05 February 2018

Marika Taumoli

Flight versus Ride

I was inspired to write this by the tales of Ike Arus in the Skysailor magazine (HGFA Publication). He was a new pilot who had driven to the airfield to take delivery of his first ever, brand new aircraft – a Boeing 747. Sound familiar? Today, far too many people are flying canopies which they are not capable of flying effectively or efficiently, and often suffer the consequences.

This article is the first in a series of three, aimed at emphasising the role of your parachute as a wing rather than just a decelerator. Wings require pilots, not crash test dummies to fly them. Which one are you? Which one would you rather be?

An experienced jumper proclaimed to myself and others one afternoon, that landings are more guaranteed when you jump a smaller canopy. This ironic statement could not be further from the truth. Step out the door and you are guaranteed to land, one way or another. How you get there will only be dictated by choice, experience and skill. Be cautious as to whose advice you choose to listen to. Your first and last mistake may be that you listened to someone who has led you in the wrong direction.


Often the biggest hurdle in the learning process is being able to admit to yourself that you are still a student and will always remain as such, regardless of experience. The first step in the learning process is to listen. The stories told around the bar, the advice given before getting on a load are all proclaimed in good faith, in the hope you will benefit from other s experiences. Ultimately it is always your decision to step out the door, as it is your choice of which wing you fly. Decisions should not be made without giving a lot of thought to the pros and cons.


Respect is . very difficult to teach, yet it is the single most important thing to learn. Respect is learned in two ways, the easy and the hard. The easy way is to learn from the mistakes of others because you will not live long enough to make them all yourself. Is there an echo? Why do we keep hearing this? The hard way is to make all the decisions yourself, trying to run before you can even crawl. Don t learn the hard way, it is only going to hurt. Respect the opinions of your peers.

Flight Versus Ride.

How often have you heard jumpers say . I had a nice canopy RIDE today? A ride is something that you pay $5 for at a fairground, it whirls you around for a few minutes and then comes to a sudden stop. A flight is something that you plan for and execute as best you can, then debrief with others in order to improve future flights. How do you treat your canopy descent? Flight or Ride? Which way should you treat it?

Pull the Strings!

It frustrates me that most jumpers never learn to do anything else aside from pulling the strings!! (toggles). Your parachute has seven input devices. Two toggles, four risers and weight shift. Combinations may also be used. What skills will you practice on your next jump? Do you practice any? Ask an instructor or an experienced canopy pilot to help you brief and debrief all aspects of your descent. Ask someone to video your approach and landing to make debriefing easier.

Skydiving is a constant learning process. Stay on the learning curve because it will be a pretty hard landing if you fall off.

Coming up in the next issues:

Smart Dudes do CReW

Passive v s Aggressive Flying Flying predictably in Traffic Knowing How to Crash

Taking advantage of the weather Boogie Fever


  • In the first 9 months of year 2000, 19 low hook incidents have been reported, all bar 2
  • involving injury.
  • In 1999, 32 hook turn incidents were reported. Again, all except 2 involved injury and

one was fatal.

There are three commonly reported causes of low hook turns: 1) Intentionalswoopmisjudged

2) TryingtogetbacktotheDZandalateturn

3) Overreacting to obstacle avoidance.