I think that is a very fair question, I'd bet the oldtimers don't have any stories about helmets being bad back in the day (which is, I think partially why a lot of older skydivers are so down on the technology though I'm probably wrong)
If I may make a parallel
I've noticed that motorcycle riders who choose not to wear helmets usually dont give any shit to those that choose wear them .. so why in skydiving are so many divers so quick to jump on others about useing a cypress, (not about acutally owning one but what it "implies" about them.
Personaly I wear a helmet (though once I'm allowed I'll probably make at least one or two jumps with out one) Personally I use a cypress, I don't count on it I don't trust it, but the tech is proven enough that I feel it reduces far more risk then it adds .. much like a helmet. and just like a helmet or airbag I really dont want to actually have it do its intended job so I try to live like it wont
I know you have to wear a helmet while on student status... not sure about when you don't... at my DZ its a rule that you have to wear a helmet of some type until 100 jumps. I guess i always assumed its a DZ rule.
Each is designed to protect you in situations where things get out of control, or where you were a little less careful than you might have otherwise been.
I agree with your statement 100% but there was a couple of posts made from 3000+ jumpers who in their view have "never" been in that situation????? So on that note...let us wear our helmuts and " be in fashion"
Is there a parallel between a helmet and a cypres? And does it matter if there is?
I think the parallel would be that there isn't a safety measure available that doesn't have a setback.
What the setback of helmets would be?
1. They almost always restrict your vision and hearing. 2. Again, "getting into things you would avoid if you didn't have the gadget"
At a skydiving safety congress I attended years ago one of the speakers told us that when helmets became mandatory in American football (?) due to several nasty skull fractures in the preceding period, the skull fractures indeed diminished only to be replaced with severe neck injuries. With your head protected you could bang into the other guys so hard it could leave you paralyzed...
if it weren't for the cypres (and things that go "beep-beep") we would see a lot less people falling head-down, sitting or standing. It is a fact of life one can get distracted by what is going on in freefall. One of the advantages of falling belly to earth is that you see the earth coming up throughout the jump, which is a lot harder when you look up at the blue sky above, half the time.
Can helmets make up for lousy landing technique? I have seen posts here where people sort of thanked their helmet manufacturer after "getting in over their head" upon arrival with their too small canopy.
"Another Helmet safe!" " Uhmm... larger canopy with better training would have done the same, don't you think?"
But if you want to wear one because it stops you worrying, that is OK I guess. I wear a frap hat nowadays, after loosing a dytter + goggle.
I think both helmets and AADs are excellent devices. I think that some people who use AADs as a standard piece of their defense might be glossing over the general situation that it takes a serious mistake to need one in the first place.
Once an incident report begins and ends with "thank goodness he had an AAD" then the AAD has helped that person live, but has harmed the ability to learn from the mechanics of the incident.
As far as helmets are concerned, I'm curious as to how close the parallel is; honestly.
I don't really have to "have a position." It can be evolving, and it can change. That's why I'm interested -- it's not a closed issue for a lot of people obviously.
(but seriously) I have absolutly no misconseption about my helmet saving my life. I do not wear it to save my life but to stop me banging my head and making it hurt. If I'm hit hard I'm gonna be injured and no helmet is going to make much of a difference - its just another one of those risks I accept when I walk out to the plane.
stories about helmets being bad back in the day (which is, I think partially why a lot of older skydivers are so down on the technology though I'm probably wrong)
To quote Chris Rock, "What the F#@K did he just say?"
I'm saying that when AADs first arrived on the scene they had problems (serious problems) misfires etc, the drawbacks were so great that them might not have been an overall bennifit, Ron has pointed out to me that many skydivers hated them so much they worked hard so they were allowed to jump without them. I'm of the opinion that those experiences with early AADs have lingering effects on the current preception of AADs by those who were jumping with/around the early ones .. thats what the F#@K I'm saying ... oh and its just my preception and I could be wrong
I dont see the connection between tech and helmets used back in the other days.
What I'm getting at is an AAD and a helmet only do their job when something goes wrong, many skydivers are down on AADs but not helmets. I think thats partially because helmets didn't cause any problems(or at least none as major) as AADs when they first arrived. Personaly I see them as the same type of thing, something I shouldn't need, that I work hard not to need, but will be damn glad is there reguardlss of if its my mistake or an "act of god" that makes the helmet/cypress prove its value.
There are predictable problems associated with helmets, too. Their weight can increase the likelihood of an upper back or neck injury on opening. Any but the thinnest ones (read: ones that offer the least protection) can create a snag point for a loop of line going by, even if the helmet surface is relatively snag-free, by having the line catch in the gap between the skydiver's head and the helmet. In a faceplant, the edge of the helmet at the back of the neck can act as a fulcrum, making neck injuries more severe. A helmet can limit your peripheral vision, making collisions more likely.
All that said, I wear one. One once saved my life when I got off a motorcycle at speed.
And there are NOT certain skydives I go on where I say, "Boy, I sure wouldn't dream of doing a dive this crazy without a helmet and an AAD! Chances are I'll need them both before this genius dive plan sorts itself out."