PussFoot is happy to bring you the first Q and A with Greg Windmiller. Greg comes to us from Superior flight solutions LLC, and has made himself available to our community to answer any canopy related questions you might have. Please feel free to email us @ PussFootOG@gmail.com if you have a question you would like to ask.
If you are interested in learning more about Greg and his school we have placed links to his school and social media below.
A little about Greg Windmiller
- USPA Master license in Skydiving
- USPA Static line Jumpmaster
- Accelerated Free Fall Instructor
- Tandem Course Director
- UPT Tandem Instructor/Examiner
- Professional Exhibition Rating
- National Judge rating
- International Bodyflight wind tunnel Instructor
- 12 state records in canopy piloting speed and distance
- 7 national records in speed and distance
- 5 world records in Canopy Piloting Speed
- 6 time U.S. National Champion
- 12 time USPA US National team member
- 18 FAI world level medals from world championships, world cups and CISM competing in 4-way formation skydiving and canopy piloting
- 32 USPA U.S. Nationals medals from canopy piloting, style and accuracy and sport accuracy
- 100+ regional medals from competing in 4-way formation skydiving, 8-way formation skydiving, style and accuracy and canopy piloting.
Hey Greg! So I've been experimenting with swooping and wanting to learn the proper technique. I've always played around up high to get the feel of it. I want to start bringing it closer to the ground but want to also know that I'm doing the right things. As we all know swooping can be dangerous. So my question is what are some things I need to know and do to make sure that I do it safe and correct cause there isn't a redo button to push. Thanks for your advice!
That’s a great question and one that many people have. One of the things that I never agreed with is trying to teach someone high-performance maneuvers over a social media platform or in writing. There are too many possibilities to misinterpret. Hell, look at the constitution and the Bible.
Misinterpretation of someone’s writing or intent could lead to serious injury or worse. It also opens someone up for liability. My book answer when people ask me, is not for the purpose of more business, but for safety. My book answer is that there is no substitute for in person coaching. Coaching from a qualified coach and not just someone that happened to win a medal in a competition where there were three competitors.
I see a lot of drop zones dubbing people canopy coaches just because they jump high performance canopies.
Seek coaching from a reputable instructor.
<---- Not this Guy
A good canopy coach will lead you on the path you need but there are some fundamental things you can find out to know if you’re ready.
1. Is my canopy set up and designed to do the things that I’m trying to do to it.
When I say this, I’m referring to brake line length being appropriate.
If you touch your front risers or pull them down, you should not be deflecting the tail.
If your canopy bucks while you pull your fronts down...... that is your canopy telling you to stop doing that!!! It doesn’t like it and you are doing something wrong.
2. Consistency is the key.
If you are trying to figure out how much altitude you lose during a turn, you need to ensure that the turn is the exactly the same every single time. Practice practice practice but practice up high.
3. Placement or performance....
Pick one. If you are constantly changing your turn to get accurate with the placement, you are never truly getting the performance that you are looking for.
Focus on consistent turns above your decision altitude and free of traffic.
4. Know when to say when.
Hop and pops are where you train canopy skills.
There are two things that you should never focus on when there is traffic. The first is high-performance and the second is accuracy.
Tunnel vision, also known as target fixation happen both when the jumper focuses too much on the landing point or is focusing too much on training a new technique and loses situational awareness.
5. Once you have the perfect turn figured out, you are still not ready.
Everyone thinks that knowing exactly how to turn for maximum performance is all that matters. And knowing the correct height and technique is important however, also important are the other altitudes. What is too high and what is too low. You should set a hard deck and never violate it.
6. Know how to survive.
Most people take for granted that survival instincts will kick in if something happens and we end up to low. Sometimes, our own muscle memory keeps us from doing the right thing when we need to.
Know the proper way to bail out of a low turn!!!!!
7. Technology is your friend, embrace it!!!
Analog altimeters have no place in high-performance maneuvers. Neither do digital altimeters with an analog face.
While I prefer Alti-2 altimeters, I can honestly say, I don’t think there is a bad digital altimeter out there. Alti-2 altimeters are the only altimeters on the market that show you your altitude plus your descent rate at the same time.
GPS tracking devices such as the Fly Sight from Bionic Avionics is the greatest tool for high-performance development that has ever existed in my personal opinion.
I put them on all my students and it improves their performance immediately which saves time, money and femurs.
While everything I stated here isn’t everything you need to know, I can’t stress the importance of getting a good coach that knows what they’re talking about.
Don’t be in a rush to get better faster. Ego and impatience are killers in this sport.
The ambulance driver doesn’t care how small your canopy is and if you don’t have patience, you will eventually become a patient.
You are right, there is no redo button.
Thank You Greg for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer Jason's question.
Make sure to check out Greg's schedule for classes coming to a town near you.
Blue Skies !