If your jumps go well today, I promised myself, you can buy your own altimeter. After all, I was more than half way towards my "A" license. Maybe it was time to start getting my own equipment.
I was still nervous in the plane. I still flopped a bit after exiting. The funny thing was, instead of thinking Oh no! I'm upside down! I thought That's no big thing. I can right myself. And I did.
My tracking was getting better.I pulled on time and kept an eye on the landing area.
I remembered how close I'd came to the runway during my last landing. I didn't want that to happen again! I made sure my downwind approach was further east...
...downwind, crosswind, final... wow, maybe I overdid it on the "further east" thing. I was going to land east of the landing area. Oh well, at least I knew how to do a standup landing now.
I flared, stood up and...
...thunk! Fell forward on my knees, hard.
Huh? How'd that happen? So many of my earlier landings had been so soft. Was it the new lines on the student canopy?
Stop blaming the parachute and try again, I told myself. And this time, try to land correctly. In the landing area, perhaps.
My second jump went like the first one. Unimpressive exit, improved tracking, pulled on time, etc... Now to land properly.
Okay, I thought. Let's do the downwind leg a bit closer than last time so you don't land in the sticks again.
I went downwind, turned crosswind and...
...Damn! I was too close to the runway again!
You idiot! I thought, cutting the crosswind leg short. The landing pattern isn't that complicated! Why have you been screwing it up lately?
Then final approach came. Toggles up, toggles up, don't flare too high, flare half way, all the way... ...hey I was still coming in like a freight train. I PLF'd hard and came to a stop.
Well, that was train wreck, I thought.
Three other students landed nearby. As we were shuttled back to the DZ, one of the employees told us he'd like a word with "The person who did a 180 degree turn instead of a normal pattern."
180 degree turn? I thought. Ha! At least someone was worse than me. I'm glad he didn't get in my way...
But soon enough it became clear who the rogue jumper was.
Can you guess who it was?
My shortened base leg (to miss the runway) was the 180 degree turn! My "let's make sure you don't land out again" downwind approach was way too close to the center of the landing area (instead of off to the side, where I belonged). My error was pointed out politely, but I was furious with myself. Just furious.
I didn't go home with a new altimeter that day. I didn't deserve one yet.