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Looking at your pattern from the ground

Hey hey hey. 2017 season is here! Aliluya!

Jumping out of airplanes are surely exciting, but how about those “boring” canopy piloting topics. Here is a short discussion for everybody to get thinking process going.

As you guys know our landing area is … mmm … well … it is just not the biggest and most wide open of all the landing areas out there. In fact some say: “If you can land at Skydive the Ranch, you can land pretty much anywhere”. Well, this saying has some logic behind it for sure. What makes it challenging for us, is the fact that the landing area is elongated, which means that we need to pick up mostly two landing directions: West or East. What is the big deal about it you would ask? Well, big deal is that you have to adjust your landing pattern and do it quite drastically in the situations when winds are shifting let’s say from West to South West.

Surely you all will keep happily jumping and some of us will notice the wind shift while flying the base leg. Usually it ends up in the most brilliant thought that a canopy pilot can think about: “oh shit!”. I’ll tell you that this is NOT a good thought when you are flying your base leg, as there are not too many options left for you. Would you be able to calculate the pattern shift in your head while flying toward the holding area? Would you be able to pick correct crabbing angles as you are flying through the pattern while dealing with cross wind landing? Perhaps you would if you have several thousand jumps. What about the rest of the tribe?

Well, luckily there is a Spot Assist App for everybody else as it lets us play with different wind scenarios.

Please have a look at the pictures.

No wind to 10 mile per hr scenario

This scenario illustrates how shape of your pattern would change from no wind to 10m/hr scenario. Please take a note how much longer downwind leg becomes with the wind, how the wind shortens the base and final legs. This is easy.

Wind shifting from West to South and North West

This scenario is a big more tricky as this picture illustrates how shape of the pattern changes with the wind shifting from West to South and North West. As a pilot you would definitely need to make some serious adjustments for all parts of the pattern before entering it. Please note how South West push increases your base leg compared to West wind. If you do not make this adjustment, you will most probably overshoot the landing area will end up flying over the runway and in worst case scenario gonna end up on the trees (or God forbid on Billy’s house) at the West side of the DZ. This would happen because South push would make your base leg much faster than you thought was possible if you do not adjust for it in advance.

What do we do? 

So please check out the pictures, think about those scenarios, think about them in advance, ANTICIPATE what is going to happen as weather and wind is changing through the day and hopefully you will never have to deal with “oh shit!” thought while flying your pattern EVER again.

For everything else there is Toggle Science webpage and our Canopy Courses at the Ranch. 😉

2017 summer, here we go !

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April 12, 2017

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About Toggle Science

We have an experience, knowledge and technology to help you learn skydiving on the ground, so you will come to the dropzone ready to jump