable for you before the end of the season. But you need to be the one ready to make that decision. (And in a well-informed manner.) Not your man, not someone eager to sell you their gear, not someone trying to impress you by stoking your ego. These people may mean well, but they won't have to fly it when the shit hits the fan. And do a canopy course. At another dz. Get a fresh set of eyes so that you can feel more confident. I didn't do one until last year...big mistake on my part to wait that long. It was never convenient, but I should have made it work somehow. Beyond amazing. Best of luck! And watch out for you.
  20. Just to be fair, as per B Germains WL chart, by 250 jumps you could have been on a 135 (at 1.0) or even a 120 (at 1.1). Yes, but according to this proposal, I couldn't have even been on the 150 until I had 100 jumps and done things including front riser maneuvers that would have been difficult or maybe impossible for me. And according to the SIM, I shouldn't have been on that canopy until 500 jumps. While I am small, there are many skydivers that are smaller (to the tune of 10 - 30 lbs) than me and I think this warrants the extra column or two to the left and some consideration on the skill set required to downsize. And it's not like it's that hard to do that. There is no damage to the larger jumpers to put the appropriate restrictions on smaller jumpers. To say the smaller jumpers are out of luck because there are more bigger jumpers is just silly. You are right that a 150 usually wasn't that bad for me at .9, though the switch to the 135 and later the 119 was definitely appreciated. I do not believe at my size those two sizes are that's a matter of getting there and that is what concerns me about this proposal. I would not go as far as to say that it was that more responsive than what a larger jumper would be on at a higher wingloading, it wasn't that responsive unless we are talking about detecting turbulence. I'm not complaining about a difference .1 in wingloading vs a larger jumper though. It's the much more dramatic differences in allowable wingloading (and lack of taking that into account on the skills required to download).
  21. Citing high winds is not going to make your case. Much like canopies, the degree of wind you can handle goes up with experience. If you have less than 100 jumps, you simply shouldn't be jumping in winds too high for a 1.0 WL. If the winds are blowing that hard, you should be on the ground, not finding a smaller canopy to just to get you up in the air. One issue is that many light people will not be on 1.0 WL or anywhere close for the first 100 (or more jumps) according to this chart or most other recommendations. I was not jumping in crazy winds, but still had a few elevator rides and a bunch of extra turbulence that no one else felt. And that was on my high performance Sabre1 150 at .9 wingloading (for about 250 jumps).
  22. I like it. The canopy coaching may be a bit hard on small dzs, but there should always be someone to be able to do the basic course. Do you have a specific number in mind for wingloading and/or where is the line for type of canopy ("fully" elliptical or crossbraced) where the advanced canopy training is required?
  23. I lack upper body strength and I jump a canopy loaded about 1.0. There are things I can do to reduce the front riser pressure to a point at which I can easily pull them down (holding them down is another story). Being weak isn't a good excuse for not learning to use all available control inputs. I also lack the upper body strength I would like, but could use front risers reasonably well for turns and dives at 1 to 1 wingloading. Before that I did pull-ups or just didn't get much in the way of results even when the risers had some give. The issue is that this chart does not have small people even close to a 1 to 1 wingloading when they are to perform these actions or stay on the same canopy forever. The low end of the chart has a 55 pound range. Broken record: Why can't there be a couple more columns to the left for light folks rather than lumping the 85 lb people with the 140 lb people? Or if we get research to say that smaller canopies are a so much more aggressive even at a light wingloading that we need that massive range, why can't we also understand that there are some things like front risers or landing with almost no forward speed on an 8mph wind day that are going to be more difficult by making this restriction? We need input from small experienced jumpers to make the lower end of this chart. Having larger jumpers guess based on what has been done in the past without ever having to experience it or without putting the research into it is not reasonable. Slowing/stopping the progress of smaller jumpers by only considering the cherry-picked pieces of the puzzle doesn't seem at all fair. That being said, I do appreciate the effort being put into the chart. It needs some work on the low end, but is a big improvement on the SIM.
  24. Thank you! However, to be fair, I don't think that those fake "rules" are simply the product of small dropzones. I have never been told any of those things (or any other bizarre thing of that nature) by anyone at the three small dzs I regularly jump at. Maybe I am just incredibly lucky to get good advice on a regular basis, but I doubt that most small dzs are that closed off from progress and lessons learned.