I take each jump one at a time, learn something and have a great time!

New DropZone and Team Practice

James (a teammate on the 4-way) was wanting to jump Saturday. I had a hurting head and was tired, but I didn’t want to mope around all day and accomplish nothing, so I decided to take him up getting in a few practice jumps. Let me just say for the record…I think the older you get, you hurt more no matter how little you drink.

First we headed to The Farm, but they only had one load going up with room for a two-way, leaving me and James wondering what we should do next. We were hoping to get three or four jumps two-way jumps in.

The Farm was flying a Cessna 182, which only allows 4 slots. Typically with tandems three of the four slots are used up per tandem jump! The Farm is in the middle of selling and buying a new aircraft.

James completed his A license at a neighboring dropzone known as ASC or Atlanta Skydiving Center. I had always been reluctant to head there primarily due to what I had heard described as a small and tricky landing zone. Also, since I started and all of my friends were at The Farm…I had no need to head to ASC before.

We left The Farm and decided we would stop in at ASC to check out the landing pattern, conditions and watch a few landings before I would make the call. Next was signing my life away, showing my A license card, and my reserve repack card for my gear.

I must admit, just going through the whole experience of first time jitters jumping at a brand new dropzone was a welcoming experience. The more and more you jump at the same dropzone, the more you fit into a groove, things come natural. At a new dropzone I was constantly running through my mind everything from my equipment check, to making sure I had no doubts what I would need to do when entering the landing pattern.

What is it about skydiving that you find yourself caring more and more about making sure you didn’t leave anything back at home or in the hanger?

Jump #41
James and I decided to attempt a two way and see how many points we could pull off. Another guy John was practicing video and decided to tag along. I stood outside the aircraft, but too far back making the exit for James difficult.

We leveled off, James let go of me and he sank. I almost began laughing, but that ended quickly as I arched my back as hard as I could, but I could not match the descent rate James had. He was clearly falling faster than me. Damn!

The jump ended up being zero points. I think our camera/video guy John had a good laugh. Luckily for me I was able to watch my mistakes and learn from them. John gave me a good tip…make my profile smaller. Meaning to bring my arms in a bit and not extend myself out so much.

My landing almost ended on top of a lying dog that would not move. Good thing for him, I shot right over his body picking my feet gently and softly touched down standing up.

Jump #42
Again James and I decided to jump our two-way for points. I remember being next to the door and waiting for the red light so I could open the door and breath the fresh air in my face. There is a definite rush sticking your head out the side of an aircraft door at 12000 feet (or more) and looking down at a tiny runway. I realized quickly I was spotting…and I was fine with where we were. Green light…I climbed out immediately.

James latched on and I waited for him to look at me. He did, I gave the count and we exited the aircraft. It was a bad exit, but we stuck to our guns and pulled off an excellent dive. It had been the best one yet! We ended up with extra time and did a couple spins and goofed off. We ended up tracking away from each other, and I was so happy, I decided to track longer than I originally said I would. I opened about 1000 feet lower than I told James and did a quick check around me to make sure it was close.

My canopy opened over my head, I checked it and I was there at 3000 feet. Wow…I was right in the exact spot I needed to be, so I began a few tight turns knowing it would bleed off excess altitude quickly.

I ended up landing a bit further in on the drop zone this time, but nothing too far off or uncomfortable that I couldn’t handle. I flared and stood up another successful landing, running off the landing a bit.

Another jump?
We went back and tried for a third jump, but it was too dark for the tandems on the same load to get video, so they decided to wait. Oh well I thought…I was getting hungry. It was the fastest pack job I have done to date. Am I getting better at packing my parachute too?


One Response to “New DropZone and Team Practice”

  1. of course you should try different dz:s. I’ve tried two already =)
    I’m glad there are no dogs at either of those, if there were I would have crashed into the poor animal, without a doubt, I still suck at the landings =P (and the packing of the chute too)
    reading your post really makes me wanna go skydiving now!!!

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