Your 7th Jump - IAF Jump Two (Attempted)

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What do you mean Attempt at 7th?

On the same afternoon I made the sixth jump, I made my first (unsuccessful) attempt at jump seven.  Simply put, I wasn't able to complete the maneuvers and tasks in the jump, so I'll have to do it again.

Before going up, I had a briefing with another instructor.  We went over the tasks for the jump.  The seventh jump would be like the jump six, except it would include a full left and right upper body turn and fewer practice rip cord touches.

As we practiced, this instructor told me about a better way to execute an upper body turn.  Instead of turning at the waist, he taught me to perform a simpler movement of  pushing or leaning in at the shoulder which would deflect the air and cause a turn.  It made sense, so we went out on the practice boards and went through the dive.

When we finished the practice, the instructor asked me if I had any concerns.  I had two.  First was the lower altitude (opening at 4000') and the second issue was my not being able to keep a stable heading.  Even though I knew why I was turning (backsliding), I wasn't sure about actually remaining in position in the fall.

The instructor said it would probably be all right to pull higher, but to check with my assigned instructor at jump time.  As for my backsliding, we practiced more on the ground.

So what happened?

The same instructor who jumped with me on IAF6 was going with me on IAF7.  We went over the jump tasks.

Next, we picked up a rig.  I performed the gear check and put on the gear.  We headed out to the plane on the next load.

The exit went well, much the same as on jump six.  As we fell into a stable position, I could see I was doing a little better than before, but I was still backsliding frequently.  I was only keeping a heading for a few seconds at a time.

Things got worse.  Even though I was backsliding and not staying fully smooth and stable -- I attempted to start a turn by dropping a shoulder.  The result was a disaster.  My legs were up and my thighs were down.  When I dropped my shoulder, I rolled both of us.  I was completely unstable and on my back!

We tumbled like a rock.  The instructor kept a kamikaze death grip on me as we rolled over.  Fear gripped me as I felt helpless on my back.  I unsuccessfully tried to roll myself over.  I then remembered the most important thing to do when unstable: ARCH.

I arched hard.  The instructor turned us upright.  I checked the altitude.  It was still pretty good, but I was finished for this jump.  I locked on to the altimeter.  I waved off and pulled.  It felt good to be under canopy.  It was square, stable and appeared steerable.

I unstowed my brakes and performed the checks.  I waited for the radio instructions, but didn't hear anything.  I headed in the direction of the field.  Occasionally I could hear a static filled voice -- but was unable to make anything out.

I assessed the situation.  I was pretty far from the drop zone.  I checked my forward movement.  It wasn't as good as I wanted.  I looked for an alternate landing area.  I started to turn to a large field just behind me.  Finally, I heard a clear voice.  "Turn left 180 degrees."

I turned back toward the drop zone.  I lifted my arms as high as possible to give my self the maximum forward flight.  I cleared the woods, road, and power lines.  There was a house to the right and a clear field ahead of me.  I kept the forward flight until the last moment.  I heard a different voice on the radio.  It was Rob.  It was good to hear his (clear) voice!  

"Prepare to flare..." he said calmly.

I flared and landed with a firm plop.

"Good job". the radio squawked.

"Not a good job in the air..." I thought to myself as I gathered up my chute and gear.  Rob picked me up with the van and took me back to center.

I put my gear away and found my instructor.  I almost wanted to run and hide.  Before he said a word, I told him I knew it was bad.  I felt horrible.

"Yes, we need to do this one again." he said.  "The most important things, you did" he continued.  "You pulled on time, and you stayed altitude aware.  That's the most important thing."

You can see some of the video snapshots of the jump to the left.  If you're interested in seeing what NOT to do, you can see my full video clip.  Click here to download a one megabyte version of the video, or click here to download a five megabyte version in best quality.  

NOTE:  Both videos are in Windows Media Format and require the latest Windows Media Player and codecs to play.  If you have the latest version of Media Player but are unable to play the video, try connecting to the Internet before playing the file.  You'll be able to download the proper codec when connected.

We went over all my mistakes.  We practiced.  I'm sure I'll review and practice more before my next attempt at jump seven.  I don't know how many more times I'll have to do this jump, but as soon as I do it right, I'll let you read through a successful completion story of jump seven!

Here's the logbook entry for the unsuccessful attempt at jump 7.

In Freefall
The exit for the first attempt at jump seven was pretty good -- much like the first jump.
Legs all over
I still had the problem of backsliding.  Even worse, look at my legs -- I'm unbalanced.  It's little wonder I caused us to go unstable!
This is just before I caused us to roll over.  See how low my thigh is?  This is NOT a good arch.
Proper Arch
This is the position I SHOULD have been in.
You can see the start of the roll here.
It got ugly...
In a flash I was on my back.  The instructor latched on tight and went with me.
As soon as we were upright and relatively stable again I locked on to my altimeter and waited for pull time.
Good Canopy!
I was happy to be under canopy after this freefall!

(c) Copyright 2002, Keith Turbyfill.  May not be distributed, reproduced, or reprinted without my express, written permission.  You may get in touch with me by leaving your e-mail address the guestbook.


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