1. Parachute: Congratulations, you have chosen the finest!
2. Harness: Don't waste jumps. Get "set up" properly in a suspended
harness on the ground. Your harness should be snug, symmetrical
(hanging evenly left/right), and a plumb line dropped from your
chin should pass abeam your insteps meaning that you are hanging
upright, not leaning back. Select a harness with diagonal straps
or a container design that forces you against the chest strap and
main support webbing (figure 3, below).
3. Jumpsuit: Fabric should be snug from knees to ankles. No loose
material blocking your view of shoe or heel.
4. Shoes: The heel should be flat and well defined, with a maximum
radius of 3cm. The rear strike point should be visible, not hidden
under the heel cup. Find a veteran accuracy jumper and ask him where
he has his shoes modified, and get yours done in similar fashion.
A good shoe is to accuracy what a good putter is to golf. Make sure
you have one that works for you!
5. Toggles & Gloves: We recommend hard toggles with an offset
hole (available from Eiff Aerodynamics as an option). Combined with
thin leather gloves, this will provide you with optimum ergonomics
and "feel" for your Classic.
6. Glasses & Goggles (Vision): You need 20/20 vision to shoot
good accuracy. You should see the pad at around 1000 feet. If your
eyes water excessively, wear goggles many top accuracy jumpers do.
If you wear glasses, you'll want to wear goggles on rainy or misty
days. It's hard to see through water spots!
Figure 3 - Harness Position:
1. The Basic Flight Pattern (see figure 4a & 4b): Figure 4a
shows a plan view of the flight, from opening to final approach.
Maneuver as desired (crabbing, S turns, holding and running) but
stay fairly close to the windline. It's basic, but the times you
don't are jumps that go bad. Plan your maneuvering to position yourself
for a windcheck at 1000 feet. The stronger the winds, the further
upwind this check must occur.
Hold into the wind at half brakes and check your Classic's penetration
at 1000 feet. Half brake airspeed, with your hands at "ear level,"
is about 7m/s (16mph). Use this information to gauge the winds.
For example, if your groundspeed is zero, the winds are 7m/s. Consistently
make this check and you will soon become proficient at estimating
the winds you'll face on final.
Now turn downwind at half brakes. Start your base turn so as to
end up behind the target at the correct angle for the winds. Figure
4b depicts "set up" points based on a starting altitude of 300 feet
for your final approach. Also shown is a shorter "European" style
(approximately 100') final. If the winds are strong, start your
approach well upwind of the target, sliding sideways into position
only slightly behind the target.
Figure 4a & 4b - Pattern and Angles:
The Classic Approach
The "Classic" parabolic or "round off" approach was invented long
before the Classic, but the Classic makes it a snap
to fly. Complete your base leg to final turn so as to pass through
the first "window" of your final approach, the "set up" described
at figure 4b. Spend the next 200 feet (about 20 seconds) working
to achieve a glideslope that will carry you beyond the target to
+5 meters, at 66% brakes. Work hard be a pilot, not a passenger.
If you are high, try S turns, sustained deep braking, or tap in
and out of light sink to get down. Avoid stalling the canopy; it's
unsafe and will only confuse matters. If you are low, let up and
fly at 25% brakes. Keep correcting until you have both 66% brakes
and a glidepath that will overfly the target.
As you approach 100' you are about 10 seconds from landing The
"European" or short final approach intersects your glidepath at
this point, completing a curving downwind approach that aims to
pass through the same "window in the sky" you are now flying through.
It's time to aim a little closer to the pad, which you/ do by increasing
brakes to 80%, hands level with your sternum, forearms about 30°
above a horizontal position (see figure 1).'
This is the "power zone" the canopy is flying, your control pressures
firm, and the canopy responds in linear fashion to your inputs.
Let up, and you move forward. Push down, and you slow down, steepening
your angle of approach. You are flying to just beyond the pad, aiming
at the far side of the tuffet, about +2.5 meters (+78 feet) beyond
the dead center. You are approaching the third and final "window"
of your final: the transition point.
"Transition" simply means transitioning from your slight "overfly"
glidepath, increasing your braking, steepening your angle, and aiming
for the dead center dot. If you've flown your approach well, you'll
arrive at 100% brakes, or very light sink. The canopy will remain
stable, over your head, with no pre stall "rockback" or acceleration.
This steep but controlled arrival is designed to maximize the accuracy
of you~ foot placement.
Figure 5 Transition:
1. Always plan your jump. Base your plan on the conditions you
observe at the DZ in the moments before you jump, plus an awareness
of any trends. Your plan should be specific and clear in your mind
visualize executing it yet have flexibility for unexpected changes.
The process of planning is important: it prepares you, connects
you to the here and now, and forces you to anticipate what might
happen. Specific planning for a jump should begin about ten minutes
prior to the jump, not earlier. If you fret for hours before a jump,
you'll wear yourself out!
2. How to plan? First, learn to "read" a DZ. Locate the target,
windsocks, flags, streamers, trees that reveal the wind, and so
forth. Study terrain, note buildings and trees that will generate
turbulence on particular approach windlines. Pace out the distance
to prominent features, and note where an approximate 300' radius
circle falls around the target. Study the DZ map, learn the cardinal
headings (north, south, east, west), and talk to locals about typical
wind patterns and exit points.
You've "read" the DZ now "read" the conditions. Observe low level
clouds, cloud shadow movement, jump plane drift and speed over the
ground, the wind streamer, canopies in the air, and surface wind
indications. Next answer these three questions: A Where is the exit
point? B. What is the average wind velocity around 1000 feet? C.
What is the surface windline and velocity? These questions inherently
break your plan into three segments:
A) Exit to your 1000' wind check
B) 1000' to the base leg & turn to final
C) Final Approach: from 300' to landing
3. Now, think through how you will fly each segment of your jump.
For example, you might say to yourself:
"Exit to 1000': I will exit over the end of the runway, then face
west while stowing my slider and adjusting my harness. I'll stay
near the windline, practice sinks and stalls to get comfortable
with my Classic, then position myself just upwind of the
target to do my 1000' wind check. I expect to move forward steadily
at 1/2 brakes, because the winds are only 2m/s.
"1000' to my turn to final: After the wind check, I will turn downwind
and fly past the target at 600' up, offset 300' to the right side
(left pattern) then turn base leg and play my turn to final to set
up for 2m/s winds, at 250 feet back, 300 feet up.
"Final: No thermals on final expected, but if I do hit one, I will
S turn to lose any extra altitude I gain, then continue my approach.
Watch for left slide in the transition (having seen some recent
jumpers slide left of the pad and reach right). Make it smooth and
deliberate at the end . . . focus on the dot!"
Visualization: We go to school to learn to read and write, we go
to a university for advanced studies, or a trade school to learn
a technical skill, but nowhere do we go to school to learn to use
our unconscious mind. Using the mind correctly is as important as
learning the strategies and techniques of accuracy. An easy chair
is the place to read and digest the contents of this manual. At
the DZ, you can "draw pictures in the dirt," or verbalize your intentions
outloud in your mind. But during the crucial last seconds of the
jump, you must have mental imagery of yourself flying down
to the pad, guiding your heel to the dot. You must see it happen
in advance, frame by frame!
Programming: Pre programming yourself to handle expected conditions
is a smart thing to do. Then, when it happens, you will react quickly
and with assurance. When under canopy, fly your pattern for the
winds you planned on, but with constant vigilance, knowing that
conditions frequently change, that each jump is unique, and having
confidence that you can and will negotiate the conditions however
you find them.
Below 300 feet, your flying must become progressively less "rational"
and increasingly more "intuitive." In aviation, we call it "seat
of the pants" flying. Whatever you call it, the closer you get to
the pad, the less time you have for "mind talk" (verbalizing your
perceptions and the correct responses in your head), and the more
you need to "just do it."
Below 100 feet, there is absolutely no time for mind talk! The
conscious mind focuses on the goal (the yellow dot) allowing the
unconscious mind to do the steering. Only experience will teach
you the best responses to each situation, and early on you must
learn to quiet your (verbal) mind, letting the unconscious mind
learn to achieve success by trial and error.
Let your rational mind go to work after the jump, analyzing
what went well and what can be improved. But avoid judgmental comments
or harsh criticism if you miss the mark! Imagine how you would destroy
a baby's learning process if you criticized her for falling down!
A child learns to walk via trial and error, and no one criticizes
the child for falling down. Don't you owe yourself the same kindness
and respect, after missing the target?
What happens above 30 feet is not the most important part of precision
( measured in centimeters) accuracy. What happens below 30 feet
~s. There are many ways to navigate your Cl assic into
a workable short final position. Learn a method that works for you,
and stick to it, so that you consistently arrive at the "transition
point" (that 30' short final window above and behind the pad) in
stable flight and ready to go to work, shifting into intense "fine
focus" for your flight down to the dead center.
If you are new to the sport, you may have chosen the Classic
because it is a great all around canopy, not for making precision
accuracy landings. If so, you have chosen well: designed to operate
in the slowest of flight regimes, the Classic is closer to
the student canopies you have been flying than the fast, "high performance"
canopies crowding today's market. And despite the draconian warnings
we're required by law to present at the front of this manual, this
canopy won't kill you if you make a simple mistake; the Classic
is very docile, predictable, and forgiving.
With a reasonable 1Om/s (22mph) forward speed, the Classic also
makes a terrific demo canopy very stable even in turbulent conditions,
and capable of flying steeply down to a landing in the tightest
imaginable spots, with a sink rate that will allow for easy stand
up landings. That's the name of the demo game!
If you are new to the sport, and have chosen the Classic for
its precision accuracy capability, you surely know it is the most
advanced, state of the art accuracy canopy for the job. So what
next? First of all, let us welcome you and invite you to join the
small but enthusiastic community of accuracy jumpers here in the
U.S. and Canada, or the large and very active community of accuracy
jumpers in Europe and Asia. Now how to learn accuracy?
In Europe and Asia, there are many clubs that focus largely on
accuracy, and in the summertime, there is a big accuracy meet every
weekend in Europe. It shouldn't be too difficult to find a club
that will welcome you to their fold. In the United States and Canada,
learning accuracy is harder there are currently only a few "hot
beds" of activity. As a norm, many DZs currently have nothing to
offer you. So where to begin?
Eiff Aerodynamics suggests you begin by contacting ISSA, the International
School of Style & Accuracy. Jim Hayhurst, Director of ISSA,
will be glad to put you in contact with the nearest "accuracy friendly"
DZ. ISSA also conducts seminars at several locations throughout
the year, and hosts the "Arizona Classic" and other meets. You can
write to ISSA at: 1405 Parkview Dr., Allison Park, PA 15101. E mail:
Precision accuracy is a lot like golf. The two games are remarkably
similar; both are congenial games, played in a social milieu, yet
both require intense focus and concentration. "Par" in accuracy
is about one centimeter per jump, if you land on the 5cm dead center
electronic pad. When you start, just landing on the 16cm radius
pad is a ambitious goal, like shooting 15 over par (high eighties)
in golf. So you may want to set a more attainable goa l at first,
like breaking 100 in golf. Ten jumps in a row landed inside a 10
meter circle would be an attainable standard for a new A license
parachutist jumping a Classic.
Using the instruction offered in this manual, and jumping at your
home DZ without any coaching, you will probably achieve the "10
~ lOm" standard in less than 100 jumps. Attend one of the ISSA seminars,
and you'll become proficient much faster. There are already some
videos on basic canopy control available; ISSA will release its
own video in late 1996, along with a book by Jim Hayhurst, Competition
Style & Accuracy.
If you decide to get serious about accuracy, you'll want to train
at DZs that support precision accuracy, and have resources (people,
equipment, airplanes) you'll require. Contact ISSA to learn if a
DZ near you can offer you a good training environment. You have
to go where accuracy is done, and jump with top jumpers. Watch and
ask questions, get critiques, both verbal and video. You'll want
to develop a training plan and set some goals, goals that will bring
you personal satisfaction, and are within grasp.
Here is an example of an ambitious yet achievable set of accuracy
goals, if you are training with a Classic:
10 jumps inside 10 meters
10 jumps inside 5 meters
10 jumps with a 15cm average
10 jumps with a 7cm average
10 jumps with a 4cm average
10 jumps with a 1cm average
Everyone has a unique set of life circumstances; the one common
denominator among fine accuracy jumpers is commitment. You have
to share your commitment with loved ones, and keep work, family,
and other priorities in mind as you embark on a training program.
You'll always do better if you set realistic goals, and keep your
life in balance. If you can, plan to attend at least one intensive
10 day training camp a year. You'll elevate your game quickly at
a camp, and then you can maintain with weekend jumping at home.
You need to compete, too to measure progress.
Success in competition comes from making each practice jump at
a high level of concentration, with the same intensity and focus
as if it was a competition jump for "all the marbles." In competition,
jump as you do in practice no more, no less. As much as possible,
a competition jump should be "just another jump," with no more inherent
value or importance than a training jump. Make each accuracy jump
the jump of your life, and you'll find that competition holds
no terror for you.
Ultimately, accuracy is a game, a form of play, not too far removed
from the playground of your childhood. (Which, by the way, is not
a bad place to practice your foot placement.) Keep it in perspective,
wish your fellow competitor only the best, and let each competition
be an opportunity to grow. Good jumping!