by Jan Meyer
Suppose one day, out of boredom, you and three friends hopped in your car and started driving. Just to do something different, you played a game. No one cared where you ended up, you just wanted to go and keep moving. At each intersection, a different person choose a way to go. Each person took turns picking a direction.
This impromptu driving can lead you down long winding, straight and narrow, hilly, scenic or mountainous roads. You don't know about detours or construction zones until you come by them. Choices may lead to long difficult path with no turn-offs in sight, to quick and easy paths or your car may even break down along the way.
Impromptu techniques can be applied to skydiving. First, you make up in-flight signals for several formations. You pretend to move you jumpsuit zipper for a zipper, fake eating a donut for a donut, make a point with your hands for a diamond, point at Mark for a marquie, dock one hand behind the other for a cat, etc. Make sure everyone memorizes the signals. Four or five is enough for your first couple of impromptu dives. In the air, each jumper gives a signal and then turns so that the next point is built on him.
Impromptu dives are challenging and extremely fun. You must remember formations, watch for signals from the right person at the right time and fly formations with precision. You can also add some extra rules to make the dive more challenging. You can have a "No ohs", "the next point must be different" and "no repeating of points"
Impromptu dives are great when you don't have any time to dirt dive. On the ride up, choose the order each person gives a signal, and memorize the signals. On the ride down, have fun while you fly, look, see and think. End the dive with a horny gorilla and pull at a safe altitude.
Originally published in Sport Parachutist's Safety Journal V1, #4 Nov./Dec. 1988.
Dedicated to enhancing sport parachuting safety by disseminating information about equipment, environments and human factors.