When I first started skydiving back in April, I was lucky that the weather was warm enough that I didn’t require too many layers, even at altitude.
Though after my first few AFF jumps, we had a spring cold spell here in NE Ohio and I was donning gloves and a hoodie. I was nervous the first time jumping with gloves. I was so used to reaching back and grabbing the hackey with my bare hands that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to feel it, or worse yet, find it with gloves on.
Luckily, my winter gloves have grippers on the palms and fingers, so I felt confident that deploying my pilot ‘chute would not be an issue.
Sure enough, the gloves worked perfectly. In fact, I came down from that skydive with a preference for gloves. Not only do they keep my fingers nice and toasty at altitude (as we’re all aware that I’m a little bit of a freeze baby), but they protect my hands in freefall too. After all, haven’t we all had those moments of,” hey, my hand is bleeding…how did that happen.”
No, just me? Well, okay then.
(Suited up in my RW gear, gloves and all)
Until the heat of summer set in, I was in the habit of donning gloves before every jump. It was something I became quite accustom to. It’s also something I’ve had to do this fall in order to ensure I can feel my hands post-freefall to work my toggles properly.
Not many of my skydiving buddies wear gloves on a regular basis, but I’ve heard from some who swear by it. I suppose it’s all what you get used to over time.
For me, gloves are where it’s at – though we’ll see if that holds true during heat waves next summer.
What’s your preference? Gloves or no gloves in freefall?
As a skydiver who just came off student status this year, I’ve had numerous opportunities to jump all kinds of different equipment before making a purchase of my own. This is one of the perks of being a student, actually. You get to test out a variety of rigs, canopies and other gear as you progress through the sport.
You may recall a couple months back when I was lucky enough to attend a local Aerodyne demo tour and test out a brand new Pilot canopy and Icon rig. I fell in love with the Pilot and knew that one day that would be the canopy for me.
In fact, shortly after earning my A license I was prepared to start piecing together the perfect rig. Lucky for me, the perfect complete system was practically dropped into my lap during a random search on Dropzone.com.
The main canopy was a Triathlon. In student training I’d jumped one 7-cell and liked it well enough, and given that it’s an Aerodyne product, I figured it was a good enough option.
What I like most about this system is the Infinity container, manufactured by Velocity Sports Equipment. As soon as I put it on I knew it was the rig for me. It fit like nothing I’d ever tested before. Sure, most of those were student rigs, but even those that were sport rigs didn’t fit quite like this. For a girl with a small frame, it can be hard to find used gear that fits quite this well. I’d recommend Infinity to anyone with a small build – they certainly know what they’re doing.
Other points to note: it’s completely freefly friendly and packs like a dream! Two things that were critical in choosing a rig.
(Climbing out for our three-man rolling train last week)
As you’ll notice, it’s very sharp, too. Purple with blue, black and gray accents. Now, if only I had a matching pair of freefly pants…
If you’re in the market for a new rig, or know someone who is, I highly recommend checking out Infinity.
This weekend is panning out to be just as exciting as the last. As one that originally started out fairly laid-back in terms of jumping, I’ve managed to quickly load up my skydiving agenda.
Of course, I’m not complaining.
Saturday, Aerodyne will be at Skydive Tecumseh for a demo tour. This is a great chance for anyone who is thinking about getting a Pilot or Triathlon (read: me) to head on out and test their canopies and complete rigs at no cost.
You better believe I jumped at this opportunity! (cheesy pun not intended)
Sunday I’ll be headed back to Canton Air Sports to jump with my friend Rick on his 200th and maybe even dabble with some free fly. I’ve been dreaming of giving my free fly skills a test for a while and now seems like an ideal time.
If you’re not near Tecumseh or Canton, below are a few other events around the world I recommend checking out. Oh, and if you are in the area, why don’t you come out and jump with me!
- 8/22 – Target Skysports, UK. 50-way formation skydiving and Skyvan weekend event. Click here for more details.
- 8/22 – 8/23 – Skydive City, Zephyrhills. PD demo weekend. Performance Designs will be setting up camp in Z-hills this weekend. Demo canopies and PD swag as expected. Check out Dropzone.com for more information.
- 8/25 - Cross Keys & Freefall Adventures. Swoop club for all canopy pilots. More details at Dropzone.com.
Where ever you end up this weekend…
Last week I mentioned on Twitter that I’m stepping down my canopy size. As an AFF student I was jumping a 260, but as a 120 pound person that’s become too large. I’m in the air too long for my liking.
The dilemma I was running into was that the next size down at my home DZ is a 190. Upon Tweeting this, I was overwhelmed with the responses concerned for my safety.
Thanks y’all. Talk about making a newbie feel cared about! I’m all about the love.
Luckily, my presence was requested back home in Michigan this weekend, and I was able to jump at Skydive Tecumseh where the variety of student rigs was much greater.
I was able to get in a couple good jumps on smaller canopies and ended on a Pilot 210 that I loved! I’ll definitely be looking to get a Pilot when my budget allows for the purchase of my own rig. Anyone know of a 170 that’ll be going on the market this year?
This weekend I’ll be back at Canton Air Sports in Alliance, OH, jumping with some of my favorites. Fingers crossed that they have something in a comparable size. I really don’t want to jump that 290 like last time.
Oh, but wait. Just when you thought I was wrapping up. I want to back up to my time at Skydive Tecumseh. What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t give my two cents on this DZ?
This was my 4th drop zone (Skydive Miami, Cleveland Parachute, Canton Air Sports and now Skydive Tecumseh). Other than the fact that it’s incredibly convenient when I’m headed home to see my family, it’s a great little community in itself.
In the day that I spent there, we had a few weather holds that allowed me to meet some great skydivers – and new friends. I also had the pleasure of being the very first student of a new coach on the scene.
Jeromy (check him out over at SkydiveBlog.com) did a great job and any student would be lucky to have him. He really helped me with my docking and tracking. I can’t wait to show off my new skills this weekend!
On top of all that, the DZ is really organized. And they fly an Otter full time to 14,000 feet! Can’t beat that kind of altitude.
Needless to say, I’ll be heading back there every time I’m in Michigan.
This weekend I finally got back into the sky – and it felt great!
After taking two weeks off – due to wind and a minor elbow injury, as you may recall – my level of nervousness was a little higher than usual, but as soon as that door opened at 10,000 I was right back in the game.
(That would be my nervous smile.)
I finally got to fly my new jumpsuit that came in the mail last week (and was taunting me for days as it hung from my closet door). Since I’m still new to the sport I strapped the booties to my legs rather than using them in free fall. Once I’m an expert at flying my body, you best believe I’ll be giving those booties a try!
Jump #12 – My first diving exit.
I felt like Superwoman. That is, until I was backflying – unintentionally. Oh look, there’s the plane! I stabilized belly to Earth with enough time to get in a back flip and attempt a front flip. Winds were mild, maybe 5 mph and variable. Soft landing that I rolled out but really should have stood up.
Jump #13 – Lucky #13, and that it was. Our plane was full, VERY full. Clouds rolled in and we had to circle for almost an hour before the skies allowed us to jump. But it was worth the wait as we got about 1,500 feet more than we typically would. More free fall time, woot! I asked Lonnie to jump with me for some new solo pictures, video, and a little coaching. Check out his work at VelocityPhoto.com. I see now that I need to get my head up and quit looking at the ground.
Overall my jumps went well and more importantly I had a blast! My AFF friends graduated on to solo this weekend too. It’s always great to hear their stories. And I even got to watch my friend Jessica come down from her first tandem – which she loved, naturally. I left the drop zone feeling pretty great last night. Can’t wait till next weekend!