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MId-air collision after RW-FS

 


wonko  (D License)

Jun 11, 2003, 3:37 PM
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MId-air collision after RW-FS Can't Post

I just red about a mid-air collision fatality... Sad story. I have survived (and so did my fellow jumper) one such a thing and I'll share this here, because I think wise fellows can learn from others mistakes.

This was my jump#124, 19-aug-01, an fs8 attempt. Exit 12000 ft, I was in a 4-man-base. Some people did not get into the formation. Outer circle breakoff at 4500, inner breakoff 3600ft. I found a free sector to track into and suddenly I saw somebody was below me almost crossing my course. I panicked, tried to change my heading and then I saw him waving and throwing ... I saw a PC, then canopy right ahead and below me and I remember the words in my brain: "goodbye". I de-arched as I could to track as flat as possible and then I impacted his canopy with my hips and legs.
After one black moment I figured out I am alive, have smth like a broken knee and I'm not tangled to anything and I opened. I did it on 1500ft (pd210).
The other guy had quite a long blackout, a broken helmet, torrn (still landable canopy) and sore neck & spine for several weeks. We both were very lucky. We live, we fly.

Afterwards-analysis:
The guy below me was jumper who didn't make it to the formation and fell down. It is not known for sure when did he start to track but it is for sure we both were lousy trackers this time. We both contributed to the would-be fatality but I had a mayor role in this, because I was the upper man.

LESSONS:
1) always be aware about airspace around you.
2) a "lower man" has privileges but nothing is granted. You are obliged to use your brain and eyes.
3) if jumping formation and failing, you must still try to keep level with a formation and to break off at the right (not arbitrary) altitude.
4) more than one beginner in a formation is a danger. Yes - it depends - a beginner for what.

It's midnight here and I am a little bit pathetic. There has been too much sad reading in incidents forum this year. Be safe, bros and sys out there.

Villem


JDBoston  (D 26450)

Jun 11, 2003, 8:57 PM
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Re: [wonko] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

I was in a similar situation a while ago on a 9-way hybrid that funneled and I ended up one or two hundred feet or so high around breakoff - I tracked off and saw a guy tracking under me.

I changed course to go between him and the guy to his left, and ended up opening on level with the guy who had been under me. As luck would have it, he had a spinning opening and was heading for me, but we both saw each other and risered away to the right.

I was lucky he was an experienced and very heads-up guy. I had a similar situation on a 5-way sit jump a couple weeks later and ended up pulling lower than usual due to sucking it down between the two people I tracked between, trying to avoid opening on level with them because we were kind of close.

Next time I am in that situation (someone tracking under me), I will stop tracking, wave, and pull immediately. Any viewpoints on this from the really experienced folks out there?

Joe


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Jun 12, 2003, 1:41 AM
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Re: [wonko] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
for sure we both were lousy trackers this time

Why do you force 8way RW-FS if you have tracking problem???

Safe landings

Cats should start skydiving if they have more than one life left.


(This post was edited by phoenixlpr on Jun 12, 2003, 1:42 AM)


poohbeer  (Student)

Jun 12, 2003, 3:21 AM
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Re: [JDBoston] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Next time I am in that situation (someone tracking under me), I will stop tracking, wave, and pull immediately. Any viewpoints on this from the really experienced folks out there?

I'm not at all experienced but aren't you risking you pull above someone else then? What if the lower guy is just about to wave off and pull? If you mall, won't you hit him then?


JoHawley  (C 103157)

Jun 12, 2003, 4:16 AM
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Re: [poohbeer] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

...and my canopy takes ages to open anyway. If the guy below deploys at a similar time and has a canopy that opens fast, you could go through it whilst waiting for yours to open.


Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
Moderator
Jun 12, 2003, 5:35 AM
Post #6 of 14 (1029 views)
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Re: [wonko] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

Bottom person has right of way. Breaking an 8 way off in layers really is'nt needed since by the time you get to fly points on 8 ways normally you've figured out how to track some what. Every jump you should track as long and as flat as possible, no exceptions.

Its better to take your time and make sure the sector you are going to track towards is clear then it is to rush turning and having a carving track. Stop, turn completly, stop again then start the track after making sure the sector is clear.


JDBoston  (D 26450)

Jun 12, 2003, 6:10 AM
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Re: [JoHawley] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

True, but hopefully you should be close enough to the formation when you recognize someone is tracking under you, that if you stop tracking immediately, the person below you will still track for a couple more seconds before they deploy, and will thus not be directly under you.

I think you are right that this approach could potentially cause a problem if you pull with someone else directly below you and not tracking any more. If for some reason you are far enough from the formation that this is a possibility, I would say you should probably get a little bit off the line of their track before pulling, so you at least are not DIRECTLY above them. Interested to hear what people think.

Joe


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jun 12, 2003, 6:31 AM
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Re: [wonko] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

 The organizer on that dive should have made the rules clear to everyone beofre you went up. If your not in the formation at 5000, turn and track away. If you're lower that the formation AT ANY POINT, turn and track away, recover somewhere else, and re-approach from above. Especially with low time jumpers (evident by your "lousy" tracking), these points need to be stressed before each and every skydive.

You're lucky to still have your legs, and the other guy is lucky to still have full brain function.


ltdiver  (D 20506)

Jun 20, 2003, 11:41 PM
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Re: [JDBoston] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Next time I am in that situation (someone tracking under me), I will stop tracking, wave, and pull immediately. Any viewpoints on this from the really experienced folks out there?

PLEASE think of your cameraflyer on this point. If you don't track far enough, you could end up killing both them and yourself as well.

ltdiver


ltdiver  (D 20506)

Jun 20, 2003, 11:47 PM
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Re: [davelepka] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
If you're lower that the formation AT ANY POINT, turn and track away,...

PLEASE do NOT track away. It is very dangerous to lose sight of each other during the skydive. The group does not know where you are, and the flailer won't have an idea where they are in relation to the group either (see what happened in the 'low man senerio' in the original post).

Best senerio is to get out from under the formation enough not to funnel it, turn 90 degrees to the formation and try and recover....try, try, try UNTIL BREAK-OFF TIME! Then track like hell with the rest of the group, into your own air space.

I've seen LOTS of scarey things while filming fun-ways...

ltdiver


JDBoston  (D 26450)

Jun 23, 2003, 7:31 PM
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Re: [ltdiver] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

Most definitely... good point. But I would also hope that by the time I have turned and tracked away a bit and realized that the airspace below me is crowded, the camera person is already deploying or deployed. Still, a barrel roll would probably be a good idea...

Joe


ltdiver  (D 20506)

Jun 23, 2003, 9:39 PM
Post #12 of 14 (817 views)
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Re: [JDBoston] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Most definitely... good point. But I would also hope that by the time I have turned and tracked away a bit and realized that the airspace below me is crowded, the camera person is already deploying or deployed. Still, a barrel roll would probably be a good idea...

Joe

Joe,

How long does your canopy take to open?

Does it always, 100% of the time open on heading?

What is your -first- reaction when you find you're sharing someone else's airspace on opening?

ltdiver


JDBoston  (D 26450)

Jun 24, 2003, 4:52 AM
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Re: [ltdiver] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

500-700 feet, opens on heading at least 75%+ of the time. My first reaction if someone else is nearby during the opening sequence is grab rear risers and get the hell away from them...

Joe


chuteless  (D 41)

Jun 24, 2003, 5:51 AM
Post #14 of 14 (783 views)
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Re: [wonko] MId-air collision after RW-FS [In reply to] Can't Post

I recall a mid air collision many years ago, two guys coming together. One smashed his face in on the altimeter of the other (in those days altimeters were usually aircraft instruments mounted on a small plate attached to the top of front mount reserve). At least one was killed as he just kept going (knocked out cold) and the other had serious injuries. At the speed one is travelling, it can be very dangerous. When I was instructing the Special Forces in Ecuador, South America, they were extremely dangerous. They had one guy hit anothers canopy while he was in freefall. He tore through it, but they both fotunately survived. Its a serious thing and deserves serious attention. I'm glad you werent hurt, and wish you the best of luck on future jumps. Bill Cole



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