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Editor's Note: This story follows the further adventures of Clark "Headhunter" Boyd as he attempts his Level 2 AFF jump. Please see skyXtreme May "Your Stories" for Headhunter's first article.
Gravity, Earth Versus HeadHunter
by Clark "Headhunter" Boyd - email@example.com
Well, folks, after hanging around the DZ today for almost eight hours for 40-plus tandems to go up, I finally got to make my Level 2 jump. Now, before the flamers hop in, allow me to say this: I've only had two jumps in the past two months and I'm still learning. That's why there are jumpmasters with you in AFF, right? Also, I figure that the comin' flames will burn the lesson in even more than the soiled "Depends" would all by themselves.
Okay... synopsis... I lost altitude awareness and will have to repeat Level 2. Here's how it went....
Somehow or another... The dropzone owner was the reserve-side JM. hehe... No pressure, eh? Gotta perform well on this jump. After hanging around for eight hours, we were on the sunset load. Hmmm... Perhaps I shouldn't be wearing my new smoke-colored goggles. But we're already at 10K and climbing.
13,500! And we're still going up?!?!
"Last load of the day... DZO wants to go higher."
WOHOOO!!!! 15,500 is what my altimeter said when the door came up on the Otter. DUH! It's COOOOLLLLLDDD up here!
In the door..."Check left!", "Check right", "Ready... Set... GOOOOOOO!!!!!"
WOHOO!!! There's that SWEEEET rush again!! Hmmm... wait a second...After about two seconds...we were on our backs...ARCH MORE!!! ARCH MORE!!! ... Whew! Belly to ground again...
On the way down we did all the required Level 2 stuff... a couple of hand signals on the way down... LEGS! Damn... can't seem to keep them extended enough. Two jumps and I think I've finally got that leg position down now that I've felt what it's supposed to be again.
Okay... Forward motion. WOHOO!!! Man! I took off like a bandit! I could feel that I was draggin' my JMs along... THAT WAS KEWL!!
5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 .... Okay... back to arching... Time to check altitude...
As I was getting ready to look, one JM shook me. Okay, I looked over at him and didn't see a signal so I took that as arch some more....
About that time I saw in my peripheral vision the other JM flash a signal... so I turned my head the other way to see the signal...... nothing.... Hmmm...
'Bout that time.... Poof! There goes my 'Chute.... Damn!
At least I found the dropzone this time!
Altitude awareness! The ground is an unforgiving mother and I should respect her more than what I did on that dive. Lots'a 'tude checks.
Do not get distracted! I should've checked my altitude first and then looked to see what the signal was....(We finished the forward motion at 5,700 ft) If I had... I would've seen the check altimeter signal on one side... and then the PULL on the other... but then I would have known to pull anyway had I checked my alti first.
Those smoke-colored goggles i bought are going in the trash! I'll buy some different ones with clear lenses tomorrow and have them shipped overnight.
No injury + learned something = good lesson!
Damn.... 1:45 a.m., and I've still got lots of adrenaline in me. Man! Talk about a lesson learned... Whew!
My jumpmasters asked what happened at the end? They said all was fine except for the brain fart at the end. *sigh*... All I could say is that it was my second jump. I'm still learning and the embarrassment of it (as well as the potential for disaster) will prevent that from happening again. I was also apologetic for my lack of awareness and very appreciative for the AFF two JM setup.
Then they said that I would have to repeat Level 2. I completely agreed! I don't want anyone letting go of me until I feel comfortable about my altitude awareness. Not very macho? BAH! I'd rather be a live safety conservative than a smoking hole in the ground!
I'll be out there again next weekend! I will have had six days by then to review in my mind this jump to ensure it doesn't happen again!
Anyways......" In the charge of 'Gravity, Earth versus HeadHunter' .... How do you find the defendant?" "GUILTY your honor...."
Page 1 - for more stories see Page 2 and Page 3