Friday, November 18, 2011

Skydiving Duck: AFF Level Seven

 
When I signed up for  AFF, it was on a "I'll try this level and we'll see about the others..."  basis.   Videos of the each level  seemed intimidating, but the video of level seven freaked me. 
Tumbling out of the plane!?  Backloops?  Barrel rolls?  No way was I going to do stuff like that!  I didn't do  those things.  That wasn't me.


But now, a few months later, I was ready to do the dreaded level seven.
Thanks to my history of bungled roll 'n' flop exits (including ending up on my back by mistake), this wasn't exactly unfamiliar territory anymore.  Sure, I was still nervous, but the sky and  drop zone had become more fun.  The  "what the hell am I doing here!?" vibe had faded.
It reminded me of Toontown from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
It was colorful, friendly, unique, exciting...
...and what was more surreal and cartoony than falling through the sky?

Of course, Toontown wasn't Disneyland.  Someone could drop a flowerpot  (or a piano) on your head.   Both Toontown and the sky require caution.

The plane ride is getting easier.  The facing-the-firing-squad terror has fizzled away.    Walking to that door is another matter.  Remember when Curly from The Three Stooges gets scared and goes "Nyaaaaaahhhhhhh!?"  That's me at the door!

It's amazing how dropping out of that door is easier than walking toward it.
I went through my routine.  I tried the backloop.
 It worked!
Now the barrel roll.  That sort of worked, but I don't think you were supposed to keep rolling until you were on your back again.  Whoops.
When I righted myself I tried tracking (for you non-skydiving readers, that's pulling your arms back so you fly forward).
How graceful was I?  Think "Peter Pan on horse tranquilizers."
Soon the canopy was open.  I remember thinking "That feels like a line twist" and looking up to find one.  I'm getting good at kicking them out.
As for the landing...
 ...I still haven't been able to do a stand up.   Guess I need more practice there too.
But guess what?  I passed the level!
(To see what happened when I tried level 8, click here.)

8 comments:

MikeJD said...

Yay!

"Peter Pan on horse tranquilisers" - I loved that.

And the backloop and barrel roll pictures are especially great.

Anyway, that's the really tough one out of the way. Good luck with your L8!

Can you believe you're almost there?

Namowal said...

MikeJD,
Thanks. Can I believe I'm almost there? Hardly!
I may be repeating myself, but if someone had told me, six months ago, that I'd be doing this, I wouldn't have believed them. If anything, I'd have laughed in their face for how "wrong" they were about me.

Linda Davick said...

Namo, congratulations. This is amazing.

I particularly love the falling through the sky illo with the flower pot and iron.

And the backloop illo is hilarious!

Namowal said...

Thanks, Linda. I borrowed some of thee gags from this cartoon I published three years ago. Who knew it would be prophetic?

p.s. I think I really look like that when I do a backloop ;)

Wolf River Joe said...

Very nice. Congrats on passing L7. A wonderful magical place that still requires respect and caution. Very well put.
And flipping and flopping all over the sky is a lot more fun when it's on purpose, isn't it?

Have you talked to any first time tandems lately? You'd be the perfect "You can do this if you want to. I wouldn't have thought I could, but I did" person.

Wolf River Joe said...

Very nice. Congrats on passing L7. A wonderful magical place that still requires respect and caution. Very well put.
And flipping and flopping all over the sky is a lot more fun when it's on purpose, isn't it?

Have you talked to any first time tandems lately? You'd be the perfect "You can do this if you want to. I wouldn't have thought I could, but I did" person.

I was showing this to a friend a couple days ago and saw the panel where you realized you were "just a tourist" while watching the licensed jumpers head toward the plane.
You certainly aren't "just a tourist" anymore.

Wolf River Joe said...

Oops on the double post.

Namowal said...

Wolf River Joe
"And flipping and flopping all over the sky is a lot more fun when it's on purpose, isn't it?"
Yes- I feel like a kid with some new toys. Plus there's the insurance that a nice arch puts me back in position.
I haven't talked to many first-time tandems. I'm rather shy and most tandem people seem to show up in groups. But I have to agree that I'm one of the "I wouldn't have thought I could do this, but I did" people.
(I suspect most people are, but they don't know it yet!)