I am new to the game and wanted to know how you felt about altimeters. I have friends telling me i should have an analog and some saying i should go digital. also do you think I would be ok with one or should I have two.
Thanks so much for writing in with your question. As an Instructor, I want my students to have a solid foundation in their routine when it comes to being altitude aware. That being said, I also remember how frustrating it was as a student trying to read my analog altimeter in the pattern because of the extremely small lines and near nonexistent number on the dial. When I purchased my first digital altimeter and was making the transition to it, I was nervous! The screen was smaller and obviously digital and it was just different.
Large face on Analog
Here’s what I suggest: Get the digital altimeter but also wear the analog with it until you’re comfortable using just one of them. I did this a few times until I was comfortable reading the digital and weaned myself off the double altimeters to just the one. Worked like a charm! Some DZ’s are evening doing this throughout their student programs with positive results.
Please keep this in mind though; digital altimeters operate solely on batteries. Batteries can die at the most inconvenient times. Always make sure that your batteries are fresh and/or fully charged should choose an altimeter with a charging option. Analog altimeters don’t need batteries therefore that’s not a concern. While there are pros and cons for each type, you need to make the best decision for you as a jumper. Also, make sure you check out all the features the digital altimeters offer! Logbooks, odometers for jumps, freefall speeds and more! I’m sure there won’t be a shortage of skydivers willing to show you how to use it.