TJ Landgren is a flier of all things miniscule in the world of canopies. He has over 20,000 jumps and is a swoop machine, currently flying everything from JFX’s to JVX’s to Petra’s. He runs canopy courses at several big DZ’s in North California, coaches at the tunnel and runs a freefly school.
When it comes to swooping, I tell my students to:
Make sure to make your turn at the proper altitude – even if you aren’t to your ideal setup point, it’s important not to turn low. Setting up a good swoop starts with setting up a nice pattern with proper downwind, base, and final legs, this allows us to make adjustments safely. It’s easy to lose altitude and impossible to get it back.
Practice your turns up high, practice the complete pattern, turn, all the way through the flare.
Know where your outs are and where you can bail.
Another important, life saving skill, is to constantly scan the sky for other parachutes and be aware of where the other people are. If you don’t see someone you know was on the load, keep looking.
I’ve lost a couple of friends from swooping. One came out of a 270 and hit another canopy. The other friend was landing out and just had to do a 270 even though he was low. Both of my friends were current and good swoopers.
Think twice, always have a plan but assess the situation and be flexible.
>> Check out the entire Get Current 2014 series for more articles and information.