by Jan Meyer
Relative work is a large part of many jumper's skydiving career. Each jumper acquires skills that enable him to perform RW. Skills are directly related to tasks on a dive. Diving skills are acquired by doing diving slots. Floating skills are acquired by doing floating slots. Base skills are acquired by doing base slots. Each slot has certain tasks. All of the tasks are performed within a hierarchy of tasks. That is, certain tasks must be performed in a certain sequence in order to perform all of the tasks for the slot.
Tasks for all slots can be divided into three groups: levelidity, proximity and synchronicity tasks. The hierarchy represents the order of importance of these groups. Levelidity tasks must be accomplished and maintained before proximity tasks can be accomplished and maintained. Similarly, both levelidity and proximity tasks must be accomplished and maintained before synchronicity tasks.
The hierarchy indicates which task is more important. If a jumper starts to lose levelidity as he accomplishes a proximity task, he should momentarily stop performing the proximity task and concentrate on the levelidity task. For example, a jumper must move from a third wave position to a second wave position. Suppose the jumper floats a few feet just after releasing his grips in his third wave slot. He has lost levelidity. He should regain levelidity by increasing his fall rate slightly, to drop even with the formation and then match the fall rate of the formation to maintain levelidity. Then he should move over to his second wave slot to accomplish the proximity task. This is more desirable than performing the proximity task without levelidity. A jumper who moves to the second wave slot while he is high on the formation tends to reach down for his slot and impart vertical loads to the formation. This may lead to a funnel. The same can be said about a jumper who moves to his slot while low on the formation.
The third level of the hierarchy implies that it is desirable for a jumper to maintain levelidity and proximity while performing a synchronicity task. For example, suppose a task is to match the turn rate of another jumper. A jumper performing this task, exactly matches the turn rate, but slides away from the center point and drops a few feet. He has lost levelidity and proximity at the expense of synchronicity. Another jumper performing the same task, turns much slower than the jumper he is supposed to match, but maintains levelidity and proximity. This jumper sacrifices synchronicity for levelidity and proximity. This jumper has a better overall performance because the next task (pick up grips) is readily accomplished when he finishes his turn. The first jumper must regain levelidity and proximity before the next task may be done.
The importance of tasks is represented below. Levelidity is more important than proximity. Proximity is more important than synchronicity. Both levelidityand proximity must be accomplished and maintained before synchronicity. Don't sacrifice levelidity for proximity. Don't sacrifice levelidity and proximity for synchronicity.
Order of importance of tasks
Originally published in Sport Parachutist's Safety Journal V2,
#3 Jan/Feb. 1990.
Dedicated to enhancing sport parachuting safety by disseminating information about equipment, environments and human factors.