An online skydiving logbook

September 30, 2007

Bad luck, or ... ?

Yesterday, it rained all day long, but when I looked out of the window this morning, guess what... Blue sky! And what's even better, yesterday was fully booked with a big group of first jumpers, while today there's a loose bunch of higher levels. I like the occasional level 1, but a whole day of nurturing, well, it can get on my nerves sometimes. I prefer "the real stuff" :-)

First thing, they give me a long skinny guy for a level 4. The previous jumpmaster made a note in his logbook, about the fall rate being really slow. And it took him 8 jumps to pass his levels 1-2-3. Hmmm, I like a challenge now and then. His exit is awful. I can't hold it, so I take him on a salto to position him on the relative wind. My first funnel exit (with an AFF at least) of the season (a first, beer is in order). I have to work him in a reasonable body postion, we're at 8000 ft before I can go in front of him. His legs are still very asymmetric, but he is well arched, so I release him. He makes an uncontrolled 360 and I pick up grips again. He looks completely helpless (flabbergasted?).

Next I take time off instructing for Mirka's 500th jump. It will be a 10-way, and we brief stuff like a doughnut with her in the middle, an open accordion, with her splitting it apart, and of course she may pull in the formation, with the other nine of us in a big O around her. We funnel the exit (second jump, second funnel, what's going on today), but it is a very relaxed and fun dive. We even manage to complete it. Ok, the star wasn't completely finished, but hey, back on the ground, it's smiles and kisses everywhere.

Skinny guy again for another attempt at level 4. Exit is still lousy, but way better then his first attempt. His body position is better now, but he is completely tensed up. I release him while still beside him. He starts to turn slightly. I stay in place beside him, and let him gently bump with his left leg against my head to stop him from starting to slide, once, second bump. Third time, I move back a little bit to let his legs pass and to see what will happen, and yep, it accelerates, it's a spin, I have to stop him. I signal him to loosen up, and he stretches his legs, so the remainder of the jump, we fly forwards :-)

Our club operates three dropzones, and the next man did a level 1 on another of our DZ's, and he tells me he was encouraged to continue his training on our DZ. He lives about halfway between the two locations, and his previous instructor told him the ride would be easier if he changed DZ. He has to take level 1 again, his logbook gives no details, and all he can remember himself from that first jump is that his instructor had to pull for him. Well, he manages to make the pull himself this time, so there is definitely improvement, but the road is gonna be long and bumpy...

Skinny guy again, third attempt at level 4. Exit is OK this time. When I release, he starts to slide again, but after about 180°, he manages to control it, good, I fly in front of him, thumbs up. When he wants to start his first 90° turn, he stretches his arms out in front of him, and pushes his one hand 10 cm lower than the other. It doesn't turn, but it sure makes for a dead slow fall rate. And I'm positive this is not how I told him to do it :-) He starts wobbling all over the place, almost falls over, so I have to stabilise him. Under canopy, I go in half brakes, and manage to land only a minute or so before him.

It is late afternoon already, and Brussels traffic control gives us a one hour holding. Mirka starts paying beers, and of course that's an offer I can't refuse. I wonder if it is just bad luck, that lately the majority of my students have been making not-so-good jumps. Or maybe it is some kind of "end of season tiredness" on my part?

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