Interesting that you brought that up. One of the instructors at my home DZ was talking about this guy who is blind and skydives. Not sure where this guy is from but I will ask this weekend when I see this instructor. The whole concept is absolutely amazing to me. I know that if I became blind I would continue to jump, because I trust the people at my DZ so much but not sure I would have the courage to start already being blind. Supposedly this guy did a two way with another blind guy at some point. He always wears radio, but 1 time he was too far out and they couldn't help him with his landing, not sure what happened. The coolest thing is that this guy says that he knows when to flare when he can hear the crickets. Hey, maybe I should try that
I remember reading an article recently about a couple of blind skydivers doing a copule of 2 ways. They had safety jumpers in the air with 'em to make sure they didn't lose each other and collide on deployment. They used multiple audibles, and the first guy pulled in place when his audible went off...the other guy tracked for a thousand or two feet then pulled. One of the safety jumpers stayed with him til he pulled. They were then both on radio for landing.
I can't remember where I read it....maybe Parachutist? I'm sure somebody will remember where it came from.
Ok, this might sound stupid, but I guess it's not that unbelievable. When I did my first AFF, I was COMPLETELY dependent upon what they were saying over that radio, and just by doing exactly what they told me, with no cognition on my own part (totally my fault, adrenaline + nerves) I landed completely fine. I think my biggest concern in such a case would be a canopy collision. Anyway, just my $.02.
I remember the very first jump, radio assist of course, not being able to tell where the hell I was till after landing. Was surprised to find myself in the airfield! Can't even imagine being that "blind" when landing now.
We have a great guy that comes out every once in a while to Perris to do skydives. His group seems to do quite well with him and they turn a few points on each dive. BTW, he's blind. He's got a radio that ground can communicate with to let him know how his chute is opening, and where to steer. His landings are usually better than sighted landings.
One of the local Drop Zones in my area had a couple come out and "watch" the skydivers. They got so excited about it, they did some Tandems. After about 15 Tandems the gal begs the owners cause she wants to do a non-Tandem jump. The DZOs are worried about it, but she insist that it'll be fine. They ended up working with her for about a week before they decided she could do a S/L jump. Everything went well till she landed. She hasn't jumped since. I think there are different levels of blindness, as to how much light, shadows and etc. they can see. Kinda like the different levels of deafness. If someone was totally blind, how could they do it unless they are on some kind of radio for their landings?
John Fleming jumps at Perris regularly. He has over 1900 skydives (over 900 of them after his sight left due to Retinitis Pigmentosa taking it away).
He's one awesome guy. This past April we did a fund raiser for his chosen charity, "American Counsel for the Blind", in which I was asked to shoot video for. An article was written by Mike Muscat and was published in Skydiving Magazine.
Has anyone heard of blind people jumping....when....how high etc?
When I began jumping, my eye sight was bad enough that they were trying to take away my driver's liscense.
Jumping was a really liberating experience for me because it allowed me to do something that most people never do at a time when people were telling me I couldn't do stuff anymore that most people do all the time.
When they took my job away because of my eyesight, I made ends meet by rigging.
I always knew my eye sight was bad(at it's worst 20/120 left eye, 20/100 right eye) but didn't realize how bad it was till after I had my transplants. I went up for a jump and realized that there was another airport about 10 miles away. I'd always know it was there, but never realized that you could see it while in freefall.
Given my experiences, I have nothing but total respect for those jumpers who enjoy this sport with zero vision.