Forums: Archive: 2005-2006 USPA BOD Elections:
Cloud busting issues

 

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MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 8, 2004, 7:27 PM
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Cloud busting issues Can't Post

Gosh....here's a tricky subject.

What do you do when you are faced with an obvious cloud bust by jumpers?

Well, quite honestly, there's not a whole lot that anyone can really do unless you are the DZO or the FAA is involved (at which point it becomes a legal issue).

I've been on loads where cloud-busting has been unintentional, meaning that they spotters tried to do their best to avoid the clouds but circumstances just didn't work out for them.

I've also been "fooled" into getting out and ending up in the center of the clouds by someone who I thought was better at spotting. One particular day, it was another AFF instructor acting as a camera man for a Tandem jump. I was very unhappy with the individual and after backing up over a mile through the cloud, I was lucky to put my passenger down in a golf course driving range. The spotter thought we would get a hole but believe me, after I was in freefall, I realized there was no such hole.

I do not intentionally bust clouds. Accidental busts do happen, but to exit over a solid cloud-deck is to invite disaster. It also scares the crap out of me.

As a pilot on an Instrument Flight Plan, I fear it when I hear "jumpers away" and I'm in the vicinity with a solid cloud layer between the exit point and the landing point. That is just not a wise thing to do.

I think the degree of intent is what needs to be addressed by S&T advisors and directors. Counseling may fall on deaf ears until fines are handed out by the FAA (and who wants them to be policing the DZs? NOT ME!).

We must do better to avoid safety problems and cloud busting is an avoidable problem. I'd rather ride the aircraft back down than intentionally place myself, my fellow jumpers, and my students in harm's way!

Mike Turoff, Gulf Region candidate


Hooknswoop  (D License)

Jul 8, 2004, 7:51 PM
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Re: [MikeTJumps] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I'd rather ride the aircraft back down than intentionally place myself, my fellow jumpers, and my students in harm's way!

You are in the minority then and there is nothing in place right now that will change that.

USPA has no real authority and DZO's and most jumpers want/like it that way.

Derek


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 8, 2004, 7:53 PM
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Re: [Hooknswoop] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, and the minority positon is not the most popular. We have a saying in aviation circles:

It is far better to be down here wishing you were up there than to be up there (and be terrified) wishing you were down here!

Thanks for your understanding.

Mike Turoff


AggieDave  (D License)

Jul 8, 2004, 9:10 PM
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Re: [MikeTJumps] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

This goes back to the unwillingness of the USPA to try to enforce the BSRs through its GM program. Also, apparently from your previous posts, you have no intention of trying to help the USPA fix this problem. So whats the point?


tspillers  (D 21601)

Jul 9, 2004, 6:58 AM
Post #5 of 31 (2702 views)
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Re: [Hooknswoop] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Sure they do. Start enforcing the BSR's (sensibly) and if needed, suspend a rating, membership, or GM. I think in time it will make DZ's think more about violating BSR's. I am afraid with some DZO's it is more of a 'what are they gonna do?' attitude.

Many this seems like another thread in here, doesn't it?


beowulf  (C License)

Jul 9, 2004, 1:25 PM
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Re: [tspillers] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok If the USPA does try to enforce the BSR's and say a worst case scenario happens and they suspend a DZ's Membership. How does that really affect the DZ and the DZO? Does it really hurt that DZ and DZO?
What is the max punishment and what a effect will it really have?

My end question in this is what power does the USPA have over DZ's and DZO's? Will the DZO just shrug and go on with business as usual if punished?


AggieDave  (D License)

Jul 9, 2004, 2:16 PM
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Re: [beowulf] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Will the DZO just shrug and go on with business as usual if punished?

In a different post (I can't remember exactly which thread), Todd talks about his airplane's insurance company wanting to know that the DZ is a USPA GM DZ before they would insure the aircrafts.

I'd say that if a DZ lost their GM status and thus lost the insurance on their plane, then that could be a big deal.


Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
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Jul 9, 2004, 3:24 PM
Post #8 of 31 (2636 views)
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Re: [AggieDave] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

You also have non GM DZ's out there that have planes that they can get insured so not being a GM will not shut you down instantly.

What can happen is that word of your GM suspension gets back to the insurance company that decides to reevalute their risk assesment on you and it could increase your rates. Just like speeding tickets increase your car insurance because they see a pattern of risky behavior.

Deciding if its going to cost more money to do a go around to wait for that cloud to blow buy or pay the increased insurance rates might have some DZO's/Pilots thinking twice.


tspillers  (D 21601)

Jul 9, 2004, 4:44 PM
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Re: [beowulf] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

As Dave said, I have talked about this in these threads so I won't go into that too much. If what everyones says is true (DZO's only care about money), then that might be powerful.

I don't think all DZO's only care about money, but that is another discussion.

Todd


AggieDave  (D License)

Jul 9, 2004, 10:21 PM
Post #10 of 31 (2615 views)
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Re: [PhreeZone] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
You also have non GM DZ's out there that have planes that they can get insured so not being a GM will not shut you down instantly.

Right, however remember that the majority of the DZs in the US are smaller DZs. DZs that may not have the business to afford much higher insurance costs.


Also, lets not forget the marketing side of the issue. "Our rival dropzone lost their USPA membership do to outstanding safety violations..." As stupid as that sounds, little things like that mean a lot to a whuffo.


sducoach  (D License)

Aug 24, 2004, 1:36 PM
Post #11 of 31 (2393 views)
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Re: [AggieDave] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Dave,

You are making an assumption that DZO's have insurance. Ever asked one to show you?

You will be surprised.

Blues,

J.E.


sducoach  (D License)

Aug 24, 2004, 1:38 PM
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Re: [tspillers] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

tspillers,

What we are talking about is not a violation of BSR's, it is a violation of FAR's!

Blues,

J.E.


AggieDave  (D License)

Aug 24, 2004, 2:49 PM
Post #13 of 31 (2387 views)
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Quote:
You are making an assumption that DZO's have insurance. Ever asked one to show you?

You will be surprised.

Nope, I'm under the assumption that most DZs have insurance on their aircraft. I'm willing to bet more DZs then not have insurance on their expensive airplanes.

Wink


tspillers  (D 21601)

Aug 25, 2004, 5:33 AM
Post #14 of 31 (2366 views)
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Re: [sducoach] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Thread had been discussing what USPA and S&TA's should be doing. Last I checked, neither USPA nor S&TA's worked for or have any authority from the FAA.

Mike's post was discussing not having the FAA involved but how the USPA (or it's representatives) should deal with this issue. That is USPA's intent to self regulate so the FAA doesn't take over.

Mike was also discussing focusing on intent. Many laws in this country address intent as part of the requirement for breaking the law. FAR's are more of a law than BSR's, but they were written for pilots, not skydivers. I haven't talked to a pilot with any real number of hours that hasn't ended up in a cloud on a VFR flight before. I also haven't talked to too many skydivers with any large accumulation of jumps that hasn't fallen through a cloud. It happens. It is an accident, or is it? Intent???? That should be a consideration.

Trust me on this: the last thing you want to do is to get the FAA involved. You want to exhaust all other options. The FAA will make it 'worth their time' and find something to shut the DZ down for. If you are at the competitor's DZ and trying to get someone else in trouble, it doesn't take much for the FAA to see this and start looking around. If I am going to a DZ and find something wrong...let's look at all the DZ's in the area, etc.

Okay, getting off my soapbox.... besides, I need another cup of coffee.

Todd


Premier quade  (D 22635)
Moderator
Aug 26, 2004, 7:01 PM
Post #15 of 31 (2322 views)
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Re: [tspillers] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
FAR's are more of a law than BSR's, but they were written for pilots, not skydivers.

No.

FARs -are- laws.

FARs are written for all of those for which the FAR is applicable. In the case of FAR 105 it applies to both pilots and skydivers. Yes, the FAA can cite you as a skydiver for a violation of FAR 105.17 cloud clearance.

In relevant part;
Quote:
Sec. 105.17 Flight visibility and clearance from cloud requirements

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft--

(a) Into or through a cloud, or

(b) When the flight visibility or the distance from any cloud is less than that prescribed in the following table:


tspillers  (D 21601)

Aug 26, 2004, 7:11 PM
Post #16 of 31 (2319 views)
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Re: [quade] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

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No.

FARs -are- laws.

FARs are written for all of those for which the FAR is applicable. In the case of FAR 105 it applies to both pilots and skydivers. Yes, the FAA can cite you as a skydiver for a violation of FAR 105.17 cloud clearance.

Yes, I agree. However, they have litter power to enforce the fines to most skydivers. With a pilot, they can take his license. With an aircraft owner, they have recourse. They can't arrest you and put you in jail. That is why they are regulations, not laws. There is a distinction. In practice, we should treat them like a law, but I think you should treat a BSR the same way.

Todd


Premier quade  (D 22635)
Moderator
Aug 26, 2004, 7:49 PM
Post #17 of 31 (2316 views)
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Re: [tspillers] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

The police can't usually can't arrest you and put you in jail for going 10 MPH over the speed limit, but you've still broken a law. Not all laws require jail time -- sometimes a fine will do.

BSRs are -not- regulations, but they -are- standard practices and if an aviation accident occured in which a BSR was not being adhered to it would not go down well with the FAA.

BTW, one of the USPA BSRs (SIM 2-1b) is to follow all of the FAA FARs. Not really certain how we could do otherwise and still call ourselves a self policing organization.

I also have issue with your statement that, "Thread had been discussing what USPA and S&TA's should be doing. Last I checked, neither USPA nor S&TA's worked for or have any authority from the FAA."

This is simply wrong. The USPA -does-, in fact, have some authority granted to it by the FAA. For instance the issuance of PRO Ratings as well as the aforementioned standard practices contained in the SIM.

The USPA and ST&As do have a responsibility to skydivers and to a small extent the FAA to follow those standard practices.


(This post was edited by quade on Aug 26, 2004, 7:50 PM)


Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Aug 26, 2004, 7:53 PM
Post #18 of 31 (2314 views)
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Re: [beowulf] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
My end question in this is what power does the USPA have over DZ's and DZO's? Will the DZO just shrug and go on with business as usual if punished?

I can think of at least one way in which it would be a HUGE financial disincentive for a DZ to lose its GM status. I'll admit this only applies to about four DZs in the entire country, but a non-GM DZ may NOT host the US Nationals.


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Aug 26, 2004, 11:05 PM
Post #19 of 31 (2303 views)
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Re: [tspillers] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I agree. However, they have litter power to enforce the fines to most skydivers. Todd
Todd, I must differ with you on this statement based on real experience. I know of four jumpers who were spotted punching through a solid deck by some pretty irate pilot types and they were filed upon. The fines levied (and paid) were on the order of a thousand or so dollars total. This happened back in the 1980's over Polly Ranch Airport which is a few miles away from our original Spaceland. That was one of the most expensive jumps those folks did.

It was an administrative hearing and if they had not paid the fines, property could have been siezed.

Mike


tspillers  (D 21601)

Aug 27, 2004, 5:55 AM
Post #20 of 31 (2297 views)
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Quote:
The police can't usually can't arrest you and put you in jail for going 10 MPH over the speed limit, but you've still broken a law. Not all laws require jail time -- sometimes a fine will do.

Actually, they can in Texas at least. It is chicken shit, but the don't have to let you sign the ticket. They can take you directly to the judge. Of course if this is Friday Night, you could be in jail till Saturday or even Monday waiting for the judge. Also if you don't pay a fine the the court puts on you. Then you can go to jail.

Quote:
I also have issue with your statement that, "Thread had been discussing what USPA and S&TA's should be doing. Last I checked, neither USPA nor S&TA's worked for or have any authority from the FAA."

Let me futher explain. Anyone can call the FAA and file a report/complaint. USPA or S&TA are not given any special powers by the FAA. An S&TA can't ground an airplane, write a warning letter, etc. An FAA Inspector does this. So if we are comparing FAA to police. S&TA would be like a citizen's arrest.

Does that make more sense?


tspillers  (D 21601)

Aug 27, 2004, 5:58 AM
Post #21 of 31 (2296 views)
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Re: [MikeTJumps] Cloud busting issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Mike,

I challenge you to find a case where the FAA was able to actually seize non aviation property for a violation (such as there home, or car).

They typically will just go for someone with a license or the DZ, because they can really hinder them.

Todd


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Aug 27, 2004, 7:12 PM
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Granted, I don't have the resources to research the specific problem you stated, but I would think that all they would have to do is go to a JP with a judgement and request impoundment of property.

You would know more than I about it because of your law enforcement background. The only time I reverted to a civil judgement was when someone bounced a $700 check on me. I put a lien against his house and the fellow died before the lien expired. The house was sold by the survivor after the 10-year statute of limitations on the lien (which I didn't renew), so I lost out on the deal.

Mike


Premier quade  (D 22635)
Moderator
Aug 27, 2004, 7:18 PM
Post #23 of 31 (2274 views)
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Quote:
Let me futher explain. Anyone can call the FAA and file a report/complaint. USPA or S&TA are not given any special powers by the FAA. An S&TA can't ground an airplane, write a warning letter, etc.

Would you be in favor of the ST&A writing a letter to the DZO and CC:ing the USPA Headquarters?

If condition persisted after attempting to fix it within the USPA system, would you be in favor of the ST&A informing the local FAA FSDO of the situation?

Would you as a USPA Director back the DZO or ST&A if he did?


(This post was edited by quade on Aug 27, 2004, 7:19 PM)


tspillers  (D 21601)

Aug 27, 2004, 8:06 PM
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I would absolutely support a S&TA doing this. I would be very upset with them if they didn't first confront the DZO and then get the regional involved prior to doing so. The goal should be voluntary compliance (wich is actually the intent of our laws). I think each situation carries it's own facts and circumstances. If an infraction occurs and it future infractions are prevented, then I don't think we should involve the FAA as there will be some serious problems and usually not for the people causing the infractions (ie. the pilot). Many pilots are still young in their careers and get coerced into doing more than they want to. I have had a pilot that flew some for me and some for another DZ. He was asking me about cloud issues and did not realize his responsibility as far as jumpers going through clouds. I gave him a quick education.

If I were a director, I would have to review the information. If a S&TA will put in writing what he or she wants to report, then it wouldn't really be who I back. At that point it is reported to USPA and it tends to become a board issue. If they follow the proper steps, in my hopes, it would never get that far before the DZO decided to pay more attention and follow the rules.


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Aug 29, 2004, 8:36 AM
Post #25 of 31 (2249 views)
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One of the reasons to not have a DZO as the S&TA is to have that independent eye on things. As such, if the S&TA does not have sufficient respect accorded him or her by the DZO, anything written along the lines of advising the DZO of FAR or BSR infractions would be useless. It is hoped that there would be a close working relationship and mutual respect to achieve favorable results in non-written exchanges of viewpoints.

If infractions continue to occur regardless of exchange of viewpoints, it may be a futile and politically suicidal move to inform the FAA about such infractions (meaning that the S&TA would find themselves "personna-non-gratta" at the DZ).

All the USPA could do is to terminate the group membership status of the DZ and possibly suspend ratings and licenses of individuals who committed the infractions. That would be at the BOD level.

Sooner or later, the FAA will get numerous complaints, conduct an investigation, and undoubtedly serve action notices against individuals and pilots (and I have seen this happen!).

We need to self police and self restrict to avoid this very undesirable action.

Mike Turoff


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