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Skydive Ride Report
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  (#1)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 3,459
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: NYC UES
Talking Skydive Ride Report - June 21, 2010, 03:58 AM

This ride has taken me a while to acomplish. It is not that easy. The nearest dropzones are all 2+ hours away from DC. The AFF class is usually only at 8am on Saturdays. Weather complicates things, especially for students. But if finally happened this past weekend.

This Saturday I got up an ungodly hour, checked the weather, and set out on my journey to Laurel, DE. Boring straight country roads all the way there. The only saving grace is that you can go relatively fast and there is minimal traffic.




Two hours later, I finally arrived.




I don't like to do things half-way. It was always going to be AFF jump for me. With AFF, you take 1/2 day ground school and actually learn quite a bit. It is the first step towards becoming licensed. There were two other students in my class. Topics covered included flight procedure, body position, equipment familiarity, plane exit routine, things needed to demonstrate in order to pass and go to AFF jump 2, hand signals, various emergency procedures, landing zone approach, proper landing, etc.

I leared some great things like the statistic that 25% of jumps end up with twisted lines when canopy deploys. This happens more if you don't have a great body position when you pull (aka. beginners). Usually correctable, but if not you have to cut away and then deploy the reserve. Hmmm...

We took a little test at the end and we were ready... at least on paper.

At this point it was about noon or 1pm. My 2 classmates got scheduled for 2 jump... I was supposed to be on the one after that. BUT... the weather didn't cooperate. Excessive wind gusts meant that only experienced jumpers could jump. I had to wait. There was another student that took a class in the past there. The guy took the class and couldn't jump that day because of wind. So here he is, having driven 2 hours again, only to face the same weather obsticle. This did not make me feel good at all.

It was a lot of waiting. There is nothing at the drop zone, and you can't go into town to get food or anything.


At least you get to watch other people jump over and over again.



Finally at around 6pm, my name shows up on the plane manifest!


Time to suit up.


My ride up pulling up.


Getting on.


WTF am I doing here.


WTF am I doing here X 2.



Here we go.



I wore my Alpinestar Supertechs for protection.




Procedurally, I generally accoplished everything I needed to pass, finally pulling my own cord.






After the jump with my 2 instructors. These guys debriefed me, gave me my log book, and signed off on me passing AFF1.


I decided to skip on the $20 necklace.


There was only one more round of jumps after mine, the Sunset jump.



The ride home sucked.


Conclusion:
It is worth doing. If there was a drop zone right outside of DC, I might be persuaded to plunk down about $10,000 to get my license and gear. As is, it's too much of a PIA.

As an adrenaline shot, it's mostly about the anticipation. I was nervous as heck all day. It is hard to believe what you are about to do when you are approaching that big exit door on the airplane. I was scared for a few seconds while falling, particularly when I felt I was losing freefall control. But after that, it is not a huge rush. Hitting the track or railing on the street is still a bigger rush IMO - and I have been riding a long time so you would think it would wear off a little.

Canopy ride was increadibly fun. You just float up in the air. By the time I landed, I did not feel anything at all. No rush. This is in contrast to doing a spirited TD session or good mountain run where you can be absolutely mentally drained.
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Meh
 
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June 21, 2010, 08:04 AM

Nice report and congrats.
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  (#3)
GP Champ
 
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June 21, 2010, 11:38 AM

Who wants to go next weekend?
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Eddie would go ...
 
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June 21, 2010, 11:54 AM

nice write up - congrats on the first jump

Quote:
Originally Posted by Witold View Post

I wore my Alpinestar Supertechs for protection.

with the instructor in flip flops.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by spud View Post
No one gives a fuck about your puff out your chest bravado.
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I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
Posts: 18
Join Date: May 18, 2005
Location: VA
June 22, 2010, 12:26 PM

Congrats! And welcome to the sky.

FYI - For most every skydiver I know, skydiving is not about adrenalin or a "rush." Its just a fun hobby where you're always learning and trying to improve. Skydiving is relatively safe nowadays with the gear advancements that have come along in the last 15-20 years. Of course, this doesn't stop people from getting overconfident, getting an ego, and hurting themselves. ymmv
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You meet the nicest
 
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June 22, 2010, 08:52 PM

Great report!

Why did you choose this place over the one on Orange VA?


BECAUSE I GET OFF ON IT!
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June 22, 2010, 09:06 PM

Nice...........


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GP Champ
 
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June 23, 2010, 05:32 AM

WillZ, it sounds like you've done this before?


Quote:
Originally Posted by WKDBLD View Post
Great report!

Why did you choose this place over the one on Orange VA?
There are 3 drop zones in DC area. 1) Skydive Orange (the biggie), 2) Skydive Delmarva, and 3) Chambersburg. They are all 90-100 miles away. Distance was not a consideration. IMO, quality of motorcycle roads is about the same to all 3 - sucky, or at best fair if you put a lot of mapping and effort into it.

Skydive is substantially more expensive for no apparent reason - at least no reason that makes a difference for a new skydiver.

For AFF1, Delmarva charges $320+$110 for video and stills and you can pay with a credit card. Orange charges $400+$130 (380+125 if paid by cash). That is a $100 markup for no apparent reason just for jump one. I don't buy the sales pitch that they are 'more experienced' and are somehow safer, taking a dig at Delmarva/Chambersburg as somehow less safe. Bottom line is that, Delmarva/Chambersburg will get you to your license at a substantially lower price if you decide to continue. Once you have your license, you can jump anywhere and at that point Orange might be better because of faster plane turnover.

In addition to cost considerations, I thought that a small drop zone would have a better, more relaxed atmosphere. You see the same familiar faces all day, plus some tandem people coming and going. Furthermore, I am not familiar with that whole region so I thought riding in that area would have a little bit extra novelty value.

Ultimately, the decision is very close so it doesn't really matter which DZ you choose. Pick the closest one for the convenience.
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How do I Wheelie?
 
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Join Date: May 13, 2009
June 23, 2010, 07:09 AM

Hey if any of you wanna set something up.. I'm most def down.. I always wanted to skydive... I just hope my instructor does not wear flip flops LMAO ..
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I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
Posts: 18
Join Date: May 18, 2005
Location: VA
June 23, 2010, 10:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Witold View Post
WillZ, it sounds like you've done this before?
Yes, I've been jumping for about 9 years.

If you're thinking about continuing on and getting a license both Chambersburg and Delmarva are great places to go. Neither is less safe than Orange. I personally learned in West Point, VA (east of Richmond, 2hr drive from nova) which is another option. The view from altitude is great there and everyone is like family (Delmarva has the same vibe).

Glad you had a good time!

Here's a pic of me from a couple years ago:
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Three can keep a secret if two are dead.
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