View Full Version : Any Skydivers Out There?
10-04-2002, 07:52 AM
I want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and live to tell the tale. Have any Dopers skydived? Was it a tandem jump your first time? Did you use a line? What was the experience like?
10-04-2002, 07:54 AM
I've tandem jumped before. I thought it was fun, but not worth the price to pick up the hobby... Instead I scuba dive.
So you could say that I've kept the diving part in my hobbies...
10-04-2002, 08:32 AM
My mother's boyfriend is a skydiver. He gives tandem dives as a side job. He's also a packer and a rigger. He's been in it every since he was little, his father a paratrooper in the Army.
Scary but not gruesome so if things will weigh on your mind and keep you away from the sport don't read it.
He knows a lot of dead people who've died skydiving, and not just rookies but professionals with 1000s of dives and a decade of practive who for some reason have panicked and gotten themselves killed. Like his brother who was coming in too low, panicked and overpensated and slammed into the ground killing himself. Of this woman whose primary chute failed to open and even though it had happened before this time she panicked and never cut away to her reserve.
So I'd definately suggest going with tandem at first until you're sure this is something you want to become good at. Unless you're very tall and heavy in which case it might not be so hot an idea after all. You want the guy or gal strapped to your back to be several inches taller then you. But then I do head a lot of horror stories.
BTW I'd never skydive. It's not in my nature.
10-04-2002, 08:50 AM
Thanks for the input so far. This isn't something I want to make a habit of - just something I want to experience.
10-04-2002, 09:13 AM
I've jumped five times, never tandem. Pay attention to the training - they do try to drill into you what to do as soon as you're out of the airplane, particularly with regard to remembering to actually look at your reserve ripcord when trying to use it.
I didn't care to carry on with it as a hobby, but I'm very glad I took the time to do it enough to get a good feel for it. Go for it, pal!
10-04-2002, 11:57 AM
My husband went skydiving a few years ago and loved it, the place he trained didn't do tandem jumps, they had the cord attached to the plane so your chute would automatically open for you after a short freefall. I remember the thing that surprised me about his jump was that he didn't just jump out the plane like you see on TV, he had to lean out the door, grab onto a bar under the wing, and hang under the plane while it was flying before letting go. I think this is so that the cord would be correctly positioned to open his chute. I wouldn't be able to do it that way, but it is a pretty cool stunt if you think about it, you can pretend you're James Bond or something. He also had a receiver in his helmet so the instructor on the ground could watch him and tell him commands / directions while he was parachuting.
The girl who went after him didn't let go of the bar with her arms far apart like they instructed, so when she let go her helmet was pulled off, and she panicked. Without her receiver in her helmet they couldn't give her instructions, so we watched her sail away, over some trees and fields. They found her a few miles away, unhurt but freaked out. It's really important to keep your head and remember your training.
10-04-2002, 12:55 PM
My husband took lessons and had 2 static line jumps - much as Velma described. As he was coming down on his first jump, the instructor gave him directions that had him landing about a quarter mile away from the landing zone. He had to carry his chute in a bundle across the airfield.
On his second jump, he decided he wasn't going to take directions from the instructor - he was going to fly the chute to a perfect landing. He almost succeeded. Just before he landed, he forgot about PLF, bending the knees, and all that basic stuff. He was reaching for the ground, landed on an uneven portion of the ramp, and went face down. He'd broken his leg. It required surgery and 2 or 3 screws to fix it back up. He sets off metal detectors. And he's never jumped again.
Definitely one of his worst brain farts.
10-04-2002, 01:27 PM
This is why I tandem jumped. I thought that going by myself was far too risky. The guy strapped to my back was an experienced West Point jumper, a total professional. He reminded me to check the altimeter, and when to pull the cord. If I didn't, he would have. I steered us a bit, but when it came to landing, he took over so we were safe and right on target.
When I first got to the jumpzone, I was sure I was going to see someone die. This jumper was coming in incredibly fast, chute pointed right towards the earth. A split second before the splat, the pulled out, skimmed a couple of feet above the ground and landed perfectly. Turns out these guys do that for an added thrill...
10-04-2002, 04:05 PM
I've done it... It is definitely way cool. I chose to go the static line route which others have already mentioned simply because it was a lot cheaper. The Drop Zone I used had a Cessna that would carry 4 jumpers at a time. I can't begin to describe the eerie feeling I would get when the jump master popped open the door. His next instruction was to put my feet out, and they mean *out*. I would sit as far out of the plane as I could with my feet just dangling in open space. Next I would put one foot on a small platform over the landing gear, grab the wing struts, pull myself out of the plane (not terribly easy to do with all the wind) and then face forward with my right foot just hanging in the wind. A small hop and I was away!! The ride down is fun too and actually very peaceful. I strongly recommend it. Oh yeah, be sure to pay attention to how to properly land. I was in a contest with a buddy to see who could stand on the most landings. On my 7th jump we were tied so I had to stand no matter what. Long story short, I spent the next 6 weeks in a cast...
10-04-2002, 06:15 PM
A number of dopers jump. I did for a while and enjoyed it a great deal. There is no freer feeling in the world. It is wonderful, but unfortunately it is also indiscribable. You have to experience it to truly appreciate it.
As many have mentioned before, I began with a static line and progressed to free fall. If I could remember where I put my jump log, I would check just how many static line jumps I made before going to free fall, but off the top of my head, I seem to remember it was seven, but I am not certain. I liked static line but loved free fall. I was never interested in tandem. I want to be the person doing the jumping not a tourist along for the ride. Maybe that's weird, but that's how I feel.
The club I trained with was a great group of people and I enjoyed them so I kept doing it for a couple of years. Then I moved and the people at the new location had a different perspective from mine and I pretty much quit.
I actually jumped the first time so I could write a story for the newspaper I was working on at the time. It was a suggestion from my editor. I have since learned to be wary of the phrase "TV, I think I have a story for you," when uttered by my editor in a certain tone of voice.
10-05-2002, 02:18 AM
One tandem jump. Freefall is...incredible. That was the most terrifying and exhilerating thirty seconds of my life (objective time, 30 seconds; subjective time, either two seconds or a week, I'm not sure which).
The landing...not so good. Tib/fib fracture, dislocated ankle (ankles just should not be that shape), eight pins and a plate implanted to hold the bones together, a week in hospital, eight weeks on crutches. I have set off airport metal detectors, but only once.
Oh yeah, and a lot of bad jokes about "Stay in the plane this time" when I had to be flown by air ambulance to Adelaide for surgery.
To balance that, the guy I jumped with had over 1000 tandems to his credit, and I was his first injury.
10-07-2002, 11:32 AM
There are three reasons that you jump... 1) it's all about the door, baby - do you have what it takes to actually jump out?? 2) freefall - if you want to fly, get out of the plane... and 3) the canopy ride.
As an avid skydiver with 300+ jumps over the last year, I would strongly recommend going the tandem route. On your first jump, you will definitely be on sensory overload - and mistakes can cost you your life. If you read the incident reports, you'll notice that accidents mainly occur under canopy, not in actual freefall.
Find a USPA drop zone (call 1 800 skydive and they'll hook you up) that handles tandems as an entry into the sport, not a joy ride. Your first tandem experience should include training in things like altitude awareness (do you know when to pull?), freefall body position (the boxman arch), and how to pull (release your parachute) on your own. A good tandem operator will teach you how to do those things, and then let you control the skydive. Your tandem master is then the one that's basically along for the ride, and they essentially serve as your backup system in case things go wrong.
A couple of comments on some of the other notes in the thread - once you do start to solo, listen to your instructors on the radio - they are telling you to do things for a reason. A good portion of the time they will set you up on a landing pattern where you have to walk a bit to get back to the hangar, but there's a reason... was there other traffic in the area (meaning, were there other skydivers trying to land)? were the winds a bit heavy? Bottom line - better safe than sorry, a little walking never hurt anyone. A bad landing, or hitting someone 100 feet off the ground under canopy, has.
Skydivers have a saying... blue skies, black death (bs, bd). Blue skies is the reminder of why we do it - for those blue skies, baby. Black death is the reminder that this is a dangerous sport, and safety is your first priority.
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