Oct 25

I passed



Packing test was today, first i had a ‘warm up’ where a rig was all twisted up etc, and i had to sort it out and repack it, then i was taken through how everything is held together, how it comes apart, and how to check it all over, then i was sent out of the room while a rig was ‘prepared’ for my test. I’d have to untangle everything, get it packed, and check EVERYTHING for problems. Was called back in, and told ‘good luck’ and later saw it described as ‘packing test from hell’ by an instructor.

Untangled and untwisted everything, and called an instructor back in, the verify that id gotten them all out and can continue, everything sorted, so carry on, get everything folded up, and get everything verified again, and continue. I get to the point where everything gets put into the container, and the main closing loop that holds it all together, is gone 😮 thats not right, I locate the missing loop, put it back into place, and continue to close everything up, the parachute is packed.

I now start to check over everything, i find the emergency reserve handle is backwards, so sort that out, a leg strap is incorrectly routed, sort that out, the reserve pin is not seated correctly, sort that out, a part is missing from the chest strap, sort that out, then check everything over, and check it again, and just before it goes off to be inspected, am aware that the reserve static line is wrapped around a strap that it shouldnt be, this is a small line that pulls the reserve parachute out if you have to cut your main one away, so that gets sorted out, and then its off to be looked at.

Two of us did the test, and we are then told to swap rigs, and inspect each others, and also told that if one of us misses something, we do it again, if one of us finds something, the other has to do it again. This makes me think theres definitely something wrong with one of them, and im sure mine was ok, as there was so many things out of place on it and i checked it over so many times. I check everything over, and as i pull the emergency reserve handle, it falls out, its meant to be held in place with a velcro grip. I try to put it back into place, but it wont go, is this a problem with the velcro? is this what is wrong that one of us is meant to find or possibly miss? I ask if theres something wrong with the velcro, and am told that ive found what was wrong, well done, youve passed. YAYYY!!! and the next words the instructor said is that the other dude has to retake the test, ahh man, how bad do i feel now, 2 seconds after being chuffed.

Its explained to us what could happen with that handle being loose, and the other guy is fine, it was an awkward feeling though.

After the paperwork is sorted out, i then went on to get another 2 types of container added to my ‘Approved Packing Certificate’ 🙂

All i need now is my own equipment to pack

Oct 22

More packing

Got some more supervised packs done today, as well as ‘Intro to entanglements’ signed off and shown to me. I have one more supervised pack left on my sheet, this has been left as a ‘warm up’ prior to me taking the packing test, then hopefully getting my packing certificate 🙂

Oct 15

Packing, packing & more packing

In order to get good at packing, you need to practice lots, and in order to get a B license, you need a packing certificate, so, as part of these, i have to be introduced to some of the problems that can arise when packing, things all twisted and tangled up etc, and be able to recognise them, and sort them out. So, after the initial packing course that i did a few weeks ago, i now need to do 25 supervised packing jobs, with more complex ‘issues’ introduced at 3 stages as i progress. Today, i got 19 of my 25 supervised packs signed off, as well as ‘twists’ and ‘step through’ signed off. My next ‘issue’ is ‘entanglements’ then another 5 supervised packs, then ill be tested. I also got to ‘break in’ my new packing puller that i received free with my helmet, these things are like gold dust, especially when new, so this has my name on it, and lives in my pocket :). Hopefully next friday, when im on another packing session, ill be posting to say ive done the test 🙂

Oct 05

Jump 31, Swansea

This is the last lift of the day, a ‘sunset lift’, and, im going to be the first one out of the plane. Its mainly staff doing fun jumping, some of them will be opening their canopies at 12,000 feet to enjoy the views and the sunset. I ask Rob, one of the instructors, if he will roll me out backwards when i exit 🙂 the door opens, i curl into a ball facing into the plane, and im pushed out, backwards, and hold onto it for a good 8 seconds, before opening and getting stable, i float on my back for a bit, then flip over, and do a few backflips, before opening canopy at 3,500 feet. I pulled to open the canopy, and normally it takes around 3 seconds and youre looking up to se it finish inflating, this time though, it was pretty instant, and was hard, i felt myself being forced down into the leg straps it opened that fast. adopted my new landing pattern, which also gave me views of the sun setting BELOW me, normally you look across at a sunset, i was looking down at one, which was cool. at 900 feet, started my approach, and just managed to land within the correct area 🙂

Oct 05

Jump 30, Swansea

This was another front rolling exit, held for 5 seconds, before getting stable, then 3 backflips, followed by a few 360 turns left and right, before flipping over onto back, and staying stable like that, flipped back over, got stable, and pulled at 3500 feet. the canopy opened, nice and square, but with quite a few line twists :o. I grabbed the risers, and pulling them apart, and kicking my legs in the opposite direction to the twists, undid them within about 10 seconds, than carried on with my control checks. Followed my new landing pattern, and landed right in the middle of the landing area 🙂

Oct 05

Jump 29, Swansea

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For this jump, the exit was a forward rolling exit, held for 5 seconds, before opening up to get stable. I knew the plane was flying towards the sun, into the wind, so i turned so the sun is on my left, then do a 10 second track, and stabilise. next, a backflip, followed by a few 360 turns left and right, then held stable. waved off at 4,000 feet, and pulled at 3,500. Followed the new landing pattern, and landed on the edge of the landing area 🙂

Oct 05

Jump 28, Swansea

For this jump, i do another diving downwards exit, get stable, then a few backflips, which are spot on, and regain stability perfectly when coming out of them, do a few 360 left and right turns, then a 10 second track. while on the ground, i noted that the wind direction was coming from just to the right of the sun, so the track i did, was into the wind, this was intentional, and the plan was to then use the wind to get me to my holding position. Pulled at 3,500 feet, nice slow opening (for this jump im on a 280 canopy again), do my control checks, and turn and head back towards the landing area, using the wind to get me there. I adopt the new holding pattern once im in position, with the landing area behind me, and to my left, when im facing into the wind, then, at around 900 feet, turn and start my approach, so now the landing area is in front of me, to my right, i pass it, then turn, so im now going across the wind, at about 500 feet, then at 300 feet, turn into the wind, and towards the landing area, and landed on the edge of the intended landing area 🙂

Oct 04

Jump 27, Swansea

Today is the day of the canopy briefing, and, the weather sucks, its cloudy, its raining and its dark, so upon arrival, looks like the jumping wont be happening. Go through the canopy briefing, its to work on accuracy during landing, and a lot of new information is explained about flight lines, holding patterns and approaches, then, theres a break in the weather, it stops raining, and the clouds are starting to break up. a first lift of experienced jumpers go up with a few tandems, and the upper winds are OK, so we get ready. The plan is to exit at 7,000 feet, open at 3,500, then put into practice the new procedure. But, as time has flown, this will be the last lift of the day, and its racing against the sunset, and aiming for a hole in the clouds, so, we’re going to be jumping from the top 🙂

During the climb to 13,000 feet, it seems VERY cloudy, between 2,000 and 4,000 feet, you couldnt see a thing out of the windows, then, when we popped out of the top of the clouds, sun and blue sky 🙂 watching my altimeter, we climb to 13,500 feet, and level off. The red ‘stand-by’ light comes on, and the door opens, shortly followed by the green ‘GO-GO-GO!!’ light, then, im at the door.

For this exit, for the first time, I dive out, but dive downwards, then roll onto my back and watch the bottom of the plane get smaller, flip back over, then do a couple of backflips, which went a bit sideways. From here, i turned and tracked for 10 seconds, before turning into the sun (also into the wind) before remaining stable, untill i waved off at 4,500′ and pulled at 4,000 feet.

The canopy opens, but the right hand end cells are completley collapsed, i do a full flare, to open them up, but it doesnt work, i do it a second time, theyre still collapsed, i check alti, im a little over 3,000 feet, nothing drastic is happening, and i have time for a few more attempts before needing to think about emergency procedures, i flare a 3rd time, and the end cells inflate, phew 🙂 to my control turns, then turn into the sun, and into the wind, as planned. As id tracked to the right prior to opening, the ‘wind line’ should be on my left, but, as theres cloud below me, im unable to see the landing area. I know the 2 canopies below me are a long way away, as i saw these open while i was in freefall, and at about 2,800 feet, im in the clouds, and still havent seen the landing area. i make a left turn so the wind is now behind me, then turn back into the wind while i can still see the sun, shortly after, i repeat this move, but, can no longer see the sun, but can feel the wind, then i come out of the cloud at about 1,500 feet, with the landing area just behind me, and to my left, EXACTLY where its meant to be, while im facing into the wind 🙂

I repeat the left turn downwind for a bit, then turn back, into wind, and the cross is now only a few hundred yards away, and ive got 900 feet left, so i turn right around, pass the cross, then slowly turn into the wind, ive got about 400 feet left, i know im not going to land ON the cross, but, im going to be close enough to it, within about 100 yards, and now concentrate on my landing. I look up from my landing spot, and see everyone watching me, look back and see what i thought was a huge puddle, so started to break slightly, im very close to the ground, so I now need to hold onto this, untill i flare, which is only a few seconds away, but, drift sideways, pull my full flare, and am on the soaking wet grass, one soggy arse cheek.

Had some names called for the landing, but, also a full debrief, and it seems that one arm is going lower than the other, causing this left turn i nearly always get during landings, so this is something i need to be more aware of

but, all fun 🙂