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Everything posted by IJskonijn

  1. Please, do think about how you can cross that bridge well before it happens. Knowing what your options are (and what isn't an option) is very valuable, because you do not have the time to thoroughly think through every possible case when it actually happens. As for me, I've made basically the same decision. My rig has a Raven II reserve (218sqft), and I alternate between a Silhouette 190 and Lightning 176 (thinking of switching to a Lightning 160). In a two-out situation, I'll ride it down if I think it's stable enough. Only when it feels wrong and unstable, I'll try to go into a down-plane and cut away the main, provided the risers appear not entangled and altitude is plentiful.
  2. Since about a year, I use earplugs on all my non-CRW jumps. I put them in in the hangar, and take them out after landing. I love it for the mental calm they afford me, and for not ripping my ears to shreds by freefall sound and engine sounds. However, for CRW I also want to use earplugs to block out the engine sound. But I also want to be able to hear my buddies under canopy. I've tried those earplugs with a cord, so I could pull them out after opening, but no luck (it works, but the earplugs didn't survive). Has any of you more experienced CReW-dogs done CRW in some combination with earplugs, and have some advice or wisdom to share?
  3. Who the hell needs a hook knife anyway? Knives are supposed to be straight! Stupid discipline... ^_^
  4. I find the 70 jump break-even point a bit high. Maybe costs etc are different in North America than they are here in Europe, but I'm at ~50 jumps/year break-even point for my stuff. The detailed calculations (I am rounding everything to the nearest €10): I bought my gear second-hand for €1920 (including inspection, repack, gearbag etc.). It's fairly old gear (rig&reserve are '91, main is '96), but with 7 years left on the AAD. So let's assume that it has 4 years of useful life left, excluding the AAD. Let's also assume that I cannot resell it for more than a case of beer at the end. Yearly costs: - €100 write-off on the AAD - €310 write-off on the rest ( (€1920-€700)/4 = €310) - twice €180 for the reserve repack and maintenance (based on my last few bills, which actually include non-maintenance improvements like front-riser diveloops etc.) This means my gear costs me €770 every year. At my home DZ, rental price is €15/jump, so my break-even point is 51 jumps. The 4 years useful life is probably low-balled, since I am careful with it and maintain it well. For the same reason, the resale-value is probably more than zero at the end. All of this will only further decrease the jumps/year break-even point. And this doesn't even take into account the non-monetary benefits of having your own gear, already mentioned earlier in this thread. So basically, unless you don't even jump enough to stay current, getting your own gear is beneficial as soon as you find a canopy that you want to stick with for more than 50 jumps.
  5. Depends, mainly on your gear and skills. I'd do a H&P from 1500ft if I have a Lighting or similarly quick-opening canopy (ignoring the fact that such an exit altitude is actually forbidden here in the Netherlands), but not with a Spectre, or anything that takes more than ~250ft to open. Also, in case of any kind of malfunction, I'd go straight to silver. No time to mess around at those altitudes.
  6. Hmm, the photo to go with it seems to have been eaten by the network gremlins...
  7. It's possible! And it's a whole lot of fun! #1 and #3 are Lightning 176's. #2 is a Storm 135 (light-weight girl)
  8. I think maintenance history and careful previous owners are much more important than age. I would much rather jump my well-maintained and well-cared for '91 Vector 2 (which already has velcro-less risercovers) than a newer rig that's beaten to bits by someone who doesn't care. So yeah, get a rigger to check the rig over, and listen to his/her advice.
  9. For a cutaway that I've experienced (I was on the ground at the time), the main landed right on top of us, and the freebag was stuck in some trees upwind.
  10. I've used very much the same reasoning for my choice of reserve (Raven II at 218sqft while using Silhouette 190 or Lightning 176 mains). By the time I need the reserve, I'm already halfway up shit-creek, so I'd like something that isn't going to play homesick bowling ball on me. So yeah, I'd say get a reserve size that you're comfortable with when you're (a) stressed out, (b) bloody low and (c) somewhere way off the normal DZ. If you still have a few doubts with the PDR176, go to the 193.
  11. It's also why I route my bridle below the right flap, up to the loop, and back down again to the BOC. Less chance of accidentally packing myself such a mal in this way.
  12. Playing devil's advocate: There's something to say for not putting a student radio on the chest strap, but rather on the helmet (either top or sidemounted). It makes it easier for the student to find their handles and only their handles in case of a cutaway (rather than giving a great big whack at the radio when in fact you desperately want that main gone)...
  13. Not cutting away when you need to, is undoubtedly less fun ^_^
  14. If you put in meters instead of ft, I might agree... Those sound perfectly reasonable for canopy alarms. I have mine set to 900ft, 600ft and 300ft, so I'll cover exactly the same distance in a no-wind situation on each leg. For freefall, it really depends on the type of jump and my mood. Sometimes I feel like pitching at 6000ft, just to play around with my canopy. Third alarm is always at 2000ft, and lowest setting for second alarm is 3500ft (which is lowest altitude I want to pull my pilot at)
  15. I've got an FT50 analog altimeter (cheapest one I could get fresh out of AFF), and the entire inner housing simply rotates to zero it. As far as I know, it doesn't even have any o-rings that require maintenance. That said, preventive maintenance is indeed much better than post-break replacing.
  16. Proper treatment is indeed very important. I see my altimeters (both analog and digital audio) as sensitive and fragile high-precision instruments, and treat them as such (put them away properly, have a box with foam to store them in, don't throw them or even drop them a short bit). In four years of jumping, they still work perfectly.
  17. I didn't have much problems finding second-hand gear at a very reasonable price here, so I don't think it's generally harder. Just know where to look. The Netherlands also has a mandatory maximum wingload, which is actually quite a hefty table (e.g. only at 1000+ jumps, with 100+ last 12 months, are you allowed to jump whatever you want, at whatever wingload you want)
  18. In that case, I'd get together as many CReW-dogs as possible, to build as big a formation as possible. End on a high note, and make the biggest formation I've ever flown in. It actually won't be that difficult, since my current biggest is a 4-way (yeah, I'm still one of those adorable little CReW-puppies)
  19. One thing you should be aware of, is that many full-face helmets can decrease your visibility of your handles. That may be an issue, and I advise you to chat with your AFF instructor about that. That said, the only way to figure out what helmet is best for you, is to try them. I personally love my FreeZR, but there are many other helmets available. Try them, and see which one you like most.
  20. This alone already helps immensely. I find that spending 10 minutes planning your pattern, looking at the forecasted winds and at the windsock, and looking at where you would put the different points of the pattern, are 10 minutes very well spent. If you think you're not good at making such a plan, then make it and ask an instructor for feedback after you've made it. You learn a lot faster by doing the thinking yourself, rather than mindlessly following whatever pattern an instructor feeds you. Also, take time after the jump to evaluate it. Did you turn at the right positions and altitudes. If not, why and how can it be improved? If yes, was it easy, or did you have to make a lot of adjustments along the way to hit those points? And yes, it takes time and jumps to get consistently good at it. I've got nearly 200 jumps, and I am only now starting to gain some decent skill with this, to the point where I can consistently land inside a ~25m circle. Also, spending a weekend doing clear & pulls is great for learning this, since your entire focus will (hopefully) be on flying your pattern, rather than having that tag along with whatever freefall work you're doing.
  21. I've got a simple R and L written on the inside of my brake handles, because I switch canopies all the time (most often between a CRW canopy and my freefall canopy). That said, those canopies are usually not a big messy ball, which makes it a lot easier. My way is to simply hook up both risers (make sure left and right are correct, and front is facing front), then walk out the canopy. You get to see where the problems are, and can fix them one at a time. I don't think there is a real trick to it, just take your time and be precise. Also, when you think you've got it hooked on correctly, walk it out again. And again. And again. It's better to be right four times, than to be wrong once.
  22. We don't have a specific beer-light or a specific time to start the beers. One of the DZ's I frequent has lots of tandems in addition to lots of sports jumpers, and those passengers (and friends/family of said passengers) regularly enjoy beers after their jumps when the day is still in full swing. We simply assume everyone is mature enough to not start drinking until they've finished jumping. Seems to work here.
  23. Fair enough. I'm not a concert-goer, and only use my earplugs during jumping, so I'm more concerned with the potential to lose expensive custom-made ones compared to a non-linear filtering in the frequency range.