Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
The Risk you take!

 

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matttrudeau

Jun 27, 2001, 6:58 AM
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The Risk you take! Can't Post

I've made two tandem jumps and I loved every second of it. I'm debating on whether or not to continue because of the risks. It seems like most people I talk to associate skydiving with death. I know that skydiving is a lot safer than it used to be. How safe is it, really? I know on average 25 to 30 people die every year from skydiving. I'm wondering how many could have been avoided and how many are unavoidable?



GeekStreak  (Student)

Jun 27, 2001, 7:29 AM
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Yes, most whuffos you talk to will say that.

The media never reports things like "last year approximately 2,000,000 safe jumps were made." They'll tell you when someone dies in a heartbeat, but in today's society good news is simply not news.


1111,
GeekStreak


Zennie

Jun 27, 2001, 7:43 AM
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Well, I'd say all of them, like most accidents of any sort, are avoidable.

But I think I know what you're getting at. I'd say most of them. This year has been a really bizzarre year for accidents, but in general, you can classify accidents along these rough lines:

1. Low toggle turns. Oftentimes on an unfamiliar rig or at an unfamiliar location. And, of course, insufficient experience.
2. Cutaway/no reserve pull. I still don't get this. Pull all the handles dammit!
3. Low cutaway. Really this fits under #2, but it happens so often I decided to separate it out.
4. Cutaway/horseshoe followed by main/reserve entanglement.

Of course there are other types, but these are what you'll see the most frequently. What you will *not* see is the frequently reported "His parachute failed to open".

Of these I would say 1-3 are most definitely in the "avoidable" category. #4 is the nightmare scenario.

I'm sure there are others common ones that I may have forgotten. But those stick in my mind.

If you want more on fatality statistics go to http://www.skydivenet.com/fatalities/

Everyone should read them. What you learn may save your life one day.

------------
Blue Skies!

Zennie


Michele  (B 26874)

Jun 27, 2001, 9:50 AM
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Hi, Matt

I am very new, as well. And I understand the risks. You will be taught how to handle yourself in an emergency, but it's up to you to handle yourself. And you CAN do it (this is something I know). There is no mystery in handling an emergency. You will be taught everything you need to know before getting into the air.

The only advice I can give you is: learn. learn, learn, learn. Read all the back posts here (excellent information). Follow the links supplied here. Ask your instructors everything you can think of, whether you think it's important or not - they're there to teach you. Post your questions here, and you will get tons of help, encouragement, and helpful info (thanks again, everyone).

And then, jump. And trust yourself. And discover this sport's intensity, and freedom, and joy.

One of the interesting things I have learned in the last week is: everything we do has inherent risk. Some of those risks are less than others, but everything has risks. Yes, this is a "high risk" sport, but as was stated above, you never hear the statistic that there were 2,000,000 safe jumps this year. If I've done the math right, that would mean that 1 in 72,727.27 jumps ends in death (2mil/27.5 deaths).

People around you won't understand. They can't, unless they've jumped themselves. That's o.k., but you can't let their opinions become your life. People around you will tell you all sorts of things. Let them talk, but when you know different, don't take those comments into yourself. Find your own way in this - learn (did I say that before?), ask, do.

Just my opinions.

Ciel bleu -
Michele



GeekStreak  (Student)

Jun 27, 2001, 10:00 AM
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In reply to:
1 in 72,727.27 jumps ends in death
Laugh WOOOHOOOOOOOOO! Laugh

I still have 72,725 jumps to go Smile! It's that last 0.27 of a jump that'll get ya! Wink

1111,
GeekStreak


Michele  (B 26874)

Jun 27, 2001, 10:29 AM
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you crack me up!!!!!!!!!!!! .27.......

If you have a problem and correct it, does that count as "starting over"? If so, that means I still have 72,726.27 to go.....lol



DZBone  (D 14358)

Jun 27, 2001, 10:33 AM
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In reply to:
If you want more on fatality statistics go to http://www.skydivenet.com/fatalities/

Everyone should read them. What you learn may save your life one day.
Also read through the <A HREF="http://www.pia.com/SSK/saves02b.htm" target="_new">CYPRES Save Reports</A>. They are much sketchier, but they have some first-person information that the others lack. It will give you good insight as to what might be going through the minds of some of our brothers and sisters who have been in freefall through 700-1000 feet.

Carl



Grogs  (D 24265)

Jun 27, 2001, 10:53 AM
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I read a thread on rec.skydiving not too long ago about the statistics of skydiving versus driving in a car. According to one person's math, skydiving was actually *safer* than driving your car 10,000 miles per year when computed in deaths per 100,000. Another person, in typical wreck.skydiving fashion told the guy he was an idiot, and according to the 'real' math, skydiving is actually 3 times more dangerous than driving. In any case, most people don't think twice about jumping into their car to drive across the country, but wouldn't jump out of an airplane for any amount of money. Just a matter of perception I think. Personally, I *do* believe that skydiving is safer than some of the other high risk sports like scuba diving or hang gliding. In any case, my personal philosopy is that I'm going to die anyway, so if I go out doing something that I love, it's not such a big deal.



rendezvous  (C License)

Jun 27, 2001, 10:53 AM
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Well, let's just say that the sport does have a level of risk attached to it, and it is important to accept this
reality because our survival depends on it. Having said that, I think the risk is a highly managable one if we try and understand it well enough. It's obviously not a walk in the park. You are, after all throwing yourself out of a plane, into the arms of gravity, and then depending on a parachute to break the plunge. In the process you are subjecting yourself to human and mechanical error to which there is no second chance or another day. However through a discplined and mature approach both these errors can be contained. By managable risk I mean, how much risk are you prepared to take before you feel the risk is not worth it. Thats a personal opinion. In may case I feel through proper guidance, an informed approach, good training and the right kind of attitude the risk of total failure falls well withen an acceptable limit. Once again it's not an absolutely risky sport as long as you understand the elements involved and have respect for the sport.
The idea is to try and harness the risk not to play with it.





riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jun 27, 2001, 11:08 AM
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"It seems like most people I talk to associate skydiving with death."
Most of the people you talk to are ill-informed whuffos. Most of what they "know" about skydiving comes from biased mass media.
Secondly, since they lack the stones to skydive they displace their fears by claiming that every skydiver is crazy. A little honesty would be nice here.
Finally, "whuffo' is a derogatory term applied to people who shoot their mouths off about subjects they don't understand.
In answer to your original question. Yes, skydiving is dangerous. Done sloppily, skydiving will kill you. Done properly, you can survive thousands of jumps, travel to exotic locations and share your joy with hundreds - maybe thousands - of new friends.
Don't allow other peoples' fears to limit your lifestyle.
It's your life, make the most of it!



DZBone  (D 14358)

Jun 27, 2001, 12:34 PM
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I'd rather die living, than live dying.


Ooooh, deep.



CJM

Jun 27, 2001, 5:00 PM
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Dan Poynter quoted some good figures in his book "The Skydiver's Handbook" (which I highly recommend if you're just starting out). He estimates 1 fatality for every 82,000 jumps, which equates to 1 for every 3,800 participants. These figures can be compared with 1 fatality for every 2,308 hang gliding flights and the 1 in every 2,582 Americans who die each year in all accidental deaths. He also gives some other fatality statistics. Approximately 30 skydivers die each year compared to 105 people who died while scuba diving, 856 bicycling, 7,000 drowned (365 in bath tubs), 1154 died of bee stings, 60 snowmobiling, 47 water skiing, and 300 died after being hit by lighting! Then of course there are highway fatalities which number upwards of 50,000.

He's also got some interesting observations "why we jump." Psychologists used to classify risk takers as people who had some kind of Freudian death wish or who were practicing "fear displacement" or were acting out psychopathic fantasies in an attempt to make up for feelings of inadequacy or to demonstrate omnipotence (Of course! Now I understand why I do what I do!) But, he quotes a 1973 study conducted on 293 high-risk competitors, including skydivers. What they found was that risk takers tended to be success oriented, above average in abstract ability and intelligence and that they were rarely reckless. Instead their risk taking tended to be cool and calculated. The study author concluded that risk takers grow up in a "go for it" environment where they are coached to try new things. Meanwhile, their timid friends are being told "Don't do that - you could get hurt."

Regardless, statistically skydiving is very safe if YOU are safe. Buy really crappy gear, never inspect it, and then do stupid things in the air and, naturally, your odds dramatically decrease (just as much as if you were a reckless vehicle driver). Most whuffos naturally view skydiving as dangerous and foolhardy simply because it involves performing a very unnatural act. Even babies are instinctively afraid of falling (even though they don't know why). Skydiving taps into a primal human fear. Couple that with the fact that we live in a society in which says "Don't do that - you might get hurt" and it's easy to understand the whuffo mentality.

Bottom line is that skydiving is probably safer than some other things you do now if you're smart about it. If you want to skydive and you think the rewards are worth the risks, don't let fear stop you - your fear is instinctive and not based on objective criteria. Don't listen to the whuffos either - they're victims of their own ignorance. Your family and friends may be wary at first, but they can be convinced (there's a good thread somwhere on that topic). It's a personal decision, but just make sure you know what the real risks are.



DZBone  (D 14358)

Jun 27, 2001, 5:11 PM
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CJM, who are you and why haven't you been posting here until now? Smile

Very well put. Welcome!

BTW, do you have a reference for the study you mention? Is it online somewhere?



GeekStreak  (Student)

Jun 27, 2001, 6:18 PM
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In reply to:
Dan Poynter quoted some good figures in his book "The Skydiver's Handbook" (which I highly recommend if you're just starting out).
I bought that book today on account of all the people here recomending it Smile.

Get yours <A HREF="http://shop.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=1DVFEMQZ1W&mscssid=7GQEF4PV1F2V8MRDVN68WVQMCT31F5QD&isbn=1568600623" target="_new">HERE</A>.

Some of my whuffo friends are gonna hate those numbers Laugh.

THANKS!

1111,
GeekStreak


JDBoston  (D 26450)

Jun 28, 2001, 10:10 AM
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I heard another interesting stat - the risk of 1 jump is the same as the risk of driving 440 miles.

With the exception of course that on the road, a lot of the risk comes from some other dumb driver (and there are lots of dumb drivers out there...) running a red light or something, whereas on a typical Otter load you only really have to watch out for maybe the 3 or 4 other jumpers who got out before and after you and will be closest to you under canopy. Most of the fatalities involve one person and one only, and like the other posts say, most could have been prevented somehow.

So the bottom line is you have much more CONTROL when you're skydiving over what happens to you. That shouldn't make you afraid, it should just make you take it seriously and make it your business to learn about everything. A good place to start is www.skydivenet.com. I read every single incident there before I even jumped once. I feel a lot more comfortable when I know what could go wrong and what I could do to hopefully avoid it.

Blue skies,

Joe
A-38502



skymedic  (C 33561)

Jun 28, 2001, 2:21 PM
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The question is always how much managable risk are you willing to take. Skydiving in MHO is much safer with alot more manageable risk than say driving your car or riding a motorcycle. I see far more innocent people dead in cars than you would think. these are the ones that were in the wrong place at the wrong time. just my couple of pennys worth.

marc



DZBone  (D 14358)

Jun 28, 2001, 10:52 PM
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In reply to:
What they found was that risk takers tended to be success oriented, above average in abstract ability and intelligence
Hmm. Forgot to mention "good-looking and high level of sexual prowess". Must have just been an oversight.



spectre230
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Jun 29, 2001, 12:34 AM
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cyberskydive  (C 28534)

Jun 29, 2001, 5:37 AM
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I always liked that line from shawshank redemtion

C-28534
http://www.sunraydesigns.com


stenerlov  (Student)

Jun 29, 2001, 6:05 AM
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Calculated risks, accident statistics, Ive read most everything there is to find on the risk of our sport.
I often ask myself if its worth it, the risk - but always,
theres something inside me telling me "You have to do this" "You love to do this" and when that feeling arrives no
whuffo or statistics can stop me from jumping.

But I think, if you have jumped for quite while and still feel really really afraid - do something else.



DZBone  (D 14358)

Jun 29, 2001, 9:07 AM
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One other point on all this. It's one thing to try to convince a whuffo that skydiving is safe. Just please don't convince yourself that it is.

Skydiving Is Dangerous

If you forget that, and think that it's no more dangerous than driving a few hundred miles, then it just became very dangerous for you and those around you.

Of course, driving is also dangerous, that shouldn't be forgotten. If people drove with the same attention to equipment and emergency procedures that we have, there would be orders of magnitude fewer highway deaths.

I guess.

Carl



matttrudeau

Jun 29, 2001, 10:21 AM
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Thanks a lot for all your contributions to my post.



SwagDiva  (Student)

Jun 29, 2001, 12:45 PM
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Wow. I was reading the postings on this and was amazed. I felt the same way when I did my tandem jump for my 29th birthday. I loved it so much I had to jump again that same day and later started lessons.

It is good to know that I am not crazy. Atleast, that is what my friends have been tellin me. I have had the same issue and done the exact same thing. I have done the research, bought videos, and books. I went into this sport understanding the risks and precautions. But, no matter what I say to my friends...they think I do not understand that I could die doing this. The fact is, they do not understand that they can die no matter what your doing.

I have had debates and realized that skydiving has made me a more informed and aware person about life. I have taken alot more precautions driving and in all my activities.

It is a relief to know that someone else has been experiencing the same issue.



mbolism  (B 24527)

Jun 29, 2001, 8:15 PM
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I've lived and worked in Detroit (the murder/carjack capital of the world)for over 10 years, and I have to tell you, the place I feel the safest is in the air. I think the reason I don't associate death with skydiving is because this sport to me is about control. It is the individual who is in control of their gear, their own and others safety, and their own destiny. There are few things in life you can choose to do where you put your own life in your own hands for the amount of time you're doing it. For me personally, the sport is about self-control, sanity, reason, discipline, and maturity. If I had started jumping when I was younger, I don't know what would've happened , but I'm pretty sure it would've been bad! Skydiving is not about fear, it's about confidence. Sure, there may be a one in how-ever-many chance that something could happen that is completely out of your control, but I agree with those who say that's true of most things, like driving in Detroit late at night!!!I just think it's more important to really listen to your own heart and don't let statistics rule your life.

kiss the sky


Zennie

Jun 29, 2001, 9:56 PM
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In reply to:
One other point on all this. It's one thing to try to convince a whuffo that skydiving is safe. Just please don't convince yourself that it is.
I certainly wouldn't delude myself into thinking skydiving is safe. But I don't think that's the point people are trying to make.

I think what we're trying to say is that everything is a calculated risk which involves some chance of death or serious injury. But for some reason people do "risky" things without even blinking an eye.

Driving an automobile or motorcycle is dangerous. SCUBA diving is dangerous. But most people wouldn't give you grief about it. That's considered "normal". Yet when you look at statistics, skydiving isn't much riskier than any of those activities. Yet whuffos think we're maniacs.

I think the issue is one of proportionality and understanding facts, rather than visceral reaction to the dramatic act of jumping out of an airplane.

Other dangerous activities are more mundane and thus acceptable. Ours is spectacular and therefore crazy. Tongue


------------
Blue Skies!

Zennie


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