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I almost did something stupid this weekend

 

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skydived19006  (D 19006)

Aug 13, 2012, 6:20 AM
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I almost did something stupid this weekend Can't Post

I almost did something fairly reckless this weekend. Saving grace in that sentence is "almost."

So, we have a group of six tandems, and they want to add a couple. Looks like the time will work out so I agree. One of the two added is an 86 year old guy, I look at him across the hanger, he's not large at 165 lbs, and appears to be in pretty good physical shape for a guy of 86. David does the training and indicates that he doesn't respond to instruction very well at all. I'm fairly flippant about it and say "I'll take him", thinking that he likely won't arch at all, but he's not large and I can manage it. Most of those old folks don't arch worth a shit if at all anyway. Well, come time to get in the airplane, someone just almost as a side mentions that my tandem student has dementia. Again, I minimize it at that point thinking 'That's nice to know.' So, it takes quite some effort just to get him sitting in the airplane correctly, I keep thinking 'I can manage it.' We get to altitude and I hook him up. After David leaves we start toward the door (we're in a 182), and it's not going well at all, but I get him out on the step, and can't get him to put his hands in. Finally, I have a flash of brilliance and come to the decision that what I'm about to do is honestly very reckless. And, it's also pretty apparent that my tandem "student", has no idea of what the hell's going on. I put him back in the airplane and he really enjoyed the ride down. I talked with him a bit, he had been a ball turret gunner on B17s in WWII, so an airplane ride was more in line with what he should be doing.

I eventually did the right thing, but it should REALLY have never progressed to that point. I also kind of scared David, you know that we worry about each other, and especially with one of these "higher work load students." David and my guy's son were just was hoping that they would find us in the airplane when they got down!! I honestly had the thought while trying to get the guy to the door of the recent video of the old lady who almost fell out of the harness. I recalled watching that video and thinking, 'There's no way he should leave the airplane with her!' And I was about to do just about the same damn thing, though I had no fear at all that he'd come out of the harness.

Anyway, I thought that I'd put this out there for other TIs to chew on. This is the first time that I've ever made the decision in the airplane to not take a tandem off. I've had a few refusals, but this one was my call. This was the first because any other similar situations were refused on the ground, obviously as it should be.

Martin


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 13, 2012, 6:45 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Good move. Not everyone needs to jump out of a plane.


-ftp-

Aug 13, 2012, 6:48 AM
Post #3 of 27 (3514 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Better late than never on the realization you shouldn't take him.

While it is your responsibility to make the right calls, I commend you on making the choice as we all know not everyone would do that.

Thanks for sharing.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Aug 13, 2012, 7:02 AM
Post #4 of 27 (3502 views)
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Re: [-ftp-] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

I appreciate the positive comments.

I have learned from these forums. I have honestly thought in the air about something I'd read here and applied it. that situation likely saved me a reserve ride, but that's whole-nother story.

My point in this post is in an attempt to get instructors thinking. Regardless your work situation, you never have to do a skydive, even if your refusal results in you looking for another job. If you're fired for doing the right thing, then you're better off without that job. Anyone with 100 tandems on their resume has likely had one where you had that little voice in your head telling you to reconsider the jump.

If "no" is the right answer, then "no" should be the answer.


jimmytavino  (A 3914)

Aug 13, 2012, 7:05 AM
Post #5 of 27 (3495 views)
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Re: [-ftp-] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

But you DIDN'T !!!!! and that's what counts...
Good post..... Glad that the flash of common sense and brilliance occured, where and WHEN it did....

excellent decision....

AND!!!!!!! you saved having to repack the Main.....CoolWinkSmile Win WIN!!!

jmy


normiss  (D 28356)

Aug 13, 2012, 7:15 AM
Post #6 of 27 (3489 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Excellent call Martin!
Sometimes. I would expect that to be a difficult call to make - IN the door.
Thanks for doing the right thing.
I wish we saw more stories of this!

Cool


peek  (D 8884)

Aug 13, 2012, 8:19 AM
Post #7 of 27 (3444 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I almost did something fairly reckless this weekend.

I did something very smart this weekend.

Great job Martin. (It sucks riding the plane down doesn't it?)


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Aug 13, 2012, 8:39 AM
Post #8 of 27 (3426 views)
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Re: [peek] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I almost did something fairly reckless this weekend.

I did something very smart this weekend.

Great job Martin. (It sucks riding the plane down doesn't it?)

Yeah, I obviously made the right choice. My point is that it should have never got to being a decision in the door. Also, as you all have reinforced, that when it's appropriate to make a no-go decision in the door, make the call and ride the airplane down.

And look, everyone will pat you on the back for it!!

Yes Gary, I'd have much rather been flying the airplane down!


Premier slotperfect  (D 13014)

Aug 13, 2012, 9:26 AM
Post #9 of 27 (3382 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a great learning post - thanks for sharing it here.

Well done, Martin. There was only one point of no return, and you stopped short of it.


vanair  (D 8360)

Aug 13, 2012, 11:57 AM
Post #10 of 27 (3309 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Great job, Good last minute decision! I am very much a wind wimp. Having been spit out of a dust devil just high enough to swoop thru a fence gate and land my tandem safe, the other 2 tandems, one got spit out and landed safe at the far end of the dz, the other ended up with 3 broken ankles in the parking lot. I also had a tandem in turbulence have the left side snap under slamming us in. I took as much of the impact as I could but the student still broke her back. Murphy is alive and well. The worst student I could have had on that landing was her. She lied on the wavier, she had spinal bifida, When I asked why didn't you tell us? She replied that you probably wouldn't have let me jump. So I am often the first of the experienced tandems to stand down. A few years ago in marginal conditions I had that little voice say don't go. I told the dzo on a ten minute call no. Not a well received decision. I was happy no one got hurt but felt completely vindicated when two of the tandems backed up and landed in trees requiring rescue.


Decodiver  (D License)

Aug 13, 2012, 1:52 PM
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Kudos Martin for doing the right thing!

That guy had balls being a ball-turret gunner in WWII, you showed courage too in pulling back.

Good stuff!


hpskydive  (D 17215)

Aug 13, 2012, 2:11 PM
Post #12 of 27 (3236 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for sharing that, I hope all TI's can make the right choice when the time comes.


jinlee  (D License)

Aug 13, 2012, 3:00 PM
Post #13 of 27 (3212 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Based on the facts you were aware of as you've explained them your decision was sound.

I'm impressed.... and you owe beer for the first! Tongue


normiss  (D 28356)

Aug 13, 2012, 3:32 PM
Post #14 of 27 (3188 views)
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Re: [jinlee] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Disagree!

He should RECEIVE beer!

I'm almost positive he's ridden a plane down before and I sincerely hope he's made a number of smart decisions at the last possible moment.
I say he gets a pass for this one!
Cool


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Aug 13, 2012, 6:14 PM
Post #15 of 27 (3133 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

My hat is off to you sir. good move.


pchapman  (D 1014)

Aug 13, 2012, 6:42 PM
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

When it comes to students who might be a problem, it is easy to rationalize taking them up, despite one's misgivings.

"The office gave me this student... I'll just do the best I can."
or
"Well, they chose to take the risk. If this round & flabby person breaks an ankle on landing, well, that's the chance one takes when one is out of shape in this sport." [Yet the student may not know they are taking an additional risk.]

Tough calls to make.


demoknite  (D License)

Aug 29, 2012, 12:54 AM
Post #17 of 27 (2734 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Once again, kudos. Just to throw in some devil's advocacy, why would you want to work some place where passengers make it through the initial screening at manifest and also the ground school? They harnessed him up while knowing that he had dementia and "doesn't respond to instruction very well at all." You saved yourself, the old man, and the drop zone you work for, but it shouldnt have made it that far.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Aug 29, 2012, 5:25 AM
Post #18 of 27 (2679 views)
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Re: [demoknite] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Once again, kudos. Just to throw in some devil's advocacy, why would you want to work some place where passengers make it through the initial screening at manifest and also the ground school? They harnessed him up while knowing that he had dementia and "doesn't respond to instruction very well at all." You saved yourself, the old man, and the drop zone you work for, but it shouldnt have made it that far.

I totally agree that it should have never made it that far. And, I am the DZO.


Nightingale  (B 26984)

Aug 29, 2012, 9:04 AM
Post #19 of 27 (2610 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Once again, kudos. Just to throw in some devil's advocacy, why would you want to work some place where passengers make it through the initial screening at manifest and also the ground school? They harnessed him up while knowing that he had dementia and "doesn't respond to instruction very well at all." You saved yourself, the old man, and the drop zone you work for, but it shouldnt have made it that far.

I totally agree that it should have never made it that far. And, I am the DZO.

Do you have policies for your office staff to help them screen for people who may not be competent to sign a waiver and consent form and what conditions should require a doctor's note to jump?


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 29, 2012, 9:57 AM
Post #20 of 27 (2594 views)
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Re: [Nightingale] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

"
In reply to:
... Do you have policies for your office staff to help them screen ... people ...
"

......................................................................

Pitt Meadows has written guidelines (on the web-site) and manifest often refuses over-weight students. If the student was borderline, they often paged me (senior TI). I poked my head in the hangar door, glanced at height and width of the student and shook my head "no!" That was the end of the evaluation process.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 29, 2012, 10:01 AM
Post #21 of 27 (2595 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

Good call Martin!

... but call would have been better if it had been made before the engine started.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Aug 29, 2012, 10:03 AM
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Re: [Nightingale] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
Once again, kudos. Just to throw in some devil's advocacy, why would you want to work some place where passengers make it through the initial screening at manifest and also the ground school? They harnessed him up while knowing that he had dementia and "doesn't respond to instruction very well at all." You saved yourself, the old man, and the drop zone you work for, but it shouldnt have made it that far.

I totally agree that it should have never made it that far. And, I am the DZO.

Do you have policies for your office staff to help them screen for people who may not be competent to sign a waiver and consent form and what conditions should require a doctor's note to jump?

We're a small weekend DZ, we don't have office staff. Well, the Instructors are the "office staff." I think that I mentioned more than once that we should not have let this one go as far as it did. I did the paperwork, but the guys SO came to me and said that he wanted to jump, I handed the paperwork to her and she helped him fill it out. David (other TI) did the training, and told me that he was not responsive to the training, again I should have looked into it farther at that point, then stopped it. Sometimes we need to stop and think about how we're doing things, this was an example of just that. More than one red flag. All that said, it is a lesson as well to all of us that right up to the point that we've left the airplane, it's still an option to stop.

We do weigh all of our students, if they're over weight they don't skydive. We do age verify, if they're under age, they don't jump. I've informed more than one that I could smell alcohol on their breath, and that they would not jump. We do not have a policy, nor standard test for mental competency.

I do appreciate the constructive criticism. It was a learning experience for me, and I thought worth sharing.


(This post was edited by skydived19006 on Aug 29, 2012, 10:12 AM)


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 29, 2012, 10:19 AM
Post #23 of 27 (2580 views)
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Re: [skydived19006] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

"
In reply to:
... a guy of 86. ... I put him back in the airplane and he really enjoyed the ride down. I talked with him a bit, he had been a ball turret gunner on B17s in WWII, so an airplane ride was more in line with what he should be doing. ... Martin
"

......................................................................

He has already proven that his testicles are larger and furrier than the next ten thousand young tandem students!

I salute bomber command veterans like him.

When you consider that casualty rates approached those of World War One trench-fighters (think 90 percent casualties suffered by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during one day at Beaumont Hamel).
My family lost two uncles who served in FCAF bombers during WW 2. I also spoke with several relatives and men form my home town who served in RCAF bomber command. Two of them got medals for staying in the pilots' seats of Lancaster until the rest of their crews had time to bail out over (freed) France. Many of those veterans were reluctant to talk about their most miserable experiences in the tail turrets of Lancasters.

As an aside, the most fun I ever had in an airplane was landing in the tail turret of of B-25 Mitchell bomber after test-dropping Aviator PEP prototypes.

Even more fun than aerobatics with Mike Mangold!


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Aug 29, 2012, 1:52 PM
Post #24 of 27 (2538 views)
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Re: [riggerrob] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
"
In reply to:
... a guy of 86. ... I put him back in the airplane and he really enjoyed the ride down. I talked with him a bit, he had been a ball turret gunner on B17s in WWII, so an airplane ride was more in line with what he should be doing. ... Martin
"

......................................................................

He has already proven that his testicles are larger and furrier than the next ten thousand young tandem students!

I salute bomber command veterans like him.

When you consider that casualty rates approached those of World War One trench-fighters (think 90 percent casualties suffered by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during one day at Beaumont Hamel).
My family lost two uncles who served in FCAF bombers during WW 2. I also spoke with several relatives and men form my home town who served in RCAF bomber command. Two of them got medals for staying in the pilots' seats of Lancaster until the rest of their crews had time to bail out over (freed) France. Many of those veterans were reluctant to talk about their most miserable experiences in the tail turrets of Lancasters.

As an aside, the most fun I ever had in an airplane was landing in the tail turret of of B-25 Mitchell bomber after test-dropping Aviator PEP prototypes.

Even more fun than aerobatics with Mike Mangold!

I saw a story of a F4 pilot who was very early in Vietnam. He was at the time afraid that the skirmish would end before he saw any combat. Obviously, he got there in plenty time to see plenty of combat. It may be a fairly common quote, but he said that not to long after he was involved he had figured out why old men cry when they talk about their combat experience.

If you look at combat casualties throughout history, it's amazing. In the American Civil War of the 1860s, at some battles there were upwards of 25,000 soldiers on each side, and over the course of a few days, they had experienced 50% casualties. That's 25,000 dead in one battle alone!! Over the course of the war another very high percentage died of disease. In comparison, we have a memorial to the Vietnam Conflict in Washington DC listing 60,000 plus casualties. If one of those was close to you, it doesn't matter the numbers.

Way off topic, but yes. That guy had seen real combat from the ball turret on a B17. Flying through flack, and seeing the 17 next to you break apart, etc. Hardcore shit!! Jump'n out of airplanes for sport is child's play in comparison.


Abedy  (D 10153)

Aug 30, 2012, 6:23 AM
Post #25 of 27 (2386 views)
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Re: [riggerrob] I almost did something stupid this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
He has already proven that his testicles are larger and furrier than the next ten thousand young tandem students!

I found this website which shows how dangerous their post was:
http://untoldvalor.blogspot.de/...ers-breed-apart.html


(This post was edited by Abedy on Aug 30, 2012, 10:39 AM)


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