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Found 7 results

  1. nettenette

    Why We Boogie

    The History of a Silly Name Image by Andrey Veselov It’s hard to imagine that, not too long ago, a skydiving get-together was a rare thing indeed. Today, as you’ve no doubt noticed, there are hundreds of ‘em. In fact, almost every drop zone, no matter how small, has at least one official yearly boogie to celebrate its local jumpers. Namibia! Fiji! A tiny little beach town in Kenya*! A big field in Montana! Where two or three are gathered in its name, behold: you’ve got a boogie on your hands. Some of these events are immense, filling the skies with dozens of wildly various aircraft, hundreds of skydivers and a whirling (terrifying?) smorgasbord of disciplines. Others are comparably tiny. Despite their differences, most boogies are a reliably good time. It stands to reason that a group of skydivers would find any excuse to come together in a frenzied combination of daytime skydiving and nighttime frivolity–but when did the first one take place, and how did it come by such a goofy name? Read on. The Birth of a Boogie The modern skydiving boogie may owe its existence to a film: specifically, the first major skydiving film released to the public, called Gypsy Moths. Shortly after the film’s much-lauded debut, one of the skydivers featured in the film – a prominent skydiving athlete named Garth “Tag” Taggart – was asked to put together a “just-for-fun” skydiving event in his hometown of Richmond, Indiana. Until then, skydivers only really, officially gathered for USPA-officiated competitions at regional and national meets. In September of 1972, Garth arranged that seminal event, which is recorded in Pat Work's fascinating record of early skydiving (entitled "United We Fall"). Where Did the Term “Boogie” Come From? The term “boogie” derived from a comic motif developed by fringe cartoonist R. Crumb.** The motif features a “boogie man” striding confidently across an abstract landscape with the phrase “Keep On Truckin’” emblazoned above. The word “boogie” doesn’t appear anywhere within the motif, but the story goes that Garth Taggart was inspired by the image. He was also probably influenced by use of the word in New Zealand skydiving circles, as well as by its use as a then-trendy name for an, ahem, wild party. In any case, Taggart picked that moniker to describe the Richmond RW Festival on its event t-shirts, and the term stuck. Firmly. These get-togethers have sometimes been referred to as “jumpmeets”--in the olden days, when the organizers didn’t want to saddle the event with the term’s then-obvious, hard-partying implications--but “boogie” is how we’ve really come to know the phenomenon. Hilariously enough, those historic shirts didn’t actually use the word “boogie.” Due to an unfortunate misspelling on the hastily-printed giveaways, they described the event as a “boggie.” Snicker snicker. The First Boogie Kicks Off However confused the naming, that original event brought together more than a hundred skydivers from all over the US to practice the then-relatively-new RW discipline. The Richmond City Boys’ Club hosted the event, making significant revenue by charging non-skydivers an admission fee. That first boogie (or “boggie,” if we’re being historically accurate) saw some formations that were, for the time, pretty damn groundbreaking. In "United We Fall," Pat Work notes that the athletes “made several big stars out of a Twin Beech and a DC-3.” Work goes on to remember that “[a]ll the self-styled, super-hero RW types made three tries at a 30-man, and succeeded in FUBAR-ing all three in front of the lens of Carl Boenish.” The botched jump didn’t cripple the event, however. “Everyone else just giggled and went up and made 18-mans […] with no problems[.]” That night, the skydivers and some lucky spectators enjoyed a raucous bonfire, dancing and screenings of some of the most seminal skydiving videos on record. The Boogie Evolves In the years immediately following that first boogie, the quickly growing sport of skydiving started to earn a bad-boy reputation amongst the general public (who didn’t much care about it previously, when the sport was tiny and firmly on the fringes). For several years, the city of Richmond out-and-out banned skydiving for fear of its freakshow excesses.*** By the time the 1970s were drawing to a close, however, that original boogie had become very official. It turned into the USPA Nationals--whaddaya know. Boogies Today The phenomenon of the boogie holds to the much same spirit as Garth “Tag” Taggart’s founding principle: fun. These days, however, they’re also used as a venue for major skydiving competitions, world records, vendor demonstrations, charity efforts and loci for training. Across the board, these events retain one important historical value: the nominal “boogie” itself. We come for the party, right? *Which I just finished attending. **If you aren’t aware of R Crumb, treat yourself to a Google image search. You’re welcome. ***Apparently, it was proving too logistically difficult to lock up their daughters--and sons, for that matter.
  2. admin

    Boogie Turmoil Survival Tips

    Introduction Boogies, skills camps and destination events are now available in the farthest reaches of the globe - taking place in countries that range from reassuringly orderly to exhilaratingly shambolic. Wherever you are heading, be sure to bone up on all the information you might need before you go - and prepare accordingly. Background research both specific to skydiving and for travel in general will aid your journey under any circumstances, favourable or otherwise, but the more you know in advance the better off you will be when things get complicated. Somewhere that is putting on a skydiving event might simply operate very differently to what you are used to, and the more you can do in advance to set yourself up for success the better. If any appropriate information has been overlooked by the event organisers and you are left in the dark without adequate briefings and knowledge, then ask around - skydivers love to quack on about stuff and those that have previously attended a particular location will tell you the things you really need to know. Skydiving events of any size contain a lot of moving parts that must all work harmoniously to keep people jumping safely. Myriad financial and logistical puzzle pieces require being carefully pulled together over the course of many months to successfully stage a gathering above and beyond the scope of a dropzone’s usual activity. These numerous variables mean there is a lot that can potentially go wrong - the weather might totally crap out and leave everyone fighting for whatever slots that might become available, a broken thingumy may ground an aircraft and significantly reduce lift capacity (or even scratch it completely) or someone can easily enough pick up the kind of injury that demands all jumping operations be shut down for a bit. The list of things that can cause problems and inefficiencies is long and unpredictable - and while the likelihood of the event organisers doing anything other than their very best is slim, they simply might not have the available mental power to stay on top of a snowballing situation. So, what should you do when you are at an event where the wheels are coming off? Buddy Up: If you are used to jumping in a country with lots of rules that must be adhered to while parachuting you can quickly land well outside of your comfort zone in the sketchier corners of the map. Teaming up with another human who can watch your back, both during jump procedures and on the ground in more general ways can provide a measure of reassurance not formally provided. Someone more experienced is good, but anyone who can objectively and reliably keep an eye on you is a solid plan. Check in with each other before and after every jump and at various points throughout each day. Also let one another know how to access vital documents and important personal items should anyone end up taking a trip to the hospital or the police station or the loony bin. Use Your Skills Wisely: Always keep both eyes on your own safety. At any boogie it is very easy to get swept up onto jumps where you are really less than comfortable. If a boogie is running away from itself it is more important than ever to correctly asses and manage the jumps you are doing. Nobody is going to do that for you. Remember that the real rewards are in the endless journey. A nicely formalised and arranged skills camp is the time and place to stretch your legs. Understanding you current limits and working sensibly with them is the path to a great time and safe jumps. Wisdom is calling things to heel when everyone around you is getting looser by the minute. Take Responsibility For Your Data: You can pretty much guarantee that by the time the boogie kicks off any dropzone internet will be down for the duration. Whatever reliable bandwidth the facility has available will likely be reserved for the running of crucial operations, and not for you to WhatsApp photos of each other of someone with a bottle of Jaegermeister duct-taped to their face. A local pre-paid mobile bundle is often the most reliable and affordable choice, but whichever way you want to sort it out some personal phone data is well worth the money. The more overwhelmed an event becomes, the higher the chances are of someone going missing or taking a trip to hospital - you can use the navigation and location tracking services of modern smartphones to find your way back to the airfield or to help look for a lost person. A active messaging group for all of your party can enhance a group experience but can also provide a valuable safety net for communication when everybody is getting shitfaced and things are getting weird. Be Ready: Impending chaos will likely first show itself as wildly inaccurate call times. A twenty-minute warning might mean you will be jumping either right away or hours from now - so the best plan is to always be ready. If your group can rock and roll at a moment’s notice not only will it aid the quality of your jumps, such exhibitions of professionalism will possibly ooze out of you and influence those close by who are less coherent. Help Out: If things are frantic, offer to help. If you have some local knowledge and are surrounded by disgruntled people who have travelled far to attend, then perhaps round them up and show them a good time. Chipping in even with seemingly insignificant things such as making the tea might free up other people better positioned to get stuck in with that broken aeroplane problem or downed computer network. Patience: A spoonful of patience goes a long way. If things are devolving into chaos aim to ease through it rather than throw wood on the fire. Try to remember that planning and executing a boogie takes a lot of work from all the people involved with the DZ and they rarely (if ever) make any money - and certainly not more than the usual daily business of the place. Not getting all up in people’s faces might help things to run smoothly again and shouting at the staff will help no-one. Speak Out: However! Don’t be afraid to speak up if you can see that something is dubious or outright dangerous. Stick your chin up and your chest out and say “What the fuck is this, you clueless morons?” Those responsible for an event that is going to shit may well be under fire from all angles, but if something is wrong they are required to honour everybody’s safety and fix it. Conclusion: All told, if your life allows you to own a parachute and use it recreationally then things are pretty good. Any kind of skydiving jamboree you attend will most likely be filled with treasured experiences you will talk about for years to come. If the odd one does not pan out exactly as you were hoping, then attempt to handle it in the most positive way possible - try not to make things worse, help others be safe wherever you can, and wring every bit of knowledge and experience you can from it to apply going forwards. If you do find yourself at an event that devolves into the kind of chaos where you are genuinely worried about making though with your personage and sanity intact - you can always simply walk away.
  3. nettenette

    A Packing List For The Boogie-Bound

    Exits at the Baltic Boogie 2015 Image by Konwent Photography There are a number of ways to kneecap a boogie, and they often have something to do with your gear bag: a forgotten helmet that lands you in a beat-up student ProTec all week; a forgotten suit that leaves you slippery and gripless; the dreaded out-of-date repack card. When you’re gathering up everything you need for a week of rapid-fire skyjumpin’ in a far-off location, it’s easy to forget a (key) detail here and there. Maybe this--my personal packing checklist--might help.* The Basics Rig(s) Helmet(s) Suit(s) (wingsuit/tracking suit/belly suit/tunnel suit/freefly suit/sit suit/dinosaur onesie/all of the above) Dytter Altimeter Gloves Your preferred skydiving kicks Your credit card (and a healthy sense of realism about how thoroughly it’s about to be abused)Paperwork In-date parachute association license In-date reserve repack card AAD air travel card (like the one, from Cypres, or this one, from Vigil) so you aren’t caught off guard at any check-in you may pass through during your skydiving careerRig Protection Packing mat/drag mat: preferably, with a sun cover, riser holders and at least one pocket (If your mat doesn't have a sun cover, bring an old towel to cover your gear during any short moments you need to leave it in the sun.) Bonus points if you sew your own. Extra bonus points if you sew me one. A sturdy, high-quality suit hanger with molded shoulders (to hang up your suit(s) well away from the dirty hangar floor)Tools Several pull-up cords (or your trusty power tool) Leatherman, Swiss Army knife or other sturdy multi-tool Line routing card Hemostat or tweezers (for those moments when your fingers are just too big for the job)Replacement Materials Extra closing loops Rubber bands, both large and small (or Tube Stoes, if that’s your jam) Any special batteries you might need for your doodadsLogging and Note-Taking Materials Logbook. (If you don't keep a digital version, keep the paper book in a Ziploc bag because--let’s be real--you always spill either coffee or beer on that thing.) Ballpoint pen Pencil/eraser Sharpie Notepad (for sharing information with other skydivers, such as phone numbers and scrawled threats) Labeling tape (to mark everything with your identifying information)Camera Stuff * Note: Obviously, serious, like, aerial cinematographers have a much more nuanced kit than this. This is a starting point. Label everything. Camera. Or, y’know, cameras...but try not to cover the entire surface area of your body with ‘em. Waterproof case Non-waterproof case (for dry situations where you prefer better sound over better equipment security) Mounts Mount wrench Sync/charge cable Microfiber lens cleaning cloth and solution Extra SD cards, labeled clearly with identifying numbers (those little SD card wallets are nice)Comfort Buff(s) Non-perishable "emergency" snacks A water bottle (or rollable Platypus bottle) with flavor packets, teabags or whatever else entices you into actually sucking on the thing at regular intervals UV-protective sunglasses Sunscreen Kneepads Clean sweat rag Ponytail holders Rehydration packets (because that beer truck may well sneak up on your blind side)Additional Tips Label everything. Lots of skydivers on the DZ will have exactly the same items that you do in their packing kit for skydiving, from closing tools to helmets. If unlabeled items go missing from your kit, it’s likely not an issue of dishonesty -- just mistaken identity. Labeling often solves the problem before it arises. Keep it clean and organized. Keep like with like in separate bags within the larger gear bag, and keep everything protected from dust, dampness, dirt and sun. Make it easy to find every individual item, and you’ll save hours of time in the long run. Get an idea for what your access to the facilities is going to look like at the boogie. We’re talking cooking; laundry; showers. If you’ll need to carry in coins for showers and laundry--or if you’ll have to pre-buy something like laundry soap before you drive out into the hinterlands, or something along those lines--you’ll be glad you knew about it and planned accordingly. Ask around about the experience you can expect at the boogie you’re planning to attend. Skydivers who have been there before will be glad to run down the highlights and challenges for you. Even better: you might end up convincing them to join you for a reprise. *If you have additions to this list, by all means PM me!
  4. nettenette

    Jumping at a New DZ: Your Battle Plan

    Photo by Jeff Agard Just moved across the country? Heading out to boogie in a strange new land? Impromptu road trip? If you’re not used to jumping at new-to-you DZs, reorienting yourself to a new conveyor-belt-to-the-sky is a bit daunting. But never fear, brave adventurer: if you walk in knowing what you need to do, you’ll be golden. Here’s a checklist to help make the process a little easier on you. Before you arrive: 1. Do a preliminary scan for unpleasant surprises. Find out as early as possible if the dropzone (or the specific event you’re planning to jump) has special requirements that could keep you on the ground. 2. Budget. Get pricing on jump tickets, DZ accommodation and registration fees. This is a good time to check the jump-ticket refund policy and find out if there are extra charges for credit cards. 3. Ask about facilities. If you’re going to be squaring up to swampy summertime port-o-lets, miles-off RV hookups, co-ed showers (rawr) or anything else outside your comfort zone, you’ll want to know as early as possible so you can make a battle plan. 4. Make sure you’ve packed all your documentation. At the very least, you’ll need an in-date reserve repack card, your parachuting organization ID and your logbook. In some cases, you’ll also need your AAD travel documents and proof of medical insurance, too. Travel insurance is never a bad idea, either. When you arrive: 1.Get the lay of the land. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the hangar and in the waiting areas, so get oriented. Pick a prime spot for your gear (hopefully, near an electrical outlet). Find the bathrooms and the fridge. Identify the load monitors, if there are any. Find out if there’s a separate window for manifest, or if the main office does it all. 2. Rock up to the office. Fill out the waiver, get a gear-and-paperwork check and buy your tickets. 3. Get briefed. You’ll likely be pounced on when you land in the office, but just in case: Pin somebody down to give you a complete briefing of the dropzone’s map and rules. Do not get on the plane without a briefing. Get clear on the manifest procedure. It seems like every DZ on the planet does this differently, and it can really get in the way if you’re not on board. Are you going to have to pay in advance, pay as you go, or pay at the end of the day? How does the ticket system work? Learn the exit order and separation rules. Many drop zones have very specific procedures in place, while others assume you should know where you belong. Watch how the local jumpers organize themselves, and ask lots of questions if you don’t get clear instruction. Check out the satellite map. You can expect a dropzone representative to use an overhead map of the dropzone and its surrounds to brief you. The rep will describe how to use recognizable landmarks to spot the dropzone from the air and review landing area obstacles, power lines, bodies of water, nasty neighbors, turbulence, the “beer line” and uneven terrain. Use this time to memorize your outs. Find out if there’s a special hard deck for this DZ. If there is one, it might be (way) higher than your personal hard deck. Check out the wind indicators. Find them on the overhead map, then peek at them in person while you take yourself on a tour of the main (and alternate, if applicable) landing areas. If there are tetrahedrons, ask if they’re trustable or if they’re “sticky.” Know the landing pattern. Landing patterns are not the same across dropzones, ranging from first-one-down-sets-it to a regular Busby Berkeley choreography of established patterns that never, ever change. Until you’ve internalized the unique rhythm, it’s best to give the main landing area a wide berth for your first handful of jumps at a new DZ. Make sure you know the rules and areas for swooping and hook turns, whether or not you plan to do them. (Don’t be the big canopy that tugboats lamely across the zoomy canopies’ path.) Figure out the loading procedure. Find out how the calls are announced and where you need to be to hear them. If there are shuttles to the plane, you’ll need to know what the call is to be on the shuttle. If there’s a retrieval from the landing area, make sure you know where it is (and hoof it over there right after touchdown). 4. Get on a load! Make an organizer friend (or be your own organizer friend) and keep an open mind about what jumps you want to do. 5. Buy the good beer to share at greenlight. It’s basically, like, a housewarming that you throw for yourself. You’ll feel at home before you know it.
  5. admin

    Flight Planning for Safety

    In any aviation activity proper flight planning is critical to safety, and skydiving is no exception. If you take the time beforehand to plan for various eventualities, you don't waste precious time making decisions when they arise. Preflight Familiarize yourself with aerial views of the DZ and surrounding area, if they are available. Note locations of obstacles and pick likely outs for bad spots in various directions. Check weather reports, if possible, and note forecast winds at altitude, cloud conditions and any approaching fronts. You are less likely to be blindsided by rapid changes in conditions when informed of their likelihood. Turn on your AAD, if so equipped. Make sure your hook knives are accessible. Find out who on the formation has audible or visible altimeters, AADs and RSLs; make sure they are all operational and properly initialized. Check your and your partners' gear. Make sure you are in agreement on breakoff and opening procedures and altitudes. Face into the wind and see where the sun is. Its position should be the same when you are on final and there is no wind indicator available. Exit Know what groups are around you, what they are doing and what delay is planned between groups (ask around before and after boarding). The Skydive Arizona policy of large to small slow-faller groups, followed by large to small fast-faller groups, followed by students, followed by tandems is the best all-around approach in the business. The more of a delay between groups you can arrange, the better. DO NOT assume that any reasonable delay is reason not to pay attention to other groups in the air - LOOK AROUND! Freefall Dock gently, from the level of the formation. DO NOT swoop into a formation, but make the final approach smooth and deliberate. DO NOT EVER get above or below a formation. Inadvertent deployment can become fatal fast if people are above each other. If low, stay near and to the side of the formation until breakoff. Do NOT begin tracking before breakoff altitude, and DO NOT do anything to increase vertical separation.. Track flat at a common level. DO NOT drop out of a formation vertically. If you have an inadvertent deployment when you are below the formation, the likelihood of someone getting killed is significant. The greatest likelihood of an inadvertent deployment is right after exposing the pilot chute pouch to direct air stream - like when dropping out of a formation in a stand-up. Track to a clear sector while watching the people on either side. While flat tracking, it is easy to split the difference between the people to either side by looking under your arms. Canopy Flight Open at an appropriate altitude. Between two and three thousand feet is reasonable for a high traffic event; any higher opening (for CRW or whatever) should be arranged with the pilot. Do NOT spiral down through a high traffic area. If spiraling to lose altitude, get well off the wind line to stay clear of the spot for other groups, and LOOK AROUND. In a turn, the direction of most likely collision is at the leading edge of the canopy in the direction of the turn, and there is a blind spot where a collision may occur between jumpers whose canopies blocked their view of each other until right before the collision. I reiterate - SPIRALING IN HIGH TRAFFIC IS DANGEROUS! The safest flight path when opening above the landing area is to fly the canopy away from the landing area, perpendicular to jumprun, until far enough out to allow a long, shallow approach to the landing area (leave enough room for obstacle clearance). LOOK AROUND NEAR THE GROUND! Don't fixate on your landing, but pay attention to who is in the area. Keep your head on a swivel, and periodically scan for potential traffic. Do not execute unplanned turns near the ground. If you are cut off on final, executing an avoidance turn must not be a possible response. Landing The safest landing areas are the least popular ones with the most outs. Landing in congested areas or where ground traffic is allowed (e.g., the camping area) can be an invitation to disaster. If you must turn for traffic or obstacle avoidance while setting up to land, use a FLAT TURN. If you don't know how to do so, find out from someone experienced in the maneuver and practice at altitude until you have the procedure wired. Keep your head on a swivel after touchdown. Even if you land under complete control, you might want to dodge someone who is swooping where they should not. If landing out is inevitable, or if safely making it to a designated landing area is in doubt: Pick an open area in which to land by 1,000 feet (300 metres). Corn can be over 12'(4m) tall (a cornfield is NOT like an unmown lawn), so landing between rows and preparing for a PLF will reduce the likelihood or extent of injury. Any changes of color on the ground probably have barbed wire along the boundary. Land parallel to any area changes. Locate any telephone poles or other wire supports by 500 feet (150 metres), and set up to avoid the wires that are sure to go between them. Identify the lay of the land by 500 feet (150 metres), and set up to land alongside any hills. Do NOT land uphill or downhill, REGARDLESS of what the wind is doing. If there is any doubt about the landing surface, or if you are sure to have excess speed on touchdown (like when stuck with a downwind landing) execute a PLF and roll out the landing. Keeping feet and knees together, and not using hands or elbows to break the fall can greatly help avoiding injury.
  6. For most of us that have been to the World Freefall Convention (WFFC) before, the excitement begins to build as soon as we drive up to the airport entrance and stop at registration. Just seeing canopies in the air is enough to get our adrenaline flowing and make us hurry to get in the sky so we can have as much fun as the people we see there already. But wait! For safety's sake we need to slow down and take some time to familiarize ourselves with the convention facilities. In particular, those of you who have never been to the World Freefall Convention at least need to take a look at a map of the airport and convention site so you know where to find the best places to park, camp, and land your parachute safely. There aren't many rules at the convention, but the ones we have are important, because they affect the safety and enjoyment of the convention by you and everyone else who attends. We skydivers are generally some of the most safety conscious people around, but the excitement and fast pace of a large skydiving event have the potential for making us forget or ignore the usual good judgment we use back at the home DZ. One of the most important safety rules that we ask you to follow is to not push yourself and exceed your skill or capabilities. This applies in several areas: Getting On A Load The World Freefall Convention has the widest variety of skydiving opportunities you may ever experience in a short period of time and at one location. You will have a chance to jump from many types of aircraft and be on many types and sizes of skydives that might not be available to you back at your home DZ. Load organizers will be available for all of the skydiving disciplines, as well as seminars, coaching, and formal instruction by well known skydivers in these areas. These people will do all they can to help you learn to skydive better and to help you get on skydives that are safe, fun, and challenging. Most people who come to the convention seem to be interested mainly in freefall formation skydiving. If you are one of these jumpers the best bet is to start off with a group no larger than you usually jump with, and keep it simple until you are comfortable jumping with people you don't know and with figuring out where you are going to land. Even some experienced jumpers who have been to several conventions in the past try to first find a small group of jumpers and "warm up", while at the same time refamiliar- izing themselves with the convention at a relaxed pace. If you usually jump with small groups it wouldn't hurt to break off a little high on some of the first few loads so you can get some practice tracking a good distance from others in case you want to get on larger loads. Just be sure to use that time tracking, and don't open higher than recommended. Once you have made a few jumps you may get the urge to try bigger formations, and a good way to start is by checking with the load organizers that are available at the convention. The organizers are there to help you get on a skydive quickly, and to plan safe and successful skydives for jumpers at all experience levels. If you have any questions about safety or what type of skydive might be appropriate for someone with your skydiving experience while at the convention, just ask one of the load organizers. They will be happy to help you even if you are not jumping on one of their loads, or if you already have a group with whom to skydive. Landing Landing areas at the convention are generally unrestricted and we would all like to keep them that way, but this depends on your good judgement and common sense. If you are experienced enough and are conservative, you can land right next to where you are parked or camped, but there are plenty of large open areas in which to land, and the short walk you will make back to your packing area in some situations might be well worth the additional safety. While under canopy you will need to constantly be checking for other jumpers that may not see you. Think ahead and plan your landing site and pattern while still high enough to avoid other canopies without requiring evasive maneuvers. Hook-turns (turns more than 90 degrees for landing) are allowed only on approach to the swoop pond (where they are expected) and must not be done anywhere else! As a reminder, there are some situations in which you will definitely want to land in a large open area: If you are jumping a demo canopy with unfamiliar flight characteristics. If you have any problems with your canopy and decide that it is safe to land anyway, for example, a broken steering line, an accidental step-though pack job, or a canopy connected backwards. If you have a reserve ride. Demo Gear Most of the major manufacturers of skydiving gear will be at the convention and they will have gear available for you to see and to test jump. However, these people probably do not know you, and do not know your experience level and abilities. If you exaggerate your experience or ability when deciding what gear to try out you are only putting yourself and others in danger. Canopies are the most likely piece of gear that you will have the opportunity to test jump and there will be a wide range of types and sizes available, some of them very high performance types. Be conservative, and take the manufacturer's advice on what canopy to try first. Most importantly, land in an open area that is away from other jumpers. A quick toggle turn required by suddenly finding another canopy in your path could be disastrous in an unfamiliar high-performance canopy. The harness/container systems provided by the manufacturers to test jump or to use when trying out a canopy are always very nice pieces of gear, and some of them even allow you the option of where to put the pilot chute. Still, they are not the same as jumping your own gear. Make sure the rig fits well and that the leg straps are tight and securely in place. Practicing your pull before the skydive is a good idea. In Conclusion The World Freefall Convention can provide us with some of the greatest opportunities and most fun skydiving times of our lives, but we must exercise a good deal of caution to keep it that way. Please be careful so we can all share in the fun for years to come.
  7. admin

    How to survive the WFFC

    It's summer again, and that means the summer boogies are in full swing. Big groups of jumpers are getting together at this and other boogies througout the world, jumping like crazy, trying new equipment and disciplines, and partying all night. While they can be a lot of fun, boogies also present some unique risks and dangers that we have to keep in mind if we want to make it through the summer without injury. Presented below are some tips to help keep you alive and jumping at the biggest skydiving boogie in the world. 1. Do only one new thing at a time. Many jumpers show up and are awed by the array of canopy demos, big ways, new planes (with new exits) and new styles of flying. Indeed, the WFFC is a great place to try new gear and jump new planes. But showing up, grabbing a demo rig with a tiny main, getting on a new type of airplane, and trying head down for the first time is not such a good idea. Want to try a new rig? Great! But first make a few jumps with your old rig. See if the canopy traffic near the landing area is OK with you. If it gets a little too intense, you're still in good shape, because you are familiar with your canopy, and are in a better position to handle lots of traffic. After your first few jumps on your current canopy, you can make a better decision whether a smaller canopy is a good idea, or if you want to land that smaller canopy in an alternate (i.e. larger, lower traffic) area. 2. Make small changes. If you do decide to jump that demo rig, talk to the folks at the canopy tent and get a canopy they recommend. I would hesitate to downsize more than one canopy size at a time at the WFFC, no matter how good you think you are. Put a few jumps on each size or style of canopy before going on to a more aggressive one, so you have some experience you can fall back on if the next landing doesn't go as well. 3. Know who you're jumping with. You're generally not going to know everyone on the dive, but at least make an effort to not to jump with all unknowns. Skydiving is still small enough that your friends probably know their friends, so ask around to determine their skill level. Ask them how many jumps they have, but be aware that this isn't always indicative of skills, and people sometimes lie about their number of jumps (which is really stupid.) The WFFC organizers are a good resource here, since they have a lot of experience matching people and planning safe dives. Even if you don't want to jump with them, you can ask them for recommendations on other people. Chances are one of the LO's knows them or has jumped with them at some point. 4. Jump with a clear head. The WFFC has some excellent parties. But if you were up all night, it might be a good idea to get a little sleep before jumping. Adrenalin can't always make up for a hangover or a lack of sleep, and you need all your wits about you when you're in the air at the WFFC. 5. Plan your outs. The main landing area by manifest is popular, but a lot of people have gotten hurt trying to land there. If dense canopy traffic worries you, land somewhere else. Also, if you open and you think you may not make it back to the main landing areas, pick your outs at 2000 feet, not at 50 feet. You don't have too many options left at that altitude. 6. Learn to flat turn and flare turn. This is really important. You will be in big crowds of jumpers flying back. At some point, someone will cut you off. If it happens at 50 feet you have three choices: make a hard toggle turn (and plow into the ground at a painful speed) run into them or flat turn away. If it happens at ten feet, or after you have begun your flare, you have even fewer options. So be sure you can both flat turn (turn with minimal loss of altitude, using both brakes) and flare turn (turn right and left in the flare) before you get put in a position where you need those skills. 7. Plan your opening altitude and stick to it. At the WFFC, it can be dangerous to open high, since the next plane may be coming along on the same jump run just a few minutes later. There are some aircraft/loads that allow higher openings; check with manifest if you need a higher opening altitude to try out a new canopy (for example.) The WFFC can be a dangerous place. But with a little planning and some common sense, you can spend your time at Rantoul jumping and partying rather than taking that "other" helicopter ride.