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Opening in a cloud?

 

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Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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May 10, 2005, 9:06 AM
Post #51 of 94 (1508 views)
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Re: [phoenixlpr] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

>??? Imagine you are the last, you can see the ground and you can
> see some clouds too. You are not out of spot and the airspace is
> clear. Why to ride the plane down? This is absurd.

I have done so many times. The last time was at Rantoul this year. I was last out of a CASA on the last load of the day. Clouds were building up fast. I took a look, realized that I could barely see the ground, and landed with the plane. By the time the plane punched the clouds they were solid.

Another time one of our organized groups was up (an 8-way.) Our cameraman, whom I trust, took a look out the door, saw some big solid clouds (with lots of openings) and declined to jump. The tandem masters were really pissed off, saying things like "I have 1000 jumps and I say it's OK to go! Now go!" We ignored them. The freeflyers and tandem masters got out. The pilot gave us another pass, and we were in the clear. We jumped. Afterwards the tandems and freeflyers were soaking wet; they had gone through thousands of feet of cloud at the busiest boogie in the world.

Would I have had a problem jumping in either case? Probably not. But I've jumped 4300 times, and as long as I turn down jumps like that, I will get to 5000. And given that I will get there, I feel like I can turn down the occasional jump - even if everyone else jumps.


brettski74  (C 3197)

Oct 30, 2006, 10:46 PM
Post #52 of 94 (1372 views)
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Re: [phoenixlpr] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Quote:

first one: when you know you are the last to leave the plane and you know you want to open high (for whatever reason) - why didn't you open above the cloud? gives you more time to fly your canopy and enjoy the scenery
Because it was not my plan.

I actually came here after reading a similar comment in the one of the 45 degree myth threads that bugged me. In that post, the guy said that he deployed inside a cloud because that was his nominated pull height and was calling into question the safety of the jumper behind him who chose to deploy at 3000' in the clear air under the cloud.

Let me ask you this... If you were planning to throw at 3500' and you looked over your shoulder and saw another jumper above you, would you trust him/her to see your wave off and make sure they got outta there, or would you maybe take advantage of the remaining 1000' before the hard-deck to try to get some horizontal separation? I think I'd be doing the latter. I'm sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, we can be friends on the ground, but you're all trying to kill me up there. :)

If you'd wait in that scenario, then why would you throw inside a cloud (assuming that you're jumping somewhere where this is legal)? How are you going to clear the sky above, below and beside you? Even if you do a slow right spiral like you're supposed to in the cloud, you'll be a much larger target and using a lot more airspace through which to collide with something than falling straight down the tube in freefall.

I never really thought about jumping through clouds in Canada, because it's simply not legal, so it's not really covered. When I went to Australia, I was required to read and sign their cloud jumping rules, which could be summed up as avoid horizontal movement and velocity changes inside a cloud with one exception - If you're at the hard-deck you will throw, cloud or no. It made a lot of sense to me then, and it still makes sense to me now. I've now been jumping in Latvia, where we often may be jumping through clouds, and I was told similar things, here. The only modification I've made to my thinking thus far is for RW, where tracking away from the formation at break-off is much less risky than no horizontal movement in the clouds, but even then, once I'd tracked away, I'd still hold until either clear air or the hard-deck to deploy my main.

I can think of several danger scenarios with the stick to the plan approach when inside a cloud:

- clueless jumper in front or behind you has tracked/backslid/sideslid into your airspace
- jumper in front or behind has lower horizontal separation at opening than expected (eg. 200') and you both open on a collision course.
- You and your RW buddies do your slow right spiral down through the cloud as you should, but how big is a "slow" spiral, and did you think about the fact that you're all spiralling blind back towards the centre of formation, towards the rest of your RW group? The same applies to solos who deploy facing opposite directions on each other's right.
- you're on a load with several RW groups and at break-off, you're lucky enough to be tracking towards the previous/next group

Since you couldn't clear the airspace, these are real possibilities that you can't be aware of without visibility. You might be able to shout, but not everyone's distance/direction perception for sound may be as good as you would hope, so maybe they/you still won't realize until you're too close to do much about it.

So far, I haven't been able to come up with a scenario where the don't deploy inside clouds unless at the hard-deck rule makes things worse except when not everyone follows it, whereas, even if everyone follows the stick to your plan rule, I can think of several bad situations that could result, so for now, I'm sticking with don't deploy inside a cloud unless local rules dictate otherwise, but I'm still new in the sport, and if someone has a different viewpoint, I'd be interested to hear it.


jwynne  (D License)

Nov 7, 2006, 10:21 AM
Post #53 of 94 (1221 views)
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Re: [brettski74] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In general, I think not deploying in clouds is a good idea and I do my best to not jump when there are likely to be clouds at breakoff or deployment altitude. Years ago I was on a 30way and at breakoff we found ourselves all tracking into a huge cloud. This was a group of old time jumpers and I knew most of them were comfortable taking it down to 2000 feet. This all went through my mind as we tracked off. At about 2800, just above the cloud, I did a big wave off and deployed. The rest of the group tracked into the cloud. The bottom of the cloud was at 1000 feet. We had one cypres fire and everyone else deployed in the cloud. It was spooky flying around in the cloud for 1000 feet, but I was comfortable with my decision. I let others near me know what I was doing and there was no one near me under canopy. Overall my preference would be to not get myself in that situation.


AFFI  (D 25538)

Nov 7, 2006, 10:37 AM
Post #54 of 94 (1211 views)
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Re: [jwynne] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

Whenever I am stuck in a cloud under canopy what I was trained to do is hold a toggle at the number one position and slowly "corkscrew" out of the cloud so I am using the same column of airspace.

If there are multiple canopies in that cloud and everyone uses the same column or airspace in that manner it lessens the chance of a collision.

Edit to add: Early on in my jumping career I did not hesitate to jump into the murky stuff - nowadays I just stay on the ground or ride the plane down... My closest call with death in skydiving was punching a cloud and came in contact with a open canopy. Barely escaped that one, luckly was able to get my PC launched in time to pull me out of the mess - it happened so fast!
Lessons learned...

-


(This post was edited by AFFI on Nov 7, 2006, 11:05 AM)


brettski74  (C 3197)

Nov 7, 2006, 11:35 AM
Post #55 of 94 (1188 views)
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Re: [AFFI] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Whenever I am stuck in a cloud under canopy what I was trained to do is hold a toggle at the number one position and slowly "corkscrew" out of the cloud so I am using the same column of airspace.

I was taught that, too. That makes sense - confining yourself to limited airspace while avoiding radical moves.

Quote:
Edit to add: Early on in my jumping career I did not hesitate to jump into the murky stuff - nowadays I just stay on the ground or ride the plane down... My closest call with death in skydiving was punching a cloud and came in contact with a open canopy. Barely escaped that one, luckly was able to get my PC launched in time to pull me out of the mess - it happened so fast!
Lessons learned...

In my thus far short skydiving career, I have jumped through clouds. No incidents there, yet, but I did have a close call on a three-way one day which highlighted the importance of knowing exactly where everyone around you is when you or they are thinking of deploying. This is one reason why that never deploy inside a cloud unless at the hard-deck makes even more sense to me these days. I wanna know I'm clear before I throw that PC and induce probably the most radical change in my velocity of the entire jump.


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Nov 7, 2006, 1:10 PM
Post #56 of 94 (1165 views)
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Re: [brettski74] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

If we think jumping into/through clouds is a bad thing (and the FAA seems to think it is), then here is a situation where GPS encourages us to do the wrong thing.

Used to be, if you couldn't see the ground, you were unlikely to jump. Why? Well, in 1967 16 people drowned because they jumped out over Lake Erie on a radio-controlled spot. So folks were pretty careful to have good eye contact with the ground. Not to mention that whole cloud-clearance thing.

With GPS, we seem to be willing to take a much smaller piece of ground as "visual contact with the ground." GPS makes it less likely that we're 5 miles away. I'm not sure that's an improvement.

Wendy W.


RandomLemming  (B 105978)

Nov 16, 2006, 8:35 AM
Post #57 of 94 (984 views)
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Re: [brettski74] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
If you'd wait in that scenario, then why would you throw inside a cloud (assuming that you're jumping somewhere where this is legal)? How are you going to clear the sky above, below and beside you?

I've only had 2 jumps through clouds and I got crapped out for opening too low on my second one. I hit clouds at 6k and had told everyone I was going to deploy at 4500. At 4500 I was still in cloud, so I waited a few seconds. At 4000 I came out of cloud, gave it four more seconds and deployed.

When I landed, I was told by the guy I followed out of the plane that I must pull when I say I will in future because I had endangered him. He explained that if he was tracking up the line of flight for any reason, I could collide with him by opening lower than I said I would. He is a regular at the DZ, and I am a n00b, so I have gone with this as my plan since then.


DougH  (D License)

Nov 16, 2006, 10:50 AM
Post #58 of 94 (961 views)
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Re: [RandomLemming] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

He has a point, plan the dive and dive the plan, but I think that there is also something wrong with this statement as well. You didn't dive the plan by choice, what if you had a malfunction that had you opening lower instead. Is he going to bitch at you for having a cutaway and ending up where he was tracking.

I don't track up jump run and under the tandems just because I 'know they are pulling at 5.5k'. It is skydiving and shit happens. People pull sooner then they planned, people have malfunctions, and people do stupid shit.

Instead of counting on others to pull exactly when they said I give proper seperation at the door, and don't track up jump run.


(This post was edited by DougH on Nov 16, 2006, 10:58 AM)


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Nov 16, 2006, 10:59 AM
Post #59 of 94 (950 views)
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Re: [DougH] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

>I think he should lower his risk of a freefall collision by not tracking up the jump run.

The best way to avoid a collision is to track away from the other people in your group; they are the most likely people you will collide with.

The best way to avoid a collision with another group is to leave sufficient time between groups.

Tracking closer to someone else so you don't track up line of flight is a dangerous thing to do.


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Nov 16, 2006, 10:59 AM
Post #60 of 94 (950 views)
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Re: [RandomLemming] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
When I landed, I was told by the guy I followed out of the plane that I must pull when I say I will in future because I had endangered him.
I don't agree with him. The usual policy is do not open higher than you agreed on jump organizing.

In reply to:
He explained that if he was tracking up the line of flight for any reason, I could collide with him by opening lower than I said I would.
He should have known that tracking up or down in the flight line is a major no-no.

Ask your mentor or instructor about this issue.


DougH  (D License)

Nov 16, 2006, 1:29 PM
Post #61 of 94 (925 views)
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Re: [billvon] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Tracking closer to someone else so you don't track up line of flight is a dangerous thing to do.

I agree totally, and I can see where that doesn't seem to jive with what I was typing.

When I am doing rw I track 180 from the other person allways (or what ever is appropriate considering group size). We are breaking low, and I don't think that I am tracking long enough for jump run to be a concern. Of course that is with assuming that the group behind me gave us good seperation.

It sounded like the guy who was giving him shiet was just doing a solo.
Thanks for clarifying what I should have Billvon. BlushBlush


(This post was edited by DougH on Nov 16, 2006, 4:15 PM)


JanuszPS  (D 568)

Nov 16, 2006, 3:39 PM
Post #62 of 94 (906 views)
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Re: Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

The worst experience with the clods for me?

3 km freefall throughout a little snowy cloud and open in light rain at 800m wearing open face helmet in February with -15Cdeg at 4000m – I wouldn’t recommend it anyone (cloud base was about 1000m).

And from last weekend – I had difficulties to read my altimeter due to the fog/water on my goggles.

I know this is against politically correct trend (no sun no jumps) but if I haven’t jumped in cloudy days I would have had more than 50% of jumps less and that is reality. Some of people are luckier and live in sunny places some other a little bit less lucky ;-)

And I always try to open below the cloud base after longer separation up there at least the cloud base is below 1000m (which happened good few times). Also I always check where clouds are and what altitude.

Blue Sky

JanuszPS (sorry for my English)
110 jumps so far


(This post was edited by JanuszPS on Nov 16, 2006, 3:43 PM)


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Nov 16, 2006, 3:46 PM
Post #63 of 94 (901 views)
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Re: [JanuszPS] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

>I know this is against politically correct trend (no sun no jumps) but
>if I haven’t jumped in cloudy days I would have had more than 50%
>of jumps less and that is reality.

I don't think there's anything wrong with jumping through clouds PROVIDED that appropriate precautions are taken.

For example, in the US, if you are in positive control airspace (i.e. no one there without explicit clearance) have only one group (a bigway, say) the clouds are at appropriate altitude (i.e. below exit, above breakoff) and you have bulletproof spotting (GPS backed up with something, like mountain references, VOR's or visual) then you can generally do it without too much risk. Still not legal per the FAR's, but doable safely.

The problem comes about when fun jumpers just jump through clouds without taking any of those precautions. Not being able to see that VFR cessna, or not realizing you're over a 3500 foot mountain, or not being able to see the next group after opening, can kill you (and others.)


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Nov 16, 2006, 6:15 PM
Post #64 of 94 (884 views)
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Re: [billvon] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I don't think there's anything wrong with jumping through clouds PROVIDED that appropriate precautions are taken.
Well, I disagree simply because it's illegal. But I totaly agree that it can, and is, done perfectly safely, depending on a myriad of factors, many of which you described. Maybe we can change the FAR'someday.


bob.dino  (E 2185)

Nov 16, 2006, 7:18 PM
Post #65 of 94 (877 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you're curious, contact the APF and ask them about cloud-jumping procedures in Australia.


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Nov 16, 2006, 11:23 PM
Post #66 of 94 (864 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well, I disagree simply because it's illegal. But I totaly agree that it can, and is, done perfectly safely, depending on a myriad of factors, many of which you described. Maybe we can change the FAR'someday.

It's illegal in your country only.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Nov 17, 2006, 2:47 AM
Post #67 of 94 (855 views)
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Re: [phoenixlpr] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
It's illegal in your country only.
Only in the U.S.A.? Legal in Canada? And the whole rest of the world? I don't have the aviation regs for the whole rest of the planet handy. Do you? I do know that Billvon is a US resident, same as I. He's the author of the post I was addressing. Legal cloud jumps? I'd love to do them, and I've written letters to the FAA supporting requests for waivers to do such. However, glacial is the rate of progress in that direction.


icevideot  (D 23833)

Nov 17, 2006, 5:07 AM
Post #68 of 94 (845 views)
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Re: [billvon] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you may be too hard on Billvon. He clearly states both that this is his opinion and that it is not legal per FAR's.

Quote:
I don't think there's anything wrong with jumping through clouds PROVIDED that appropriate precautions are taken.

Quote:
Still not legal per the FAR's, but doable safely.



He also gives us a list of the important variables that come to his mind when considering such an act. Some of the people on here may live places that it isn't illegal and others here may decide to push the issue someday anyway. After reading his post some may also decide not to exit that CASA with 10 groups of skydivers of whom they barely know half. I applaud Billvon for giving us food for thought and never felt he was condoning illegal action or stupid acts where it may be legal.
Often learning to see safety concerns in one situation helps identify them in others. It is the same old "Give a man a fish and fee him for a day but teach a man to fish and feed him for life."

Thanks Billvon, you may have saved some people a very bad experience here.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Nov 17, 2006, 10:30 AM
Post #69 of 94 (811 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

>Well, I disagree simply because it's illegal.

Not always. (I jump in places other than the US.) I don't do it here because a) it is illegal and b) the appropriate precautions are usually _not_ taken.


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Nov 17, 2006, 11:28 AM
Post #70 of 94 (802 views)
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Re: [billvon] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the size of the load matters too.


brettski74  (C 3197)

Nov 18, 2006, 8:58 AM
Post #71 of 94 (750 views)
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Re: [bob.dino] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool. Thanks for that. There's actually a page with links to the various cloud jumping rules and resources.

Getting back to the topic of the thread, I did find it interesting that CASA (Australian equivalent of the FAA, not the spanish-built plane) rules state that:

Quote:
Parachutists must not open their canopies in cloud except in emergency. Opening in cloud is to be a notifiable incident in accordance with the Sport Aviation Organisation’s approved procedures.

Seriously, anyone who thinks it's safe to deploy a parachute inside a cloud is kidding themselves, IMHO.


happythoughts  (D License)

Nov 18, 2006, 10:49 AM
Post #72 of 94 (739 views)
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Re: [phoenixlpr] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Well, I disagree simply because it's illegal. But I totaly agree that it can, and is, done perfectly safely, depending on a myriad of factors, many of which you described. Maybe we can change the FAR'someday.

It's illegal in your country only.

And... why? Did they just sit down one day and say, "Gee... today, let's make something illegal for no valid reason" ? Crazy

It is illegal in the US because it is a bad idea.
Just because it is legal in a country does not make it a good idea.

Citizens of other countries, while visiting the US, have lost body parts due to being impacted by a jumper in freefall.

When you dump in a cloud, you HOPE:
1- That no one opened under you and you are about to impact them while you are still in freefall.

2- That no one is behind you in freefall and about to hit you when you open.

3- That there is no aircraft under the cloud that you will impact.

It is bad to place your safety in the arms of Hope and Chance. The idea is to minimize the risks where we can.


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Nov 18, 2006, 11:33 AM
Post #73 of 94 (735 views)
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Re: [happythoughts] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
And... why? Did they just sit down one day and say, "Gee... today, let's make something illegal for no valid reason" ? Crazy
Thats interesting.

In reply to:
It is illegal in the US because it is a bad idea.
Just because it is legal in a country does not make it a good idea.
Have I stated thats the right thing to do?

In reply to:
Citizens of other countries, while visiting the US, have lost body parts due to being impacted by a jumper in freefall.
I'm trying to remember if I ever jump there.

In reply to:
When you dump in a cloud, you HOPE:
1- That no one opened under you and you are about to impact them while you are still in freefall.

2- That no one is behind you in freefall and about to hit you when you open.

3- That there is no aircraft under the cloud that you will impact.
1. I can not remember everything, but it could be a wing suit jump from C207 and it was a freefly 2-3 way before me.
2. So I was the last.
3. Planes flying VFR and they were notified that skydivers in the airspace by our pilot during that jump.


AFFI  (D 25538)

Nov 18, 2006, 1:01 PM
Post #74 of 94 (722 views)
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Re: [happythoughts] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
It's illegal in your country only.

And... why? Did they just sit down one day and say, "Gee... today, let's make something illegal for no valid reason" ? Crazy

It is illegal in the US because it is a bad idea.
Just because it is legal in a country does not make it a good idea.
It is not such a bad idea always... Cloud jumps can be beautiful, so much so it is worth the miniscule added risk.

There are a lot of things "illegal" in the USA that really shouldent be. Last thing we need in this country is more of our freedoms taken away...

Legalize it...

-


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Nov 18, 2006, 8:01 PM
Post #75 of 94 (699 views)
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Re: [happythoughts] Opening in a cloud? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
And... why? Did they just sit down one day and say, "Gee... today, let's make something illegal for no valid reason" ? Crazy

It is illegal in the US because it is a bad idea.
Just because it is legal in a country does not make it a good idea.
Well, it was legal to jump in the clouds in the U.S. 40 years ago. Then, one day, a load of jumpers left a B-25 jump ship into the clouds and landied in Lake Erie, drowning most of them. That was the beginning of the rule making that prohibits jumping through clouds in the U.S. (Any old timers got more info on this bad day in jumping history?)

The ironic thing is that it was a new safety rule requiring the pilot of the jump plane to talk to air traffic controllers prior to jumping that contributed to this accident. The pilot used his one VHF radio for communicating, not navigating, and relied on the air traffic controller's radar to spot the load. Unfortunately, the controller misidentified the aircraft, thought he was over the DZ when he was really over the lake.

As I stated in my earlier post, I support taking another look at the rules, maybe getting a waiver for a test of intentional cloud jumping. I feel the increased risk can be successfully managed with today's much improved radar and electronic navigation systems. I've written to the FAA stating that opinion, but I'm not holding my breath.


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