Yes, so I have to admit, I was afraid to jump with my new cross-braced canopy. My new JFX 2 took a little longer than usual to arrive, and COVID19 held me away from skydiving for longer than I ever had been before. As you might guess, changing canopy style and downsizing after a world pandemic is not the ideal scenario for any canopy pilot. Certainly it is not as I visualized for myself when purchasing my first cross-braced canopy. And so, I’m here to tell you about my experience and explain my thinking process regarding such a decision.
I want to be clear and let everyone know that changing my canopy style and downsizing was done with a very experienced canopy pilot’s mentoring. Also, I asked a few other people with a large amount of knowledge to make sure I was going in the correct direction.
First things first
Fortunately, I’m blessed to have two flight-1 instructors at my home DZ. Julian Barthel and Pete Allum are admirable and super approachable. They both helped me prepare to jump my new cross-braced canopy. Pete Allum was the instructor during my last Flight 1 (309) course. Although, Julian Barthel has also had significant participation in my decisions about moving to a cross-braced canopy.
Personally, I believe confidence is the master key to open any door in life. Confidence is an important feeling both when jumping a new canopy and doing new things in freefall. It helps anybody feel more secure and calm. Which allows our brains to think straight and faster than if we were uncomfortable and lacking confidence.
Since I started skydiving, my landings were not so good. I have some funny stories about my first canopy course, the one which skydivers need to take in order to get our skydiving USPA B License. After just having arrived in the USA, and I didn’t know how to speak English. The only thing I could say in my canopy course was: – Yes! Next time! – and in a very motivated way after a bad landing. The reality was that I couldn’t understand what my instructor was saying. To me, nothing he said made sense due to the language barrier. In reality, he just wanted me to use the full power of my flare and do it until the end. Who would have guessed?!
Due to so many bad landings, I kind of lacked confidence under the canopy. As such, all my canopy progression in the start was very slow. Nowadays, I’m much more confident regarding my skills as a canopy pilot.
People around me were very interested in my canopy change and how I was going to do it. Most of the people encouraged me for this progression. I received lots of good feedback and all of that helped me to trust myself and my instincts. Besides this, the JFX 2 is manufactured by NZ Icarus Aerosport, one of the most prestigious canopy brand in the skydiving market. So I knew I had myself equipped with great and reputable gear.
Talk is an excellent habit for increasing skydiving knowledge. I’ve talked with many people regarding my new canopy and my personal abilities. However, more effective than simply talking is to have an approach more theoretical. Such as being in a canopy course during the first jumps.
A good example of having guidance is, on my old canopy, a Crossfire 125, I was making 270 degree turns. However, with my new JFX 2 104, rather I was told to just come in a straightforward approach. This kind of guidance is essential, and the advice after my course also. Sometimes I stop Pete or Julian to ask them what they think about my landings. I’m sure I can move on and start the 90 degree turns, but I’m going to wait for another course before pushing forward. That will give me enough time to become more familiar with the basics of my canopy and what it can and cannot do.
Honestly, I’m still making a straight approach, and I already have more than 50 jumps with my new canopy.
Keep coming back
I will keep a regular journal on my progression on my new canopy. I believe it will be helpful for new skydivers and canopy pilots who are making a similar downsize and change of canopy style. Hopefully you will enjoy my canopy journey as much as I will!
If you like the article, please let me know, send me an email or a message on Instagram. I want to know about your experience and thoughts!
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