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  • AAD
    Cypres 2

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    Skydive Arizona
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    Wing Suit Flying
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  1. Literally the worst pain I've ever felt was after jumping while congested. A couple of hours after I got home I wanted to take a power tool to my sinuses to relieve the pressure. I now don't jump if I'm really congested, and like other people suggested I always have Sudafed in my gear bag and freely offer it to people feeling congested. I'll take some at home before I leave for the DZ and then re-up a few hours later. It's made a big difference (though it does keep me awake, so be wary of taking it later in the day).
  2. I found a certain style of $15 sunglasses at Walgreens that give me a really good seal around my eyes that I wear with my camera helmet all the time. Each pair lasts me months until I sit on them, and then I just grab another one. Much better than breaking a nice pair. One thing to look out for: I had one pair of polarized sunglasses a few years ago that made it impossible to read my altimeter's digital display. Needless to say those didn't stick around.
  3. Maybe a Skimmer suit? I've seen a lot of them with tie-dye patterns on them.
  4. Along with doing practice touches in freefall, I'd recommend you get in the habit of doing handle checks several times before you jump as well. I always do one in the loading area before getting on the plane, at 7,000', and as I'm heading to the door. It serves 2 purposes: 1, you double-check that your handles are where you're expecting them to be, and 2, it builds muscle memory of knowing exactly where the handles are and finding them in the correct order. Things are *slightly* different in freefall with your butt and jumpsuit up by your container (and your cutaway and reserve handles will be in a slightly different spot under canopy), but it's a big help in training your brain exactly where your handle is.
  5. State Farm covered the theft of my rig, jumpsuit, and other assorted gear under my homeowner's policy earlier this year. However, since I'm now making money from instructing the homeowner's policy won't cover it. They refused to give me any kind of business insurance on my gear, as did insurance agents I talked to from several other companies. So if you're a fun jumper, homeowner's is fine; if you're using it for business purposes, you're screwed.
  6. I've done something similar to myself twice now when unstowing my brakes. I jump a Storm, which has super long excess brake line to stow, so it was easy to tie the toggle to the riser by not paying attention and looping my hand through excess brake line that had come loose from the keeper. I've attached a picture of the second time it happened (I wasn't worried about landing it, since I had done it before). 3 things I've done to fix the problem: 1, I always stow my toggles with the excess to the inside of my risers, so when I reach from the outside I'm less likely to loop my hand through. 2, I triple-fold the excess line when I pack, which reduces the chances of it coming out early. 3, I look at my damn toggles to make sure I'm not being an idiot and tying a knot.
  7. That's definitely an excellent point (and why it's always good to do an occasional handle check under canopy), but I meant more the actual grip/leverage on the handle itself. The floating issue was definitely the result of the rig, though just last weekend I had to help a buddy reseat his D-ring handle after he geared up.
  8. My first rig (that I had for 1000 jumps or so) had a D-ring and I really liked having it for exactly the reasons everyone else has stated. However, when I ordered a custom rig I went to a pillow, for 2 reasons: 1, I've now had 4 cutaways and had 0 problem with my pillow cutaway handle on any of them. It was easy to find and easy to pull, which has made me far less nervous about having a pillow for my reserve handle. 2, I got tired of my D-ring handle always wanting to pop out and become a floating handle. It was a combination of older gear and a wingsuit that liked to put pressure on the handle at weird angles, but my preference for an easy-to-pull handle changed into worry about an easy-to-dislodge one.
  9. I'm a turbine baby so S-turns scare the crap out of me. I'd recommend not developing that habit when you're first starting out, since it's a good way to get a talking to at bigger DZs. What helped me was trying to take note of where I was making my turns and then just learning from the consequences. S-turns and braked approaches, aside from being a bad idea in traffic, can mask where your turn to final would naturally put you. If you have good outs at your DZ I'd just land short or long and remember where/at what altitude you made that turn and adjust it on your next jump. Once you've got a decent idea of where you need to be for your turn to final, you can start adjusting your downwind and base legs to get you there. They don't have to be 100% straight--if I'm a bit too high when I start my pattern, I'll swing out a little bit wide on my downwind and base legs to compensate; if I"m a bit low, I'll cut the corners a bit. But you can only really do that once you know where you want to be for your last turn.
  10. I ran this by my dad, who's a professor of lunar and planetary science (I figured he might have some insight). His response: "I'm betting it's NOT a freshly-falling meteorite, for four reasons: 1) They haven't been able to find it. The terrain looks pretty bad for finding a meteorite, but when people have known there was a meteorite there, they've found them with much larger search areas than they have. Often, the search areas have been square miles. The meteorite would be coming straight down, so if you know where he is to within a quarter-mile or so, it shouldn't be too hard. But it could have fallen in a river or something. 2) They don't say what the fireball looked like a few seconds before, and I don't see a second sun (it might not have been that bright, but it would have been close) in any of their videos. It definitely would have been seen by a lot of people, falling in the middle of the day on a nice day, unless perhaps it came in from over the ocean, in which case only the satellites would have seen it. 3) Passage through the atmosphere rounds off any square corners. That's a very flat-looking side with square corners. 4) As long as the meteorite is a fireball, it's going faster than the speed of sound, experience high mechanical stresses. So it keeps breaking up and (since it's going so fast) instantly forming more dark fusion crust. When it gets to dark flight, it's covered by fusion crust. When it hits the ground, it may break up, exposing different colored material on the inside. But this one has different colored minerals exposed on one side, according to the expert. That sounds like a meteorite that's bounced. Thus, I doubt that it's a meteorite in dark flight. So what it is? I'd guess it came from the third wingsuiter, the one they didn't show, who dropped a meteorite from just above him. Or maybe it was just a vaguely meteorite-looking rock, since a real meteorite that size would cost a couple of hundred dollars. Maybe I'm too skeptical, but what day was it posted, April 1?"
  11. Dust devils forming/moving over grass is definitely a big worry. I always tell visitors at Eloy to land out in the desert if you see dust devils anywhere near you as you come in to land. You're much more likely to be able to see and avoid one if you're over dirt than over grass.
  12. I really like my N3 as well. One charge lasts a ridiculously long time, the interface is easy to use, and it logs everything well (I've only managed to confuse its freefall time calculations a couple of times with my X3). That said, many of my friends have L&B products and have nothing but wonderful things to say about their customer service, so I think you can't go wrong with either.
  13. I would imagine most people would see an increase in fallrate when it's colder. We tend to bulk up with winter clothing under jumpsuits, making them tighter and reducing drag, so I'd think that would be a much larger effect than air temperature itself. That's just coming out of my ass, though; that whole "science" thing is hard.
  14. I jumped with a shirt and tie (no jacket). I used both a tie chain and a tie pin (through both layers!) to hold it in place in several places and didn't have any trouble with it. Then again, I was only belly flying with it, so you may run into trouble with different orientations, but I would think a safety pin to hold the jacket closed and a couple of tie pins would keep everything out your way and secure.
  15. Jump 101 I was doing a 2-way with a more experienced jumper. The plan was to follow him out the door about 3 seconds after he left so I could practice diving down to him. I dove down spectacularly well but my ability to stop was less than stellar: I slammed into his rig at full speed and bounced off him, dazed. A few seconds later I saw a white canopy opening (around 11k), and I assumed I had hit him so hard that I instantly killed him and ripped open his rig. I just balled up and landed as soon as possible, waiting terrified as I saw his reserve descend. Eventually I saw he was turning, which luckily meant he was alive. It turned out I had hit him in the right shoulder hard enough to pinch a nerve such that he couldn't use his right hand to pull, so he opened his reserve right away and was able to recover feeling by the time he landed. It also turned out he didn't have an AAD at the time. It easily could've been a fatality if I'd hit him a foot closer to his head. Anyway, things worked out just fine, we're now good friends and teammates, and I know my current rig has a good reserve in it since it's the one I made him use. Moral of the story: watch for people diving down to you, and jump with an AAD.