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About Ally

Ally Milne is a British Advanced Instructor with over 11,000 jumps. He is a World, European and British record holder and a British National Champion. Ally works as a professional coach for the sky and tunnel as well as doing load organising, AFF and very occasionally Tandems.

Canopy Skills

By Ally Milne

Why are canopy skills so important in our sport?

One key area I think we as a sport can improve on is Canopy Skills, in regard to, discipline and experience. We develop our canopy skills in our early progression from our instructors. Most countries’ progression systems include a variety of skills to develop for B-licences and beyond, which is a great improvement. Luckily there is also a great increase in demand for Canopy Courses and some great enthusiastic canopy pilots touring the world to improve skills such as PD Flight-1 and Curt/Jeannie Bartholomew.

However, canopy discipline is something that I think we all need to talk about. So often in the pattern, I see people making too many turns, spiralling, cutting into the pattern, and making a swoop when they should’ve aborted. Some people are in a rush to downsize and missing out on key skills as there is some perceived race to get onto a faster canopy. Sometimes I also wonder if people aren’t bailing to toggles when they need to because they are worried about what people will think. And people opinion-shopping when it’s time to downsize, keeping asking people till someone says it’s a good idea! Or worse not asking anyone. I still ask someone when I get a small canopy in case I’m suffering from some kind of cognitive bias. You can often be the worst person to judge your own skills.

We can also work a bit harder to develop canopy experience too, practicing landing in a crosswind or slight downwind. If you can’t land well in all conditions you probably have a canopy that’s too small for you. It takes a big person to own up and correct that, but the advantage is you’ll spend more time doing one of the coolest things in skydiving. Walking off the landing area without a limp!

canopy landing

Do you have a question about this article or a question for Ally himself?

If you would like to ask Ally a question or even book him for coaching / one of his other many services. Please use the contact details below to get in touch with him directly.

Ally is available for: Tunnel coaching, Sky coaching, Canopy coaching, load organising, BPA coach rating instruction, public / private parachute displays and media projects.

Ally is proudly sponsored by: Vertex Sky Sports, United Parachute Technologies, Performance Designs, Airtec, Larsen and Brusgaard and Cookie Composites.

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