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Found 272 results

  1. admin

    Love is in the air

    TUJUNGA -- As they jumped from a plane at 1,300 feet above Perris Valley Skydiving Center and fell at speeds of up to 120 mph, a husband and wife kissed while their high-flying wedding party formed a heart-shaped formation around them in celebration of 25 years of marriage. Jim Papke and Titania Pashkova of Tujunga both agreed it was the best dive they've ever had. Papke, who dressed up for the April 1 jump in a white jumpsuit, tuxedo shirt, bow tie and corsage, said that despite several weeks of rain delays and bad weather on the day of the jump, it turned out to be a beautiful day for him and his bride. "To share the whole experience with our friends was great," Papke said. "Life is short, so enjoy the ride." The couple's actual anniversary is Feb. 21. Pashkova, who wore a white helmet, a veil and flowers Velcroed onto her wrist, said the jump was "fantastic." "It's just tumbling and dancing in the air," said Pashkova, who owns and operates Pashkova Studios, a dance studio in Tujunga. "We only gave our parents three days' notice the first time we were married, so this time we planned ahead and involved our friends." Though risk and fear factors certainly come into play when throwing yourself from an airplane and free falling for about a minute, both Papke and Pashkova said they were more cautious in their daily lives because of 15 or more years' experience skydiving. "I feel more at ease in the air than I do in city traffic," Papke, an aviation teacher and member of the Screen Actors Guild, said. "The whole idea of jumping out of a plane doesn't bother me." The Rev. Kathy Theodore of North Hollywood was in the plane to conduct the service, which had to fit into a 12-minute time window right before the group jumped. "I had to yell everything," said Theodore, who opted not to jump. "It was cool, and the most wacky wedding vow renewal ceremony I've ever done."
  2. admin

    AFF Training - Level 8

    Napoleon Skydiving Center: Level 8 - Solo Dives Congratulations on your successful completion of the New Napoleon Skydiving Center's Accelerated FreeFall Program. You are probably wondering "Where do I go from here?". The answer is that whether you have 10 jumps or 10,000 jumps, there is always more to learn. As an AFF Level VII graduate, that journey begins with (surprise) level VIII. The Level VIII program is a series of solo dives designed to accomplish three goals: Perfect the skills learned in the AFF program. Build confidence in your ability to exit an aircraft at a lower altitude (should that need arise). Develop the ability to identify and use a rig equipped with a "hand deployed" main pilot-chute. These goals will be accomplished over the 4--8 solo dives of the Level VIII program. Once these goals have been reached, you'll be ready to start making coached dives with experienced skydivers to work on your air skills. Relax, have fun, be safe, and see you in the coaching program.... AFF Level 8 (Page 1) - AFF Skills The first phase of the NSC Level VIII program is a series of two to four solo dives to practice the things you learned in the AFF program. The emphasis here is on having fun and building some confidence your ability to skydive "on your own". You will also be practicing for the next phase which is a low altitude "clear and pull" dive. TLOs Perfect ability to perform poised and diving exits. Perfect ability to start and stop controlled turns. Practice backloop and frontloop maneuvers. Practice tracking to gain horizontal separation for opening. Practice for "Clear and Pull" by maintaining stability while performing a PRCT within 5 seconds of exit on at least two dives. Maintain good altitude awareness. Perform dives in a safe manner. Wave off, then pull at or above 3000 feet. Land within 20 meters of target (record distances in logbook). Dive Suggestions The exact format of these solo dives is up to you, but it will probably resemble the AFF Level VII dive flow somewhat. It is important to use a good ground reference when practicing turns to enable you to judge your ability to start and stop them on heading. When practicing tracking, do so in a direction perpendicular to the aircraft's line-of-flight to stay clear of groups exiting before or after you. It is suggested that solo jumpers leave the plane after the smallest RW group, but before tandems and AFF groups (which open higher). Remember that the priority on all skydives is Pull, Pull at the assigned altitude (before 3000'), Pull stable. AFF Level 8 (Page 2) - Low Altitude Exit Throughout the AFF program, dives were performed from high altitudes to give a maximum amount of freefall learning time on each dive. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, skydivers must often exit the aircraft at lower altitudes due to mechanical or atmospheric problems. This dive is to get you acclimated to the lower altitude exit. TLOs Ability to perform a stable exit. Initiation of deployment within 5 seconds of exit. Land within 20 meters of target (record distance in logbook). Dive Suggestions The first low altitude exit should be performed between 4000 and 5000 feet. The exit is not dramatically different than the exit you used for Levels I--VI (poised exit). In this case though, you will be initiating the main ripcord pull before reaching terminal velocity (which would take about 10 seconds). To insure stability at subterminal speeds, a hard arch position is used. This is accomplished by putting the hips and chest into a "maximum arch" position. Additionally, the arms and legs are extended straight. When performed correctly, it should look like the letter "X" when viewed from the front or back. When performing the actual dive, exit the aircraft from the poised position and perform a hard arch. Give a two to three second count and then initiate a main ripcord pull in the usual manner, recovering immediately to the hard arch position. This dive is also good for practicing your spotting skills since you will probably be the only one exiting on this pass. Remember that you are not at terminal velocity, so a 3 second delay translates to only about 150 feet of altitude loss (versus a 500 foot altitude loss at terminal velocity). AFF Level 8 (Page 3) - Transition to Hand Deploy Most experienced skydivers use rigs employing pullout or throwout main canopy deployment systems. These systems eliminate pilotchute hesitation and make packing easier. They also demand more proficiency of the jumper. TLOs Understand and identify pullout and throwout deployment systems. Be able to pack a throwout deployed pilotchute. At least ten practice pulls on a throwout deployment system. At least one jump with a throwout deployed main canopy. Land within 20 meters of target (record distance in logbook). The Pullout Deployment System Though it was developed after the throwout system, the pullout deployment system is actually more like a traditional ripcord deployment system. In the pullout system, the deployment handle is attached to a straight closing pin and to the base (or bottom) of a springless pilotchute. As the deployment handle is pulled, the pin is first extracted from the container closing loop. As the handle is pulled further, the pilotchute is pulled from the now open container and inflates, pulling the handle from the skydiver's hand. The handle is usually mounted on the bottom of the container. The Throwout Deployment System The throwout system was the first "hand deployed" pilotchute system developed. The handle is attached to the apex (top) of the pilotchute. The pilotchute itself is externally packed (usually in a pocket on the legstrap or bottom of container. The pilotchute is extracted from its pocket and released at arm extension. It then inflates and pulls a curved pin from the closing loop, opening the container. Using a Hand Deployed System In any hand-deployed system, there are several things to be aware of: Stability is important. If activated in an unstable position, the hand deployed pilot chute can easily entangle with the jumper. Note that this does not mean that the pull can be delayed until stability is achieved! The priority is still Pull, Pull by the assigned altitude, Pull stable. The pilotchute should be released at full arm extension. Releasing it sooner can allow it to be "sucked" into the jumper's burble. The handle will be in a significantly different position, possibly one that cannot be seen. To prepare for your first hand deployed jump, have a staff member demonstrate the correct technique for folding the pilotchute. Then make several (ten or more) practice pulls on the ground, concentrating on maintaining good form and a good arch. Finally, perform at least one skydive using the hand deployed system. Plan your breakoff and pull at least 1000 feet higher than usual to allow for the new deployment procedure (but make sure to alert others that you are doing so). Where do I go from here? Now that you have completed the solo dives of the level VIII program, you are ready to begin skydiving with others. Your immediate goal should be to qualify for a United States Parachute Association "A" License. The minimum requirements for that license beyond what is accomplished in the AFF program are: Twenty (20) freefall jumps including 5 minutes of total freefall time. Landed within 20 meters of target on 5 jumps. Unintentional water landing training. Participation in at least three 2--way relative work jumps. Pass a written exam. Note that application for any license requires documentation of the requirements (usually a logbook entry). When you are ready, you may contact any of the AFF Instructors for information on taking the exam and applying for the license. You should also have begun accumulating your own skydiving gear. At a minimum, you should already have ordered or received: A hard, Protec style, helmet (which NSC requires until 50 jumps). A jumpsuit appropriate for your size and weight. A visually accessible altimeter (either chest mounted or wrist mounted). Goggles. You should also be in the market for a complete rig (main parachute, reserve parachute, and harness/container system). There are many manufacturers of parachutes and containers, each of which produces several product lines and sizes. Ask staff and other jumpers for suggestions on the type of gear they recommend (but remember they are only suggestions). A new rig will cost between $2500 and $4000 depending on the choice of components. A used rig will cost less, but should be carefully inspected by an FAA rigger prior to purchase. There are many other items that are useful for skydiving, many of which can be obtained through regular sporting goods sources. Gloves are necessary for skydiving whenever the temperature on the ground or at altitude drops below 40 degrees farienheight. Equipment should be stored and transported in a protective container like a duffel, gear bag, or hard case. A USPA Skydiver Information Manual has information necessary for passing the license exams and performing special dives like night or demonstration jumps. Finally, keep in mind that you are entering a new sport quite unlike any you previously have experience with. Jumping with others will be helpful, but you must carefully determine the experience level and ability of those wanting to "coach" you. Just like "Two drowning men cannot save one another", two recent AFF graduates cannot effectively teach one another to skydive, and may actually represent a hazard to each other. NSC offers several coaching programs and many jumpers enjoy coaching novices. Staff members can introduce you to available coaches who we feel do a good job. If you have questions about the ability of someone wanting to coach you, ask. Freefall time is expensive and we want you to make the most of yours. Good luck, have fun, be safe. Dale Southard, Safety and Training Advisor, Napoleon Skydiving Center, AFF/I, VTM, Sr. Rigger, D--11216 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 Level 7 Level 8
  3. admin

    Skydiving and the Environment

    It is no secret that skydiving is bad for the environment, it doesn't take rocket science to figure out each load is using fossil fuel which is essentially damaging to the environment. Many companies, people and organizations around the world continue to try become more 'green' in an attempt to slow down emissions, an initiative which has been strongly inspired by the global warming buzz which has been increasingly present over the past decade or so. Skydiving has been put on the list of most environmentally damaging hobbies/sports activities a few times, this because of the fuel used in each load. Though it's certainly not that black and white, and one has to look at little bit deeper, down to that layer of thought called logic. To quote a member of the dropzone forums in an environmental thread. "While skydiving may consume more fuel per participant then, say, soccer. He (the writer of the article that the thread is discussing) ignores the fuel consumed by the millions of fans who drive to soccer stadiums around the world every week. Therefore, the impact of soccer as a whole, makes skydiving look like a drop in the bucket." Let's quickly look at some numbers and see just how 'bad' skydiving is in comparison to other sporting events. In soccer for example, the world’s largest spectator sport- stadiums can hold from 40 000 to in excess of 100 000 spectators, and often these stadiums are full. The FIFA World Cup this year is in South Africa, and the South African chief organizer of the World Cup is suggesting a possible 300 000 foreign visitors. Including flights to the country, local flights between games and transport that's a lot of fossil fuel! This is of course just one example of a sport where the transportation of the spectators seems to outweigh the emissions of skydiving. The fact that skydiving is an activity which is based around aeroplanes often tends to trigger people into thinking that conventional sports are a lot less damaging to the environment. But it is important to take into account the details and nature of each activity and not just look at which one appears at first glance to be damaging. Trying to become more environmentally aware does not mean that one must stop all activities that are harmful to the environment, because with that logic one would likely never leave their room. It's about trying to make a difference, looking for greener ways to continue what you're currently doing. There will be times when you will have to sacrifice comfort should you want to become more environmentally friendly, though this is a personal choice you should make on your own. With that said; There are dropzones who are getting into the green swing of things and attempting to cut their emissions the best they can, while at times positively enhancing the dropzone as well. Skydive Lake Wanaka is just one dropzone who has recently purchased a P-750 X-Stol jumpship. They stated in a press release they have upgraded their current Cresco to the Cresco P-750 in an attempt to cut down on the amount of loads done per day by increasing the size of their aircraft and doubling the amount of possible passengers per load. This is just one case where a small investment allows for progressive environmental support while at the same time increasing the quality of the dropzone. The P-750 is not only larger than the current Cresco, but it is more comfortable, has larger windows and a quieter engine. The current Cresco has an average fuel consumption of 180 litres/h while the P-750 X-Stol has an average fuel consumption of 192 litres/h, an increase of just 12 litres an hour while being able to hold twice the amount of passengers.
  4. Wellington (dpa) - Police were called when passers by complained a pornographic video was being shown in a shop window in the main street of New Plymouth, in New Zealand's North Island, a report said Friday. The Taranaki Skydiving Club was using the empty shop window as an advertising space, continuously running an eight-hour video on the exhilarating attractions of the aerial sport, the local Daily News reported. At one stage two women were shown skydiving completely nude, legs wide apart. One naked woman was then seen celebrating her dive by doing backflips across a field. Club members later claimed they knew nothing about the naked skydiving but the video tape had been removed. The Daily News reported they declined to say whether their advertising had led to a rise in new members.
  5. Meso

    Top Skydiving Mobile Apps

    Skydiving Logbook (Android / iOS) Skydiving Logbook is an extremely popular application for both Android and iOS devices. The application allows users to log jumps with information such as jump #, aircraft, gear used, type of jump, delay, cutaways, notes and more. A unique feature is the ability to have licensed jumpers sign your logbook entries using the touchscreen. The application also caters for gear related information, allowing you to tie your gear item to their serial number and to set up service reminders on gear items. One is able to sort easily through the display of specific information that is recorded during your jumps, such as total jump counts, cutaways etc. You're able to manage your dropzones and aircraft, as well as setting a home dropzone. Another feature that's offered with this application is the ability to calculate and manage wing load information. The ability to import and export data from the application also means that you can perform frequent backups onto external devices. Overall, this application is packed full of features and it's clear that the developer has done something amazing with it, offering a great application to the skydiving community for free, in fact to quote their download page: "This application is free and always will be." Price: Free Ratings: 4.5/5 based off 123 votes on Android. 4.5/5 based off 6 votes on iOS. Download: Android: Skydiving Logbook iOS: Skydiving Logbook Skydiving Draw (Android) There are a few apps out there at the moment that cater to formation skydiving, Skydiving Draw is the more popular of the apps available. It allows you to manually create or to randomly generate formation sequences which are then presented in visual form though graphic images. The application provides you with the ability to copy and share your formation sequences, as well as the ability to export them as a PDF file, allowing for the easy print of such documentation onto paper, for training purposes. You are also able to save and load your sequences, this is something that while being worked on by other applications for future releases, wasn't yet available. Price: $3 Ratings: 5/5 based off 17 votes. Download: Skydiving Draw Canopy Calculator (Android) This app for Android devices is a small and basic application which calculates canopy size and wing load based off body and gear weight. Naturally with such a lightweight application there isn't really too much to say about it, but the app seems very stable on most Android devices and can come in as a useful tool, also at only 80kb in size and as a free download, there is really no reason not to have it. Price: Free Ratings: 5/5 based off 8 votes. Download: Canopy Calculator BASEline Flight Computer (Android) This application is more of an honorable mention, as the truth is, we really don't know just how well it works. On paper though, this looks to be a great application, if one has the correct mobile device that can support all of the functionality. BASEline Flight Computer is an application which is designed to improve flight performance, offering real-time feedback by both visual and audible means. The application claims that it uses the phone's sensors to determine things like altitude, glide ratio, tilt, speed etc. BASEline Flight Computer offers the user the ability to program your mobile device into an audible altimeter. Though naturally one should never rely on your mobile device to act as your altimeter. There is also a built in log book which has altimeter and gps recordings. IMPORTANT It is vitally important to note that this application should not at any stage be used as a primary means for altitude awareness, and to exercise extreme caution when using it in a skydiving or base jumping environment. The maker also strongly recommends that this device only be used with barometric altimeter sensors, which are only available on select few mobile devices. GPS data is not reliable for altitude readings, and even with barometric altimeter sensors, the readings may not be reliable. The developer ends the description with the line: "Software is provided "as is," with no warranty of any kind. Skydiving is dangerous, don't be stupid." This application has a lot to offer, as mentioned above. The real question is- How well does it work? Price: $6 Ratings: 4/5 Stars based off 1 vote. Download: Baseline Flight Computer Which skydiving apps have you got loaded onto your smart phone?
  6. BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A parachutist performed a solo aerial lap over NATO headquarters Wednesday to protest against United States policy on missile defense before landing in a nearby field, where he was arrested. The German protester took to the air to beat tight security surrounding the alliance headquarters in Brussels where President Bush was meeting NATO leaders. Trailing a "Stop Star Wars" banner, the activist from the Greenpeace environmental group flew over the NATO complex using a small motor-propelled parachute. Greenpeace spokesman John Walters told Reuters the man was arrested when he landed. Walters said 17 activists were earlier arrested after demonstrating against Bush's policies on arms and the environment at Melsbroek military airport near Brussels shortly before Bush flew in aboard his presidential jet, Air Force One. Another 12 protesters were expected to be detained after they chained themselves to fencing near the airbase. Some 300-400 demonstrators waved banners and blew whistles near NATO headquarters in a largely peaceful protest against Bush. Opponents of plans for a missile defense shield fear it will effectively rip up the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty and spark a new arms race.
  7. admin

    Shin Ito and Jari Kuosma Fly Mt. Fuji

    Shin Ito flying his Katana at about 12000 ft. The jump altitude was just 8000 ft. above ground level measured from the drop zone and because of the rising terrain at exit point our altitude was just over 5000 ft. above ground level. Hiking tracks visible on the side of the 3776 meter high volcano. Last Friday Jari Kuosma and Shin Ito performed wingsuit flights over Mount Fuji, Japan. Mt. Fuji is Japan's largest mountain, at 3776 meters in elevation. The flight was part of an upcoming Japanese documentary feature named "Jounetsutairiku" which is being broadcast by MBS. Both Jari and Shin, exited from helicopter at 12 500 feet. Shin Ito is a world record holder in wingsuit flying and Jari is both a professional wingsuit pilot as well as the owner of Birdman. The documentary will be aired on the 1st December 2013. "Part of the preparation was to check our jump craft, Eurocopter AS 350, that turned out to be a perfect lift, 10 minutes to altitude and very convenient stepping skis." "Our wingsuits taking a rest under the Japanese sun. BIRDMAN Katana was our primary equipment for the flights. The brand new wingsuit design is still a prototype and it is made for to reach very high speeds to cover the maximum distance." "We spent one day getting used to Japanese air near Narita airport. Airspace is very limited and we can only get 8000 ft., which is the max we will get at Fuji, 8000 ft. AGL." Mt. Fuji seen from freefall before opening the canopy. The weather conditions can change quickly at the mountain and winds regularly exceeds over 100 km/h on the top, like the jump day afternoon. Jari who filmed the aerial part of the documentary carried four GoPro 3’s and a Garmin Virb on his Z1. Shin carried two GoPro 3’s and a Garmin Virb on his belly. Mt. Fuji in an active volcano that erects to 3776 meters. Wind direction is west most of the time and the wind speeds exceed 10 m/s over 300 days a year. Team Fuji Birdman was prepared and had permits to wait for three weeks for the right weather conditions. After a three day weather hold three jumps were made November 22nd 2013. Jari Kuosma carrying five cameras to capture all the action from different angles. Shin Ito flying towards the DZ 3 km away, an empty parking lot that also served as a heli-pad. Last poses for the film crew of Shin & Jari after a very great day. Fuji-san on the back ground.
  8. The author launches her Ozone Firefly into the Lesotho sky Paragliding (and its zippier cousin, speedflying) owes much to skydiving. From the early footage of a group of 1970s skydivers ground launching their parachutes off of small hills to the early ram-air skydiving canopies used for quick descents by French mountaineers, the sports have had innumerable points of crossover. The sports only truly split in the later 1980s, when engineers started to redesign the ram-air canopy to stay in the sky like its triangular free-flying cousin, the hang glider. The modern paraglider (and speedwing, for that matter) is, indeed, similar in some points of design to a steerable skydiving canopy. That surface similarity leads a lot of athletes to throw themselves bodily into the mission of crossing over--often, by buying a secondhand wing and hauling it up a hill for some trial-and-error training. I can’t even start to tell you what a bad idea that is. To the untrained eye, a wing may look similar to a skydiving canopy. The differences, however, are plentiful. They are important. Ignore them at your peril, dear reader. Any skydiver looking to kick off a career under a paraglider or a speedwing must be crystal-clear on one concept: the two airfoils have very different flight characteristics, which require completely different pilot technique in order to fly well and safely. Here’s how. 1. Know this: This nylon, she is a stranger to you. First, let’s get one thing out of the way: paragliders and speedwings are not parachutes. They are foot-launched airfoils, only packed into a bag for storage and transport, then laid carefully out on the ground at the launch and coaxed into the airflow by a strapped-in pilot. Among other things, neither paragliders nor speedwings have drogues, sliders or containers. The wing attaches to the system with carabiners. They have thinner, more complicated risers. They have many, many more cells than their parachute cousins. Make no mistake: these are different beasts almost everywhere you look, once you’re really looking. Most importantly: Unlike a parachute, a paraglider never has to deploy. Therefore, designers are able to focus on building much higher-performance flight characteristics into the wing than a skydiving canopy can deliver. 2. Check your ego. Do not make the mistake of thinking that, since you’re a skydiver, you’ll be able to pick up a paraglider and teach yourself to fly. You can not, meat muppet. It is vital to seek out proper instruction. As a student paraglider pilot, you won’t throw yourself into the air right away. Instead, you can expect to spend plenty of time on the ground, ground handling (“kiting”) and launching a beginner wing in various conditions. You’ll also be learning how to manage an airfoil that is very large (and very opinionated) compared to the wee little scrap of nylon that saves your life when you jump from a plane. Example: This author knows one very famous, legendarily talented BASE jumper and world-champion skydiver who has suffered exactly one bad injury in his airsports career. The mechanism of injury was a self-taught paragliding kiting session gone terribly awry. Guaranteed, this was a guy who had way more of a right to insist that he was going to be fine than you do. Ow. As a student learning under a licensed PG/speedflying instructor, you’ll learn the procedures for managing these dynamic changes in flight characteristics. Often, the appropriate response is entirely different to the actions you’d take as a skydiver. You are going to need these hot tips as you progress. 3. Shake your bad habits. If you ask a PG/speedflying instructor what it’s like to teach the sport to an experienced skydiver, they’ll tell you that such students tend to have a few bad habits: Immediately running for take-off instead of kiting the wing (which is one of the best ways to gauge the conditions and “warm up” for the flight) Over-reliance on the brakes as opposed to weight-shift, leading to dangerously “toggle-happy” behavior Poor handling of collapses and stalls, which results in painful forehead-slapping injuries on the part of the instructor Little patience for the important work of learning aerodynamics and meteorology Reduced caution regarding flying conditions and personal limitations If you see yourself exhibiting these traits, chickity-check yourself posthaste. Don’t be a “typical skydiver” on the hill and give the “real” pilots more reason to refer to themselves as “real” pilots. 4. Become an amateur meteorologist. If you’re an experienced skydiver, you’re undoubtedly used to knowing exactly two things about the weather: if it’s too windy to jump, or if it’s too cloudy to jump. Once you take up paragliding and speedflying, get ready to add, like, hundreds of layers of complexity. Launching, landing and flying a paraglider or a speedwing isn’t the end of the game. The heart of paragliding is lots of time spent in a very active sky, so students of the sport must learn a lot about both macro- and micro-meteorology. You must learn about the effect of terrain – literally, from mountains to molehills – on wind patterns, about the different types of clouds, about atmospheric stability, about daily weather cycles and about thousands of other subtleties of the sky you play in. 5. Get used to “parawaiting.” On the launch, there will be no announcement from manifest telling you to get your gear on. You and you alone will make the call as to whether or not it’s safe and appropriate to fly. Especially if you branch out into the solo-launch-intensive hike-and-fly side of the sport, your individual skill, judgement and discipline will rule the day. In many cases, your judgement will tell you to sit down and wait – sometimes, hours – for conditions to improve. In other cases, you’ll have to bin flying for the day. Hike-and-fly pilots may have a long, grumpy hike back to the car. Parawaiting is part of the sport. Accept it. Sure, it’s not skydiving – but that’s why you want to branch out, no? Done intelligently, cross-disciplinary training will only make you a better, stronger, smarter extreme athlete. Rise to the challenge.
  9. Holistic Performance Specialist Lucie Charping Talks You In Image by Serge Shakuto Lucie Charping grew up in the world of food and hospitality--but quite a bit more actively than you might imagine. She founded her first restaurant, in fact, at age 16. Lucie made the food-to-medicine connection early, too. Plagued by a variety of ailments throughout her childhood (as well as adrenal fatigue and a battle with anorexia, which almost killed her), Lucie healed herself through holistic nutrition. Eighteen years later, Lucie’s expertise centers on peak performance, sports injury management and plant-based nutrition--with a particular focus on lifestyle strategies for adventure sports practitioners, elite and Olympic athletes. I had the opportunity to pick Lucie’s brain about peak performance strategies for skydiving (and the shredding of tunnel gnar, to boot). Here’s what she had to say. ALO: So: tell us what you do! Lucie: I'm a peak-performance health coach. I’ve been a holistic nutrition coach for about 18 years. Originally, I worked exclusively within the Ayurvedic model--Indian medicine. These days, there is so much more western science and up-to-date nutritional information available, so I extended my practice to encompass it. The focus is two-pronged: first alignment, then optimization. Once you align your systems, the body can optimize. Most of my clients are adventure athletes of some kind who want to heal from their minor injuries faster; who want to be faster; who want to be clearer in their path towards performance in air sports and who want to have the mental energy that is takes to do these sports well. ALO: At what stage along this path do you usually meet a new client? Lucie: Usually, they come to me already having had an inkling of what needs to be adjusted. With a little bit of age and experience, top-level athletes--and people who want to become top-level athletes--discover for themselves the power of food-as-medicine to improve recovery rates, reduce inflammation, oxygenate more efficiently and focus better. Soon after that, if they’re paying attention--which they are, at that level--they realize that without using nutrition as a tool, they’re effectively shooting themselves in the foot. People come to me because they’re starting to realize how important it is and they want a customized, individualized plan of action--but you can do it for yourself, of course, if you’re willing to put in the research. You’d think that in top-level sports--airsports included--people would know what they need to know about nutrition. Unfortunately, they don’t. In order to be light and strong and focused, you need to eat and balance your body systems. ALO: Most folks that I know who do anything in the human-flight realm are under the impression that they’re doing pretty well, nutritionally. What’s the biggest problem you see with nutrition in airsports specifically? Lucie: In airsports, I come up again and again against the fact that people live predominantly on sugar. Soft drinks and lab-created bars are the major culprits behind the energy rollercoaster. Protein powders and bars replacing real food is a close second. There’s a perception that crap food is par for the course when you’re in the tunnel at 2 o'clock in the morning or out on a dropzone for the weekend--and then you don't know why you can't focus anymore, you don't know why you keep injuring yourself, why you're so frustrated all the time. It’s a matter of blood sugar and stress responses. Once you get your blood sugar and your stress responses under control, the training can rapidly come together. If you manage your body chemistry and your neurochemistry, you can absolutely catapult yourself. You can actually create an environment that sets you up for a state of peak performance--for a flow state. You can cultivate those states within your body, and how you do that is through your food choices and your relaxation practices. We all have these systems built into our bodies; we just need to learn to use them properly. There is a lot of science on this now--about how food choices and relaxation practices can optimize your learning rate; your motivation; your creativity; your focus. You can halve your learning time, for instance. The benefits are across-the-board. ALO: Let’s take a look at your typical skydiver. By that, I mean somebody in their late 20s to mid-30s who thinks that they eat pretty well, but definitely drinks socially--and probably has more quote-unquote “cheat days” than they would care to admit. This hypothetical jumper is starting to feel their age kicking in; starting to feel a little bit less, shall we say, unstoppable; starting to get the little nudges from their body that say something needs to be changed. What are the steps that you first recommend to that person? Lucie: The first thing I ask is simple: Are you eating enough food? Because in airsports--as in most sports--athletes don't eat regularly enough to balance blood sugar. Hangriness is hypoglycemia, which is crippling to an athlete. You can easily manage your blood sugar with plant protein and fiber (for example: hummus and carrots), even while you’re moving quickly at the dropzone. No matter how transient you are, you must think am I eating regularly enough and is my blood sugar stable. That’s step one. ALO: So you’re not telling people to drop everything and go raw vegan. Lucie: Absolutely not. I don't actually agree with that, anyway. I think that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the way forward for health and performance--but, as a coach, you have to meet a person exactly where they’re at. I can prescribe my perfect formula, but it will be a set-up for failure if the athlete can’t or won’t adhere. ----- Next week, Lucie talks about her favorite strategies to make that plan and stick to it.
  10. admin

    Staying Current During Winter

    The winter months are a great opportunity to catch up on all the things we weren’t doing throughout the summer, such as working on our homes, engaging in winter sports, and mending relationships with our non-skydiving friends. It is also a time that can lead to a dulling of our skydiving abilities, and our memory of correct procedures. As a result, the period following a substantial break can be a very dangerous time for skydivers, and a great many injuries come as a direct result of a lack of currency. If we are creative, however, we can keep our skydiving minds warm even when it is cold outside. If you own a rig, for instance, it is quite easy to set up a hanging harness in your house. We have been using a secure chin-up bar for many years, and it works great. All you need is an extra pair of risers, a set of soft links, two climbing carabiners and a doorway. A retired pair of 18 inch risers work best for most doorways, to keep you high enough above the ground to create a good simulation. First, attach the tops of the spare set of risers together with the soft links. Next, loop the risers over the chin-up bar, and attach a carabiner to the large ring on the bottom of the risers. Then all you need to do is clip the carabiners through the three ring attachment hardware on your rig and you are ready to train. Keep in mind that if you are unsure about the security of your chin-up bar or door frame structure, be sure to wear a helmet and have a cushion underneath you just in case things go badly. Some of you are thinking, I don’t need to practice pulling my handles all winter, I am a licensed skydiver. I know what I’m doing. Although we all know this is not the truth, everyone needs to practice their emergency procedures, the point of hanging yourself up goes far deeper than just practicing pulling your handles. There are a great many things you can rehearse and learn while suspended in your own rig. I am not talking about the tired old harness at the dropzone that does not remotely resemble the one you jump. I am embarrassed for our sport when I do not even find one of these old beaters hanging at a training facility. That needs to change. No, I am talking about your own personal rig: your handles, your harness, your home. There are several things you will love about this initially embarrassing practice. One huge benefit is to practice transitioning from your deployment harness configuration to the flying and landing configuration. For most of us, this involves loosening the chest strap, and experimenting with different methods of moving the leg straps slightly forward to make yourself more comfortable. By sitting in the harness for long periods of time, your body can change and become stronger in the ways that allow you to be more comfortable under canopy. You can also explore harness turn inputs by swinging side to side by loading one legstrap at a time, which may illuminate a need to relocate the elastic butt strap between your legstraps. This “freefly bungee” is great for preventing a legstrap from sliding forward in freefall, but if located too high or too short, can prevent harness turn capability while under canopy. A “fastex” pinch-release can allow you to remove this strap entirely, and hanging harness training can prepare you for the new muscle memory of your procedural change. Hanging harness training will also allow you to practice flaring and leaning forward for landing. You can even tie webbing straps to the legstrap articulation hardware and have a friend pull your legs forward when you flare to simulate the pitch change, allowing you to rehearse leaning forward as the canopy pitches back to a higher angle of attack. This will help you to remain in balance for the touchdown, and by rehearsing this process in your downtime, you may even emerge from the ice and snow with more skill than the previous summer. Further, you can maintain your upper body strength in the canopy-specific muscles by lifting yourself up by the front risers dive loops, and by pulling on elastic bungee cords or “thera-bands” attached to the chin-up bar. These are easily acquired from most physical therapists, drug stores or apothecaries. By using carabiners to attach yourself to the suspension system, you will be able to avoid the need to remove your main parachute for the simulation. It will feel slightly different with your main parachute still in the pack tray, but it will be close enough to make the practice a valid training method for staying fresh through the chilly months. It is also helpful to remove your main from time to time, and attach the suspended risers to your rig’s three ring system to practice cutting away. A mattress, helmet and spotter is a really good idea for this practice. This will help you to get a clearer picture of what it actually feels like to chop your main, and may even result in your awakening to the fact that your method of pulling the handles needs work, or that your cutaway system requires lubrication. Be sure not to actually pull your reserve ripcord unless you have a rigger handy. When you do bring it in for your spring repack, definitely give that reserve ripcord a go in a full simulation. All good training requires accurate, complete rehearsal of what you will need to do in the sky. For wingsuit flyers, a hanging harness can be a fantastic training tool for staying current with the post-deployment sequence. Gear up fully and practice riding through the deployment with your knees together and your hands on the three rings. Then rehearse unzipping your arms, unstowing the toggles, loosening the chest strap and then unzipping and dressing your legs. For increased realism, try aiming a carpet blower up at you at the approximate glide angle of the canopy to simulate the relative wind. This will add the pressurization of the wings, making the process surprisingly like the real thing. If you wear your helmet as you do all of this, the simulation will be quite realistic and highly beneficial. Such rehearsal will be very helpful for keeping the habits that save your life fresh in your mind. Be sure to practice malfunction procedures with your wingsuit on as well. The only thing you need to worry about is the doorbell, and the awkward explanation to the mailman. Freefall skills are harder to keep fresh, unless you have a wind tunnel nearby. There are ways, however, to keep sharp without spending a lot of money. An FS “creeper” is a fantastic tool for practicing your belly flying, and creeper parties are a fun way to get jumpers together in the colder months. You can even have creeper competitions to stay on your game. It may feel a bit silly at times, but it is far better than trying to remember the dive pools all over again when the snow melts. I also find that an indoor swimming pool is a great asset in the winter, allowing you to work in three dimensions and play with new possibilities, especially if you have fun-loving skydiver friends. Nose plugs are really helpful for upside down swimming. I also enjoy pulling out my gear in the winter and taking the time to slowly and methodically look over all the details I may not have had the time to check during the fast-paced summer months. Even if you are not a certified rigger, this is your gear and you need to be comfortable with every aspect of the equipment that saves your life. Pull out your main and climb inside your cells; inspecting the crossports, the seams, and the reinforcing tapes. Look for broken stitches, pulls, and damage to the fabric that may have occurred during the jumping season. Inspect the bottom of your lines, your connector links and risers. Be sure to run your finger inside the slider grommets to check for rough spots that will damage your lines. You can also check your line trim by cutting the main away and tying the risers to something secure like a door hinge. By pulling tension on each line group in bilateral symmetry and comparing back to the center cell, you will learn volumes about the condition of your parachute. If you have spectra lines, you will be amazed how much your outboard lines and brakes will shrink over time through friction against the slider grommets, and from lack of loading. For a detailed education on main parachute inspection and an eye-opening retrimming technique, check out this video. Another powerful way to keep your head in the skydiving game is through watching videos. There is a great deal of eye candy on the internet, although not all of it falls under the category of training, or even positive visualization. Be careful what you watch, visualization is a powerful form of training, and some of what you watch can pave the way to higher levels of fear. Furthermore, watching lots of poor technique can dull your image of the “right” way to fly. Fortunately, there are some fantastic instructional videos available, which can actually expand your skydiving knowledge as the snow falls. The Australian Parachute Federation, for instance, created a fantastic malfunction video series called Cutaway. Additionally, here is a link to an in-depth Parachute Flight Safety Video Series, a canopy course ground school for all levels that will far exceed your expectations. To further the goal of expanding your skydiving skill through knowledge, there are also several incredible podcasts on the internet that can bring a wealth of knowledge to your computer, phone or tablet. Skydive Radio, Jump Twenty Six and Radio Skydive UK all provide a wealth of information that can enhance your abilities and literally extend your life. Interviews with leaders in the sport will expand your knowledge of the essential history of skydiving, safety practices, and secrets to get the most out of your airtime. Best of all, you can enjoy this learning in the comfort of your own earplugs. When we remember that most of what it means to be a skydiver actually happens on the ground, it becomes more than obvious that we do not need to turn off our skydiving brains once the chill hits the air. Although it is true that a flight to someplace warm is the best way to stay current in the winter, it is not the only way to continue being a skydiver. With a bit of open-minded creativity and ingenuity, we can continue our training all year long, and even emerge in the springtime with a deeper understanding than we had before. Freezing our thoughts about something we love this much not only increases our risks, it also costs us a piece of ourselves. Pull out your gear and keep the feeling alive, you will be glad you did. -BSG Brian Germain is a parachute designer, author, radio personality, keynote speaker, and has been an active skydiver for 30 years. You can get more of Brian’s teaching at Adventure Wisdom, Big Air Sportz, Transcending Fear, and on his vast YouTube Channel
  11. At Work With Kenyon Salo and Team Thunderstorm Kenyon Salo stays pretty busy. When I talk to him, he’s been -- well -- kinda slammed. “I’ve been doing a lot of skydiving, a little bit of BASE jumping, lots of wingsuiting, building the brand of The Bucket List Life, a dynamic lifestyle design community, doing a lot of keynotes, running a bunch of seminars and trainings...” He pauses for a moment. “And I’m leaving for Cozumel in half an hour to go scuba diving for a week. I should probably pack.” Kenyon’s also a professional exhibition skydiver. He’s an athlete on not one, but two skydiving demonstration teams. He’s on the Mile-Hi Demonstration Team (the home team for his dropzone, Mile-Hi Skydiving), which does high-profile demo jumps all over the state. He’s also on the official Denver Broncos parachute team: “Team Thunderstorm.” Thunderstorm is unique in the world: no other team in the NFL has their own team of professional parachutists. The team jumps into every single home game. That would be impressive in and of itself, of course -- but there’s more. The Broncos stadium is as unique as the team that jumps into it. It’s one of the steepest, tightest sports stadiums in the United States. Oh -- and the entire stadium is criss-crossed with metal cables during the high profile games (which is more often than not, since the Denver Broncos are Super Bowl Champions). “As far as exhibition jumping is concerned, the Bronco’s stadium -- or “Sports Authority Field,” as it’s known officially -- is the diamond. There is a not a harder stadium that’s being jumped right now,” Kenyon explains. “A lot of the older stadiums are really splayed out, where the Bronco’s stadium is really upright. And then there are the cables, of course. This is the most technical demo jump in skydiving.” To do what Kenyon and his team do on game day, you have to have quite a resume: you have to be a competition-level swooper, you have to be able to speak eloquently to the media, and you have to land a tiny parachute in wicked conditions. Perfectly. Every. Single. Time. That is, to say the least, a difficult job position to fill. Understandably, Team Thunderstorm is small. It has six members, no more, no less: Jimmy Tranter, Stuart Schoenfeld, Justin Thornton, Kenyon Salo and Allison Reay. The number never changes. If one of the jumpers is unavailable on the day of the jump, that jumper is not subbed out. “The six of us know each other’s flying with great precision,” Kenyon explains, “And we can predict each other, every time. That safety is worth its weight in gold.” The Air Force used to get into that stadium with 250- or 260-square-foot canopies, navigating the stadium’s unusual topography by sinking their big canopies perilously in and executing a low turn before setting them down. It worked. But then the stadium installed more cables and the pre-game show wanted a higher-speed exhibition. Team Thunderstorm had to envision a better way -- and they did. “We decided to jump 97-to-120-square-foot Spectres,” Kenyon says. “The reason we jump those is because we have to dive the parachute across the crowd while still keeping a mandated 50-foot distance above them. We do hook turns into the stadium, down the stands, carving right. We pop a toggle at something like 150 feet, then carve across the field, then land.” “Basically, it’s like parallel parking a Ferrari at 60 miles an hour,” he laughs. “And 99% of the time, we stop between the 20 yard line and the end zone.” The first time Kenyon made the jump he describes as a moment of “terrifying confidence.” He knew he could do it -- after all, he’d made dozens of successful jumps into the empty stadium before he got the green light to join the team on game day. “Prior to being accepted as a team member,” Kenyon says, “I’d take advantage of any practice day I could get. I did a lot of practice when there were no actual games on the field. But I was also practicing at the dropzone. I would fly that canopy as much as I could -- work hard on the turn -- and work with Jimmy Tranter, a phenomenal canopy coach for brand new jumpers as well as for Team Thunderstorm, who gave the final okay to DZO and Team Thunderstorm Organizer Frank Casaras, for me to join the team on game days. Jimmy has got 25,000 jumps. When he speaks, everybody listens.” That constant practice is vital for a jump like this. Even without the dizzyingly steep sides and cable obstacles at the Broncos stadium, stadium jumps are so legendary that they have their own classification in the taxonomy of exhibition jumping. (The classifications are, in order of difficulty: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 -- and “Stadium.”) This is true because of the super-challenging conditions a stadium creates. The rim of a stadium creates puckering turbulence as the wind hits it from the outside, spilling rough air down into the bowl. These conditions are not for the faint-of-heart. “When we come over that rim,” Kenyon says, “We have to be prepared for anything and everything. You can easily have 12 mile-an-hour wind at the rim and no wind on the field, so that means within 300 feet of difference in altitude you have got a huge difference in wind speed. And it’s often in different directions.” “Our small canopies help with that,” he continues, “Because, as we dive through the stadium, speed equals lift -- and the fluid dynamics also make the canopy rigid for smooth flying and landings. In the Bronco’s stadium, time runs in milliseconds. From the point you come over the rim -- and by that time, you are going very quickly down the field -- you are flying through and underneath a netting of metal cables. “There’s a single place you can enter,” Kenyon explains. “As soon as you do, you’re moving across the field very quickly, and you’re avoiding those cables. All the cables for the field goal cameras sit at 150 feet. The skycam cables come from the top corners and extend down diagonally; there’s around 350 feet of cable there, stretching down to a point the ground from two directions.” He gives a sideways grin. “It’s very challenging, yet every team member is absolutely prepared mentally and professionally for this demonstration.” Challenging, yes. Injurious -- not so far. At time of publication, Team Thunderstorm boasted a 100% safety record. Every team jumper has landed on the field on every single jump, with no close calls. “We have strict parameters that we must follow that are set forth by the USPA (United States Parachute Association) for how demos of this level and caliber must be handled,” Kenyon continues, “Sometimes we have to call it because the cloud ceiling is too low or the winds are beyond our limits. It’s those moments that make this team professional because we always err on the side of caution to make sure safety is paramount.” “Something Jimmy Trantor taught us, which I hold in the highest regard, is that we must constantly update our mental map on these jumps,” Kenyon articulates. “It’s a running inner monologue that focuses your awareness. ‘I made the turn; ‘the winds have changed;’ ‘I’m going down the crowd now;’ ‘I’m getting a little crosswind over here;’ ‘I’m a little bit over the sideline, I’m bringing it back over the center;’ ‘the field is a little wet;’ update, update, update. We spend the entire jump updating our mental patterns and adjusting. Immediately.” It’s a zen exercise to keep a high-quality inner monologue going in a stadium situation -- sometimes at night, with pyro; sometimes in wild conditions; always, with the throbbing energy of a massive, excited crowd. “There’s nothing like jumping out of the plane at 5,000 feet and already hearing the crowd beneath you,” Kenyon exudes. “The crowd sees us exit and just erupts. They are screaming and yelling, and you’re suddenly filled with the knowledge that you’re doing it for them -- the fans that have supported you for seven seasons running; for the camaraderie of the team around you; for the guys playing great football.” And for the love of skydiving, of course.
  12. With more than four thousand jumps over the last fourteen years, Jarno McCordia is one of the most experienced and highly respected wingsuit pilots in the world. Here he joins us to discuss a couple of upcoming projects from the pointy end of wingsuit flying. First up is a look at the soon-to-open indoor wingsuit facility in Stockholm. Towards the end of 2016 footage began to emerge of an angled tunnel facility in Sweden where some ambitious aeronautical engineers have been conspiring to do for wingsuit flying what vertical wind tunnels have done for our skydiving skills - change everything. Brought quietly onto the project in early 2016 by the founder of Phoenix Fly and wingsuit development grand wizard Robert Pecnik, Jarno immediately saw the potential: “The whole thing was already underway a fair bit when I got involved in an active way. Secretly Robert had already been working for almost a year with the team behind the technology to realise the project. The first test flights had already been done when I was invited to come take a look at the flying and help assess things - mostly from an instructional point of view but also to see how far we could push the flying. Normally a lot of the development and testing we do together is open and shared process - so to have Robert tell me he had some news but couldn't show me anything until we met in person made me suspect it was something big.” “The flying I saw at that point was just steady cruising, but it immediately made me realise what I was seeing and the potential of how it could change the sport in a similar way that indoor skydiving transformed Freefly and FS in terms of skills and training.” Many disciplines within skydiving are evolving quickly and wingsuit flying is no exception. Suit designs are continually updated as our methods are refined and our abilities better understood. Steep and fast is the way to maximise the potential of a wingsuit - but getting it right takes time. How does the tunnel work and what have you learned about the instruction process so far? “The whole tunnel chamber is a moving structure of which the angle can be altered from pretty much flat to almost vertical. This ability to do this gives us a glide ratio varying from 1:1 all the way up to 3.65:1 (comfortably more than the sustained full glide on high range wingsuits) and the controllable speed of the tunnel is from 0 to almost 300km/h. Balancing these two factors means the tunnel is able to match the glide angle and for the suit one is flying and be appropriate for the skill level of the pilot. We have looked a lot at the teaching technique for beginners as we see that as being a significant percentage of customers. Experienced wingsuit pilots will also need to learn the basics first so that was an important area to focus on.” The indoor skydiving industry has a complex system of managing students abilities while they are training developed over many years . With good quality instruction accidents are few and far between but there is still some inherent risk. What have you learned so far about keeping people safe? “In terms of spotting and safety, procedures will vary a lot from what people are used to. I cannot go into to much detail yet due to a pending patent, but there is an assisted flight system that holds the student in a central position in the tunnel. There is free range of movement in all directions but only up a certain degree. In a similar way to how a seatbelt works, any rapid movement towards the ground or the walls is halted in a gentle way. Once pilots reach the stage where they can fly around free without any assistance it will be possible to get into close contact with the floor and walls, though experience has shown that the lower windspeed and design of the tunnel make those situations a lot less severe than one would expect. I’ve been practicing some quite aggressive acrobatics and of course it does not always go down without a hitch, though due to the padding and angle of the chamber you never really hit hard and you get gently rolled down to the floor - feet first.” “Initially there is something very intimidating about flying in a confined space but it pushes the accuracy and precision of your flying to a new level. It has definitely helped me realise how much further we can develop the precision of our flying. Even in the smaller test setup we have been flying 2-way and performing advanced acrobatics. Once the full-scale tunnel opens in September the possibilities are limitless - we are already going to host the first indoor acrobatics competition in December. LT1 is currently scheduled to open in September 2017. You can read more about the project and the history of the facility here: https://flywingsuit.se/
  13. Christopher Jones, a 22 year old from Perth, Australia - has found himself in the spotlight of news agencies over the past 24 hours. On 1 March 2015, Christopher uploaded a video to Youtube of him suffering a seizure during his 5th level of AFF training at WA Skydiving Academy. According to him, the video was originally recorded about 3 months ago but due to travelling, he only got around to uploading it now. Within 24 hours of uploading the video had received over 2.5 Million views and been picked up by news centers around the world. In the video, you can see Christopher Jones being assisted by his instructor, Sheldon McFarlane - as he gets his foot placing in the right position for his exit. After exiting the aircraft, he is seen establishing his body position and things seem to be going well, but soon Mr Jones, who was described by the Dropzone Chief Instructor as "The perfect student" up until this point, begins to lose control of his body position. Instructor Heroics Gets Main Deployed at 4000 feet McFarlane, who while unaware of the fact that the problem was a siezure, could see that Mr Jones was in trouble, and began an attempt to get close enough to him so that he could help in the release of his parachute. After a failed first attempt, Mr Jones is seen gaining speed, plummeting towards earth. Despite the difficulty in catching up with the student's speed, McFarlane then managed to grab a hold of him and release his [parachute, at around 4000 feet. When interviewed about the incident, McFarlane stated that even though he knew that the AAD would deploy, he wanted to ensure that the student had as much time under parachute as possible. This proved to be a wise choice and Mr Jones regained consciousness at 3000 feet, allowing for him to gain control and in turn safely land his canopy. While AADs deploy vast majority of the time, there have been incidents where the AAD has failed, and getting the chute deployed manually will almost always take preference over relying on the automatic activation device. Questionable Medical Clearance Mr Jones has had a history of seizures in the past. Originally wanting to become a pilot, Jones had to put that dream aside due to his epilepsy. A doctor-issued medical statement is required before one is able to begin AFF training. Mr Jones' specialist gave him the all clear for his training, with Jones not having suffered any seizures for four years prior to this incident, a subject that has caused some debate of its own, with many doctors feeling as though skydiving would be an activity that no epilepsy sufferer should partake in, due to the risks. Unfortunately with the occurrence of this incident, he will no longer be able to continue his skydiving career, for obvious reasons. While seizures can be unpredictable and occur at any time, stress is thought to play a role in many cases. Naturally undergoing a skydiving program where not only are you aware of the safety risks, but also have the added pressure of passing or failing your level progression, stress will almost always be heightened.
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    Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)

    Photo: Chris Naujoks The AFF program was instituted in 1982 as an "accelerated" learning process as compared to the traditional static line progression. The AFF program will give you a true taste of modern sport skydiving. The ground training is a bit more extensive than S/L (~5 hours) because the student will be doing a 50 second freefall (that's right!) on his/her very first jump. The student will exit the aircraft at10,000-12,000 feet along with two AFF Jumpmasters (JM) who will assist the student during freefall. The jumpmasters maintain grips on the student from the moment they leave the aircraft until opening, assisting the student as necessary to fall stable, perform practice ripcord pulls, monitor altitude, etc. The student then pulls his/her own ripcord at about 4000 ft. The AFF program is a 7 level program. Levels 1, 2, & 3 require two freefall Jumpmasters to accompany the student. These dives concentrate on teaching basic safety skills such as altitude awareness, body position, stability during freefall and during the pull sequence, and most importantly- successful ripcord pull. On level 3, the JMs will release the student in freefall for the first time, to fly completely on their own. Levels 4, 5, 6, & 7 require only one freefall JM (less $$) and teach the student air skills such as turns, forward movement and docking on other people, frontloops, backloops, "superman" exits from the plane, etc. Each AFF level is designed to take one jump, and requires about 45 minutes of training. After successfully performing the objectives of each level, the student moves on to the next level. After graduating Level 7, the student enters a more free format stage called "Level 8" where they practice and hone their skills by themselves and in small groups until they obtain 20 freefalls and qualify for their A license. Safety and Training Forum Find a place to jump in your area.
  15. admin

    Top 10 Marketing Musts

    Image by Andrey Veselov Do you wish to increase profitability and grow your DZ? If so, read each of these 10 points closely. As a DZO, you are no doubt constantly bombarded by marketing companies trying to get you to spend your precious money. These marketing efforts generally result in little to no ROI. Focus on the objectives below, do them well and you will see growth. 1. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE No matter where your DZ shows up in a Google search, if the customer experience is not great, then no amount of marketing will matter. With platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Reviews, the power of word of mouth has never been stronger. Delivering a great experience is not the same as executing a safe skydive. Identifying each individual customer point of interaction and making it a five star experience is the total package. Master this and watch your business grow. If you spend no money on marketing, get this right because many of your competitors are not. Tip: Survey your customers 24 hours* after their experience. The questions should revolve around each individual customer touch point. This is eye-opening as it will reveal the weak points of your business. * Do not survey immediately after the experience. Everyone is on a high and will give feedback that is skewed. 2. SEO If you’re not on page one of a Google Search, then you’re invisible. The majority of your guests will search for your business via Google and few of them will be leaving the first results page. Educate yourself on what you need to do to ensure that you show up on page one, preferably near the top, in organic (unpaid) Google search. Be sure to find out the most commonly used search terms for skydiving in your region to identify what search words to focus on. This is hugely important to get right. Tip: Do not be fooled by SEO companies that promise to bring your page to number one. If an SEO company reaches out to you with this kind of guarantee, it should be a red flag. Tip: When seeing where you show up on a Google Search, don’t search for the exact name of your business. Search using terms like ‘skydiving’ ‘in’ (enter nearest big city). 3. WEBSITE Your number one marketing tool will be your website. Don’t do a barter trade for jumps with someone that knows web design unless they are a) great at design and b) understand how to optimize the back end of the website for search. There are many functional websites in the skydiving industry that are not strategically optimized for search engine performance on the back end. Having a great looking website means absolutely nothing if the back end of the site is not correctly optimized for search. Many web design companies will simply create a site for you and then leave you to employ an SEO company to fill in the gaps. Utilize a design company that will create both a great design and optimize it for search. 4. WOMM Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is the most powerful form of marketing because we all trust recommendations from our friends and family along with review sites. IF you’ve identified all customer touch points and are receiving great scores in your customer surveys, then it’s time to implement a WOMM campaign. A WOMM campaign transforms customers into the marketing team for your business and best of all it’s free. Use lagniappe, leverage social media and implement a strategy that makes it very easy for your customers to write a review for your business. Tip: When implementing a WOMM strategy, it’s important you’re focused on the overall customer experience. If not, it’s highly possible you’ll receive negative reviews. 5. E-MAIL MARKETING E-mail marketing is FAR FROM DEAD. However, effective email marketing requires much more than just sending an e-mail out every once in a while – there is a technique to creating a great e-mail marketing campaign. The growth of DropZone Marketing is due, in large part, to our e-mail newsletter campaign. Providing free marketing information (quality content) that is graphically pleasing and suited for mobile devices is a great marketing tool for any business as it keeps you in front of your customers and should help drive traffic to your website which helps with SEO. 6. SOCIAL MEDIA Everyone knows that social media is a powerful medium, but few in the skydiving industry are leveraging it correctly. First, don’t try to be on all social channels. Select up to three channels and do well on each of the three. My recommendation is to focus on Google+, Facebook and Instagram for the skydiving industry. Focus on engagement rather than number of followers. If you’re not increasing your engagement with your followers, than your efforts may be a waste. Be consistent, be authentic, and really make an effort to engage with your audience. Tip 1: Google+ is relevant for SEO. Google will index its own networks when executing a search, so it’s worthy being there. Tip 2: Learn Tips for Mastering Facebook to better utilize this platform. Tip 3: Understand Instagram. 7. GOOGLE ADWORDS One of the most powerful advertising tools is Google Adwords and is something I would recommend for every DZ. Do not waste money on billboards, TV or print advertising, you will not get a return on this investment. AdWords can be implemented by anyone, but if not managed correctly can become a waste of money. Presently, I’m seeing many DZ’s ads showing in markets hundreds and even thousands of miles away from a DZ’s region. AdWords should be monitored closely and keyword research should be done in order to create the correct marketing campaigns. 8. CONTENT MARKETING Why does anyone create content on their websites? The answer is to drive traffic into their site, which increases the chance of a conversion (a booking for a skydive). Furthermore, increased site traffic can help your SEO efforts by increasing click rates into your site and hopefully, if your content is valuable, expanding your external link profile. Content marketing is a strategy that must be implemented by every business offering a product or service. Tip: Learn about River Pools and Spas and how they implemented content marketing to save their business during financial crisis. 9. FACEBOOK ADVERTISING Being on Facebook is one thing, but if you want to see real results, you have to pay to play. Facebook is the gold standard of all the social media platforms that offer advertising because of focused targeting. Facebook ads can allow a DZ to focus pay per click ads (only pay if the ad is clicked) targeted towards a specific age demographic with specific interests. This is very powerful. Combine great Facebook content with an ad campaign and you will see your Facebook marketing campaign go to a higher level. 10. EVENT PRESENCE Participate in highly attended, local events. Paying for a 10ft x 10ft booth is worth it. You won’t sell tandem skydives onsite, but it provides a great opportunity to capture e-mails to add to your valuable e-mail database for your e-mail marketing campaign. I encourage my clients to have a plan to expand their e-mail database continuously. Giving away a tandem skydive in order to collect hundreds of e-mail addresses is very valuable because it creates an opportunity to directly message people who are interested in your service. Go to lots of events! Tip: Look professional with your booths and have your pop-up tent branded. Spend the money to have a presentation that you would see at a trade show. If the approach is done half-ass by pulling things together, it’s not helping your brand. Do it right or don’t do it at all.
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    Point Break Remake Trailer

    For those skydivers old enough to remember the early 90s, they will also surely recall the movie Point Break. Released in 1991, Point Break was centered around a group of surfers who robbed banks while wearing masks of ex-presidents. An undercover agent, Johnny Utah, was sent in to the world of the 'ex-presidents' as they called themselves, to gather information. Johnny Utah however, finds himself forming a bond with those he is trying to help apprehend. Despite the scenes of surfing and action, the movie has been best known for the skydiving scenes, which while certainly not the best, were some of the most memorable to viewers. It was clear that story and script were never high on the priority list, and the film focused almost entirely on the action sequences, of which there were quite a few. Point Break was the kind of movie you either bragged to your friends about loving, or the guilty pleasure movie that you kept in an unlabelled VHS container and only watched once the kids and wife were asleep. Well, good news for fans of the original movie is that the ex-presidents are back, and this time they're at least twice as extreme and in 3D. The remake of Point Break is set for release later this year (25 December) with the first official trailer now released. In the 24 years that have passed since the initial movie release, the ex-presidents have evolved to not only be surfers and skydivers, but masters of almost all extreme sports, from motorcross and snowboarding to BASE jumping. The movie will be released in RealD 3D, so you can make sure that you feel immersed through the likely unrealistic and exaggerated stunts (assuming they stick to the original formula). And who wouldn't want to experience quotes like "The only law that matters is gravity" in surround sound. It's not clear yet how the plot of the remake will differ from the original and which scenes will carry over, but from the trailer we can already know to expect some tracking and BASE jumping, and one thing is for certain, dropzones are likely to experience higher tandem requests in the first quarter of 2016. Jokes aside, it's difficult to gauge what to expect from the remake, and perhaps it seeks to give us just that which it did over two decades ago, this time without Swayze and Reeves - but instead with more stunts, more sports and more over the top action. Are you going to be adding this to your watch list, or to your avoid list?
  17. In this book world famous competitive skydiver and coach Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld presents proven tools and techniques for success and explains how they can be used in everyday life. Dan survived a plane crash from which sixteen of the twenty-two people on board were killed. He was left critically injured and woke up from a six-week-long coma with a broken neck, broken skull, severe head trauma, a collapsed lung, and other serious internal injuries. Against all odds, Dan recovered and went on to become one of the greatest competitive skydiver in the world. His book is available on Amazon.com Waking Up Something was wrong. I was groggy, fading in and out. My body felt tired, weighted down. What was going on? I tried to see but my eyelids were too heavy to lift. I summoned all the strength I could but still didn’t have the power to peel them open. The last thing I could recall was training with my new skydiving team, Airmoves. After nine years of competition, much of which was spent living in my van and eating out of a cooler so that I could afford team training, the owners of the Perris Valley Skydiving Center in California had presented me with a team sponsorship opportunity. I would get to pick and run the team. They would cover the training costs. This was it, the opportunity I had always hoped for. Since money wasn’t an issue, I was able to pick the teammates I most wanted. The first person I called was James Layne. I had known James since he was eleven and had taught him to jump when he was only fourteen. His whole family had worked at my drop zone in Ohio. James was like a little brother to me. Even before his very first jump seven years earlier, we had decided that someday we were going to win the national and world championships together. This was our chance, a dream come true. Troy Widgery was next on my list. Troy was a young entrepreneur and good friend whom I had coached when he was on the University of Colorado Skydiving Team. At the collegiate national championships a year earlier, I had told James and Troy that somehow, someday, I was going to get them both on my team. Richard Stuart had been the camera flyer on my previous team, the Fource. But like me, Richard still just hadn’t had enough of team training and competition. To fill the one remaining position, I held tryouts. Tom Falzone outperformed the rest and completed the team lineup. Perris Airmoves was born. We were five months into our training and had made about 350 practice jumps. Everything was going better than I had ever imagined, and I have quite an imagination. We were improving at an unheard-of pace and had already gone head-to-head with some of the top teams in the country. The U.S. Nationals gold medal was in our sights. And then . . . The crust on my eyelashes glued them shut. Using the muscles in my forehead, I finally pried them open a crack. A faint white light was all I could see, like I was inside of a cloud. It was silent. Where was I waking up? Was I waking up? Was I dead? I had no idea what was happening, how I got here, or what was going on. But I did have one absolutely vivid image in my head, a crystal clear picture of something that seemed to have happened just moments before waking up. It wasn’t a dream. It was as real as any real-world experience I had ever had. I could remember the entire thing, every action, every word, and every thought. It went like this: I was in free fall. Almost as if I had just appeared there. I love free fall, and finding myself there at that moment seemed natural. I was at home, at peace, part of the infinite sky. But after a few seconds I noticed that this wasn’t normal free fall. It was quieter. The wind wasn’t blowing as fast. I wasn’t descending. A gentle breeze was suspending me. It was okay, it was fine. I was floating, flying, but it wasn’t right. What was I doing there? I wasn’t afraid. I felt safe, but confused. I looked up and saw James flying down to me just as if we were on a skydive together and he was “swooping” me. His expression was that silly, playful smile he so often had in free fall. He was obviously not confused at all. He knew exactly where he was and what he was doing there. He flew down and stopped in front of me. Still with a smile on his face, he asked, “Danny, what are you doing here?” I answered, “I don’t know.” James said, “You’re not supposed to be here, you have to get back down there.” I began to get a grasp of the situation. I asked him, “Are you coming with me?” His expression changed to one with a hint of sadness. He said, “No, I can’t.” I tried to persuade him to change his mind, “C’mon, James, we were just getting started. You gotta come with me.” James raised his voice, interrupting me. “I can’t!” It was obvious that the decision was final. It seemed as if it wasn’t his decision. He continued with a gentle smile. “I can’t, but it’s okay. There are more places to go, more things to do, more fun to have. Tell my mom it’s okay. Tell her I’m okay.” For a few seconds we just looked at each other as I accepted this for the reality it was. He changed his tone and spoke with some authority as he gave me an order. “Now,” he said, “you need to get back down there. You need to go get control of the situation.” I unquestioningly accepted this as well, still not knowing what the situation was that he was referring to. James stuck out his hand palm down, the way we always did when practicing our “team count,” our “ready, set, go” cadence we would use to synchronize our exit timing. A couple of minutes before exiting the plane on a training jump, we would always huddle up and practice this count. The purpose was as much to get psyched up for the jump as to rehearse the cadence. I put my hand on top of his. He put his other hand on top of mine. I put my other hand on top of his. We looked each other in the eyes. Both of us with gentle smiles of love and confidence and sadness. James started the count. “Ready.” I joined in as we finished it together. “Set. Go.” As was our routine, we clapped and then popped our hands together, locking them in a long, strong, brotherly grasp. James had one more thing to say, and he said it with absolute certainty, “I’ll see you later.” It was clearly not a “good-bye.” I had no doubt that we would see each other again. Before I had even thought about an answer, the words “I know” came out of my mouth. Slowly I started to descend. As I did, James began to fade from my grip. The wind picked up as I was now falling through it, no longer suspended by it. Everything went black. As I woke, James’s words, “Get control of the situation,” still rang clearly in my mind. If only I knew what the situation was. I knew I wasn’t dead. I squinted, trying to see more clearly. The white light slowly brightened. A few small red and green lights came into view. As if coming from a distance, faint electrical beeping sounds began to reverberate from the silence. My vision started to sharpen. I could see I was surrounded with lights, gauges, hoses, and wires running in every direction. The glowing white light wasn’t the heavens. It was the bedsheets and ceiling paint of an ICU hospital room. I stared straight up from flat on my back, the position I found myself in. What’s the situation? I thought that James and I must have been in some kind of accident together. James was gone and I wasn’t. I tried to pick my head up to look around the room. My head wouldn’t move. I tried to turn my head to look to the side; it wouldn’t move. Oh my God, I thought. I can’t move my head. I’m paralyzed. It can’t be true. Don’t let it be true. This can’t be the situation. I was filled with a sense of fear far greater than anything I had ever experienced before. I felt myself starting to give up and caught myself. Don’t panic, don’t panic. I closed my eyes, took a breath, and tried to calm down. It’s got to be something else, there has to be more. I told myself not to come to any conclusions too soon, to pause and re-evaluate the situation. I started again. I opened my eyes. I could see a little more clearly now, and there was no doubt I was definitely in a hospital bed complete with all the bells, whistles, buzzers, and instruments. I tried to move my head again. It wouldn’t budge. “Stay cool, stay cool. Try something else,” I told myself. I tried to move my toes. I thought I felt something, but I couldn’t lift my head to see them to confirm. I remembered hearing about people who were paralyzed but had ghost movements when it felt as though they could move even though they couldn’t. “Stay cool, Dan, stay cool. Look for options. Try something else.” I had to talk myself through it every step of the way.I tried to wiggle my fingers. It felt like they moved. I tried to move my hands. I could swear they worked. Did they move? I couldn’t turn my head to see my hands but nearly stretched my eyes out of their sockets trying to look down to verify that my hands were actually moving. Peering past the horizon of the bedsheet, there were no hands in sight. I tried to lift my hands higher. They felt so heavy. Were they moving, or was it my imagination wishing them to move? Slowly, I saw the bedsheet rise. Like the sun rising in the morning, slow but certain. I brought my hands all the way up right in front of my face, trying to prove to myself that it wasn’t a hallucination. I stretched out my fingers, clenched my fists, and then stretched them out again. I put my hands together to see if my right hand could feel my left and my left hand feel my right. They worked. Yes! What an incredible relief. My arms and hands weren’t paralyzed. Okay, so far so good, back to my legs. I tried again to move my toes and lift my feet. They were too far away to see and too heavy to lift. I gathered all the strength I had, as if I was trying to bench-press four hundred pounds, and focused it on my knees. Ever so slowly, the bedsheet started to lift. Slowly my knees came up high enough that I could see they were moving. I wasn’t paralyzed, not at all. Get Dan's Book from Amazon.com I still didn’t know what the situation was, but no matter what, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. I felt a sudden relief, and though I had never been a person who prayed very often, without even thinking I found myself thanking God forlessening my burden. Why couldn’t I move my head, though? I reached up with both my newly working hands to feel my head. As I did, I came in contact with two metal rods. As I explored further I realized my head was in a cage. I couldn’t move my head not because I wasn’t capable but because it was being held still by a halo brace. My neck must be broken. But for a person who moments earlier thought he was completely paralyzed, a broken neck seemed like the common cold. The experience of thinking I was paralyzed from head to toe was truly a gift. It would forever put things in perspective for me. I decided at that moment that I would never complain about my injuries, no matter what they were. But what had happened? I asked the doctor, but he skirted the question and instead filled me in on my condition. In addition to breaking my neck, I had a collapsed lung, cracked skull, a severe concussion, and crushed insides causing other internal injuries. It’s hard to believe, but none of this really fazed me. It was still much better news than I had feared. I asked him again, “What happened?” He acted like he didn’t hear me. The doctor was concerned about the nerve and brain damage but seemed confident that I would ultimately be able to walk out of the hospital and lead a relatively normal life, as long as my normal life didn’t include any contact sports or rigorous activity at all. I would certainly never skydive again. A little while later, Kristi, my girlfriend, came in. I asked her what had happened, but she dodged the question. I kept asking her, pushing her; I had to know. Finally she said, “It’s bad, Dan, it’s so bad.” That was the first time it occurred to me that if James and I were in an accident of some kind, it was likely that the other members of Airmoves were in the same accident. I asked her again what had happened. “It’s so bad” was all she could say. I pushed her relentlessly. Finally, she told me. There was a plane crash. A plane crash? I hadn’t even considered a plane crash. I realized what that could mean and tried to prepare for the worst, that my entire team may be gone. The sudden emotional barrage that hit me was overwhelming. I was starting to lose control and caught myself. I closed my eyes, took a breath, and calmed myself down. I later learned that Kristi had been by my side since the crash. She and my friends and family did not know how, if and when I woke up, they would tell me that James was gone. I asked her, “How’s my team?” She tried to speak, but still, the only words she could muster were, “It’s bad, Dan, it’s so bad.” I needed an answer. I said, “I know James is gone. How is the rest of the team?” She froze in disbelief. She looked at me, staring deeply into my eyes, and asked, “How do you know that?” I answered directly, “He told me.” She continued to stare at me, wondering how that was possible. Almost relieved that I already knew about James, Kristi told me that, compared to me, my other teammates were fine. Troy and Tom were banged up and had broken a few bones. Troy had to have surgery on his hip. But all things considered, they were basically okay. Richard had missed the plane. His camera helmet broke just minutes before we boarded, and he had asked another cameraman to take his place while he went to fix it. In the thousands of training jumps Richard and I had together, I could never remember him missing a jump. Kristi was quiet. There was more. We were flying in the Twin Otter, which carries twenty-two people. It was worse than I thought, way worse. For some reason, I had assumed that Airmoves had been alone in a single-engine Cessna. Of the twenty-two people on board, sixteen had died in the crash. Most of them my friends, including Dave Clarke, the cameraman who took Richard’s place. The emotional bombardment continued as Kristi told me who we lost. The names included members of Tomscat, a team from Holland that I was coaching, the pilots, instructors, and camera flyers who worked at the skydiving school, and students who were there for their first jump, in what was supposed to have been an experience of a lifetime for them. Kristi was right: It was bad. So, so bad. Because I was just learning about this, I had assumed that it had all just happened. As I was absorbing this information, I was hit with another shocker. The crash had occurred over a month ago. I had been in a coma for nearly six weeks. How could that be? I picked up my arms and held them in front of my face. They looked skeletal. I had lost forty pounds. I touched my face and discovered a beard. It was true. What hell the families and friends must have been going through over the last month while I had the luxury of being unconscious. What sorrow and grief they must have been experiencing. I felt so badly for them, and guilty that I wasn’t there to be with them through this difficult time. It immediately occurred to me that I had to be strong. It may have been new to me, but they had been dealing with it for over a month. I was experiencing this grief for the first time, but I would have to do so on my own. I didn’t want to drag my friends and family back through it all again. If only they knew what I knew. If only James had been able to share with each of them what he shared with me. I knew that our friends were gone, but that they were okay. I knew they had more places to go, more things to do, and more fun to have. I knew we hadn’t said good-bye, only, “See you later.” I wanted to share this with everyone, but I also knew that they would think I was nuts and that the brain damage I had suffered was more severe than they thought. I kept it to myself, except for telling one person. As James had requested, I called his mother, my dear friend Rita, from my hospital bed and passed his message on to her. “You need to go get control of the situation.” What exactly did James mean? I thought about that a lot. I believe he was alerting me to the fact that I was about to wake up in a different world than the one before the crash. I would be arriving in the middle of a situation that was overrun by sadness, fear, helplessness, and defeat. I believe he was warning me that many people were going to try to define the situation for me and tell me what my limitations were. He was telling me not to be a victim, not to let anyone but me decide my fate and that I didn’t have to let go of my dreams. There was more to “life” than what we experience in this physical world. He was telling me it was all okay. James was reminding me that prior to the crash, I had taken control of my life. I had found an activity that I loved, pushed myself to be the best I could possibly be at it, and set my sights on becoming the best in the world. I had shown the courage to follow my dreams and the faith in the world to believe that the few things that were out of my control would work out as they should. This attitude toward life had never steered me wrong in the past. And it wouldn’t then. I believed him. I trusted him. And I decided. FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS Human beings are born dreamers. Through dreams we explore our limitless imaginations and consider the true possibilities of things we perceive to be impossible. Most great human achievements began as someone’s impossible dream, a crazy fantasy. It was the dreamers of their day who imagined electricity, flying machines, walking on the moon, running a four-minute mile, or instantly communicating on a cell phone or the Internet. All of these were considered impossible right up until the moment they actually happened. Soon after, they were thought of as everyday occurrences. Our dreams provide us a stage from which we can fantasize about things that don’t seem feasible within the constraints of our physical realities. They encourage us to question our often false perceptions of the limits of those realities. Through our dreams we are open to exploring all possibilities. Without our dreams, we too often surrender to our established limitations and underestimate our true potential. Dreaming is an essential part of what it means to be human. The same way we are born hungry and need to eat to grow, our minds and souls crave inspiration and need our imaginations to show us all what we are truly capable of being and doing. It is human nature to want to expand our capabilities. As long as we can imagine reaching the next level in our chosen field, most of us will instinctively want, and choose, to do so. Once babies have crawled, they want to walk. As soon as they walk, they want to run. Once they can run, they want to jump. We are rarely satisfied with where we are while we can still imagine, and believe, that we can do more. Few things have the power to motivate and inspire us to reach for our full potential the way our dreams do. Successful people from every walk of life—be they athletes, musicians, soldiers, doctors, policemen, firefighters, entrepreneurs, or entertainers (just to name a few)—usually agree on one thing. As children, long before they ever achieved success in their field, they dreamt and fantasized about becoming great at what they did. It wasn’t money or fame that inspired them as children. It was the pure love and purpose for the activity itself. Most of them can hardly remember a time when they weren’t insanely passionate about it. Every dreamer is not successful. But every successful person is a dreamer. As children, we all had dreams like these. But in our early years, most of us were discouraged from believing that we could actually live our dreams and achieve our highest ambitions. We were more often pushed by family, friends, and society in general to take a more secure route, keep our expectations low, and avoid failure and disappointment. We were guided by advisors to go after goals they thought we had the best chance of accomplishing, ones that didn’t demand too much effort from us. As opposed to looking at things from aperspective of abundance, we chose to see things from a minimalist perspective. Minimal desire leads to minimal goals, requiring minimal effort. Since we would be aiming so low, the likelihood for success was high so there was minimal chance for disappointment. But is the definition of success aiming to be half of what we are capable of being in a field that we tolerate but certainly aren’t passionate about? I don’t think so. And fortunately for me, my family didn’t think so either. Like it? Read the rest: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1616084464/dropzonecom http://www.danbrodsky-chenfeld.com/
  18. The SkyVenture wind tunnel in Orlando, Florida, has just finished adding bigger more efficient motors and a host of other improvements that make the world's best vertical wind tunnel even better. During a September 3-16 retrofit, the five 125-horsepower electric motors were replaced with 200 hp units, and the fixed-speed, variable-pitch fans replaced with a fixed-pitch, models mated to variable frequency drives. The result is both a faster and more quickly adjustable airspeed. "We're getting about 150 miles per hour now," says SkyVenture CEO Alan Metni. "This makes for an even more realistic training environment, especially for the freeflyers, and we can now change speed in two or three seconds - compared with ten to fifteen seconds before." A redesigned flight chamber and staging area adds to the tunnel's new efficiency. "The flight chamber staging area now has two doors instead of one," says Brannan Johnson, SkyVenture's director of marketing and product development who also oversees tunnelcamp.com. "Before, when one group came out, the next group had to wait to go inside. Now, there's an entrance door and an exit door, so that bottleneck is eliminated." Johnson says the motor and flight chamber changes, which will be standard on all future SkyVenture tunnels, will benefit both tunnel operators and users. "It will increase the ticketed customer capacity from 24 per hour to 28 per hour," Johnson says, "and jumpers buying time by the hour will get more usable time; they'll be able to get in and out faster, and ask for and get windspeed changes much faster, so they'll end up with more actual flight time per booked flight hour." Another major change is a complete rework of the flight chamber walls, designed to increase both customer and spectator pleasure. "The solid walls and small windows have been almost completely replaced with 9-foot high acrylic panels," says Johnson. "The whole thing is now open, so jumpers in training can watch their teammates more easily. In the Orlando tunnel, the other open sides make it easy for spectators inside the building to see the flight chamber; in the new tunnels, those sides will be visible to outside spectators and pass-by traffic." The final upgrade on the Orlando tunnel is a completely redesigned control room. Gone is the bulky, complicated analog panel, replaced by completely new software, two touch panels and a joystick. "One panel is for general tunnel control," says Johnson, "the other is for camera control during tunnel camps. The joystick is a one-axis unit for very simple control of tunnel wind speed." Metni say the Orlando upgrades raise SkyVenture's offerings to another level. "We've raised the bar again," he says. "This ensures that SkyVenture will not only be the fastest but also the most efficient in the world." Skyventure Web Site Tunnelcamp.com
  19. admin

    Falling Into Fire - SmokeJumpers

    When I graduated from college I headed west and became a wildland firefighter. Over the course of a decade I fought fire from Arizona to Alaska. During that time I worked fire with a variety of agencies and units ranging from prison crews, BIA crews, and hotshot crews. From time to time I also crossed paths with smokejumpers, and always felt obligated to kick it up a notch when in their presence. That was for good reason, for among firefighters smokejumpers are at the top of the food chain. Smokejumpers are often dropped into fires that are too remote for ground based firefighting resources to reach. They are deployed to fires shortly after they ignite while they are relatively small with the intention of putting them out before they grow into large conflagrations. They are left to their own resources to extinguish the fire, hopefully within a day or two of being dropped on the fire. If the smokejumpers are unable to quickly extinguish a fire, other resources are typically brought in on the fire within three days. Once other firefighting crews are in place, the smokejumpers return to their base of operations and await another call to deploy quickly on a fire. However, this is not always the case, as smokejumpers have been known to spend over a month on some fires. Training Smokejumpers typically spend several seasons as a hotshot, an elite ground base fire crew, before applying to be a smokejumper. Experience as a firefighter is critical to making it as a smokejumper whereas previous experience parachuting out of aircraft is not a requirement. In a given year, only a small number of those that apply make it as a smokejumper. Smokejumpers undergo rigorous training where the washout rate is high, either from injuries or from being unable to keep up with the physical training. Training consists of a large amount of physical workouts which include calisthenics and running. Classroom time is devoted to a range of topics including CPR/First Aid, parachute manipulation, pre-field exercise briefings and post-field exercise debriefings, and tree climbing. Field exercises are designed to make the candidate competent enough to successfully handle the diverse number of situations a smokejumper will encounter during smokejumper operations. They include cross cut and chainsaw use, map and compass orientation and tree climbing. Parachute training initially includes mock ups of how to successfully perform airplane exits and landings. Before a rookie smokejumper can make their first practice jump, they must successfully pass through the field exercise training. Rookies must then make a total of 15 practice jumps into a variety of jump spots with each successive jump increasing in difficulty. At any point in the training a rookie may be let go if it is determined that they may be unable to meet the challenges of the job. They are constantly being evaluated on their attitude, fortitude, and leadership qualities. Candidates must be self-reliant yet also work well in a team environment. They must also exhibit flexibility and adaptability as they must be quick to adapt to the ever changing dynamics of a fire. Dropping In The size of the fire and the availability of manpower determine how many smokejumpers are deployed on a fire. A typical jump consists of two to eight jumpers and is usually made between 1,500 and 3,000 feet above ground level. Smokejumpers are used strictly for initial attack on a fire when other resources are not available. The first jumper on the ground takes the role of Incident Commander. This means a rookie jumper could be in charge of a much more veteran crew. Parachuting into wilderness terrain is a stressful endeavor unto itself. Landing in an un-scouted forest meadow on the side of a mountain after navigating erratic wind currents is considered a great option. That is the easy part. The challenge is to safely and quickly get the fire under control or out and find your way to a pickup location so that you will be available to do it over again. This translates into long hours working on a fire, often through the night when the humidity rises and the fire tends to slow down. Once the fire is put out or other resources arrive to take over, smokejumpers are released from a fire so they may be available as a resource for initial attack on other fires. For a smokejumper, a ride out of a fire by helicopter or on a four wheel drive vehicle is a luxury. Otherwise they must hoof it out on foot. When packing out on foot, they typically carry 100 lbs. of gear or more across rough, trail-less terrain. Gear Two types of chutes are used depending on which agency the smokejumper works for. The Bureau of Land Management uses the square or “ram-air” parachute while the forest service employs the round parachute. Over top of their fireproof clothing, smokejumpers wear a padded jump jacket and pants made of Kevlar. A motorcycle type helmet is worn with a heavy wire-mesh face mask. Each smokejumper carries a small gear bag containing their water, gloves, fire shelter, hard hat, and other personal gear necessary to keep them active on a fire line for an entire shift. Heavier equipment, such as chain saws, hand tools, enough food and water to last several days, and other gear is dropped separately and, like the smokejumpers, as close to the fire as possible without running the risk of having the fire burn it. Becoming hung up in trees is an occupational hazard and one smokejumpers train extensively for. In the event they become snagged in a tree each smokejumper carries a “let down” rope in their leg pocket for rappelling down from a tree. Alan Carr is an avid aviation buff that enjoys writing on all aspects of the aviation industry. He currently works with globalair.com to provide resources on aircraft related information.
  20. admin

    Buttman flies again

    Grahamstown, South Africa - There was mirth and amazement when a naked skydiver landed on the Grahamstown army's parade at 8am yesterday morning. Unfazed, the first words Port Elizabeth candidate attorney James Reilly, 36, shouted to the 100-odd soldiers were: "Reporting for action, Sir!". Reilly jumped naked from 4 000m into minus 12 degree air as part of radio station 5fm's Speed Stick Give-it-Stick competition for the wackiest act. He leapt from the plane wearing only a stick of the deodorant bound with sticky tape to his penis. Before the jump, a nervous but excited Reilly was seen running around the EP Skydivers' clubhouse in the nude. The naked Reilly climbed into a light plane at 7.15am and jumped 45 minutes later. Speaking through gritted teeth, he said he endured a 50-second free fall at 200km/h "to get down quicker. It's cold man!" Although he said he was scared of landing barefoot on the gravel, ECN witnessed his agony as he removed the plastic tape. Mr Reilly yelled "Aaaaagh!" for almost 30 seconds as he stripped the binding off, even though his wife Michelle had said playfully: "I'm going to take that off!" She said: "It's madness what people will do for a car." Reilly was bidding to win a five-door Peugeot 206 sedan in the Speedstick Give It Stick And Win a Car Competition. 5FM DJ Kevin Fine said one competitor had "a stick tatooed to her bum." Mr Reilly will be admitted to the bar in the Grahamstown high court on Thursday.
  21. Dropzone.com today launched its voluntary Premier Membership service! The decision to move forward with voluntary user supported subscription services was made for a few reasons: I want to keep Dropzone.com on the web and without this, I can not pay the bills. We want to keep advertising content low and we want to provide you with the best possible service and the coolest features we can! That's it. Dropzone.com is a very advertising-lite site. We don't bombard you with pop-up ads. Even though we serve millions of pages every month we choose not to join large advertising syndicates and expose you to streams of irrelevant non-skydiving promotions and ads. We want to keep it that way. This also provides the highest value to our advertisers as their ads are not lost in a flood of outside noise. We continue to appreciate the support we receive from the skydiving industry in this. Rather than turning to large corporate sponsors from outside we'd chose to come to you, the community, for support. People have shown over the years that they are willing to donate and get involved. We very deliberately made a decision that nothing that has been free in the past will become part of the Premier services. You will be able to continue enjoying Dropzone.com exactly as you have without ever giving us a penny. That's the way I want it. We will create additional Premier features, and those users who find them valuable can subscribe on a voluntary basis. We think they're pretty neat! Thank you to everyone who have supported me through the years in all manner and ways. I hope you enjoy the Premier Features. As part of our Premier launch we have partnered with Aerodyne and one of our new premier members will win a complete system - container, main and reserve - from Aerodyne's line of products. Click on the link below for more information. More information and how to Subscribe for Premier Membership
  22. Image by Vincent Reeder Do you remember what it was like to go on a first date? Imagine inviting someone out that you felt was completely out of your league...beautiful, intelligent, witty - the whole package. I feel nervous just thinking about it. Naturally you'd want to leave a great impression. You hope that at the end of the night your date would say that it was the best date she'd ever been on. To reach this outcome, attention to detail is necessary. I'd wash my car, research restaurants to ensure the atmosphere was romantic, the food outstanding and the service excellent. Now visualize picking your date up. Think about how you feel physically: sweaty, nervous and a marathon-pumping heart rate. After you've practiced saying "Hello, you look beautiful tonight," (several times) you get out of the car, walk confidently up the driveway without revealing your internal emotions. Once she greets you at the door, your awareness levels are in hyperdrive - you notice everything in milliseconds - the way she looks from head to toe, how she smells… your subconscious notices what's behind her as she stands in the doorway. Is her place messy or neat? You take everything in. The emotions felt on a first date are how our students feel when arriving at the drop zone for the first time - out of their comfort zones, excited and nervous. Our students notice EVERYTHING from the moment they drive in to the parking lot until they've landed from their jump. As drop zone operators, we must remember that we are hosting the ultimate date - the opportunity to give someone a lifetime memory. Every detail on our date should be carefully examined - each customer point of interaction be brought to a five star standard. Our goal is to have our guests say that their experience was one of the best days of their lives. Bob Marley once sang, "You can't please all the people all the time…" No matter how hard we strive to exceed customer expectations, we will never be perfect. Smartphones have empowered consumers to become critics that effect how other consumers decide where to spend their money - with your business or with your competitor. When negative comments are posted about your business, how you react (or not react) can greatly effect the outcome. In this week's newsletter, we examine tips for handling negative feedback. 6 Strategies For Handling Negative Reviews Tip 1: Don't Knee Jerk The natural response when reading criticism is to immediately become defensive and type out a quick response. DON'T DO THAT. Sit with the criticism for a while and let the initial shock that you've been publicly called out, settle. The walls aren't caving in and some of the criticism may have merit. Try to be objective and own your part in the criticism. The biggest mistake is not making necessary changes to ensure a similar review doesn't pop up in the future. Tip 2 - Join The Conversation After you've calmed down, it's better to join the conversation than ignore it. Negativity breeds negativity and joining the conversation is better than allowing one person's views to rumble into an avalanche of criticism that becomes unmanageable and viral. It's best to be non-confrontational, non-defensive and act as a caring human being. Be calm in your response and say sorry if you need to. Introducing yourself and showing that you're a real person puts a face to a business as opposed to a corporate entity with a PR spin. Pick and choose your battles as well. If someone is a tyrant and is abusive... the general audience will be able to discern that. Tip 3 - You Don't Have to be Right Realize that you don't have to be right. People who spend a lot of time online are used to companies trying to spin everything into a positive. If you're wrong, it's okay to say you're wrong. No one is perfect and it can be refreshing to see some honesty. Acknowledge and see if it's possible to find resolution by contacting the individual directly. If you can convert a critic into a fan of your business, the word of mouth spread is far greater. Criticism and how a customer's complaints are handled can be very valuable in spreading goodwill about your company. Tip 4 - Don't Get Caught Off Guard If you haven't done this yet, stop reading this newsletter and do it now. (I'll wait here while you get this done). Go to Google Alerts and plug in your company name. If anyone mentions your company online, you'll at least be in the know. It's never a good thing to have an online war raging about your company and have no awareness that it's even occurring. Tip 5 - Never Go Into A Diatribe (This is Queens English for "Don't show your ass.") Let's suppose the criticism you've received is misguided and wrong. The most common mistake is how people respond by: a). working themselves into a lather and taking a hard stance defending themselves and b). write a long-winded response that only fuels the comment thread (we see it on a daily basis within the forums of dropzone.com). When responding, keep calm and carry on (even if you want to rip someone's head off) and keep it relatively succinct. Rehashing each detail of the customer encounter WILL fuel more commentary from those watching the thread unfold. Keep in mind, you're not responding publicly to an audience of a few - it could be a few hundred. No matter how right you maybe, acting indignantly will only turn many people off. Tip 6 - Don't Hide- Be Transparent 
 Many companies delete negative reviews - particularly off of social media feeds. Deleting people's posts can cause rancor for those watching things unfold and they WILL CALL YOU OUT on it. The best course of action is to respond. Of course, there are some people out there ('trolls') who are looking for trouble and are looking to pick a fight.. when things get abusive, it's time to pull them off. The Realities Anonymity empowers people to say things they normally wouldn't in the presence of others. Showing you're human, interested in helping to solve a problem and publicly apologizing will usually diffuse most situations.
  23. admin

    Marketing To The Millennials

    Have you ever been at a restaurant and observed a group of people not speaking to one another because everyone was staring at their phones? The age group most likely to be "engaging" this way are people born between the years 1980 and 1996 - the Millennial generation. There’s a lot of good news about Millennials for the skydiving industry (for example, they put experiential value ahead of ‘stuff’), but there's some bad news too: many of us haven't adjusted our marketing plan to capture the Millennial market. We've only just begun to dip our toes into the vast ocean of digital marketing which would enable us to meet Millennials where they are - online. Having a functional website and a Facebook page is no longer enough; to effectively reach this demographic, we need to be fully immersed in the channels they are using and understand why they use them. Why You Need To Be Marketing To Millennials Although skydiving caters to individuals between 16 (depending on your country) and 106, the number one target demographic for the skydiving industry is men and women between the ages of 25 and 34. Have a look at your Facebook Insights and you'll probably notice that the largest percentage of your fan base usually falls within this category. And this category fits squarely within the age range of the Millennial generation. Love or hate their addiction to smartphones and tablets, there’s no denying that 18-34 year olds are an important segment, if not the MOST important segment of your customer base, and their influence is growing. According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials will surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in 2015. In the U.S., Millennials are responsible for an estimated 1.3 trillion dollars in annual spending. This number will only increase as more Millennials reach their peak income earning years over the next two decades. The future success of your business will depend in large part on your ability to properly market your services to the Millennial generation. As digital natives, the way Millennials interact, view, and engage with the world around them is completely different from previous generations. Their preferences are different, their values are different, and their spending habits are very different. Companies who want to effectively tap into this growing demographic are going to have to embrace a completely new marketing strategy that takes these differences into account. In a recent report, “How Millennials Are Changing the Face of Marketing Forever,” The Boston Consulting Group outlines the ideal marketing strategy for capturing the Millennial generation. They call it reciprocal marketing and describe it as follows: “Instead of being a process that is led and pushed by companies, modern marketing is an ecosystem that is influenced by some factors that a company can control and some that are beyond its control. It is a system in which marketers, customers, and potential customers perpetually exchange experiences, reactions, emotions, and buzz.” How To Create An Effective Reciprocal Marketing Campaign 1. Be WHERE Your Customers Are To effectively reach Millennials, companies must be present online and offline; they must have a strong mobile presence. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 83% of Millennials now own a smartphone. Of those, 50% report that their preferred device for accessing the internet is their smartphone. This means many of your potential customers are accessing your website on a mobile device. Have you visited your website on a smartphone or tablet lately? How does it look? Is it easy to read and navigate, or do you have to constantly pinch and expand to see the text? Millennials are the instant gratification generation - If your website is not responsive (meaning it automatically adjusts to fit any size screen or device), chances are they won't be sticking around for long, and you won't be getting their business. 2. EMBODY What Your Customers Aspire to Be Millennials are looking to connect with brands that reflect their values and project who they aspire to be. What do Millennials value? Luxury, adventure, excitement, travel, and authenticity – to name a few. They describe their generation as tech savvy, modern, risk taking, rebellious, smart and humorous. If you want to strike a chord with Millennials, make sure that your company’s messaging, imagery and personality reflect what they value. This shouldn't be too difficult - what could be more adventurous, exciting, authentic, and rebellious than skydiving? And there's more great news for our industry: a recent poll found that Millennials place a higher value on life experiences than on physical possessions. In fact Millennials’ spending habits are the driving force behind the new “experience economy.” 78% of Millennials said they would rather spend money on a memorable experience than on an object; 72% indicated that they would likely spend more money on experiences than physical things next year; and 72% reported suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out), a condition that is driving them to engage in more experiences so they can “keep up” (i.e. post pictures and status updates of their exciting life experiences) with their social networks. 3. ENGAGE with Your Customers to Build Trust If you want to build customer loyalty among Millennials, you must engage with them. Millennials desire to interact and share their experiences and opinions with companies through social media. Research indicates that recognition is extremely important to Millennials so when you open up a dialogue make sure you are prompt to reply to customers who engage with you. Make them feel as if they have a personal relationship with your brand. Millennials are overwhelmingly skeptical. Only 19% believe people can be trusted. This means a company has to work hard to gain and maintain their trust. Authentic engagement via social media is one of the best ways to do this. When you build loyalty with Millennials who have already used your services, you encourage them to share their opinion of your company with their friends. And because Millennials’ purchasing decisions are largely influenced by friends and family, making your current customers brand advocates will reassure their social circle that you are a trustworthy company to do business with. Social Media - Quick Facts 52% of Millennials follow/like their favorite brands online via social media channels. Facebook is still by far the most popular social media channel with Millennials, but more users are engaging with multiple platforms daily. Relevant platforms: 2014 Usage Statistics (18-29 years old) Facebook = 87% Twitter = 37% Instagram = 53%
  24. Image by Brian Buckland When we discuss training in the skydiving community we usually refer to training students or teaching experienced skydivers new techniques. However, we seldom discuss how to train our staff so they are safer and more effective. By grooming your staff you can make your drop zone more enjoyable for your customers and in turn, make your business more profitable. Today, I would like to discuss a psychological situation that can affect the staff as well as other skydivers. That situation is known as Groupthink. What is groupthink? Simply put, it is a condition that occurs when a closely cohesive group has a tendency to make bad decisions because the group pressure becomes so great, everyone starts to ignore moral judgments and sound decision making. Groups that are more susceptible to this phenomenon are tightly cohesive, have a similar background, and have a lack of clear rules for decision making. As for me, I cannot think of a more cohesive group of individuals with, similar backgrounds, than a group of skydiving professionals. Please don’t get me wrong, it is not a bad thing that we are a cohesive group of people. We just need to be able to recognize when our staff, or group, is beginning to fall into a groupthink mentality. So, what are the symptoms of groupthink? In 1972 a social psychologist named Irving Janis identified eight symptoms of groupthink. As you read through these I ask that you think to yourself about a time where you actually witnessed one or more of these at a drop zone. 1. The feeling of invulnerability – Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks. 2. Collective rationalizations – Members ignore warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions. 3. Beliefs in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions. 4. Stereotyped views of “outsiders”– Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary. 5. Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views. 6. Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed. 7. Illusion of unanimity – The majority’s view, and judgments, are believed to be unanimous. 8. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions. I’m sure most people can relate to a few of these symptoms and to make it perfectly clear, just because you see one or two of these does not necessarily mean that a groupthink situation is going on… but then again it could. Since we know the symptoms, what can we do to prevent a groupthink situation, or to try to remedy the effects of a situation already happening? Let’s start by defining what we call a group. A group can be something small and organized like a team. It can be a little bit larger such as the staff of a DZ. Or it can be a group of people with a common cause such as free flyers or belly flyers. Now, let’s address the problem. One way to help prevent group think from setting in is to designate a member of the group as a devil’s advocate. This person will be the one to think outside the box and to ask the questions “what if” and “why”. The devil’s advocate should also suggest alternate plans or ways of doing things. It is important that the devil’s advocate does not just go through the motions, but makes meaningful suggestions and the group discusses them. This will keep everyone’s head focused on moral and safe decisions and not just out of habit dismiss all suggestions. Another preventive measure is for the leader to set aside an amount of time to survey warning signs. To define the leader, it can be a team coach, the DZO/DZM, but at a minimum it should be the S&TA.; This doesn’t have to be a big formal inspection, just a time to walk around the DZ so you can hear and see what people are doing and planning. In this case, someone will probably hear signs of groupthink before they see actions. Listen to what people are planning. Listen to what they are encouraging others to do. At the same time take note on how their words and actions are affecting others, especially the less experienced skydivers. Finally, for members of the group; you should all routinely talk to someone from outside the group that is trusted and has a valued opinion. These talks should be one-on-one and preferably not with the same person. This will give you a fresh point of view and help you to make the best decision, not necessarily the one that goes along with the group. By keeping an eye on each other not just by doing gear checks, but by letting people know when you start to observe behavior that could lead to unsafe practices, you can help make our sport safer. Let’s face it. Being a skydiver means taking calculated risks. We need to work together to keep the odds in our favor.
  25. gleison

    Safety during workouts emergency

    Technology has greatly helped aviation professionals when it comes to security. Modern equipment has made life easier for riders who venture into the sky to protect us from enemies. 1. What are these items? This equipment simulates parachute for emergency exits. One such device is highlighted by its quality in graphic detail and faithful performance during simulation, because you can imagine yourself in midair and plummeted. 2. What do they do? The sensations are basically the same for an emergency situation trying to make almost one real moment of danger. 3. How does it work? The pilot is inside the device that looks like a real parachute and put a helmet and has a motion sensor. The pilot should be in full uniform as if in a confrontational situation in midair, making it even more faithful simulation. 4. When connected. The device, when connected, is being monitored by an experienced trainer and a specialist in the system, which will be recorded all data collected during the simulated flight for further research. 5. What more simulator used by these professionals? One of the most widely used equipment for testing the simulator is created by the company e.sigma. This simulator is called SOKOL and has a wide range of resources capable of solving problems that occur during flight. He has a different system for more complete simulator training for emergencies in the air. 6. The pilot. The pilot, when the simulator should be fully equipped for safety and to look real. The pilot visualize the environment in a free fall and feel the difficulty of the force of the wind and rain through a "glasses" 3D quality equipped with a motion sensor, with which the pilot may make light or rapid head movements that not lose sight of the focus of the landing. In addition to the visual effects are sound effects that are nearly real simulate the sound of wind, rain and other climatic obstacle or not. 7. Virtual environment .. The simulation begins with the rider "in" the aircraft, then it jumps, which actually is skipping a step equipment. But there is a simulation of an ejection cabin of an airplane, which in an emergency can make the difference between surviving or dying. The software allows to simulate different environments perfectly fall, terrain and weather, not to mention that before starting the workout safety instructor will program without knowing the pilot, some emergency situations that may occur in normal flight. 8. The equipment. The simulation system consists of support where the rider is, computer monitoring, sensors that are connected to computers and the pilot, as well as specific software. The system is very interactive and easy to use, anyone can operate it. The simulator is suitable for specific training, therefore, are used to simulate situations of extreme emergency, however, are also used in military selections, ie, it is not a virtual toy, but a life saving device.