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Published on July 20th, 2010 | by AJ

5

The bug has bitten

“How do you describe your first jump?” I was asked.

“A perfect blend of sheer terror combined with complete peace.” Was the only response I could find that fit what had just occurred.

I was fortunate enough that the winds had subsided last Friday, and I was able to make the first static line jump of my progression. And like I said, it was the perfect blend of both terror and beauty. For those of you unaccustomed to the wonderful world of skydiving, it’s hard to put into words exactly what a canopy ride is like. At first, it’s completely blissful – the loud sounds of freefall wind and aircraft engine have long since faded out, and all you can hear is your parachute gently fluttering in the air, as it floats down towards the earth.  I laughed, giggled as you may say, as I discovered how easily I could point myself where I wanted to go. I could see everything; a three mile wide lake was like a puddle from here. Cars were toys that seemed to move so slow on roads stretched so thin. Then the roads got bigger, the lakes wider, and I realized I was quickly coming back to the world I only recently left. Then it was terrifying.

“What’s my heading? Where should I start my landing pattern? Which way is the wind coming from again, north-northwest? Where’s that? Wait the runway points which direction?”

Then I realized that Corra, my jumpmaster, was still with me via radio, and talked me down the entire rest of the journey. Like I said, pure bliss, and completely terrifying – and I can’t wait to do it again.

So far I’m in love with the Static Line Progression. I may not have gotten to freefall yet, but learning to freefall correctly should come easier, because I’ll already have some canopy flying experience – compared to an AFF program, where I would be free-falling and piloting my parachute on the same jump.

Tomorrow, I get to jump again. If the weather holds out as long as it is supposed to, I’ll be able to begin freefall. After a few solo free-fall jumps, I’ll be able to better compare the two programs. One thing I see that attracts people to AFF is that you do get free-fall right away. I realize that I’m sort of the static line exception – paying for all of my jumps at once allows me to basically jump as much as I can, where someone paying for each jump individually would want the most experience for the money up front. So the way I see it, if you saved the money and are ready to begin your skydiving license, go with the static line program if it’s available. It’s cheaper, and if you’re dedicated you can be freefalling a few days after you start the program. If you’re paying by jump, AFF gets you the biggest bang for your buck, right away.

What do you guys think? AFF or S/L? Either way, don’t just do one jump and quit, get you license! Blue skies.

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5 Responses to The bug has bitten

  1. Lance says:

    Hey AJ, I can’t comment on SL, because I’ve never had to try it, actually – it scares the hell out of me! I paid for my entire AFF course upfront which I think is the best way – Jump as much as you can, not having to worry about paying for it all at the end of the day – AWESOME!

  2. Adam says:

    AFF/PFF and S/L are very different, that’s a certainty.
    You have very different experiences both ways.
    AFF/PFF (depending where you’re located) sometimes includes 10 jumps, sometimes 9, sometimes you get tunnel time, sometimes you don’t.

    In Montreal, it’s 9 jumps + Tunnel time. By the time you even get to your 1st jump, you’ve done 20 minutes in the tunnel, which is effectively 20 minutes of freefall. (Equivalent of about 24-25 jumps)
    When taking your courses, you only get about 45 seconds of freefall in AFF/PFF, so the 20 minutes in tunnel REALLY help.
    By the time I got into the sky for my 1st jump, I was already fairly comfortable with freefall, my only concern was the canopy flight really… And even then, just like you, we’re on radio with our PFFI/AFFI all the way down.

    As I said, it’s a very different experience, and I’m quite excited to read more about your progession and experiences. Hopefully we’ll even get to jump together in the near future once you get your A license.

  3. AJ says:

    AFF with tunnel time would be ideal, a student could learn how to make a good stable arch, and then worry only about canopy control on the first jump. But our DZ has one cessna 206, and a tiny hangar – a wind tunnel is really out of the question!

    Paying up front was EASILY the best decision I made. I jumped 5 times yesterday! I got 3 practice rip cord pulls in, one hop n pop, and finished the day with a 1500 foot freefall. It was amazing.

  4. Adam says:

    Wind tunnels are never at the DZ, they’re usually closer to the city so that anyone can have fun in them.

    Look up Skyventure on google.

  5. Adam says:

    As for the jumps, I’m looking forward to reading about them =)

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