An online skydiving logbook

July 29, 2007

my birthday

Well it 's not because I 'm getting old, that I can't do AFF. I 'm on the roster for this saturday, so let's go! I am supposed to be at the DZ early, but because the weather is completely overcast, I don't hurry. I SMS two students to give them stand-by till noon. When I finally arrive there are at least a couple of hours to kill before the weather will be good enough to jump. coffee-time.

It 's already past one o'clock when we can start. First is the same older man from a couple of weekends ago. He made +- 100 static jumps years ago, when he was in the military, and last year, he did 20 static lines and 3 very bad AFF jumps in another club. That's when he was told to try us, because they were no longer prepared to AFF with him. Before we brief, we have a chat (time is about the only benefit of a weather hold :-) where I explain that 7 levels = 7 jumps will probably not work for him, and we discuss the cost of something like 20 AFF jumps, combined with a tunnel session. When I talk about the risk of breaking some bones at his age, he reacts "watch me" and shows me, then and there, the best plf I have seen in some time, right in front of me, on the (hard) floor. Motivation is king!

I team up with rik, an examinator, for a valid second opinion on how to handle this "case". I brief an adapted level 2, only exercise is flying forwards, to force him to pay attention to his legs. In the plane, he is still tense, but less than on his previous jump. At exit, he almost surprises us, by going check in check out and then immediately jumping. Well, we handle it, and he makes a very good jump. Clear and determined, everything exactly like we briefed it. Very acceptable body position, we can go on level 3 with him.

Rest of the day is a bunch of first jumpers, all people who don't have the intention to go on in the sport, so it I switch to what I call "tourist mode". I team up with door for a couple of hours of fun. First one makes a good jump, but the ground crew makes a mistake: they mix up students, and by the time they notice they are talking to the wrong one, it is too late, and they have to make him land in the parking lot. We 're in luck, no people or cars are harmed in the process. Second one, light goes out after exit, nobody home till about 8k, he wakes up, does a gasp, time is almost up, so on his first practice pull, I grab his hand and force him to actually pull.

Third one is a very beautiful jump. Nothing to do with the student, all with the weather. Cloud base is at 14k, so we exit underneath a big cloud, in its shadow. But since the sun is already quiet low, at about 10k we fall out of the shadow, into the bright sunlight. The DZ under us is bright and sunny, the city next to it is a dark shadowy spot, and there are al kinds of reflections and light beams in every direction up there. I can't get enough of it, float around in half brakes under my canopy, land only seconds before our student.

Time to start on that birthday party.

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