An online skydiving logbook

April 6, 2008

Brrrrrrrrr...... (very very very cold weather)

When I arrive Sus immediately starts at me, "What are you gonna do today, did you plan anything?" Turns out he wants to get rid of a student. An 18 year youngster, very skinny, only 52 kilo. More in my league then his. Anyway, just returning the favor: last week, I gave him a student of mine, the guy was 30 kilos heavier and 30 cm shorter than me... So I'll be jumping with Wesley today. His father is a tandem master at our DZ. I team up with Luk.

He took his FJC two weeks ago, bur couldn't jump till now because of bad weather. So we take our time for rehearsing stuff and briefing. When we finally go up, it is cold. -22° at altitude, and very humid. Glad I can exit from the inside :-) He makes a good jump. These kids are so flexible, I wish I could arch like that! He completely forgets his legs, doen't react much too our signals, but he goes through the motions, he's altitude aware, he pulls at the exact moment. What more can you want on a first jump? Under canopy, he is OK, apart from the very last moment. He lets the wind push him into a cross landing and then flares much too high, but he PLFs (did I already say he was flexible?) and all goes well.

His level 2 is a very good jump. Better exit, better body position, more awareness, and at the end a better timing for the flare. For me the jump is not so comfortable. I am wearing my camera helmet, which is not a full face helmet, and it is even colder than the first jump. -26° this time. I didn't know that my nose could freeze up that quick.

Jump 3 our exit point is straight above the top of a very big cloud.

We refuse the jump. Turns out the last group to exit before us, went through an icy cloud from 11.000 to 5.000 ft. I signal Pieter, the pilot for a second run, Luk continues spotting, while I talk to Pieter, and I check on the plane's GPS where we are, and I explain it all to the student. After a bit of flying around, we find a patch of clear sky and there we go. He starts out very good, but then gradually slips. In the second part of the jump, he lets go of his legs, the fall rate drops, slowly starts turning. Maybe fatigue, maybe also the effect of the delayed exit. When I look at the jump afterwards, on video, maybe I should have given him more room to make his mistakes, rather than slowing down his turning, but at the time it seemed the right thing to do. I find them difficult, those decisions, but maybe I tend too much towards caution (if that's possible in this sport of course).

Still time to throw in two FF jumps after that. First one is lousy, I can't even hold the positions I want, let alone fly them. Second one is a little bit better.

While my canopy is opening from that last jump, I have a very good view of another jumper, spiralling on opening and doing a cutaway. Since nobody from his group noticed (or cared, they all fly home), I stay with the canopy and the freebag. The guy also lands nearby. It's his first reserve ride, and he 's so full of adrenaline. He makes a downwind landing, with a beatiful slide / roll through the mud. A beer will become him (and me, of course).

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