An online skydiving logbook

September 27, 2008

I like days like this.

2-way sit with Mario to begin the day. Hmmm, nice, OK :-))) !!! I exit facing the prop, no funnelling, oops, where did that 180° turn come from? steady, control, push on my legs, nice, fly towards each other, slow down a bit, hey no backsliding please, cool, I could just touch his foot, beep beep, end of jump, Yahoo!!!

A level 2 jump next. The other instructor doesn't wear his jumpsuit. He wears a jersey and one of those old leather hats. I have a flash back. This is how we were flying last century :-). The jump is OK.

And another 2-way sit, another good one. I really enjoy this stuff. My sit-to -track transition sucks. Have to pay attention there.

Next is the older man from a few weeks ago. He's back for his level 5. On the ride up, we fly over the factory where he works. He points it out to me, it is one of those real heavy industry factories. I say "Glad I'm up here, rather then working down there" and I give that factory the finger. He grins, says "yeah", and also waves his middle finger to his work place. I have a good feeling about the jump. And indeed, it is a good one.

The new load of students from this week's FJC is ready by now, so it's two more level 1's and that will be it for today. First one is a middle aged man (right, that's about my age, maybe even a tiny bit younger), nervous, quite a bit of work in the air, but in the end he does OK, and like all of them, he really loves it. His 9 year old son is waiting for his dad when he comes back, and with his eyes full of admiration, he says "I want to be here on my 12th birthday". 12 is the minimum age for a tandem here in Belgium.

Second student is a girl. A bit of confusion on exit: she doesn't position herself correctly in the door, she grabs the bar above her head with both hands and holds on to it, I am outside, and my inside colleague doesn't react, so I have to let go of her harness grip to take her arm, and position her correctly for the exit. No problem there, but if she chooses this exact moment to exit, we have a (likely) funnel, with me having only an arm grip on her. But she doesn't do it and we make an uneventful jump. After this initial confusion, she 's really good, very aware, doing all the stuff she has to do, and really enjoying it while she does it. Under canopy, she even listens to my instructions (and lands fine)!

I am thinking about something, it starts with the letter "J", it rhymes with "upiler"... Any ideas?

September 20, 2008


4 16-way jumps today. They were lousy. People weren't disciplined, there were people showing up late and people leaving early. In the air, there was no focus, lack of commitment, plain out of control flying. Manifested myself on the sunset load for a solo jump. Best jump of the day! Maybe it was just me having a bad day...

September 14, 2008


First jump of the day is a solo sitfly, and guess what: the exit works! Facing the prop, leaning backwards. If I don't react to the wind and don't try to stay stable in my sit, if I just don't do a thing, if I just sit, it works! That's what a few thousand belly jumps mis-teach you :-)).

It is going to be a slow day: our national cartographer service (the guys who make Belgium's official maps) are doing some aerial photographing today, and for us this means a 30 minute holding every few hours. And once the rhythm of a dropzone is broken, the day stops flowing and everything starts to slow down.

Second jump is with an ex student. It's his 13th jump (no, it ain't Friday), his first 2-way since AFF. We exit a star (he floats), good exit, I present grips in a few positions, he takes them easily. He makes a few turns, OK, even a back-in and a 540°, and I have seen far worse than his. Turn, track, hey, he doesn't wave off, he just pulls. Very good jump. Well, the freefall part at least. Unfortunately, on landing, he stumbles over his lines and breaks his little finger. Well, how's that for a skydiving accident! You know what they say: if it can't kill you, it's not an extreme sport :-)

Next jump, the roles are reversed. A 2-way sit with an ex-student of mine. He is a good free flyer now, and returning the favour, the jumps I did with him a few years ago. It's great fun beginning to be able to control high-speed flying. Because that's how I think about it in my head (where else would I be thinking anyway): belly-to-earth = low speed, sit and stand = high speed.

There's only time left for one more jump. I exit last (apart from a few wing suiters) and pull a little higher. I love floating up there, and I land well after the birds.

The season is ending. It's too cold to have our beers on the terrace, we have to go inside. The determined and focused students who really planned for skydiving tend to come earlier in the year, now nearing the end of the season, I don' know how to put it, they still enjoy it terribly, but they are more like, it's one of the many things they do, not the one and only thing they ever dreamed about. It's a difference in motivation, it's another kind of students, and it shows. Of course there are exceptions, and maybe AFF fatigue starts to creep in with us instructors too, just maybe, just a tiny little bit. Next year I wanna progress further in freefly, do a bit of 8-way and a bit of 16-way, and who knows what else. But would you listen to me, the year isn't over yet: I want at least 10 jumps next weekend. And another beer right now!