Jan 15, 2012, 8:43 AM
Post #1 of 42
How many pass-outers?
A reply to an article on the "tandem - chuckers" gave me the idea to start a thread about students who faint during the ride.
Didn't have a student who passed out/fainted. But I've only did 250 so far.
I had one when I did video. Saw it when they landed. The guy had totally passed out. Helped to do sort of first aid - "autotransfusion" (i.e. legs up). Edited the scenes where he was recognisably unconscious (=cut them out). Turned out he hadn't drunk anything since morning on a really hot day and did his jump at about 2 pm.
'Membered this and - weather/circumstances requiring - ask my students whether they had enough to drink to not dehydrate (and whether they had something to eat to not go low on their blood sugar level.) Some folks got alert, indeed - "XY told me I shouldn't drink to prevent peeing my pants coz it takes so long to get up and..." - or "YX told me not to eat anything coz this prevents me from puking!!!!11" - usually told them to have a glass of cola (provides with both water/liquid and carbohydrates/sugar, huhu) Nevertheless had one guy who almost passed out, "talked" him down, and he stayed awake.
And heck, I know a good way to induce problems is to fasten leg straps too tight. Thus asked old-fart TI's for advice on how to not too over-fasten but also not to put students in danger due to leg straps not tight enough. A few minutes of practising worth a lot of hassle prevented, huh. But even the old farts had had one or two or even more students who fainted.
I have had 3 in ~3000 tandems. Two of them woke up before landing. I have also been on radio for 2 IADs that have passed out under canopy. One had turned onto final before he passed out. Bloody nose, but otherwise OK. Turned out he had narcolepsy issues he didn't ell us about. The other guy woke up at around 800 ft and landed without incident. He was awake just long enough to undo his breaks and fortunately was pointed up wind so he was over good alternates when he woke up.
Biggest person I've taken for a ride (130kg + he lied about being 110kg ) passed out while still just out the door in a 182, couldn't get him back in and had trouble getting him out. One of his legs had fallen in front of the step. Getting that leg behind the step was a major effort. The pilot even tried to help get us back in but no chance. He was unconscious till we landed . Never again , I learnt my lesson get the fat guy out BEFORE his GF , once she's gone there's no-one left to impress .....
I've got about 6 or 700 tandems and I've only had one that passed out. It was 2 or 3 years ago when we used to duct tape the handcams to the students hands (which we no longer do since the incredible invention of the gopro's). I'm 5'6 170 and this guy was 6'2 230. He was doing a jump just before going to boot camp for the air force. He got completely wasted the night before and had nothing to eat that morning. Every thing was good until the parachute opened. I was giving my typical "point the camera on you" guidance and then I noticed his camera hand go limp. I said again "point the camera at you" and used my left foot to force his left hand to aim the camera at him for a second. When I released my foot and his hand dropped I realized what was happening. He was out cold. I began practicing methods for hooking his legs in a somewhat upright position for landing. I was uncomfortable with it, but I'm certain he would have been uninjured if we had landed with him being unconscious. Fortunately he woke up at about 3 or 400 feet and still remember my instructions about picking his legs up. He was nauseous and dizzy for the next 3 hours while his friends made jumps.
Would it be OK to ask the same for harness-hold? I haven't yet had a pass-out but there have been a few... "lights are on but nobody is home" ones. Fortunately, they all woke up at opening. Funny after the fact and they end up safe but not fun during freefall.
I had an AFF student pass out under canopy on his first jump. He was fine up until he turned onto his downwind leg. At that point he just stopped responding to all radio commands and ended up landing (crashing) downwind with no flare. Took about a minute to get to him and he was still lights out. He didn't remember any of the jump but did ask to go again that day. Obviously we did not let him!
Something similar happened to a co-TI here. The guy got wasted the night before and almost passed out. TI kept him conscious by continuously talking to him...
I had to practise landing with an unconscious student 4 times during my TI training, every time with heavy guys. Not really fun, but at least it helped learn how to do it. BTW: I had several lightweight students who had problems picking their legs up and let them "rest" their feet on mine which helped. But this ain't gonna work with heavyweights, I suspect...
I like your "lights are on but nobody is home" description. Had two or three as well. They could remember next to nothing about freefall just were kinda absent with no arch, legs dangling and flopping; quite good their hands were still (reflex?) clasped to MLF. No fun. Learned it's better to extend arms and legs as far as possible into clean air than to arch really hard. Even then it's still a little rocking. All of them did much better during canopy ride, strange.
Related question just out of curiosity. Ive seen about 5-6 passed out passengers and they were all males. Reading about all of your experiences, seems they were all males too. Any comment about male/female ratio?
During my TI training the instructors just pretended to be unconscious but stuck to it even to dangling arms and legs while landing. Really tough guys, but I nevertheless was glad I got them down unhurt. Should have been more precise on that
But as far as I see it it really seems guys are more prone to black out than girls. Maybe they don't dare to say anything about leg straps being too tight? Since guys also seem to be more prone to purging (under canopy) it might be an issue of circulation and/or metabolism. Or "maleness"? Yeah, spiral down the canopy, I can take it... hurgh..."
I haven't been around enough cases to know, but a couple years back at the DZ we had two cases in one day, both female. Both were fairly large & fat. It may not have helped that it was a hot summer day, 30C, with the students in coverall jumpsuits. Both passed out fairly late in the jump, under 1000', and recovered quickly afterwards.
We have had one S/L student go unconscious and land on the paved road next to the DZ. OK other than scraped knees. Not sure of the cause.
A local DZO told me this tale of an IAD student who landed unconscious:
Student hits plowed farm field, soon wakes up, spits dirt out of his mouth. DZO gets to him. "You blacked out -- has that ever happened to you before?" Student: "Yes." DZO: "Why didn't you tell us before???" Student: "Because it never happened to me skydiving." DZO: "But this was your first jump!!!"
I had one "round" kid pass out on me under canopy as I was undoing the side straps about six years ago, but got him to come around right before I landed. I have had three pass out on me as soon as we landed and I got them unhooked.
zero in 3000. Getting the student to push their butt back and sit in the harness makes a world of difference. Another guy on the DZ has had a few, but he generally doesn't bother with reminding the student to "sit" in the harness. Good modern harness make a huge difference as well.
Jan 26, 2012, 1:14 PM
Post #21 of 42
Re: [skydived19006] How many pass-outers?
[In reply to]
As to "sitting in the harness", I totally agree. Reconfiguring the student for the canopy ride is my second priority, after performing my canopy control check. Still, some people's bodies are simply not made for tandems. Some instructors/students just cannot get the leg straps pushed forward under the meaty portion of their thighs. Some instructors can't get the legstraps situated nor the chest strap loosened enough to prevent "round" people from passing out. It happens.
One...He had a condition, ( I was the cameraman on another jump, not his) He passed out under canopy, the instructor got him to the ground as fast as safe, when he unhooked, he was not only out, he wasn't breathing...I did CPR, and he came right around once his lungs filled..
Turns out his wife knew he had issue when he was hit with rushes of adrenialin, she was Pissed when I revived him. (yelling at me in the back ground, WTF are you doing?" ) The bitch was trying to kill him, they left the DZ without even getting thier tape...
My wife is a CPR Instructor, I suggest everyone that jumps get CPR certified, and basic first aid /first responder training. (she teaches that too) ..
I wonder what kind of "present" she gave him next. Bungee jump? Airtistic flight?
If you want to become a TI here, you need to attend at least 2x8 lessons of 1st aid, so every TI should be able to give basic 1st aid, including CPR. I take 1st aid courses every 2-3 years, so I feel somehow prepared.
Getting them "seated" in their harness is important. Also helps for a smooth (sitting) landing - they can lift their legs much better then. But some guest, well... you put it. Their bodies aren't really made for this. I usually tell them as the last work-around to stand on my feet, lift up my legs so they should be able to move the leg straps towards their knees, but sometimes even with me helping their too weak for their weight, so to say. Ever noticed those students only turn up on days with little wind?