Thursday, October 06, 2011
Skydiving duck VI: AFF 3, Take Two, with a Twist
I was still frightened on the plane ride up. This disappointed me. Then again, my fear level had dropped a little. The soul melting terror of my earliest flights had been replaced with a distracting unease.
Minutes later I was out the door with a whoosh. You're supposed to arch. I thought I arched. I certainly yelled "Aaarrch!"
I suppose I could have defended myself with "Gee, I was distracted, falling out of a plane and all." Instead, I added "Arch right away when you're out the door" to my to do list.
Lucky for me (and the instructors hanging on to me), my form improved. They let me go. Would I spin? Flip over?
Incredibly, I was able to hold still. Yay!
I kept a sharp eye on my altimeter. I'd botched my last lesson by not pulling on time. Nothing was going to distract me. Not the wind, not the noise, not thoughts, not even a pterodactyl or flying saucer...
I felt the familiar tug of the opening chute. Ha! I'd done it!
The lines were twisted like a wrung out rag. This wasn't the cute little "X" twist I'd had a few dives earlier. This was a bad-attitude-"#@!* you!" twist.
I kept my eye on the landing area and worked my way towards it. I almost didn't notice that it was a beautiful day with a gorgeous view- the lake spread out like a flat emerald, the mountains like piles of brown sugar. Maybe that's good- one doesn't land safely by sight seeing.
I had radio help for landing. I currently don't get how the pros know when to start the flare.*
Yes, I get that you're supposed to do it at ten to fifteen feet above ground level. I get that you should be looking forward instead of down. Still, as I get lower and see the weeds zipping by, it's tricky to judge. I look forward to the day when I figure out how to do this on my own.
Well, I passed. Here's the GoPro video.
See my sorry exit and my recovery (well, the body position could be better but hey, I'm new at this) yourself:
To see what happened on level four, click here.
*Flare means pulling down on the steering toggles. When you get to the ten-fifteen feet above ground level, you pull them half way down and hold them. This levels you off (so you're flying parallel to the ground instead of at an angle.) for a few seconds. Then the canopy drops and you pull the toggles all the way down, which slows your decent long enough to land you gently. If you know what you're doing.