Sunday, January 22, 2012

Skydiving Duck: Screwing Up and Standing Up

I was proud of my previous jump. I'd done my first stable exit and was ready to repeat the trick. After all, I was getting better, right?
I walked to the door, looked down, got into position, dove and...
...flopped around like a paper bag in the breeze.  Whoops.
I got stable, practiced some tracking, pulled on time, and checked to make sure the canopy was steerable.  It was.  
Hey, this is pretty neat, I thought.  I can see the freaking ocean!   I never noticed that before.
I started to sing...
...but my common sense put a stop to that within seconds.
So it was back to keeping an eye out for other jumpers and staying in the holding area.
As I got closer to my entry pattern, I spotted two flags in the (student) landing area.
See those flags?  I told myself.  You're going to land right between them.  Its not windy at all, so your downwind and final approaches should be about the same size.  So enter the pattern near the flags and you'll end up between them.
The downwind approach went great, but my final approach seemed too close to the runway.
You idiot!  I thought.  Get away from that thing before the plane comes!

But now I was too low to turn away further.  Turning makes the parachute dive.  When you're low, the ground is included in said dive.  Instead I tugged lightly at one toggle until I eased away from the runway.   This was good, except now I was heading for the wind tetrahedron.
You're a menace!  I thought.  Can't you do anything right?
I knew better than to fix my eyes on the tetrahedron.  Instead I focused on a patch to the left and gently steered away.  Soon the ground zoomed up, I flared and...
...I was standing!  My first stand up landing!  The jump wasn't a total loss.
Then again, I managed to get my foot caught in the parachute lines as I boarded the shuttle back to the drop zone buildings.  Tsk tsk.  I should know better by now.


Anonymous said...

Congrats! Stand-up landings on no-wind days are not easy, especially for someone who hasn't done one before.

Ask you instructors about flat turns, and if they think you're ready, you can practice them, high up at first. Flat turns are maneuvers that allow you to turn while losing very little altitude.

Linda Davick said...

This is so wonderful. I love it that you found yourself singing!
Love the last illo especially.

Namowal said...

Thanks, Anon.
I've heard of flat turns but haven't tried them out yet (as you suggested, I like to clear new "tricks" with the instructors). Hopefully I'll get a thumbs up to try them.

I compromised by singing about what was going on and what I was supposed to be doing, but
"Look before you turn, look up and down too/look for other jumpers, Keep them away from you!"
isn't going to be a top 40 hit any time soon. :)

MikeJD said...

Singing under canopy - I love it!

I don't think I've ever done it, mind you, although I nearly always talk to my canopy while it decides if and how it's going to open: "Come on baby, come on baby, woah, you #£!"@, what are you DOING??!!"

Congratulations on your stand-up landing, too. Like the stable exit you pulled off lately, it might be a while before you can guarantee one every time - but I reckon it won't be long!

Oh, and number 3? BEST. PICTURE. EVER. It scored a perfect 10 on my grin-ometer.

Wolf River Joe said...

Nice!! Finally a stand up landing! (although they are less important than landing safely)

And you did a very nice job of realizing that you were heading toward things you shouldn't be and went elsewhere before you got into trouble (twice no less).

Just like bravery isn't the absence of fear, it's being scared and still going forward.
Everyone does things that they shouldn't. Recognizing mistakes before they become critical is a very good thing.

Namowal said...

Heh heh- I talk to the canopy when it opens too: If it opens nicely (no twists) I've been known to thank it.
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm a two steps forward one step back learner, so it may take awhile to master these things.

Wolf River Joe,
Thanks for your encouragement too. I'm glad I caught (and corrected) my goofs before I put myself in serious jeopardy.

There can only be one PHYL said...

My God I'm so grateful your blog is still up. It has been awhile since I visited. I was a very regular stalker of yours. Keep up with the work ur doing!!!