It was nothing but luck she didnt fall to her death... He showed lack of duty from the start... When it went bad he could do nothing but hope... Her arm caught on diagonal...pure luck,, I see no skill or masterfull feats whatsoever
Just 1 or 2 pounds of extra force keeping a knee bent, may have been everything that was needed to keep the woman from falling out.
Luck played a large role, though!
I'll argue it was just as much her cross-arm grip on her harness verticals that kept her in. Tough bird. She possibly had to have held that for the entire (extended) canopy ride.
True, true... You're right too, but if her legs slipped, it is doubtful that she'd have enough strength to hold on with just her arms alone. Also the arms/shoulders through the strap, provide additional levers (contributing factor beyond just simple grip and muscle strength).
Even though her life was saved, no hero status for the instructor --
The one here with the biggest balls is the lady -- she she gave the Lodi TI a tip, a thank-you letter for saving her life, and she still wants to skydive again! We ought to agree she has such a good heart, regardless of the TI's inexcusable action. (I'd also recommend some other dropzone now, given all of what I now know about Lodi!)
(This post was edited by mdrejhon on May 30, 2012, 8:54 AM)
I stand by my statement. Again, I'm not excusing the actions that led up to it, but he held on to her with one hand while steering with the other, knowing that if he let go she would probably fall through and die in front of her family. Whatever x-factor the human body produces in times of eminent tragedy came into play. He was exhausted when he got to the ground.
No matter what anyone else says on this thread, if you haven't been a tandem master and had the shit hit the fan, you REALLY DON'T KNOW.
if you haven't been a tandem master and had the shit hit the fan
it is the foremost duty of anyone taking passengers/students to do everything they can to ensure that the chances for shit hitting the fan are as minimal as possible.
are we as tandemmasters always ahead of the game? most of the time we are, sometimes we do not know how close we come to desaster, because either we don't see/feel it or because nobody (read vidiot) is with us to tell us later. sometimes we do everything by the book just to wake up with a pax out of hell that makes us struggle and pull out every trick we know just to stay on the safe side...
had the instructor in question made different decisions on the ground, in the plane and on exit, we would have seen just another tandem skydive with an elderly person. and that is the only thing that should count - do not let the shit get anywhere near the fan so you won't end up in situations as this one.
I am a Tandem Master, as are a great number of people who have posted on this thread. It is us - the ones who are now all in the cross hairs - who are most vocal now, and have them most to lose.
The TI in the video is a fool! A horrible incompetent fool who by some incredible stroke of pure luck has his passenger survive. He cannot take ANY credit.
If I get drunk, drive my car at 90 mph into a school and run over a kid, do I get to be a hero because I pat the kid on the head until the ambulance arrive! Of course not. This nut case has no business skydiving, much less being a TI. From moment he left the plane (actually even before...) he is a disaster. He cannot exit a plane. He is not stable for a single second. He clearly does not know how to put on a harness. He doesnt not how to arch or fall stable.
(This post was edited by billvon on May 31, 2012, 12:43 PM)
TI in question has 9k jumps, 3k tandems, and never had an issue with a student before this one
Wow, I think that makes this entire thing a lot scarier. It would be easier to understand an inexperienced instructor being this oblivious to seriousness of having the harness adjusted right, but an instructor with over 3000 tandems being this oblivious is horrible. I personally check the students harness 2 times on the ground (when I am done fitting it and prior to getting on the plane) and 3 times in the plane ( just after putting the seatbelts on, just before connecting and once just after connecting them). You can see that she is almost totally out of that harness before she ever left the plane. This entire situation is the instructors fault period.
Hey Robin this instructor may be an incredible skydiver and a hell of a guy but there is NO EXCUSE in the world for for having the harness so ill fitted that this incident could occur. This is not just a harness a little miss adjusted to to cause this outcome.
(This post was edited by billvon on May 31, 2012, 10:04 AM)
TI in question has 9k jumps, 3k tandems, more time-in-sport than you, and never had an issue with a student before this one, Mr. Holier-than-thou.
Wow, I think that makes this entire thing a lot scarier. +1
That is precisely my point. With a low-timer, it's easy to explain this away as a that-would-never-happen-to-me-because-I'd-NEVER-be-that-stupid/incompetent/oblivious/etc -- but he isn't.
He's an ace, one of the best of the best, and after almost 30 years of jumping and instructing he still ended up in a process stream that resulted in his making a chain of mistakes and misjudgments that almost killed his passenger.
And, yes, as I have said before, it is ultimately the TI's responsibility for what happened because he could have said "no" or changed the process path at several points leading up to and including the exit, but he didn't -- and that is where the focus needs to be because the tandem process path at his DZ was not substantively different than at any other big DZ that does a lot of tandems.
The scariest part of all? The process path that resulted in two fall-out-of-harness fatalities and this notorious near-miss is still in place at most large US DZs and that is being overlooked in favor of brutalizing one TI and the DZ at which it occurred.
This incident was a big wakeup call at the DZ in question and it has since adjusted its tandem process path. It should be a similar wakeup call and process path changer for every TI and big DZ that does a lot of tandems.
TI in question has 9k jumps, 3k tandems, and never had an issue with a student before this one.
This TI is in fact one of the most complete and completely competent parachutists I have known in my almost 40 years of parachuting.
And it is sobering that someone with that much experience can still fail to perform the minimum necessary for safety.
This is why I think the process of a pre-board gear check (of everyone) from someone else (maybe the battery-cart/ladder guy for biggerr places) is necessary.
(general statement, not assuming any/all of these are applicable here:) If you look at the pace many TI's jump at, throw in heat/humidity, (beer's the night before?) dehydration, exhaustion or water intoxication* all become a real possibility of hampering the instructor (or any jumper) in completing basic actions.
This incident was a big wakeup call at the DZ in question and it has since adjusted its tandem process path. It should be a similar wakeup call and process path
Care to elaborate on the details?
I'm all for fairness and not seeing things in black or white, but I'll need some more evidence to believe it wasn't the instructor's screw up. Yes, the passenger was demanding, basically squirming her way out the back of the harness during the long sequence in the door. And with a tight King Air, dealing with a refusal on the part of a student may be a little more awkward (and thus bias instructors more against it?), but I haven't tried it myself.
What exactly was up with the side connectors?
Hard to see the side connectors on the video, but when moving towards the door, even before she does the fight & squirm routine, her ass is down by his shins. If he had the side connectors tight, he'd be riding her ass. That would both physically help restrain her from squeezing out the back, and help him notice if she tried it. But even moving towards the door, she was more like some hanging military tethered bundle than two skydivers fastened together as one.
And were the leg straps really snug and well positioned at the start?
Much harder to squirm out if they aren't loose and down the leg a little to start with. It is a small concern to me that the leg straps on the Sigma harnesses pretty much bottom out when fitted to someone skinny. The harness usually seems tight enough when comfort pads are overlapped and the leg straps are FULLY tightened.
(In normal operations, instructors aren't going to go for the special alternative where the leg straps are completely unthreaded and rethreaded behind the cross pieces on the leg pads that allow "shortening" the leg pads.)
Hard to tell but the butt strap might have been reasonable positioned. I used to think the Y-strap mod was a little excessive, but when one gets really boneless no muscle tension passengers, or huge assed ones, I do worry just a little about 'the hole' in the harness, so am happy to use a Y-strap now, just as a backup.
I'll agree that it isn't the easiest to go up with a student who is relatively breakable, of slight build, squirmy, and stiff in some ways but little muscle tension in other ways. But take reasonable precautions or don't take them up.
I just don't see anything that convinces me that the instructor had the harness on snugly & properly to begin with.
(A small part of the blame will always go to the DZ too, if they generally tolerate the kind of fast and sloppy harnessing that makes it easier for passengers to fall out or helps put the pair unstable.)
(This post was edited by pchapman on May 31, 2012, 10:52 AM)
This thread is here so that people can report, discuss and learn from this incident. This thread is NOT for personal attacks on (or defenses of) friends or other posters. Such comments will be deleted and the poster banned from the forum.
Robin, What steps have been implemented? I am aware that we can all have an off day no matter how good we are.
From off-DZ.com communication, it seems Robin has been banned for a while, at least in this forum.
I don't know specifically what Lodi did to change things. Robin mounted a rather strong defense of the TI, and I made a rebuttal. While both of us agree that the TI screwed up, the point Robin was apparently trying to make is that peoples' actions are affected by their environment, so that the TI shouldn't be blamed 100%.
So someone might be a good TI in general, but if the DZ encourages speedy harnessing and less than rigorous tightening up in the airplane, to keep turnaround fast and because it hasn't caused big problems before, then the instructor may tend towards doing things that way. That becomes the norm, the local culture. (That's hypothetical - I don't know how things actually worked at Lodi.)
It is a typical human factors thing -- If a pilot screws up, he shouldn't always get all the blame, because his company might have been putting him in an environment or in a system that helped set him up to fail.
I still believe that the era of casual harnessing up should have disappeared pretty soon after all the industry publicity after the two fatalities of passengers falling out -- and that whatever the DZ norms were, the instructor should have tightened up his personal procedures.
if the DZ encourages speedy harnessing and less than rigorous tightening up in the airplane, to keep turnaround fast
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the video included time in the gear up room, and footage of the TI joking it up for the camera with the students cane on the way to the plane. Neither scene presented what I would call a 'rushed' environment.
It appeared to me as is there would have been sufficient time to follow proper procedures. I could see, prehaps, if the TI was on back-to-back loads, and the DZ had assigned another jumper to harness the student who the TI simply picked up on the way to the running AC, in that case you could blame the DZ for creating a rushed atmosphere.
In this case, it appears otherwise, and I would look more toward the TI for their lax attitude regarding properly tightened harnesses, and only partially at the DZ for not having a firm policy in place that no student gets anywhere near an AC without being 100% harnessed in a ready-to-jump configuration. The fact is that even if a DZ doesn't have such a policy in place, that in no way precludes the TI from having a personal policy in place that they will not take a student to the plane unless they are 100% ready to jump.
in no way precludes the TI from having a personal policy in place that they will not take a student to the plane unless they are 100% ready to jump.
I'll note that some things that may have been considered perfectly acceptable at many DZ's before the falling out incidents, are no longer acceptable. So the definition of "100%" changed -- and that was well before the Lodi incident.
(And good point about how the gear up appeared unhurried in this particular case.)
the point Robin was apparently trying to make is that peoples' actions are affected by their environment, so that the TI shouldn't be blamed 100%.
So someone might be a good TI in general, but if the DZ encourages speedy harnessing and less than rigorous tightening up in the airplane, to keep turnaround fast and because it hasn't caused big problems before, then the instructor may tend towards doing things that way. That becomes the norm, the local culture. (That's hypothetical - I don't know how things actually worked at Lodi I do not buy this as a valid argument. How long does it take to gear up a student with less than perfect harness job? How long does it take to adjust the harness correctly? My estimate is about the same time or just 1 minute more for the later one. Once an instructor has been around for awhile and with 3000 tandems I would hope he could gear one up quickly and well. Now lets even follow this down to a turn in the field (which this one is not) it only adds about a minute or two to look over a preharnessed student to see if it is adjusted close enough or make a few minor adjustments. Also you have the plane flight time which should be used to check and recheck the harness fit or at least in my book. Bottom line there is no acceptable excuse for what happened.
(This post was edited by TheCaptain on Jun 1, 2012, 10:42 AM)