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Swoop indicators - Was: fatality at Perris.

 

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rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 29, 2011, 8:34 PM
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Swoop indicators - Was: fatality at Perris. Can't Post

>Just another reason I advocate going back to basics and rethinking the current accepted >progression to high performance canopy flight.
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I agree with your post, but what about the idea of better instrumentation like what we see in aircraft?

I wonder if any of the manufacturers (like Cypres) are working on some form of a VSI. An (audible) Vertical Speed Indicator that would give real-time feedback to the pilot to help him calibrate his eye over time. Something that would allow this pilot to creep up to the edge of the cliff and take a look before plunging off so to speak. I believe there is a slight lag in the aircraft instrument, but it compensates for field elevation, density altitude and ambient pressure and tells how fast you are descending. Something more than the wind in the face and the pucker in your butt provides.

A half-baked idea I just came up with, but it might have merit. Im a firm believer in the age-old adage there is no substitute for proper training as you seem to be, but maybe a tack into-the-wind would be helpful at this point. Just a thought.


(This post was edited by PhreeZone on Dec 30, 2011, 10:54 AM)


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Dec 29, 2011, 10:41 PM
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I wonder if any of the manufacturers (like Cypres) are working on some form of a VSI. An (audible) Vertical Speed Indicator that would give real-time feedback to the pilot to help him calibrate his eye over time. Something that would allow this pilot to creep up to the edge of the cliff and take a look before plunging off so to speak. I believe there is a slight lag in the aircraft instrument, but it compensates for field elevation, density altitude and ambient pressure and tells how fast you are descending. Something more than the wind in the face and the pucker in your butt provides.

Almost like a red light or green light indicator before you make that final turn. LOL You are definately thinking that is for sure.

Although you would have to program in: the canopy, the degre turn, the wing load, the weather, your currency, elevation, your IQ ...etc. It can be right in your eye like a video record light. if it is green go, red dont.

Maybe you can program it to stay red if your jumps, currency, or IQ do not warrant you jumping the canopy. 0r if you do not use the gadget to progress from a 90Degree turn all the way up to a higher degree turn. It can just stay red at all time.


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Dec 30, 2011, 12:36 AM
Post #3 of 70 (2798 views)
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I wonder if any of the manufacturers (like Cypres) are working on some form of a VSI. An (audible) Vertical Speed Indicator that would give real-time feedback to the pilot to help him calibrate his eye over time. Something that would allow this pilot to creep up to the edge of the cliff and take a look before plunging off so to speak. I believe there is a slight lag in the aircraft instrument, but it compensates for field elevation, density altitude and ambient pressure and tells how fast you are descending. Something more than the wind in the face and the pucker in your butt provides.

the lag on these devices are considerable. The older ones had to - they were mechanical. The electronic ones can be faster, but they still need some sampling time. How long does it take to spiral from 400 (?) ft to pull out? And do you reach terminal before point of pulling out? If not, the logic could presume you will keep accelerating so it can get ahead of the curve. However, a likely consequence between that and needing a safety margin to deal with changes in the barometer is that it always sounds the alarm and one quickly stops using it.

It may not be impossible, but I can't see someone like Cypres wanted to take on that sort of responsibility. More likely would need to be a competitor. Build a silent prototype with a data collector and have a bunch of swoopers use it for a season and have the jumper record each jump's impression (conservative, scary, right on) and compare to the telemetry. Sounds like a good thesis project for a grad student.


Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
Moderator
Dec 30, 2011, 6:38 AM
Post #4 of 70 (2668 views)
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

If you want to continue talking about this idea I will split this part of the tread into a new forum.




RichLees

Dec 30, 2011, 6:55 AM
Post #6 of 70 (2647 views)
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Re: [kelpdiver] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

Am I missing something or are you guys talking about canopy alarms? Like freefall alarms, but for canopy time. Optima? Neptune?

There are threads about whether to depend on your alarms or not. You could have a muppet alarm that sounds if you're doing more than, say, 40mph at 150' or accelerating at more than, say, 0.5g at 200'. That would give a chance for some people to dig out. The trouble is that a safety net will challenge people to set off the alarm and get away with it - like seatbelts, ABS etc.

I can't see it being much use for getting into swooping, but it might save a wannabe or two when they make their first mistakes.


rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 30, 2011, 6:55 AM
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Re: [PhreeZone] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

If anyone thinks it has merit that would be great. I'm not sure if the technical difficulties could be worked through.


craigbey  (C 31991)

Dec 30, 2011, 8:13 AM
Post #8 of 70 (2560 views)
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
An (audible) Vertical Speed Indicator that would give real-time feedback to the pilot to help him calibrate his eye over time. Something that would allow this pilot to creep up to the edge of the cliff and take a look before plunging off so to speak.

Additional tools are nice and I like the idea for a VSI, but IMO calibrating your eyes simply requires a good digital altimeter and experience flying a particular canopy at a particular DZ. For some, this could take many, many jumps.

'Creeping up the the edge of the cliff' means a very slow progression, putting hundreds and hundreds of jumps on each canopy before moving on. It also means starting with small turns and slowly working up to larger turns only after you're consistent. And it means being very conservative when jumping at a new DZ.

There are plenty of competition pilots out there who can move from DZ to DZ and bust out the big turns, but they are unique people and they usually have several warm up jumps before competition starts. Many of them have jumped at most of the larger DZ's that host competitions, so they already have a good sight picture for that location.

Knowing my limits, I choose to be more conservative when jumping at a new DZ or when jumping a new canopy so I have a chance to calibrate my eyes and adjust my sight picture. The altimeter helps, but when the turn starts, it's all on me.


trigger  (D 101390)

Dec 30, 2011, 8:40 AM
Post #9 of 70 (2533 views)
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Re: [Para5-0] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
He may have dropped a toggle,

He may also got his hand stuck/trapped in a dive loop.
Has happened to me, got it free resulting in a mary poppins/minor dig, scary nonetheless.


rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 30, 2011, 10:48 AM
Post #10 of 70 (2371 views)
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Re: [craigbey] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

>calibrating your eyes simply requires a good digital altimeter and experience flying a >particular canopy at a particular DZ.

What if in addition to an altimeter (which lets you know where you began the turn and where you started to plane out) you also knew the maximum rate of descent established in the dive?

>There are plenty of competition pilots out there who can move from DZ to DZ and bust >out the big turns, but they are unique people

Is it that they are unique people or that they just understand the physics of air density better? And, they apply that knowledge from DZ to DZ.

From my experience knowing and working with Jonathan Tagle, I am certain that his knowledge and experience as an Instrument Rated Private Pilot makes him a better canopy pilot.


bigbearfng  (D 29442)

Dec 30, 2011, 11:17 AM
Post #11 of 70 (2343 views)
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

reply to no one in particular-
Don't we tell noobs not get too gadget dependent?
An audible could very well fail and your eyeball altimeter better be on anyway?
This just seems like a slippery slope.........
If your reactions a bit dulled-either lack of sleep, hung over or whatever-a device won't make up for it.
So instead of he dropped a toggle or was low/slow, not low but still slow, then it would be his gadget malfunctioned? Same outcome huh?
vs earning the experience by slowly gradually patiently pushing the envelope?
Just food for thought..............


Anvilbrother  (C 39168)

Dec 30, 2011, 11:27 AM
Post #12 of 70 (2333 views)
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Re: [rmarshall234] Swoop indicators - Was: fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

Im sure ground effect plays a big part in the swooping records, but why not make the gates taller like the red bull air races ones, and you swoop like the ground is 100' in the air using the tubes as reference. That way your not playing chicken with the earth, and have time to deal with issues?


craigbey  (C 31991)

Dec 30, 2011, 5:51 PM
Post #13 of 70 (2216 views)
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

Knowing the max rate of descent and how the rate changes during the turn could be helpful for getting more performance out of a canopy and could possibly be a form of warning indicator in a situation where the canopy is diving harder than expected or if the rate of decent exceeds a threshold programmed into the device.

You can get some of that info from digital alti's now. I sometimes review the jump profile log in my Viso alti to look at the rate of descent and the time in my turns.

I was really responding to the idea of calibrating your sight picture using such a tool. It just seems like it might be after the fact as a learning aid.

If someone had told me a few years ago that I would use a digital alti, I would have laughed. I was just used to the analog display. Now, I prefer the digital vs the analog.

So perhaps a heads up VSI display in a new full-face helmet is on the horizon. If it happens, I just may have to try one out. But it would be like any other device, just another backup.

Instrument Rated Pilots?
http://www.youtube.com/...yer_detailpage#t=23s

(This post was edited by craigbey on Dec 30, 2011, 5:53 PM)


obelixtim  (D 84)

Dec 30, 2011, 5:57 PM
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Re: [craigbey] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

 
If there is one thing I've learnt in 36 odd years skydiving, that what seems impossible or far fetched today, can become the normality tomorrow.

Evolution doesn't stop.


rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 30, 2011, 7:19 PM
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Re: [kelpdiver] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

>However, a likely consequence between that and needing a safety margin to deal with >changes in the barometer is that it always sounds the alarm and one quickly stops using it.

What I had in mind was an increasing tone as the rate of descent increased. Similar to how many stall horn warnings react to the flow of air over a wing.

>Sounds like a good thesis project for a grad student.

I couldn't agree more.


rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 30, 2011, 7:38 PM
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Re: [RichLees] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

>are you guys talking about canopy alarms?

Yes. Kind of.

I'm not a swooper but it seems to me that aside from knowledge and experience, it's the combined effects of available altitude, rate of descent, and air density that leads to these accidents. The first two are obvious and we keep harping on them and we have altimeters for the third, but the last two could be addressed with better instrumentation.


rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 30, 2011, 7:49 PM
Post #17 of 70 (2157 views)
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Re: [bigbearfng] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

>Earning the experience by slowly gradually patiently pushing the envelope?

Yes. There is no substitute for developing good basics and becoming gadget dependent is bad, but we clearly need another approach to this problem.

One wouldn't stick a student pilot in an SR 22 Cirrus, and equip him with basic steam gauges from an Aeronca Champ.


platypii  (B License)

Dec 30, 2011, 7:53 PM
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Re: [rmarshall234] Swoop indicators - Was: fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

People are actively working on this!

There is a whole world of possibilities for using audible feedback to improve our performance in flying. The fact of the matter is, humans were not designed to fly. Birds can innately sense changes in air pressure, with sensitivity far beyond what we can do using our own senses. Skydivers have been augmenting our limited human senses ever since the first jump with an altimeter. I think this trend will only continue now that the average cell-phone has more sensors than a IFR flight computer...


obelixtim  (D 84)

Dec 30, 2011, 7:59 PM
Post #19 of 70 (2146 views)
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Re: [platypii] Swoop indicators - Was: fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Birds can innately sense changes in air pressure, with sensitivity far beyond what we can do using our own senses.

And they face into the wind for landing....as do other man made flying devices....Apart from Swoopers.

So who's out of step!!!.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Dec 30, 2011, 8:37 PM
Post #20 of 70 (2123 views)
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

>What I had in mind was an increasing tone as the rate of descent increased. Similar to
>how many stall horn warnings react to the flow of air over a wing.

Some issues I see:

1) It has to fail safe, so it would have to actively indicate when it was OK to continue the swoop. It would definitely suck to have such a device make no noise (or a steady noise) when it failed, thus prompting a jumper to continue the swoop even if he's way too low.

2) It might work as a "still safe" indicator - a device that took into account pressure altitude, rate of descent, airspeed (if possible) and attitude (if possible) and produced a tone indicating how close to the corner you were getting. As you were getting closer to the corner the pitch would increase, and when it was close to not recoverable the tone would cut off, indicating that you have to bail as quickly as possible.


rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 30, 2011, 9:52 PM
Post #21 of 70 (2098 views)
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Re: [billvon] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

There are certainly issues to work through and the safety features would have to be put in place as you point out, but I'm glad to hear from Platypii that people are working on this.

When we were racing at Reno Charlie came up with what I thought to be a brilliant idea but none of us ever followed through: An audible slip indicator to let the pilot know if he was coordinated or not. There was rarely the luxury of looking inside the cockpit, and a small skid or slip would scrub a few mph off of your speed - which could make the difference between passing someone or not.


JackC1

Dec 31, 2011, 1:39 AM
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

Are you talking about a variometer?

Paragliders use them a lot. I've often wondered if using a vario would help to teach people about canopy flight. It's kind of hard to tell if you've planed out completely when you're 2000ft AGL due to the lack of reference. A vario would give you that reference.

It shouldn't be too hard to recalibrate one to work as a "power meter" during a swoop. Just offset the level flight warning to suit your canopy's natural decent rate. Couple it to an accurate altimeter and you could program it to warn you when you're diving too fast, too low.

That's easier when you're designing a warning device for an aircraft where the performance is fairly fixed, but canopies have a big range of performance, so you'd either get a one size fits none, or you'd have to program it to have different profiles for different canopies and wing loadings.


(This post was edited by JackC1 on Dec 31, 2011, 1:51 AM)


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Dec 31, 2011, 7:32 AM
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Re: [JackC1] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Couple it to an accurate altimeter and you could program it to warn you when you're diving too fast, too low

Too late. All I see that doing is going off while you hit the ground. It would be more of a bell or whistle telling you this is going to hurt.


rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 31, 2011, 7:36 AM
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Re: [JackC1] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

There you have it. Excellent.

Much more sophisticated and accurate than the standard VSI we see in aircraft. I would think something like this could be adapted and then used for the skydiving industry. As you said, one could practice their swoops up high and know _ exactly_ when theyve leveled out. An audible tone to represent what is happening in real time, with the ability to log and review the jump would be a great learning aid. A Heads-up display would be best of all.

The simple point Im trying to make is that we (as an industry) are bouncing people off the dirt all over the country and the present approach of training, harping and banning people, isnt getting the job done. Meanwhile, we are still using a lone altimeter and our eyeball as a reference. (Hell, when I started jumping at least we had a stop watch too ;-) Maybe a turn towards technology and what the other industries are doing would be helpful.

Your post is wonderful, thanks.


PiLFy  (A License)

Dec 31, 2011, 8:13 AM
Post #25 of 70 (2001 views)
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Re: [rmarshall234] fatality at Perris. [In reply to] Can't Post

A quick question on that, please? I'm new, & have no intention of EVER swooping. I'm curious about something, though. You experienced guys are talking about possible instrument assists, but haven't mentioned the swoop warning bank of the Optima2. Why not? Does the feature not work as advertised? I keep that feature turned off. It sounds like what you're talking about, though.


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