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, Deborah