Sep 06

Jump 83, Swansea, FS1 C3

Coached jump number 3, and this time im ready for the door. I have practised my slow falling position, and the plan is i do big confident moves in the door prior to a linked launch, get stable, then i will have to slow fall to get up to the level of Ant, the coach. From now on during coached jumps, i will be wearing extra weight to increase my falling speed, and ill probably buy a belt for when im jumping with other people, as ive always been left above other people, and it seems i naturally fall quite slowly (compared to other people).

We get up to jump altitude, the green light is on, and i climb out of the door, I hold on, tight, Ant takes grips on my arms, i shake (which is the first part of the signal for about to go), im looking at my left leg, i throw it out of the plane, theor it back in, and look up as i throw it back out, whilst also launching myself away from the plane, and pulling Ant with me, and, we are out of the plane. We tumble but get stable, and seperate.

Ant rises above me, i turn 90 degrees, with my head sideways and looking up, and open my body up, and im on the same level, YESSSSS. Ant rises again, and again, i turn, to change my body position, open up and get level. We do this 4 times, before seperating at 5000 feet, i track away, and pull at just under 4000 feet. As its later in the day, we are back on the northern landing area, with a nice normal uneventfull landing.

During the debrief, I was told that i did everything that i should, and, i completley owned the door and launch, but, as i was looking at my leg, instead of the coach, i missed his signal for not quite being ready, but, by the time i looked at him, i was already half way out of the door. It wasnt anything major, a 3rd jumper was going to follow us out, which he did 2 seconds later, but, he still needed that extra second before we launched.

A good few jumps though where ive learned a few new skills 🙂

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Sep 06

Jump 82, Swansea. FS1 C2

After an hour or so the bad neck from the last opening has gone, so, I get myself manifested. The plan for this jump is to go through the fast / slow fall again. So again, im on the outside of the plane, i give the signal, but, once i start the leg signal, i realise that something is not right, but, a second later, we are out of the plane. Forget about the exit for now, and get stable, which we do, before seperating.

Ant drops down, and i fast fall to drop down to him. He rises above me, and i open up as much as i can, but dont seem to be slowing to get level at first, untill eventually, we are level, Ant drops down, and i drop no problem, he goes up, and again, i struggle to get to his level. We split at 5000 feet, and i track away, before opening at just under 4000 feet.

A few small patches of cloud are drifting about at around 2000 feet, and from my last experience of being inside a cloud under canopy, i go around the outside of one thats between me and the landing area. This time i leave it a bit later to approach the landing area, over the top of the tandem area just like last time, and land with no problems or fear of running out of space.

During the debrief, i realised that the error i made on exit was i started with my leg going in, instead of out, this meant that instead of my 1, 2, 3 being out, in ,launch, it was in, out, oh crap thats not right, then gone. Its at this moment that I realise that im actually intimidated by the door, especially the hanging on the outside of it. Im not scared of falling, thats the whole point, but, theres just something about the wind and the noise. So, after a chat, im manifested and ready to go up again, briefed on a better position for slow falling, and ready to ‘Boss the door’

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Sep 06

Jump 81, Swansea

After yesterdays coached jump, i need more. We go over my debrief again, and its suggested that i try arching from my thighs, instead of from my chest, so, as no coach is available, i get manifested for a solo jump to try this out.

The landing area is the southern PLA, which ive only landed on twice before, nearly 30 jumps ago, so i get a quick rebrief on landing there. Im the only fun jumper on the plane, so ill be first out, so, once we get to full altitude, i roll out of the door, and once i open stable, do a good 20 second track away from the back of the plane, man i love this tracking 😀

I level off, and use my thighs to change my body position, and i can instantly feel the difference, i feel more ‘tipped forward’  and central. i use my elbows and knees to fast and slow fall, before turning into the wind at 6000 feet. As i will be landing on the southern PLA, im planning on opening a little higher, just to allow me to get my bearings, so at 450 feet i wave off, at 4000 feet i throw my pilot chute, and BANG!!!!!! my canopy is open, my arm hasnt even returned to a stable position and ive not even got to ‘one’ on my safety count. Im aware that ive been thrown sideways, i look up, and can see line twists DEVELOPING, im turning, and making them worse 😮 !!! Theres at least 2 full twists already, the first thing i think of is ‘this is going to be cut away, as the end cells are closed and in a few seconds, itll start turning and diving’. I look down to my cut away handles, i look up to the canopy to see how bad the ends are collapsed, and, holy crap, its fully inflated. I relax a little, as its now ‘only’ severe line twists that i have to deal with. I grab the risers, and pull, and kick my legs, and pull some more, and kick some more, untill in the end, everything is normal, and i head to the holding area.

This is where i realise that im now facing a landing pattern that ive NEVER come across before. there are 2 seperate areas to land, within the landing area,theres the area for the tandems and instructors etc, and the area for everyone else, and normally they are seperated by ‘the flags’ . today, they are seperated by the flags, but, because of the wind direction, instead of them being side by side, they are ‘in line’ so, it looks like i have to fly OVER the tandem landing area, to get to where i need to land, on my final approach, oh crap!

Ive never done anything like this before, ive never had anything like this explained as a possibility, and, im completely alone, 2,500 feet up in the air, thinking im going to take out a tandem canopy as i try to land. I circle around untill about 1000 feet, which is the normal height to start the landing pattern, but, i see that im still too high, so i do another circle, and another one, untill im coming in to my final approach at 300 feet, and i can see that im going to run out of landing area, and, on the other side of that fence, is the road. i hang on the brakes, and hang on, and hang on, and hang on, untill i must be about 50 feet up, then let them off, before coming in and flaring, in next to no wind, and landing with a sigh.

It was during the walk back to the packing area that i realised just how much my lower back and neck were actually hurting from what had happened a few minutes before….

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Sep 05

Jump 80, Swansea. FS1 C1

Finally, Ive got an FS1 coach jump manifested, YAYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!

The plan for the jump is to check out my fall rate. I explain that im always ‘left behind’ when i jump with other people, and the only jump ive done on level with someone else was my AFF, when i wore a weight belt, or with another jumper, who is also tall and thin like myself.

We plan our exit, go through the positions for fast and slow falling, before getting on the plane, ready to put it into practise 🙂

A group go before us, then we are in the door. Im on the outside, hanging on to the bar on the inside of the door, I give the signal that im ready, then leg out, in and out we go. Somethings instantly not right, and i dont know what, but, we get stable, and release. We stay pretty level, slow and fast falling, before splitting at 5000 feet, i turn and track, wave off at 4000 feet and open at 3500, before another uneventfull descent and landing.

During the debrief of the jump, I knew something was wrong from the very secondd we left the plane, and worked out that i used the wrong leg for the out-in-out, which meant i was presented to the wind wrong on exit, this will be remembered for next time 🙂

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Sep 05

Jump 79, Swansea

This weekend is a strange one. Im supposed to have the kids up for the weekend, but, my car is off the road due to failing the MoT, and, the weather is perfect. It can only mean one thing. The FS1 coaching ive been dying to get started, has to start this weekend.

I get to the dropzone, and the coaches are tied up, so, i plan on doing a solo jump, when another jumper arrives, and we plan to jump together, the plan is to simply stay level, and link with each other, then grip on each others legs, then back to arms, and back to legs, throughout the freefall.

We practise our exit, before getting on the plane, and enjoying the views on the way up. We will be first out of the door, so once the lights are on, we get into the door, then, jump.

We get nice and stable, and release, and, as per normal, im above. Lucy who i jumped with, then crosses underneath me, and this is something ive not had happen before, but, even though im falling at around 120 mph, i dropped. i felt myself fall, for a split second, as the air pressure was taken away from underneath me.

We eventually caught back up with each other, at just above 6000 feet, in time to touch gloves, before splitting at 5000 feet and tracking away from each other, where i then waved off at 4000 feet, and deployed my pilot chute at 3500 feet

My canopy opened as slowly as usual, a tug on the rear risers popped open the end cells, before an uneventfull descent to the landing area

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