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Found 10 results

  1. The principles of freefall flight are quite simple; after all, you are dealing with just two things: your airfoil (body) and the wind. In a perfect, relaxed arch, or box man, you will fall straight down at a constant rate. To an observer falling along side, you appear stationary. You only seem to be falling relative to someone not in freefall, such as an observer in the airplane or on the ground. The box man is the neutral freefall position from which all maneuvers are carried out. Relative to a stationary observer, by altering your body position you can turn in place, move up and down, backwards and forwards, or sideways. You can even turn upside down or fly standing up. In fact, no one really knows the limits of body flying yet! From the box position you can easily initiate turns, forward, backward, and sideways movement, and changes in fall rate. From the side, the body presents a continuous smooth curve to the wind. The head is up, the arms higher thanthe body, and the legs are bent at a 45-degree angle, leaving the lower leg slightly extended into the wind. From above, the elbows are straight out from the shoulders and the hands are at least as far out as the elbows. The knees are slightly spead so that the feet are as wide apart as the elbows. Seen from the front, there is a smooth curve from side to side with the hips at the lowest point. Note that head, shoulders, and knees are all held high relative to the hips and chest. The basic moves are well understood. The most commonly used maneuvers are turns, forward and backward movement, and faster or slower falling. All are accomplished by changing the flow of air around your body. If you think of your box man as being balanced on his center in a neutral position, all he has to do to turn left is deflect more air off his right arm than his left. This is done by simply banking like an airplane - left arm down slightly, right arm up in proportion. The turn will continue until he resumes the neutral position. Lowering one knee relative to the other accomplishes the same thing. That's why an unintentional turn can often be stopped by assuming a neutral position and then giving a little "legs out" to increase awareness and balance the legs. Turns are also based on deflection of air. In the neutral position, equal amounts of air spill off both sides of the body. To turn right, our box man banks his arms, just as an airplane does in a turn. More air flows off the left side, creating a right turn. Note that the position of the arms relative to each other does not change; both arms tilt as a unit. The rest of the body remains neutral. To stop the turn, simply return to neutral. Forward motion works on the same principle of deflection. To deflect more air to the rear, resulting in forward motion, bring your arms back a few inches and extend your legs. This tips your body slightly head down, air rushes back off your torso and legs, and you slide forward. The two elements combine to create forward movement. Naturally the opposite motion - arms out and legs in - will make you backslide. Now think about how to go up and down. Everyone knows that given the same power, a streamlined vehicle can go faster than one that isn't. It slips through the air easier, just as a canoe knifes through the water more easily than a barge. So to speed up, you simply arch more, letting air slip off easily. Flatten out, or lower your knees and elbows, and you will fall slower. Incidentally, the faster you fall the more stable you are because your center of gravity is further below your control surfaces (arms and legs.) Test yourself: 1. If you reverse your arch, what will happen? Is this position stable? 2. Think about forward and backward motion. What would you do to fly sideways? Proceed to Chapter 4 (The Skydiving Universe)
  2. donaldchankaon

    Beginners knowledge on skysurfing

    The competitor with the lowest total time at the end of the 5 rounds of competition is the winner. The performance is recorded using a very high powered camera on the ground, the competitor leaving the aircraft at 2200 mts and after a few seconds to build up speed commence their sequence. The world record time is currently 5.18 sec (Male) and 6.10 sec (Female). In skysurfing, a jumper attaches a board, similar to a snowboard or wakeboard but made specifically for skydiving, to his feet and performs aerial acrobatics in freefall, including flips and spins. Lew Sanborn and Jacques Istel started the first commercial drop zone and training center in 1959. While skysurfing is visually appealing and has been included in events like ESPN’s X Games, few jumpers still pursue this challenging discipline. When leaving an aircraft, for a few seconds a skydiver continues to travel forward as well as down, due to the momentum created by the aircraft's speed (known as "forward throw"). The perception of a change from horizontal to vertical flight is known as the "relative wind", or informally as "being on the hill". Each event has a “working time” within which to repeat the sequence as many times as possible. During the tandem jump the instructor is responsible for emergency procedures in the unlikely event that they will be needed, therefore freeing the student to concentrate on learning to skydive. Skydivers reach terminal velocity (around 120 mph (190 km/h) for belly to Earth orientations, 150–200 mph (240–320 km/h) for head down orientations) and are no longer accelerating towards the ground. In freefall, skydivers generally do not experience a "falling" sensation because the resistance of the air to their body at speeds above about 50 mph (80 km/h) provides some feeling of weight and direction. Other training methods include static line, IAD (Instructor Assisted Deployment), and AFF (Accelerated Free fall) also known as Progressive Free-Fall (PFF) in Canada. A demanding freefall exercise of specified turns and loops executed very precisely at speed, and under tight control. At normal exit speeds for aircraft (approx 90 mph (140 km/h)) there is little feeling of falling just after exit, but jumping from a balloon or helicopter can create this sensation. The panel of judges judge from the recording media. The first three concern teams of either 8 or 4 plus their camera flyer performing a series of pre-determined patterns (formations) in a repetitive sequence whilst flying in a face to earth configuration. Style and Accuracy remained the primary discipline throughout the 1960s, and Relative Work continued to develop with the first 6 and 8 man formations being completed. Many people make their first jump with an experienced and trained instructor – this type of skydive may be in the form of a tandem skydive. All of their work is recorded by the camera-flyer, and the panel of judges sit in front of a screen and make their individual decisions. Each competitor is timed from the start of the “series” to the end and time points are added for penalties such as a turn completed off heading or a loop deviating from the axis. At this point the sensation is as of a forceful wind. The 1960s saw the beginnings of the first non-military drop zones, and non-military training methods. They developed a civilian training method with the belief that any intelligent person could be taught the basics of a parachute jump and jump the same day. They are judged on the number of correctly completed figures they make, and the team with the highest number at the end of 10 rounds of competition will be declared the winner.
  3. Imagine holding your arm out of a car window as you drive down the highway. The wind you feel is caused by your speed through the air rather than by weather. Skydivers call this apparent wind the relative wind, and it is the single most important element of the freefall environment. In fact, it is the only thing you have to work with in freefall, and from the moment of exit until your parachute opens you must think of yourself as a body pilot instead of a regular person, just as when you go swimming you have to leave your land habits behind. Your adventure in the relative wind begins at the moment of exit. There is nothing particularly complicated about exits and the techniques you use on your first freefall will be the same as those used by skydivers with thousands of jumps. Your exit makes or breaks the skydive, so we spend a lot of time practicing this part of the jump. A weak exit consumes valuable freefall time and puts you in a mental position of having to catch up, adding unwanted stress to your skydive. With a good exit you can get on with your learning and enjoyment at once, finishing the freefall tasks with plenty of time to spare. The two essentials of an exit are presentation and timing. Presentation refers to how you relate to the relative wind. Timing refers to your relationship with the other skydivers. Let's take a detailed look at these aspects of the exit. The body position we use to maintain a comfortable, neutral position on the wind (the equivalent of floating on water) is an arch. We'll learn more about body position soon, but for now you need to think simply about arching into the relative wind. This means that your hips are pushed forward into the wind, your arms and legs are spread out evenly and pulled back, and your chin is up, creating a smooth curve from head to toe. If you imagine lying face down in a shallow bowl with your arms and legs spread out evenly, you are thinking of an arch. In this position you will naturally face into the wind. To achieve a good exit, all you have to do is present your arch to the relative wind. Remember, we're on an airplane flying nearly one hundred miles per hour, so the relative wind is from the direction of flight. (When you see photos of skydivers they are usually presenting their arch towards the ground, but that's because they have fallen long enough to be going straight down so the relative wind comes straight up from the ground.) Once you are poised outside of the airplane, start your arch before you let go. Then it is a simple matter to open your hands, pivot into the wind, and you're flying! As you will soon learn, a relaxed arch is much more smooth, stable, and comfortable than a tense one so try not to think of yourself as falling off of an airplane. You're not; you're flying free. A mental image that might help would be learning to swim. You would be more relaxed and alert if you lowered yourself slowly down a ladder into warm water and let yourself float comfortably before letting go than if you jumped off a cliff into cold, dark surf. Think of the air as a friendly environment, slip into it smoothly as you climb out of the airplane, arch, take a deep breath, open your hands, and float off on the wind! You will note that I didn't say "push off." Until your parachute opens, your last contact with the world of solid objects is the airplane. If you push off, you will have some momentum that will tend to make you go over on your back, just as if you stood with your back to a pool and pushed off of something solid. Just arch and face the wind. As you leave the aircraft, the relative wind (arrow) is parallel to the ground. In a good arch with your head up, you should see only the airplane and sky rather than the ground during the first second or two of freefall. Losing forward speed and accelerating downward, the relative wind gradually shifts from parallel to the ground to perpendicular. This transition takes several seconds. You will not be facing the ground until about eight seconds after the exit. At no time do you look directly down at the ground. Even after the transition is over and you are falling straight down, in a good arch your head is up and your eyes are on the horizon. The aircraft's speed is about 100 miles an hour. When you leave, you lose some of that horizontal speed and actually slow down for the first few seconds. Then gravity takes over and you gradually accelerate to 110 miles per hour. That's why there is no sensation of sudden acceleration - you only gain ten miles per hour in ten seconds! Relax, arch, and face the wind is all you really need to do to achieve a stable exit. But remember that you are jumping with other people. For everyone to have a good exit, you also need group timing. Just as a band starts playing to a count, we'll start skydiving to a count. That count, used all over the country, is "ready, set, go!" It should be done with a smooth, even cadence. Because it's noisy outside an airplane, the count should be loud. Finally (think of a conductor with his baton giving a visual count to the orchestra) you, the conductor, need to give the other jumpers a visible count. We have you bring up your left knee on "set" and turn into the wind on go. Combining these two elements of presentation and timing will almost always result in a smooth exit. Leave out either one, and the exit may funnel, the term skydivers use to describe an unstable formation. Leave both out and a funnel is almost a certainty. But if that happens, don't panic. An arch will fix the problem. Incidentally, it doesn't affect your stability to dive out of the airplane. As long as you are presenting an arch to the relative wind, you will be stable. Unfortunately it takes most people a while to get used to the idea that the relative wind starts right outside the door. If you walk through an airplane door like you would a house door, you'll present your side or back to the wind and lose stability. In the water, walking doesn't work; you have to swim. Air is the same way - you have to fly through the door, not walk through. Test Yourself 1. Skydivers on the outside of an aircraft as they prepare to exit are called floaters. The ones inside the airplane who will dive through the door are called divers. Floaters are further divided into front, rear, and center, depending on their position in the door. On an ASP level one jump, the student is the center floater, the reserve side JM is front floater, and the main side JM is rear. Why is the front floater more likely to have a problem than the rear floater if he cannot hear or see the exit count given by the center floater? 2. Novices diving out of an airplane frequently do a half roll and then recover stability facing the aircraft. What could cause this common problem? Proceed to Chapter 3 (Flying Your Body)
  4. Every skydive starts before you board the airplane. Before you get on the airplane, you should be totally prepared for the jump ahead. This means that you know exactly what you are going to do on the jump and have had your equipment inspected. Make sure you have your helmet and goggles, remove jewelry and take sharp objects out of your pockets, tie your shoes tightly, and so on. Each jumper is responsible for their gear, and you should always check to be sure you have everything necessary for the skydive. Another part of the ground preparation is being ready to board the aircraft on time. Jump planes are just like airliners: they can't hold up twenty people because one wasn't ready. At the start of your skydiving progression, your jumpmaster will usually take care of reserving your slot on an airplane after you are completely trained and outfitted with the necessary equipment. It is then your responsibility to stay in the area and gear up at the appropriate time with your jumpmasters. Before you Board: 1) It's too late to ask questions once you are in the airplane, so before you board know exactly what you will do on the skydive and review your emergency procedures. On the ride to altitude you should review the dive mentally, imagining a perfect performance. Keep in mind, however, that you are not compelled to jump from the airplane just because you happen to be on it! If you realize on the aircraft that you are not ready to jump, you may ride down with the airplane. 2) Check your gear. Your jumpmasters will help you to be sure everything is correctly routed. Be sure your altimeter is set to zero, your goggles are clean, etc. If you will be boarding an airplane when its engines are running, keep a good grip on your goggles and gloves! 3) Stay close to your jumpmaster and away from the propellers, other aircraft, and any other hazardous objects. Remember that the pilot may not be able to see you when he is taxiing the airplane; he always has the right of way. Once you are in the airplane, sit where instructed. Be sure to wear your seat belt until you are high enough for an emergency exit. It is also a good idea to put your helmet on for the take off. Your two responsibilities in the airplane are to minimize movement and to protect your deployment handles. Avoid snagging not only your equipment but that of other jumpers. Until we are on jump run you should stay seated. Then, at the jumpmaster's command you can get to your feet and move carefully to the door. As you move about in the airplane, watch out for door handles, emergency exit releases, seat belt buckles, etc. While inside the airplane your job is to protect your parachute! Most of your jumps will be done from our larger, twin engine airplanes. Exactly which airplane depends on how many people are jumping and the aircraft maintenance schedule. You should have familiarized yourself with the aircraft door, handles, and steps before boarding. Most of the time the more experienced jumpers will exit first for a simple reason: students open their parachutes higher than experienced jumpers. To preclude the possibility of jumpers from different groups colliding, exits are staged several seconds apart and planned with the opening altitudes in mind. That way we get both horizontal and vertical separation between groups. If you are leaving first because of unusual circumstances, have your jumpmaster fill you in on what to expect. The jump run itself is flown into the direction of the wind. This gives the airplane the slowest possible ground speed . In other words, it is over the drop zone (DZ) longer than it would be if it was running down wind. The pilot uses GPS (Global Positioning System satellites) to tell him exactly where he is, and when he is over the spot , or correct exit point, he turns on a green light back by the door, telling the skydivers to exit. Should the exit sequence take so long that the last to leave might not make it back to the airport, the light will go off, indicating that the remaining jumpers should stay in the airplane for a second pass over the drop zone. Incidentally, since you will usually be getting out late in the line up, and since the jump run is into the wind, you have a way of knowing which way the wind is blowing as soon as your parachute opens. Imagine a line from the landing area to a point directly below you. That is the wind line - if the pilot was right about the spot. Test Yourself: 1.Why do we take our seatbelts off once we are above 2,000 feet instead of wearing them all the way to altitude? Continue to Chapter 2 (Exits)
  5. admin

    The Skydiving Handbook

    Welcome to skydiving, perhaps the most exciting and unusual sport in the world! You are at the beginning of a path thousands of people have safely followed for over thirty years. In that time, experience has shown that some approaches to skydiving work better than others. This handbook is designed to supplement the practical instruction you will be receiving from our instructors, all of whom are certified by the United States Parachute Association. During the course of your training we will cover the basic principles around which skydiving is built. While actual dive sequences and hands-on training will be given to you by our instructors, this handbook will explain the concepts behind the activities and allow you to study important principles at home. Skydiving terms are clickable the first time they appear, which takes you to the glossary. Be sure to have your jumpmasters explain any concepts that remain unclear. Although underlying principles will not change, they may be easier to understand through a different explanation, drawing, or analogy than the ones offered here. I encourage your questions; some of the principles covered are not immediately obvious. As the author, I also invite your comments and criticism - this first edition is sure to have many oversights and flaws. In the Aircraft Exits Flying Your Body The Skydiving Universe After the Freefall Canopy Performance Landings After the Landing Blue skies and safe skydiving; Bryan Burke
  6. Your square parachute is the result of two decades of design refinement. Like a glider, it can fly straight and level or turn, slow down, spin, and even stall. As the pilot, where you land and how you land is totally up to you. Practice, combined with a clear understanding of how your parachute works, will allow you to land softly, exactly where you want to, every time. When your parachute is inflated, the pressurized air filling the tailored cells causes it to take on a wing shape. A parachute has a fixed angle of incidence, built into it by the length of the lines. The "A" lines in front are shorter than the "D" lines in back, causing the wing to point slightly down. It essentially flies forward and down on the slope of the angle built into it. This angle causes it to fly about three feet forward for every one foot down, giving it a 3 to 1 glide ratio. In other words, on a calm day a parachute opened at 4,000 feet could fly a straight line distance of 12,000 feet before landing! The speed at which it flies is about 20 miles per hour forward and 6 to 8 miles per hour down when the canopy is in full glide with the control handles, called steering toggles all the way up. The toggles are also referred to as brakes, since pulling both down slows you down. Pulling down on the right toggle pulls down the back right corner of the canopy, slowing it down and creating a turn to the right. At the same time, the slow side looses lift and the canopy points downward in the direction of the turn, increasing the vertical descent rate. One of the most important handling characteristics of parachutes is that their descent rate always increases in a turn! This phenomenon is by far the greatest cause of parachuting injuries. With this in mind, you must take care to always plan your landing so that you will not be forced to do any major turns below 100 feet. How slow or fast you turn is in direct proportion to how far you pull down the toggle, as is the change in your descent rate - fast in a sharp turn, slower in a mild turn. If you pull down on both toggles simultaneously, the canopy's forward speed decreases. The slowest you can go is about five miles per hour forward. Generally you should fly your canopy as fast as possible - toggles all the way up. This is because the more air the wing has passing over it, the better it flies. In fact, in sustained deep brakes so little air passes over the wing that the descent rate increases significantly. You can even cause the canopy to stall, which means it gives up flying altogether. Normally student canopies have the control lines calibrated to make a stall condition difficult or impossible to get into. Whenever you jump an unfamiliar canopy, you should always do a series of turns and practice flaring (pulling both toggles down simultaneously) above 1,500 feet in order to acquaint yourself with its handling characteristics. Why 1,500 feet? Your CYPRES automatic activation device that deploys your reserve in an emergency is calibrated to fire at about 1,000 feet. It may mistake radical maneuvers under a good canopy for a malfunction and could deploy your reserve if you are aggressively turning or stalling the canopy below 1,500 feet! This is not only dangerous, but expensive. Recharging the CYPRES and repacking the reserve costs $170. If the CYPRES fired because of your mistake, you are the one who pays! Besides the canopy's handling characteristics, the parachute pilot must consider the surrounding conditions. Two variables are present to some degree on every jump; the spot and the winds. Let's take a look at spotting and how it affects you. Imagine the simplest jump possible. Let's say you are going to exit the airplane at 3,000 feet and your parachute, instead of gliding, descends straight down. There is no wind. In such conditions if you opened directly over the target, you would land on it. If we add a ten mile per hour wind, the spotter would have to determine how far the unsteerable parachute would drift and plan for the jumper to open that much further up wind of the target. Now let's say he has three parachutists leaving at ten second intervals. He must plan the initial exit so that all three will land as close as possible to the target: the first would be short of the target, the second right on, and the third would be long. In our case, the spotter is looking down from 12,500 feet, has to guess about the wind, and has only a rough idea of how long each group will take to exit. Fortunately square parachutes are maneuverable enough to compensate for the variables. As a novice you will usually leave late in the exit order which means that for you the spot will usually be long. This can be useful, because it means all you have to do is locate the landing area and fly towards it. As you do you can think about the wind line (remember chapter one) and check for other wind indicators such as wind socks, the shadows of clouds moving over the ground, smoke or dust, and the direction other parachutes are landing. You need to do this, because the wind is the second variable you need to think about. On a calm day, your ground speed will be the same as your canopy's forward speed - about 20 miles per hour. But when there is any wind, it will affect your ground speed. If the wind is blowing five miles an hour, you are now in a river of moving air. You don't feel like your speed changes, because your air speed is the same. But your ground speed is not. Facing into the wind, or holding, your ground speed is reduced by five miles per hour. When you turn and fly with the wind, called running, you add the wind speed to your canopy speed, resulting in a ground speed of 25 miles per hour. Test yourself: 1. When you are crabbing (flying at 90 degrees to the wind) in a 10 mile per hour wind, what will your path over the ground look like? 2. The slowest your parachute can go is about five miles per hour in full brakes. Flying into a ten mile per hour wind, what would your ground speed be? Proceed to Chapter 7 (Landings)
  7. We've already discussed your body's relation to the relative wind. Now let's look at your relationship to space and time. When you leave an airplane at our customary exit altitude of 12,500 feet above the ground, your accelerate from zero miles per hour vertical speed to approximately one hundred and ten miles an hour in about ten seconds. It doesn't seem too dramatic because the aircraft speed was already about 100 miles an hour, so you reall only gain ten miles per hour. At that point you reach terminal velocity, the speed at which the air pressure against your body balances the pull of gravity. Ignoring minor changes in body position, you will stay at that speed until something stops you - hopefully the deployment of your parachute! At terminal velocity you pass through one thousand feet every six seconds. If your parachute opens at 4,500 feet, that gives you about 52 seconds of freefall. (Ten seconds for the first thousand, six for each of the next thousand.) If your parachute did not open, you would now have a life expectancy of 27 seconds. Opening altitudes are based on allowing skydivers time to be sure that they do land under an open parachute. More experienced jumpers commonly open at about 2,500 feet because of their greater familiarity with equipment and emergency procedures. This gives them about 65 seconds of freefall from a 12,500-foot exit. The main thing about altitude is that if you run out of it while in freefall, you die. However, since your fall rate is constant, your consumption of altitude is constant. This means that if you have plenty of altitude, relax, because only time can take it away from you. Time and altitude are directly related. Loss of altitude awareness is a major contributor to skydiving fatalities. Always bear in mind that no distraction is worth dying for. Until your body's freefall clock has been programmed so that you know how long you've been in freefall, your only reference is your altimeter. Every time you do anything - intentionally or not - check your altitude. That way, you won't lose altitude awareness if a distraction such as a difficult maneuver or loose goggles comes along. Keep in mind that since you are consuming altitude (time) at a constant rate, you can't stop what you are doing, think it over, go back, and try again. In freefall, there are no time outs! That's why we try to do all of our freefall tasks carefully and deliberately, getting them right the first time. If you rush, you will actually lose time because the extra mistakes that result will slow you down. And when you consider the cost of freefall time, you'll appreciate the value of thorough ground preparation! Besides our time reference (altitude), we also make use of space references. There are two types of space references, orientation to the ground and orientation to other skydivers. We'll call the ground reference heading. Heading is an imaginary line drawn from a point on the horizon directly in front of you through your center. You use this reference for tasks such as turns, backloops, or simply hovering in place. Eventually you will substitute the line of flight for a personal heading. The line of flight is the heading the aircraft was on when you left it. The advantage of using line of flight is that now all the skydivers on the airplane have the same heading reference, instead of each picking their own. This makes it much easier to coordinate group activities. Your reference to the other skydivers is called the center point. The center point is that spot closest to all of the skydivers. When you are alone, it is in the middle of your body. With others, imagine a ball falling straight down around which everyone flies. In other words, four skydivers holding hands in a circle would have the center point in the middle of the ring. If they all backed up ten feet, it would still be in the same place because thjey are all still equally close to that point. In many ways, the center point of a formation is like the center of your box man discussed in the previous section. If one corner of a formation is low relative to the center point, the formation will turn in that direction. If two corners are low, it will slide in the direction of the low side. By now you can see that while skydiving, you have to be aware of several different things: altitude, your own body position, your position relative to the ground, and your position relative to others. Initially this will seem like a lot to be aware of, so on your first few jumps you will concentrate almost entirely on altitude and your body position while your jumpmasters take care of the rest. When you are release to fly free, you will add your own heading, and eventually you will be able to monitor these, the formation center point, and the line of flight as easily as you monitor your speed, direction, location, and other traffic as you drive to the drop zone! Test yourself: 1. "Temporal distortion" refers to the fact that in an emergency situation (losing control of your car, for example), the rush of chemicals to your brain can cause events to seemingly go into slow motion. Why would temporal distortion be extremely dangerous to a skydiver? 2. Why is ability to hold a heading considered essential to flying with other skydivers? Proceed to Chapter 5 (After the Freefall)
  8. No matter how many skydives you make, you'll always feel a moment of great satisfaction as your parachute settles to the ground. But the skydive isn't over yet! You need to carefully gather up your gear and bring it safely back to the hangar. You should daisy chain the lines (ask!) and be sure not to snag anything. One easy way to keep track of your stuff is to put things like your goggles, gloves, and ripcord in your helmet and fasten that to your chest strap. Back in the packing area, set the rig down carefully and be sure not to drop or lose any of the paraphernalia such as the altimeter, radios, goggles, and ripcord. Keep in mind that all the equipment is very expensive and you are responsible for keeping it safe; a moment's carelessness with an altimeter, for example, could cost $150. Once all of your gear is safely off, there is one last thing to do. Review your dive thoroughly, noting areas where you would like to get suggestions and advice and thinking about which techniques worked well, and why. Freefall only lasts a minute, the canopy ride about three. That isn't a lot of time to learn, so to be a good skydiver you have to develop your ability to learn on the ground before and after a jump. A few minutes of careful review with your jumpmaster (or yourself, when you are doing solo jumps) will save you many expensive mistakes in the future. Finally, log all of your jumps. Any jumps you plan to use towards a license requirement must be logged and signed by another jumper. Around the Drop Zone Although our sport has a two hundred year heritage of air show jumps and military parachuting, sport parachuting as we know it began in the late '50s when civilians began jumping strictly for fun and combined to form sport parachuting groups. Eventually skydivers began to design their own gear instead of modifying military surplus parachutes, and the combination of civilian organization and improvements in equipment has led to a steady growth that continues today. The national organization that has overseen skydiving in the Unites States is called the United States Parachute Association, or USPA. USPA is a non-profit membership organization in which each member may vote for the board of directors. We will ask you to join USPA by the time you make your Level 4 ASP jump; the first year's dues are $39.50 (more for overseas memberships.) Besides certifying instructors and administering the license system, USPA publishes a monthly magazine that is included with your membership. Membership also provides you with some liability insurance. But perhaps the most important reason for joining USPA is that the organization has been instrumental in keeping the government, at all levels, out of the sport. In fact, skydiving is one of the safest aviation sports and is also the least regulated. To keep it this way, it is important that we police ourselves. The USPA has established safety guidelines that all skydivers at this drop zone are expected to adhere to. The USPA's representative on the drop zone is the Safety and Training Advisor, or S&TA.; He or your instructor can answer questions about license requirements, skydiver ratings, and most other skydiving matters. The USPA categorizes skydivers into six experience levels: students - under direct supervision in a formal training program novices - graduated from a student program but not yet licensed A license - minimum of 20 freefalls B license - minimum of 50 freefalls C license - minimum of 100 freefalls D license - minimum of 200 freefalls In addition to the freefall experience, each license level requires demonstration of skill appropriate to that level. A license is important to you as a proof of your ability level, especially if you intend to travel to other drop zones. Each level also has currency requirements. Staying current (jumping regularly) is one of the most important things you can do to enhance safety. For this reason if you are away from skydiving for several weeks you will have to do some reviewing and get back into the sport with a simple, safe, skydive. Until you are licensed, if more than 30 days passes without jumping you will be required to make a Level 4 ASP jump with one of the school's jumpmasters before jumping on your own again. USPA also issues instructional ratings to qualified applicants. A person holding a jumpmaster rating has attended a training program and demonstrated the necessary skill and experience to safely guide novices through a student program. Instructors have more experience and have also attended further training courses. Either one will be able to answer most of your questions. You will meet plenty of people willing to offer suggestions to you. Bear in mind that someone with one or two hundred jumps will seem very experienced to you but is actually a relative newcomer to the sport. Rely on rated instructors for guidance until you have your A license! Occasionally you may hear experienced jumpers discussing techniques or procedures that differ from what you have learned; be aware that some things which may be safe for experienced jumpers could be inappropriate for novices. If you have any questions be sure and get an opinion from one of your instructors. Skydive Arizona is a business incorporated for the purpose of providing skydiving facilities. While you are on student status, your jump price pays for all aircraft and site expenses as well as instruction and equipment. The operators of the drop zone, Larry and Liliane Hill, are proud that they have built the finest skydiving center in the world, operate the finest fleet of aircraft available, and have some of the best skydivers anywhere on their staff. To help keep this facility safe and pleasant and to control costs, customers are asked to avoid littering (smokers, please put your butts in the yellow or orange cans) and to be on time for their aircraft. Feel free to bring non-skydiving guests out to share the fun, but be sure that children are under constant supervision: drop zones abound with expensive and dangerous objects! Dogs are not permitted in the grassy central grounds or in the buildings. Drop zone etiquette is casual, but when you are in an area where people are packing, be sure to walk around the parachutes rather than step over them, and never smoke or leave drinks around parachutes. Do not borrow or examine other people's gear without permission. Drinking alcohol on the drop zone is forbidden until the last load of jumpers is up. This rule extends to non-skydiving guests for a simple reason: we try hard to maintain a good image, and an uninformed observer might not be able to distinguish between a skydiver and a non jumper. Where do you go from here? The ASP program has eight levels that cover all the skills discussed in this handbook. At each level you will receive detailed instructions from the school staff. After graduating from our student program you will make several more jumps to hone your basic flying skills. At the same time, you'll be trying more advanced things and looking at buying gear. For this stage of your progression we have written a second handbook, geared for jumpers off student status and working towards their A license. The Skydiver's Handbook will fit right in with this one, and goes into details on license requirements, relative work, the coach program, buying gear, and other neat stuff. Keep the two together for reference and rainy day study. You can also keep notes and sketches, packing manuals, license applications, etc. in this folder. All of these materials are designed to be flexible and are subject to continuous updates. Please let Bryan Burke, the Safety and Training Advisor, know if any of the information was unclear or if you felt more detail was needed. We very much appreciate your comments and suggestions, as well as your questions. Welcome to skydiving!
  9. There are only two ways to end a freefall. One is to open your parachute, and the other is not to. No one wants it to end the second way. Statistics show that the overwhelming cause of skydiving fatalities are due to the jumper not using a perfectly functional parachute in time. Why does it happen? In order to open your parachute safely, you need to know two things: when and how. The when was discussed in the previous chapter. Altitude awareness is critical and the loss of it is a life threatening situation. The problem can be compounded if the skydiver, running out of altitude, is unfamiliar with his equipment and has trouble deploying his parachute. Add the possibility of a malfunction to low altitude and unfamiliar equipment and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. Therefor you must always watch your altitude and before you ever get on an airplane you should be totally familiar with your equipment. The sport parachute, called a rig in skydiving jargon, is a very simple machine. It must include two canopies, a main and a reserve. The components must be TSO'd, meaning they meet government technical standard orders that require high manufacturing and testing standards. All rigs are worn on the back and consist of similar components. A look at the diagram will show that a rig consists of the deployment system (pilot chute, bridle, and bag), canopy, suspension lines, steering lines, toggles, risers, and harness/container. Deployment is initiated when the container opens and the pilot chute enters the relative wind. The pilot chute may be packed inside the container (all reserves and student mains) or kept in a pouch outside of the container and pulled out by hand, which most experienced jumpers prefer. The pilot chute acts as an anchor in the air, while the jumper continues to fall. As the two separate, the bag in which the canopy is folded is pulled from the container. The parachute's suspension lines, carefully stowed on the outside of the bag, are drawn out until they are fully extended. The bag is then pulled open and the canopy comes out. It immediately begins to inflate as the cells fill with air. Inflation is slowed by the slider which prevents the canopy from expanding too fast. It usually takes three to five seconds from deployment of the pilot chute to full inflation of the canopy. Over the years, parachute design has been refined to a remarkable degree. In fact, square parachutes have no known inherent design malfunctions. Theoretically, given proper packing, a stable deployment, and barring material flaws, a square parachute will never malfunction. However, we don't live in a perfect world, and malfunctions are common enough that no sensible person would intentionally jump without a reserve. The malfunction rate for sport parachutes is about one in every thousand deployments. Nearly all are preventable. The catalogue of possible malfunctions is long, but all you really need to know is that any parachute must have two characteristics. It must be open, and it must be safe to land. Otherwise it is a malfunction. The first characteristic is determined at a glance. The second one, if there is any doubt, is determined by a control check. Should you have a malfunction, the response is simple - pull your reserve. On student parachutes pulling the reserve handle combines two functions. The main parachute is released from the harness, then the reserve container is opened, starting the reserve deployment sequence. For all practical purposes, main and reserve deployments are identical except that the canopies may be of different sizes. Most parachutes used by experienced jumpers have a separate handle for each function of the emergency procedures so you will need some special training when you progress to your own gear. Also, at Skydive Arizona we use only square reserves. If you travel to another drop zone be sure you receive training on their equipment, and find out if the reserve is round or square. Round reserves mean you will need special training. The first factor in preventing malfunctions is a simple one: don't leave the airplane with an existing malfunction. This means that you should always have your equipment checked by a knowledgeable second party to be sure nothing is misrouted or damaged. Prevention extends to packing. When you learn to pack you will learn to inspect the canopy. In the student phase, you have to trust your jumpmasters and packers to be responsible for the condition of your parachute, but you will eventually assume all responsibility. Because of the possibility of a jumper making a mistake, our reserves are inspected and packed by a specialist who holds a Rigger's Certificate issued by the U.S. government, thus ensuring that at least one parachute on every skydiver is technically sound. The second factor in malfunction prevention is one you control: body position. If you think back to the deployment sequence described earlier, the importance of a stable opening becomes apparent. Since the parachute is on your back, if you are facing the relative wind in a good arch it will deploy straight out behind you. If you are unstable, it must find its way past you - between your legs or around an arm, for example. In this situation, the pilot chute could entangle with you, stopping the deployment sequence. Another possibility during an unstable opening is that the lines will feed out unevenly, creating the potential for a line knot that could keep the slider from coming down or deform the canopy to the point that it cannot fly properly. Don't forget, however, that stability is not as important as opening in the first place. Pulling at the correct altitude always takes precedence over pulling stable. An unstable opening does not always result in a malfunction; parachutes are so reliable that the worst that usually happens is a few line twists. Not opening has far worse consequences. Test yourself: 1. While you are a student, your decision altitude, sometimes called your hard deck, is 2,500 feet. If you initiate main deployment at 4,500 feet and nothing happens, how many seconds will pass before you reach the decision altitude? How many will you have used counting and checking before you realize you have a problem? 2. If you know you have a malfunction, why should you pull your reserve at once instead of waiting until the decision altitude is reached? 3. In the old days, skydivers wore their reserve mounted on the front of their harness. If you had a chest mounted reserve, what body position would you want to be in for reserve deployment? 4. How often should you practice your emergency procedures? Proceed to Chapter 6 (Canopy Performance)
  10. There are two goals when landing your parachute: the first is to land safely and the second is to land where you want to. Clearly, the first goal is much more important than the second one, yet a surprising number of skydivers have had the opportunity to consider their values at leisure while recuperating from landing injuries. A parachute is only as safe as the person operating it. As soon as you have determined that your parachute is functioning properly, it is time to start thinking about the landing. Look for potential landing sites - any level area free of obstacles will do but we try to land at an established point, our student landing area, if we can. Usually you can get back over this landing area with at least a thousand feet of altitude left. If this is not the case check the area below you and between you and your target for possible hazards; if you are not positive you can make it safely to the planned landing area, you must select an alternate site. Do not go below the thousand foot mark without making a firm decision about where you will land! Assuming you have made it over the target above one thousand feet, you should turn into the wind and check your ground speed. This is especially important on windy days. Remember the higher the wind speed is, the less ground speed you have when holding, and while running with the wind your ground speed will be higher. Keep this in mind and avoid getting too far down wind of your target area. (Helpful hint: if you can find your canopy's shadow on the ground it will show you exactly how fast you are going!) As you hold into the wind you can make a rough guess as to how far you could fly in, say, 250 feet of vertical descent. Take that estimated distance and lay out an imaginary line of that length from the target to a point downwind. Now just work your way to that point and stay near it until you are about three hundred feet up. Turn towards the target. If your original guess was good, you would slightly overshoot the target. A small "S" turn - ninety degrees one way, then 180 back to the approach, and ninety degrees back into the wind - will line you up on a good final approach. As long as you start your final approach a little high, you can continue these "S" turns to adjust until you are on approach at the right altitude. Remember that your first priority is to land safely, not necessarily in the target. You may have to share the landing area with another canopy, in which case you need to avoid flying in front of or near them. For example, if you are on one side of the target and another student is near the other side, stick to your side rather than aiming at the middle. Be careful to always look before you make a turn and assume the other canopy pilots may not see you. Whoever is lowest has the right of way. Also look for dust devils. They can turn or even collapse your canopy and should be avoided. Most skydivers like to set up their final approach by using a pattern similar to the kind airplanes use approaching an airport. After your ground speed check at one thousand feet, work your way down wind until five hundred feet. Then turn cross wind (90 degrees to the wind direction) until you are over that imaginary point where your final approach begins. This type of pattern lets you observe wind indicators as you refine your estimate of where to turn onto final. Another useful tip: the more turns you do, the harder it is to tell where you are going, because your descent rate and forward speed change in a turn. A few smooth, slow turns will set you up better than lots of radical ones. At an altitude of about one hundred feet you are committed; just let the parachute fly straight ahead and limit any corrections to turns of ten degrees or less. The last part of the approach is the flare. This procedure is simple: pull down both toggles simultaneously to slow down your parachute to a comfortable landing speed. To get the most out of flaring, you must be flying full speed on your final approach, so keep your toggles all the way up until it is time to flare. (An exception is if you have poor depth perception, when the lighting is bad, or when the surface is uncertain such as water or corn. Then you may be better off approaching in partial brakes to slow your approach, giving you a little more time to assess the situation.) The flare should be done when your feet are about two to three body heights above the ground. A smooth flare over about three to four seconds will work better than a fast, hard flare, but the main thing is to have both hands all the way down when your feet are three or four feet off the ground. If you realize you started the flare low, speed up; if you started high, slow down. Do not, however, let your toggles back up once you have started to flare. This will cause your canopy to dive forward and result in a hard landing. The illustration showing a canopy's flight during a flare will show the consequences of a badly timed flare. Too low, and you have a lot of forward speed even though your descent is slow. Too high, and you will have a lot of downward speed even though your forward speed is low. That is why you should flare a little high and slow on a calm day, a little low and fast on a windy one. Let's quickly review the three most important points for a safe landing. First, always pick a safe place. Be sure of your landing site before you reach 1,000 feet! People who hit hazardous things such as cars, buildings, or power lines almost always do so because they did not choose a safe landing site high enough and were forced to land in a bad location when they realized, too late, that they could not make the target. Second, never land in a turn. We know that a parachute's descent rate increases dramatically in a turn, and that speed remains for a few seconds after the turn is stopped. Landing in turns is by far the biggest cause of skydiving injuries. These low turns are usually made by people who did not pick a safe area and turned at the last moment to avoid an obstacle, or by people who thought landing on the target was a higher priority than landing safely.No low turns! Third, land into the wind. This one is too obvious to need elaboration; the slower you are going, the softer you land. However, landing down wind or cross wind is less likely to cause injury than landing in a turn or on obstacles! On a breezy day, turn towards your parachute after you touch down and pull in one line to collapse the canopy. You may need to run around down wind of the canopy. Test yourself: 1. The United States Parachute Association limits student and novice jumpers to wind conditions of fourteen miles per hour or less. Why are winds over fifteen miles per hour considered dangerous? 2.Turbulence that can make steering difficult or even collapse your canopy can be caused by three things. Hot, rising air such as dust devils is one and high winds passing over obstacles are another. What else could cause dangerous turbulence on landing? Where would you expect to find turbulence on a windy day? Proceed to Chapter 8 (After the Landing)