|How to get on a Big Way|
by Liz Mann - Liz@Skydive-Ontario.com
Let's face it. In Canada we just don't get much practice at the big stuff. Most of us operate small Cessna DZs and try our best to get South once a year. Even the best of us could use a quick review in preparation for the attempts. I asked some of the best organizers around for suggestions.
"Get yourself introduced to the organizers," says TK Hayes, Manager of Skydive City. "They love to have a face to put to the name when the time comes to pick slots." Skydive City "kicked ass" hosting the 1999 Speed 100-way Competition, and this year hosted the April 80-way Sequential Camp. TK, himself, participated in the 235-way record attempts in Lake Wales, 1994. He advises you should know your abilities, and pick a slot you can handle. "Know the slot you can fly. The organizers may have never seen you before, so speak up if you are not comfortable with your slot, or your exit position. Find out in practice jumps ahead of time."
Lyle Presse, another big-way veteran, also considers practice a huge factor in successfully winning a slot. He says: "Be current, and show up with team attitude. Make it easy and fun for people to work with you. Making these big dives work is a matter of doing a lot of jumps with people learning specific jobs, and, finally, everyone performing 100% at the same time."
Practice isn't everything, though. Presse says that attitude can be the deciding factor between two talented jumpers. "Think and behave calmly. Do your job. Stay focused. Keep the noise down in the aircraft. And be on time. If you can't be on time, be early." Good advice for life, too! If you want to contact Lyle, he can be reached at his company, Flexvision Products and Services at Lyle@Flexvision.com
Here is some practical advice from Lyle Presse on how to get your skills ready for the 100-way.
Practice flying in groups, one person can lead off, and build a loose V formation and dive it down to an imaginary formation, slowing down and finally stopping on an imaginary plane, level with the formation. When these dives work, everyone is going the same speed from the plane all the way in to grips.
Think about your position in the formation, and be able to go exactly where that slot is even with only one person from the base in position. Determine your position by the quadrant first, then, when closer, by angle, proximity and level.
On practice jumps, keep your attention on the center of the dive from earliest possible moment. Use your peripheral vision and occasional glances to keep an eye on the traffic left, right and below. When completely in position, take the available grips and look back to center. Fly slot first, grips last. Constantly monitor your position in reference to the base, stay on level, keep your angle, and refuse to be moved when you are in the correct position!
Consistency, not speed, will rule the day, and it will appear to be fast when it builds correctly because there will be no wasted movement.
Look inside to see things as they develop, and adjust yourself accordingly, rather than react to the results. That's usually too late.
Everything you need to know for your slot comes from the center of the dive.
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