the dropzone wher this incedent happend. is my home dz and we never want to deal with this isseu again. we started a check in procedure on the next jump day after the suicide. there is a "jumpmaster" every load who will check on his load if every body checked of the load sheet. if not checked in there will be an pa call and after that the dz shuts down and a search will start danny
Good luck with that. Seriously. Let us know how it goes, and if this procedure stands after a few incidences of shutting down the operation to start a search on a busy weekend day for just some otherwise (as is almost literally "normal" amongst us) errant dumbass, or the "jumpmaster" just misses 'em and he/she heads home, out of touch, etc.
Meh... we've been doing that for years without a problem.
Based on this discussion, I had a chat with our DZSO about check ins. He has seen a few things tried over the years, with varying levels of success.
However, from a practical point of view, it is fairly clear that solo jumpers are the 'at risk'. Students, tandems and teams all have someone else watching their back.
My understanding is that the UK has a 'load master' role, which probably marries up very well with monitoring check in and out. Manifest staff are generally swamped with 'other' issues, ground staff and instructors are usually run off their feet, looking after their primary tasks. I'd be curious to know more about the logistics of how it works in the UK?
As far as I understand it (as a noob) you have one person at DZ control (the cattle pen) who gets the manifest sheet for the load. Jumpers get a flightline check and then either sign to say that thay've had it (B licence and above) or someone else signs for it (A licence and students).
DZ control then know how many jumpers at which altitudes (how many canopies) and is in constant radio contact with the A/C. The pilot tells DZ control when they've dropped people at each alti and how many (eg 3 jumpers out) and as the canopies open DZ control counts them (also observes for cutaways). As each one lands they get ticked off on the manifest sheet until all jumpers are down. If for any reason a canopy doesn't open or there's a cutaway with an off-landing then someone can be moving within minutes to start searching.
As I say this is just my impression as a low jump number noob based on the way things are done at my club. Other clubs may have different procedures in place.
Different UK DZs have different ways of doing things. A small cessna place may just keep an eye on who is walking back in. Bigger turbine DZs with multiple planes typically require the jumpers to check back in.
The DZ has a list of who was on what load (either paper or computer) at a point where nearly everyone has to walk past and you check your name as you walk back in. Sometimes 1 person may sign off their team etc as long as you know they are down safe.
Normally, if someone is missing the DZ calls them a lot on the PA, then saying that they will have to shut down if they don't appear (so others are also looking for them now). When they re-appear the DZO or CCI gives them a good talking to, reminding them to check in. I have not known a DZ to have to shut down and call in emergency services for someone who just forgot to check in.
I visited Zhills this month for 2 weeks. They did a great job of trying to find everyone that might have landed off or were unaccounted for on a load that had some off field landings. They put a lot of time and effort into finding everyone and getting them back to the DZ. They went way beyond what I have seen at other DZs to locate “off” jumpers. My hat is off to the staff for their consistant efforts.