John Hanson Schuman January 19, 1951 to March 21, 1998
The JHS Internet Jump Report
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November [1996] Jump Report.

ATTENTION: for more info on this month, read my posts on the NETSCAPE bullentin boards. ( rec.skydive or something like that.) Look for these TITLES: Freefly Boogie Critique, Second Annual North American Freefly and Skyboard Competition



Skydiving quality took a nose dive this month around here. Some of the areas most prolific jumpers have only five jumps to log since around the first of the month. This is when the jet started carving deep troughs every 7 days, which means only one day of sunshine per week on average around KC. It made my trip to the Sky AZ Freefly boogie hosted by the Freefly Clowns and the Perris Fly boyz all the more pleasant.

I have wanted a crash course in freefly video and I got one in November. I started the month filming the first weekend at Gkc on Sat. I got out twice with Maureen and Marion. They flew a decent tube and I managed to get a feel for distance on 2 way freefly for the first time.


By the time I got to Eloy on the sixth, I had up a head of steam. I knew the first rule of freefly -- "I'm the best skydiver in the world." I felt I would hold my own and party down. I guess that happened but it came from an angle I'm only now starting to appreciate. In my mind, I felt like a seasoned veteran. But, even with all my experience, I couldn't get over the spectacle of unlimited skydiving at Sky AZ.

I felt totally out-classed and it stung. I carried on, however, and made a seminar of it. I started out filming terribly but 20 jumps and 3 days later, I finished with shots that were competition judgeable. I met alot of wonderful people from all over the world. I did a little party action and worked up some business arrangements with one of the locals.

I came home from Eloy a day early. I missed my new wife of 10 days and I felt some erie, inner darkness coming on. I only made 2 jumps the last day I was at Eloy. By 10 Sat. morning I felt exhausted. I spent the last remaining hours of my stay at Sky AZ wandering out into the surrounding desert until I could barely hear the sound of Otters taking off. I returned to the bunk house and showered and then I sat patiently waiting for my shuttle to come and watched a complete sunset.

My beautiful wife greated me at the airport around mid-night and swiftly got me home and in bed. I needed rest. When I woke up Sunday, I had a big time Flu thing happening to me. High Fever, aching, congestion for three days. I missed work and a bunch of needed wages. Scarry stuff. I don't know exactly why I came home early from Eloy but I'm glad I did.


Pay attention to my new snail-mail and phone number. Get it in your books now. I am now living with my terminally ill mother at my new wife's residence and have given my spacious mobile home bungalo up to my estranged step children. This change makes life alot easier for me and cuts my expenses considerably. Luckily my new wife has not figured out how much I spend on skydiving when given the chance.

But on the other hand, I have to look hard at my position. I'm no high-rolling trust fund baby able to make 1200 jumps per year to "...get an edge on for competitions." Basically, I'm being priced right out of the arena. Before long, certain gear will be a requirement to compete. I will not be able to afford this equipment without a major shift in carrers and/or lifestyle.

I had to take a verbal lecture from the Sky Az freefly people about my gear. Certain members of the group were refusing to jump with me because of my side throw-out gear. Because of my careful rigging, they all agreed that my own rig may be serviceable for freeflying, but it was a bad example to others who had side throwouts and open risers. (I jump a modified Vector wonder hog cir. 1971) Someone with a loose pilot chute pocket might have a premature opening in a cluster. Among freeflyers, premature deployment becomes a paranoia since all dives are made beyond recommended safe opening speeds and in VRW many approaches happen from below or above (something which doesn't happen in planer RW) making entanglements and air to air collisions a real factor.

When people get on me about it, I try not to defend my rig. I also try not to defend my lack of altimeter and automatic opener. This is what I've learned about skydiving. There are no fail-safes. There can never be and so it will always be a true sport. As soon as we learn to shut off one method of dying, we open a can of worms for another way. When we stopped using spring-loaded pilot chutes we started having bridle chord entanglement. When we went to the pud, people couldn't find the handles. When altimeters became popular, people stopped looking at the ground and started going in because of lack of ground awarness. So they invented automatic openers which cause more entanglements than save lives. No matter the system, they sometimes will fail. The best safety device is a well trained, physically fit, clear-minded, ground- aware skydiver who knows the limits and pulls handles in clear air before impact.


After sitting around in the dumps sick of my performance at Eloy and the flu, I started to watch my videos I shot in Eloy and take an Instructor's view of my skill level. I decided my skills looked like a sophomore not a senior (as I believed) so I started counting my jumps in the vertical world. I had only 480 out-of-the-box dives. 100 or so were freestyle and many of these only 10 seconds at the bottom of a flat RW dive. (This is not recommended to beginning freestylists.) Of the 375 or so VRW dives, a third of these I did practice dives trying to find a stable position in a chair, stand-up or head-down. I have most of my VRW skills because I have had several QUALITY clones to fly with- Doug Marion, Jamie Paul, Tammy Koyn, Pat Works, Wade Marquitta, and Maureen Gorsuch have each made several dozen runs with me, many resulting in VRW hook ups. I have done almost all the 2-way points: joker, 69, totem, spock, sprout, accordian....I have 3 different night VRW hookups, 1 nude freefly, and one 4-way head-down lauch. 50 of these VRW dives I have made with a camera and this is similar to flying no contact VRW. I'm not sure how much I've learned from this.

I guess I'm lucky. Considering my lack of freefly airtime and low quality gear, I'm probably doing amazingly great. I am determined to stay with the program for at least another year. I hope with another quality 200 jumps I can have some solid Vertical flying skills. Since I have been doing a couple hundred a year, it might be next year about this time.

In the meantime, I have cooked up some skydiving related business ventures I want to pursue and will devote alot of time to these in an effort to pull myself up a bracket or so and maybe buy some new gear that doesn't scare everybody away. Keep your eyes open for the Southwind newsletter too.

blue/sky jhs

July 96 Jump Report
August 96 Jump Report
September 96 Jump Report
November 96 Jump Report
December 96 Jump Report
February 97 Jump Report
March 97 Jump Report
April 97 Jump Report
May 97 Jump Report
June 97 Jump Report
July 97 Jump Report
October 97 Jump Report
November 97 Jump Report
December 97 Jump Report
January 98 Jump Report
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Web Site Posted in 1998.