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Everything posted by IJskonijn

  1. I don't think it's even necessary to get customized earplugs. I've got a box of 200 pairs of molex foam earplugs. They provide roughly -35dB attenuation, and at a cost of €0.15/pair, I won't cry if I lose one. Although I've never jumped custom-made earplugs, I see they could provide just that extra bit of comfort.
  2. Wearing a helmet is irrelevant to wearing earplugs. Both are used for completely different reasons. And yes, I recommend both. Helmets are pretty obvious, and I love my earplugs for the distraction they take away. The sound (freefall wind, canopy lines singing, audible going off) is still there, it's just not so loud it hurts. For me, it made a world of difference for my mental calm (and directly related, my ability to focus) when I started jumping with earplugs.
  3. No. Even without a profit motive, without the income generated by tandems you can't keep your head above water. Even a small club DZ, with the building and plane owned free and clear, had incredible amounts of overhead. Property taxes (and the ground lease to the airport), fuel, maintenance, utilities, and on and on. If you want to keep even a 182 flying, you'd have to charge around $30 per slot, and fly every load full to break even. Been there. You're wrong. PCMN in the Netherlands is doing just that. They can't do tandems because of altitude restrictions, and they've been keeping afloat for ~5 years now doing static-lines, demos etc. out of a 182. Granted, there's a lot of volunteer-work going around, but jump prices for members are €15 for 3.5kft and €18 for 6kft, comparable to other dutch DZ's.
  4. Here in the Netherlands, there is a difference between a normal license (i.e. you learned to drive a manual transmission) and an automatic transmission license. With the latter, you are only allowed to drive automatic. It's the exception rather than the norm though, and I've only seen it with people who had a good reason not to be able to use their left leg (or legs, in that case both throttle and brake are hand-controlled). The only time I've ever driven an automatic are a few short parts during my drivers education (my instructor wanted me to experience it), and when I rented a car in Canada.
  5. Indeed, I carry a separate phone (with the telephone numbers of the DZ in it) for just that case. I also give the DZ's that telephone number, so they know what to call if I'm missing some how. As far as off landings go, I agree they should be avoided if at all possible. But you should also be prepared for them, since they cannot always be avoided. Rather than just focus on making the right decisions all the time, I think we should also focus on knowing how to fix the wrong decisions, since they inevitably get made (I know, I've made quite a few of them myself. I've learned quite a few lessons that way as well) And yes, knowing (and practicing) you can land within a 15m circle helps a lot for that, as does having a good decision altitude. Ideally, I want to know at 1500ft or higher where exactly I'm gonna land.
  6. The caravan at my home DZ has a sign "Lavatory out of order". I see other stickers (of boogies etc) actually much more often on doors and windows of the hangar and/or bar, rather than on the airplane.
  7. It's not the blue skies/low wind days that you need the METARs. There's a massive difference between OVC150 and OVC005. One is (given good winds) perfect jumping weather, the other is utterly crap. And it's a difference that's difficult (if not impossible) to see by just looking up. For those interested, this page gives a nice overview of different groups in a METAR message.
  8. Better yet, explicitly ask manifest before you even pay for the jump. That way, you have the choice to walk out if they don't want it, and instead treat you like any other bucket-list-completer. Also, some tandem masters may not want it. By asking manifest ahead of time, they can assign you to a tandem master that IS enthousiastic in making it more of a training jump.
  9. As for how crowded the plane is, best is to call your DZ and ask them. They should even be able to plan your tandem on a moment where it's not very busy, so the plane won't be completely full. The best month is up to personal interpretation. I personally LOVE to jump in the winter, the world is fantastic in grayscale when there's snow on the ground. It's a bit chilly, but nothing you can't handle with multiple layers of clothing (two pair of socks, jeans and thermal leggings under your jumpsuit, six t-shirts and two sweaters, silk undergloves under your normal gloves and you're good to go until -20 Celsius). In general though, the most relaxing in terms of temperature is something like +20 Celsius. Easy on the ground, and not too cold on jump altitude (not that you'd notice it, but still)
  10. I've got a little flap on and over the bottom of my reserve flap (on a Vector 2 rig) that's precisely meant to prevent any lines from snagging on it during CRW. It works perfectly, and shouldn't be hard to install for your rigger.
  11. Nice alternative to the after-work beer ^_^
  12. You can pay by beer whenever we meet in person ^_^
  13. It's one of the stupid aspects of skydiving (and aviation in general). Even though we do everything in metric here, skydiving related stuff is still imperial. And yeah, it somewhat works, although I won't be able to tell you the size of my canopy in square meters, nor my wingload in kg/m^2.
  14. It's not that I haven't done PLFs because it's hard, I haven't done them because they weren't on my mental shortlist of get-out-of-shit-free tools. I know, it is a pretty poor excuse, and it actually cost me last weekend. I messed up a landing on Friday and sprained my thumb. Nothing very serious, but it was bad enough that I didn't feel comfortable jumping on Saturday and Sunday, while the weather was gorgeous and a good coach was available. I know better now, and I will definitely be weaving PLFs back into my safety routine. And while your suggestion to do a PLF on every jump, also the good ones, does sound reasonable, it is not taught at my DZ to the low-jump-number students. Other people may not be so lucky as I am, to learn with a minor injury and a lost weekend, both of which will be gone by next week.
  15. PLF's aren't all that easy to DO when you're not used to doing them every landing. I've had the same problem, having normal landings stand-up, then messing one up and not doing a proper PLF because it's simply not on my mind. It's easy to say "do a PLF", but much harder to actually do it. It also isn't hammered in as much as the emergency procedures.
  16. My most memorable jump was my fifth CRW jump. The previous four (all with the same instructor) were decent, but not good. Somehow, his advice for the fifth jump ("just take your time, and fly calmly") finally arrived in the right parts of my brain, and during the jump it all clicked into place (literally). It was awesome! Good second place is the first time I managed the lockup into a diamond. I'm currently trying to get my B-license on the CRW requirements.
  17. If your work has a half-way decent IT infrastructure, they should have backups. At most, that'll mean ~24 hours of mail gone. Also, if your IT guru can fix it, buy him/her a beer and/or a cookie. We tech folk appreciate thankful users, as we already have more than enough unthankful ones...
  18. We have C208s, no benches or anything, just a floor to sit on. And with a nearly-full tandem load (6-7 tandems) and a few guys going low, there really isn't room to put your passenger safely away from the door. So the only way is to hook the passenger up, and then close the door. The TM's at my DZ don't really mind, they're just slightly annoyed when that happens. Lucky for them, it isn't often, since there's quite often a video with at least one of the tandems.
  19. The only time I've ever seen people being mildly annoyed was a load of tandems (without video) and low jumpers. Then, a tandem master has to close the door with his passenger attached and in front of him. It was fun to see the TM's race to board so they wouldn't be at the door on such loads ^_^
  20. Also make sure it has front riser dive loops! Because doing a 270 turn before landing is the only way to properly fly that baby! SoFPiDaRF! (On a more serious note: Fly whatever you know you can fly safely. There's no harm in going for a larger canopy. Also try out different canopies and different sizes. Maybe you feel a 170 is way too fast for you, and want to go for a 190 or 210. Maybe even the 190 is too feisty. The only way to find out is to chat with your instructor and try it out.)
  21. I've heard stories of people losing their audible by having it loose in their helmet, and losing it when it fell out of the helmet after taking it off on the ground (often the first thing on the to-do list, especially on a hot day). Better spend a few minutes and a 5-cent stow to ensure you DON'T lose your €220 toy that way. ^_^
  22. My interpretation of the manual is that it should stick for 14 hours after the last time something happened, be it the setting of the offset or the making of a jump. They mention explicitly the offset doesn't stick when the unit is turned off, but they don't mention whether or not it sticks after a jump is made. But I don't have personal experience, since my home DZ has no altitude offset between runway and landing field. I'd suggest mailing L&B directly to ask them about it. Their customer support has a good reputation, so they should get back to you rather quickly.
  23. According to the Optima II Manual, it retains any altitude offset for 14 hours after it is set or after the last jump. Last column of the first page, bottom half of the column. edit: typo fix