Quincy Virgin Musings

From: "Deborah Cummins" 
Subject: Belated Quincy Virgin Musings (LONG)
Newsgroups: rec.skydiving
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 01:49:44 GMT

Took me a while to get my act together here, but I had an incredible Quincy
experience.  I think I learned more in this one week at Quincy than I have
in the year I've been jumping.

Drove 1000 miles from Eastern Pennsylvania and arrived Friday around noon.
Didn't jump Friday - just absorbed the culture and acclimated myself to the
landing areas, tetrahedrons, and other wind indicators.

Friday night - Attended a seminar on Fundamentals of Spotting and
Separation by Winsor Naugler and John Kallend.  Great information.  A lot
of ideas that I had heard previously, were clearly explained and
diagrammed.  I easily understood the windspeed and groundspeed factors,
exit trajectory, and fall rate differences.  This should be a mandatory
seminar for all first time Quincy goers.  In the following days, I was able
to witness what happened when groups didn't allow adequate separation.  It
was kind of scary seeing the next group of jumpers under canopy right next
to me after opening.

Saturday - being a mere baby sheep of skydiving - I headed to tent 4 and
was immediately adopted by Skratch and his gang.  He gave us the overview
of landing areas, landing patterns, separation allowances, exit counts,
gear checks, and all kinds of great information.  Then we worked on small
ways (4 and 5 ways), no grip jumps, easy grip jumps, etc.  Beer time I ever
jumped a Casa or Otter.  Learned a lot.

Paid someone to pack for me on Saturday and part of Sunday, since my
packing skills were nonexistent.  I am in awe at the number of people who
took time out of their skydiving to give me complete packing lessons and
babysit me on my first few solo pack jobs.  I can now flat pack, pro pack
and psycho pack.  Thanks Bill Von, Bill and Lee from Lodi, Steve Babin,
the really cute guy from South Africa whose name I cannot remember, and
everyone else who helped me out (there were so many - I can't remember all
the names).  But thanks to all of you.

Sunday - jumped with Skratch doing 4 and 5 ways out of Casas.  Loads of
fun.  Learned a lot.

Monday - more of the same.  Occasionally found someone else to do a two way
with.  More fun.  Attended seminar on Canopy Accuracy.  Great presentation
with good information.  I've heard most of it before, but it always helps
to reinforce it.  Would have been nice to have seen more people there.  
From some of the landings I witnessed, many would have benefited from it!

Tuesday - started jumping with Skratch until he adopted me out to another
group.  Jumped once with Theresa and Bill Stanley, Lee Wilcox, and Kent
Walker from Lodi.  What a great group of people!  Got on the sunset load
with another group.  Beautiful jump!

Wednesday - adopted by the Lodi gang again.  Everything with them was fun.
We did a Viking Funeral Exit (named by Lee, I believe) where they picked
me up by my harness and ceremoniously pitched me out of the back of the
Casa.  It was incredible.  Of course something that fun was put in 
perspective by the next jump - the jump from hell.  We were in a Casa and 
as we were loading, the loader told us to keep our seatbelts on because
there was a storm coming in and there was turbulence above 10K.  Should've
been a sign, but I got on anyway.  Made it to about 13K and started
descending.  Word came from the pilot that there was a light drizzle 
over the airport - we could jump or ride the plane down.  Although my 
instinct said ride it down, my stupidity took over and said "let's jump."
The exit light came on at 10K.  We were launching a 9-way with video -
just as we set up, we hit turbulence and were thrown against one side
of the plane.  We reorganized and were immediately thrown against the
other side of the plane.  And of course everyone in front of the plane was
screaming EXIT EXIT EXIT ... So we did.  And were immediately impaled
by ice crystals.  This was so painful we immediately dropped grips, blew
apart, covered our faces and hoped there was no one around us.  Peeking
out from between our arms, we tracked like hell.  Hit rain at about 7K
which was only moderately painful on our raw skin.  We all made it back 
okay, some a little bloodied, and all very red.  What did I learn?  Don't
try to beat the storm.  Good lesson with a not so bad ending.  I believe
the skin on my nose is going to come back ...

Thursday, winds were high.  I knew enough to ground myself, but the good
folks at Tent 4 made it clear that they did not want us low jumpers going
up in this weather.  It was good to know they were looking out for us.
(Thanks DJan and Skratch.)

Friday was the same - windy and overcast.  Not much jumping.  Saw some
hard landings on both of these days and couldn't understand why they took
the risk.  Many of those jumpers put themselves on six week holds or longer
by breaking their legs on bad landings, when the alternative was to lose one
day of skydiving by grounding themselves.  Didn't quite make sense.

Saturday - WOO HOOO!!!  Jumped the helicopter.  Heard that the ride was
better than the jump.  Both were great!!  Then I jumped the Jet.  Awesome.
It was like getting spit out the back of the plane, the way you were
immediately whipped away from it.

Sunday - Balloon jump.  Best jump of the entire Convention.  We were on the
second "hop" which meant we followed the first group of jumpers in the 
chase van.  They jumped, the balloon landed, and we had to run out into
the middle of a field to "catch" the balloon as it descended, and jump in
before it took off again.  It was actually very funny to watch a bunch of
skydivers in full gear chase a hot air balloon.  Too bad I didn't get video
of that!  And then, of course it was my turn!  I can't even put into words
how incredible it was to stand on the edge of the basket of the balloon,
waiting for the count.  And then falling falling falling into the still air.
Got video of me and two Aussies who exited together.  Kewl.

I am a complete party dork.  Don't do big functions very well and alcohol
leaves me not wanting to jump in the morning.  So I refrained from the
partying, was in bed by 10:00 most nights, and up by 7:00 a.m.  So
unfortunately, I don't have any good party stories.  I can attest that on
a few mornings I woke at 4:00 a.m. and still heard the partying going on.
Maybe that is why I was one of the mere ten or twelve coherent humans up
and about at 7:00.

I did see lots of interesting jumps going up.  Large inflatables seemed to
be the rage.  Inflatable girls, penises, rafts, alligators, etc.  Very
interesting.  Got to see Zabo's video in the party tent one night.  Cool
footage - definitely had some of the highlights!  And of course I
thoroughly enjoyed Norman Kent's new flick "Willing to Fly."  Completely
awesome.  Aside from the stellar videography, it was very spiritual and
inspiring.  I will definitely buy this when it is ready for distribution.

Only 50 weeks till the next Quincy.  wooo Hoooo!!!

Peace, love, and azure skies,