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Close call at Perris - canopy collision

 

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Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Mar 26, 2006, 8:25 PM
Post #1 of 28 (3935 views)
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Close call at Perris - canopy collision Can't Post

Had a close call at Perris today, and I thought I would post it so other people could learn from it. (It was fortunately not a serious incident, and there were no injuries, so I put it here rather than in Incidents.)

A jumper (I'll call her jumper L, for the left side jumper) was on final for the grass next to jumper R (on the right.) They were roughly the same wingloading. She tried a few times to float up on R or drop below him so they weren't side by side, but as Murphy would have it he did the same things by chance. (She saw him; he didn't see her.) So she aimed for the far left side of the grass while he went for the right.

At about 100 feet he decided the grass was too crowded. He turned left, directly in front of her. She went into deep brakes to try to pop above him and almost succeeded. She impacted the top of his canopy and got wrapped up for a moment. She kept flying her canopy (which was still clear of the lower jumper) and it lifted her up and away from R's canopy. As she cleared the canopy, his bridle caught her across the chest, cutting a slit in her jumpsuit and melting some trim on her rig.

During this time she was yelling, but jumper R said he never heard her.

Both were able to recover, and they landed without further incident. The cut did not extend through her other layers of clothing, and her rig was not seriously damaged.

Some lessons here:

1. Always be aware of what's going on alongside, behind and above you, not just in front of you. This is especially true when you are turning or doing something unusual with other jumpers around.

2. Try to fly a predictable pattern. I've been on a lot of 100+ ways where dozens of people are landing in the same small area, and they can be done safely only when everyone knows (and follows) one pattern.

3. Make decisions high. At Perris especially, the grass can sometimes be crowded. It's often safer to land out - but that decision has to be made at 1000 feet, not at 100 when you are on final.

4. Keep flying the canopy no matter what. Had jumper L stopped flying her canopy, and dropped the toggles to bat at the fabric around her, the canopy would have dropped and surged forward - and that might just have made the situation much worse.

5. Expect the unexpected from other jumpers. In driver's ed they taught us to watch the other driver's front wheel and his head; that often tells you what's going to happen next. In skydiving I often watch the other jumper's eyes, his toggles and his body. They can sometimes give a clue as to what they are going to do next. (People often 'lean' in the direction they want to go next.)

6. Full face helmets can prevent meaninful communication under canopy. It can be a mistake to rely on yelling to get other people's atterntion.


(This post was edited by billvon on Mar 26, 2006, 8:27 PM)


itllclear  (D 6366)

Mar 26, 2006, 9:54 PM
Post #2 of 28 (3845 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Make decisions high. At Perris especially, the grass can sometimes be crowded. It's often safer to land out - but that decision has to be made at 1000 feet, not at 100 when you are on final.

We've had this discussion before..."Harry, why did you land all the way out there? Hardly anyone else did." Your second sentence answered your question! At a crowded DZ, my main goal is to land as far away from other canopies as I can!

No matter how hard you try, you will have a blind spot. The other jumpers will have a blind spot. Unless it's absolutely necessary to land in a crowded area, why do it?

Strictly enforced patterns can reduce the chance of a problem, but if a jumper feels like he's being forced into a bad situation, he may do something to get out of it. If that upsets the pattern....

When we demos into tight areas, we usually brief landing patterns and outs. We don't always do that on "routine" loads at the DZ and complacency sets in.

It takes two to have a collision. If you land in a less crowded area, you reduce the chances.

Is keeping dirt off your gear worth the possible price? That's your decision to make!!!!


lewmonst  (D 24575)

Mar 27, 2006, 12:33 AM
Post #3 of 28 (3796 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

All that Bill said, and I'd like to add specifically: Look before you turn

A seperate near miss: A foreign jumper with app. 150 jumps got in the middle of traffic of a 9way and 5way with much more experience. All 14 other jumpers were joining in the downwind or crosswind leg of the pattern. This jumper was a little high trying to enter the pattern and could decide where to go, at about 700 feet did a turn left, almost hit someone so (while still looking left) he did a hard turn right and almost hit me but I was anticipating all this and already avoiding him. He still never saw me and never realized it. He didn't understand the landing pattern either. One more thing, he was a solo following these groups out, no reason he should be landing at the same time, but he kept spiraling down after opening, racing to get down. Please don't race down into traffic.

Peace
Karen Lewis


Yossarian  (C 105227)

Mar 27, 2006, 2:13 AM
Post #4 of 28 (3759 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

how did the bridle melt bits of her rig? was it friction between the bridle and her? ive heard of lines and canopy heating up in flight through friction with the air but not the bridle. i possibly misunderstood the original comment though...


Icon134  (D 29820)

Mar 27, 2006, 4:37 AM
Post #5 of 28 (3694 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

I once had someone just in front and below me gradually drift across the landing area as we were on final approach. I squeaked by just after he landed along the edge of the field (which was adjecent to trees Shocked) I passed about 10-15 feet from his canopy.

After landing he was approached and it turns out the reason he was gradually drifting to the right is because he wanted to avoid the "target" as it was too crowded.

Had I known this I would have stayed to his left (instead of right) and wouldn't have had a problem...

we were also both ok... but it was unnerving... it is very important to know who is in the sky around you under canopy.


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
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Mar 27, 2006, 5:16 AM
Post #6 of 28 (3662 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

Did she stay in deep brakes throughout the whole ordeal until she cleared his canopy?


tkhayes  (D 18764)

Mar 27, 2006, 6:33 AM
Post #7 of 28 (3593 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

a great story and scenario to learn from - it happens all too often and the moment between life and death can be a second and shit-ass luck.

I have always said, "if pilot's flew airplanes the way we fly parachutes, they would take their license away for life..."

we are learning canopy control and finally starting to teach it, now we need the next step of patterns, priorities and right-of-way and it needs to be taught and in some cases enforced, especially in smaller and tight landing areas.

A good example for those who are reluctant to ask for help with canopy stuff for fear of being labelled as a 'canopy geek' or inexperienced. No one wants to look bad so I alwayys reassure them that we do not teach these skills because you are lacking - we teach these skills because someday some idiot is going to cut you off at 50' and you will need to know how to react, rather than just yank a toggle.

TK


MakeItHappen

Mar 27, 2006, 8:45 AM
Post #8 of 28 (3513 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad no one was hurt.

So they were landing to the south, right?

What was the experience level of these two jumpers?

Why couldn't the L jumper turn left too?
Was L dead-set on landing in the grass?

It takes two for a collision, but only one to avoid it.

In reply to:
She tried a few times to float up on R or drop below him so they weren't side by side, but as Murphy would have it he did the same things by chance. (She saw him; he didn't see her.) So she aimed for the far left side of the grass while he went for the right.

If L was observing R, then L could have watched R's actions and floated or dropped or changed trajectory path.
You have to divide attention between traffic and the actual landing.

Side by side landings are possible, even 3 across at Perris. You do need people to take a track strictly north or south.

In reply to:
Full face helmets can prevent meaninful communication under canopy. It can be a mistake to rely on yelling to get other people's atterntion.

Scissor kicks can be used to communicate, except with the blind jumpers (all two of them). The technique is to look over at someone, kick your legs to say 'I see you'. The other jumper kicks backs to say 'I see you too'. If the other jumper does not respond, then assume they do not see you and take evasive maneuvers.

Another lesson is that you can violate the 'must land in such-n-such' direction rule if a canopy collision is imminent. IOW, 'land safely' overrides 'land in this direction'.

I've broken this rule at Perris and Eloy to avoid collisions. You do have to check your flight path to make sure you do not crash into someone else. You do have to make flat-shashay type turns, no crank toggle or riser turns.
I have posted about two of these near collisions.
Collisions Avoided
I do make reference to the other one here.

.


(This post was edited by MakeItHappen on Mar 27, 2006, 8:47 AM)


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Mar 27, 2006, 9:15 AM
Post #9 of 28 (3482 views)
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Re: [Yossarian] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

Several answers here:

>how did the bridle melt bits of her rig? was it friction between the bridle and her?

Yes. I have found that friction burns are common during such collisions. I had someone wing me on the 357 way. Our closing speed was about 30mph, and he left a burn mark across the top of my rig. You can do the same thing on the ground by pulling a suspension line very quickly (and with a lot of loading) across a piece of nylon.

Fortunately in this case they were not serious.

>Did she stay in deep brakes throughout the whole ordeal until she cleared his canopy?

I don't know how deep. All she said was that she flared before and during the collision.

>So they were landing to the south, right? What was the experience level of these two jumpers?

Yes. Both were quite experienced, and had done large formations (100+ ways) within the past year.

>Why couldn't the L jumper turn left too?

Not enough time to react.

>Was L dead-set on landing in the grass?

I don't know. I doubt it.


MakeItHappen

Mar 27, 2006, 11:24 AM
Post #10 of 28 (3376 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
>So they were landing to the south, right? What was the experience level of these two jumpers?

Yes. Both were quite experienced, and had done large formations (100+ ways) within the past year.

>Why couldn't the L jumper turn left too?

Not enough time to react.

>Was L dead-set on landing in the grass?

I don't know. I doubt it.

Well, this does not give me 'warm and fuzzy' feelings about jumper R. Hopefully, he did get a good talking to and will not ever do it again.

I can certainly empathize with jumper L. It reminds me of my auto collision at the beginning of this year. Try everything you can to avoid the collision, but sometimes there is not enough space/time to get out of the way.

Do you know what type of turn R executed at 100 ft?

.


HydroGuy

Mar 27, 2006, 2:55 PM
Post #11 of 28 (3236 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

I witnessed this near incident yesterday...very close call.

Might be a good time to bring up the three runway crossing incidents to take place this week...an aborted Otter takeoff, an aborted Skyvan landing, and a damaged Otter hydraulic pump due to slamming on the brakes.


ZigZagMarquis

Mar 27, 2006, 4:46 PM
Post #12 of 28 (3182 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

Bill, great post and thanks for the info and discussions that followed. I don't get to Perris very often and I'm not knockin' Perris mind you, but the more I hear when not there and see during the few times I am there, I'm surprised there are not more serious problems in the landing pattern there on the "grass". I pretty much make up my mind that I'm going to land "out" at Perris before I get on the plane... again, not knockin' Perris... just trying to be that "one" that avoids a collision... I've got 2 minor ones in my log book, don't want anymore!

Anyway, if I'm remembering my directions correctly at Perris... do they still have the ditch (swoop pond) East (?) of the grass (opposite side of the grass from the runway -- towards 215)? Maybe if they filled that in, folks wouldn't feel so penned in when landing on the grass (i.e. penned in between the runway and ditch) and have a bit more of an "out" in that direction? Anyway, maybe they've already done this?? ... and don't they have a seperate swoop pond out somewhere else anyways?? Maybe it would help, maybe it wouldn't, maybe it would just encourage folks to land across the grass... which I thought was a "no - no"... isn't it North or South landings only on the grass / first person down sets the direction?? Anyway, I digress...
Blush


(This post was edited by ZigZagMarquis on Mar 27, 2006, 4:47 PM)


MB38  (A 48618)

Mar 27, 2006, 5:15 PM
Post #13 of 28 (3168 views)
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Re: [ZigZagMarquis] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's an overhead view of Perris as it stands today. The green area just off of the runway is the main landing area, the circle is the student landing area and the diamond near the middle is the swoop pond.
Attachments: perris.jpg (106 KB)


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Mar 27, 2006, 7:08 PM
Post #14 of 28 (3120 views)
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Re: [] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

Elsinore makes for a funny contrast. Some loads you have lots of people opting to avoid the main grass landing field. Unfortunately, they may all opt for the same nearest portion of the 'student' field instead, making the orginal target more optimal at times for me. Or staying further out.


itllclear  (D 6366)

Mar 27, 2006, 8:41 PM
Post #15 of 28 (3078 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
>Was L dead-set on landing in the grass?

I don't know. I doubt it.

"dead-set" almost turned into a bad choice of words.

"Very inclined" might be a better choice. The answer to that was very likely yes.

It might be constructive if they both decided to post their versions of what happened here.


diablopilot  (D License)

Mar 27, 2006, 10:28 PM
Post #16 of 28 (3052 views)
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Re: [ZigZagMarquis] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
do they still have the ditch (swoop pond) East (?) of the grass


It's been filled in for about 5 years.


piisfish

Mar 27, 2006, 11:29 PM
Post #17 of 28 (3029 views)
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Re: [MB38] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

maybe Perris needs more grass. How I felt peoples mentalities (mind you, I only stayed 3 days there...), is if they land oud of the grass they will be muddy/dirty... The same that with 15-20 degrees Celcius, for many it was FREEEEEZIIIING... Unimpressed I liked Perris, A LOT, but it seems to me that a big part of the "population" are "citizens"


ZigZagMarquis

Mar 28, 2006, 7:18 AM
Post #18 of 28 (2933 views)
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Re: [diablopilot] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

Crazy

Wow! Has it been that long since I've been to Perris... Blush... yeah, guess its been either the Rumbleseat 2000 Boogie or when we did the Coral-Ways (Jump For the Cause 200?)... I need to get out more... Frown


(This post was edited by ZigZagMarquis on Mar 28, 2006, 7:22 AM)


jwynne  (D License)

Mar 28, 2006, 9:38 PM
Post #19 of 28 (2757 views)
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Re: [billvon] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

In Bill's version, I was jumper L. I had been watching jumper R on my crosswind and base. We were at about the same altitude and I was unsuccessful at changing this. I turned on to final, deliberately taking he far left side of the grass, expecting jumper R to take the right side of the grass. When he turned left across my final approach, he was not far away. I made a split second decision and responded with deep brakes. I stayed in deep brakes until I was clear of his canopy. It worked, were both OK. The other thing I could of done would be to make a sharp left turn, not knowing what I was turning into.

I know that any canopy collision requires two people. In retrospect, what I should have done, was earlier on, realize that I had not gotten clear recognition from jumper R. I had been watching him, but I wasnt really sure that he had seen me. I should have seen the possibility of a traffic conflict and made the decision to head for a landing off the grass earlier on. I used to mostly land off the grass on any crowded load. Currently I cant run out no wind landings and it does make me reluctant to slide in landings in the dirt. I think I need to let go of this. Rolling in the dirt is much better than a canopy collision.


kallend  (D 23151)

Mar 29, 2006, 9:05 AM
Post #20 of 28 (2667 views)
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Re: [MakeItHappen] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Scissor kicks can be used to communicate, except with the blind jumpers (all two of them). The technique is to look over at someone, kick your legs to say 'I see you'. The other jumper kicks backs to say 'I see you too'. If the other jumper does not respond, then assume they do not see you and take evasive maneuvers.
.

Is this widely disseminated information? I use the scissor kick for this purpose, but at least half the time I get no response even if I'm pretty sure the other jumper is looking my way and sees me.


MB38  (A 48618)

Mar 29, 2006, 2:03 PM
Post #21 of 28 (2615 views)
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Re: [kallend] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

I was flying fairly relative to an instructor of mine who was flying video for a tandem over Perris last week. I looked over and saw him kicking away. I thought "well that's funny, maybe he's just geeking their video" and kicked back. How widespread is kicking as a form of under-canopy communication?


hottamaly  (D 15263)

Mar 29, 2006, 2:29 PM
Post #22 of 28 (2604 views)
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Re: [MB38] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know about everyone across the country but I do use the kicking method of letting folks around me know I am looking at them.


labrys  (D 29848)

Mar 29, 2006, 2:55 PM
Post #23 of 28 (2594 views)
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Re: [kallend] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

I was taught this during my student training.


pBASEtobe

Mar 31, 2006, 5:09 PM
Post #24 of 28 (2454 views)
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Re: [jwynne] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Currently I cant run out no wind landings....

Seriously, I'm not trying to be an ass here, but shouldn't you be jumping a larger canopy then?


ltdiver  (D 20506)

Apr 1, 2006, 12:47 PM
Post #25 of 28 (2388 views)
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Re: [hottamaly] Close call at Perris - canopy collision [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I don't know about everyone across the country but I do use the kicking method of letting folks around me know I am looking at them.

Ditto.

I taught my students this, and continue to use it myself. I find that the ones that -may- not know about it are the visiting foreigners that come to Perris. However, those teams have pocket rockets and are usually down -way- before me anyway....Tongue

ltdiver


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