Jump #3

Well I got up nice and early to drive to the DZ for ground school. I got there an entire 15 minutes before I had to be there. Which, for those that know me well, is kind of a big deal. I’m generally not an award-winning morning person.

Ground school got off to a 30-minute late start with only 3 of us. The other half of the class was, apparently, a group of friends that had overslept. They didn’t make it. Ground school covers a lot of information. I was a little familiar with some of the stuff from reading so much on the Internet over the last two months. I only missed one question on the test. The only reason I missed it is because our instructor skipped that part of the instructing. We finished up at 12:40ish.

Thus begins the waiting portion of the day. Thankfully my friend and expert light board opperator @bkorom was there for his L1 jump. He finished his L1 in the morning and decided to stay to do his L2.

We used the time to watch people land. By that point they were only on load 6. We saw some great and some not-so-great landings. The camera guys to some crazy fast swoops. I did see one cutaway. It was far less eventful than I expected. He was spinning a bit and I commented on how that looked a bit off and about that time he pulled for the cutaway and then deployed his reserve which went great. I was proud of myself for identifying the malfunction even though the canopy initially looked great.

The afternoon grew longer and I grew more and more tired. Bob finally up for load 15 at about 5. I had guessed after about load 12 that I would end up on 18. I was off by one. I got called for load 17 at 5:30.

By this point I was tired and thus getting more nervous. I got all my gear on and checked to make sure I knew where certain aspects if the jump flow happened on the altimeter. Initially I thought 4,500 was 5,500. I noticed my mistake and made a mental note that later proved to have not stuck.

Christian and Dave, my two instructors, were both on previous loads, so I didn’t see both of them together until the 10 min call. We went over the flow and then went out to wait for the Super Otter.

The ride up was good and my nerves had calmed a little. We got up to the door and I was doing okay. Not great, just okay. I crouched a little too low at the door. Once we jumped, I was a little shocked. It’s far different to jump with instructors than tandem. It took me a second to realize my legs were still in the crouched position. However I inadvertantly learned how to roll to the left. Had my instructors not been there, I would have. They kept me simply wobbly until I got adjusted. I did my checks and both guys signaled my legs needed to be more extended. That part is going to take a bit of getting used to. I adjused and we were ready to rock. I continued my COA checks and locked on at 6,000. This is where the previous mental note would have been helpful. I realized at 5,000 I had missed 5,500. It came a lot faster than I expected. I waved off and reached back to pull just as Christian pulled my chute for me.

The canopy ride was smooth and easy. With some guidance over the radio, I followed the landing pattern I had learned that morning and had a fantastic landing—the part I was most worried about.

So in the end, it could have gone better, but as always, it could have gone far worse. I have to repeat the level, but it counts toward the 25. We’ll see how the forecast pans out for my next jump.