Skydiving AFF Level 5 – FAILED!

Posted on 08. Nov, 2016 by in AFF - Accelerated FreeFall

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So, I failed my AFF level 5 jump yesterday. Everything went wrong from the beginning, and it was entirely my fault. I hadn’t jumped in three months since my level 4 due to a snowboarding injury, and it was my first time jumping with this new instructor. (Read More)

I am in no way insinuating that any part of this was the instructors fault, we just failed to communicate as well as I’d have liked. It was the last load of the day, I was in a rush, and I should have taken more time.

Our exit was not in sync and we were unstable from the beginning. When I realized that I was on my back, I just thought to myself, “trust the arch.” I arched as best I could, and I flipped right over belly-to-earth, which made me feel good as the one good thing I could take away from this jump. I had never flown on my back before and that was my worst fear going into this jump.

After I regained stability, I glanced at my altimeter and we were just under 7,000 ft. I thought we had plenty of time so I began to initiate my three “practice pulls”. As the video shows, I was short of rip-cord by quite a few inches. My instructor was attempting to grab my hand and guide it to the rip-cord. Since I couldn’t see what was going on back there, I ASSUMED (never the right choice) that the instructor’s hand was covering my rip-cord in an effort to show me where it was. This was not the case. You can see her signal for me to pull, I never saw it out of my peripheral vision; she pulls for me, and I fail the jump.

Bummer.

What you don’t see is the landing. The wind had shifted dramatically and I ended up landing off airport property in some private crop-field maybe a half-mile from the nearest road. It was an absolute mud-pit and walking through that with my pack on my back for a half hour was physically quite a struggle. It was getting dark, there were no street lights out in this part of rural Texas country, and I’m really grateful to have sustained no injuries.

I’m glad that I didn’t panic in the air. I never remembered a moment of panic…just thinking about what I needed to do to fix the situation. The training worked, listen to your instructors.

While my pride, and skydiving confidence is hurt, I hope this can serve as a learning tool for any future jumpers. I’ll have to pull up my boot straps and get back on the horse…

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