+1 to what Twardo said about being receptive to advice. Good on you for considering, instead of just getting defensive. (I think we've all done that before...it's awful hard to say "maybe I was wrong" on these forums.)
That being said, I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I'd like to give you a concrete example of the barrel roll issue. Here's one reason why it's not a good idea.
- 23-way tracking dive.
- Instructions were to stick with the dive until planned breakoff, then fan out up to 90 degrees and track.
- Also, organizers wanted people to do a barrel roll before deploying to "clear your airspace." I normally disagree with this logic, but for some reason didn't this time.
- I was one of the last out.
- About 500 feet before breakoff altitude, another jumper caught my burble and took me out. My audible went off, and since I knew I was one of the last people getting in, I turned 90 degrees and tracked.
- Right before deployment, since I knew I was one of the first ones to turn and track, I said "why not?" and did a barrel roll.
You can see what happened.
So, in no particular order, here's a few reasons not to do a barrel roll to "clear your airspace:"
1 - A good deal of people can't stay on-heading and keep a stable track while doing a barrel roll.
2 - If you *think* you see someone above you, what are you going to do? If you change heading to correct, how do you know they're not doing the exact same thing? How do you change heading without screwing the guy tracking to your R or L? Try and consider all these variables and make a decision what to do in the 15 seconds or so before you interface with the planet.
3 (My case, video link above) - You never know when some idiot who went low on the tracking dive will decide "Fuck it, I'm not getting back in" and decide to sitfly for the rest of the jump.
Anyway, that's my take on it. If you're looking behind you, you're not looking where you're going...and thus are becoming part of the problem you're trying to avoid. Ultimately, had there been a collision, it would have been my fault. Because the low many always has the right of way.
You can scan to your L and R while tracking off, looking over your shoulders and adjusting accordingly if someone seems to drift into your airspace. But barrel-rolling at the bottom end? Bad idea.
Also, apologies to @shibu for the thread drift. Just wanted to clear that up, as it's something I hear a lot of newer jumpers saying, without considering the pluses and minuses of it.
What was the decided break off altitude and deployment alti? thanks for sharing that, that was a close one.