by Robert "JAKAL" Lawton - firstname.lastname@example.org
I routinely jump with four to sixteen low-timers in "organized" dives. Our dive flow usually goes like this (below). Mind you, I'm not the one organizing. Personally, I organize about half-n-half: half the time in the plane, half the time out of it and on the way down) :
1) Organize dive by filtering people out with the important question "you goin'?" and holding out hand for a card. Experienced jumpers tend to shy away from this approach, and we jump with what's left.
2) Plan dive by looking at cool pictures of stick figures out of some guy's book. It looks pretty official, and the stick figures are all the same size. I figure this might be important somehow, but refuse to diet anyway.
3) Dirt dive. Some people have gear, some people have gear - but the packers haven't finished with it, some people don't have gear - but there's plenty to rent. Color of jump suit changes per person depending on whether or not the students have snagged the ones without the holes and busted zippers first.
4) Explain to group that they can talk or jump but otherwise shut up during the dirt dive. Mind you, no one has more than 250 jumps (average at about 100), so pretty much everyone should be all ears. Eventually, I shut up.
5) Walk through dirt dive - changing exit order on each attempt. We usually complete all points, but I think it's cheating if you have to remind people in mid-dive where they should dock. I don't know why we plan more than one point. More often than not, the base sometimes completes three or four full revolutions before someone funnels it. Sometimes it doesn't get that far.
6) Board airplane. Realize that boarding order somehow affects exit order. Take off.
7) Discuss break-off altitude. Revise break off altitude as we realize "*****" has just gotten off student status. "*****" agrees to pull in place while the rest of us track away.
8) Fart (yeah, it's US, so what are you going to do about it?)
9) Climb out. Some people may fall off at this point. I think they are called floaters.
10) Exit. Docked base breaks apart as people flip around every which way. Most of us know to let go right away. The rest of us fly to the two who forgot. Unless Stu is jumping with us. Stu is BIG. Then we just fly to Stu and let the floating two-way do their thing.
11) Rebuild base with whoever can get in first and try to keep it from spinning.
12) Funnel base with whoever is left.
13) Build base one last time.
14) Realize we're no where near the drop zone and that the Green Light was
the pilot's "no farting" light and not the "jump now" light. Track, wave,
pull - mostly in that order.
That's the dive. I think they've all seen us land. Mostly.
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