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injury at skydive orange

 

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Chrisjumps

Aug 22, 2011, 10:00 PM
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injury at skydive orange Can't Post

i watched my friends do a tandem skydive Smile this weekend and one jump was seriously injured. i was wondering if anyone had anymore info on the person.


(This post was edited by Chrisjumps on Aug 22, 2011, 10:02 PM)


bfilak23  (C 38818)

Aug 23, 2011, 5:59 AM
Post #2 of 37 (4151 views)
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Re: [Chrisjumps] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

broken right femur, wrists, ankles, few ribs, and secrum. Thankfully no head, neck, back, or organ injuries. He's doing OK, and is expected to fully recover.


CornishChris  (C 102981)

Aug 23, 2011, 7:40 AM
Post #3 of 37 (3993 views)
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Re: [bfilak23] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

How did the person achieve such massive injuries?


elreynoldo

Aug 23, 2011, 7:47 AM
Post #4 of 37 (3976 views)
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Re: [CornishChris] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to clarify, injury was not to a tandem student but to a fun jumper.


Premier Remster  (C License)

Aug 23, 2011, 7:47 AM
Post #5 of 37 (3975 views)
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Re: [CornishChris] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
How did the person achieve such massive injuries?

Hitting a massive round ball of dirt hard enough will do it....


bfilak23  (C 38818)

Aug 23, 2011, 7:54 AM
Post #6 of 37 (3962 views)
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Re: [Remster] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

Disclaimer, i was there but did not see it, but this was the consensus from witnesses

Flat turn in deep brakes to get into the wind at a low altitude, i say low because not sure of exactly how low (heard several different #s). During the turn the canopy stalled and collapsed, there was very little wind. Jumper returned toggles to full flight and when the canopy re-inflated it dove straight down to the ground without time to recover. Jumper flies a Katana, i believe a 107.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 23, 2011, 7:55 AM
Post #7 of 37 (3959 views)
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Re: [CornishChris] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
How did the person achieve such massive injuries?

The obvious question, and the omission of that detail is interesting for sure.

I'm voting low turn, maybe swoop, maybe not. First point of contact at the knee, femur snaps. Next point of conact is the wrists due to outstreched hands in a attempt to break the fall, broken wrists. Next point of contact is the torso, breaking the ribs.

Just a guess, though.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 23, 2011, 8:28 AM
Post #8 of 37 (3895 views)
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Re: [bfilak23] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Flat turn in deep brakes to get into the wind at a low altitude, i say low because not sure of exactly how low (heard several different #s). During the turn the canopy stalled and collapsed, there was very little wind. Jumper returned toggles to full flight and when the canopy re-inflated it dove straight down to the ground without time to recover. Jumper flies a Katana, i believe a 107.

That doesn't make sense. Those are rookie mistakes, and a Katana 107 is an expert level canopy.

Flat turn to get into the wind at a low altitude? OK, I could see that. Canopy stalls and collapses in the turn, has time to recover and dive into the ground? What happened to the low altitude? If you have time to recover from the stall, you weren't that low.

Flat turn to get into the wind, but there was very little wind? Why not just take the downwinder?

I trust your report 100%, as that's what you heard. It doesn't make sense, unless the jumper was in over their head in terms of the canopy and WL.


DougH  (D License)

Aug 23, 2011, 8:32 AM
Post #9 of 37 (3886 views)
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Re: [bfilak23] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

Was the canopy in the close vicinity to canopies that landed just earlier? I am wondering if the jumper flew threw the turbulence from a canopy flying ahead.

I have more jumps on my Mamba than a Katana, but the ones that I flew had a predictable stall point. You really would have to be deep in the brakes to stall it.

I spend a good deal of the time after opening in deep deep brakes when I am shooting camera for RW groups. It helps me spread out the pattern, and it gives me a ton of experince with how my canopy handles in deep brakes.

Stall recovery practice isn't a bad idea either. I know a lot of people don't like to play with a high performance canopy in this way. I have saved it for days when the uppers were low and would let me spot for a chop.


bfilak23  (C 38818)

Aug 23, 2011, 8:51 AM
Post #10 of 37 (3847 views)
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Re: [davelepka] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
Flat turn to get into the wind at a low altitude? OK, I could see that. Canopy stalls and collapses in the turn, has time to recover and dive into the ground? What happened to the low altitude? If you have time to recover from the stall, you weren't that low.

Flat turn to get into the wind, but there was very little wind? Why not just take the downwinder?

I trust your report 100%, as that's what you heard. It doesn't make sense, unless the jumper was in over their head in terms of the canopy and WL.

I stand by my overall account of the incident. But your comments do make me feel some word choices could be misleading. Since i'm unsure of how much the canopy re-inflated, how long it collapsed for, what angle it hit the ground, and exact altitudes things happened.

As for your questions, i'd really have to speculate and i'd prefer not to do that, only the jumper knows why he did that. And i don't have the experience (or any) with HP canopies to discuss stall points, recovery, etc.

Also heard jumper hit the ground back first. But i'm not sure or understand how that happened, and not sure if that detail changes how you see it.


(This post was edited by bfilak23 on Aug 23, 2011, 9:07 AM)


marks2065  (D 18925)

Aug 23, 2011, 10:30 AM
Post #11 of 37 (3670 views)
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Re: [bfilak23] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Quote:
Flat turn to get into the wind at a low altitude? OK, I could see that. Canopy stalls and collapses in the turn, has time to recover and dive into the ground? What happened to the low altitude? If you have time to recover from the stall, you weren't that low.

Flat turn to get into the wind, but there was very little wind? Why not just take the downwinder?

I trust your report 100%, as that's what you heard. It doesn't make sense, unless the jumper was in over their head in terms of the canopy and WL.

I stand by my overall account of the incident. But your comments do make me feel some word choices could be misleading. Since i'm unsure of how much the canopy re-inflated, how long it collapsed for, what angle it hit the ground, and exact altitudes things happened.

As for your questions, i'd really have to speculate and i'd prefer not to do that, only the jumper knows why he did that. And i don't have the experience (or any) with HP canopies to discuss stall points, recovery, etc.

Also heard jumper hit the ground back first. But i'm not sure or understand how that happened, and not sure if that detail changes how you see it.

The katana 107 is a ground hungry canopy and should not be jumped by a low # jumper. this is not a canopy you should jump if you have long spots. When I get a long spot I look for my outs early, sometimes when I peak at the ground in freefall. I have had mine collapse but only in turbulance. With a low wind day a downwind would be best if caught low from a long spot. this canopy flares nice and a downwind would be much better.


dks13827  (C 9293)

Aug 23, 2011, 10:43 AM
Post #12 of 37 (3645 views)
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Re: [bfilak23] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

What happened to smooth stall recovery lessons ( and knowledge ) !! I find this astounding, like running a red light on purpose. Sorry.


gweeks  (D 27352)

Aug 23, 2011, 10:54 AM
Post #13 of 37 (3622 views)
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Re: [dks13827] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
What happened to smooth stall recovery lessons ( and knowledge ) !! I find this astounding, like running a red light on purpose. Sorry.

Practicing stalls is a good and valuable exercise for docile canopies but PD themselves have recommended not trying it on a Katana. From http://www.performancedesigns.com/...tCharacteristics.pdf:

Quote:
Stall Characteristics: As we mentioned earlier, the Katana has a relatively long control range. The toggle and rear riser stall points are both fairly deep, and the canopy can reach a low airspeed before stalling. If you are familiar with the stall characteristics of other zero-p main canopies, you will find that the Katana gives a fair amount of warning before entering a full stall. Compared to a Stiletto, it is easier to keep the Katana on heading as you approach the stall point, recover from a rear riser stall, or recover from an imminent toggle stall. In spite of this fact, we do not recommend allowing the Katana to enter a full toggle stall. Performing a full toggle stall with any “elliptical” canopy is likely to result in line twists, closed end cells, slack lines, or an uncontrolled diving turn. It is usually easier to maintain your heading during a rear riser stall, even on an “elliptical” canopy, although a rear riser stall will normally occur at a higher airspeed. Toggle stalls and rear riser stalls generally become more radical as canopy size decreases or wing loading increases, making it more likely that an unrecoverable situation will occur.
Emphasis added.


DaVinciflies

Aug 23, 2011, 11:09 AM
Post #14 of 37 (3608 views)
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Re: [bfilak23] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Also heard jumper hit the ground back first. But i'm not sure or understand how that happened, and not sure if that detail changes how you see it.

If there was a stall and the jumper hit back first, the sounds like it was NOT recovered, but that he hit in a stall as the canopy rocked back.

Hard to say on this sketchy info but I am just venturing an alternative to the abrupt recovery theory.


SimonBones  (D 28573)

Aug 23, 2011, 11:51 AM
Post #15 of 37 (3564 views)
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Re: injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

I was a first hand witness of the incident. I was the closest jumper to the impact and first to arrive to my injured friend.

My first hand account:

We were jumping as a freefly group doing some head down formations warming up for a state record attempt. I believe this was the third jump of the day for our group and was the first declared attempt for a state head down record. It was a 13 way and Ahmed was in the base of the formation. He had expressed to someone earlier that he was nervous about the jump.

Not long into the jump, he was flying somewhat stiff and tense and corked out into the middle of the formation, but did his best to stay with the formation. Break off and deployments went normal for everyone. The spot was great and we all opened up over the dropzone. This dropzone has seperate landing areas for different groups, I believe I landed first (in the D license area anyway). The standard landing pattern for all landing areas was a right hand pattern limited to 90 degree turns and landing to the west.

After landing I was facing North in the middle of the field with a good visual on everyone still coming in on their right hand patterns. I took my helmet off and looked over to my right. At that moment I saw Ahmad close to 10 feet above the ground with both toggles full extended downward towards his crotch and a completely stalled canopy. I don't know at what altitude the canopy first stalled but it looked as if he were landing a streamer. He impacted extremely hard feet first on his right side in what appeared to be a pretty textbook PLF position. He was descending so incredibly fast he impacted like a sack of bricks and I could feel the impact in my feet 15-20 feet away. He laid in the fetal position on his right side.

I did not see him in the right hand landing pattern in front of me and he landed behind where I was standing. From this I concluded he came in on a left hand pattern attempting to land to the West like everyone else. This was later confirmed by video from a jumper still higher in the air in the right hand pattern into the D license area.

He was not unconscious when I got to him, though he was very glazed over, very confused, in a tremendous amount of pain, and not entirely all home. He was attempting to flail his arms and thrash his head around in confusion. I grabbed his hands and tried to get him to keep completely still, stay calm, and breathe normally. I took his helmet off after he said he had no problems with his neck to help him breathe better as his helmet was making it difficult for him. At the time he complained of only lower back pain even though his hands and wrists were bloody. Given the list of injuries to follow, I imagine he had a lot of adrenaline and shock making it difficult for him to identify what else was injured. Shortly after, jumpers with proper medical training and equipment showed up and I back away as I have no real medical training myself.

Ahmed was in fact jumping a Katana 107 and has over 1000 jumps. I would estimate his weight to be about 165lbs. Therefor I would estimate his wing loading to be roughly 1.68 psf. I have heard conflicting details about canopy history and currency so I will not post anything or comment about his canopy experience.

Second hand account from a jumper to the North of me further up the landing area who saw a little behind me:

Ahmed was on his downwind leg of a left hand pattern over the taxi way trying to make it into the D license landing area fairly low to be on a downwind leg and in deep breaks. He attempted to make a very deep breaked 180 turn to land to the west. Just over 90 degress into the turn the canopy stalled. The jumper could not comment on the altitude because of his line of vision from the bottom of the hill.

My guess and speculation:

From my hazy memory of tracking directions and general opening locations of people in our group, I believe Ahmed had a good or better opportunity to land in the landing areas designated for general and/or less experienced jumpers. I assume he wanted to or preferred to land in the D license area and flew passed the other landing areas to get to it. I'm not sure at all why he approached in a way to put him into a left hand pattern, maybe traffic and approach angle influenced that decision but it would appear to me as though that would have been the longer way around to be landing to the West. Since this was not the first jump of the day for out group, I assume he knew that right hand was the default landing pattern.

Perhaps he was not thinking clearly and was still juiced from the skydive, it having been a declared state record attempt and having corked from the base.

I think he realized how low he actually was while attempting to make the flat turn and tried to stab out from an already deep breaked turning position which started the complete stall. He made no attempt to lift up the toggles and re-inflate the canopy and simply assumed the PLF position.

From this I would hope that people take away the following:

1) After the freefall portion of your skydive is over, it is over. Once it is canopy time, you must switch gears entirely and worry about getting back on the ground safely and not what happened on the skydive. There is plenty of time for that after you've landed.

2) Do not sacrifice a safer landing area opportunity in order to land in a personally preferable (for whatever reason) landing area if you have to sacrifice significant altitude, deviate from the landing pattern, or make deep flat turns in order to get there.

He broke a bunch of stuff and probably won't walk for quite some time. I think he'll have a very long time for reflection and I'm sure he has learned some valuable lessons as he is lucky to be alive. With that said, go easy on him and stay safe out there.


wildcard451  (D License)

Aug 23, 2011, 12:19 PM
Post #16 of 37 (3510 views)
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Re: [SimonBones] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

What Simon said. Ahmed had immediate medical attention from onsite MDs, RN, and medics. He was transported by helicopter due to the nature of his injuries.

/I heard multiple versions of the story when I began asking later on, including but not limited to:
1) Braked turn to a collapse
2) Low turn to bail on toggles and collapse
3) Low braked turn to full flight with no time to recover and stall on toggle input.

I'm still not sure which version was the right one, as each party was quite sure of what they saw.

Any way you look at it he hit the ground quite hard and has a long recovery ahead of him. I am thankful that there are no immediate permanent head/spinal injuries.


fencebuster  (D 29918)

Aug 24, 2011, 3:04 AM
Post #17 of 37 (3104 views)
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Re: [davelepka] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

I was a percipient witness and I am the SOI club President. The report is essentially correct. Jumper was in medium to deep brakes trying to turn into the wind. He was turning left in a right traffic landing area. In the turn, the canopy stalled and started to collapse. Altitude was approximately 100 feet when the stall occurred. The jumper tried to recover, and I believe he did try to flare before impact because he impacted on his feet and then his back. He hit the ground very hard with the injuries previously described and was airlifted to UVA medical center. We are extremely fortunate to have regular Orange jumpers who are MDs who were on the scene seconds after impact. They were assisted by qualified EMT and at least one nurse. (Thanks you to our first responders!) The canopy was a Katana; I don't know the size, although 107 sounds about right. Jumper had been warned about low turns by the DZ manager prior to the accident jump. Despite the injuries, this jumper was very lucky. It could have been much worse. Our entire DZ wishes the jumper a speedy recovery.


(This post was edited by fencebuster on Aug 24, 2011, 3:11 AM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 24, 2011, 5:20 AM
Post #18 of 37 (3032 views)
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Re: [fencebuster] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I was a percipient witness and I am the SOI club President. The report is essentially correct. Jumper was in medium to deep brakes trying to turn into the wind. He was turning left in a right traffic landing area. In the turn, the canopy stalled and started to collapse. Altitude was approximately 100 feet when the stall occurred. The jumper tried to recover, and I believe he did try to flare before impact because he impacted on his feet and then his back.

From the description of the impact, two scenarios could have happened after the stall.

The first is that the jumper recovered too abruptly by raising the toggle too much, too soon. The result would be a forward surge follwed by a dive. During the dive, the canopy would be slow to respond to input, such as an attempt to flare, and the jumper impacted the ground while swinging forward under the wing, but before he was far enough forward to enact any real pitching up of the wing.

The second is that the stall recovery was more controlled, and the jumper impacted the ground just after the stall with no forward surge or dive. However, there is a peiod of time post-stall, where the jumper has swung back under the wing, but there is still a very high descent rate as a leftover result of the stall.

In either case, the jumper would impact feet first, and this is the preferable situation if you find youself in a similar position. In this case, the broken femur absorbed a huge amouint of energy, and kept that energy from doing damage to the head/neck/spine or internal organs.

As to the cause of the accident, or anything to learn from it, it all comes back to basic airmanship and sound decision making.

Good decision making should always come first, and is the best way to avoid these situations all together. You should always have a plan as to where you intend to land, and how you intend to get there well before you need to do either one. Before you board the plane, you should have a flight plan already established, to include your landing pattern and it's related altitudes, and exactly where you intend to land. If you should open up and discover that you cannot reach that LZ, then you need to establicha new plan immediately, again, including a proper landing pattern, and follow that plan. If you can look back on a canopy flight, and you did not already know where you were going and what you were planning to do at least 1000ft before you did it, you have made a mistake and need to do better on the next jump. This excludes the actions of spectators or other jumpers creating traffic problems, which brings us to the next point, airmanship.

Basic airmanship, otherwise known as proper operation of the canopy, is key to being a succesful canopy pilot. In this case, being more familiar with your parachute, and it's stall characteristics both in level flight and through turns would have prevented this incident. No parachute, regardless of the size, will stall without warning, and the only way to learn what those warnings are and how to recognize them is practice. Consult a local canopy coach (or equivilant) for a dive flow and tips on practicing stalls and stall recovery.

The other topic of relevance is flat turns. Not needing to land into the wind is also of relevance, but in my opinion that falls under the heading of good decision making in terms of planning ahead and not having to make a last minute choice.

Back to flat turns, the idea is to make a turn with the least amount of altitude loss, and if you have planned correctly, flat turns should only be needed in emergency situations. The risk in flat turns is that the parachute will stall mid-turn, as we see in this case.

With any wing, the stall speed goes up when you introduce any bank angle. So a wing that will stall at 10 knots in level flight will stall at 15 knots in a 30 degree bank. So if you are flying along at 15 kntos, comfortable above the stall speed, and you roll into a turn, you're going to be much closer to a stall while in the turn.

With this in mind, and remembering that a flat turn is for emergency situations only, the goal of a flat turn should be to complete the turn with the least amount of bank angle needed to put you on your desired heading before touchdown. For example, if the flattest turn you can make results in a 180 degree turn in, say, 50 ft, and you encoutner the need to make a flat turn at 75ft, simply do not make the flattest turn you can. Make a more gentle flat turn with less toggle input and keep a bigger margin between you and the stall. The goal should be to roll out of the turn just as you are approaching the ground, and if you roll out higher than that, you turned too fast with too deep of a toggle position.

The stall speeds of a canopy are not always consistant, especially close to the ground. Increasing or decreasing wind speeds and turbulence from objects in the area can effect the airspeed (and stall speed) of a canopy, so any manuver where you are getting close to the stall speed near the ground is simply very poor airmanship.

Pilots have a saying, 'Airspeed not altitude', and this refers to the need for airspeed more than altitude. If you ever notice a jump pilot who seems to use the entire runway when he might have been able to get ariborne sooner, he's trading airspeed for altitude. Forcing the airplane off the ground earlier, but with lower airspeed (closer to the stall speed) is the wrong idea, while keeping it planted as you build speed (and the buffer between you and the stall) only to break ground at the end of the runway is the right idea. In that case, the airplane will take flight with good airspeed (which boosts control authority) and a good margin above the stall.

Flying your canopy should be no different. Stall recovery takes altitude, and when you get so low that you do not have the altitude to recover and make an injury free landing you need to be very aware of your airspeed and what effects your inputs will have on the stall speed (remember that bank angle increases the stall speed).


(This post was edited by davelepka on Aug 24, 2011, 5:22 AM)










YISkyDive  (D License)

Aug 24, 2011, 10:22 AM
Post #23 of 37 (2754 views)
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Re: [Chrisjumps] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

A couple of important questions, comments (sorry if I missed any of these points):

- Was he within 200ft of another canopy's flight path?
- How many jumps did the individual have (I may have missed this)
- Can we confirm what altitude this turn was started?

I'm having a hard time understanding the situation - most notably that the initial stall happened at around 100ft. A flat turn / break turn can be executed even lower on that canopy and in the event it could not be completed I presume the pilot could have let the landing finish crosswind.

May turbulence be partially to blame? Slow speed flight on an elliptical canopy especially 100 and sub 100 HP canopies is downright scary. If a canopy flew lower than him and he caught its wake turbulence during his turn (especially a larger canopy) then a collapse in a slow flight configuration would almost be imminent. I've seen it happen at altitude during flocking. It's ugly.

Possibly the pilot entered the turn at an already reduced airspeed and continued to try to slow down their decent rate further? It's important to note, and I'm sure Dave did, that increasing the bank angle during a slow speed configuration will increase the stall speed of a wing. Recovery or getting out of such a situation is very important - aborting the turn and returning your toggles at a quick but moderate pace to half breaks and then full flight would allow the wing to recover in time for a flare. If you don't have the altitude to get your toggles all the way back to full flight just start your flare from wherever you get your toggles too. Most canopies can be landed from half brakes safely.

Anyone flying a Katana, Xf2, Velo or other HP canopy should be able to conduct a flare turn (carve) on the deck from normal airspeed. You can buy yourself up to 30 degrees of direction change during your flare assuming you know how to carve. If you want to fly a sub 100 parachute this is a skill to know because in an off-field landing you may need a runway to land and if your golden piece of runway curves then you may need to react - safely.


danornan  (D 11308)

Aug 24, 2011, 11:34 AM
Post #24 of 37 (2687 views)
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Re: [YISkyDive] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe I missed something, but it sounds like the jumper was too focused on landing into the wind. Were the winds unusually high or could he have been avoiding someone or an obstacle?

Too many times people feel the need to land into the wind at all costs. I've watched several die needlessly doing this.


SimonBones  (D 28573)

Aug 24, 2011, 1:10 PM
Post #25 of 37 (2621 views)
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Re: [YISkyDive] injury at skydive orange [In reply to] Can't Post

Winds were light and variable. There was no turbulence as the wind was essentially dead. He was not within 200 ft of another canopies path as far as anybody could tell. Everyone was in a Right hand pattern on one side of the field, he did a left hand pattern all by himself over the taxi way. He had that section of the sky entirely to himself with no obstacles.

I do not know how many jumps he had exactly. I know it was somewhere over 1,000 but probably (I'm assuming) less than 1,500.

We can not confirm what altitude the turn was started. Only people on the ground saying it looked very low. My back was turned to him at this point. Witness on the ground was at the bottom of a hill looking up and Ahmed landed on the other side. The camera view from above was a GoPro very wide angle lens and Ahmed's white canopy is very small in the video. Sorry we can't give you an exact altitude.

He made a series of piloting errors and stalled his canopy on his own very low. There is no blame to pass elsewhere or any bizarre outside factors.

There are a lot of 'He could have should haves'. But they didn't happen. I'm sure he'll be thinking of those over the next few months in a wheel chair. He tried to turn 180 degrees around very low in deep breaks on an HP canopy and accidentally stalled it.

That's it, that's all folks. It happened to him and it can happen to you. Be careful and stay one step ahead out there.


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