An online skydiving logbook

September 3, 2007

AFF, backflying, zoo, FS, AFF

When I arrive at the DZ on Sunday morning, it is already buzzing with the mild chaos I like so much. My gear is back in from annual inspection, so I take a bit of time to check it, and I have to pack to start the day (bwaaah). In the 10 minutes or so this takes me, 5 different people ask me if I can do this today, or that, or ...: I say "yes, sure, go ahead, you can put me in the next load" to all of them :-)

First up is a level 1. He is not too nervous, and really looking forward to it. He's good in the air. Smooth exit, very composed in free-fall, and follows instructions perfectly under canopy. He immediately signs up for a full course. Congrats to him!

By the time we are ready to board for our second jump of the day (a level 3), some low clouds have come in, and the wind starts to pick up, so all student activity is put on standby. OK, that gives me some funjump time. There's one place left in the next plane, so I go up immediately to do some backflying. I am going to exit last. The guy before me is a rookie, he has something like 15 jumps since AFF. When we are on jumprun, I see that his Vigil is not turned on (even when I am not instructing, I check such things, it's a habit). I have to forbid him to jump, and he has to come down with the plane. Not happy.

OK, so I saw it, and that means I can not let it go. Just imagine I decide to let it pass, and something happens. Would I be comfortable then with my decision? Would I be able to explain my decision to his next of kin? Would my decision stand up in a court of law? Triple no. (I could lie about it of course, but only to others, not to myself, and I don't like lying anyway).

The backflying went fine.

Next is a 5-way bellydive. I am frontfloat, and I leave a tiny tidbit early, which makes it a sporty exit, but we manage to hold it. I have a few nice moves in this dive: a back-in-while-backsliding-more-than-a-meter, and than a backwards hop over somebody, completely blind. I didn't engineer the dive :-) I notice at least five brainlocks around me, my first blind hop is way too far, all kinds of stuff happening. We are all laughing through the dive, and manage to do 15 points in the meantime. Nice!

Then a 2-way FS drill: a sequence of turns: 90°, back in, 360°, etc. Ooh, I am very rusty on these things...

By now, the weather has cleared out, and we can restart AFF. I am going to do a level 4 with the older man with the incredible smile from last week. He has tried a level 4 with another instructor yesterday, but he ended up spinning on his back, and under canopy at 9000 ft (5 sec rule). I don't know what to expect, so I ask a cameraman up with us. There is a hesitation in the exit count, but we manage to leave the plane together. He is arched, I signal legs out, and he pushes them out, his body position looks good, but there is quiet a lot of tension. Even when I let go of only one grip, he immediately starts turning. I don't let him fly solo, I don't see what's wrong. Back on the ground, it takes 4 views of the video, with two instructors, to figure out the asymmetry in his arms and upper body... We'll have to do level 4 again, but we survived, we had fun, and he regained some confidence.

Last jump of the day is a level 1, but when I want to start ground practice, I can not find the guy. Simply disappeared (ran off?), so I can start on the beer almost an hour earlier than expected :-)

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