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Responsibility in the landing pattern

 

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Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jul 8, 2005, 9:57 AM
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Responsibility in the landing pattern Can't Post

In a thread in Incidents, I've noted a troubling philosophy - that if someone wants to pull a massive cool swoop through a pattern, it's fine as long as he "clears his area."

Imagine if we applied this to other parts of skydiving. Is it OK if a freeflyer flies through the center of your 10 way without telling you, as long as he "clears his airspace?" Is it OK if a GA pilot buzzes you ten meters to your right as long as he is "sure he's clear?" How about a wingsuit that swoops your tandem without asking first; if he says "hey, I saw you were all alone in clear air" does that make it fine?

Oddly, the same people who pull 270's in the pattern are often the same people complaining about people doing sashays or steep accuracy approaches. Sashays or accuracy approaches are _much_ more predictable than 270's, 360's or snap 180's.

The primary reason for a pattern is so that everyone in the pattern knows what everyone else is doing. If you see someone flying opposite landing direction, they are flying downwind, and will soon be turning base. You can fly above them or downwind of them without risk of collision. If they are on final, you know they are not going to turn again, and can safely plan a landing near to them. With rules like these, it's easy to plan a landing without getting too close to anyone else. I've been on two record attempts where 300+ people all landed using these rules, and there were no significant traffic problems (once we convinced everyone to land in the same direction, that is.)

We have a responsibility in a landing pattern to fly a pattern. That means if you're flying a left hand pattern, make only left turns, and stick to the downwind-base-final setup. If you want to do a 270, you are not only looking away from your airspace, you are screwing the guy who is below you and behind you. That's a reasonable place for him to be if you are only going to do left turns, but if you slam a right turn you may just take him out.

Plus which, behavior like that in the pattern makes it impossible for other people to predict what you're going to do. Imagine someone who flies downwind low over the grass looking like he's on final; everyone else sets their pattern to match his. He snaps a 180 at 200 feet and lands downwind. He is now landing INTO all the other canopies on final.

After he lands, of course, the blamestorming starts. "Hey, first person down sets landing direction!" "You landed downwind!" "The winds were light, dude." "I almost hit you!" "Shoulda looked where you were going." This is how collisions happen.

That doesn't mean that greater-than-90 high performance landings are bad, it just means they're not compatible with traffic. Most DZ's have separate landing areas for high performance landings, where a snap turn at 200 feet won't hose anyone else. Swoopers have a responsibility to use those areas (or take separate passes to ensure there's no one else using the main area) to help prevent the sort of collisions and fatalities we've been seeing lately.


(This post was edited by billvon on Jul 8, 2005, 11:02 AM)


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Jul 8, 2005, 10:53 AM
Post #2 of 153 (4687 views)
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent post. Make it a sticky.

Sparky


D22369  (D 22369)

Jul 8, 2005, 11:53 AM
Post #3 of 153 (4647 views)
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

I second sparkys motion!!!
great post


Roy


Shark  (D 24499)

Jul 8, 2005, 12:20 PM
Post #4 of 153 (4624 views)
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Bill,

I think the same should be true for somebody shooting accuracy. I've see some newbie B license holders sashaying and holding in deep brakes to shoot the peas while there are other groups flying in the pattern behind them. I remind them of pattern etiquette, discipline and safety.

Shark


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Jul 8, 2005, 12:56 PM
Post #5 of 153 (4595 views)
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Re: [Shark] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I think the same should be true for somebody shooting accuracy. I've see some newbie B license holders sashaying and holding in deep brakes to shoot the peas while there are other groups flying in the pattern behind them. I remind them of pattern etiquette, discipline and safety.

No kidding - those peas at Elsinore are in a really bad place given the traffic landing in that portion of the student field. Every setup I tried got cancelled by what I saw in front of me on the base. When I needed those last few accuracy landings, I opted for the outer circle.


itllclear  (D 6366)

Jul 10, 2005, 5:58 AM
Post #6 of 153 (4403 views)
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

This almost makes too much sense.

As much as I hate more "rules" this concept of separate landing areas for different types of landings requires a DZO who will enforce whatever policy the DZ has. Bryan Burke at Eloy, and Jack Gramley when he was at Perris come to mind. They have no reluctance to let someone know that their actions in the pattern were unaccceptable.

In the absence of an enforced DZ policy restricting pattern antics, the "main" landing area by default becomes othe one in which the swoopers want to show off.

If enough sensible jumpers tell the DZO that they want the main landing area, it will force the DZO to make a decision, one way or the other as to what is allowed in the main landing area.

If we can't convince the DZO to move the swoopers elsewhere, we then have to anticipate that the main landing area is the swooper zone, and have to make a decision whether we want to place ourselves in the line of fire.

It's no different than refusing to get on a large load when the organizer has some people on it you consider unsafe. Is the peer pressure great enough to make you put yourself in harm's way? If so, and you get hurt, it's your fault as much as the other jumper's.

For my part, I plan to land safely, and to continue to give Tim a good tip at the end of every day of jumping at Perris.

BSBD

Harry


happythoughts  (D License)

Jul 10, 2005, 7:17 PM
Post #7 of 153 (4347 views)
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In a thread in Incidents, I've noted a troubling philosophy - that if someone wants to pull a massive cool swoop through a pattern, it's fine as long as he "clears his area."

I saw a guy swoop between the loading tents at the convention and then carve into a crosswind to cut off about 10 people. When I mentioned it, the response was "I checked and it was clear". I told him, "This is not all about you. It's the people that you don't see that you kill. Do it again and you leave."

I agree with your post.

To keep the swoopers out of the pattern, some dzs put the pond swoopers out on a pass at 5K. Other times I have seen the swoopers open high, sit in brakes, and wait for the pattern to clear.

A dz has to have a clear policy that manages the situation.


itllclear  (D 6366)

Jul 10, 2005, 8:29 PM
Post #8 of 153 (4326 views)
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Re: [happythoughts] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
A dz has to have a clear policy that manages the situation.

That's the point. Most of these incidents could have been avoided if the DZ's had a policy that kept the swoopers separated from other jumpers.

Ask your DZO about the DZ's policy. If you don't like the answer you get, vote with your dollars and jump somewhere else.

There will always be some jumpers who don't give a damn about anyone else. The DZO's are the only ones who can enforce any policy. Not enforcing a policy is, in fact, setting a policy.

Maybe we just will have to see some DZ's shut down because the coroner doesn't want to visit as often, or a relative of someone with political power is injured or killed.

Right now I just don't see that the DZO's think this is enough of a problem to take any action. If they manage to stay open, and business keeps on grwoing, maybe they're right.

BSBD

Harry


CanuckInUSA  (D 26396)

Jul 11, 2005, 12:53 AM
Post #9 of 153 (4292 views)
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

I witnessed something I thought I'd never see. An entire Otter load today landed the same direction. It was tight at times from the folks still in the air, but they all followed the pattern and landed safely. Of course soon afterwards, people resorted to their bad habits of landing whatever direction they could instead of flying a pattern. The big sky theory usually saves us. But some aren't always so lucky.


Pendejo  (D 22642)

Jul 11, 2005, 8:15 AM
Post #10 of 153 (4219 views)
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Re: [itllclear] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
If we can't convince the DZO to move the swoopers elsewhere, we then have to anticipate that the main landing area is the swooper zone, and have to make a decision whether we want to place ourselves in the line of fire.

I have always found this kind of statement interesting.... Why are the swoopers not allowed to be the one who make a "decision?" At some Drop Zones they (swoopers) are close to the same in number as the "sensible Unsure" jumpers. Its funny to me that the more things change the more they stay the same.... I bet when the conversion was happening from rounds to ram-air canopies there were people that made comments that sounded a lot like the one above.


wmw999  (D 6296)

Jul 11, 2005, 8:33 AM
Post #11 of 153 (4211 views)
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Re: [Pendejo] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't remember those kinds of conversations when squares were becoming more common.

However, there weren't a lot of dropzones with large aircraft in those days; the old Spaceland was one of the few, and it had a regular Otter. The main mode for landing squares was the tippy-toe standup, coming down. And, frankly, disciplined patterns weren't as common then, because there just weren't as many people in the air at once. Most dropzones were Cessna dropzones.

That said, one thing that differentiates the swooper from the non-swooper is the variety of patterns that he might use, and the increased speed involved in all of them. That means that you have to
a. guess what they're going to do
b. do it very quickly
c. be right

Not sure that's the best way to go. At major airports, small slow airplanes are separated from the bigger, faster ones. But all are expected to follow the dictated patterns, and I think it's probably considered to be very poor form for a fast airplane to land before a Piper Cub from behind in the formation.

Wendy W.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jul 11, 2005, 9:08 AM
Post #12 of 153 (4198 views)
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Re: [Pendejo] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

> Why are the swoopers not allowed to be the one who make
> a "decision?"

Same reason low pullers are not allowed to make that decision. Same reason people can't just decide to give you no exit separation just because "they knew they would be clear." This is a sport in which you have to share the air; it's not OK to do things that endanger other people just because you think it's fun (and is safe enough for _you_.)


Pendejo  (D 22642)

Jul 11, 2005, 11:31 AM
Post #13 of 153 (4152 views)
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

Dude.... Breath.... I was pointing out that its always the swoopers that are in the wrong attitude.... I was not really commenting on where we should land.

I have also had non-swoopers spiral down (from at least 1000 feet above me) right on top of the landing area till 200 feet, and then wonder why I said something when we got down (and just for the record that A-HOLE cut off a student, not me in my swoop).

I agree that there should be separate landing areas for each, what I don't agree with is the attitude that just because a person swoops they are automatically not one of the "sensible" jumpers.


Pendejo  (D 22642)

Jul 11, 2005, 11:38 AM
Post #14 of 153 (4147 views)
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Re: [wmw999] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

I have been told that there was "discussion" about those people (that flew ram-air canopies). That the fear was they would fly into a round that is coming more straight down. Regardless of who said what. The point was that there are problem people on both sides of the coin, and that it isn't always the swooper that is causing the problem (like the example I gave in response to Bill).


wmw999  (D 6296)

Jul 11, 2005, 11:59 AM
Post #15 of 153 (4130 views)
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Re: [Pendejo] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

I was jumping a round in those days.
I don't remember the discussions, but I was never cool enough to be involved in some stuff.

I do know I wasn't scared of people running into me unless they (i.e. specific individuals) were idiots.

I'm more scared now.

Wendy W.


(This post was edited by wmw999 on Jul 11, 2005, 12:00 PM)


Jeth  (C 37471)

Jul 11, 2005, 12:05 PM
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

I was just thinking about this this weekend. Being a newly minted A-license holder, I am constantly learning. One of my many challenges is figuring out my pattern and landing safely. I do a plan in my head beforehand, and if I get a decent spot that usually works. But if I am far out, or if the winds shift, then my pattern is useless. My coaches told me that landing is a dynamic thing, and I have to always be evaluating the situation and making decisions. One of the big things they told me was to watch the more experienced jumpers below me who are landing. See which way they're going and go the same way. So I've been trying to do that. The thing is, most of them swoop and its just like Billvon said!

I was watching them land yesterday and I thought they were all landings the complete opposite direction than we'd discussed. I was getting worried because I was headed the other way. But then at the last second they hooked it and landed south. (There was no wind, so it could've gone any way, but the load had agreed on a south landing pattern.) I see so many of the experienced jumpers land and they hardly ever do a pattern. They come diving out of the sky and swoop, or they are going one way and do a 180 very low and then land the other way. So it really doesn't help us rookies to try to copy their landings! Not to mention it makes me totally paranoid to set up my pattern over the HP area. When the winds are out of the north, my pattern should come over that area. But I see some people diving from pretty high and I don't want to be anywhere near that when I'm under 1000. So then I end up landing really far away or too close to the runway.
Yesterday as I was up at 2500 I also saw 2 people landing completely opposite of each other (towards each other). They looked pretty close, too!

I guess its just hard to fit into the pattern when the pattern is hard to see sometimes. And there are definitely too many canopy collisions between swoopers. I think it would definitely be safer to not have that stuff going on in the pattern.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Jul 11, 2005, 1:17 PM
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Re: [Pendejo] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Dude.... Breath.... I was pointing out that its always the swoopers that are in the wrong attitude.... I was not really commenting on where we should land.

I have also had non-swoopers spiral down (from at least 1000 feet above me) right on top of the landing area till 200 feet, and then wonder why I said something when we got down (and just for the record that A-HOLE cut off a student, not me in my swoop).

I agree that there should be separate landing areas for each, what I don't agree with is the attitude that just because a person swoops they are automatically not one of the "sensible" jumpers.

The "non-swooper" you mention pissed you off for doing the same thing that swoopers do to people flying a "normal" pattern. They do a tight 270 turn from as high as 1000 feet and drop straight down into the pattern. They often cut off people that are already set up on a final approach. Both the "non-swooper" and the guy doing the 270 in traffic are in the "wrong attitude" by putting others a risk by their actions. Why to swoopers feel things have got to change to suit them?

And for the record, how did you know the "A-HOLE" was a non-swooper? Was he wearing a sign?

Sparky

PS: His name is Bill, not Dude.


Pendejo  (D 22642)

Jul 11, 2005, 1:59 PM
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Re: [mjosparky] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
And for the record, how did you know the "A-HOLE" was a non-swooper? Was he wearing a sign?

No... He is one of those 2,000 plus jumpers that think the landing area was created for him alone and that "students" have no business in the main landing area. He also jumps a PD 260 and in the 4 years I have been at this DZ I have yet to see him "swoop."

As for the rest....

Quote:
The "non-swooper" you mention pissed you off for doing the same thing that swoopers do to people flying a "normal" pattern. They do a tight 270 turn from as high as 1000 feet and drop straight down into the pattern. They often cut off people that are already set up on a final approach. Both the "non-swooper" and the guy doing the 270 in traffic are in the "wrong attitude" by putting others a risk by their actions.
Quote:

That would be the point I was making when people jumped to conclusions about my post.
Why to swoopers feel things have got to change to suit them?

For the same reason that the some say swooping is evil (which by the way is the same reason my parents say skydiving is evil). They don't do it.... They don't want to do it..... They think its stupid... They think its dangerous...Therefore it must be evil...

Both are wrong.

I agree with the original post in this thread. What I do not agree with is the attitude that all swoopers are not sensible skydivers. This is not a shot at the person that posted it originally, it seems to be the attitude of most that do not swoop.


Quote:
PS: His name is Bill, not Dude.

Last time I checked the cool thing about america is that I can say things like that.... If however... I have offended Bill by calling him Dude then for that I am sorry...

(Edited to remove the last part that would have gottem me kicked off)


(This post was edited by Pendejo on Jul 11, 2005, 2:10 PM)


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Jul 11, 2005, 2:25 PM
Post #19 of 153 (4061 views)
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Re: [Pendejo] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I agree with the original post in this thread. What I do not agree with is the attitude that all swoopers are not sensible skydivers. This is not a shot at the person that posted it originally, it seems to be the attitude of most that do not swoop.

That attitude doesn't exist. The viewpoint being expressed that even if done well, a 180 or 270 approach is too risky in a crowded area due to the price of collisions. And for that reason, it is quite sensible to separate, or insist that swoops aren't done if there are still a lot of people below.


Scrumpot  (D License)

Jul 11, 2005, 2:56 PM
Post #20 of 153 (4050 views)
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Re: [kelpdiver] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
When I needed those last few accuracy landings....

Why does everybody think that accuracy absolutely neccessarily positively HAS TO BE THE PEAS? Crazy

Not you personally Kelp, however, it is your post I find myself here replying to, so....

Next time maybe, if you want to show/prove your accuracy ...set up some sort of target or declared spot/landing zone otherwise OUTSIDE of just "the peas" to go for! Land within whatever your required or specified/needed distance is of ANY predetermined (and/or declared) spot (or "target") and THERE's your accuracy ...WITHOUT all the worries! Wink

You do NOT have to equate "hitting the peas" in exclusion to all else to show/prove your accuracy!

Ask to have an alternate target in advance ANYWHERE and you can do this with no conflict(s). If you're unsure at your local DZ, before you go up ...just ASK!

-Grant


Scrumpot  (D License)

Jul 11, 2005, 3:07 PM
Post #21 of 153 (4044 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
And for the record, how did you know the "A-HOLE" was a non-swooper?

That big ol' Sharpshuter above their head is usually "signal enough" for me! Wink

To recognize the "non-swooper" that is, ...not necessarily the "A-HOLE", BTW.AngelicTongue
-Grant


tr027  (D License)

Jul 11, 2005, 6:29 PM
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Re: [Scrumpot] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

 
So we have to endure road rage in traffic all the way to the DZ, then Air Rage in traffic on the landing pattern? Interesting.Unimpressed


Zenister  (A 42)

Jul 11, 2005, 7:13 PM
Post #23 of 153 (3984 views)
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Re: [billvon] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
that if someone wants to pull a massive cool swoop through a pattern, it's fine as long as he "clears his area."

it is, providing they ACTUALLY CLEAR their airspace..

if you miss someone by '10 feet' you did not clear your airspace.

if someone else is forced to change their pattern because of your maneuver, you did not clear your airspace.

if you are 'forced to take an out' and it screws up someone elses pattern, you did not clear your airspace.

EVERYONE should be clearing their airspace EVERYTIME they make any maneuver under canopy. There is no tower to cross check you in skydiving, failure to 'keep your head on a swivel' and overall, general complacency is the real problem, not any specific set up technique... it simply becomes more critical as you approach the more congested landing area..

there is no excuse for not clearing your airspace regardless of your choice of approach. It should be a continual process, from the time your canopy opens to the time you enter the hanger, awareness is the most important habit you can cultivate...

the low canopy always has right of way especially if you are making a high performance turn from a much higher altitude..

this developing 'witch hunt' against swoopers is ridiculous.. no matter what your approach method, if you fail to leave adequate room for your intended maneuver (and possible outs, what! you dont check your outs?? shame on you) you are wrong... period..

failure to look ahead, and failure to leave adequate spacing on landing (aka clearing your airspace) is the issue here, NOT any specific technique... turn radius is irrelevant, awareness is sometimes lacking...


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Jul 11, 2005, 8:50 PM
Post #24 of 153 (3958 views)
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Re: [Pendejo] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Why to swoopers feel things have got to change to suit them?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For the same reason that the some say swooping is evil (which by the way is the same reason my parents say skydiving is evil). They don't do it.... They don't want to do it..... They think its stupid... They think its dangerous...Therefore it must be evil...

I have not said swooping is evil, nor did I call a swooper an "A-HOLE". I do not think swooping is stupid but it is dangerous to others when done in the normal pattern.

I did point out that you got pissed for someone doing to you what swoopers do to others at times and say the other jumper was in the way of their swoop.

If you are going to address my post, address the whole of it.

Sparky


Pendejo  (D 22642)

Jul 11, 2005, 10:23 PM
Post #25 of 153 (3937 views)
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Re: [mjosparky] Responsibility in the landing pattern [In reply to] Can't Post

I went back and re-read my post.... I think you needed to include the next line in the post.

Quote:
Both are wrong.


As in both the swooper that cuts someone off and the "sensible" jumper that spirals to 200 feet in the middle of the landing area. I'm one of those people that get pissed when ANYONE gets cut off regardless of their landing approach.


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