An online skydiving logbook

March 15, 2008

First Jump Course

Since I've been an instructor, I have always started the new season by giving a FJC. Same this year, today. I am at the DZ at 8.30 (yeah, I know, way too early on a Saturday morning), and by 9 o'clock, 6 out of the 7 announced students show up. Because there is still some construction work going on in our hangar, we still have no classroom and no videoroom for the moment, but I can use some of the military facilities next door. (And in a couple of weeks, we will have a beautiful all new and shiny bar :-))

It's a good group to teach. They are all fireman or soldiers, so they all have a basic physical ability, and only one of them never jumped before. All the others have at least a tandem jump and a few static lines. Teaching goes OK, I'm not too rusty on the material, although I completely forget to explain field packing. Instead of tackling it while we are talking about the gear, while the gear is lying in front of us, I have to come back on it at the end of the course, when I am explaining that the jump ends when they are back, not when they touch the ground. Around 3.30 h, we are through, and we can start with the fun bit of the day.

For the jumps I team up with Yves. First to jump is Inge. She is in the military, she just came back from her tour in Afghanistan. She did patrols there that included helicopter flying and she got sick a few times, and now her main concern seems to be that she is afraid of being sick again in the ride up. She is composed and makes a very good jump. Some asymmetry in the legs make for a slow turn during most of the jump, but the important stuff is all there. Yves and I land out (my mistake, I should have called for a second run) but she makes it back easily, flies a clean circuit and makes a good landing.

Next is one of the firemen. He is in his thirties, and I estimate him at some 20 or 25 kilos heavier than me. So it is full weight belt for me, but we have fun. He is good in the air, very aware, obviously enjoying himself tremendously. When Yves signals him to arch harder, he really gives it a go. Our average speed is over 130 mph. We could have released him without any problems. He also flies his canopy very cleanly, and on landing, he makes a beautiful PLF. He announced before the jump that he was going to do it like this, rather than trying a stand-up landing.

Three of the other students made their jumps with other instructors in the meantime, (2 good, 1 nobody-home) but for the last guy, it's too late. Sunset, so no jump for him today. Pity. For him of course, but I also prefer finishing a course on the day. Anyway, how about a beer?

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