Accelerated Free Fall Level 2

I did not follow up on my AFF Level 1 experience in an earlier post–I would do this here and roll it into my latest AFF Level 2 experience, which I passed yesterday.

I am literally moving tomorrow and am only halfway through my packing, but both my AFF Level 1 & 2 experiences have been lingering in my mind. An outlet is needed! In my earlier post, I remarked that I got “creamed” during my wind tunnel exercise, as I had difficulty relaxing, arching and performing all the maneuvers required in the set amount of time. It was a very unstable free fall experience.

Interestingly, I subsequently performed a perfect dive, the hard landing notwithstanding! Once I jumped at 12,500 feet, it was just me and the sky… no points of references, and no obstacles or other objects–even gravity did not matter. I relaxed and enjoyed myself while free falling at 120 mph. I felt peace, and connected to the sky and universe. It was a pretty “Zen” experience. In other words, I learned how to relax through skydiving, which was totally unexpected.

AFF Level 2, on the other hand, only went okay. AFF Level 2 (as defined by Skydive Perris) is very similar to AFF Level 1, with one major difference: after the three practice pulls, the student is expected to perform five to six seconds of forward motion. This was really fun; the pull was so powerful that I dragged my two instructors along with ease.

However, the entire sequence (i.e. the dive flow) did not go as smooth as that in AFF Level 1. I simply could not relax in the sky. It could be a combination of my move to Santa Monica, exhaustion from my 3-day long coaching seminar, or haunting memories from the AFF Level 1 “crash landing.” I do not know. I had difficulty maintaining stability during free fall, and I completely lost track of time. By the time I finished the forward motion maneuver, I was already at 5,000 feet–1,000 feet below where I should be! So I just pulled… and this time, my landing was much lighter, thank goodness!

The lesson? Relax, relax, and relax. Things will be okay. Anxiety does nothing for you, and would only impede you in your goals.

I also bumped into my instructor from AFF level 1, and found out that the last group I jumped out with were members of the Canadian special forces. My instructor actually jumped with their commander, a two-star general (he jumped since he wanted to find out what it feels like; he didn’t have to jump). Apparently, he had a very difficult time with all his jumps simply because he could not relax. The second lesson? Don’t beat yourself over it, as even two-star generals are still learning that lesson!

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