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Get Current: I’m not Strong Enough to Flare, Part 1

Katie Hansen: totally took weak to flare!
Written by Kolla

This is the first part of two on the topic of landings – in particular the strength it takes to flare. The first one is written by Katie Hansen, an NZ Aerosports sponsored pilot, and incredible talented flyer both under canopy and in freefall. The second part will be published next week – from the male perspective – written by Australian Canopy Piloting competitor Robbie McMillan.  Katie and Robbie are a part of The Canopy School team, dedicated to furthering awesome human flight. 

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Ladies! Is your jumpsuit and rig always dirty? Do you get anxious coming into land?

Not flaring all the way is one of the most common problems I see. This can be from anticipation of the ground coming up and the pilot essentially stopping flying the canopy, resulting in an incomplete flare and a subsequently a hard landing.
With girls, a common excuse is that it’s too hard to flare all the way – and the reason given is lack of strength.

Lets explore this a little further, beginning with the mental aspect. It is very important to be confident when coming in for a landing.  I like to call this proactive canopy piloting vs reactive canopy piloting, setting the stage for a successful and safe landing.

Proactive Piloting vs Reactive Piloting

Don’t be along for the ride. Be the driver! Come in with the “I’VE F*ING GOT THIS!” strong attitude. Flare that shit! If you think you’re going to eat it landing, you probably will. Consider your body language on approach, and what it is telling you. Have a friend film your landing, or simply make a mental note to observe your own body. Are your feet already way out in front of you? If you were to step off a bench and put your feet out like that, would you land on your feet or your butt? You’ve got to believe in yourself, and set yourself up for success. Focus on keeping your feet underneath your hips, and be strong. Don’t stop flying your parachute until your feet are on the ground, finish that flare ALL the way. Be proactive, not reactive.

So…Am I Ready to Downsize?

Now that we’ve cleared up the mental side of it, if you really can’t get those toggles down all the way because there is just too much pressure…not to fret, but NOT to downsize. True, downsizing might alleviate some toggle pressure. But. it brings on another set of potentially dangerous consequences for both you and the people around you. Our main goal is to keep everyone safe and have fun at the dropzone. If you truly are not able flare your canopy because you are not strong enough, it’s time for a little bodily maintenance. Use skydiving as your motivation to get in shape – work it, sister!

Here are some things you can do to get in shape for skydiving and to help you improve that flare and landing:

  1. Set a goal that’s realistic. 
    – If you keep it real, you’re much more likely to achieve it. You will feel good about yourself, as you should, for accomplishing it and motivate yourself to keep going!
  2. Put a timeline on it. 
    – Do you have an organizer coming to the dz you want to jump with next month? Do it!
  3. Believe in yourself.  
    – Make the change you need to. It’s not the canopy’s fault you can’t flare it, so it’s not the canopy that needs to change.
  4. Get coaching!
    – Getting professional canopy coaching is a great step towards improving technique and confidence to land consistently well.

Skydiving is amazing and most people with they could do it, when the truth is that they can. The thing that makes skydivers special is that they choose to. People who are already fit enough to flare aren’t special. If you’re having a tough time with it, keep working at it – you really can do it!

You just need to choose to.

Katie Hansen: totally took weak to flare!

Katie Hansen: totally took weak to flare!

Connect with Katie Hansen and The Canopy School via Facebook (Canopy School), Facebook (for Katie Hansen), Twitter or Google+.  Go flare!

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