I Shall Stay 'til the Wind Changes

John and I did a connected, exterior exit and hit the 2 man star while still on the hill.

As soon as we leveled out we W tracked to the right into a closed accordion, 1 point.

We tracked out and each 180'd back into the star, 2nd point.

W track left to a closed accordion, 3rd point.

Track out and 180 back to the star, 4th point.

W Track to the right closed accordion, 5th point.

Track out and 180 back into a 2 man star, 6th point.

We're at Five thousand feet so we break to track off for deployment and here's where things get sticky.

Normally, one tracks perpendicular to the line of flight to avoid getting in the way of other jumpers. One knows the line of flight because the line of flight is parallel to the runway except, at break off time, I can't see the runway. I have no idea where the hell we are. So I turn 180 degrees from John and I track away from him. I deploy and my chute snivels for 1200 feet.

I'm full open, square, stable, steerable by 2200 feet but I have no idea where the airport is.

Oh, there it is, on the horizon, nearly three miles away. Can I make it back, downwind, in full flight all the way? I realize at a thousand feet that, no, the best I can aim for is the parking lot and that will require me flying over 300 yards of pine forest and a set of industrial power lines at low altitude.

Right beneath me is an open meadow so, fuckit, I'm landing here. I turn into the wind and, on the assumption that the grass is four to eight inches tall, I flare for landing. I then realize that the grass is actually about five feet tall. Commit, commit, commit to that landing ... and I stand it up, in neck-high grass.

I, very gingerly, gather up my canopy and then shimmy out of my jumpsuit enough to get my cell phone out of my pocket. I call for a lift. A few minutes later Don rolls through in his truck to pick me up and drive me the mile or so back to the hangar.

And it was such a good dive, too.

So, 6 point freefall on jump 61, hell fucking yeah! Landing in another municipality, not so great.

I did make another jump later that day that I stood up directly on target, so, s'allgood.

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1 comment:

waldo said...

My friend jumps out of planes. He invited me try it. I said no.