It doesn’t take long in the sport to recognize how to avoid getting in trouble by the “fun police”. Quickly picking out the DZO, DZM, S&TA, instructors, and leaders who are happy to ground you should you become a problem, fun jumpers (generally try to) keep their actions and words full of respect. After all, you don’t want anyone telling you that you can’t play with your friends.
But I think we often forget who is (not so) silently keeping those loads on schedule.
As licensed skydivers, we have a predisposition to short attention spans, our focus quickly moves from jump to debrief to mocking up the next jump. The amount of behind-the-scenes work that takes place for a skydiving operation to function safely and efficiently is rarely seen or understood.
One of the most important jobs on the drop zone, and one of the most stressful is that of "Manifest".
So, what is manifest? <long inhale> Ensuring drop zone waivers are complete, planes are properly loaded, weight & balance computed, fueled on time, gear checked and properly logged into Burble, check-in for people who are processing stress, excitement, anxiety, fear, and every emotion in between, tandem & AFF student registration, not to mention wrangling instructors for classes, AFF instructors for students, camera flyers, while making certain all of them have time to pack and prep between work jumps. And on top of ALL of this… they are communicating with pilots and ground crew - oh and answering the phones. The phones never stop, ever!
Remember, they are not just reserving your slot for the sardine to wingless bird to mammalian transmutation experience.
Their job description and responsibility is lengthy. And, as such, proper respect and patience should be shown.
Chicagoland Skydiving Center is well known for its welcoming vibes and family feel. And it is because of the respect that’s shown to one another that keeps that healthy drop zone experience going. It is rare that our amazing manifest staff be bothered enough to feel they need to punish you, but it is not without possibility. It takes a lot to upset them, but if you do, the packing mat could be as close as you get to skydiving. So, if you want a quick trip to a long wait, manifest could be your ticket.
Let’s talk a little bit about how to avoid setting a bad impression from the start: Manifest Etiquette
That last word may be a bit new for a few of you. Here is some help since google is hard to find.
the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
If you haven’t been to a new drop zone before, the paperwork is always going to be your first stop. Your first opportunity to leave a bad impression. Lets start off on the right foot.
Before you arrive:
*Waiver: Check the drop zones website and see if you can waiver before arrival. Save yourself and manifest precious minutes by knocking it out in advance.
*Burble: While you’re at it, go ahead and find out if they have Burble and add them to your drop zone list.
Both of these items will save important minutes from the start.
If the dz does not have online waivering, be prepared with ALL of your information.
*USPA license info
*Log book (or current burble account showing your most recent jumps)
*Rig packed within 179 days (they will send you to the loft at 180+)
*Packing data card
*Money (You aren't getting off of the ground without it)
You will need most of these items regardless. But, if you have it all together and done on arrival, they will already give you (more) credit (than you probably deserve).
When you arrive:
*Have your rig ready: Packing data card out and reserve flap open.
*Have your identification and credentials ready: USPA membership card, logbook and legal ID.
*Be prepared to sign waivers even if you did previously or online. Electronic issues do take place and drop zones sometimes have additions or changes. If you're requested to complete another waiver upon arrival, inform them that you have done so in advance so they may attempt to locate it for you. If they do not have or cannot find it, you may be asked to do so again.
Now. You’re all waivered up. Your rig is checked and money on your account… What NOW?
*If you haven't been to the drop zone before (or recently), you need a drop zone briefing. Manifest will likely already send you to the most qualified individual available to show you around the drop zone, talk about the landing area, where to find what you need (ie. wind reports, current jump run, load calls, bathrooms, organizers, coaches etc) and drop zone rules. If they don’t, tell them you need a drop zone briefing and ask who to look for. They will send you in the right direction.
So, it's finally time to jump. You are checked in, gear checked, money on your account, you know the winds, the landing direction, and what not to do.
It's time to see Manifest again.
Manifesting via Burble has become much more available, but you will often find yourself needing information or help from those very same individuals who you first met at check in. Remember how stressful their job is?
When you approach the window have manners.
I feel like I lost a few of you again, so…
/ (ˈmænəz) /
social conduct - a socially acceptable way of behaving
“he has the manners of a pig”.
*Be polite. Give them a moment to get to you. If they do not immediately address you, they are not ignoring you. They know you are there. And they know you want on that next load or to move to another. They are hoping you are not that guy walking up on the 2 minute call to pull off when they needed you to send it. Let them let you know when they are ready for your request.
*Do not make DEMANDS. They are, again, not concerned with only your needs. (Back to that previous remark... "your request." Remember Honey > Vinegar. ASK them for what you would like. Do not tell them what you expect them to do.
*Keep an eye on your account. They don’t want to tell you that they need your money any more than you want to hear it. Keep tabs on your account. CSC is now offering a plethora of fee free payment options available for your convenience. We try to make it as easy as possible to keep your account loaded so you aren’t called to manifest to address it. Of course, we understand that we all sometimes lose track on busy days. But that one step saves everyone extra time and frustration.
At that point, you’re on your own, kid. The sky is our playground, and we want to take you along. Go make friends. Learn new and tune up old skills. Clean up after yourself. (::Cough:: animals ::Cough::) And at end the day join us all for a bite and drink from The Flight Deck after last call.
We can’t wait to see you!
**If it’s your first time, don’t forget the case. (..and don’t be cheap with that Natty nonsense)