Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
Perspective

 

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davelepka  (D 21448)

Jan 23, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Perspective Can't Post

 
With the ongoing debate over a WL BSR and such, and the prevalence of less experienced jumpers being opposed to it, I started thinking of how I could relate what they don't know about flying canopies to them (they don't seem to believe you when you say 'Trust me').

I was thinking about this as I was driving home from work the other day. It was rush hour, and snowing, and while I was driving with my knee (I had a latte in one hand, and was changing a CD with the other) I saw a driver ahead make a really stupid mistake, and almost cause an accident. As a caught up to the offending car, I looked over and saw it was a teenager behind the wheel. My first thought was, 'Damned kids' (which is scary because I'm only 29). Then it hit me.

Everyone involved in this discussion has been driving for at least a few years. Driving is one fo the few things that almost everyone can relate to. As much as I hate to admit it, most people are fairly good drivers. They get the hang of watching whats going on around them, planning ahead just a bit, and how to behave with other cars around. Furhtermore, most people can do that and carry on a conversation, or play with the radio, or whatever.

Now everyone think back. Way back to your first few months behind the wheel. Remember the concentration it took to just get down the road? Or when merging into traffic was a major project? How about straying onto the shoulder the first few times you tried to change the radio sation on the fly? It happened to everyone. In time, it became easier to manage, and the additional tasks weren't such a big deal.

Did you ever imagine then, that one day you would be driving with your knee, drinking coffee, and playing with the radio in a rush-hour snowstorm without even thinking about it?

Canopy flight is the same thing. You will reach a point where things will just happen without your needing to think about them. Your mind will be free to process other information. You will be a natural, and flying your canopy will seem as easy as walking. Just understand that just like driving, there is a world of experienced-based reactions and instincts that you need to develop before speeding up.

Just like a teenager needs to keep their eyes up, and both hands on the wheel, new pilots need to take a similar view on canopy flight.


freakbrother  (D License)

Jan 23, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Re: [davelepka] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

On the topic of driving:
Every shred of data from the NHTSB and the insurance companies shows that driver age and gender are the principal indicators for auto accidents.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jan 23, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Re: [freakbrother] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

 
While that may be true, the point I was making is that everyone can relate to the proficiency one achieves after years of driving in relation to thier formative years behind the wheel.

This proficiency is the same for canopy flight. Everyone who doubts this needs only to picture their pimply faced neighbor who insists they are a great driver, and that you shoud let them borrow your Corvette for their big date.


Hooknswoop  (D License)

Jan 23, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Re: [freakbrother] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Every shred of data from the NHTSB and the insurance companies shows that driver age and gender are the principal indicators for auto accidents.

So who is more at risk, a 19 year old female jumper with 1500 jumps, the last 500 of which were under a Stiletto 97 at 1.4:1 or a 29 year old male with 50 jumps that buys a Stiletto 107 loaded at 1.6:1?

The problem with saying younger drivers and therefore younger jumpers are more at risk is most jumpers don't start at age 16. Number of jumper tends to give a good indication of experience. That would equate to number of miles driven.

I agree that younger males can often think they are bullet proof, but to try and make a BSR that focuses on age makes it complicated, unwieldy and unfair.

A canopy doesn't care how old you are. A canopy doesn't care what gender you are.

As one of my mentors told me before ltting me jump his stiletto 120, "This canopy will kill you, then lay there and wait for it's next victim."

I would say inexperience and the desire to show off are the principle indicators of risk.

Derek


(This post was edited by Hooknswoop on Jan 23, 2005, 11:59 AM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jan 23, 2005, 12:01 PM
Post #5 of 87 (1890 views)
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Re: [Hooknswoop] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Lets also keep in mind the differential in performace between different canopies, and then between different cars.

Most people, regardless of age or experience will ever get to drive the equivalant of a Velo 90 at 2.0 to 1. They just don't have enough money.

Most people, in fact, end up driving cars which are all within a couple percent of each other from a performance standpoint.


Hooknswoop  (D License)

Jan 23, 2005, 12:06 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

Right, how many 16-year olds can afford to buy a Corvette or a Ferrari? Cost, insurance, etc keep sports cars out of the hands of most teenagers. I have a friend that gave his son a 300 ZX for his 16th birthday. Took him 2 weeks to park it in someones living room.

Derek


Premier ianmdrennan  (D 25821)
Moderator
Jan 23, 2005, 12:15 PM
Post #7 of 87 (1878 views)
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Re: [Hooknswoop] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

Not to mention that with the driving metric almost everyone starts driving around the age of 16. This is not true for skydiving. Skydivers start jumping at all ages, so there's no common starting metric other than jump numbers.

Blues,
Ian


penniless  (B License)

Jan 23, 2005, 1:26 PM
Post #8 of 87 (1836 views)
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Re: [ianmdrennan] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Not to mention that with the driving metric almost everyone starts driving around the age of 16.
Blues,
Ian

In Europe this is certainly NOT the case.

My recollection is that in Europe age and gender are also the biggest influences on driving accident rates. Maybe someone that has been there more recently than me can confirm or refute.

Besides, how do you explain the gender part?


EricaH  (D License)

Jan 23, 2005, 3:31 PM
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Re: [penniless] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the thought. And I'm pretty sure the OP didn't mean to use the actual age of the driver, rather their driving age (how long you've been driving). I have a co-worker that just got her drivers license - on her 54th birthday. I am terrified riding w/ her; but I've been driving for 12 years.

I'm younger but driving longer. No matter what age someone starts jumping at; their years of experience helps. I'm 150% sure Mike Mullins' sons that started jumping at very young ages & are still younger than me; but now have more years of canopy "driving" than I are much more proficient.


Hooknswoop  (D License)

Jan 23, 2005, 4:15 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
This proficiency is the same for canopy flight. Everyone who doubts this needs only to picture their pimply faced neighbor who insists they are a great driver, and that you shoud let them borrow your Corvette for their big date.

This is the point and bears repeating.

Derek


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Jan 23, 2005, 8:51 PM
Post #11 of 87 (1719 views)
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Re: [penniless] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In Europe this is certainly NOT the case.

My recollection is that in Europe age and gender are also the biggest influences on driving accident rates. Maybe someone that has been there more recently than me can confirm or refute.

Besides, how do you explain the gender part?
Quote:

What is you point? This is not Europe so what is there to confirm or refute? What gender part do you mean? The original post was taking about experience driving and said nothing about gender.

Rather than take misguided potshots at everything posted, state the specifics of what it is you disagree with. Its hard to "explain the gender part" without knowing what you mean.

Sparky


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Jan 23, 2005, 9:53 PM
Post #12 of 87 (1702 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:

This is not Europe ...

Sparky
Yes it is! This is cyberspace; It is everywhere.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jan 24, 2005, 5:47 AM
Post #13 of 87 (1643 views)
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe a more accurate measurement would be "number of years driving." Like USPA routinely mentioning "number of years in sport" when they publish accident reports.

To EricaH: the age at which you start learning a new skill is also a major factor. Older people learn slower, partly because they no longer believe thay are immortal and that fear forces them to take fewer risks.
The other age-related issue is that nerves adapt slower as we grow older.
For example, a neighborhood taildragger pilot gave me a lengthy lecture about how flying tail draggers is best learned as a young man. Flying taildraggers is one of those skills where a younger man's quicker reflexes can salvage a bad landing. Old tail dragger pilots may have slower reflexes, but they are conditioned reflexes, furthermore, old tail dragger pilots can think farther ahead of their airplanes, anticipating more problems.
In other words, young pilots depend upon lightning fast reflexes to pull them out of dangerous corners, while old pilots try to keep their brains far enough ahead of their airplanes that they ever enter dangerous corners.
Flying fast canopies requires similar thought processes.


(This post was edited by riggerrob on Jan 24, 2005, 6:02 AM)


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Jan 24, 2005, 10:53 AM
Post #14 of 87 (1559 views)
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:

This is not Europe ...

Sparky
Yes it is! This is cyberspace; It is everywhere.

What is being discussed is a BSR on wing loading and that is not Europe. that is United States Parachute Association. You may be in cyberspace, but I am at home communicating over the internet. The internet is not a place, it is a tool or a toy, depending on your mind set.


dorbie

Jan 24, 2005, 1:19 PM
Post #15 of 87 (1522 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
With the ongoing debate over a WL BSR and such, and the prevalence of less experienced jumpers being opposed to it, I started thinking of how I could relate what they don't know about flying canopies to them (they don't seem to believe you when you say 'Trust me').

This highlights the problem for me. We don't come to skydiving in a bubble we have other life experiences and have issues with the case being made. Some of us have seen other sports in different parts of the world strangled by over regulation, it tends to be an irreversible trend. We can see the generic assumptions about our actions and what we "don't know" being applied with broad brushes and the best of intentions.

There's so many conflicting theories, bogus analyses, lack of statistical data but plenty of opinion and downright hostility and prejudice on the part of some towards newer jumpers.

I've been attacked more than once here for simply voicing objections to possible overregulation, I'm hitting the peas with regularity but a respected expert will apply the same flawed assumptions to my ability that he does to accident statistics and tell me I'm scared of accuracy testing when I know what's being proposed won't make me safer under an HP canopy.

We don't need analogies to driving with a latte in your hand, we need hard data and/or lucid arguments tied to specific training as it relates to safety. The more I see some leap from say accuracy to intentional hook turns the more skeptical I am that people are actually dealing with the problem instead of putting something in place because they have a curriculum for it already.

A wing loading chart might be seen as a permisison slip so it has to be set excessively conservatively and that's restrictive on people who can fly a canopy with moderate competence and there's not enough specificity on the details of testing out or how exactly the details of that training & testing helps safety w.r.t. what actually kills people without making leaps between different unrelated scenarios.

For my part I was a bad driver when I was young because I did stupid things, not because I lacked skill. I was probably better w.r.t. handling a vehicle then than I am now, but I was a bloody idiot because I'd do stuff I'd never do now in a car.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Jan 24, 2005, 1:34 PM
Post #16 of 87 (1510 views)
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Re: [dorbie] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

>Some of us have seen other sports in different parts of the world strangled by over regulation . . .

Which sports? What led to the over-regulation?

>I'm hitting the peas with regularity but a respected expert will apply the
> same flawed assumptions to my ability that he does to accident statistics
> and tell me I'm scared of accuracy testing when I know what's being
>proposed won't make me safer under an HP canopy.

?? Education and training WILL make you safer under a HP canopy. Or, if you prefer to not jump a heavily loaded canopy, the BSR will not affect you.

>We don't need analogies to driving with a latte in your hand, we need hard
>data . . .

We have it. 13 people's lives would have likely been saved over the course of two years if such a BSR had been implemented (and followed) in 2000. The question becomes - is saving the lives of 6 skydivers a year (and perhaps ten times that number of crippling injuries) worth the additional work the BSR involves? I believe it is.

>A wing loading chart might be seen as a permisison slip so it has to be set
>excessively conservatively and that's restrictive on people who can fly a
>canopy with moderate competence . . .

If they can fly their canopy with moderate competence the restrictions will not apply to them (provided they can prove they _are_ competent under canopy, that is.)

>and there's not enough specificity on the details of testing out . . .

There will not be until USPA really starts working on it. That will require a lot of input from DZO's, instructors, course directors etc. The first step is to agree that it's needed, then we start on the details.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jan 24, 2005, 1:59 PM
Post #17 of 87 (1498 views)
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Re: [dorbie] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

 
OK, heres the thing. The driving thing was the only thing I could think of where evryone could relate to the high level of proficiency you gain through experience. I don't care what you think about your skills behind the wheel as a new driver. You know that years later you are more in tune with whats happening around you, and more aware of impending problems, and in turn able to avoid them before they happen.

The point is that many new jumpers don't seem to understand the level of proficiency that you CAN achieve in canopy flight. They can't seem to see the top end, and therefore, have no idea how far they are from it.

Why are you not convinced that within said regulation there is plenty of room to learn? Not to mention, if you punch out 300 or 400 jumps a year, at the end of your first year you're at a WL that is good to get started swooping on. At the end of your second year, you're at a WL where you can dial in some serious swooping. By the time you've done that, you've got 1300 jumps and nobody cares what you do.

You're not going to do 300 jumps a year? THEN YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS JUMPING ANYTHING OUTSIDE THE GUIDELINES ANYWAY.

It's that simple, A dedicated, hard jumping guy, who's committed to the sport, will not feel any restricitons from the chart. His jump numbers will fly by faster than his wallet can buy new canopies.

If you don't fall into that catagory, you're better off following the chart. It's true. You can still jump out of a plane. You can still do more than 99.999% of people will ever do. You can fly a canopy that will be fun and APPROPRIATE for your experience, but there is a limit. Realize you are not one of the very few who has put in their time, learned their lessons, and survived to jump another day.

Put in your time. Learn your lessons. Survive.

THEN

Swoop whatever you want.


dorbie

Jan 24, 2005, 2:02 PM
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Re: [billvon] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

No, the right education & training would, not any education and training.

I agree with your last comment. The goal that's been unstated should be the minimum restrictions that get you the most return but that's a judgement call. I happen to be of the opinion that some proposals are both excessively restrictive and ineffective, it's difficult to test and difficylt to argue against when you're making the case for not saving lives, the emotional side of us tends to want to err on the side of caution, but people choose to skydive and we don't restrict everyone to 7 cell large square mains even though it would save lives.


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Jan 24, 2005, 2:41 PM
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In reply to:
>Some of us have seen other sports in different parts of the world strangled by over regulation . . .

Which sports? What led to the over-regulation?

Aye, what sports/regions were you thinking about, Dorbie? Within the US, it's pretty uncommon. Most regulation is imposed by the operators, not by the government. Key exception coming to mind is Laguna Beach and their silly ticketing of divers for 'safety violations' like soloing and no snorkels.

In Florida and other tropical diving areas, there are operators that won't permit their customers to do night dives or 'advanced' 100ft dives unless they have the Advanced Cert. In reality this is a method for selling a $199 class to them. The problem was caused by the dive industry's lack of currency standards and once a year divers, but the response was definitely more about money than safety. My friends are much safer with me than with these ProDive trained wonders.

I like California's approach to licensing of motorcyclists. Those under 21 must take the MSF course (at a lower cost) to get an M1 endorsement. Those over have the incentive of not needing to do a test ride at the DMV, along with the insurance reductions and the safety training. It's a good carrot and stick routine.

----
Dave - I need to jump 300/yr to be safe on a Tri 220?! If that were true, we'd be losing people left and right.


CanuckInUSA  (D 26396)

Jan 24, 2005, 2:48 PM
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In reply to:
I agree with your last comment. The goal that's been unstated should be the minimum restrictions that get you the most return but that's a judgement call. I happen to be of the opinion that some proposals are both excessively restrictive and ineffective, it's difficult to test and difficylt to argue against when you're making the case for not saving lives, the emotional side of us tends to want to err on the side of caution, but people choose to skydive and we don't restrict everyone to 7 cell large square mains even though it would save lives.

I'm not sure I understand everything you are trying to say here (and I should NOT be confused with being a canopy nazi). You want mimimal restrictions with high returns? But I can't see that happening. The two seem mutually exclusive of each other.

Personally I don't see anything fundamentally wrong with the possible BSR that has been proposed. Yes it is not perfect (I think having some sort of national standard for Canopy Control Coaching is going to be one of the bigger hurdles as well as having a standard towards testing out). But the bottom line is that there are many canopy designs (elliptical canopies, high wing loadings and cross-braced canopies) as well as flying techniques which require advanced canopy control knowledge and experience. Without some sort of proper coaching from knowledgable instructors, people are really only jumping with a "trial by error" paradigm. And sooner or later, something is going to go wrong as they push their limits.

As I slowly gain more experience in this sport and progress as a canopy pilot, I start to understand why these people who are pushing for this BSR are passionate about this topic. Yes we are all responsible for our own actions and being able to choose one's own destiny is a desired option in life. But the lesser experienced people in this sport really don't know what it takes to fly a high performance canopy and really don't know how close they are to cratering without the proper experience and respect for the actions they do and the wings they choose to fly. It's not easy to stomache being told that you don't know shit when you've jumped out of an airplane several hundred times and survived. But as we gain experience we look back and realize that ... wow I really didn't know shit when I had "X" number of hundreds of jumps. It has happened to me and it will happen to you as you gain more experience.

As previously mentioned, this BSR is not going to be an issue to those who are truly serious about their canopy progression. Those who are truly serious will put the time into the sport, will be current, will seek coaching and will jump the appropriate canopies for their current experience levels. Those who wish to cut corners are really the only ones who will be effected by this BSR and it is this group of people who the BSR is trying to protect.


(This post was edited by CanuckInUSA on Jan 24, 2005, 2:50 PM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jan 24, 2005, 2:53 PM
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Re: [kelpdiver] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Dave - I need to jump 300/yr to be safe on a Tri 220?! If that were true, we'd be losing people left and right.

No, what I said was that someone jumping at that level wouldn't have a problem with a WL restriciton as their jump numbers would progress so quickly.

I also said that if you're not at that level, the chart is really where you need to be.


CanuckInUSA  (D 26396)

Jan 24, 2005, 2:53 PM
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Re: [kelpdiver] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Dave - I need to jump 300/yr to be safe on a Tri 220?! If that were true, we'd be losing people left and right.

No I doubt Dave was referring to people jumping lesser aggresive wings and wing loadings. But for anyone who wants to jump a high performance canopy using high performance techniques, they really do need to be current and 300 jumps/year is a decent goal to strive for (shit I wish I could make 1000 jumps/year ... but there's something called work that always seems to get in the way).


dorbie

Jan 24, 2005, 3:23 PM
Post #23 of 87 (1458 views)
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Re: [CanuckInUSA] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm not sure I understand everything you are trying to say here (and I should NOT be confused with being a canopy nazi). You want mimimal restrictions with high returns? But I can't see that happening. The two seem mutually exclusive of each other.

No that's not what I'm saying, it's about striking a balance. I could make skydiving safer by mandating 7 cell squares and all wing loading <= 1.0 and could puff my chest out an proudly claim to have saved scores of lives after a few years. Or more realistically how about banning all canopies that virtually mandate a cutaway if you get line twists, or making those guys jump a setup for intentional cutaways? Playing the overregulation game is easy.

Where do you draw the line? I've seen some unfocused suggestions in other threads that are really window dressing that in part imply that flying the pattern is the problem here. If anything gets done w.r.t. this I'd like minimal highly focused requirements, not sweeping generalized WL tables that have to be restrictive to be safe. I'm certainly reticent about buying into proposals like this without the details, the details are essential but if all we have is *every* time I want to downsize I need to go pay a CI to watch me turn, dive & arrestm & hit the peas...... I think that lacks the required focus on the real problem. A B license requirement for a CC course might be more effective and a lot less hassle.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Jan 24, 2005, 3:35 PM
Post #24 of 87 (1448 views)
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Re: [dorbie] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

>but people choose to skydive and we don't restrict everyone to 7
>cell large square mains even though it would save lives.

We DO restrict skydiving students to large square mains and it does save lives. Even very progressive places like SDC starts out with tandems (which have pretty big mains) and progress on to larger ZP canopies for solo jumps. No level-2 student in the world can get away with saying "Hell no, I'm jumping a Stiletto 120 on my next jump!"

We're beginning to realize that 7 jumps isn't enough to learn the survival skills to keep you alive in skydiving. At best, AFF teaches you to do 2-way coach jumps with student gear safely, and that's a big deal because it means you can start learning on your own. But it does not teach you how to (for example) safely land any parachute under any conditions. That's one reason the ISP was introduced - so people have a guide to learn new freefall skills as they progress in the sport. It does very little with canopy training, though. In a way, the proposal is an extension of the ISP into the other license levels - there is more to learn and it takes longer to learn it, but it doesn't mean it's any less important than learning to do 4-way.


CanuckInUSA  (D 26396)

Jan 24, 2005, 3:37 PM
Post #25 of 87 (1446 views)
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Re: [dorbie] Perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I think that lacks the required focus on the real problem.

I'm curious as to what you think the real problem is.


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