Aug 28, 2001, 12:49 PM
Post #1 of 7
Plane to blame???
For the second time in seven months we've lost a static line student, again one that might have been saved if the reserve procedures had been correctly executed.
The first student exited a Caravan at 3500ft agl, this exit is on video, the student was unstable on exit largely due to a bad body position and a propwash that many 100 jump+ skydivers would still struggle to deal with.
The bad body position resulted in the student going through his lines and causing a line over. For reasons still unknown the student spiralled down to the ground, he was still concsious throughout the jump at for a while after impact.
The second death was from a cessna 206 turbo. The aircraft has a turbo because of the high altitude our dropzone is at. Her exit was from a position standing on the wheel holding onto the strut, she went over backwards and through her lines. The lines became wrapped around her leg and the canopy was spiralling viciously after a second or two, she tried to get out of this for a large part of the way down until at approx. 500ft agl she released her reserve into the mess and then attempted to cut away. She died on impact.
Obviously more vigourous measures will have to be taken to be sure a student is ready to handle an emergency situation. Our reserve procedure is as follows: Arch Look Handles Left Right Arch
All student harnesses are equipped with reserve static lines, no AAD.
Both students were on their third jump, personally I remember my first feeling of complacency kicking in at the same time on my fourth jump. I was grounded for a hook turn because I was not thinking about the rule only where I wanted to land.
I feel comfortable with our procedures and equipment and feel that we do make sure that every jump is well planned although now we are going to have to be a lot more strict with more drills and so on. But what is worrying me is the fact that the propwash from these planes make it very challenging for a student to exit well every time. When I did static line the thought of going through my lines and spiralling into the ground never crossed my mind.
Is there any evidence to suggest that static line jumps are NOT compatible with such fast planes? Is there any correlation with these two accidents and other similar accidents? What other precautions can we as a club take to prevent this happenng again?
Here now, sice the second accident the skies are dark and our moods are blue. Please help.
First off let me say how sorry I am for the losses in your skydiving family.
In reply to:
All student harnesses are equipped with reserve static lines, no AAD.
This is just plain worng. There should be no reason a student is not given an AAD. At most US DZ's ALL unlicenced jumpers are required to have an AAD on the rig that they are jumping.
As as far as prop wash goes those planes are mild compaired to an DC-3 or a Turbine Beech 18 or even a King Air. Sounds like the instruction needs to go over the proper body position and release methods a little longer. Also the instruction might need to cover what to do if you go through the lines on exit.
This is just plain worng. There should be no reason a student is not given an AAD.
Every static line rig I ever jumped or worked with had no AAD on the reserve or main; the same rigs were used for freefall with an FXC AAD on the main. We used the direct bag static line system, which virtually ensured that the main canopy would be deployed - the direct bag static line system is essentially an AAD for the main (our dz had a waiver from USPA to do this).
What happened after the main was deployed was up to the student... which imho is the way it should be. Sounds harsh, but if you aren't capable of pulling handles on time, skydiving is not the sport for you. An AAD on any rig does NOT make skydiving a safe sport!!!!!!
pull and flare, lisa --- I chose the road less traveled. Now where the hell am I?
I absolutly agree with everything you said Lisa, But I still feel that all students until they are cleared to Jumpmater themselves should have an AAD. With the prices of FXC's so cheap there is no reason not to install them on freefall rigs.
AAD's don't make the sport that much safer but for a first jump student who just had 5 hours of theory thrown at them,then got on an airplane without letting all the info sink in, it might save their sorry butts if they brain lock on a mal after cutting it away. Damn... it sounds like I'm arguing for a SOS system.... nahh... I hate the idea of those systems.....
Do I HAVE to do another raft dive???
billvon (D 16479)
Aug 28, 2001, 4:03 PM
Post #5 of 7
>Is there any evidence to suggest that static line jumps are NOT compatible >with such fast planes?
They may not be compatible with pilot chute assist. Do you use direct bag or PCA? We had much better luck with direct bag than with PCA, especially out of the King Air.
We had a problem like you described, and switched to a "military exit" for the first SL jump i.e. facing away from the prop blast. This helps ensure clearance from the lines/static line during opening if the student freaks out. If they do OK on that one we switch back to forward facing and/or switch to AFF. This procedure reduces the chances of entanglement on the highest risk jump (the first one) and also gets 90% of the jumpers (who only make one jump) doing the safer exit.
>What other precautions can we as a club take to prevent this happenng again?
Use AAD's. Even if it costs $10,000 to equip all your rigs with a good AAD, you will save money by avoiding the third death (and resulting lawsuit.)
Use an poised exit bar. It's a bar they can hang from outside the door that makes it more difficult to go through the lines. It is not hard to build and improves exits quite a bit.
It is very sad when anyone is involved in an accident. As an instructor I carry a lot of the misery home with me when a student is just simply injured, and ask myself what can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again. I am forced to look back on some of my introduction to instruction materials. What is learning? A new conditioned response or behavior to stimulus. Sounds scientific, but a student has to snap to an arch in a knee-jerk fashion. Also emergence handles must be pulled, and pulled again. It requires a lot of work on my part, and some discomfort to the student, But a little pain avoids a lot for all of us. I've seen the same thing with one of my students, but he cleared his cutaway at 2000 ft. and landed without injury.
AADs became standard equipment for students during the early 1980s! !@#$%$% for emphasis!
Secondly, what type of static-line are you using? The longer the SL, the more time the student has to back loop through the lines. The shortest - and in my opinion the safest - SL is direct bag.
You people should also consider Instructor Assisted Deployment because it allows the students even less time to backloop.
Thirdly, what type of exit are you teaching? Some antiquated exits (ie. poised) result in a high percentage of backloops off the step. You would be far better off teaching a hanging exit because that produces the fewest unstable exits.
Finally, you just named some slow airplanes that are easy to exit and widely used for dropping SL students. Prop blast is not the issue, and airspeed on jump run is only a minor point. If airspeed was an issue, can you explain to me why armies drop hundreds of thousands of SL paratroopers per year - from transports flying at 130 knots or faster - but they still have insignificant fatality rates?