Jun 22

Jump 66, Swansea

15,000′ Hop n Pop

After the last jump, I had decided to pack my gear up and go home, but then it was mentioned that this jump was going to be a ‘high hop n pop’, jumping from 12,500 feet, and opening your canopy as soon as youre stable, and enjoying the views and the slow ride back down, how could i possibly refuse this, on a weekend where ive done so many firsts, i simply have to add this to the list πŸ˜€

Im kitted up, and on the plane, the plans changed slightly, theres now a group will exit, and 4 of us doing the high hop n pop, so we will be out last. On the way up, we also find out that theres an added bonus, this lift is going all the way to 15,000 feet πŸ™‚

The groups leave the plane, the first of our 4 jumps, i wait, check my alti (15,300 feet) then i jump, no rolling on this exit, im out, im flat, i wave off, i reach, i pull, im open, still at 14,000 feet

The views are amazing, i suddenly also think that maybe this wasnt the best jump to NOT be wearing gloves for. I play about with my canopy, putting all my weight onto the front risers to see what happens, on the rear risers, which made the canopy nearly completely collapse, but, once i let them go, it opened back up again. I pulled one toggle right down to my hip, and held it there, this put me into a vertical spin / dive, where i lost over 500 feet in one single rotation. Driving into the wind, and going further from the DZ than ive ever been before, before losing my nerve due to how far away im getting, and turning and letting the wind take me back over the DZ, very quickly, then doing it again, untill lining myself up for my final approach, and landing next to the flags, nearly 20 minutes after leaving the plane

What an amazing end to a brilliant weekend πŸ™‚

Jun 22

Jump 65, Swansea

For this jump I’ll be the first out of the plane, so, i get to have a play tracking. The green light is on, i dive forward, rolling out of the door, before opening up stable and flipping over onto my back and watching the plane, i manage to do a 360 turn on my back, before flipping over, and tracking away from the plane for a good 15 seconds. do a few more turns, before opening at 4000 feet. For the entire descent, im driving straight towards the landing area, before turning with a couple of hundred feet left and landing nicely πŸ™‚

On checking Protrack data, this jump saw me pass 1 hour in freefall πŸ™‚ (another beer fine?)

Jun 22

Jump 64, Swansea

After repacking, im on the next lift, and this time, im one of the first on the plane, which means ill be one of the last ones out. Once we get to altitude, the first group leave, followed by another group, then a few solos, then im in the door, only 2 people left on the plane, but, i sideways roll out of the door, and im out πŸ™‚

I flip over onto my back, and end up upside down, head first towards the ground. I quickly get stable, and flip over onto my back again, this time i end up in a nearly standing position, so i decide to abandon trying to fly on my back for now, and instead do a few backflips, just because theyre fun :), followed by a few 360 turns, before deploying my canopy at 4000 feet.

The canopy opens, but, im spinning, i look up to see i have one side of the canopy not fully open, but, it looks a lot worse than the usual end cell closure ive been used to seeing, and the spinning seems to be getting harder, swinging me out sideways, I reach up to the steering toggles, grab them both, and give them a hard pull, the end of the canopy pops open, and i level out, with the landing area directly in front of me.

i lose some height before following the landing pattern and landing right next to the flags πŸ™‚

Jun 22

Jump 63, Swansea

This jump is going to be a 2 way. The plan for the jump, exit together, get stable, a few turns and try to stay together. We are first out of the plane, im on the outside of the door, we hold on to each other, nod, up, down, and out πŸ™‚

we get stable, all is good, we release, do a 360, then, will is about 100 feet below me, and no matter how hard i try, i just cant get down to him. Keeping altitude aware we are zig zagging past each other, with 100 feet between us trying to come back together. Out plan was to break off at 5000 feet, so, at 5.5k, i point the direction im taking, turn, and track away, before deploying my canopy at 4000 feet, and a couple of seconds later see wills canopy opening on the opposite side of the runway and below me.

Following the landing pattern as directed, i notice that will has already landed, but, is hunched over and not gathering up his canopy, so i turn slightly to land as close to him as im able to, and run over to check hes alright. Hes ok, but said his canopy opened very fast and hard, and knocked the wind out of him and hurt his neck a bit, but other than that, and us not being able to link back up once we released from each other, a good fun jump πŸ™‚

(the Will in this jump is a club jumper, NOT Will the CCI)

Jun 20

Jump 62, Swansea

After a long drive from Dunkeswell airport (stuck behind thousands of hippies all on their way to stonehenge for the summer solstice), I arrive at swansea and get myself manifested. As its friday, its 15K jumping. 15 mins later, and im kitted up and ready to get on the plane. After 10 minutes i realise now just how fast the Beech plane this morning actually was, but, im going over my jump in my head, touching my toggle and reserve pads and picturing the wind directions and landing pattern.

The lights are on, im in the door, then, im rolling out πŸ™‚ i get stable, and turn over onto my back. do a 360 like this, before flipping back over and doing a few practice pulls and a practice for my reserve pads, before pulling at 4000 feet

Canopy opens nicely, and i do my checks, then lose some height before coming in to land. A little further from everyone else than id have liked to be, but, a nice smooth landing πŸ™‚

Jun 20

Jump 61, Dunkeswell

After landing, and getting into the airfields bus after a nice long walk, finally back in the packing area, and, its time to repack. Theres 20 minutes untill the next lift im manifested for, and, im not going to try and rush packing, if i miss it, then ill be packed up ready for the drive back to wales, but, i surprised myself, and was packed ready to jump, in plenty of time. I guess all of those supervised pack jobs over and over again did really sink in afterall πŸ™‚

On the plane this time, im the 4th one out, and straight away, i can see that im a lot closer to the landing area compared with the first lift nearly an hour ago. My exit was my normal rolling somersault exit, before a few 360s, and flipping onto my back, staying stable like that, before flipping back over, and opening at 4,000 feet

This time, im over the airfield, so i lose some height, before making my final turns, and, landing, just like everyone else this time as well, in the correct landing area πŸ™‚

After getting back to the packing area, i get all my gear together, thank everyone for their hospitality, and prepare to drive back to wales…..

Jun 20

Jump 60, Dunkeswell

The beer fines jump

After working in Devon yesterday, I drove to Dunkeswell airport, and stayed overnight in their bunkhouse. Stayed up untill 2AM ‘socialising’ πŸ˜‰ around a fire, before getting up at around 7 to be ready for the first lift at around 8. A few of us were new to the drozone, so we had another brief (we had one the evening before as well) while we waited for the pilot to arrive. However, the pilot was delayed, and the lift didnt go up untill about 10:30, but, when it did, it was fast. A Beech plane, very fast, got to 15,000 feet in about 8 minutes, and it seemed really odd not seeing the sea during the climb, but, the climb didnt really last long enough to take that much notice.

In the plane, i practice my emergency procedures a few times, and feel for my toggle (which is now a ball) for my pilot chute. This is my first jump on my own equipment (beer fine), my first jump on a canopy that ive packed (beer fine) and my first jump at this dropzone (beer fine).

I do my normal rolling exit, followed by a few practice pulls, just to make sure i can find my pilot chute, followed by practicing my emergency procedures in freefall, then a few 360s and look at the new view. I can see over to the beaches of devon, and loads of fields, a few more practice pulls, a few more 360s before turning into the wind, and deploying my canopy at 4,000 feet, and, IT OPENED!!!! YAY!!!!!!!

I do my control checks, turn towards the landing area, and, holy crap, its miles away. I look around me, and everyone is just driving straight towards the landing area, i remember being shown where the power lines run on the aerial view of the DZ, and, im looking for great big pylons, but cant see any, but i know theres some below me somewhere. I see the first canopies that were out land within one of the grass areas we were told we can land in if we wont make the proper landing area, but still within the airport and follow those in, and like all of those, i also land with the wind behind me instead of turning and coming into the wind (my first landing like that (beer fine)). As i flare to land, at the last second i bring my legs up, as im going pretty fast, and slide across the grass on my arse. Everyone groups together, and we all walk through the field, then through the next field, to where we are all picked up by a bus. The only person in that lift who ‘just made it’ to the landing area, was wearing a wingsuit.

But, really happy with everything on that jump, even if there was loads of beer fines involved πŸ™‚

Later, once my pro-track was connected to the PC, this jump also saw me pass 100 miles in freefall, i dont know if thats a beer fine in itself, but, for the amount of fines already on this jump, I may as well also add this to it πŸ™‚

Jun 19

Loads of updates coming

After a brill weekend, theres loads of jump updates to add, including new dropzones, loads of beer fines for so many firsts, and passing a few milestones, like an hour spent in freefall and passing 100 miles total in freefall. All will be added over the next few days, but jump stats in the corner has been updated πŸ™‚


Jun 08

Jump 59, Swansea

After visiting the dropzone on unreleated business, i got talked into going on the final lift of the day (i didnt get there untill after 5PM), so, with a jumpsuit on over my jeans and T-shirt, im kitted up and on the plane (not with my own rig). Im 2nd out, at a little over 13,000 feet, my usual rolling exit, but with my hands on the step, pushing myself away from the plane, upside down, and rolling, i open up stable, then flip over onto my back, and remain stable, while doing a few 360 turns on my back, flip back over onto my front, and change my body position for what sould be slow and fast falling, without anyone with you to judge though its hard to tell (my Pro-track computer in my helmet later confirmed i was slowing and speeding up) before turning into the wind, and opening at 3,500 feet.

What ive now come to expect as normal on this canopy, the left end cells were collapsed, and a good few flares were needed to open the up, before heading to a holding area, and back into the wind. A few more turns to lose height, and beck into the wind, before my last approach at 1000 feet, and, im sure the arrow has changed, people now seem to be coming in to land from 2 different directions. It seems those of us who opened first are in one circuit, and some of the last ones are in another landing pattern, going in the opposite direction (right circuit, when some of us are now committed to a left circuit).

I follow the 3 canopies below and in front of me. Everyone lands safely, and enjoys a beer afterwards

A jump i wasnt expecting to make today, but, it would have been rude not to, right πŸ˜‰

Jun 06

My own rig, continued

After taking advise on buying a canopy to go into the container that ive bought (see here http://digidude.co.uk/my-own-rig/) the general advise was to keep hiring club kit (at Β£15 a jump) untill i was in a position to get a 190 canopy. As the club kit is generally in high demand, i worked out that if i could get a 210 canopy for around Β£300, this would be what id pay out on hiring kit for 20 jumps, id be guaranteed to have the right size canopy to jump, and, when im ready to downsize to a 190, id still be able to sell the canopy on. After discussing my thought process about this, a few people agreed that it was actually a good idea, so i started trawling the facebook and forum pages looking for a bargain. A few were offered, that were too far out of what i was prepared to spend, i was sent one to look at that turned out to be smaller than i wanted, but then, a ‘FURY 220’ for a little more than half of what i was planning on spending.

I quickly got some advise about the canopy, and while it is an older canopy, after having it inspected, its another good buy, which once im done with it, could easily be sold on, and work out to cost me very little overall πŸ˜€ as im currently jumping a 230, and asking the right questions, im also allowed to go straight onto this 220, so, as soon as everything is put together, and ‘live’ ill be jumping my own equipment, and saving around 45% on the cost of each jump. All thats needed to complete the kit, is an AAD.

An AAD is an Automatic Activation Device. This is a small computer, that measures barometric pressure, altitude, speed and a few other things. It has a small device called a cutter, this attaches to the main loop that keeps your reserve canopy in place. This cutter has a tiny explosive charge attached to a blade. The computer makes hundreds of calculations a second when you are in freefall, and if something should happen, like you get knocked unconscious for example as you leave the plane, then the computer will detect that you have not deployed your main canopy, and at a preset altitude, will send a signal to the cutter, firing the small explosive charge, sending the blade through the loop holding the reserve canopy closed, which will fire open the reserve parachute, meaning that youll land unconscious under a canopy at about 15mph, instead of slamming into the ground unconscious at around 130mph and have to be scooped into a few buckets ready to be poured into your final resting place.

Because im incredibly cheeky, Ive managed to get one of these fantastic life saving bits of equipment, worth over Β£1000 on loan, and have had it sat here for over a month, waiting for a main canopy to make my own rig complete, whilst at the same time keeping a lookout forΒ  a used bargain. luckily, by always taking advise, ive managed to avoid a couple of close calls where i thought i was getting a really good deal, but, for now, ive got a complete rig, thats been all checked out, the reserve packed, my new main canopy fitted, and all i now need to do, is pack it, and jump it, but…………………

Since passing my packing course, over 7 months ago, i think ive packed twice, once as i asked to go and pack as ive not done it for so long, about 3 weeks ago, and stuffed it right up, and another time about 3 months ago, which i also failed to finish, so, before i pack and jump my ‘ready to go’ rig, ill need a refresher in packing, otherwise, on my first jump, ill be paying for my reserve to be repacked where my main wasnt packed properly and had to be cut away due to a malfunction, and, i dont want that to happen

Ive packed the main canopy into the rig, for the simple reason, ive not been able to try it on since i bought it a month ago, and when you dont have a lot of packing experience, youre house is only 26 feet long, and you have laminated floor, and youve managed to pack in those conditions, then you know that it = ‘death in a bag’ if you jump it, so, i got it packed up, and actually tried the rig on, for the first time today πŸ˜€ but, itll be getting pulled out, and repacked, supervised, before i jump it, and even then, ill be scared, but excited, my own rig, my own pack job, probably get beer fined as well, itll be a good jump πŸ™‚

Jump 60, maybe jump 59, and ill be posting all about it, check back soon to see what happens :p