Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone?

 

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Megatron  (A 54082)

Dec 3, 2008, 10:19 PM
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Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? Can't Post

I'm was just thinking about some of the statistics regarding safety. While skydiving seems to be relatively safe for what it is, (about 1 death per 100,000 jumps & ~30 fatalities per year) one has to wonder what percentage of consistent skydivers will eventually be killed in a skydiving related incident.

First, let me define what a "consistent skydiver" is exactly: A consistent skydiving is a licensed skydiver who completes at least 5 jumps per year with no more than 2 recurrency jump required. I just made up that definition so maybe you can think of some better criteria but hopefully it will cover at least 80% of licensed skydivers (even those who dont jump very often but still keep doing it on a regular basis).

Now lets select these "consistent jumpers" from a population of all USPA license holders who received their licenses in the year 1988 (20 years ago). Now of these individuals, what percentage are now dead as a result of a skydiving related incident?

Does anyone know? Or at least know where I could find the data I would need to get the statistic outlined above?

While from a statistical standpoint even the slight 0.001% chance you have of being killed on any given jump is outweighed by the infinite utility of life, I feel that the satisfaction derived from this sport is worth that rather small risk. However, I might be inclined to sit back and give some real hard thought about staying in the sport throughout the course of my life (which is the case at this point as I have no intention of quitting) if the mortality rate for life-long skydivers is something as high as 10%, lets say.

btw, I realize that the risk is the same for every jump and does not depend on how many jumps you have previously completed or how long you've been in the sport. Still, its an interesting statistic to have.


(This post was edited by Megatron on Dec 3, 2008, 10:30 PM)


yarpos  (D 373)

Dec 4, 2008, 12:53 AM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

just my opinion but I think you are greatly over thinking this (and I doubt the data is available)..... set your standards, find out whose advice to value, dont compromise on safety and you have a good chance of not being a stat.

Having said that the sport has many variables and you are introducing additional risk into your life, all of which you cant control (e.g. crash on take off, moron spiralling into your canopy at 300ft). These risks are real and can be reduced by some of the choices you make but cannot be eliminated.


antonija

Dec 4, 2008, 2:46 AM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you operate with statistics for entire population of jumpers (including conservative and more liberal jumpers) you can not make (well, almost) any assumption to the statistics of sub-groups. You could say that conservative jumpers die less, but then again that would just be your gut feeling. Statistics should catch up with everyone eventually.

For my personal peace of mind I decided that if there are people doing swoops, low openings, etc. and still live, then my chances of survival each skydive should be greater than theirs. Unfortunately this does not rule out me dying on the next jump.

The truth is you could die on your next jump or you could be on your death bed suffering from <insert random "natural" cause of death> remembering all those 300ft pulls that you landed on your feet without a scratch.


jakee  (C License)

Dec 4, 2008, 3:18 AM
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Re: [antonija] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Statistics should catch up with everyone eventually.

No they don't. Statistics don't hunt people, and they won't tell you what's going to happen to any particular person.


hackish  (No License)

Dec 4, 2008, 7:32 AM
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Re: [jakee] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally I think someone who jumps 5 times a year is not current. We have a few at our very small DZ who are in the 65-85 age range. Each with thousands of jumps. They all have great stories to tell under the beer light but apparently the stats haven't caught them yet. Modern equipment is many times better than the blast handles, ropes and rings and capewells they used to jump as well.

-Michael


JohanW  (D 86318)

Dec 4, 2008, 8:13 AM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

If the risk caught up with everyone, everyone would need to make an infinite number of jumps.

With chances like 99999 in 100000, there's not much point in doing the hard calculations, but it seems you have a 36% chance of surviving a 100000 jumps. About 10000 jumps to have 90% chance of survival.

Do you feel like making ten thousand jumps? Do you think you wouldn't influence the odds by learning and making choices during that time? Why are you overthinking it like that?

Oh - and don't ever climb on a motorbike.

Odds of dying (leaving out broken bones and other minor stuff) are about the same for
* 1 parachute jump
* 1000 km driving a car
* 50 km riding a bike
(still looking for a reference for that BTW)

Gut feeling - jump more, post less.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Dec 4, 2008, 8:57 AM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just as well use idiotic lottery logic. I heard a guy on a quick TV news quip quoted, "It's all 50/50, you either win or you don't." Just like skydiving, you either die or you don't.

Martin


MakeItHappen

Dec 4, 2008, 9:07 AM
Post #8 of 105 (5130 views)
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm was just thinking about some of the statistics regarding safety. While skydiving seems to be relatively safe for what it is, (about 1 death per 100,000 jumps & ~30 fatalities per year) one has to wonder what percentage of consistent skydivers will eventually be killed in a skydiving related incident.

First, let me define what a "consistent skydiver" is exactly: A consistent skydiving is a licensed skydiver who completes at least 5 jumps per year with no more than 2 recurrency jump required. I just made up that definition so maybe you can think of some better criteria but hopefully it will cover at least 80% of licensed skydivers (even those who dont jump very often but still keep doing it on a regular basis).

Now lets select these "consistent jumpers" from a population of all USPA license holders who received their licenses in the year 1988 (20 years ago). Now of these individuals, what percentage are now dead as a result of a skydiving related incident?

Does anyone know? Or at least know where I could find the data I would need to get the statistic outlined above?

You could extract the information from the reports in the mag from the past 20 years.
The individual reports list 'time in sport' and 'number of jumps' when known.
Data in the individual reports has changed over the years.
Student v. experienced jumper is usually provided too.
There are articles that state membership composition too.
Data from Wings & Things and license listings can also be used to determine when someone got a license.
Names, dates and location can be cross-referenced with SNM articles.

If you need someone to go look up this info, you can ask me at Aerosoftware _AT_MakeItHappen.com replace _AT with @.

In reply to:
btw, I realize that the risk is the same for every jump and does not depend on how many jumps you have previously completed or how long you've been in the sport. Still, its an interesting statistic to have.

This is absolutely NOT true. We are not doing a coin toss here. The risks depend upon a number of variables, including experience level and time in sport.

.


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Dec 4, 2008, 9:09 AM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

A more important question might be - does a higher level of personal risk tolerance translate into a greater likelihood of injury or death?


Andy_Copland  (A 105852)

Dec 4, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Re: [skybytch] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

People always look at statistics without asking themselves that exact question, hence i hate statistics.


MakeItHappen

Dec 4, 2008, 1:24 PM
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Re: [skybytch] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
A more important question might be - does a higher level of personal risk tolerance translate into a greater likelihood of injury or death?

Safety, aka 'personal risk tolerance', is subjective.
Risk is 'how bad' times 'how often'. Risk is objective.
FMI see
About Risks
Risk and Safety

.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Dec 4, 2008, 1:55 PM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

Man small. Why fall? Skies call. That's all.


Ion01  (B License)

Dec 4, 2008, 2:33 PM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

Many people say they don't want to be a statistic. I have decided I do. SmileWhat do I mean. Well, I mean that I want to be one of the jumpers with thousands and thousands of jumps without a cutaway or an injury. I want to be one of those statistics! This is obviously a goal that one is never finished in thier attempt to reach but this is a good thing as it will force me to always learn and always make safety first. As already mentioned there are always the uncontrollables such as another diver hitting me but even then, I must make the decision to put my life in their hands by jumping with someone I don't trust. There are so many things we can control in this sport and I am going to do my best to keep them all in control.

Some people want to be swoopers and other things (if thats you I am not making fun or looking down on you for that decision, it obviously takes great skill) I, however, I have chosen for my focus to be safety. Just my personal decision and something I hope I will be able to take great pride in as I learn and grow in the future.


The111  (D 29246)

Dec 4, 2008, 3:20 PM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

You can use probability to determine your odds of surviving Russian Roulette.

You can't use probability to determine your odds of surviving skydiving. It just doesn't work. Probability is use to describe things that are out of your control. More often than not, the things that will bite you during a skydive are in your control.


LloydDobbler  (D 30655)

Dec 4, 2008, 4:17 PM
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Re: [The111] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
You can use probability to determine your odds of surviving Russian Roulette.

You can't use probability to determine your odds of surviving skydiving. It just doesn't work. Probability is use to describe things that are out of your control. More often than not, the things that will bite you during a skydive are in your control.

Exactly.

To the OP, the thing is, there are too many variables to do any sort of reliable statistical analysis here. Experience, disciplines practiced, currency, etc all come into play.

But the biggest variable of all: you're not the same as the guy sitting next to you on the plane. Like Matt said, you have quite a bit of control.

If it was luck (and it *sometimes* is) that determined the outcome, the numbers analysis would work well. But analyzing your chances based on someone who's made 5 jumps per year with 1 recurrency jump since 1988? You might as well be comparing apples to doughnuts. Wink


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Dec 4, 2008, 4:53 PM
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Re: [The111] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
You can use probability to determine your odds of surviving Russian Roulette.

You can't use probability to determine your odds of surviving skydiving. It just doesn't work. Probability is use to describe things that are out of your control. More often than not, the things that will bite you during a skydive are in your control.

Statistics simply state what has happened. You can use them to predict the probability in the future, if the circumstances are the same.
But it is only probability, and only valid across large samples. Using them to predict individual outcomes is as accurate as betting on a single roll of the dice.
For example, if you toss a coin and it comes up heads 10 times in a row, what are the odds it will come up heads the next time?

There are also too many variables in skydiving based on individual choices for the "chances of getting hurt or killed" to have any real validity. For example, the "odds" of a malfunction requiring a cutaway are about 1 in 300 or so. I know jumpers with over 1000 jumps and no cutaways yet. Then there are the CReW guys who might have one every 50 or so.


pchapman  (D 1014)

Dec 4, 2008, 6:10 PM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I hesitate to get involved in this as there are so many factors, and the subject has so often been discussed before.

Look for the USPA annual fatality summary published in their mag, The Powerpoint version may be online. They show some info on the number of jumps per year in the US, as well as fatalities. (Just watch for the issue of students vs. non students in the numbers.)

Lately the 1 fatality per 100k jumps sounds like a reasonable starting point. If a somewhat active recreational jumper makes 100 jumps per year, that's a 1 in 1000 chance of getting killed per year.
(Yes statistically one can't just multiply like that, but it is close for small probabilities.)
Over 20 years of skydiving that's 1 in 50, or 2%. While not like a lifetime of Himalayan mountaineering, that's still appreciable. One might choose not to go to a restaurant if one knows someone is going to walk in and randomly kill one of the 50 people inside. One in 50 also gets into the territory of "someone you know is going to die in the sport" if one is around long enough.

Sure one can say one won't be like the average jumper, but there are those risks that are hard to avoid -- aircraft crashes, hit from behind under canopy, and so on. Also, just about everyone thinks they are going to survive their next swoop... but some don't. We are all stupid at some point, so it is hard to expect the stats to not apply at all to oneself because of how smart and safe one is. (Not to be fatalistic... one should still try to be better than average.)

As for comments about statistics not "catching up": They sure do for cumulative risk. If the dice are fair the chance of rolling snake eyes on 2d6 is the same 1/36 as usual even if one has rolled a hundred times without, but the total risk of rolling snake eyes keeps rising each time you roll.

While playing with a few risk numbers isn't what will keep one alive on one's next jump, and good data is hard to get, I think it is still worth looking at stats to get some idea in one's mind about the long term risks of the sport.


awagnon  (B 35872)

Dec 4, 2008, 7:14 PM
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Re: [JohanW] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Oh - and don't ever climb on a motorbike.

Odds of dying (leaving out broken bones and other minor stuff) are about the same for
* 1 parachute jump
* 50 km riding a bike
(still looking for a reference for that BTW)

As an avid motorcycle rider, I easily ride 10,000 - 15,000 miles a year. I looked at the safety statistics when trying to decide whether to take up skydiving. I had to convince the wife it was as safe as riding. This is what I came up with:

There are about 110,000 skydivers making jumps a year in the US. Last statistic showed 28 died for a fatality rate of about 25 per 100,000 participants. There are 6,580,000 licensed motorcyclists in the US with about 4,810 fatalities in the US. Thus the fatality rate for riding a motorcycle is 73 per 100,000 participants. Or nearly three times the fatality rate of skydiving. Of course, as mentioned, there are many factors which affect an individual's risk in both sports. But, bottom line, 1 out of 1961 motorcyclists will have a fatal accident compared with 1 out of about 4,000 skydivers. That's the only comparative statistic I could come up with, but it satisfied the wife. However, I don't know what the risk is of participating in both. I am very safety oriented when I ride and my moto is "luck favors the prepared".


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Dec 4, 2008, 8:00 PM
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Re: [awagnon] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
There are about 110,000 skydivers making jumps a year in the US.

Only if you include tandem passengers and students who don't remain in the sport and have a fatality rate substantially lower than licensed skydivers (the tandem instructor is generally experienced, current, and using conservative gear to make basic jumps).

Most boogies and DZs require you to be a current USPA member to jump. The popular destination DZs people like to visit when the weather gets cold require USPA membership. So nearly all skydivers in this country are USPA members.

Since there are only 30,000 USPA members and about fatalities a year the rate is about 1 in 1000.


(This post was edited by DrewEckhardt on Dec 4, 2008, 8:01 PM)


awagnon  (B 35872)

Dec 4, 2008, 9:19 PM
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Re: [DrewEckhardt] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Since there are only 30,000 USPA members and about fatalities a year the rate is about 1 in 1000.

True. The number of jumpers is from USPA statistics showing 28 fatalities in a group of 110,000 jumpers. As you point out, most fatalities, according to the USPA, involve experienced skydivers with many jumps. So, perhaps I'll remain a student forever. It's safer and plenty exciting for an old fart like me. Thanks for the clarification of the risk.


erdnarob  (D 364)

Dec 4, 2008, 10:07 PM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting subject. The statistics I have seen in the precedent posts seem to be quite OK; but if you want some more here they are:

From a FAI 2005 report involving 36 countries and including tandems we got:
6,147,351 skydives by 806,515 jumpers and 64 people have been killed which makes 1 fatality per 96,052 jumps

Out of those 64 fatalities:

53% of those fatalities, jumpers had at least one good parachute on their back
41% of those fatalities, jumpers had a successful deployment of their main parachute
16% of those fatalities could have been avoided by use of an AAD
84% of those fatalities appear to be caused by human error. (That means attitude is the most important)
3 out of 64 were students (They are well protected)

Fatalities rate: (calculated over several years)
USA : 1 every 100,000 jumps (the country having the most of jumps/year)
International: 1 every 96,052 jumps (36 countries for year 2005)
Canada: 1 every 148,000 jumps (skydiving season is shorter because of the winter)

Some comparison with some unregulated sports:
Fatalities:
Scuba diving: 1 every 31,347 people or 95,000 dives (about the same than skydiving)
Swimming: 1 every 38,610 people
Skiing/Snowboarding: 1 every 347,222 people
Boating: 1 every 15,455 people
Bicycling: 1 every 47,169 people
Marathon running 1 every 4065 people

Skydiving international 36 countries (2005): 1 every 12,602 people or 96,052 jumps


Andy9o8  (D License)

Dec 4, 2008, 10:55 PM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

3 out of 5 statistical analyses of skydiving are pointless and idiotic.


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Dec 4, 2008, 11:07 PM
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Re: [awagnon] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Since there are only 30,000 USPA members and about fatalities a year the rate is about 1 in 1000.

True. The number of jumpers is from USPA statistics showing 28 fatalities in a group of 110,000 jumpers. As you point out, most fatalities, according to the USPA, involve experienced skydivers with many jumps. So, perhaps I'll remain a student forever. It's safer and plenty exciting for an old fart like me. Thanks for the clarification of the risk.

The tandem fatality rate is only 4.2 per 100,000 participants which truly is safer than driving. Limit yourself to a few tandems when the mood strikes and you'll do fine.


kuai43  (C License)

Dec 4, 2008, 11:14 PM
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Re: [Megatron] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

You can slice it anyway you want, but every skydiver's going to bite the big one someday.

Everybody dies, but not everybody lives! Cool


Megatron  (A 54082)

Dec 5, 2008, 12:02 AM
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Re: [chuckakers] Does the risk eventually catch up to everyone? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Man small. Why fall? Skies call. That's all.

..that's pretty much the bottom line.


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