Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
  • Accelerated Free Fall.
  • i_like_food
    Full Member

    Thought I’d try something new and have booked stage 1 of AFF for a fortnights time at Netheravon.

    Anyone done it? I have a fear I’ll freeze in the door.

    3 questions.

    1) How quickly do I need to do the other stages? it’s going to take while with the cost/travelling. I would think doing them close together would be

    2) how often do you need to jump to stay current?

    3) any tips?

    Obviously I could have researched these answers before I booked… But then I would have missed the window of ‘bollocks I’ll just book it’ that occured late one night.

    Cheers

    ILf

    andrewh
    Free Member

    I didn’t do AFF but I did three static-line jumps back in the day.

    My main fear was the same as your first, getting to the door and not being able to do it. We went up, the plane got to the spot, slowed down, the first person jumped, then the second, a girl I really fancied so I had to do it now. It sped up again, did a loop and came back to the same spot. The instructor shouted to me ‘Number three, in the door!’ I shuffled across the floor, really quite nervous wondering how I would make myself do it. I swung my legs over the side where the wind caught them and pulled me out. Job done🤣 It feels like a very long time before you feel the pilot chute go, but it’s only a couple of seconds. Will be much longer for you….

    No idea what the answers to questions one and two are. For question three, just do the first one, it’s great, and not nearly as bad as you expect. Oh, and wrap up warm! And make sure the groin straps are comfy!

    2
    J-R
    Full Member

    From what I rembobine static line, we were trained time and time again in a series of actions of moving towards the door, look in a certain direction and then take action after we jumped.

    So when we were jumping for real the actual leaving the plane was something you did almost automatically because it was next in a sequence, rather than sitting by the door thinking am I going to jump yet.

    1
    Onzadog
    Free Member

    Jumping isn’t an issue. You drill so much on the ground that you sit in the door and when they scream “GO!” right in your ear, you’re out the door before you realise what you’ve done.

    1
    Kuco
    Full Member

    One and half days in a hanger training then did first static line  jump in the afternoon. Thought I’d hesitate at the door but went as soon as he said go.  Did 2 static line and 3 dummy pull jumps, only had to do one more dummy pull (two perfect dummy jumps on same day) to move up to a 3 second free fall but the weather changed and the days jumping was cancelled. Never went back as the cost and 80 mile round trip wasn’t worth it for me as I wasn’t getting a kick out of it I got more of kick out of rock climbing at the time.  I imagine the real thrill is in the actual free falling.

    Zero interest in ever doing it again but at one point I did think of going abroad to do it where you are guaranteed better weather.

    andrewh
    Free Member

    It was the weather which made me give it up. I’d ticked the box of having done it, and it was fun, but there was a lot of spending all day in a hanger waiting for the wind to drop then going home, then coming back and spending another day waiting for the cloud to lift and then going home….

    andrewh
    Free Member

    I actually did my second one in the snow and it was amazing, views were incredible.

    I remember before we did it they did the usual thing with the huge aerial photo, which wasn’t taken in the snow, the wind is coming from here, the plane will fly this route, you will get out here, the wind will take you to here, turn here, land here, go through that fifteen times until we’ve all got it perfect.

    So I get out of the plane and once the chute is open and I’ve got control I look down, searching for the DZ, a triangular field with a hanger in the corner. Everything is white. I’m lost, 4,000ft above Oxfordshire 🤣🙈 Found it eventually but it was a little concerning for a while

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Did mine when I was in the RAF Cadets which cut the cost dramatically.

    First jump was supposed to be a 2-day thing, training on Day 1 and some of Day 2 then a jump but we were only a small group, all pretty switched on and the weather that first evening was great so we nailed it in a day. As above, by the time you get to the door, you’ve gone through it so many times it’s second nature – just that jumping out shouting “1000, 2000, 3000, check canopy!” doesn’t happen on a crash mat the final time!

    What killed it all for me was the sheer number of times I’d get to the airfield, sit around doing bugger all then go home cos it was too windy, low cloud or the aircraft was broken.

    I reckon doing it properly, it’d be well worth just going to Spain or somewhere where you’re guaranteed to get 3-4 jumps a day, no messing around.

    2
    willard
    Full Member

    Yeah, did mine at Sibson over winter in 2017. Now over 500 jumps, D license holder and jump master in Sweden, so stuck with it. National champ last year (*cough* Rookie FS4) as well.

    1) How quickly do I need to do the other stages? it’s going to take while with the cost/travelling. I would think doing them close together would be

    8 AFF and then the consol jumps… If the weather is good, try and do them as soon as you can, but also try to understand that doing alllll of the jumps on the same day will be very tiring for you. You _will_ need time to process the jump and the learning points, so be aware of that. Three a day is a good numer IMHO.

    2) how often do you need to jump to stay current?

    As much as you can. I do about 100 a year, but to retain my D license I need 40. The season here is short (I only have 9 so far this year because it WAS FSCKING SNOWING two weeks ago) that I need to cram in a lot in a few months. In the UK you have a longer season. Hell, I did AFF in november and February, so you will be fine with getting jumps in whenever.

    3) any tips?

    Make good decisions and be safe. Do _NOT_ let your ego make decisions for you and _DO NOT_ be afraid of saying no to people. Jumping above your level of experience is a big cause of getting into trouble, so just bear that in mind. You can also hang out with people that have more experience and jump safely. Learn from their experience and mistakes rather than making those mistakes yourself. I was lucky there, my GF has 20+ years in the sport and 4000-ish jumps and a lot of my peer group is similar. Hell, my first trip out was to Alvor when she was team jumping and I got a good opportunity to learn when to not jump from that trip.

    As a final point about freezing in the door, I don’t think so. As has been said, the training makes it very much a case of “out, in, arch” and you’ll not really have a chance to dwell on it. Just trust your instructors, listen to them and, please, leave your ego in your car.

    Gimme a PM if you want to chat about it and please post back after the jump, it’s always nice to hear about that experience.

    3
    andrewh
    Free Member

    Accelerated Free Fall

    Surely it’s just usual 32ft/second/second?

    1
    borosilicate
    Free Member

    I did 2 AFF jumps, trained for the 3rd but never jumped it due to a cloudy day. My free time was then clobbered by a house move and by the time I had a spare moment I was back to square one because I was deemed to have forgotten L1 & 2.

    I’ll echo the comments above about weather, the hobby of skydiving seems to be shooting the breeze with other skydivers and very occasionally jumping out of a plane. On top of which the drop zone I used (not Netheravon) was a conveyor belt for tandem punters, and seemed to squeeze every else in around that. For example on my L1 I was told to turn up at 8am the day after ground school, didn’t actually get a slot to jump until lunchtime.

    If the first jump whets your appetite I’d consider some sessions at a vertical wind tunnel. I did 20 minutes before my 1st jump because I expected I’d be properly into skydiving, I found that I was very much not a natural at falling and the tunnel time gave me a lot of confidence about being in control in freefall.

    Your first two questions (best answered by Netheravon) relate to what ultimately did it in for me. I found it all quite officious with constantly proving your worth to the chief instructor. I got the impression that even once you’ve become a certified skydiver, sacking it off over the winter months and coming back in spring would be met by a raised eyebrow and “can you just do a check dive with an instructor” before letting you loose again.

    That all sounds negative but don’t be put off, it was an expensive way to go about a couple of jumps for me but in hindsight I’m glad I did it, I’ve never done a tandem dive but I think that would be much less of an experience. Plus I get a wistful smile whenever I watch Point Break.

    1
    stevesss
    Free Member

    1)Do as many as you can in close succession, developing muscle memory, confidence and time at the DZ learning from the right people will help.

    2)Currency is key, especially when starting out, the more jumps you do early will help with developing experience, it matters a little later onless 200 / 300 jumps but is still really matters.

    3) Be prepared to sit around alot waiting for the right weather and conditions. If you think mtb is expensive, welcome to skydiving, lol.

    1500 jumps under my belt, I’m still new and don’t listen to anyone other than an instructor or other responsible person.

    willard
    Full Member

    Speaking of good weather and short seasons, I spent the weekend at my DZ with near perfect conditions for a good weekend of jumping and had two of the most memorable jumps of my career so far.

    The first was a duo jump to do a bit more prep for wingsuiting and was a really chilled and good experience. The second was with a relative new-starter and was the first time I have actually heard something other than wind noise in freefall. It was her first FS4 jump and she did an amazing job in freefall (hence the excited screaming in the exit) and did an amazing landing. I have never seen someone so pumped on landing and it is now firmly a memory of why developing new jumpers is the best and most amazing job.

    On tunnel… Yes, it helps. If you can learn how to be stable and fly on heading in freefall, it helps in the air. It helps a lot. I’ve spent far too much time in the tunnel in the last six/seven years, but it kept me out of trouble over winter and did mean that I had the flying muscle memory when I started again in spring. As @stevesss said, muscle memory helps.

    Oh yeah, about hanging out at a DZ. They are essentially daycare for adults. Just lean into that part.

    4
    i_like_food
    Full Member

    Thanks everyone. My experience today pretty much mirrors what’s above. A good day of learning from an excellent instructor, then no jump as too windy. Going back on Sunday (day after tomorrow ) to hopefully get some jumps in.

    Realise why proximity to a DZ is a prerequisite for being into the sport!

    Will report back after Sunday.

    blokeuptheroad
    Full Member

    Sounds familiar! Stick with it OP.

    I’d did static line progression up to 20 sec delays, twice. Once at Netheravon around 1987 with a few jumps at Headcorn then starting from scratch around 1990 at Bad Lippspringe in Germany. Each time, work, weather and distance to the DZ conspired to frustrate my skydiving ambitions.

    Then around 1994 I got chance to do AFF at Ballykelly in Northern Ireland. My mate was one of the instructors and we got to jump out of Lynx helicopters which was awesome! But again, weather and work commitments meant I never got chance to complete it. I think I did 5 or 6 of the 8 required. I had around 50 jumps all together but lack of continuity meant I never really progressed. If I was doing it all again I’d go to Spain or Florida as UK weather can really kybosh airsports.

    Screenshot_20240601-193627

    Screenshot_20240601-193653

    willard
    Full Member

    @I_like_food

    So? How was it?

    i_like_food
    Full Member

    Ahah @willard, I am alive!

    In a word, amazing! Would very much recommend Netheravon as a venue, very friendly and professional.

    But, I won’t be carrying on. It was 2 hrs 15 min driving each way in the end. I just can’t see that ratio of drive:jump time working out for me at the moment, especially as the weather is so unreliable and I only got 1 jump in (see 👇)

    What might be useful for anyone else thinking about it…

    1) it’s a great thing to learn, very focused and committing with a real sense of achievement. That’s not just for getting out of the plane, but for the thinking bit under pressure and the landing properly.
    2) the instructors were amazing (like most there they were ex-military). It was quite strange to be ‘looked after’ so well, almost cared for. They inspired real confidence and were friendly and helpful. That was one of the highlights really.
    3) getting out of the plane was easy in the end, remembering to do everything during free fall less so. My goggles weren’t tight enough and flapped on my head. 120 mph wind in my eyes took some of my attention and I forgot to do my 3 practice pulls. They did pass me as everything else was good (arch, position, responding to hand signals, wave off, pull etc), but I’d have to be really obvious about my three pulls on L2.
    4) the weather is annoying. After driving there amd back on Friday with no jumps the forecast said no jumps Saturday, and then there were some. On Sunday I was lucky to be scheduled into the second flight for my Level 1 jump but as I was dithering about paying £350 for level 2 afterwards the wind got up and saved me the money. It was super busy too, so even if I had paid I’d have been waiting until at least 4 pm for jump #2, and I got there at 7.30 am. I can absolutely see what the posters above say about waiting for the weather… And that would be on sunny days where I could drive for 30 minutes and ride for 4 hours. To be honest, I’m also not very good at waiting on my days off work, I like to be cramming them full. I think the perfect would be to have a camper van and lots of work to do. That way you could go on a Friday (it’s only open to civilians on Fri/Sat/Sun) and work if the wind got up or you were waiting for your jump slot.
    5) my moment of terror came after the parachute actually opened. For about 3 seconds I was paralyzed with fear, suddenly all alone floating along under some string and fabric… Which despite lots of drills I was not sure I’d be able to recognise if It was faulty. Once I’d had a good look at It then I néeded a real effort of will to do the drills (flare and steer) as it felt like they might break the spell.
    Once I got over that I was fine and really enjoyed the floating/steering.
    6) although it’s very well organised from a safety perspective there is a fair bit of ‘newbie blur’ insofar as you don’t know where to stand or go to get you chute/line up etc. Everyone is very helpful if you explain you don’t know, but it wasn’t obvious to me at times. In retrospect I should have been a bit more pushy and less ‘polite and wait’ (my epitaph probably).
    6) I will plan a holiday where I can go somewhere with reliable weather to do my AFF and extra jumps. That seems the best way for someone that wants to learn but doesn’t live near an airfield. Maybe wait till my son is old enough and do it with him?

    So, bottom line…

    Will I do it again? Absolutely. Would I recommend? Yes. Will I carry on right now? No

    Thanks everyone for your tips and help 🙂

    i_like_food
    Full Member

    And just realised this is in the wrong forum. Sorry!

    1
    willard
    Full Member

    First of all, well done. Leaving the plane that first time is the hardest part and, next time, it will be easier. Doing AFF in one hit somewhere warm is an excellent idea; Portugal and Spain both have good places for that and a lot of the UK clubs take people out there in groups over winter, so that could be an option for you.

    Seriously though, good job! I’m glad you did it and I understand about the time and the weather. A van (or borrowing a caravan) helps a lot with that aspect and would save you that time. Or take a road bike with you to the DZ and treat a weather break as a training opportunity!

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I did AFF in Spain, sunny every day.

    And as every says, exiting the plane is just so hard the first few times!

    scud
    Free Member

    Like a few above, i did 178 jumps in the army and used to really enjoy it, but then got frustrated trying to take it further on civvy street with throwing a lot of money at it and a long drive, only to sit around and shoot the sh*t all day.

    Found paragliding a lot more satisfying as a sport i wanted to take forward, and i have been lucky it has taken me from trips to Peru and Boliva (flying over Nasca lines will never be forgotten) to South Africa and Nepal.

    SaxonRider
    Full Member

    I don’t know what ‘Accelerated Free Fall’ is, but it took me a good few readings not to see ‘Accelerated Free Will’, and thought STW might be dealing with a new Reformation doctrine.

    willard
    Full Member

    @SaxonRider https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parachuting#Training

    It’s one of the main routes in to skydiving.

    i_like_food
    Full Member

    @scud how did you get into paragliding? Any suggestions for a way to find out, try it? Thanks.

    andrewh
    Free Member

     it has taken me from trips to Peru and Boliva (flying over Nasca lines will never be forgotten) to South Africa and Nepal.

    That’s a long way even with an engine! You must have been flying for days!

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