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New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments!

 

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linnths  (C 92128)

Mar 1, 2012, 3:09 PM
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New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! Can't Post

Dear skydivers out there.

The safety committee for the Norwegian Air-sports Federation has come up with a suggestion to new rules for the norwegian jumpers, and I'd love to hear what you guys think of them. There's already a huge debate about this, and to put it bluntly; not all are happy with them.

I am attaching a link to the table, where you can see the suggestion. Unfortunately, it is in norwegian, but I'll explain it to you:

On the left side of the table, vertically: number of jumps.

The first two columns regards students, where the first are for very inexperienced, and the second for more experienced students. The following columns downwards are e.g. 51-200 "hopp", which means "jumps".

In other words; column number one, vertically, are number of jumps.

The rest of the columns on the table, horizontally, are the weight-class of the jumper, without gear, in kilograms. And below each weight group, you'll have the maximum size of canopy the jumper is allowed to jump.

Is this making sense? Please say so if it's not, and I'll try again.

The committee also suggest to prohibit high performance crossbraced canopies for all, until they have reached 1200 jumps, regardless of weight.

An example: According to these rules; a light weight jumper on 60 kilograms (132 pounds) can only have 1,4 in wingload till (s)he has reached 1200 jumps.

On the other hand, a 99 kilogram heavy jumper (218 pounds) can have the same wingload with only 51 jumps.

Some of the debate topics have obviously considered the fact that this is very strict for light jumpers (read: most women) and the opposite for heavier jumpers.

This suggestion came as a response to the increased incidents under canopy in Norway. The Safety Committee wants to implement absolute limits on canopy-sizes to stop radical downsizing. I believe the intention is good, but the result of this will be everything but (for some of the weight-classes at least).

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue. The suggestions are out on a hearing till the 6th of march, and the committee wishes to hear the community's response before they agree on anything. I thought it'd be a good idea to put it out here, to bring a certain international vibe to it ;)

Love and kisses and so on,

Linn
(which will have to be on a 1,4 wingload for another 900 jumps if the rules are approved)


The link:

http://www.nlf.no/sites/default/files/fallskjerm/dokument/12.02.28_tillatte_skjermstorrelser_-_basert_pa_egenvekt.pdf


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Mar 1, 2012, 3:42 PM
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.nlf.no/...sert_pa_egenvekt.pdf


JohnRich  (D License)

Mar 1, 2012, 4:22 PM
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

How the heck are you going to enforce it? When a new jumper shows up, or an old jumper with a new canopy, are you going to take them over the scale and weigh them, then open up their pack and measure their canopy, and then run to the chart to see if they're in compliance? And if they're outside a range by a few feet or kilograms, will you turn them away and refuse to let them jump?

What if someone's canopy tears apart just a hundred jumps from a new downsize category, and they were planning on buying a smaller canopy. Will they now have to purchase another canopy of the same size as before, just to tide them over for 100 jumps until they get to the next downsize checkpoint, and then spend even more money to get the smaller canopy they actually want?

Maybe it's just me - I hate bureaucracy. Make 'em recommendations, but not mandatory.


(This post was edited by JohnRich on Mar 1, 2012, 4:22 PM)


pchapman  (D 1014)

Mar 1, 2012, 4:39 PM
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

So to be clear: are the weights along the top of the chart the full suspended weight or not?

"Egenvekt" sounds like 'own weight' - does that imply body weight, no gear?

FWIW, a google translate of the box at the bottom:

Quote:
First-time jumpers and novice students should have a lower wing loading than
0.95. Experienced students who jump 0P/hybrid may exceed 0.95 but not 1.0 in wing loading (mathematical rounding rules).
Weight of equipment and clothing to be added to the body weight should be 15 kg for jumping with student equipment, any lead is additional.
NB! Remember to check that the exit weight never exceeds the rig and reserves the maximum weight set by the manufacturer.


It sort of seems that to match the chart to that statement, the values across the top of the chart would be body weight.

In any case, way way too restrictive, but that's an old school opinion from someone who believes there should be NO restrictions whatsoever -- only recommendations.


philly51  (D 25269)

Mar 1, 2012, 4:52 PM
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't read the chart, but how about these as
downsizing rules:

#1. At the first thought of downsizing, you wait a minimum of 100 additional jumps and then rethink the original reasoning for downsizing.

#2. See rule #1


SRI85  (D License)

Mar 1, 2012, 4:56 PM
Post #6 of 125 (3215 views)
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

1.4 wing loading till 1200 jump? That's extreme.


skydiverek  (C 952)

Mar 1, 2012, 5:03 PM
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

Couldn't Norway adopt this?:

http://www.bigairsportz.com/pdf/bas-sizingchart.pdf


linnths  (C 92128)

Mar 1, 2012, 6:17 PM
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Re: [skydiverek] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

Pchapman: you are correct. The chart is for body weight, without gear.

And as the PD-guidelines goes: we could, but no, not gonna happen it seems.

The system in Norway is way stricter than in the states. Where you have the SIM, we have the "handbook", where there are rules, instead of guidelines.

When it comes to the comment about downloading in general: absolutely. Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend where people are unable to do this. We have experienced a distressing increase in serious incidents, and the safety committee feels something has to be done...

Thanks for all the comments. Please keep 'em coming!


Premier faulknerwn  (D 17441)
Moderator
Mar 1, 2012, 6:18 PM
Post #9 of 125 (3142 views)
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

A 1.4 wing loading is crazy for someone with 51 jumps.

Was this written by a big guy? Brian germains chart is far more reasonable.


linnths  (C 92128)

Mar 1, 2012, 6:27 PM
Post #10 of 125 (3126 views)
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Re: [JohnRich] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
How the heck are you going to enforce it? When a new jumper shows up, or an old jumper with a new canopy, are you going to take them over the scale and weigh them, then open up their pack and measure their canopy, and then run to the chart to see if they're in compliance? And if they're outside a range by a few feet or kilograms, will you turn them away and refuse to let them jump?

What if someone's canopy tears apart just a hundred jumps from a new downsize category, and they were planning on buying a smaller canopy. Will they now have to purchase another canopy of the same size as before, just to tide them over for 100 jumps until they get to the next downsize checkpoint, and then spend even more money to get the smaller canopy they actually want?

Maybe it's just me - I hate bureaucracy. Make 'em recommendations, but not mandatory.

As far as enforcing goes: this is a little more routinized in Norway perhaps. As a norwegian skydiver, you have to be member of a skydiving club, and the chief instructor of the club/dz is generally aware of who everyone is at his dz (we're kind of a tiny country with tiny clubs, compared to you guys).

When earning new licenses these things will be checked. Every year you also have to register all over, where the gear and information/licenses will be checked. When coming to a new dz, again - everything is checked.

The weight as such is usually not checked, but if you crash into the ground jumping something you're not allowed to, your insurance will not cover you and you will lose your license...

When it comes to the canopy e.g. ripping: yes, you're gonna have to buy a new one within the same weight class ....


dirtbox  (D 31759)

Mar 1, 2012, 6:58 PM
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Re: [faulknerwn] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

how about common sense and ability? I have heard of a few rare people at ~600 jumps on xbraced canopies doing 270s and doing great. I have met people with 1000 jumps who shouldn't think about going past 1:1 ... And well if someone is stupid/ignorant enough to break themselves through a sustained series of poor decisions what can you do? Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

The same goes for bigway, wingsuits, climbing, mountaineering, eating hotdogs...


5.samadhi

Mar 1, 2012, 7:19 PM
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Re: [dirtbox] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

^ are you saying there needs to be a "mad skillz" clause added to the chart? LaughTongue


yoink

Mar 1, 2012, 8:31 PM
Post #13 of 125 (3045 views)
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Re: [JohnRich] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Maybe it's just me - I hate bureaucracy. Make 'em recommendations, but not mandatory.


Because that's worked brilliantly so far. (!)


John, you let your natural bias against any sort of rules colour your thinking IMO, and it's beginning to show in all your posts which detracts from any real useful message you could get across from your experience.

Chances are if the rules are reasonably leinient they'll be no problem to 95% of normal people like you - but they'll catch the nutters out there. Unreasonable rules either don't pass inspection, or simple wipe themselves out over a short period of being implemented.

You can't assume everyone is rational and right-thinking.


To the OP; I'm not in favour of having canopy sizes simply dictated by jump numbers and wing loading. It's too complex a series of variables for that.

If you have to have that sort of hard and fast rule, it needs to be a 'at no time will anyone, ever, exceed these numbers', and then it just becomes arbitrary - why 1200 jumps for a crossbraced canopy? What happens on that magic jump after 1199 that suddenly makes someone 'ready' for a crossbraced wing?


I don't think there's a simple answer that you can apply in broad strokes to everyone. We have to change the overall skydiving culture of small canopies being cool, of people having access to buying them when they shouldn't, and a united front from the dropzone operators on each individual - no regulation works if some DZs are more lax than others.


The impetus has to come from the jumpers, not the national bodies. Coaches and instructors who refuse to jump with people who are unsafe. Regular jumpers who refuse to get on a plane with the 200 jump wonder who's just bought a 99.

Downsizing is about jump numbers and weight. It's also about aptitude, practice, time spent flying, physique, intelligence, reaction to instruction and a thousand other things.

Maybe people shouldn't be able to buy their own canopies... maybe they need to have counter signitures from instructors, coaches or Operators to say 'yup, I agree this guy is ready for this next canopy'... at the very least, it would force the jumper in question to vet their choice through at least one other individual.

(And no. I know this wouldn't work in the states because everyone would sue each other...We really need a rolling eyes smilie... Sly)


(This post was edited by yoink on Mar 1, 2012, 8:38 PM)


Marisan  (E 123)

Mar 1, 2012, 9:11 PM
Post #14 of 125 (3026 views)
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Re: [yoink] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Maybe it's just me - I hate bureaucracy. Make 'em recommendations, but not mandatory.


Because that's worked brilliantly so far. (!)


John, you let your natural bias against any sort of rules colour your thinking IMO, and it's beginning to show in all your posts which detracts from any real useful message you could get across from your experience.

Chances are if the rules are reasonably leinient they'll be no problem to 95% of normal people like you - but they'll catch the nutters out there. Unreasonable rules either don't pass inspection, or simple wipe themselves out over a short period of being implemented.

You can't assume everyone is rational and right-thinking.


To the OP; I'm not in favour of having canopy sizes simply dictated by jump numbers and wing loading. It's too complex a series of variables for that.

If you have to have that sort of hard and fast rule, it needs to be a 'at no time will anyone, ever, exceed these numbers', and then it just becomes arbitrary - why 1200 jumps for a crossbraced canopy? What happens on that magic jump after 1199 that suddenly makes someone 'ready' for a crossbraced wing?


I don't think there's a simple answer that you can apply in broad strokes to everyone. We have to change the overall skydiving culture of small canopies being cool, of people having access to buying them when they shouldn't, and a united front from the dropzone operators on each individual - no regulation works if some DZs are more lax than others.


The impetus has to come from the jumpers, not the national bodies. Coaches and instructors who refuse to jump with people who are unsafe. Regular jumpers who refuse to get on a plane with the 200 jump wonder who's just bought a 99.

Downsizing is about jump numbers and weight. It's also about aptitude, practice, time spent flying, physique, intelligence, reaction to instruction and a thousand other things.

Maybe people shouldn't be able to buy their own canopies... maybe they need to have counter signitures from instructors, coaches or Operators to say 'yup, I agree this guy is ready for this next canopy'... at the very least, it would force the jumper in question to vet their choice through at least one other individual.

(And no. I know this wouldn't work in the states because everyone would sue each

You Guys are bumping up against LIMITS.
Definition of LIMIT : the utmost extent .
From: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/limit

Limits change with experience but there are ultimate limits. Sean found his with 70 sq ft (8000 jumps and a very experienced competitive swooper)

Jeb Corliss got to within 1 inch of his ultimate limit and lived.

Luigi Canni probably set the ultimate limit in wingloading with his 36? sq ft landing.

The reason I say ultimate limit for Luigi is that you don't see too many fatalities under 70 sq ft. No one is game to go there.


freeatlast  (C 33030)

Mar 1, 2012, 11:05 PM
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Hi Linn

I'm all in favour of safety, but definitely not in favour of this kind of system.

Why not use BG's chart or a max wing loading based on jump numbers using either total jumps or perhaps the total number of jumps made over the preceding say 1-2 years (to reflect currency rather than jump numbers which may be more relevant).

Also you could simply categorize certain canopy types (such as beginner / intermediate / advanced canopy categories) and again depending on experience you are allowed to jump more categories.

This way everyone with say 100 jumps and limited experience would be flying larger and more docile canopies whilst everyone with say 800 jumps would be allowed to jump smaller and higher performing canopies (if they wanted).

If you also want to increase safety you could also make anyone jumping a higher performance level canopy undertake canopy training before they move onto the new canopy type and possibly ask them to attend a course each year to keep their flying skills current.

On a completely different note, will these restrictions apply only to Norwegian jumpers or will visiting jumpers find these rules imposed on them??


bofh  (D 13995)

Mar 2, 2012, 12:00 AM
Post #16 of 125 (2976 views)
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

It is a bit strange that there are no rules against other high performance canopies. Plenty of canopies are more dangerous in the unskilled hands at 1.4 than many of the listed crossbraced canopies.

I'd suggest you "import" the swedish rules (the basis for BG's chart) instead. Many from Norway are visiting Sweden, so it would be nice if we have the same rules. That way swedish dropzones will enforce them too (when it comes to gear we allow the foreign rules, but since we don't know them in general we allow whatever the jumper comes with...).

What's bad with the Swedish rules is that some people see them as a this-size-rule instead of minimum. Some jump their huge canopies for many, many jumps then downsize to the smallest they are allowed, resulting in a rather large downsize step. When people pass the end of the chart, some start to downsize in quite large steps too (like me that went from 120 to 94 to 77 quite fast, but that's okay because I've got mad skillz).

I sometimes think a better system would be to just have a starter weight, then some simple rule like: you are allowed to downsize at most X % after Y jumps. Where X depends on the weight.


piisfish

Mar 2, 2012, 12:12 AM
Post #17 of 125 (2970 views)
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

a sweet mix between Brian Germain's (and similar) chart, and the Dutch system with canopy types and models would be the "best" in my opinion.

This norwegian proposition seems oversimplified.

The french system is very strict/conservative for example, and at 600 jumps, you can go for Luigi's JVX36 Crazy

Edit to add : and what about enforcing plain common sense ? And have DZO's, S&TA's (or local similar) just refuse some canopies to people who want to jump something they can't technically afford ?


(This post was edited by piisfish on Mar 2, 2012, 12:21 AM)


YvonneWiggers  (B License)

Mar 2, 2012, 12:33 AM
Post #18 of 125 (2962 views)
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

Here in Holland the rules are even stricter, officially (if I don't gain weight) I wouldn't be allowed to have a wingload above 1.2 until I have 1000 jumps (I weigh 54 kg).

I still like the idea of the Dutch system though, it also tells you which kind of canopys you can and can't be jumping. It prevents the idiots from killing themselves and in rare cases you can get an exemption so you can jump a canopy one size smaller (for the lightweights with mad skillz like me Tongue)

The system 'decides' a minimum of canopy size, maximum wingloading and canopy type that you can downsize to. This is based on total number of jumps, number of jumps made in the last 12 months and exitweight.


linnths  (C 92128)

Mar 2, 2012, 1:18 AM
Post #19 of 125 (2946 views)
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Re: [yoink] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Maybe it's just me - I hate bureaucracy. Make 'em recommendations, but not mandatory.


Because that's worked brilliantly so far. (!)


John, you let your natural bias against any sort of rules colour your thinking IMO, and it's beginning to show in all your posts which detracts from any real useful message you could get across from your experience.

Chances are if the rules are reasonably leinient they'll be no problem to 95% of normal people like you - but they'll catch the nutters out there. Unreasonable rules either don't pass inspection, or simple wipe themselves out over a short period of being implemented.

You can't assume everyone is rational and right-thinking.


To the OP; I'm not in favour of having canopy sizes simply dictated by jump numbers and wing loading. It's too complex a series of variables for that.

If you have to have that sort of hard and fast rule, it needs to be a 'at no time will anyone, ever, exceed these numbers', and then it just becomes arbitrary - why 1200 jumps for a crossbraced canopy? What happens on that magic jump after 1199 that suddenly makes someone 'ready' for a crossbraced wing?


I don't think there's a simple answer that you can apply in broad strokes to everyone. We have to change the overall skydiving culture of small canopies being cool, of people having access to buying them when they shouldn't, and a united front from the dropzone operators on each individual - no regulation works if some DZs are more lax than others.


The impetus has to come from the jumpers, not the national bodies. Coaches and instructors who refuse to jump with people who are unsafe. Regular jumpers who refuse to get on a plane with the 200 jump wonder who's just bought a 99.

Downsizing is about jump numbers and weight. It's also about aptitude, practice, time spent flying, physique, intelligence, reaction to instruction and a thousand other things.

Maybe people shouldn't be able to buy their own canopies... maybe they need to have counter signitures from instructors, coaches or Operators to say 'yup, I agree this guy is ready for this next canopy'... at the very least, it would force the jumper in question to vet their choice through at least one other individual.

(And no. I know this wouldn't work in the states because everyone would sue each other...We really need a rolling eyes smilie... Sly)

Hehe, I could not agree more. The ideal skydiving community is one where everyone do whatever they want, and don't die. But when people hook themselves into the ground consistently, and we keep losing people in canopy collisions (which is even more of a disaster), something must be done...

Natural selection and all that have never really done it for me. As long as people are stupid it reflects on the rest of the community. And that is a bad thing. I also want to know that there won't be skygods on the same load as me that is gonna kill me along with him/her.

There's tons of good input here guys but I do have some more information that will somehow neutralize this (to an extent):

I do want to make something clear here: the suggestion is really only that. The committee put it out on the web so that everyone would have the chance to comment and suggest better changes. I believe this will be the case.

Also, something I forgot to mention, is that they are also suggesting to implement a new canopy course that everyone with a minimum of 200 jumps must undertake if they want to aim for the more demanding canopies and high-performance landings. This course is meant to teach basic/advanced canopy-techniques in practice and theory. I believe this is a very sensible suggestion, and I hope it's gonna go through.

I learnt insanely much at the canopy courses I took along the way, and I also believe these courses might be able to stop some of the skygods out there...

Some of you also mentioned the fact that the entire community should be clear about their attitudes towards those with imagined mad skillz. I could not agree more. I firmly believe that attitude and knowledge derives from those around you, not from a rule-book. An example: you don't avoid stealing from someone because it's illegal, you do it because you know it's wrong, and that people will think badly of you.

This is actually something I am doing a research on in my thesis in social anthropology, on skydivers. (That's also why I am so interested in having this discussion. Yes, I have an agenda;)

The thesis in short terms discusses how skydivers affect each other's attitudes and knowledge and I also consider the methods they use to mange the risks that are inherent in the activity. During the thousands of debates about safety in the community I witnessed during my research, never once was the rules mentioned - the result of one's idiocy on the other hand was a common debate ;)


dragon2  (D 101989)

Mar 2, 2012, 4:36 AM
Post #20 of 125 (2867 views)
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't view your pdf. But if you haven't yet, I'd suggest you take a look at the Dutch system. We've been running that for a number of years now, and it fits most people (although a small number of lightweight jumpers, like Yvonne above, have gotten permission to jump a size smaller canopy). You might want to contact the KNVvL directly about "the bullseye", if you have questions.

When we put the system in place the first time, we grandfathered jumpers in. So you could keep the canopy you were jumping, but if you wanted to jump something else and thereby change to another category, you could only do so if you met the prerequisites for that category (total jumps, jumps last 12 months, weight).

For visiting jumpers with own gear, you can jump what you can jump at home, as long as it's reasonable.


The system has gotten some tweaks over the years and seems to be working fairly smoothly now. Newer jumpers don't know any better these days, and the number of incidents (broken legs etc) seems to have gone down.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Mar 2, 2012, 5:56 AM
Post #21 of 125 (2824 views)
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Re: [dragon2] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Newer jumpers don't know any better these days, and the number of incidents (broken legs etc) seems to have gone down.

This is the key to all of the 'arguments' against any type of canopy size/type restrictions.

For example, when was the last time you heard a student complain about the size of their canopy? Probably never, because they have no preconcieved notions about canopy size (or skydiving in general) and are willing to accept whatever rig they are handed as being 'good'.

Likewise with these types of restrictions, all of the whiners will eventually either amass the jump numbers to be 'unlimited', or they won't meet those requirements and shouldn't be 'unlimited' anyway, or they'll quit jumping. Every single new jumper will walk onto the DZ, and know from day one that canopy progressions are regulated, and that will be that. Without the expectation that they can just do 'whatever they want', there won't be any hard feelings about not being able to.

I have yet to see a proposal for one of these plans that doesn't ultimately allow for 'unlimited' choices once a jumper has reached a certain level of experience, so if a jumper is dedicated and going to stick with the sport, they'll get their chance, and if they don't intend to be around that long, or would be willing to quit jumping because they can't downsize fast enough, fuck 'em.


(This post was edited by davelepka on Mar 2, 2012, 5:58 AM)


linnths  (C 92128)

Mar 2, 2012, 6:06 AM
Post #22 of 125 (2815 views)
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Re: [freeatlast] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
On a completely different note, will these restrictions apply only to Norwegian jumpers or will visiting jumpers find these rules imposed on them??

As far as I know, foreign jumpers will be able to jump whatever as usual. I find it unlikely that they will have to abide with the norwegian rules for norwegian licensed jumpers :) No worries!


shropshire  (C License)

Mar 2, 2012, 6:13 AM
Post #23 of 125 (2811 views)
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Re: [dirtbox] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
......, eating hotdogs...

Shocked
I'm a little worried about someone in Korea saying things like thisTongueTongueTongueTongue


shropshire  (C License)

Mar 2, 2012, 6:20 AM
Post #24 of 125 (2807 views)
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

If you are caught breaking the rules, you should be forced to jump a Pink Navigator 280 for a whole year!


pchapman  (D 1014)

Mar 2, 2012, 6:59 AM
Post #25 of 125 (2774 views)
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Re: [linnths] New rules for canopy-downsizing in Norway. We need comments! [In reply to] Can't Post

First I have practical suggestions for any country wanting to be downsizing Nazis:
(Downsizing Quislings? Yes, I chose my words to be just a little harsh.)

I still like the idea that a local safety person should be able to approve higher wing loadings temporarily. That way someone can try out a smaller canopy, even if not regularly.

Or it would be OK to have a system that allows almost unlimited downsizing, IF one has demonstrated going through downsizing canopy control exercises.

Secondly, here's my rant in general about downsizing restrictions:

I got to try out a 92 sq. ft. canopy loaded 1.8 in no wind conditions when I had 205 jumps. Seemed to be no problem. Sure, my chance of a cutaway on opening or from line twisting myself would be higher, and the landings were a little scary.

But it wasn't going to actually kill me unless I did something stupid.

If there were downsizing rules, how would they take into account that I was already used to flight vehicles requiring precise control? Being able to fly aerobatics or land a taildragger aircraft doesn't make you a canopy pilot, but it should help one avoid stupid errors of turning into the ground because of stabbing a toggle.

Nobody stops a doctor from getting his instrument rating, buying a Mooney or Cirrus, and going out and getting himself killed in hard IFR over the mountains at night. Insuance companies, maybe, but that's not an issue with our rigs. Mountain climbers get to go out and kill themselves in the mountains, to do routes they aren't ready for.

Why would we skydivers be discriminated against just because our toys are cheaper, or it is tougher for us to kill ourselves in more expensive ways?

Not everyone goes on to make thousands of jumps, or do 250 jumps a year. Let people have some fun instead of saying that they can't try out cool canopies until they've been in the sport a decade.

I'd rather see dumbasses die than restrict people from jumping canopies they clearly can fly and have fun with.

It is nice to try out canopies you shouldn't be flying regularly, so you know what you don't really want yet. I've seen people try out a ground hungry canopy and then decide they'll stick to something more conservative for a couple season.

Part of the problem is that a canopy that may be safer normally is a lot less safe if people start trying to swoop hard -- but that's about discipline, not the canopy. Just because a canopy might not be the best to learn to swoop on, doesn't mean you can't fly it.

What kills people under small canopies anyway? I'd really have to look at the stats again, but here are some:

-- Attempted swoops --> so don't attempt to swoop until you've done a proper downsizing canopy control progression, starting with larger canopies.

-- Panic turns in off landings --> So don't be a dumbass and hook it in, fly the canopy like you were taught. And in airplanes too, if you have to land out in a Pitts, it will be a lot more dangerous than in a C-152. But that's not the criteria people use when deciding whether you are ready to solo a Pitts. Some risks have to be accepted.

-- Panic turns on the DZ --> Same as off dz landings pretty much. Pick an open area to land in if you aren't as experienced with your canopy and don't hook it if you get stuck low on downwind making it back from a long spot.

-- Mid air collisions --> Not sure how many are caused by rapid downsizing, but of course being "behind the airplane" is a distraction. So maybe don't use the small, new canopy in the middle of a boogie or a super busy DZ.

-- Misjudged slightly accelerated landings --> That's a tricky one, where someone isn't trying to do a full-on swoop, but just a front riser 90 or something and misjudges when to let up. Smaller canopies do make injuries worse. Still, it is about not being a dumbass and focusing on your jump. Don't do a maneuver unless you can take the consequences. Go through the downsizing progression exercises.


So there are plenty of ways to reduce the risk to others and yourself to reasonable levels -- and too bad for the guy who makes a mistake.

Canopy restrictions would get some jumpers bored with their canopies. Maybe that would just be an excuse to do some low toggle hooks or anything to have some fun again. Or maybe it would encourage them to actually work in a disciplined way through all those canopy downsizing exercises we are supposed to do. That might be a good point of restrictions.

(I'm saying all this as someone who only owned an accuracy canopy for his first 600 jumps -- but nothing stopped me from borrowing a buddy's Stiletto 120 to have some fun on once in a while.)


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