An online skydiving logbook

September 16, 2007

Please, hold me?

Only one day of jumping this WE, so let's go for it. I'm there at 9, in the first load, together with Sus, for a level 3, a rejump. The guy explains what it was he did wrong the first time ("I wasn't relaxed"), he doesn't let us brief him, it's more like him briefing us ("I'm gonna be more relaxed this time") :-) And yes, he makes a very good jump, apart from one tiny detail: at 6000 he locks on, at 5500 he is still staring at his alti, 5000 Sus starts to look worried, the guy still staring at his alti, I pull for him. When he comes down, he starts explaining, what happened, and why he didn't pull, but Sus cuts him short (in prejump chitchat, he told us he's a math teacher): "you realise that, mathematically speaking, you are dead now?" I get a fit laughing, but it works: for the next 10 minutes, instead of talking, he listens.

Next is a level 4 with my old Walloon friend. It feels like I am holding an ironing board, not supple at all. I release twice, but I have to regrab him immediately each time. Not a good jump.

Next is a level 1 with Ronald as primary. Just before us, an 18 year old girl is exiting for her level 6, that's her first solo exit. She places herself in the door, looks her instructor in the eyes, and with a tiny voice, she goes "won't you please hold me?" Her instructor, Gert, puts on a sardonic smile, and says "No": she accepts this, and without further ado, she makes her solo exit. I'm still laughing while we make our exit. Our jump is uneventful (for us, that is: the guy will probably remember it for the rest of his life).

Another attempt at level 4 with my friend is next. As usual, he makes a good exit. I feel almost no tension, so I move in front of him, thumbs up, and I release. He's fine for maybe 5 seconds, then he starts sliding, overreacts, too quickly, too eager, and what's even worse: in the wrong direction. Instead of stopping, he accelerates his turn, just the blink of an eye and it becomes a violent spin, I move in, but he turns over and I have to duck his legs. He is now in a kind of sitfly, with his knees up against his chest, and spinning even faster. And all of this took what, maybe three seconds! Woohah, I plunge onto him to stop the spin, I push back his legs, OK, he works with me now, he arches again, I turn him over, back on his belly, and I push him away from underneath me. Pffwwwiii, we're stable and in control again. We are at 9000 ft, those were 10 very sporty seconds. For the rest of the jump, I hold a light leg grip on him, and he flies it out cleanly.

When we debrief the jump, it is amazing how clear he is about what happened. He knows what he did, what I did, what altitude we were. We agree that next weekend, he is going to make a few jumps with another instructor. I can't tell him anything new any more, I feel like I am repeating myself, maybe a new voice will allow him to make more progress. We also discuss the possibility of a tunnel session.

Afternoon winds are starting to pick up, so student activity is stopped. There is a large group of bellyflyers today, and I can join their group. First it's a 14 way, not very good, people going under, etcetera. Then a 12 way, much better, and big fun: a nice dive, the formations fly smoothly, I have a few nice moves at the edge of the formation, yiihaa, break of at 4500, a good track, I love it, maybe a bit too much, it's under 2000 ft before I'm in the saddle.


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